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Weekly Update

Wednesday, July 15, 2009  
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We can learn a lot from a hedgehog

During the summer, members of the Executive Council will write this column on a rotating basis. Today, we hear from Dr. Julie Luetschwager, acting dean of the college and chair and associate professor of Nursing.
How many of you have pets? I love animals, and have had plenty of them across my lifetime.  Probably the most unusual pet I have ever owned was a hedgehog. His name was Pokey (I know, not the most original name), and he was fascinating to watch. He was single-minded when he wanted something. Even if something startled him, he never lost focus on what he was after. You may wonder what my pet hedgehog has to do with Rockford College. While thinking of Pokey it brought to mind the hedgehog concept. Jim Collins talks about this concept in his book Good to Great (2001). It is a simple concept but requires some very serious consideration. Let me explain. There are three circles in this concept. 
  • The first circle addresses what we (collectively) are deeply passionate about. 
  • The second circle addresses what we can do best in the world (and, of equal importance, what we cannot do the best). 
  • The third circle addresses what drives our economic engine.
  • Where the circles overlap is the hedgehog concept of the organization.  What the organization stays focused on.

I think this is an opportune time for us to explore the hedgehog concept of Rockford College. You might think that filling in the circles for us is obvious:

  • we are passionate about liberal arts education,
  • we are the best at educating students, and
  • students drive our economic engine. 

If true, why don’t people know that?  Why don’t we have students knocking down our doors to attend Rockford College?  Why don’t we have more alumni and members of the Rockford community clamoring to partner with our great institution?  I would say, because we haven’t passionately communicated what we do best.  Stepping back, do we know it ourselves?  One thing that has been confirmed during my time as acting dean is that it takes all of us working together to produce a well-educated Rockford College graduate.  It is time to come together with a hedgehog focus to strengthen Rockford College for the future.

The pre-college conference on August 14 will be an opportunity for faculty and staff to focus on us, the Rockford College community, as we hear from the Mission and Vision Committee and the Culture Task Force on their work about who we are.  We will catch up on where we are in our strategic planning and future steps.  We also will spend some time focusing on students and how we can improve their Rockford College experience.

I have appreciated the opportunity to serve as acting dean this summer.  I have learned much over these past few weeks, and I have gained an even greater respect for the passionate individuals who make up Rockford College.  I am proud to be a part of the Rockford College family and I look forward to working alongside each of you as we move forward.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of summer!


Julie Luetschwager, Acting Dean of the College,

Chair and Associate Professor of Nursing

Youth service group spend time on campus
The college was a little busier than usual last week with the “Know Sweat” group on campus. The faith-based youth group used the Grace Roper Lounge in Burpee and some residence hall rooms during their stay. Know Sweat volunteers fanned out across the community helping with projects like painting the homes of the elderly. It’s fitting that the group chose Rockford College as its base, given our long history of service to the community.  

College earns award from Rockford Park District
The Rockford Park District Board is giving an award tomorrow afternoon to the college, citing Jeff Fahrenwald, (Business), Gary Lubbert (BSMS) and Matt Phillips (Assoc VP-Operations) for their collaboration with the park district.  Among other things, business area faculty and students have done research and planning with park district personnel over the years. Current park district deputy director Jay Sandine, an RC MBA graduate, even did a project on the feasibility of expanding Magic Waters, a project that has been successfully implemented.  

Legislators here this evening to discuss budget
The Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE) based at Rockford College, is hosting a conversation with legislators this evening from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. to discuss the state budget impasse and its impact on the people of our community. Many local agencies have faced cutbacks because of the current budget situation, and it is expected agency heads will be here in force. The meeting is timely because legislators return to Springfield this week to try and work out a state budget. The meeting will be held in the Grace Roper Lounge. 

More news from the Capitol (and it’s good news!)
Gov. Pat Quinn is set to sign the state’s capital plan today and that’s good news for the college and the entire community. Rockford College is set to receive $2.7 million to be used for a variety of improvements and upgrades. We’ll have more on this next time.

