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Weekly Update

Monday, July 20, 2009  
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A week of good news for Rockford College!
 
During the summer, members of the Executive Council will write this column on a rotating basis. Today, we hear from Dr. Robert Head, President of Rockford College.
 

Last week was event filled for Rockford College. On Monday, July 13th, Higher Learning Commission (HLC) officially extended our accreditation through 2015 – 2016. The accreditation announcement was the finalization of a process that began two years ago in preparation for the HLC visit this past February. In addition to affirming that Rockford College met all five of the HLC criteria, the reaccreditation validates the tremendous work of faculty and staff in numerous improvements over the past seven years. I applaud all involved for the leadership, commitment and hard work leading to this conclusion. The reaccreditation does require focus visits by HLC on our financial stability and assessment of student learning and campus programs in 2010 – 2011. We will prepare accordingly.

The state capital bill was signed by Governor Quinn on July 13th. The bill includes $300 million in funding for non-profit colleges and universities throughout the state.  Do not be alarmed by the exclusion of Rockford College in last week’s report in the Rockford Register Star. Rockford College will receive a generous portion of the allocation to independent colleges! There are a number of questions that must be answered before the details of this pool will be fully known and communicated.  Questions of who is eligible; what will be the formula for distribution; what are eligible capital projects; and what will be the timing of funding – all are outstanding issues to be resolved. The Illinois Board of Higher Education and the state’s Capital Development Board will address these questions and procedures in the coming days.

The third significant event of last week was the passing of the 2010 state operating budget by the General Assembly.  The budget appropriates $220 million (out of a needed $400 million) for the Monetary Award Program (MAP).  MAP is provided for students who demonstrate financial need.  The $220 million will cover awards, at last year’s level, for the first semester only. Governor Quinn has the opportunity to support MAP for the second semester from discretionary funds within the approved budget.  While we would rather have the full year’s funding clearly articulated within the budget, this is good news for Rockford College and our students given the options discussed in the General Assembly in prior weeks.

Have a great week!

Robert L. Head, Ph.D.
President 
 

 
ESL is now the English Language Institute of Rockford College

The shift from basic English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching to more advanced instruction at Rockford College is at the crux of a name change for the ESL program here, which will now be called the English Language Institute (ELI) at Rockford College.

Christina Valiquette, director of the institute, says many learners in the program already know a language other than their native tongue, so the idea of English being a “second language” really does not reflect the diversity of the students.

“We live in a global society where intercultural communication and multiple language skills are critical, especially in the workplace,” says Valiquette. “English is just part of the mix.” 

As part of its work, the institute takes the approach that the students first need to be taught how to learn and then language instruction follows, which emphasizes a difference between just studying the English language and efficiently acquiring the language, says Valiquette.

“Our students are autonomous learners in that they are taught strategies and habits to be effective language students. Since gaining true fluency in a language takes many years, we give them a solid foundation, momentum, and the awareness for continued learning.”

The institute, which offers a range of full-time or part-time classes and language instruction resources, is one of the oldest and most established in the area, debuting in 1987. It serves about 70 students per year, including 30 in day classes and 40 at night, providing various levels of instruction with an emphasis on advanced skills. Classes are small – typically 10 or fewer students, offering individualized instruction which is important for success. 

Rockford College also has long ties with Regents College in London and Kobe College in Japan, providing a pipeline for study tours and student exchanges. The college’s Kobe-Regents Center for Global Education facilitates international education and works closely with the language institute. 

International students typically have I-20 status from the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service, which allows them to study in the U.S. as long as they are enrolled in a bona fide educational program. Many students in the Rockford College program have relatives or friends in the area, or were recruited here by local companies.   

The college’s ELI also offers customized programs for businesses whose employees may need help with specialized job-related language skills, and even offers training for supervisors on cross-cultural communication.

Other programs include Conversation Partners, an opportunity for community members to help international students by conversing with them in an informal setting, and Friendship Families where families invite students into their home on an occasional basis.   

For more information, call Valiquette at 815-226-4138; cvaliquette@rockford.edu


Music Academy partners with Rosecrance
A music education program for adolescent patients at Rosecrance, a substance abuse rehabilitation center in Rockford, has been developed by the Music Academy of Rockford College.  The academy designed the curriculum and will also provide the teacher. Marti Frantz, academy director, says research supports the healing power of music. 
 
