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Weekly Update

Monday, May 11, 2009  
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A time to reflect and a time to look forward

Dear students, faculty and staff:
Today is May 11 and we have begun the final week of our 2008 – 2009 academic year. It has been an eventful year on campus and across the globe. Our nation has experienced the historic election of President Barack Obama and the world has faced adversity with the economic crisis and the outbreak of a new flu strain. Despite the challenges, I am pleased to be a part of Rockford College at this time in history, and look forward to our continued growth and development.

This is also the first day of final exam week. Best wishes to all of our students and I wish you all a safe and peaceful summer.

As you know, on Sunday we will celebrate our 155th Commencement. Degrees will be awarded to 500 students from 14 states and four countries. There will 237 Baccalaureate degrees awarded and another 238 MAT and 25 MBA degrees awarded. Congratulations to all of our graduates!

We are privileged to have as our Commencement speaker Jonathan L. Fiechter, a 1969 graduate of Rockford College. Mr. Fiechter has devoted 38 years of his life working in financial markets and regulatory policy, and currently serves as Deputy Director for the International Monetary Fund. Jonathan will also receive an honorary degree.

For your information, The Weekly Update will continue to be published over the summer, with the exception of Memorial Day. My colleagues on the Executive Council will join me by contributing periodic updates in keeping you abreast of significant events. 

Have a great day!

Robert L. Head, Ph.D.


Professors honored for teaching excellence
Dr. Martha Pippitt, biology professor and chair of the biology department, has received the Excellence in Teaching Award, and Dr. Patricia Walters, professor of religious studies, received the award for teaching excellence for adjunct faculty at the Honors Day convocation last Wednesday.

Pippitt has taught at the college for 27 years and will be retiring at the conclusion of the current school year. Walters has been an adjunct professor at the college for two years.

Some 70 students were also honored for leadership and achievement in their own disciplines and in co-curricular activities. 


ESL, JACCE students to visit peace plaza
Students in the ESL program and JACCE will visit the Keeling-Puri Peace Plaza this Wed., May 13 at 1 p.m.  It will be a unique opportunity for our international students to see this symbol of world peace. Members of the Rockford College community are also invited to attend. Jim Keeling, who along with Sunil Puri, founded the plaza, will also be on hand (both are on the college board of trustees). You can find out more information about the plaza here:  A group will leave together from Nelson Hall at 12:30 p.m. If you’d like to join them, e-mail JACCE.

The Keeling-Puri Peace Plaza is located between Perryville and McFarland Roads, just west of the I-90 Interchange at Riverside Blvd. in northeast Rockford. The parking lot is south of Riverside Blvd. on McFarland Rd.


Library notes…
New hours at Colman Library…
Colman Library announces the following hours of operation for finals week and the summer:

Finals week - open normal hours through Wed., May 13:
          Mon. – Wed. – 7:45 a.m. – 11 p.m.
          Thursday – 7:45 – 8 p.m.
          Friday – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For the remainder of May (18- 31), the library will be open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon. through Thurs. It will close at 4 p.m. Fridays throughout the summer. Summer school hours begin June 1 when it closes at 7 p.m. Mon. through Thurs.

The library will be closed Saturday and Sunday beginning May 16 through the summer break, and will also be closed for Memorial Day, Mon., May 25.

Library hours are also available on the Library home page

New online collection…
Colman Library is pleased to announce an opportunity to explore and use a very fine online collection of full-text scholarly journals from Project MUSE. This is a trial subscription (ending June 19) and you can help the library evaluate the collection by doing some searching of this database on topics that interest you.

This subscription includes an interdisciplinary collection of about 190 journals drawn mainly (but not exclusively) from the humanities and social sciences. A list of titles by discipline can be viewed at

A link to begin searching Muse can be found on the Colman home page…and right here: (Note that for now, access will be campus-only.) 

The Project Muse trial subscription is part of the library’s effort to find ways of providing more online full-text journal literature to the campus community. You can help in this effort by providing feedback about this collection.


Elaine Sharpe, daughter catch attention of McCormick Tribune Foundation
Campus Minister Elaine Sharpe and her daughter, Stephanie, will be featured in the annual report of the McCormick Tribune Foundation for a project the two are doing with RC students and students at St. James School in Belvidere. Stephanie was one of the first McCormick Tribune Student Citizens during her last year at Rockford College. The angle is the continuation of civic engagement in Stephanie’s professional life, says Elaine. The foundation is also using the angle of Stephanie and Elaine not just as community partners but a mother-daughter team and alums of RC.

The latest RC - St. James project focuses on developing an awareness campaign on the consequences of shoplifting.


Learning Center sets test prep schedule
Preparation Techniques for the GRE 2009 -- The schedule is out for upcoming classes to prepare for the Graduate Record Examination. They are Thursdays June 18, 25, July 2, 9, and 16, all from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Please be prepared to attend all classes with bring the required text at each session.  How To Prepare for the GRE 2009 Edition by Barrons must be purchased for this 10 hour review. For more information or to register for the 10 hour session, call 226-4087 or EBergstrom Starr Science Room 402 is the location. There is a $50 fee for Rockford College students. Class size is limited.

