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Monday, April 05, 2010  
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An update on college’s assessment of student learning

Occasionally, members of the college’s Executive Council share a message in this space. Today’s message is from Dr. Stephanie Quinn, executive vice president and dean of the college.

Dear students, faculty and staff:

Many of you will recall that one result of the college’s re-accreditation visit in February 2009 was the requirement for substantially more work on the assessment of student learning. The recommendation at the time was that we submit a new report in early fall 2011 for a follow-up accreditation visit the same semester. An alternative plan was also possible, i.e., to send a team of Rockford College faculty and staff members to the Higher Learning Commission’s Assessment Academy. We are following the alternative plan, which started with a two-day workshop last November.

The purpose of student learning assessment is to help us teach better and help our students learn better. At a faculty meeting this year, I said that if this project does not help us do our teaching jobs better, we should not do it or we are doing it wrong. In other words, the project should not be bureaucratic, be about filling in forms and jumping through numbing hoops.

Since the workshop in November, 2009, the team and the faculty as a whole, as well as staff members in several areas, have made important progress on this venture. The team members (please see the list below) and I are grateful to the faculty and staff who have accomplished several tasks in the last few months. I very much appreciate the energy and smarts of the Assessment Academy team.

Here’s a list of some of the actions and steps taken by faculty members recently as part of this project, which I am confident will improve the academic quality of our college.

  • naming individual course goals out loud to ourselves and to our students—why really is this or that course required
  • talking together as a department about the content of courses, so that each faculty member knows what the students in the program have been taught in courses previous to his or her own and what the students should know going forward, hence reducing duplication on instruction and raising expectations for students’ knowledge coming into courses that are designed to be progressive
  • clarifying the purposes of 100-level courses
  • clarifying the intentions of sequences of courses and prerequisites
  • including adjuncts in the naming of course goals and clarifying as a department who is teaching what specific content, with what purpose and at what level of difficulty
  • beginning the discussions about what levels of student achievement are needed for various courses and programs
  • beginning discussion of specific learning needs across departments and divisions

Having received statements of course learning objectives and of "learning carried forward,” the team met on March 19 and 26 to begin analyzing and synthesizing the documents submitted by departments during the month of March. Following are some key points from these meetings.

1. Congratulations and thank you! All but two departments have submitted learning carried forward documents. The general level and quality of participation in this exercise was good.

2. Division representatives will be providing feedback to the departments. Except for refinement of the learning carried forward work, there is not a new task for departments this semester. The remainder of the spring work is for the team.

3. Review of the work done by the A&H division was shared with CAAP at its March 24 meeting. Some review of the SMN and SBSE work has also been completed and will be shared with CAAP at next month’s meeting.

In addition, the Assessment Academy Team will report on your and its work at the May meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee of the college’s Board of Trustees. The team will have information to share at the August 20, 2010 pre-college conference. We have also been asked to present on this project for all the trustees at the October, 2010 meeting.

With respect and appreciation to the team members and to those who have done such good work on the project,

Stephanie Quinn
Executive Vice President / Dean of the College

HLC Assessment Academy Team members:
Filiz Dik, Mathematics, and member of the Committee on Academic Assessment and Planning (CAAP) Thomas McIntrye, Sociology, member of CAAP
Deborah Mogford, Performing Arts, member of the Curriculum Committee
Stephanie Quinn, EVP/Dean (participation required by HLC)
Heather Snider, Coordinator of Institutional Research

Rockford College enters national spotlight on TV game show
If you were watching the popular game show "Jeopardy” last Wednesday you would have seen Rockford College as one of the clues in the show. Apparently, it was in a category called "Schools of Rock" and the clue was "Jane Addams was one of the first graduates of Rockford College in this state." The show airs locally on WREX-TV.

Professor, staffer to sign their books of poetry in bookstore
It’s not every day that you see two employees in one organization who are also prolific poets. But that’s the case at Rockford College where two people, a professor and a specialist in the business office, are poet authors. Prof. Susan Porterfield, English, and Deb Dietz, business support manager, will be in the college bookstore today until 1 p.m. autographing copies of their books, "Beirut Redux” and "The Passion Runs Through It,” respectively. The bookstore is celebrating National Poetry Month with the author signings.

TPS is on the Web
The staff of the Rockford College "Teaching With Primary Sources" project is proud to announce that its Web site is now online. The new site is available through the Rockford College homepage ( ) under the Resources link. It can also be accessed directly at . The Web site includes lesson ideas and plans, a teachers’ page, classroom starters, links to Library of Congress resources and other tools for educators. Rockford College is a consortium partner of the Library of Congress Teaching With Primary Sources program. Comments or questions about the Web site and program can be directed to Dr. Debra Dew, Project Director at

‘Take Back the Night’ event this week
Rockford College is holding its 2nd annual Take Back the Night event Thursday on campus. It is free and open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend. Events begin at 3:30 p.m. in Grace Roper Lounge and the march starts at 5 p.m.

Take Back the Night is an international movement aimed at helping to stop rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Marches are held all across the country, with the majority of the marches being on college campuses. The earliest documented march was held in Brussels in 1977.

