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Weekly Update

Monday, December 07, 2009  
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Advice to students: ‘Take one day at a time’

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

Dear students, faculty and staff:

In addition to the normal flow of activities, this is the season for increased social events and academic traditions. Additionally, many of us are planning to either travel during the holiday season or host family and friends. A practical strategy for survival is to take things one day at a time and I offer this strategy to our students. Today marks the beginning of finals week and I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you great success in the challenge before you. I look forward to seeing many of you at tonight’s Late Night Breakfast. I also wish you a safe and enjoyable break between semesters.

Saturday’s December Recognition acknowledged over 170 degree candidates. It was a meaningful acknowledgement of your accomplishment. Best wishes to each of you as you pursue the next stage of your life’s journey.

The Board of Trustees met this past weekend and engaged in a variety of discussions on various topics including mission and vision; the student experience; and ideas for future programs and activities. Several decisions were made by the board, including acceptance of the audited financial statements for the past year and approval of the employee health insurance plan for the next calendar year. Details of these and other decisions will be communicated to faculty and staff soon. The Board of Trustees elected a new member, Fred Young, president of Forest City Gear and a 1965 graduate of Rockford College. It is also my privilege to communicate the board’s conveyance of tenure to Dr. Filiz Dik and Dr. Matthew Flamm. Congrats to both of you!

On Thursday, I will join the presidents of Northern Illinois University, Rock Valley College and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford for a Chamber of Commerce panel discussion entitled The State of Higher Education. The specific purpose of the forum is to link higher education to economic development within the region. While you might wonder how a small college with a mission that is grounded in the liberal arts contributes to economic development, I contend that we play a very significant role. Well beyond our $30 million annual impact in the region through employee compensation, student investments and the acquisition of products and services, Rockford College consistently and effectively contributes to the quality of life of this community. Our intellectual capital and social engagement are drivers in providing a more livable environment for current and future residents (employees of prospective companies seeking to locate here, as examples). I look forward to engaging the business community in this discussion and sharing the many contributions of Rockford College.

Have a great week!

Robert L. Head, Ph.D.

Winter’s on its way; stay informed
With the onset of winter weather, here’s a reminder about how you can find out if the college is closed. If the campus is closed, you will be notified by RC Alert, the college’s emergency notification system (see to sign up if you haven’t already done so). You can also check the portal and college Web site (, call the RC Alert Hotline (815-226-3330), or tune into local TV and radio stations.  The decision to close and the notification is made between 5 a.m. – 5:30 a.m., so you should have enough time to plan accordingly.

Rockford College, RPS to collaborate
Rockford College is launching a program to assist District 205 in the certification of its teachers in both reading and math. Some 100 special education teachers are expected to receive training. Course work begins in January. This is a tremendous partnership between the college and the city’s public school district.

Prof. Weaks-Baxter urges grads to make a difference
Mid-year graduates at Saturday’s mid-year recognition ceremony were urged to "find their voice and make a difference in the world” during the keynote address by English professor Mary Weaks-Baxter. She also gave examples of students over the years who have stepped up, including a group in the 1940s that actually wrote to Hitler urging him to respect the sovereignty of other nations. Weaks-Baxter has researched the RC archives for such examples as part of an upcoming book entitled "We are a college at war: Women working for victory in World War II” with which she is collaborating with Prof. Catherine Forslund, history, and Prof. Christine Bruun, psychology.   

Lion’s Den ‘Extreme Makeover’
You may not recognize the Lion’s Den come next semester. That’s because it’s undergoing its own version of extreme makeover with a host of improvements. Matt Phillips, associate VP of operations, says new surfaces will be installed throughout, all new furniture and flat screen TVs will be added and the fireplace will be enhanced with a flagstone look. In addition, a meeting room will be built in the basement.  Lastly, a pool table will now be on the main level and the second level will house a table convertible between air hockey and ping pong.  Don’t expect everything to be done at once though. It will be an ongoing project through the semester.  

Self-Service is on its way!
Changes are coming in how students register and how other tasks are handled 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. Self Service improvements to existing functionality will 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. Training sessions for students, faculty and staff will be held to help you navigate this important change. Watch for further updates. 

