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Weekly Update

Monday, February 16, 2009  
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From President Robert L. Head, Ph.D.

On the ‘City University’ and educational aspiration


Dear students, faculty, and staff:

For the last two years, City of Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey has publicly and frequently shared his passion and vision for a more highly educated citizenry. As it relates to higher education, Mayor Morrissey has championed a concept that he entitled “City University.”  Recently, a group of leaders from the Higher Education Alliance of the Rock River Region (HEARRR) began meeting with the City of Rockford Educational Leadership Team to better understand what is possible in moving this vision forward. HEARRR is the alliance of Rockford College, Rock Valley College, Northern Illinois University and the College of Medicine.

The recommendations from this group will not be made for some time. Nevertheless, the focus is becoming clearer.  In a study completed by Joe Cortright of Impresa Consulting and funded by the Lumina Foundation entitled City Dividends: Gains from Improving Metropolitan Performance, one conclusion is that “increasing the four-year college attainment rate in each of the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan areas by one percentage point would be associated with a $124 billion increase in aggregate annual personal income.”   The study indicates that the Rockford metropolitan region would see a $230 million increase in personal income by improving our four-year college attainment rate by 1 percent.

If we estimate the population of the metropolitan area to be 300,000, a 1 percent increase equates to an additional 3,000 college graduates. It is clear that a strategy of increasing the number of graduates at HEARRR institutions will not quickly attain the desired outcome. Therefore, realizing the original vision will also require retaining residents who choose to pursue higher education outside of the region and supporting the acquisition of employers who will import a highly educated workforce.

Rockford College will do its part to facilitate this vision. For those who have been working diligently on action plans for goals included in Phase One of our Strategic Plan, which are due today, you are contributing. In so many ways, the plan is designed to support our mission and help our students succeed.  Thank you for this important work of continually improving Rockford College and, in so doing, elevating the communities around us.

Have a great day!


Robert L. Head, Ph.D.


Higher Learning Commission Comprehensive Visit February 23-25
Rockford College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.  An evaluation team from the NCA/HLC will conduct a Comprehensive Visit at Rockford College next week, February 23-25. Here are some frequently-asked questions about the visit. 


What is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)?
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association is an organization responsible for the evaluation and accreditation of colleges and universities within its region of the U.S.
What does the Higher Learning Commission do?

The HLC provides assurance to the public that an institution like Rockford College meets clearly stated requirements and criteria. The HLC also provides feedback that can be used for continuous institutional improvement.    

Why is accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission important to Rockford College?

Accreditation publicly acknowledges that the quality of Rockford College has been evaluated. The process of accreditation provides the opportunity for critical self-analysis leading to improvement in institutional quality. 

  • Accreditation adds value to your degree.
  • It assists other institutions in evaluating transfer credits.
  • It allows eligible Rockford College students to participate in federal financial aid programs. 
Why is Rockford College being visited?
The HLC conducts comprehensive visits to its member institutions on a regular schedule to verify that they are fulfilling their mission.


Vision and Mission

  • Our vision is to be Jane Addams’ college in the 21st century.
  • Our mission is to educate men and women to lead responsible lives by means of a curriculum grounded in liberal arts learning and complemented and extended by professional and practical experiences.  Through the total academic and co-curricular experience, Rockford College strives to prepare students for fulfilling lives, careers, and participation in a modern and changing global society.  

Learning Expectations

  • Knowledge—for Understanding the world
  • Values—for Envisioning the world
  • Skills—for Shaping the world

Horwitz is CEE speaker February 18, 2 p.m., Scarborough Hall, Room 4
The first speaker in the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship speaker’s series for spring semester is Stephen Horwitz. Horwitz is professor of economics at St. Lawrence University in New York. He is the author of Microfoundations and Macroeconomics: An Austrian Perspective (Routledge, 2000) and Monetary Evolution, Free Banking, and Economic Order (Westview, 1992), and he has written extensively on Hayekian political economy, monetary theory and history, and the economics of gender and the family. Dr. Horwitz will give a talk entitled “Wal-Mart to the Rescue: Private Enterprise’s Response to Hurricane Katrina,” in conjunction with Dr. Hicks’ Business and Economic Ethics class.


Regents ‘can’ the competition
The commissioner of the Northern Athletics Conference made a very special visit to the Seaver Center for a Regents basketball game February 12. 