This marks the second year Rockford College has held this important informational and remembrance walk. The viewing time consists of information and other displays by local resources regarding sexual assault and domestic violence. There will be a march through campus with additional information, and then a candlelight remembrance and sharing time. Consider participating in this important event.

Participate in free financial education with Rockford's Money Smart Week
Rockford's 3rd annual Money Smart Week runs from April 17 - 24. Coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and its Money Smart partners, Money Smart Week is designed to educate consumers about money management with financial education programs on a wide range of topics including budgeting, saving and using credit wisely. In Rockford, more than 90 free seminars and activities focused on financial education will be carried out by representatives of 85 local community groups, financial institutions, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, schools, libraries and government agencies. Information and a calendar of events is available at

Prof to deliver "last lecture’ Thursday
Michael Perry, assistant professor of English, will present the "Last Lecture” on April 7, 4 p.m. in the Fisher Chapel. It will be an opportunity for him to reflect on life as if this was going to be his last message before passing.

The Last Lecture is based on a concept developed by Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch who delivered the talk "The Last Lecture: A Celebration of Life” on facing terminal pancreatic cancer.

Perry was chosen based on nominations from students. Title of his talk is "Writing to Save Our Lives: Blues, Literary Modernism, and (of course) Stephen King.” He will receive a $1,000 stipend for the talk.

The event is sponsored by the college’s Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement (JAACE) and is free and open to the public.

Psi Chi psych honor society sets induction
The RC chapter of Psi Chi, National Honor Society in Psychology will hold its annual new member induction ceremony on April 12, 4 p.m. in Forrest Cool. Students to be inducted include Ryan Bell, Nathaniel Branch, Kelsey Hood, Kimberly Greyson-Bost, Julia Lipowski, Melody Maney, Alexandra Nicasio, Jessie Norman, Kayla Norris, Mary Perez, Jessica Roskens, Damir Utrzan, and Jessica Williams.

Where’s Robert?
A list of noteworthy events on President Head‘s calendar.

April 5
Conference Call - Jiangsu Polytechnic University

April 11
Higher Learning Commission Annual Meeting

Baseball team seeks to raise awareness of breast cancer
Rockford College’s baseball team is doing all it can this year to help raise awareness for breast cancer research and awareness. The team is selling breast cancer awareness bracelets and for a suggested $1 donation, you can buy one and help with the fight against breast cancer.

To purchase one of these bracelets stop into the Nelson Athletics Building on the 1st floor baseball office and talk to one of the coaches. They will also be selling these bracelets at certain times in front of the mail room on the 2nd floor of Burpee. Proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation's fight against Breast Cancer.

The baseball team will also be hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness game on May 2 against Concordia University-Chicago, the Rockford Regents' biggest rival. The team will have raffles, drawings and a silent auction to raise money that will be donated to the Komen Foundation. So, not only will you see two teams battling for a possible NAC title, but you will also be supporting a cause that is affecting so many lives around the world.

Brown Bag features Phil Hjemboe on new research tool
You are invited to a Brown Bag Lunch Presentation on Friday, April 9 from noon – 1 p.m. in the Presidents Dining Room. Your presenter is Phil Hjemboe, associate professor and public services librarian, discussing "Zotero: A Software Tool for You?

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a software tool that keeps track of research you do at your computer. Zotero is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, cite, and share your research sources. It lives right where you do your work – in the Web browser itself. See Zotero at
Please bring your lunch and join Phil!

Recital today at 4
Take some time to relax this afternoon and take in a classical recital in Fisher Chapel at 4 p.m.

Out and about
A list of events in the community that would be of interest to the Rockford College community and their families.

"After Edmund” featuring Lucrezio and Alakrity in Concert, April 7. Doors open at 6 p.m. with concert at 6:30 p.m., River Valley Community Church, 5439 E. State St., Rockford. Tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door. After Edmund was nominated for a Grammy award in 2009 for best rock or rap gospel album. For tickets, call 815-395-1555 or visit Parable Bookstore.

Music On Main Brasil Guitar Duo, April 7, 5:30 p.m., Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford. The Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center also will be collecting canned goods for the Rock River Valley Pantry at the performance. Cost is $10, $5 for students. 815-964-9713.

Annual Earth Day Awards Luncheon, April 8, 11:30 a.m., Giovanni’s Restaurant, 610 N. Bell School Road. Event will recognize the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Annabelle Gurwitch, actress, author and environmentalist, is celebrity keynote speaker. 815-637-1343.

RC in the news

  • Author Davar Ardalan, a Forum speaker, was interviewed last Monday by Channel 17 before her talk.
  • A plan to expand classrooms to 5100 E. State St. was the subject of stories on Channel 23 and the Rockford Register Star last Monday. Click here for the complete RRS story.
  • A story on changes in the federal student loan program appeared in the Register Star last Tuesday with quotes from President Head and Todd Free, assistant vice president of SAS. Click here for the complete story.
  • Students Jenifer Swanson and Francois O’Leary were profiled in the "Get to Know Me” feature in the Register Star in the past couple days.

Community Search
Calendar of Events

Student Music Recital

EDP: Seminar #6 - Conflict Management and Resolution

NICNE Customer Service Workshop

FORUM: Sports Management Symposium

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