Monday, October 26, 2009
U.S. is melting pot; we must embrace diversity
On occasion, members of the administration’s Executive Council will write the weekly column. Today, the column was prepared by Teddy Phillips, assistant to the president.
Dear students, faculty and staff:
The first time I got on a plane I was 15 years old and I was leaving my home behind. I was on a 5,000-mile trip, alone with my younger sister, from Sofia, Bulgaria to Chicago’s O’Hare. Our parents had moved to the United States some months earlier and were eagerly awaiting our arrival.
As we crossed a continent and an ocean, we did not know what to expect once we got to our new home; we did not know about any of the obstacles that came with not speaking English while we were in school, or any of the cultural distress we would experience over the years that followed. We did not realize what it meant for our parents to start their lives over in their forties, or how being so different would affect us. But we knew why we were moving – we knew we would have better opportunities to succeed in life, to one day be anything we wanted to be. And why wouldn’t we? The United States of America should be an immigrants’ land, a melting pot where people of all colors and cultures can be a part of a nation while being independently successful.
During our first year in the U.S., we were surprised to notice that this big melting pot did not work as well as we had thought. People stuck with “their own” and avoided wanting to know more about the cultures around them. Slowly, my sister’s and my eagerness to meet everyone and to find out as much as possible about the people we encountered disappeared, and we only hung out with a few Eastern European friends. Contrary to how our lives had started here, over the years, we managed to integrate ourselves into society and to become a part of it. This is not as easy for others as it was for us. Even to this day, there are still many cultural issues in America which are waiting to be addressed. People of the same race or the same part of the world form communities in which they feel safer, in an effort to stay away from the prejudices still poisoning the world. It is unfortunate to see groups of people discriminating against others solely based on color, nationality, or sexual orientation. These groups are so occupied with hatred that they miss the most important characteristic of all—we are all the same in that we are all people.
This week at Rockford College, there is a 1-1/2 day seminar on Unlearning Racism. The seminar is led by an acclaimed lecturer on diversity and racism, Lee Mun Wah, who will provide a unique learning experience and help the participants set up meaningful conversations on race. For the first time in the Midwest, Lee Mun Wah will give attendees the opportunity to look at race and diversity in our communities in a whole new way. The seminar will teach what it will take for us to have a compassionate relationship with one another. One of the most important concepts on which Lee Mun Wah focuses is that we learn to value others for their uniqueness and differences.
So, what is the meaning in all of this? It is a call for us all to open ourselves up to the diverse experiences around us, to act like an excited child in a new country, and to get to know as many people around us as we can. All of our differences will disappear once we see the person inside each of us. It does not matter if we are black or white, whether we are straight or gay, or whatever other words we use to segregate us, we are all people. We need to learn how to respect that, and respect each other.
Have a great week!
Assistant to the President
CEE at Rockford College among those honored for study of entrepreneurship, individual liberty
The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship (CEE) at Rockford College has received the 2009 Templeton Award for Excellence in Promoting Liberty for its contribution to public debate and inquiry on free enterprise and individual liberty, the college has announced.
Rockford College was given the award from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation for special achievement by a university-based center. Winners were selected from more than 130 applications from 47 countries by an independent panel of judges. The 2009 awards grant a $10,000 prize to each winner, and two prizes are given in eight categories.
Dr. Stephen Hicks, professor of philosophy and director of the CEE, said the award is significant because it is international in scope. The 16 organizations recognized within the 2009 program represent four continents and 12 countries – Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, the Republic of Georgia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States.
The center was awarded the university-based prize for launching six courses focusing on the ethical infrastructure of entrepreneurship and the preconditions of the free society in ethics. A college in Chile was likewise recognized for conducting and disseminating high quality research on entrepreneurship and improving curricula and teaching methods.
Atlas will host a conference featuring the Templeton Freedom Award winners on November 9, 2009 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. The conference is tied to Atlas’s Freedom Dinner, a gala celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Winners of Templeton Freedom Awards will give presentations relating to “The Moral Imperative of Economic Freedom, and Innovations in Promoting Liberty.”
For nearly three decades, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation has been supporting independent think tanks that promote free markets, individual liberty, and rule of law. Atlas currently works with more than 250 think tanks in 90 countries. More than half of these organizations were assisted in their formative years by Atlas through financial support or advisory services.
The Templeton Freedom Awards program has distributed more than $1.25 million in prizes and grants and is made possible with funding from the John Templeton Foundation.
This is Unlearn Racism Week
A week-long series of events at Rockford College this week (Oct. 26-30) will focus on “unlearning” false racial stereotypes and assumptions we learn as a result of cultural influences in society.
“Unlearn Racism Week” includes 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.
As part of the weeklong series, Rockford College students and staff will visit Auburn High School’s freshman campus and ACE Academy to conduct a seminar, “Youth Perspective on Race” to get students to reflect on their attitudes on racial issues.
The week will conclude Friday with a diversity workshop conducted by filmmaker and diversity trainer Lee Mun Wuh.
