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Weekly Update

Monday, February 09, 2009  
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From President Robert L. Head, Ph.D.

Stimulus bill, accreditation two current hot topics

Dear students, faculty, and staff:

Last week was a busy time for the U.S. Senate as it debated the merits of an economic stimulus package.  As late as last Thursday, it appeared that much of what was included in the House version for higher education, including an increase in Pell grants, would be eliminated in the Senate version.  The good news is that Senate leaders announced a compromise on Friday and the $14 billion covering an increase for Pell grants remains in the bill. That is good news for our students and their families. The compromise was not without losses for higher education. Among other things, a $3.5 billion reserve for higher education construction projects was eliminated. The next step in the process is a conference between the House and Senate to negotiate the differences in their respective bills. 

We are two weeks away from hosting a team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). HLC is the organization that provides the overall accreditation for Rockford College. This is a non-governmental process and is voluntary. Accreditation means that we agree to uphold standards of quality established by HLC and are successful in doing so. Thanks to the efforts of many, the team received our Self Study report in mid-December.  The Self Study identifies for the visiting team how our campus views its performance against each standard. The HLC team will have complete access to our community and our records. If you have the opportunity to meet with team members while they are on campus, please share with them your view of Rockford College, including our strengths, challenges and hopes.

For your information, the HLC team consists of the following individuals:

·       Dr. Lee Bash (Team Chair) – Dean, College of Working Adults, William Penn University

·       Dr. J. Richard Ellis – Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, John Brown University

·       Dr. Nancy L. Erickson – Vice President for Academic Affairs, Iowa Wesleyan College

·       Dr. William J. Shustowski, Jr. – Vice President of University Advancement, University of St. Francis.

·       Dr. J. Burton Kirkwood, Associate Professor of History/Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Evansville

·       Dr. Scott D. Miller, President, Bethany College

While I wanted to share with you the composition of the team, contacting team members prior to their arrival on campus is not appropriate. I look forward to the team’s visit and their assessment of Rockford College.

Have a great day!


Robert L. Head, Ph.D.

Rockford College earns national recognition

The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Rockford College today with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.  

“This is truly an honor for Rockford College and underscores our commitment to civic engagement,” says Robert L. Head, college president. “The college has a long history of not only providing students with an outstanding education but also teaching them how to be good citizens.”   

Rockford College was in the second tier of colleges added to the honor roll with distinction, joining only 82 other colleges around the U.S.  Only one other college in Illinois—DePaul University—was also included in the second tier along with Marquette University and UW-Eau Claire in Wisconsin.  Six colleges were named for top honors (none in Illinois or Wisconsin), and some 546 were in the lower or third tier.   

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Among the projects submitted by the college for the award were “The Plunge,” a day-long event in which 75 students, faculty and staff did work at eight area nonprofit agencies; an ongoing outreach effort to homeless clients at Rockford Rescue Mission and other agencies serving the homeless; and the Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break in which almost 50 students, staff, and alumni built homes for Habitat for Humanity in Starkville, Miss.  Altogether, some 320 students at the 1,200-student college devoted 6,700 hours to volunteer activities on behalf of 20 non-profit agencies in 2008.  

In addition to the volunteer efforts, the college is active in making service a part of coursework. Some 50 courses have incorporated some community-based learning as part of the curriculum.  Students have been involved in everything from volunteering at a drop-in center for the mentally ill as part of a psychological disorders class to tutoring fifth graders in an economically depressed area of Rockford as part of a rhetoric class.  

“We’re obviously proud of this achievement because community involvement and civic engagement is at the heart of everything we do,” says Lindsay Kent, coordinator of the college’s Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement, which serves as clearinghouse for campus volunteer activities.  

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education. 

“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever,” says Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the board of directors of the corporation. “College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges.  We salute Rockford College for making community service a campus priority, and thank the students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service-learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the corporation’s “Volunteering in America 2007” study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America’s college students. The corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.

To see a complete list of the honorees, go to

Events slated for Black History Month  
Rockford College has slated two events at the college commemorating Black History Month. 

·       Martin Luther King, Civil Rights & African American History Museum Walk-Through.  Display includes photos, newspaper articles, and other artifacts of the civil rights movement.  Located on the 2nd floor hallway in the Burpee Center. Ongoing through February.

·       Black History Month speaker, William S. Rhoden, author of “Forty Million Dollar Slavery.”  February 18, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the college’s Maddox Theatre.  Rhoden is a sports columnist for the New York Times who chronicles the challenges of black athletes in our society.  His talk will be preceded at 6 p.m. by a one-act play based on Rhoden’s book called “The Slaves” performed by the Auburn High School CAPA students.  It was written by Rockford College alumnae Charlyne Blatcher Martin. The entire evening is free.

For more information on either event, call the Rockford College Kobe-Regents Center for Global Education, phone 815-394-5112, or see



Faculty profile with J.J. Asongu
Rockford College welcomes J.J. Asongu who is an Assistant Professor of Economics/Business/Accounting. We asked J.J. to share some insights about himself for the college community. Here is what he had to say.

