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Weekly Update

Monday, March 01, 2010  
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A private higher education is
more affordable than many think

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

Dear students, faculty and staff:

One of the questions I receive all of the time from the media is how accessible is private higher education for the citizens of Illinois. Candidly, having served with independent colleges for some time, the question always surprises me. I know how accessible institutions like Rockford College are for those seeking a high quality educational experience. Nevertheless, there are several erroneous perceptions that need to be dispelled.

Private Education for the Public Good (2008) was produced by The Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities (FIICU) and provides data on the collegiate choices of Illinois students. Of students in four year colleges and universities who call Illinois home, 52 percent are enrolled in private institutions. This also tracks for minority students as well. Fifty-five percent of minority students from Illinois attend independent institutions. The data also holds true for those attending graduate school, with 62 percent of all graduate students attending private colleges and universities.

Another false perception is that public institutions serve more economically-challenged families than do private institutions. The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities reports in its Twelve Facts That May Surprise You About America’s Private Colleges and Universities that the percentage of "low- and middle-income students at private colleges and universities is almost the same as at four-year state institutions.” In fact, within the state of Illinois, more families with income of less than $15,000 per year send students to private colleges than public universities.

The goal of making higher education increasingly more accessible and affordable is still a work in progress, but private higher education is advancing the cause. So, the next time you hear one of these erroneous perceptions, you now have some data to assist with your response.

Spring break is but a few days away and I extend my wishes for a safe and healthy week.

Have a great day!

Robert L. Head, Ph.D.

Sheffield to keynote RC’s Charter Day talk
Lavonne Sheffield, superintendent of the Rockford School District, will keynote the Rockford College Charter Day, March 3, 4 p.m. in the Maddox Theatre.

Charter Day is a time-honored tradition at the college commemorating its founding in 1847. The event is also highlighted by academic regalia worn by the college faculty representing their own alma mater and the degree they attained.

Charter Day is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served afterward.

President Head is Channel 17 ‘Person of the Week’
If you missed the Channel 17 feature on President Head, you can see it here. He was highlighted as the WTVO-TV (Channel 17) Person of the Week last Friday.

For them, spring break is a time to volunteer
While many students will be relaxing or heading to warm-weather destinations for spring break, some 37 students, staff and alumni from Rockford College will head down to Starkville, Miss. for the 15th annual Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break, during which they will build homes for Habitat for Humanity.

The group of volunteers is participating in the Collegiate Challenge from March 5-13, a year-round Habitat-sponsored event to provide simple, decent, affordable homes for people in need. This alternative to more traditional spring break activities has become an important part of the Rockford College experience, and in 2005, the trip was named in honor of the late Dr. Alan Hutchcroft, a former Rockford College chemistry professor.

This year’s contingent includes 24 students, 11 alumni, and two college staff members. One of the volunteers, Rockford College alum Patrick Young is making his 10th trip to Starkville this year.

Aside from the home-building, the group will take part in team-building activities including a rope exercise about 50 feet above ground. They will stay at Camp Seminole, a Boy Scout camp, along with students from other colleges around the U.S.

For the third year, volunteers will post blogs on the Rockford College Web site documenting their experience. Go to to view their posts.

College again named to honor roll for community service
For the second consecutive year, Rockford College has earned a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its outstanding outreach activities in the community.

Launched in 2006, the community service honor roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. This year, some 742 colleges were honored from among the country’s 4,146 two- and four-year colleges and universities. There were a total of 28 colleges in Illinois on the list.

Among the projects submitted by the college for the honor were "The Plunge,” a day-long event in which 75 students, faculty and staff did work at eight area nonprofit agencies; an ongoing outreach effort to homeless clients at the Rockford Rescue Mission and other agencies serving the homeless; and the Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break in which almost 50 students, staff, and alumni built homes for Habitat for Humanity in Starkville, Miss. Altogether, some 305 students devoted 6,750 hours to volunteer activities on behalf of 20 non-profit agencies in 2009.

In addition to the volunteer efforts, the college is active in making service a part of course work. Some 50 courses have incorporated some community-based learning as part of the curriculum. Students have been involved in everything from volunteering at a drop-in center for the mentally ill as part of a psychological disorders class to nursing students teaching diabetic homeless individuals about proper nutrition.

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

To see a complete list of the honorees, go to

Where’s Robert?
Here’s a list of important items on President Head’s calendar for this week.

