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Weekly Update

Monday, October 19, 2009  
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Civility in society still exists but needs to be protected

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

Dear students, faculty and staff:

In route to church on Sunday, my mother-in-law, one of Rockford’s newest residents, commented on my casual attire. It is not unusual for me to attend church without a tie. In fact, after wearing a suit all week, I generally look forward to a more relaxed form of dress on weekends. However, the comment reminded me of an article written by a former colleague some 15 years ago, which was entitled, “Whatever Happened to Sunday Clothes?” The article lamented the growing trend of casual dress in church environments and longed for the traditional practice of wearing one’s best attire on Sundays. While the author did not view this trend as the apocalypse, he did view it as a further degradation of civility in our society. At the time, I viewed our differences on this issue as a matter of age and generational influence as he was nearly 25 years older than me.

I fast-forward to one month ago when two events caused me to question whether or not new norms in behavior were eroding what I believe to be a civil society. The events have been widely reported. The first was Congressman Joe Wilson’s interruption of President Obama’s address by shouting “You lie!” The second being at MTV’s Video Music Awards when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech by taking the microphone and stating that Beyonce deserved the award. I will avoid political commentary and not refer to the merit of either assertion. I will particularly stay clear of the merits of the latter situation, as my iPod clearly illustrates that my musical tastes favor jazz, classical, and popular music of the 60’s and early 70’s.

Personally, I found both incidents to be appalling and I hope that it is not just a reflection of my advanced years. The work of many scholars in the past decade helps place these incidents in perspective. I am very aware of the work of one scholar, Joe Ehrman, in the area of civil behavior. He first defines civility to mean affirming the value and worth of each human being. Mr. Ehrman believes that civil behavior is based in self-reflection – understanding that we are conditioned by learning from our culture and our families. He concludes that…“Some of those learned messages serve us well, and some of them don't. By growing our understanding of the basis for our own behavior, we grow our capacity to understand other people's behavior. And we become more able to empathize with other people, increasing our ability to treat others with dignity and respect--the basis of a civil community.” (Season of Life by Jeffrey Marx, 2004)

Civility still exists in America, though it is something that we must continually protect. It was comforting that both Republicans and Democrats immediately joined together in admonishing Rep. Wilson. It speaks to the character of youth that Beyonce, who received an award later in the MTV program, relinquished her time so that Taylor Swift could have her moment. Treating others with dignity and respect is the foundation of legitimate discourse and civility. Let’s hope that our political leaders and entertainers can be better role models in the future.

As I conclude, let me thank the 11 Rockford College students who joined approximately 2,000 students from other colleges and universities in Springfield last Thursday to lobby state leaders to retain the Monetary Award Program (MAP) for the second semester. Your advocacy was extremely helpful in restoring MAP for the 138,000 students who are depending on it. As was announced last Thursday, the General Assembly has voted to include MAP in the current year budget for the second semester.

Have a great week!

Robert L. Head, Ph.D., President

Students converge on Springfield to press for MAP funding
As Dr, Head mentioned in his message today, more than 2,000 Illinois college students, including 11 from Rockford College, rallied in Springfield last Thursday as the culmination of a six-week campaign to convince the General Assembly to restore funding the Monetary Award Program (MAP) to finance grants for the spring semester. By the time most students left the capital, both the House and Senate had passed SB 1180, providing an additional $225 million to underwrite grants for nearly 138,000 students in the second semester. Scores of colleges – public, private, four-year, two-year – sent busloads to Springfield for the rally, which was held on the parking lot of the Illinois Education Association headquarters a block south of the Capitol. Featured speakers included Governor Quinn, Rep. David Miller, Sen. Ed Maloney, SIU President Glenn Poshard, and numerous students.

The chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education congratulated students from across Illinois for their potent advocacy for restoring $200 million in funding for the state’s need-based financial assistance program.

“This unprecedented outpouring of concern of students from across Illinois is a powerful testament to the need for and value of the Monetary Award Program,” said Carrie J. Hightman, chairwoman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). “On behalf of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, I am grateful to the thousands of students who have championed the cause of MAP funding.

Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week activities slated
This week marks National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, an annual event held to bring awareness to the dangers of alcohol abuse by college students. Among the many activities scheduled are these:
  • All week: “21 Campaign”
  • Monday 10/19: Information table outside mail desk, 2nd floor Burpee, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Guess the alcohol content; prizes and giveaways. Also “Sex Signals” talk, 8:30 p.m. in Severson Auditorium. Comedy, improv show about the dangers of mixing sex and alcohol.
  • Tuesday, 10/20: Mario Kent with Beer Goggles Wii simulation, 8 p.m., Lion’s Den.
  • Wednesday, 10/21: Alcohol awareness T-shirt campaign campus-wide.

Iraq veteran, gay rights activist to speak
Iraq War veteran and gay rights activist Eric Alva will speak at Rockford College tomorrow (Oct. 20), 7 p.m. in the college’s Maddox Theatre as part of the Forum Series. In his talk, Alva will discuss his quest to have the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy repealed and the difficulties the policy causes the military's gay and lesbian community. Alva uses his own experiences dealing with the policy to urge audiences to support his goal and to help create equality and support for the GLBT community members who serve our country. The talk is being held as part of Diversity Awareness Month. This topic is especially relevant now with President Obama’s recent call for the elimination of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Psych Society connects with Jubilee Center
The Psych Society continues its partnership with the Jubilee Center drop-in center for the homeless when it hosts its annual Jubilee Center Halloween Party October 30. The center is a walk-in day facility for homeless individuals in our community, providing a safe place where they can come to interact with others.  The Halloween Party provides Rockford College students working with Psych Society an opportunity to assist homeless individuals with winter clothing and provides a fun opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Jubilee Center.  Club president is Jenny Giger.