Each week, we share some items on the calendar of President Head for the week. Here are just some of the things on his docket:
October 29: Meeting with Fred Young, Class of `67, Roscoe
October 30: Meeting with Dr. Scott Bierman, president of Beloit College, Beloit, Wis.
Borgialli joins alumni office
It is a pleasure to announce the hiring of our new coordinator of alumni affairs, Michelle Borgialli ‘09. Michelle comes to us with an extensive background in retail and office management, coupled with years of experience in front line customer service and account management. Along with planning alumni events, she will be charged with developing or enhancing the methods and effectiveness of our alumni communications, in print and electronic media. She has the demonstrated skills and personality needed to be successful in helping the college forge deeper relationships with our alumni and the community. Michelle graduated from the college’s bachelor of science in management studies (BSMS) program and is pursuing her MBA at RC. Welcome, Michelle!
Enjoy Fall Festival!
This is it…Fall Festival at RC is upon us. Enjoy games, good food and good times.
From the Music Academy
The Music Academy at Rockford College reports two significant events upcoming:
Head Start demo: The academy is helping Head Start in Rockford celebrate Head Start Awareness Month this week with a demonstration of how music can aid in child development. On Thursday, it will host a demonstration/open house of its Prelude program at Head Start’s Henrietta School site, 200 N. Johnston from 2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Parents and community members are invited to observe. The Music Academy’s Prelude program provides preschoolers non-performance oriented, live music-making. Songs often allow children to experiment with and practice other skills including following direction, using large and small motor skills, developing language and vocabulary and working cooperatively.
Performance slated: Measure 5 String Ensemble from the academy will perform at Wesley Willows, November 10, 7 p.m. at the Town Center Auditorium on the Wesley Willows campus. Tickets for the performance are $5 and are available for purchase by calling the Wesley Willows concierge at 815-316-6060 or 815-316-1525. The ensemble, under the direction of Rachel Handlin, string program director of the Music Academy, is comprised of students from ages 13 to 18 who have studied music for an average of 12 years.
See Mongolia during Global Community Hour
The next Global Community Hour takes you to Mongolia with your host and tour guide Temuujiin Shaariibuu. It takes place this Thursday (Oct. 29) from noon – 1 p.m. in the Grace Roper Lounge, first floor Burpee.
Sociology prof advises on counterterrorism book
Prof. Lynn Newhart, anthropology/sociology, has been invited to become an academic advisory board member for the book, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism, authored by retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Russell Howard, and James Forest of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. The advisory board will be comprised of experts and prominent educators in the field of violence, terrorism, and counterterrorism.
Pop culture is discussion topic at RC
Three Rockford College professors will offer their insights into pop culture during a panel discussion at the college on November 2, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. in the Grace Roper Lounge. Panelists for the discussion are Shawn Klein, instructor in the philosophy department; Matt Flamm, assistant professor of philosophy; and Michael Perry, assistant professor of English. All three have written extensively and given presentations on pop culture and its effect on society. The event is free and open to the public.
CEE guest sets two talks this week
International business expert Jerry Kirkpatrick will be on campus this week to give two talks sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. Kirkpatrick is professor of international business & marketing at California State Polytechnic University. He is the author of In Defense of Advertising and a book on educational philosophy and public policy: Montessori, Dewey, and Capitalism. His first talk is tomorrow (Oct. 27) at 6 p.m. in Scarborough 204 and is entitled “The Importance of Philosophy to a Successful Business Career.” The second talk on Wednesday is “Montessori and Dewey as Educational Philosophers” and it takes place at 6 p.m. in Starr 223. All who are interested are welcome to attend the talks.
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.
RC in the news
Did you happen to catch the following in the news last week?
Interviews on Channels 13, 17, and 23 with Danial Petrie from the Black Student Union about the charity concert held at the college recently.
A quote from assistant professor of business JJ Asongu recently in the Rockford Register Star on the one thing the Rockford region can do to help itself. His suggestion: “Rockford residents should be proud of the city. It’s a great city to live in.” Asongu is a member of the paper’s Community Viewpoints Board.
A follow-up story on the MAP funding trip in the Register Star
October 19 with comments from student Brittany Salvador and John McNamara, VP for college development. Click here
for the complete story.
A story on JACCE’s Sustainability Day October 19 on Channel 13.
A nice story in the Register Star
October 20 on the collaboration between students in the adolescent psychology class of Elaine Sharpe and students at St. James Middle school in Belvidere. Click here
for the complete story.
Coverage of National Alcohol Awareness Week activities at the college on Channels 13 and 17 and an interview with Kelly Olson (Student Activities) October 22 on WNTA radio.
Coverage of Forum speaker Eric Alva October 20 on Channels 17 and 23.
A story on Channel 13 on ghost stories speaker Michael Kleen, author of Legends and Lore of Illinois: Case Files, who read a chapter from his new book October 21 in the Lion’s Den. An entire chapter of his new book dealt with the history and hauntings of Rockford College.
A comment from Prof. Jules Gleicher (political science) on Gov. Pat Quinn’s re-election announcement October 22. Click here
for the complete story.
The Weekly will provide links to stories when they are posted on the Web.