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Weekly Update

Monday, November 30, 2009  
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New partnerships with Chinese universities offer exciting possibilities

A message from President Robert L. Head

Dear students, faculty and staff:

Welcome back from the Thanksgiving break. I hope that your holiday time with family and friends was both restful and meaningful.

Two weeks ago, I traveled to China and met with government officials, administrators and faculty from the following universities:

  • Jiangsu Polytechnic University (Changzhou)
  • Shanghai International Studies University (Shanghai)
  • Zhejiang University City College (Hangzhou)
  • Shanghai Dianji University (Shanghai)  

Each university has agreed to a partnership with Rockford College which will include enrollment of students at Rockford; student exchanges; and faculty/staff exchanges. Formal agreements will be executed upon the completion of articulation agreements at the program level.

There are clear and exciting strategic implications to this work, which goes far beyond increasing the enrollment on our campus. I have been fortunate to travel throughout Asia for over a decade establishing mutually beneficial partnerships between American and Asian institutions. Why is this important? One answer lies in the mission statement of Rockford College. It states that Rockford College strives to prepare students for fulfilling lives, careers, and participation in a modern and changing global society. One clear way for students to be effective in a global society is to actually experience it. Experience can be gained from traveling and studying abroad, or being exposed to, and learning from people from other countries and cultures.

Coincidentally, my trip occurred at the same time as President Obama’s China tour. He spoke at Fudan University in Shanghai and clearly articulated hopes for greater educational collaboration between our two countries. Collaboration inspires and creates learning at multiple levels. Our affiliations will generate learning within our institutions through faculty and staff exchanges, and the sharing of best practices.

The number of Chinese studying in the United States approached 100,000 during the last academic year. While the number of Americans studying in China is small in comparison, the number has increased five-fold over the past decade. President Obama has recently established a goal of 100,000 students from the U.S. studying in China. This growth has and will allow for an increase in the richness of education for our students and the better understanding of our two societies.

America and China have common challenges with the economy, environmental sustainability, and many social matters. These are issues demanding international solutions and are best advanced through a strong collaborative approach. I look forward to working with these prominent institutions in China, along with others from around the world as we continue to expand our international partnerships.

Have a great week!

Robert L. Head, Ph.D.
President



Campus improvements set for holiday break
Several campus improvements are on tap for winter break. Eight classrooms will see enhanced technology including the addition of a third computer classroom in Scarborough 004, thanks to a grant from the Department of Education. Improvements are also set for the Lion’s Den.
 
The work is all part of ongoing campus improvements to make the campus safer, more aesthetically pleasing, and energy efficient. Those energy efficiency efforts include new high efficiency lighting ballasts, shower heads and toilets retrofitted with low flow devices, and photoeyes on some exterior lighting to eliminate timers. New Energy Star hot water heaters are now found in several campus buildings, and Energy Star microwaves have replaced energy guzzling models in residence halls. 
 
Elsewhere on campus, new carpeting has been installed in Scarborough in several classrooms, the lower lobby now has a new inviting look, and extra outlets have been added in classrooms for student laptop computers. Residence halls, currently home to about 250 students, continue to see improvements that were started a couple years ago. A new study lounge has been built in the lower level of Cummings Hall and retaining walls have been added. Students will no doubt sleep better now that some 250 new mattresses were replaced.
 


Get ready for Self Service
Changes are coming in how students register with an upgrade to PowerCampus 7.2 and Self Service occurring December 16-17. Self Service will provide real time access to information to support student academics for faculty, advisors, the Registrar’s Office, and retention. IQ. Web will continue to function with improvements to aid in usability and added capability for both faculty and students.  Self Service replaces many manual processes for administrators in terms of gathering and distributing information, allowing the college to better serve the student population.
 
Self Service does require a change in the registration process which will be a cultural shift; students will register themselves, and faculty advisors will approve student courses. Students are, of course, responsible for their academic career including understanding general education and major requirements. Information and processes to support this understanding are being developed. 
 