Commissioner G. Steve Larson was not only there to watch the 2008-09 Regents basketball programs celebrate the Rockford senior basketball players, or help raise awareness for breast cancer research, though those were all great reasons to attend. 

Larson was on hand to present the Rockford College Student-Athletes Advisory Committee with a very special trophy. The committee won the 2008-09 Northern Athletics Conference Canned Food Drive with some 6,750 cans donated to the Rockford Rescue Mission.

“The Rockford College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee did a great job organizing and working toward their goal of outdoing others in the NAC,” said interim athletic director Kristyn King. “They went door-to-door, raised money, anything they needed to do. This trophy is a tremendous reward for their work.”  

As part of the effort, the Rockford SAAC organized a contest among the Regents athletic teams to help create a campus-wide movement. All of Rockford’s teams competed, with the cross country and track programs narrowly defeating women’s soccer team for the campus bragging rights.

In total, nearly 24,000 cans were donated by Northern Athletics Conference teams to 12 different community organizations throughout Illinois and Wisconsin.

Charter Day observed at Rockford College Wed., Feb. 25, 4-5 p.m.
The long-held tradition of Charter Day commemorates the founding of the college in 1847, and has been held every year since. It features all faculty in their full regalia, flags, and ceremony. Featured speaker this year is Dr. Belinda Wholeben, professor of psychology.  The event is held in the Maddox Theatre. 


Author Rhoden is BHM speaker
Make plans to see our Black History Month speaker, William S. Rhoden, author of “Forty Million Dollar Slavery” February 18 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the 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 of charge. 


NIU remembrance bracelets distributed
As part of the observance marking the anniversary of the NIU tragedy last year, Rockford College distributed bracelets to the college community in front of the mail desk in the Burpee Center last Friday. The red, purple and black bracelets read: “RC Supports NIU.”  


RC brings cheer to nursing home residents
Students from Rockford College delivered new and gently used stuffed animals and Valentine’s Day cards to residents at the Asta Care Nursing Home on W. Riverside Blvd. Saturday. The project was sponsored by the college’s Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement.     


Gospel choir to perform 
A concert featuring the Rockford College Gospel Choir under the direction of musician and adjunct professor Carl Cole is set for February 19, 6 p.m. in the Fisher Chapel. In addition to the gospel choir, there will be special presentations from Rockford College organizations and Sounds of Good News Productions. 


Faculty, staff to be honored for service
Hard work and dedication deserve recognition. That’s why 16 college employees will be honored February 20 for years of service and excellence at the annual faculty and staff appreciation dinner. 

Honorees include:  

5 years – Mehmet Dik, associate professor, math; Wayne Cheng, registration specialist; Cynthia Handel, accounts payable; Jennifer Langworthy, assistant professor, art; Cheryl Martens, nursing program administrative assistant; John McNamara, vice president for college development; Stephanie Quinn, executive vice president and dean of the college; and Patricia Schneider, nurse in the Lang Center.  

10 years – Philip Hjemboe, public services librarian; Robert Middleton, education off-site coordinator; and Colleen Page, associate professor, English.

20 years – Sallyann Roberts, counselor in the Lang Center; Mary Weaks-Baxter, professor, English; and Dianne Young, executive assistant to the president. 

In addition, Martha Pippett, professor of biology who will retire in June will be honored for her service to the college. The Employee of the Year will also be revealed at the event. 


See Civil Rights Walk-Through before it’s too late
If you haven’t seen the Martin Luther King, Civil Rights & African American History Museum Walk-Through, you still have time.  This display includes photos, newspaper articles, and other artifacts of the civil rights movement from its beginnings in the 60s to the present.  It’s located on the 2nd floor hallway in the Burpee Center.     


Congrats to Dawn McCrary
Our best wishes to Dawn McCrary, bookstore manager, on the recent birth of a daughter, Autumn Liora. Reports are that mother and daughter are doing fine.


Open Mic in Lion’s Den
Watch or perform at the new Open Mic Thursdays, February 19, 26 and March 5, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. in the Lion’s Den. Showcase your musical talent, try your hand at performing or come to support your fellow musicians. Original singer-songwriters, all music styles welcome. Free.  For more information, call 815-226-4176. Hosted by Matt Flamm, assistant professor, and Student Activities.


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