NWQ’s Third Annual College Guide

The Old Northwest Territory is filled with great institutions for higher learning. NWQ Highlights some of the best around in this annual supplement.

Choosing a college may be one of the most important life decisions you will ever make. What kind of campus environment are you looking for? Do you want to live at home and commute, or live on campus in a dormitory? How far away from home do you want to be?

What majors and coursework strengths do you want to find in a college? What kind of people do you want learning alongside you? What can the college offer in terms of career counseling and placement? Do you want to be in a large university setting, a small, intimate private college setting, or something in-between? What extra-curricular activities are important to you?

Our college guide will help you to learn about some of the fine choices for higher education available to students right here in the Old Northwest Territory. We hope it assists you in making this all-important choice.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

University of Wisconsin-Platteville (Public/Four-Year)

1 University Plaza, Platteville, Wis. • www.uwplatt.edu

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UW-Platteville), home to the Pioneers, is the fastest growing comprehensive public university in the state. Just 20 miles east of the Mississippi River in Grant County, the rolling, 820-acre campus is reaching record enrollment levels, with nearly 8,000 on-campus students.

The Tri-State Initiative makes UW-Platteville more affordable for students from Iowa and Illinois. Eligible new freshman and transfer students in certain degree areas save approximately $4,000 on out-of-state tuition rates.
UW-Platteville offers 41 majors and 70 minors, with top programs in agriculture, biology, business, criminal justice, education, engineering and industrial technology. At UW-Platteville, classes are taught by faculty members, not teaching assistants, and more than 90 percent hold doctorates or terminal degrees in their fields.

The college’s 400-acre Pioneer Farm plays an important role in agricultural innovation. It was just awarded a $625,000 grant, to be used in the research of innovative conservation initiatives.

UW-Platteville business students use classrooms with the latest Enterprise Resource Planning software and learn how technology can enable integrated business processes and strategic thinking, giving them an edge in the marketplace. Students pursuing careers in biology or medical fields gain hands-on experience in the cadaver lab. UW-Platteville is one of only a few schools that has a cadaver lab just for undergraduate students.

UW-Platteville has the foremost university-level forensic investigation program in the Midwest, offering unique hands-on learning. At the Forensic Investigation Research Facility, students conduct mock crime scene practicals; at the Forensic Investigation Crime Scene House, they experience what crime scene personnel experience.
Through UW-Platteville’s partnership withEducatorsAbroad, education majors can teach almost anywhere in the world, allowing them to complete their student teaching in an international setting.

Known for its strong engineering programs, UW-Platteville this fall is offering a Microsystems and Nanotechnology Engineering major. It’s one of only a handful of comparable undergraduate degree programs in the United States. Students will learn using UW-Platteville’s atomic force microscope and state-of-the-art clean rooms, while focusing on basic and applied multidisciplinary research and development.

Industrial technology management students at UW-Platteville can be found molding and casting in the plastics and metals labs, designing and building houses from the ground up and drafting new designs – all while using the latest technology in the industry.

Students apply classroom lessons through collaborative projects, undergraduate research and real-world experiences. The Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement connects students, faculty and ideas to local social and civic issues from a wide range of community partners. As part of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Conference, UW-Platteville offers 12 sports for both men and women. Students can also develop leadership skills through involvement in over 220 active student clubs and organizations.

UW-Platteville provides comprehensive classroom and experiential learning opportunities, from expert faculty, to a diverse student population, in a friendly, comfortable environment. ❚

McHenry County College, Crystal Lake, Ill.

McHenry County College (Public/Two-Year)

8900 US Highway 14, Crystal Lake, Ill. • mchenry.edu

Since 1967, McHenry County College (MCC) has been the area’s choice for a high-quality and fully accredited education. MCC was recognized for having the highest enrollment and growth rate in the state, and in fall 2010, was voted a “military friendly” institution by G.I. Jobs magazine.

The college has 104 full-time instructors and an average of 225 part-time instructors per semester. Nearly 80 percent of its award-winning faculty hold master’s degrees, and 15 percent hold doctorates.

