Monday, March 22, 2010
Health care measure includes
student financial aid component
A message from Robert L. Head, Ph.D., President
Dear students, faculty and staff:
As you all know, our representatives in Washington passed the landmark health bill yesterday. The debate on this bill has been extensive, heated, and at times, uncivil. While the openness of debate reflects the best of our democracy, much of the name-calling and personal attacks embedded in the national discourse highlight the worst of our society. What is even more frustrating to me is that a significant portion of what was voted on did not enjoy an appropriate level of debate. In fact, last night’s vote was on the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act (H.R. 4872). The inclusion of the education component is both recent and, not surprisingly, politically motivated. Questions that emerge include what is in the education bill and why was it attached to the health care bill?
The education component is a revision of the student aid bill that I have commented on before. As you might recall, the bill was passed by Congress last summer and establishes the federal government as the originator of all student loans. This has the consequence of eliminating the participation of banks and other private lenders from the process. The removal of private lenders, while saving money for the federal government, increases the responsibilities of colleges participating in the program. The original proposal assumed a national savings of $87 billion and offset a portion of the savings with an increase in Pell Grants to support students. After admitting an error in calculation, the Congressional Budget Office revised the cost associated with increasing Pell and pegged that number at $56 billion, an increase of $26 billion from the initial estimate. Other costs in the proposal have also been increased.
The bill’s next step is consideration before the Senate and these changes likely affect the fragile Senate majority appearing to support the bill. As reported in The Huffington Post on March 21, "The decision to add far-reaching student aid changes to the bill had its roots in obscure parliamentary rules governing the Senate's debate of the legislation. But House Democrats and the White House quickly seized on it as a way to advance a top administration priority that lacks the 60 votes needed to clear the Senate otherwise.”
Regardless of the political maneuvering and the added administrative burden on participating institutions, there is a significant benefit to students who are eligible for Pell grants. The maximum grant, if the bill is passed, will increase to $5,550 for the 2010-11 academic year and the grants will automatically adjust each year in line with inflation. Eight million American’s receive Pell grants to help pay for college each year. There are currently 391 Rockford College students who benefit from Pell.
As of this morning, I am underwhelmed by the discussion on higher education. Assuming the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act is signed by President Obama and forwarded to the Senate, let’s hope that our leaders will engage in civil discourse that includes the substantive issues in higher education.
Have a great week!
Robert L. Head, Ph.D.
Students are named fellows in JACCE
Seven students have been named M3C Fellows in the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement. They include Jenifer Swanson, Mark Westphal, Dusty Trenholm, Amanda Furst, Jessie Grahn, Heather Goodrich and Rachel Rhea.
The M3C Fellows Program is an AmeriCorps Education Award Program. Students who are involved in this program will receive an education award to use toward tuition, loan payments and other expenses in return for community service.
The program strives to develop a peer network and provide support that enables students to serve as agents of civic engagement to respond effectively to local community issues. It also seeks to foster a deep appreciation and understanding of democratic values and citizenship among participants, and nurture the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that lead to a lifelong commitment to active community and civic engagement.
New book by Prof. Gleicher makes debut
A new book by Prof. Jules Gleicher, political science, "Political Themes in the Hebrew Scriptures" (Palgrave Macmillan) was officially released March 16. The following description of the book appears on Amazon.com:
"Jules Gleicher explores selected passages from the Hebrew Scriptures that focus especially, but not exclusively, on the sacred text’s teachings and implications about politics, law, justice, and rulership. Chapters deal, successively, with the Book of Genesis, episodes in the career of Moses, aspects of the Mosaic Law, the Prophetic History, and five prophetic practitioners. Proceeding neither from the doctrinal premises of the professional clergy nor from the methodological assumptions of Biblical criticism, the essays offer respectful and thoughtful attempts to question an ancient and venerable source on vital issues of perennial interest."
Congratulations, Dr. Gleicher!
New chiller coming
Just in time for summer, it appears a new chiller, a key component of our air conditioning system, will be installed this spring. It replaces the decades-old current system, which experienced significant problems last summer.
