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Weekly Update

Monday, October 12, 2009  
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New partnership with Rockford School District on the horizon

A message from President Robert L. Head, Ph.D.

Dear students, faculty and staff:

I have possessed a desire for Rockford College to engage in a strong partnership with Rockford Public School District 205 for some time. At first glance, this might appear to be a strange pairing of institutions. However, it will be a partnership that will not only be mutually beneficial, but will also advance quality of life in this region.

You are aware of the reports of concerns relative to truancy, graduation rates and other factors that have plagued District 205 in recent years. These issues are not unique to Rockford and, in fact, are the same issues reported in urban school districts across the country. In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education under U.S. Secretary of Education Bell released a report, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. One line within the report declared, "The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people" (U.S. Department of Education, 1983). From that point forward, there seems to be a recurring push to stop the avalanche of negative issues. “No Child Left Behind” is the latest federal attempt aimed at improvement. While national programs can be of benefit, progress is often best realized when local communities commit to taking matters into their own hands. I believe that we can play an even larger role in advancing education in this community.

In meeting the District’s new superintendent, Dr. LaVonne Sheffield, I found in her someone who is extremely passionate about not accepting the status quo and leading the district in a new direction. Dr. Sheffield and I know that the success of higher education is contingent on the success of secondary education. The District’s students, and those of other urban districts around the country, become our students. Our graduates become their teachers. In his book, Man’s Search for Himself, Rollo May notes that “the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.” We must find ways to improve our educational processes and collaboration is the best vehicle.

Pending the conclusion of details currently being resolved, Rockford College will launch a program to assist District 205 in the certification of its teachers in both reading and math.  This is but the very beginning of a partnership that will engage our faculty, our staff and our students in a very public agenda. Our society is changing rapidly and dynamically. We must accept our role as a catalyst in advancing the public’s well-being, as we are clearly called to do through our vision.

On a final note, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Sheffield has agreed to be our keynote speaker for Charter Day on March 3, 2010.

Have a great week!

Robert L. Head, Ph.D.

President


Students head to Springfield to push for MAP funding
Students from Rockford College will travel to Springfield this Thursday to lobby for the restoration of funding for a popular state financial aid program.

The need-based Monetary Award Program (MAP) stands to lose all its funding for second semester unless earlier cutbacks announced by Gov. Pat Quinn are restored. The $200 million in cuts come in the wake of the state’s budget problems. 
 
More than a dozen students from the college will make the trek to Springfield for day-long lobbying efforts spearheaded by the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. The Rockford group has an appointment with Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-67th) and hopes to visit with other area legislators during the day.

College officials say that with a 19 percent bachelor’s degree completion rate – the lowest in the state, and an unemployment rate hovering around 17 percent, the Rockford area can ill-afford more obstacles to attaining a college degree.

The lobbying trip is being coordinated at the college by the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement.



Ending racism is goal of UNLEARN Week Oct. 26-30
The college’s Kobe-Regents Center sponsors UNLEARN Week during the week of October 26-30. It is the week the KRCGE/Rockford College chooses to focus on “unlearning” the many false ideas, generalizations, stereotypes and assumptions learned as a result of cultural influences within society. The goal is to give everyone an opportunity to explore the area of learned racism and how to give an appreciated love to all people.

The week’s activities includes lectures, panel discussions, and other events which try to breakdown ignorance and misunderstanding for the purpose of fostering racial reconciliation, cultural appreciation, and an authentic culturally inclusive community.

This year, UNLEARN Week includes activities that promote thought and awareness through creative advertising, posters, UNLEARN stickers, and UNLEARN T-shirts.  UNLEARN Week programs will include guest lecturers, speakers, cultural simulations and exercise, movies and discussions. 

Michele Griggs, director of the Kobe-Regent’s Center, says it is hoped all of this will lead to many thought-provoking interactions on the topic of racism, discrimination and reconciliation. This, in turn, will lead to greater participation in ongoing programs, continued dialogue in other forums such as residence hall programs, classrooms settings, and personal conversations.  “This is our ultimate goal for this program, not only on the RC campus but within the Rockford community at large as well,” she says.

Here is a tentative schedule of activities. A more finalized schedule will appear in next week’s newsletter.  

Monday, October 26 – KICKOFF  Day
(Early in the day) Youth Perspective on Race event at one of the five Rockford high schools - location tentative (also held each day this week).
Afternoon – Guest speakers:  Mr. L.A. Malone, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., Grace Roper
Movie: “Race Power of an Illusion” will be shown at 7 p.m., Grace Roper

Tuesday, October 27 – Walk a Mile in My Shoes - Cultural Game/Simulation Night (different games will be going on in different rooms) Grace Roper & Regent’s Hall;  Kent Hall
Guest speakers; International discrimination panel (Time TBA and guests still confirming)
Movie in Lion’s Den – “Crash,” 8 p.m.