Unlearn Racism Week
A reminder that Unlearn Racism Week is October 26-30. The week includes activities which focus on “unlearning” the false racial stereotypes and assumptions learned as a result of cultural influences in society. Included are lectures, panel discussions, and other events designed to foster racial reconciliation, cultural appreciation and an inclusive community, say event organizers. 

“What we hope is that through these thought-provoking discussions and events, there will be further conversations on the topic of racism and how we can eliminate it,” says Michelle Griggs, director of the Kobe-Regent’s Center for Global Education, which is coordinating the week’s activities. 

The week culminates with an anti-racism workshop Friday facilitated by diversity trainer Lee Mun Wah, called “A National Conversation on Race” slated from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the Burpee Center. A film by Mun Wah and discussion the night before will be held at 6 p.m., also in the Burpee Center. That event is $10 for members of the Rockford College community. For a full schedule of Unlearn Racism Week activities, click here

Get to Know Me: Ben Shaw
Periodically, the Weekly newsletter features a new (or relatively new) faculty or staff member. Today, we introduce you to Ben Shaw. 

Name:  Ben Shaw                     

Job title:  Head Men’s Soccer Coach

Family:  Brooke (spouse) and Ella (4 year old daughter)

Professional/educational background: Olivet Nazarene University

Interesting fact about me: Nothing comes to mind really.

The favorite thing about my job is…It’s not a job.  It’s a passion.

Hobbies/interests: Soccer, soccer, soccer, technology/computers

Where’s Robert?

Each week, we give you a glimpse of noteworthy activities on Dr. Head’s schedule. Here’s what’s on the docket for this week.  

  • October 20      Community Foundation of Northern Illinois
  • October 20      Economic Development Administration Meeting, Whitewater, Wis.
  • October 21      Boy Scout District Citizen Recognition Banquet
  • October 21      Alumni Gathering at Hull House, Chicago  

Sustainable Campus Day is Oct. 21
Got an old sweatshirt? Bring it by the mail desk in the Burpee Center today through Friday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and receive $2 off an official Reggie water bottle. Sweatshirts will be donated to the St. Vincent DePaul Society in Byron. Sustainable Day is 24 hours dedicated to “going green.” Celebrate Sustainable Day by using reusable water bottles, recycling, or reducing the amount of paper you use. The activity is sponsored by our Jane Addams Center.

See Vietnam during Global Community Hour
The next Global Community Hour takes you to Vietnam with your host and tour guide Han Dang. It takes place this Wednesday (Oct. 21) from noon – 1 p.m. in the Forrest Cool Lounge, 3rd floor Burpee.    

Church sets Rockford College Student Day
Holy Covenant Church of God in Christ has designated Sunday, November 1 as “Rockford College Student Day.” They invite our students to enjoy old-fashioned soul food and a Pentecostal church service with services at 10:30 a.m. and a free dinner at noon. The church is located at 4609 Auburn St., Rockford. Transportation is available for those who need it. For more information, call Minister Hues at 815-968-1568.  

Get ready for Fall Festival
Plan now to get involved in Fall Festival October 26 – 30 sponsored by the college’s CARE committee.  Activities include Shirt Day (Mon.), Chili cook-off (Wed.), apple cider doughnuts (Fri.) and more.

Artist Coakes brings unusual style to RC art gallery

Whether it’s art made out of old railroad oil cans, whiskey flasks or teapots, artist Michelle Coakes brings her unique style to the Rockford College art gallery for an exhibition October 23 – November 22, with an opening night talk October 23 by the artist at 6 p.m. and a gallery reception from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  The exhibition is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday, noon to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.; and Thursday – Saturday, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call the Rockford College box office at 815-226-4100. The art gallery is located in the Clark Arts Center on campus. 

Submit a Photo of the Day
If you have a good photo of campus events, scenery, or just students hanging out on campus, send it in and it could be featured as our Photo of the Day on our Web site. Submit photos to or see the college’s Facebook page.  

Food can drive in progress  
The Rockford College community has so far donated 84 cans of food as part of an ongoing can food drive being coordinated by the athletics department. Drop off your cans to Tim Patrick in athletics by November 23. All food will be donated to the Rockford Rescue Mission, the Rock River Valley Pantry, and the Salvation Army. 

Overcoming procrastination is workshop topic

The Student Success Series is a free series of developmental workshops for students. The next workshop focuses on “Overcoming Procrastination” and is slated for Wednesday (Oct. 21), noon – 1 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room. Take advantage of this free workshop brought to you by Student Life.            

RC in the news
Did you happen to catch any of these Rockford College newsmakers this past week in local media?
  • Coverage of our MAP students headed to Springfield got the attention of both Channels 17 and 23. Channel 17’s morning news also had a live remote on campus last Friday with students Amy Collinsworth and Brittany Salvador, both of whom made the trek to lobby for MAP funding.  For the complete stories, please visit the following links: WIFR or WREX.
  • Michelle Griggs, director of the Kobe-Regent’s Center for Global Education, had a nice quote in the Rockford Register Star last Wednesday on the upcoming “conversation on race.” She also talked about our upcoming Unlearn Racism Week.
  • Robert Evans, associate professor of business, economics and accounting, was quoted in the Register Star today about the use of statistics to predict the end of the recession.  

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

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