Where’s Robert?
Each week, we report about the noteworthy items on the calendar of President Head. Here are highlights for this week.    
  • December 9: Alignment Nashville trip with Rockford community leaders, Nashville
  • December 10: Panel member for the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s State of Higher Education event, Cliffbreaker’s
  • December 11: Meeting with Chief of Police Chet Epperson  

It’s baaaack!
Howard Colman Library announces it has resumed its library blog and created a new Facebook page. You’ll notice that the blog is written in an informal style and tone to invite interaction, and Facebook will include postings partly populated by content pushed from the blog. You’re encouraged to comment on either site, or e-mail the library. Share constructive criticism, suggestions for topics or links, or any feedback that will help make this a success.

Be a fan of Howard Colman Library by visiting either of the following links:


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 or Facebook. Submit your photos to

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

Get to Know Me: Ryan Kessler  
Periodically, we bring you this "Get to Know Me” feature so you can get to know our new employees. This week, meet Ryan Kessler.

Name: Ryan Kessler

Job title: Transfer Admission Counselor

Jennifer Kessler, Spouse
Ella Kessler, Daughter

Professional/educational background

I attended Rockford College as an undergrad from 2000 – 2005 while also working full time at the physical plant as one of three groundskeepers. After graduation, I started a company with a friend specializing in PTO implements while also working for Hertz Local Edition full time. After extensive research we had decided not to pursue the company any further. I left my job as assistant branch manager at Hertz to pursue a career in banking. After three and a half successful years as a personal banker I decided to continue my education which brought me back to Rockford College.

Interesting fact about me
I was in the Creative and Performing Arts program from 5th grade through high school in the Rockford Public School District. I also regret never having the time to participate in any musicals or plays during my time as an undergrad.

The favorite thing about my job is…connecting with nontraditional students who get a renewed vitality by enrolling in college.  I think nontraditional students bring an excitement for knowledge that’s not always seen in their first year counterpart. I enjoy being the person who starts them on that journey.

Hobbies/interests: My favorite hobby is spending time with my daughter, watching her grow and teaching her everything I know.

Senior seminar students to present
Presentations by students in senior seminar will take place this week around campus. Physical education will be up today at 1 p.m. in Seaver 106 and psychology also runs today from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. in Starr 235. Later this week, history students present Thursday from 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Rare Book Room in Colman Library. The presentation topics are interesting and relevant. Stop in for one or more presentations. They run anywhere from 20 minutes to a half-hour.  

JACCE to give gifts to homeless at Carpenter’s Place
Students in the Jane Addams Center are headed to Carpenter’s Place this Thursday to give out gifts to homeless individuals served by the agency. Lindsay Kent, JACCE coordinator, says the gifts will help promote personal hygiene. This is one of many events the college has conducted around the holidays.

New anti-virus software for all campus computers
Rockford College is changing anti-virus software in order to provide improved anti-virus software protection and to reduce operating expense. Symantec Norton is no longer our provider; however, Norton will continue to provide updates to anti-virus definitions through December 23, 2010.  After this date, you must have Trend Micro installed on your machine or your machine will be at risk.

If IT has not already updated your computer, please call the Help Desk at ext. 4127 to schedule an appointment; alternately laptops can be brought to the IT Center to be updated. The entire update will take 15-20 minutes.

To determine whether your machine has been updated, view the icons in your taskbar. The yellow shield signifies that your computer has not been updated. The blue stop sign with the pulse indicates that your computer has been updated.

Need a place to unwind from finals?
The Fisher Chapel will be open all week for you to relax in a quiet and reflective atmosphere. You’ll also be able to enjoy free hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and cookies. The chapel is open Monday – Thursday, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

RC in the news
  • Prof. Catherine Forslund, history, offered insights into Afghanistan on Channel 13 last Monday. Her comments came on the eve of President Obama’s speech to the nation on future strategies in that country.  Click here for the complete story.  
  • Three nursing students were cited in a story in the Rockford Register Star last Wednesday about a community-based learning activity to promote AIDS awareness. The students include Shanna Charron, Jennifer Garriott, and Christina Pool. The group worked with The Total Health Awareness Team (THAT) to develop a program called The Real AIDS Prevention Project.  Click here for the complete story. 

Good luck, students, and best wishes!
Best of luck with finals and have a safe and happy holiday. See you next year! 

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