Preparation Techniques for the GMAT will be offered Tuesdays, June 16, 23, 30 and July 7 and 14 all from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Rockford College students pay a fee of $50 for the five classes. Otherwise the fee is $100. The class will be held in Room 402 in the Starr Science Building. Enrollment is limited. Please be prepared to attend all classes with the required text at each session. Text title is Cracking the GMAT – 2009 Edition, the Princeton Review. Call 226-4087 for more.


Literary magazine hot off the press
The Rockford College Literary Magazine is proud to release the spring edition of Black Hole, White Light, Rockford College's literary magazine. Copies are available at the library circulation desk or the mail desk in Burpee.  Feel free to pick up a copy and check out some of our campus’s talented writers and artists.


Students work with Girl Scouts on self-esteem
Students Jenna Warren and Lisa Hiskey have developed a program that focuses on a discussion of self-esteem and what "positive powers" young girls already possess. The two met with a group of Girl Scouts in 3rd through 5th grades at St. Rita Catholic School last Tuesday for a variety of activities: a structured discussion based on a couple of Girl Scout books that the JACCE purchased for the event; a picture frame craft-session that allowed the girls to use their creativity to make a collaged picture frame focusing on their positive qualities; and a discussion on healthy eating habits and choices along with a healthy selection for their snack-time. Lisa and Jenna report they were very excited to meet these young girls, help them focus on their positive talents and provide them with positive goals and role models.


Students can attend technology conference free of charge
What does the future hold for technology? M2M Connected World, June 9-12 in Chicago, is a conference seeking to answer that question, with speakers focused on a variety of fields including RFID, sensor networking, smart grid technology, e-health solutions, and more. Featured speakers include major companies and expert professors, and all college students are invited to attend Connected World for FREE. To register, go to, and enter registration code Student09.

Students are invited to attend educational sessions, view the exhibit hall, and network with technology experts and top companies. To become more involved in this industry, attend M2M Connected World 2009, June 9-12 at the Hilton Chicago, on the Magnificent Mile. For more information, visit


And the April Employee of the Month is…
The CARE committee recognizes members of our campus community for outstanding service through our Employee of the Month program. They are pleased to report that April’s recipient is Jim Russell of the maintenance department. Congratulations, Jim! 


Filiz and Mehmet Dik co-host math conference in Turkey this summer
Math professors Filiz and Mehmet Dik report they will be attending an international math conference August 4 to August 12 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Mehmet is one of the Organizing Committee members, and both he and
Filiz are members of the Scientific Committee of this conference. The RC Faculty Development Committee has given both Filiz and Mehmet some funds to cover some of their expenses and they say they appreciate RC’s support and will do their best to represent the college well.

This event is a collaboration between RC’s Math Dept. and Maltepe University Math Dept. Both will be co-hosts of the conference and after the conference, will be working on a book which will include selected and refereed papers presented at the conference. The book will be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in UK.


Orientation leaders named for 2009-2010
Congratulations to our new Orientation Leaders: Reesa Morala, Team Leader; Allyson Utech, Alyssa Doering, Amanda Furst, Amanda Psareas, Damir Utrzan, David Gray, David Smith, Emily Smith, Francois O’Leary, Hanna Schweder, Lindsey Morris, Rachel Rhea, Shayna Leber, and Vince Chiarelli. Orientation leaders help familiarize new students with the campus during orientation and serve as mentors as well. 


They’ll have a research-filled summer
Whether it’s a trip to Paris or research on bacterial spores, RC students and faculty will be busy this summer on a variety of collaborative projects funded by the college. As you can see from the list below, the range of our students’ interests and abilities is wide and most interesting. Thank you to the faculty members for their support, and congratulations to all these students!

Audra Carlson (Professor Mehmet Dik) – To work on how technology can be used in different math secondary education classes.  She will report on how and when to use the different types of technology, and create four to six lesson plans for each math class offered in late middle school and high school.

Michelle Craglow (Professor Mary Weaks-Baxter) – To visit the city of New Orleans and to experience the lifestyle.  Michelle will be examining the connections among American politics, the psychology of the American political process, and the rhetoric of politicians and then use the material that she gathers to produce a work of poetry.

Jennifer Eller (Professor Mary Weaks-Baxter) – To visit the city of New Orleans and to experience the lifestyle.  Jennifer will be trying to discover some of the ways in which a major event (Hurricane Katrina) or disaster can affect the way literature is written and the way such a disaster is addressed and not addressed by the writers who are affected by such an event.

Stacy Lidvall (Professor Filiz Dik) – To work with statistical concepts used in biological and medical research through a study within the field of biostatistics.  She will explain and demonstrate the relevance of statistics in the field of public health and biology/medicine.

