NWQ Guide to Colleges 2019

It’s never an easy choice when seeking the perfect college — there are plenty of things to consider. Here are some of the top institutions available here in our region.

Rockford University
University of Dubuque
UIC College of Nursing
McHenry County College
Rockford University

Rockford University

(Private/Four-Year) 5050 E. State St. • Rockford • rockford.edu

Rockford University provides the region with access to higher education and has been doing so for more than 172 years. Founded in 1847, it’s the only private liberal arts residential institution in the Rock River Valley, and the only university in the Rockford area to offer campus-based accredited masters and adult accelerated degree completion programs.

Rockford University is also home to the Puri School of Business and the Bloomberg Business Lab featuring the Bloomberg Professional Service. The state-of-the-art lab is the only one of its kind in the Rockford area. Eleven terminals gives students and professors immediate access to trusted real-time and historical data, market-moving news and business and financial analytics.

With more than 80 majors, minors and concentrations, degrees and programs are grounded in the liberal arts learning tradition and complemented by professional and practical experience. The University works with and supports several local organizations with internships, special projects, research and meaningful partnerships such as the Education Pathways program with Rockford Public School District 205.

Students pursuing a career in education who qualify for the program can attend Rockford University, graduate from both the undergraduate and graduate programs, and return to the district as teachers.

Faculty members, most holding the highest degrees in their disciplines, show a commitment to the individual through their expertise and personalized attention. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10 to 1, which further supports an environment where students can discover, explore and excel in academic interests.

The Princeton Review named Rockford University a “College with a Conscience,” and Rockford University is one of just 11 colleges in Illinois – and 290 in the country – with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. The university is also consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Midwest Regional University.

Rockford University offers students many other opportunities to gain knowledge and experience. Along with study abroad opportunities, there is a diverse, international presence on campus. Students from across the world can study and share more about their cultures. More than 30 intercultural events are sponsored on campus each year.

As part of NCAA Division III, the Rockford Regents compete in 12 varsity sports for both men and women. New this year is the addition of a competitive eSports team with a dedicated arena featuring 16 dedicated gaming consoles powered by popular and well-known gaming system company MSI. Many social and academic clubs and organizations are also offered, along with intramural sports. Each year, the Forum Series presents a variety of thought-provoking speakers, events and performances that are open for the public to attend.

Rockford University alumni have proven themselves as exemplary leaders and shapers of their communities. Among its graduates are captains of industry, champions of justice, Teachers of the Year, doctors who tested the first artificial heart valve in humans, scientists who invented fiber optics and LEDs, the current president of a national television network and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jane Addams.

The legacy of Rockford University can be found in nearly two centuries of graduates and more than 16,000 current alumni, taking lessons learned here out into the world.

University of Dubuque

University of Dubuque

(Private/Four-Year/Nonprofit) 2000 University Ave. • Dubuque, Iowa • dbq.edu

Since 1852, University of Dubuque (UD) has been providing students with an educational foundation for future success. With a seasoned faculty whose members average 10 to 20 years of experience, the University’s approach to learning is measured in helping students find their calling as they work independently and as part of team, taking on academic challenges in preparation to serve and lead in a world that’s waiting for them.

Students can select from 41 areas of study that emphasize hands-on classroom learning reinforced with real-life experience. Small class sizes allow individual attention and guidance. In addition, the University’s Career Resources Center is dedicated to helping students explore their professional options after graduation. Students develop a comprehensive four-year checklist that identifies and incorporates field experiences and internships into their resume.

Learning at UD is articulated through the awareness that becoming a leader in the real world starts with learning in a place that looks and feels like the real world. Students at UD are drawn from more than 40 states and 20 countries – making UD one of the most diverse colleges in Iowa. Another distinction is that learning is delivered through an educational model called Diamond. Diamond articulates the University’s mission of being one of the best small, private Christian colleges and universities, and it focuses instruction through four areas:

  1. Holistic: The University of Dubuque intentionally designs and implements programming to promote learning in academics, community and character, stewardship and vocation.
    2. Formational: The University extensively addresses both academic and co-curricular learning. Academic Affairs and Student Life work seamlessly together to enhance student growth, while faculty and staff are provided with opportunities for professional development.
    3. Caringly Intrusive: The staff provides direct and candid communication about expectations.
    4. Assessed: The University regularly gathers qualitative and quantitative data, and uses that information to continually improve programming.

