Monday, May 24, 2010
The Urgent and the Important
Occasionally, members of the college’s executive council write columns for the newsletter. Here’s today’s contribution from Dr. Stephanie Quinn, executive vice president and dean of the college.
Dear students, faculty and staff:
The end of an academic year is always contemplative for me. After the rush of getting a year’s work done in the last two weeks (ok, that’s an exaggeration—a little), the weeks following Commencement often provide pause, perhaps just a little span of time when the urgent doesn’t drive out the important. Not everyone can enjoy that pause, or enjoy it at the same time. Between now and the pre-college conference on Friday, August 20 though, we all should step back, reflect and rest, think.
Cleaning up the desk and the paper and e-mail files comes first. The satisfaction of seeing the piles dwindle is balanced by the occasional terror of finding something neglected. (Oh yes, one of those popped up last week.)
Just the fact of people’s various vacations changes the routine, and that’s good. Some things have to get done before this or that colleague takes off for a few days—focus and efficiency. Some things have to wait until she/he/they return—thinking time. And I miss them.
Professional reading piles up from August to May. Especially as we economize on external professional development, that reading is fundamental to our jobs. The college as a whole is only as professionally informed and current, as aware of current trends and practices in higher education, as each of us is individually in our respective areas.
Reading and thinking always link for me. The strategic planning work of this summer and next fall is so important for the college’s future; the plan’s five years can turn the tide on the aspects of recent history that we all want to change. Everyone’s best thinking on that venture is important, in general for the college and in our own particular areas of responsibility. Thinking is a creative act, at once difficult and thrilling.
Rest and thinking link. Too tired hearts, brains and bodies don’t do their best work. Tangled problems of an evening solve themselves in the morning. Habits of institutional practice and assumptions gain perspective from distance in time and place. Fun frees the mind.
Family, friends, self. ‘Nuf said.
Every institution, every family and individual struggles with the contest between matters urgent and those that are important for the long run. Real quality, and enjoyment, it seems to me, come from achieving at least some mastery in that contest, in favor of the things that are important.
Conclusion—Rockford College needs us all to find some rest this summer, have some fun, reconnect, read, "get outta’ here” for a bit, as they say in the Bronx, and come back calmer, smarter, happier than during those last hectic days and weeks before the big Commencement celebration. Have a wonderful summer.
Stephanie Quinn, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Dean of the College
Prof. Breiter receives prestigious honor
Prof. Deborah Breiter, professor and chair of the chemistry/biochemistry department, was one of six local people who received the Service Above Self award from the Rockford Rotary Club last Thursday.
At Rockford College, Dr. Breiter is involved in numerous activities outside the classroom, is highly regarded for her availability to students, and for her effectiveness in counseling and advising. In 2002 she was awarded the college's Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership Award in recognition of her performance as a faculty member.
The Rotary Club cited Dr. Breiter for what she has accomplished in addition to her professional duties. She is dedicated to the promotion of science, and science education for students of all levels.
She has helped design a master of biotechnology degree program for the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford - a program essential for today's medical technology students - and continues to serve as a consultant to the program.
At the high school level, she has volunteered as a judge for the Pierce Biotechnology research program, and created a forensic science program for underprivileged students at the Summit Science Program, part of Rockford College's Learning Resource Center.
At Spring Creek and Caledonia elementary schools, Dr. Breiter has volunteered to conduct experiments with young students - realizing the importance of involving students at this age level in the study of science.
When the TV show "Extreme Makeover Home Edition” came to Lena, Ill, she volunteered to make dried ice cream for the cast and volunteers, and donated lab equipment to be used in decorating the bedroom of one of the family members who had an interest in chemistry.
Deb is also a cancer survivor, and has volunteered her time to educate others about the process of detecting and treating cancer.