The heart of MCC is indeed its students, whether they come to start a new educational path, finish a dream that was sidetracked or try something new. Faculty and staff are dedicated to assisting students with the completion of degrees or certificates, so that they are prepared to move successfully into a new career or transition smoothly to a four-year institution.

At MCC, excellence is the goal. According to recent statistics compiled by the Illinois Shared Enrollment and Graduation database, MCC students who move on to a four-year institution are often better prepared than those from other schools.

As part of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), MCC men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics teams have earned 34 conference championships and produced over 20 NJCAA All-Americans and 10 professional players. In 2011, 2006 and 1996, MCC’s women’s tennis, women’s basketball and baseball teams were recognized as NJCAA National Academic Teams of the Year. In addition, MCC offers on-campus activities and more than 25 student clubs.

The honors group Phi Theta Kappa and the Leadership Education and Development program help MCC students to develop leadership skills. Through the College Consortium of International Students and the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs, MCC students may participate in study-abroad programs in more than 30 countries. Through service learning, MCC students also learn about civic responsibility while participating in community programs.

MCC’s focus is individualized learning, from the low student-to-teacher ratio in classes to its flexible course offerings. The college’s engaging environment stimulates more critical thinking and sharpens decision-making skills, better preparing students for a bright future. ❚

Aurora University Woodstock Center, Woodstock, Ill.

Aurora University (Private/Four-Year)

347 S. Gladstone, Aurora, Ill • aurora.edu

The Aurora University Woodstock Center

222 Church St., Woodstock, Ill. • aurora.edu/woodstock

Aurora University (AU) creates an educational environment where students prepare for lives of leadership, meaning and success. The Aurora campus is located in a quiet residential neighborhood, just a short distance from Chicago. The close-knit campus community provides students with many opportunities. AU’s newest addition is The Aurora University Woodstock Center, located in the Challenger Learning Center for Science and Technology, in Woodstock.

On the Aurora campus, students can choose from 40 undergraduate majors, 35 minors and 15 graduate programs, covering liberal arts, criminal justice, nursing, education and social work. The small classes, which average about 23, offer students a chance to study one-on-one with experienced and knowledgeable faculty.

Students looking for greater challenges can enroll in the Honors Program, which combines advanced coursework with innovative classes and special events. The popular May Term is a three-week program that allows students to gain experience in their fields or to study abroad.

Outside the classroom, students can enhance their education through membership in clubs and community service partnerships. More than 50 musical, literary, religious, social and service organizations provide on-campus activities in everything from professional development to student governance.

AU Athletics offers 10 varsity sports for men and 10 for women. The Spartans have earned an impressive 46 NCAA Division III conference titles in recent years.

AU’s active theatre and arts programs serve the campus as well as the community. Through the Celebrating Arts and Ideas series, community members, teachers and students alike enjoy various concerts, lectures, museum exhibits, film and theatre events.

The Aurora University Woodstock Center joins an AU community proud of its long tradition of designing and delivering educational programs that serve students and respond to the needs of McHenry County residents. Faculty members believe in the transformative power of learning, as they combine knowledge with hands-on learning opportunities.

Offerings in Woodstock include degree completion programs in business, criminal justice, and the RN to BSN degree. Graduate programs are in Addictions Certification, education, the MBA in Leadership, the MSN and MSN Bridge Option.

Since 1893, Aurora University has been helping students to gain the education, leadership and skills necessary to achieve their dreams and to effect positive change in their communities. ❚

(Bahua at en.wikipedia photo)

Loras College (Private/Four-Year)

1450 Alta Vista St., Dubuque, Iowa • www.loras.edu

Loras College is a Catholic, liberal arts col­lege perched high atop the bluffs of the Mississippi River, in Dubuque, Iowa. Students receive a well-rounded education in small classes that allow hands-on learning and col­laborative projects.

Recognized on several fronts, Loras is ranked 13th in the Top Tier among Best Midwest Regional Colleges in the 2011 edition of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, and was included in the Barron’s Best Buys in Education for affordability. More than 95 percent of students receive some type of financial aid, and Loras offers a variety of financial assistance programs such as academ­ic, honors and music scholarships – in addition to work-study.