Wednesday, October 28
– Guest speaker, Eliah Soria, 6:30 p.m. location TBA.
Global Bazaar Day – 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Movie Night (film to be determined and discussed in Large Common Room Residence Hall)

Thursday, October 29 – Open Mic (Poetry Night) - Kelly Olsen/Matt Flamm;
Lee Mun Wah Film Viewing (Maddox Theater)

Tentative film showing “The True Blue Eyed,” Kent Hall 

Friday, October 30 – “A National Conversation on Race” training workshop with Lee Mun Wah, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in Regent’s Hall
Closing movie and discussion in the Lions Den, 8 p.m. Film TBA



Class senators elected
Congratulations to the new class senators in the Student Government Association. They include Nathan Kilburn (first year class); David Smith (sophomore class); Garrett Staniec (junior class); and Ed Phebus (senior class). The first SGA meeting of the year is set for October 25, 8 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room.   



October is Hispanic Heritage Month
This month is officially Hispanic Heritage Month and a variety of activities are planned by the Jane Addams Center. Last week, RC students read to Hispanic children at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Cherryvale Mall.



Homecoming Week 2009 Survey deadline
As a reminder, please visit here to complete a brief survey regarding last week’s homecoming events.  The survey expires on Friday, October 16, so your feedback would be greatly appreciated before that time.



Scholarships available for grad study, study abroad 
We’ve been made aware of two scholarships that may be of interest to our students.  See the Web sites of each for details. 

The Woodrow Wilson National fellowship Foundation
The Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship will provide talented, committed recent college graduates and career changers in STEM fields with a $30,000 stipend during a master’s degree program at one of four Indiana universities. Go to www.woodrow.org/Indiana.

The Council of Independent Colleges
Students can apply for the 2010 Davies-Jackson Scholarship. The Davies-Jackson Scholarship presents a unique opportunity for an outstanding student, who is the first in his or her family to graduate from college, to participate in a course of study in the United Kingdom at St. John’s College at Cambridge University, following their graduation. See http://www.cic.edu/projects_services/grants/daviesjackson/index.asp.



Cancer walk next weekend; still time to sign up
The 8th Annual American Cancer Society “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk” is almost here; however it is not too late to get involved. The walk will take place rain or shine on Saturday, October 17. With your support, the event will raise funds and awareness for the nation's #1 health concern. Their goal is to raise $315,000 and have 4,000 participants. Parking is in Cliffbreaker's parking lot and registration begins at 8 a.m. It’s not too late to sign up online. Visit www.MakingStridesIllinios.com to begin online fundraising or stop by the Mail Room in Burpee to get an information packet about the event.



Hear women judges at event Thursday
“A Night to Honor Women Judges” is set for this Thursday, 7 p.m. at the NIU-Rockford auditorium, 8500 E. State St.  The event is billed as a chance to learn  about the role and influences of women in the legal and judicial professions.   Among those to be honored are judges Janet Holmgren, Lisa Fabiano, Gwyn Gulley, Rosemary Collins, May Linn Green, and Kathryn Zenoff.  Admission to the event, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and American Association of University Women, is free.



Forum Series adds another talk on October 13
Students will have another opportunity to fulfill their Forum requirements this semester. Joshua Hall, assistant professor of economics at Beloit College, will present the talk “The Dilemma of School Finance Reform, tomorrow (Oct. 13), 6 p.m. in the Fisher Chapel. Hall’s articles have appeared in such publications as the Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, the Journal of Economics and Politics, and The Independent Review. The event is sponsored by the college’s Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.



Global Community Hour tomorrow 
Join the Kobe-Regents Center for its next virtual trip to a foreign country. Tomorrow, you’ll visit Mongolia with your host, Temuujiin Shaariibuu. It all happens 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. and October 14 from 12 – 1 p.m. The event will be held in the faculty lounge.



‘Think Pink’ volleyball game Wednesday
Join the Regent’s volleyball team this Wednesday, wear pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and consider a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure. The game, against Edgewood College, starts at 7 p.m. in the Seaver gym.



Open Mic on Thursdays
Stop in for Open Mic every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. in the RC 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 Prof. Matt Flamm at 815-226-4176.



RC in the news
Student Amy Collinsworth was featured prominently in the Rockford Register Star GO section last Thursday for her involvement in college activities, including her role in organizing the “Take Back the Night” event to raise awareness of the problem of violence against women. You can read the story here.

 

The Weekly will provide links to stories when they are posted on the Web.


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