To support these changes, over two dozen training sessions are being offered to faculty and staff, and a plan to offer training to students is underway.  Professional, easy-to-use documentation for Self Service is in development and includes the following three guides.
  • Two Self Service training guides for faculty: 1) Course Homepage Management, and 2) Advising. The Advising Guide for faculty will parallel efforts by the ASC to refine an advising handbook focused on the process of advising students on course registration. 
  • A student self-registration focus group is scheduled for Wednesday, January 8 to support institutional understanding of the impact to students and to improve the usability of the software and offer insight into changes in process which may be necessary. The focus group will use the Student Guide as the context for discussion.  

In support of the upgrade, please note the following:

  • Fall semester grades are due Saturday, December 12 at 5 p.m.
  • PowerCampus and IQ. Web will be unavailable December 16-17.
  • Transcripts will not be available the week of December 14-18.  

Please be mindful of this timeline as you formulate your plans and requests.  Questions?  Contact Bonnie Johnson, IT director, at bonjohnson@rockford.edu.  


Career Services using new assessment tool
Students will be better equipped to make career choices thanks to a new career assessment and educational planning tool called "FOCUS 2.” Based in the college’s Career Services Office, the new self-paced, online tool enables students to assess their career-relevant personal qualities and explore career fields and major areas of study that are most compatible with their assessment results. For more information, contact Kelly Haugen, director of Career Services at khaugen@rockford.edu, phone 815-226-4022.
 


December Recognition is this Saturday
About 100 mid-year graduates will be feted this Saturday during the college’s annual December Recognition Ceremony. Keynote speaker for the event is Mary Weaks-Baxter, Koch Professor of English.  The audience will be welcomed by R. Ray Wood, chair of the college board of trustees, and by President Head. A reception will follow the ceremony.
 


Call for photos of the day
Remember to send in a photo of the day for the college’s Web site. It will be posted on either www.rockford.edu or Facebook. Submit your photos to www.rockford.edu/PhotoOfTheDay.



Where’s Robert?
It’s a busy week for college president Robert L. Head. Here are just some of the items on his calendar.  
  • December 1      Keith School Welcome for Dr. Alan & Barrie Gibby
  • December 1      Meeting with Cyrus Oates & president of Scholarships for America
  • December 1      Kobe College Corp. Quarterly Meeting
  • December 3      Meeting with Calvin Squire, executive director of the Booker Washington Center
  • December 3      All students, faculty and staff holiday gathering at President & Mrs. Head’s Home
  • December 4      Board of Trustees committee meetings at Rockford College
  • December 4      Jane Addams Society and Trustees holiday gathering at President & Mrs. Head’s Home
  • December 5      Board of Trustees Meeting, Rockford College
  • December 5      December Graduate Recognition Ceremony, Rockford College  


News from the Marketing Office  
Several high school choir groups will be on campus soon taping a "Sounds of the Seasons” show for WTVO-TV that will air at various times during the holiday season. Promotional spots for the college will be included in this package.


The college has been approved for a public service announcement on billboards again this year. The plan is to use a theme surrounding the canned goods our student-athletes gathered during a food drive and a "how will you change your world” challenge. The message is still being tweaked. Three billboards should be up just before Christmas. Locations will be determined by Lamar Outdoor Advertising and will likely include Machesney Park/Loves Park, Rockford and Roscoe/South Beloit.


Collinsworth off ‘to the land down under’
Student Amy Collinsworth will be attending Bond University in Gold Coast, Queensland Australia through the AustraLearn Program next semester.  Her dates of attendance will be from January 4 – April 25 and her studies will include courses in business and marketing. Congratulations, Amy! 



College community comes through for ‘Giving Tree’ 
As of this writing, most if not all the 225 names on the college’s Giving Tree have been taken. Those who participated will buy a gift for a child on the name tag and return that gift by Thursday to the Fisher Chapel. The gifts will then be taken to St. Elizabeth’s Center for distribution. What a great way to help a child in need for the holidays. The event is coordinated by Elaine Sharpe, campus minister. It is the 17th year gifts have been distributed.