Students can choose from more than 40 majors and minors, plus 13 pre-professional areas of study covering both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The average class size is only 17; With a student/teacher ratio of 13:1, students receive a more personal­ized and hands-on education from a dedicated faculty of experts in their chosen subject.

Many students also choose work-study, internships and service learning. Another popular choice is the January Term, where they spend three weeks immersed in a liberal arts subject. J-Terms often take students on one of Loras’ many study-abroad opportunities, which travel to places such as Spain, South Africa and Ireland.

Outside the classroom, Loras offers a variety of opportuni­ties for growth. Students can choose from 55 academic and social organizations, more than 50 intramural sports, along with various worship organizations and community service opportunities. Loras is also part of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and offers 21 different NCAA Division III sports teams for men and women.

As a Catholic college, academic and spiritual journeys often follow the same path. Students pledge to transform lives through mission work, and many volunteer at local parishes and retreats, where they help neighbors in need.
Incoming students average a 3.4 GPA, and score around a 24 on their ACTs. Plus, new full-time students receive their very own laptop computer for academic and personal use.

Founded in 1839, Loras offers advanced learning in an atmosphere where students can realize their personal, academic and spiritual growth in a setting that is academically challenging, faith-centered and socially stimulating. ❚

Rockford College

Rockford College (Private/Four-Year)

5050 E. State St., Rockford, Ill. • www.rockford.edu

Rockford College, nestled on 130 park-like acres in the heart of Rockford, will mark its 165th year in 2012. It’s Illinois’ only private liberal arts college in the Rock River Valley, and the only college to offer a campus-based accredited MBA program in the Rockford area and the only college in the region to offer a Master of Arts in Teaching.

The philosophy at Rockford College is that a liberal arts education not only prepares students for a career but also for a journey of lifelong learning. Its distinctive degrees and programs are grounded in liberal arts learning and complemented by professional and practical experience. An education from Rockford College involves challenging and interdisciplinary coursework both inside and outside the classroom. Students develop critical-thinking skills, intellectual curiosity and self-guidance, in order to live within and adapt to a changing, global society.

Faculty members, renowned in their areas of expertise, hold the highest degrees in their disciplines and strive to stay at the top of their fields. Rockford College offers more than 80 majors, minors and concentrations, and students can pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees, along with various certification tracks through the Master of Arts in Teaching program. Student/faculty research is an important component of Rockford College’s learning environment, and one-on-one learning opportunities abound.

The Princeton Review named Rockford College a “College with a Conscience” in 2005 and a “Best in the Midwest” college for eight years running. Other distinctions include being one of 11 colleges in Illinois and 280 in the country with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and being named to the 2008, 2009, and 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Along with academics and community-based learning, Rockford College offers many opportunities to gain knowledge and experience. As part of NCAA Division III, the Rockford Regents compete in 17 total men’s and women’s varsity sports. More than 25 social and academic clubs and organizations are offered, along with intramural sports. Each year on campus, the Forum Series presents a variety of thought-provoking speakers, events and performances. Service-learning options include the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement and Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break, where students and faculty spend their spring break taking part in Habitat for Humanity projects. All such moments open students’ minds to understanding different and complex perspectives, ultimately broadening their horizons.

The learning expectations of students – knowledge for understanding the world, values for envisioning the world and skills for shaping the world – shape delivery of Rockford College’s academic programs. Thus, the Rockford College experience leads to a life of active learning, personal development, professional growth and informed citizenship.

Rockford College alumni have changed, and continue to change, the world. Among graduates are chiefs of police; captains of industry; Illinois Teachers of the Year; doctors who have tested the first artificial heart valve in humans; scientists who have invented fiber optics and LEDs; the current president of a national television network; the creator of kids’ meals toys; and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jane Addams.

The legacy of Rockford College can be found in nearly two centuries of graduates and more than 12,500 alumni taking lessons learned here out into the world. ❚

Waubonsee College, Sugar Grove, Ill.

Waubonsee Community College (Public/Two-Year)

Route 47 / Waubonsee Dr., Sugar Grove • waubonsee.edu

Waubonsee Community College has provided educational programs and services to more than 275,000 students since its founding in 1966. In 2010, it was named by Community College Week as among the Top 50 Fastest Growing Public Two-Year Colleges in the nation with enrollments of 10,000 students or more. Waubonsee was named a 2012 Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs, the premier magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life.