Our social media channels are gaining in popularity
A few weeks ago, there was a column in this newsletter written by Cassie Swanson (Mktg/Special Events) discussing the college’s active role in social media, specifically our presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Cassie recently shared the current number of participants we interact with and it’s indeed impressive. Today, there are 385 Facebook fans and 130 people following our messages on Twitter. When it comes to social media for recruiting, Rockford College is keeping pace with new ways to communicate with prospective students.  

Stay tuned for changes at the Lion’s Den
The Lion’s Den will be closed this Wednesday for food and beverages, but it’s definitely not going out of business. As a matter of fact, it’ll reopen Thursday with some new and exciting offerings, says Colin Mossup, general manager for Rockford Dining Services.  

Cassie Swanson is Employee of the Month for June
The college’s CARE Committee is pleased to announce that Cassie Swanson (Mktg/Special Events) has been chosen as the Employee of the Month for June. An employee here since 2005, Cassie is responsible for all college marketing and also handles college events. She was a tireless coordinator of commencement activities, and according to one nominator, “shows a lot of initiative in seeking out ways to improve the promotion of Rockford College, especially in developing new ways to reach prospective students.”  Congratulations, Cassie! 

New budget committee staff reps elected
Congratulations to Monna Ohme (Graphic Design) and Heather Snider (Inst. Research) for being elected staff representatives to the College Budget Committee. 

New staff join RC community
Here’s a list of new hires at the college for the past month or so. Some of these folks have been on the job for a time, but we didn’t want to forget anyone! Say hi to them when you see them.
  • Linda Callahan, Campus Scheduling Coordinator
  • Jason Haggerty, Safety & Security Officer
  • Jessica Talbert, Admission Counselor
  • Mavjuda Mahkamova, Research Analyst
  • Beth Garcia, Communications Specialist
  • Erin Olson, Administrative Assistant, Lang Center
  • Glenda Riggins, Administrative Assistant, Starr Science
  • Alicia Hurkman, Residence Hall Director, Cummings complex
  • Scott Leezer, Residence Hall Director, Small Houses  

Farewell to Brian Ohme
Our best wishes go out to Brian Ohme, (Copy Center/Delivery Manager) who leaves us for an accounting job in Wyoming. Brian was not only very capable in his job; he also excelled in internal customer relations. With Brian’s departure, Brad Pemberton, who usually works as an operations assistant primarily in the maintenance department, will be taking on the additional temporary responsibility of handling Copy Center activities. Brad will maintain this role until a permanent replacement is hired. The search is already well under way with interviews beginning this week.

Rockford College is walking!
Join a group of walkers who will explore the Rockford College walking path (path created thanks to a group of 2006 Nursing students) on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. beginning tomorrow.  All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes.  Plan on meeting at the Mail Desk for the first walking date on July 14. (The first week the group will walk Tuesday and Wednesday since Thursday is the CARE picnic.)  Total miles walked by Rockford College walkers will be posted outside of HR – the more walkers that participate the further we go!  This program will run through September 3.  Eight weeks of walking!
Walking should take place in lieu of your lunchtime.  Appropriate arrangements should be made with your office to ensure suitable coverage. Get walking!

RC prof has gig with oldies band
Lynn Newhart, professor of anthropology/sociology, will be appearing as a guest performer with The Drive-In Show (an oldies rock n' roll band) at eSkape in Buffalo Grove on July 18.  The gig will run from about 10 p.m. - 1 a.m.

Here is a link to one of her YouTubes performing with this band:


RC in the news
Did you happen to catch the following RC students and faculty in the media last week?
  • Veronica Mateus, an MBA student and graduate assistant for the ESL program, was featured in a “Get to Know Me” column last Wednesday in the Rockford Register Star.
  • Robert Evans, associate professor of political science, was interviewed by Channel 23 last week on the curious topic of how alphabet soup letters mimic variations in the economy. 
  • Bill Langston, professor and chair of the physical education department,was interviewed by the Register Star last week about a new sport taking hold in the area called pickleball. Langston says it is played on a badminton size court with a 3 foot high net using paddles and a plastic whiffleball. It can be fast or slow and is scored like badminton. An open house sponsored by the Rockford Park District is set for July 17. Call Bill for details, phone 815-226-4048.
    RC student Kristy Luck was featured in a Register Star GO story about her art, which will be on display at A Moveable Feast, 1641 N. Alpine until September 30.

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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