It should be noted here that in addition to her science-related contributions, Deb is the mother of three boys: twins Andrew and Nicholas, aged nine and a half, and Joshua, age 7. She volunteers at the Maya House, the Rockford Rescue Mission, serves on the Uncommon Lives Committee - a celebration of women in the arts, and volunteers for Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful.
To quote her nominator, Rotarian and RC board member Terry Ingrassia: "Our community has benefitted by Deb Breiter reaching out beyond her classroom to share her talents in many ways with many organizations. Most notably, she has inspired our youth to consider careers in the science field." This inspiration is much needed in our education of children today. Congratulations, Deb!
Here are noteworthy events on Dr. Head’s calendar for this week, May 24 – May 30.
May 26: Riverside Community Bank Open House
May 27: Alignment Rockford Board of Directors meeting
CARE picnic tomorrow
Plan to attend the first CARE potluck of the summer – tomorrow, (Tuesday) from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the Colman Patio. Bring a dish to pass and have lunch with your colleagues. Also being your own beverage. Thanks to the CARE Committee for their efforts.
Rockford College’s Art on the Lawn is June 13
Rockford College hosts its 11th annual Art on the Lawn, Sun., June 13 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. featuring more 64 artists from throughout the region.
The juried event gives visitors a chance to view and purchase fine art including oil paintings, acrylics, watercolors, prints, pencil drawings, pastels, glass, metal sculpture, exotic woods, fiber arts, jewelry, photography, ceramics, mixed media, sculpture, digital art, fiber, and functional art.
Admission is $3 person; children 12 and under are free. Food and drink are available for purchase throughout the day and there is ample, free parking. The event will be held rain or shine on the college’s beautiful Burpee commons.
For more information, call 815-226-4032, or see www.artonthelawn.org.
Meet April’s Employee of the Month
The April Employee of the Month is Antonia Esquivias, one of the college’s housekeepers. Antonia says "the students are so nice. I enjoy providing them with clean classrooms and afterwards, since it is their home away from home, a residence hall which is also clean and safe. That makes them happy.”
Says one nominator: "Working behind the scenes, Antonia is responsible for cleaning the residence halls of Dayton, Ekvall and McPhail as well as the Lion’s Den with never a complaint as to the work load.” Congratulations, Antonia!
Student essay contest winners named
Three students in an introductory philosophy course here were winners of an essay contest sponsored by the college’s Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship recently. The three are Bronson Garcia, first prize; and runners-up Mona Khalifeh and Erica Price. The essays were based on Oscar Wilde’s quote: "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” Using Wilde’s quotation as a starting point, students in the course reflected on the themes of independence and integrity. Cash prizes were awarded for first place and two honorable mentions. The essays were judged on their accuracy and depth of interpretation as well as their independence of thought.
Get computer questions answered
Did you ever want to ask a question about computers but were afraid to ask? Get your chance at the next Leadership Café sponsored by NICNE this Wednesday from noon – 1 p.m. in Burpee’s Grace Roper Lounge. Bonnie Johnson, RC’s director of information technology, will present "Top 10 Technology Issues.” A computer crash, or even a glitch, can bring operations within your organization to a screeching halt. Learn about the top 10 issues and how to prevent problems from occurring. The event is free to Rockford College students, faculty and staff.
Conference on global education
Plan to attend this year’s "Global Education for the 21st Century” June 10 from 8 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. and June 11 from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at RVC’s Stenstrom Center on Samuelson Road. Opening keynote speaker is Dr. Young Zhao, author of "Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization.” Some 72 breakout sessions are slated featuring presentations from national and local school leaders and teacher practitioners. For more, see www.niceconference.org.
Out and about
A list of community events that would be of interest to the Rockford College community and their families.
Through May 30: "Italian American Reconciliation” performed by Artists’ Ensemble in the college’s Cheek Theatre. For more, see www.artistsensemble.org
May 28 – 31: Young at Heart Festival near City Hall in Loves Park. Entertainment, food and rides. For more, see www.youngatheartfestival.com