Waubonsee offers more than 35 areas of study for transfer degrees and more than 130 occupational degrees and certificates in today’s most in-demand fields, like nursing, information technology and health care – in all, more than 1,000 credit courses are available. Transfer programs are available for those planning to attend a four-year college, while career education programs allow students to enter the workforce quickly, putting degrees or certificates to use right away.

At Waubonsee, staff members are committed to helping students excel. Master’s or doctoral degrees are held by 93 percent of the faculty, and many draw on years of real-world experience to deliver relevant knowledge and applicable skills. Students have the chance to work one-on-one with instructors dedicated to helping them to succeed.

Students also find a rich campus life at Waubonsee, with more than 35 on-campus clubs and organizations, such as honor societies, performing arts groups, professional organizations, academic teams, student government and special-interest clubs. As part of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, the Waubonsee Chiefs compete in 13 sports for men and women. Several teams are nationally ranked, and 85 percent of Waubonsee athletes transfer to four-year institutions.

Internships are offered in more than 20 programs, and work-study positions are available in a variety of on-campus departments. In partnership with the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs, Waubonsee students can study abroad in places like England, Austria, Costa Rica, Ireland and Japan.

Waubonsee offers classes at convenient times at four locations close to home: its main campus in Sugar Grove; a building on the Rush-Copley Medical Center Campus on the far east side of Aurora; and two new campuses, one in Plano and one in downtown Aurora. Both of these are comprehensive, meaning students can access the services they need to succeed, and also complete degrees and certificates at these locations.

Realizing that online learning may be a more desirable option for some students, Waubonsee also offers more than 180 online classes.

As the role of community colleges in higher education continues to expand, and its district continues to grow, Waubonsee Community College will continue to change and adapt, helping to build brighter futures for students – and the entire community – through quality teaching and learning experiences. ❚

Judson University

Judson University (Private/Four-Year)

1151 N. State St., Elgin, Ill. & 1055 Featherstone Road, Rockford, Ill. • www.JudsonU.edu

Judson University is a four-year Christian University that offers an education in the liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs for undergraduate, graduate and adult programs.

Two campuses provide the Judson experience – the flagship campus along the Fox River in Elgin, Ill., and an extension campus in Rockford, Ill., that serves the school’s Center for Adult Professional Studies.

Founded in 1963, Judson is an outgrowth of Northern Theological Seminary, which was first established in 1913. The school is named after Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary abroad. 

Students can find more than 60 majors and minors at Judson, including architecture, art and design, education, business, worship arts, Christian ministry, music, exercise and sports sciences, psychology and sociology, media studies, and a diverse array of liberal arts programs. Three new majors have recently been implemented: Sustainability Management, Music Business Entrepreneurship, and a three-year business program for marketing. Graduate programs include architecture, education in literacy and ESL/bilingual, and organizational leadership.
Classes are small, allowing for an individualized educational experience. Eighty-one percent of classes have fewer than 20 students, and less than one percent have 50 or more students. With a 10:1 student to professor ratio, Judson provides a personalized education taught by experienced faculty who care about their students’ professional and personal success.

The 90-acre Elgin campus includes four residence halls, a fine arts center, fitness center, student center and a 700-seat chapel. Judson leads the way in innovative design, with the new Weber Academic Center, which is rated LEED Gold – one of the highest honors in green design. Students also have access to the culture-rich city of Chicago, located just 40 miles away.

Since Judson is one of the only evangelical Christian schools that offers a fully accredited graduate program in architecture, its proximity to Chicago is ideal. This program is gaining recognition for its innovative approach, which includes a one-year preceptorship and the context of an evangelical Christian institution.

Students at Judson have a variety of ways to explore the world off-campus. There are nearly 30 student organizations, 19 athletic teams and a wealth of study-abroad programs; opportunities for students to travel are endless.

The World Leaders Forum, established to begin an endowment fund for Judson’s new entrepreneurial program, will bring recognized world leaders, entrepreneurs and dignitaries to campus, emphasizing Judson’s global perspective on higher education. ❚