Ed Phebus (Professor Michael Perry) – To visit the city of New Orleans to explore a connection between the places in Toole’s novel with a photo journal,  and create a synergistic element to an already proposed paper in English 381.

Aaron Powers (Professor Joseph Ward) – To explore and analyze the current uses of glycerol, a byproduct of many biofuels, and potentially to discover more ways to use glycerol as a renewable carbon source for chemical transformations.
Rachel Rhea (Professor Deborah Breiter) – To produce plasmid and glycerol stocks for a number of different recombinant T cell receptors.  This will be an opportunity to explore the techniques of isolating recombinant DNA through the use of vectors, antibiotic selection, and restriction enzymes.

Danielle Rudesill (Professor Duane Kitchen) – To conduct research on the formation of bacterial spores and their ability to withstand ultraviolet light.  She will research the subject of ultraviolet light as a sterilization method.

Mohit Singh (Professor Mehmet Dik) – To research and work on Advance Calculus problems in Applied Mathematics.  He will specifically try to analyze and solve functions of complex variables, calculus of residues, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, Bessel and legendre functions and the Sturm-Liouville theory.

Yasotha (Sharon) K. Veeraya (Professor Filiz Dik) – To complete research that will explain why complex numbers should be taught in high school.  She intends to simplify the usage of complex numbers and how it can be introduced in high schools.

Denise Glasenapp, Sable Matula, Michelle Mishmash (Professor Rafal Krazek) – To travel to Paris, France.  There are two common objectives to the trip:  linguistic and artistic.  As art history students, they will be exploring neo-classical artists found in the Louvre Museum, Impressionist painters at the Museum d’Orsay in Paris, and a trip to Giverney to compare artistic vision of the world of the Impressionist school with what we call an objective reality.  They would like to organize an exhibition of photography taken during the trip to France and organize campus events to talk about their experiences and research findings.  Each has studied French at different proficiency levels, so they will be able to be immersed in the language while researching the artistic sides of Paris.


Alumna establishes generous scholarship for RC students
More RC students will benefit from scholarship funds thanks to the generosity of the late Jean Miller Gibbs, a 1941 alumna of Rockford College. Mrs. Gibbs donated nearly $122,000 for the new Leigh and Jean Miller Gibbs Scholarship recently. Mrs. Gibbs was extremely active in the college after she graduated, with service as president of the Rockford College Club and national RC alumni association. She was also a recipient of the college’s highest honor, the Talcott Cross. Our deepest thanks to the Gibbs family, including Betsy Gibbs Skibinski, who presented the check to Dr. Head last Wednesday.        


Global education conference set for June 11-12
Rockford College will be the site of a Global Education for the 21st Century conference June 11 and 12. Keynote speaker is Marc Prensky, an internationally-acclaimed speaker, writer, and educator. Business leaders from throughout the area will also be invited to participate. This is an excellent opportunity to participate in the conference as an attendee or presenter. Presenters can attend the conference at no cost on the day of their session. For details, including conference highlights, registration form and presenter letter/proposal form, contact Dr. Michelle McReynolds at 226-3390 or


Congratulations, Dr. Lynch!
If you see psychology instructor Joel Lynch, make a point to congratulate him. He successfully defended his dissertation in psychology last week at Northern Illinois University. 


Nonprofit summit here this week
More than 175 people representing area nonprofit organizations and businesses are expected to attend a nonprofit and business summit here May 15, 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. in Regents Hall. Sponsored by the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE) and the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, the summit’s theme is “Shaping our Future with Social Capital: A New Model for the Future” and focuses on developing collaborations among nonprofits, business, and government to address common goals.


Author and artist to have book-signing at Burpee
Local artist and author Charlotte Hackin will have a book-signing for her new book next Mon., May 18 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Burpee lobby.  The book, Stay Young to 100 presents some wise advice for living life to its fullest. It is filled with personal experiences, wise sayings, useful exercises, organic diets, and self-help steps. Charlotte, who is in her 90s, served one term on the Rockford Park District board starting when she was 81. Besides her passion for art, she has been a teacher, TV host, and life coach.  


In the News…
  • The Rockford College Business Luncheon for area business leaders here last week attracted a host of news media, including Channel 17, 13, and the Register Star. Fred Young, RC grad and CEO of Forest City Gear, was the keynoter.

  • Chemistry Professor Fred Hadley was featured on Channel 17 to offer an explanation of why some residential yards are developing an unusual gelatinous slime (likely culprit: organic material stemming from too much moisture). 

  • The RC musical “Sweet Smell of Success” received a thumbs-up from reviewer Victor Yehling in Saturday’s Register Star. Congratulations to director Jeff Hendry and the entire cast and crew!  …read more

* In the News will try to include links to stories when they are available. 


Community Search
Calendar of Events

FORUM: Babes In Arms

Student Music Recital

EDP: Seminar #6 - Conflict Management and Resolution

NICNE Customer Service Workshop

FORUM: Sports Management Symposium

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