RC hosts reps from Japan’s Kobe College today
Visitors from Kobe College in Japan will be visiting us today. Kobe College has recently become co-ed and now permits male students to study on their campus. Goal of the visit is to let our students (and faculty) know about the exchange opportunities they have with us.
Burns gives talk at UW-Madison
Prof. John Burns, modern and classical languages, was invited by the UW Center for the Humanities to give a talk on Spanish Nobel laureates March 19 at UW-Madison. He was also mentioned in this Web site for some translation work that will be published shortly:
Whet your appetite for international fare
International students at the college will cook up some native dishes for students and visitors during the annual International Food Fair, March 27, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in the Burpee Center Regents Hall.
Sponsored by the college’s Multicultural Club, the event will feature some 22 different dishes prepared by Rockford College students representing 18 countries including China, Thailand, Ecuador, India, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Swaziland, Turkey, Russia, Mexico, Korea, Panama, France, Vietnam, Norway, Australia and Great Britain. The club will be assisted by Sodexo, the college’s contracted food vendor. Last year, the event attracted more than 200 people.
Theme for this year’s event is "Culinary Passport Around the World,” and it will also feature cultural performances including salsa and Indian dancing and an African percussion band. Attendees will also have a chance to win door prizes.
"As international students, we enjoy preparing dishes from own country and sharing these with our American friends,” says Mariana Rosas, a Rockford College student from Mexico and president of the Multicultural Club.
Admission to the event is $10 for advanced general admission; $4 for students and children; $12 at the door. Tickets are available this week on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from noon to 2 p.m. in front of the mail desk in Burpee or Monday – Friday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the box office in Maddox Theater.
For more information about the event, call the Kobe-Regents Center at 815-394-5176.
A weekly glimpse at the noteworthy events on Dr. Head’s calendar.
Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee Meeting
Meeting with District 205 Superintendent Dr. Sheffield
Rockford Area Economic Development Council’s 1st Quarter Meeting
Alignment Rockford’s Memorandum of Agreement Signing
Alumni Gathering at Noonan’s
Council of Independent Colleges’ Regional Meeting
Welcome new employees
We are pleased to welcome two new employees to the college: Pamela Ward, communications specialist and Jack Stark, campus safety and security officer. Both positions are in the safety and security office.
Author of ‘My Name is Iran’ to discuss her book in talk at RC
Davar Ardalan, author of "My Name is Iran: A Memoir” will speak at Rockford College, March 29, 4 p.m. in the college’s Maddox Theater. In her book, Ardalan describes what it was like to grow up in revolutionary Iran. She is now a senior producer of "Weekend Edition” on National Public Radio, heard locally on WNIJ, Northern Public Radio 89.5. The talk, part of the college’s Forum Series, is free and open to the public, though tickets are required. For more, call the college’s box office at 815-226-4100.
‘Community Day’ this Thursday
Mark "Community Day” this Thursday by taking part in these activities:
All day: RC Shirt Day! Show your school spirit and help share the good news of Rockford College by wearing your RC shirt to school, to work, to the gym, to the grocery store, everywhere! If you do not have an RC shirt – stop by the bookstore! All t-shirts are available to students, faculty, staff and alumni at a 10% discount – and there are still several fun colored sweatshirts starting at $21.95!
10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. JACCE’s Service Thursday fundraising for autism. Contact JACCE for more information.
4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Undergraduate Admission and Scholarship Day. Do you know a prospective student for summer or fall 2010? Let them know about this exciting event! When students bring official transcripts, their admission file will be evaluated on the spot. If admitted, full-time students will receive scholarships! No registration necessary.
7 p.m. – Open Mic Night in the Lion’s Den
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 email@example.com.
Recital today in Maddox
Stop by Maddox Theatre at 4 p.m. this afternoon for a student recital. Students who major in music or musical theatre are required to perform in these recitals periodically. They give students an opportunity to display their talents in front of a live audience and provide us with a respite from our busy lives.
Literary magazine invites submissions
Black Hole, White Light: Rockford College's literary magazine is currently accepting submissions for publication in this semester's issue. They are looking for art, poetry, and any prose work. All submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is March 30, so get those submissions in.