We’re on the air!
Rockford College events and news items are now reaching a broader audience with the help of local noncommercial station WTPB (99.3 FM). Currently, RC events are being aired in a segment called "On Campus” with the voices of students Andrew Pollock, Reesa Morala, and Andrew Harth. You can hear "On Campus” Monday and Friday at 10 a.m. and Wednesday and Sunday at 4 p.m. More opportunities with WTPB are being explored.          



Senior presentations this week

Don’t forget student presentations upcoming from the nursing and physical education departments. Tomorrow (Tuesday) nursing from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. in Starr 302. Physical education presentations are December 7, 1 p.m. in Seaver 106.


Get in the holiday spirit!
Take note of these outstanding holiday concerts coming up in the next couple weeks. For more information, call the box office at 815-226-4100.

December 4: A concert to raise money for the Salvation Army for the holidays will be held Friday, December 4 from 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. in Regents Hall. Performers include "The Thought Feeling I Am,” Vince Chiarelli, and the "Viking Portables,” a group made up primarily of Rockford College professors. Donations of non-perishable food items gladly accepted. Admission is $5; children under 13 are free with an adult.   

December 6: Enjoy the sounds of the season with Rockford College’s annual Choral Christmas Concert at 2 p.m. in the college’s Maddox Theatre. Several outstanding Rockford College choral groups will perform, all under the direction of Professor Tim Adams. The concert is free and open to the public.

December 6: The Music Academy of Rockford College presents the Moeller Duo in the college’s Fisher Chapel at 3 p.m. The rare combination of classical guitar and cello make up this husband-wife team. The concert, entitled "From Baroque to Blues with My Better Half,” is free and open to the public.

December 13: "The Frontiers,” a band that emulates the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra performs at 7 p.m. in the Rockford College Maddox Theatre. The group is led by Jeremy Toledo, a 2005 RC graduate. Tickets are $5 and proceeds benefit the performing arts department.     


AE presents a new tale on old classic 
Artists’ Ensemble Theatre, the professional theatre troupe located at Rockford College, presents "Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” just in time for the holidays. The production runs December 4 – 20 in Cheek Theatre. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m.  Admission is $26 ($18 on Thursdays); $24 for seniors; and $10 for students. Students can take advantage of the 5@5 program where unsold tickets are sold to full-time students five minutes before curtain for only $5. 



Dance recital Friday
The Performing Arts Department presents a dance studio show this Friday at 7 p.m. in the Clark Arts Dance Studio. Take time to see these talented dancers in action!


Adaptive phy ed class helps Junior Chariots BB team
Tomorrow, the Rockford Junior Chariots will be in Kathy Clayton's "Teaching Adaptive Physical Education” course to thank her students. Kathy's students attended the Junior Chariot Wheelchair Basketball Team's Tuesday practices this semester and helped them prepare for their season. The Rockford Junior Chariot Wheelchair Basketball Team is made up of physically disabled youth ages 7 - 17. Well-done, Kathy and students!



Employee Benefit & Wellness Fair tomorrow
Faculty and staff: Don’t forget the Employee Benefits and & Wellness Fair tomorrow from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Grace Roper Lounge. Plenty to see and learn about!



Global Community Hour
Learn more about France during the Global Community Hour tomorrow from 11 a.m. – noon in the Forest Cool Lounge, 3rd floor Burpee. Among other things, you’ll hear about RC students’ trip to Paris where they conducted research during the summer. Don’t miss it! 



Recital in Maddox today

Catch a student recital today at 4 p.m. in Maddox Theatre presented by the Performing Arts Department. 


Wassail Party this afternoon
Start off your holiday festivities with a Wassail Party today from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. in the Forrest Cool Lounge. Warm up with a special wassail brew, watch the lighting of the college tree at 5 p.m., listen to the Vocal Collective, and join in on a few carols during this traditional holiday event. All students, faculty and staff invited!

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