Q.  Where are you from originally?

A.  I am originally from Cameroon in West Africa, but I have been in the U.S. for 11 years, during which time I have lived in Houston, TX, Washington, D.C. area, Atlanta, GA, and Hays, KS.
Q.  Where did you attend college and what was your area of specialization?
A.  I am currently working on my dissertation for my Doctor in Business Administration (DBA) degree, with a specialization in International Business & Marketing at Argosy University in Atlanta. My MS in Management of Information Technology is from the University of Maryland, where I also earned the CIO Certification. I did my Bachelor of Philosophy degree at the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
Q.  Where did you work prior to coming to Rockford College?

A.  My last position was that of a Visiting Professor of International Business at Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS, where I taught both undergraduate students and students in the MBA program. However, I also run my own consulting organization known as the Institute for Research on Global Business.

Q. Tell me a little more in depth about your position.
A.  I am currently here at Rockford as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, Business, and Accounting, where I teach an undergraduate course on Principles of Management, and an MBA course on International Business.
Q.  What are your favorite aspects of your job so far?
A.  The favorite aspects of my job so far are the fact that RC students seem to take their studies very seriously. I like working in such an environment. Secondly, my colleagues in the faculty as well as all the staff I have met are very friendly and willing to help. I can't think of a better work environment than this.


Cabaret has special Valentine’s Day performance
If you missed last weekend’s cabaret performance by the Regent Players, take heart. The troupe will give another performance Sat., Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. in the Cheek Theatre.  The event features songs that center around the ever-changing facet of love and the road we often travel. Admission is by donation. Refreshments will be available.  Bring a date and enjoy this exciting and love-filled night of song and dance. 


Global Community Hour tomorrow takes you to China
Plan now to attend this month’s Community Global Hour Tues., Feb. 10 from noon - 1 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room on 2nd floor Burpee.  Focus of this month’s tour is China led by RC’s own Ji Liang. Join us as we celebrate our international students and honor their presence on campus. Fine Chinese cuisine will also be served by Chartwells. Sponsored by the Kobe Regents Center for Global Education and the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement.


Robin Kenney is January’s Employee of the Month
Congratulations to Robin Kenney, Music Academy business manager/registrar and the volunteer adviser for the Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break.  Nominations from faculty and staff for future honorees are encouraged and may be sent to the CARE committee which has a mailbox in the mail room.   


College employee to take the plunge for a good cause
Care to take a plunge into a lake in the middle of winter? That just what Chuck Cornele (Maintenance) is doing on March 7. It’s all for a good cause: Special Olympics Illinois, a non-profit offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 21,000 athletes age 8 and over with intellectual disabilities.  Cornele’s goal is $500 and you can donate online by going to  Chuck will join about 2,600 other brave souls around the state to take part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Illinois.  This is the second year that Chuck has taken the dip.   


Rockford College Night at the Bulls game
Student Activities invites you to join other members of the college community for a game between the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic Wed., Feb. 18 at the United Center in Chicago.  Cost is only $10 per RC student, faculty member, or staff, and includes the game ticket, transportation, and a snack on the bus.   What a value!  Stop at the sign-up table on 2nd floor Burpee.

Faculty/Staff Appreciation Event
The annual Faculty/Staff Appreciation Dinner will be held Fri., Feb. 20 in Regents Hall. Invitations have already been issued and RSVPs should be sent to Josh Papke, GA in the Communications Office, ext. 4151.  A complete list of the honorees for service and longevity will be included in next week’s newsletter. 

Want to do something meaningful during spring break?
The Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break, March 7-14 is an opportunity to help build homes for Habitat for Humanity in Starkville, Miss. Last year, some 47 students, faculty, staff and alumni went down for the week, working together with purpose and joining in camaraderie.  For more information on this unique opportunity, contact Robin Kenney, the project’s volunteer coordinator at ext. 4168.


Get in the loop…learn more about upcoming HLC visit
Soon, you’ll see posters, table tents, and buttons all creating awareness for the visit by the college’s accreditation agency, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. A team from the commission will be here Feb 23-25 as part of a routine evaluation of the college, its programs, and services.  All colleges and universities accredited by the HLC or other regional accrediting bodies go through the same process at regular intervals.  


Kent named to magazine advisory board
Lindsay Kent, coordinator for the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement, has been named to the advisory board of Rockford Woman magazine, a publication produced by the Rockford Register Star. She will help provide input into the publication’s content and effectiveness.

About posting items on doors
Putting posters and messages on classroom and office doors may be a good way to get attention but impedes safety by blocking visual access to the room. So, kindly refrain from doing so.

Best way to handle lost items
Did you know that there is a lost and found in the mailroom on 2nd floor Burpee?  If have found something (keys, books, flash drives, clothing items) the best way to handle it is to check the lost and found box first. By the same token, if you have lost something, check the lost and found first. The mailroom is open Mon.-Fri. from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and again from 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.


Campus Classifieds now open @
The RC Classifieds page of the portal is now ready for your posting! Visit and click on the “classifieds” link in the icon box, or find it under the “MORE” tab. This feature is available for use by students, faculty and staff. Here you will be able to post items for the RC community to see including items for sale.  In addition, you may post items lost or found or even post a book to exchange. Please use this in lieu of mass campus-wide e-mails.


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