Adjuncts, GAs, cited for years of service
In February, we celebrated faculty and staff members that had landmark anniversaries in 2009. These individuals are one part of our workforce – another part is the hard-working employees who are student workers, graduate assistants, and adjunct faculty (some are returning retirees). Several of our employees have started in these roles and then become members of our fulltime workforce. When you see one of these individuals, stop and congratulate them on their landmark anniversaries with the college. Without the contributions of these individuals, we would be unable to effectively operate the college. Our thanks go out to student workers, graduate assistants, and adjunct faculty!
Please notify Human Resources if you feel you should be on this list. Every effort has been made to provide accurate data.
Endress, Deborah J - Adjunct
Rea, Jennifer A - Adjunct/Faculty
Valiquette, Christina - Adjunct/ELI Director
Phillips, Teodora A - GA/Staff
Tanchev, Dimitar S - Adjunct
Sproul, Jan L - Adjunct
Zeman, Chad A - Student/GA/Staff
Anderson, Terry G - Adjunct
Olson, Lynne D - Adjunct
Saint-Cyr, Jacques B - Adjunct
Schroeder, Eric G - Adjunct
Williquette, Victoria L - Adjunct
Vanden Acker, Brian - Student/GA
Phillips, Matthew D - GA/Staff
Revoal, Alexander B - Adjunct
Clemens, Alan D - Adjunct
Adamany, Nancy C - Adjunct
Sharpe, Elaine M - Adjunct
James, Darlene K - Adjunct
Blair, Valerie K - Adjunct
Leitner, Bonnie J - Adjunct
Conley, Cynthia J - Adjunct
Vause, Joellen S - Adjunct/Faculty
Kurzawski, Bernadette J - Adjunct
Caton, Gerald - Faculty/Adjunct
Cadigan, Rufus - Faculty/Adjunct
Strang, Gayle M - Faculty/Adjunct
Public speaking topic of next Leadership Café
Public speaking and how to get your message across to your audience is the topic of the next Leadership Café in the college’s Grace Roper Lounge, March 31 from noon – 1 p.m. "Speaking Simplified” will be facilitated by Angela Kay Larson, a trainer with Act2 Strategists. Participants will learn how to simplify their approach to ensure their message is delivered with energy and influence.
Leadership Café is sponsored by the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence and is free to Rockford College students, faculty and staff. For more information, call NICNE at 815-394-4384.
Out and about
Upcoming events in Rockford of interest to the Rockford College community and their families.
AVENUE Q is the smash-hit Broadway musical about real life in New York City, as told by a cast of people and puppets through a hilariously irreverent, Tony Award-winning book and score. The musical will make its Rockford debut at the Coronado PAC March 29, 7:30 p.m. for one performance only. Student tickets are $16.50; general admission $31.50. See www.coronadopac.org or call 815-968-0595.
"SPRING UP…SPRINT OUT and SOAR HIGH” (A Women’s Self-Development Workshop Retreat Experience), March 27, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. in the college’s Fisher Chapel. Admission: $8 donation at the door; $5 for students and seniors. Fees include workshop materials, "goodie” bags and refreshments.
"Might Have Gone Fishing” by retired RC professor Rufus Cadigan, March 12-28 in the Cheek Theatre. A story about fathers and sons, mistakes, broken promises, and forgiveness. See www.artistsensemble.org for more.
Art Exhibit: Jhoole Weavers at Womanspace Runs through March 31 in Gallery 3 (New Dimensions building). Freewill offering. Jhoole Weavers (pronounced ju-LAY) features photography by Rockford native Hannah Warren of the Jhoole Weaver's Cooperative, as well as the gorgeous textiles they produce. Call 815-877-0118 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.
RC in the news
- Fred Rezazadeh, economics, was interviewed by WLS-TV, Chicago last week for his observations on the worsening unemployment rate in Rockford. Meanwhile, John McNamara, vice president, college development (and former Rockford mayor) was interviewed by Channel 13 on the same subject. Click here for the complete story.
- Rockford College president Robert L. Head was quoted in the Rockford Register Star about college satellite campuses coming to Rockford. His take: "There’s room for everyone.” Click here for the complete story.