March 1 Meeting with the Rockford Register Star’s Editorial Board

March 3 Rockford College Charter Day in Maddox Theatre Speaker Dr. Sheffield, Superintendent of Rockford Public School District 205

March 4 Attending Mayor Morrissey’s State of the City Address

March 5 Welcoming the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Rockford guests to Rockford College

Get to Know Me
Occasionally, we’ll introduce you to new staff at the college. Today, meet Donna Harvey.

Name: Donna L. Harvey

Job title: Assistant Director, BSMS program

Family: Husband Dan, daughter Rachael and son Jason

Professional/educational background: MBA, Rockford College; BS, Indiana University

Interesting fact about me: My favorite pastime is enjoying the summers outside gardening, jogging and biking with my family.

The favorite thing about my job is…working with prospective students and meeting with organizations to promote our BSMS program.

Hobbies/interests: Biking, running, reading and spending time with my family and friends.

Student addresses heart association event
Graduate assistant Kerstin Grey was one of the speakers at the recent American Heart Association "Go Red for Women” dinner at Giovanni’s. Kerstin spoke about her experiences of being diagnosed with a cardiac disorder that could have caused a heart attack in her 20s.

Food fair date set
Mark your calendars for March 27 for the annual Multicultural Food Fair, set for 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in Regents Hall. Altogether, some 18 countries will serve up native dishes. More details later.

Literary magazine seeks submissions
Black Hole, White Light, Rockford College's literary magazine, is once again looking for submissions for this semester's publication. Please send all poetry and prose as a word attachment to Include your name, title of the work(s) included, and a way to be contacted. Art submissions should be sent in jpeg format with a clear picture of the work. Include your name, title of the work(s), and the medium used. The Literary Club is also seeking members to work on its editorial staff. Contact them if interested.

You’re invited to take part in National Survey of Student Engagement
This spring, first-year and senior students will be invited to participate in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The results of the survey will provide an estimate of what students gain from attending Rockford College compared to students attending other colleges and universities nationwide. The results will help Rockford College identify aspects of the undergraduate experience in which we excel and those that need improvement.

First-year and senior students will receive an e-mail providing them with instructions to complete NSSE. The first 25 students who complete the survey will receive FREE T-SHIRTS. All participants will be entered into a drawing for an iPod Touch and a Dynex 19 inch TV.

If you would like additional information about Rockford College’s participation in the NSSE, please contact Heather Snider, Coordinator of Institutional Research, at

Duo to exhibit in art show at Rockford College
An exhibit by artists Cedar Marie and Rachel Bruya Walker entitled "Finding Place” is slated at Rockford College from March 5 – 28 in the college’s art gallery. The exhibit investigates material culture from the perspectives of the two artists. Bruya Walker creates miniature environments from fragments of memory that depict a place that is not clearly real or imagined, freeing the viewer in a state of inquiry. Marie, meanwhile, creates forms that both mimic and alter cultural objects and their functions.

An artist talk will be held March 19 at 6 p.m., followed by a reception at 8:30 p.m. The talk and reception are free and open to the public.

Art gallery hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon – 3 p.m.; and Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. The gallery is closed Sundays and Mondays. For more information, call the Rockford College box office, phone 815-226-4100, or see

Out and about
A list of upcoming activities of interest to the Rockford College community and their families.
  • Mayor Larry Morrissey’s State of the City Address, March 4, 6 p.m. at the Coronado Performing Arts Center. See more at
  • Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics, March 7, noon at Rock Cut State Park, Olson Lake. See

RC in the news
  • Our internship fair coordinated by Kelly Cooper, director of career services, was the subject of stories on Channel 23 and in the Rockford Register Star last Tuesday.
  • The Black History Month "Read Aloud” sponsored by the English department was covered by both Channels 13 and 17 last Wednesday.
  • John McNamara, vice president for college development, was included in a story last Thursday on Channel 23 reacting to the death of local industrialist Seth Atwood. Click here for the complete story.
  • JACCE’s Service Thursday activity last week at the Rockford Rescue Mission caught the attention of Channel 23 and the Register Star. Click here for the complete story.
  • Three cast members of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream” appeared on Channel 13’s Today show last Friday promoting the play. They included Mike Bloom, Andrew Harth, and Michael Palmenderi.
  • Michelle Griggs, director of the Kobe-Regents Center for Global Education, was quoted and pictured in the Register Star today. She was reflecting on the Conversation on Race that took place here last October. Click here for the complete story.

Community Search
Calendar of Events

Student Music Recital

EDP: Seminar #6 - Conflict Management and Resolution

NICNE Customer Service Workshop

FORUM: Sports Management Symposium

Songs & Sonnets: A Renaissance Christmas

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