Rosecrance officials say the music academy program enhances the center’s holistic treatment approach, which already uses art, horticulture, sports and recreation to expose patients to healthy activities that can support recovery. 
 
Several area service clubs provided donations to make the partnership possible. They include Alpine Kiwanis Club, the Rockford East/Cherry Valley Rotary Club, and the Kiwanis Club of Rockford.
 

 
Pre-College memo means fall is upon us

Not to rush things, but the memo last week from Prof. Julie Luetschwager, interim dean of the college, reminds us that preparations for fall term are gearing up. The Pre-College Conference will be held August 14 and is intended for all faculty and staff. Major topics include a “state of the college” address by President Head; discussion of the Strategic Plan Phase 1 and II; work group reports; and assessment of student learning. You’re asked to Contact Cathy Kight in the dean’s office by July 31 to confirm your attendance, phone 815-226-4067. 


Plays set for 2009-2010
From Edward Albee to Shakespeare, there’s a little bit of everything on tap for the upcoming season of plays and musicals from our performing arts department. Here’s the line-up. All performances are Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.  
 
  • October 1-4, Cheek Theatre: Everything in the Garden by Edward Albee.
  • November 19-22, Maddox Theatre: Parade, a musical by Jason Robert Brown and Harold Prince based on the book by Alfred Uhry.
  • February 25-28, Cheek Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.
    April 22-25, Maddox Theatre: The Glorious Ones, a musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.
     

The musicals will be directed by Prof. Jeff Hendry and the plays by Assoc. Prof. Deborah Mogford. Watch for more in the upcoming Common Destinies booklet listing all arts, cultural, and informational presentations in the coming year.


Get to Know Me: Glenda Riggins, Administrative Assistant, Starr Science

Name:  Glenda Riggins       

Job title:  Administrative Assistant, Starr Science   

Family:  Husband, Marven, 3 children: Heather (Kyle), Aaron (Beth), and Brian (Lucy), Two wonderful grandchildren: Jack (3) and Grace (1)

Professional/educational background: I have worked in banking, travel, sales, and at the college in career services, the library, and the graduate office!  I have also worked as a full time grandma!

I attended Augustana College, Rock Valley College and Rockford College.

Interesting fact about me: I hope to one day earn a degree!  In art!!!

The favorite thing about my job is…

The wonderful people I am working with!

Hobbies/interests: Painting, sewing, knitting, crochet, and any other hobby where I can make things!  My most avid interest is in supporting Habitat for Humanity, and the ReStore where I volunteer!  Please come see us!!!


Historical perspective on Rockford College is published
The archives collection in the Colman Library is in possession of a doctoral dissertation on the history of Rockford College in the 1950-1960’s.  Title of this dissertation is:  From women’s college to coordinate education to coeducation: The historical evolution of Rockford College.  Author is Vicky S. Cvitkovic who submitted the work in partial fulfillment of the requirements for her doctoral in education.  The work was supervised by Prof. Lynn D. Gordon of the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester. Cvitkovic currently is employed at the College of Lake County-Southlake Campus in Vernon Hills where she is dean of the Southlake Campus.  For more, contact Mary Pryor, library archivist at 815-394-5158.



Wellness fair slated at RC
The Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence is hosting a Relaxation & Wellness Fair on July 29, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Burpee Center Grace Roper Lounge. Join NICNE for an afternoon of relaxation, refreshment and fun.  Sample the services of alternative health care providers like these: My Massage Sanctuary, Jodelle Lofgren (hand massage), Avalon Body Works, Beth Campisi (Reiki, reflexology), Tami Bogard (Jin Shin Do acupressure), My Raw Energy (raw food chef) and another half dozen vendors. Cost is $10. For more information, call NICNE, phone 815-394-4384.  
 


RC in the news
Did you happen to catch…
  • Bob Evans, political science, offering his perspective on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as a new Supreme Court justice on Channel 23 last Friday. 
  • Coverage of the RC-hosted meeting between area social service agency heads and our local state legislators on the state budget. The event, held last Monday, was covered by all three TV stations and the Rockford Register Star.

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