In addition to academics, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of NCAA Division III sports through the American Rivers Conference (A-R-C). Men’s sports are baseball, basketball, cheer and stunt, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), and wrestling; Women’s sports are basketball, cheer and stunt, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball. Beyond athletics, there are more than 65 student organizations in fine and performing arts, Greek life, governance, departmental organizations, and special-interest organizations.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in study abroad, service learning, and work-study programs, all of which challenge students to embrace lifelong learning in and out of the classroom.

Last but not least, students at UD live and learn on a campus that has seen more than $300 million in renovations and new construction over the past 25 years, helping to shape lives of exceptional ability, worth and purpose.  


UIC College of Nursing, Rockford Campus

UIC College of Nursing, Rockford Campus

(Public University Graduate Program) UIC Health Sciences Campus, 1601 Parkview Ave. • Rockford • (815) 395-5648 • nursing.uic.edu

The UIC College of Nursing in Rockford and its campuses in Chicago, Peoria, Quad Cities, Springfield and Urbana have long been providing the highest-quality education for APRNs throughout Illinois.

The program offers 12 advanced practice specialty areas for the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree in a hybrid format consisting of online, on-site and blended courses. Students graduate with a mix of clinical, organizational, financial and leadership skills – prepared not only to improve outcomes for their own patients, but also to contribute to the transformation of health care in both urban and rural communities. Students residing in neighboring states can now take advantage of in-state tuition.

As a UIC student, clinical rotations are arranged for you. Students are assigned highly qualified preceptors at desirable clinical sites, selected by knowledgeable program directors. By partnering with skilled preceptors in a variety of health care settings, each student is provided with the best mentorship experiences while learning the necessary clinical practice skills.

These rotations, paired with high-quality simulation scenarios also included in the curriculum, combine to give students a broad range of advanced, hands-on patient-management experiences.

The Advanced Generalist Master of Science (AGMS) program provides professional nurses with the clinical leadership skills essential for integrating evidence-based practice and care coordination to improve outcomes. The advanced generalist acts as the care coordinator for a group of clients while providing direct care in complex cases. Not limited to the acute care settings, advanced generalists evaluate client outcomes, assess client risks, and promote client and family advocacy. 

Sharing a campus with the University of Illinois at Chicago colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy in Rockford has its interprofessional advantages, from the state-of-the-art Standardized Patient Center to the full-service Crawford Library of the Health Sciences, from sharing a home base with the National Center for Rural Health Professions to enjoying the stellar reputation UIC students have among the region’s health care industry.

As a regional campus of the UIC–College of Nursing, UIC experts are dedicated to providing exemplary international and nationally recognized graduate nursing education for the Rockford area. Students in all three professional programs have opportunities to work together on clinical research projects. The nursing faculty maintains active practices, working in the profession for which they are simultaneously educating students. Located on a tree-lined street with the Rock River near the doorstep, the Rockford Campus offers a beautiful, small-town setting in which to earn a nationally ranked graduate degree.

McHenry County College

McHenry County College

(Public/Two-Year) 8900 U.S. Highway 14 • Crystal Lake • mchenry.edu

Since 1967, McHenry County College (MCC) has been the area’s choice for a high-quality and fully accredited education.

MCC was recently named among Aspen Institute’s top 150 community colleges in the nation, and CNN Money & College Measures reported that MCC is ranked fourth in the state for student success rates and affordability. MCC is also a “military friendly” institution.

More than 90 percent of MCC’s full-time faculty hold a master’s or doctorate degree, along with 68 percent of its adjunct instructors. But the heart of MCC is 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 to success, so that they are prepared to move into a new career or transition smoothly to a four-year institution.

This student-focused approach is paying off. According to recent statistics compiled by the Illinois Board of Higher Education for its Illinois Shared Enrollment and Graduation database, MCC students who transfer to a four-year institution do just as well as, or better than, students who started as freshmen.

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 36 conference championships and produced more than 25 NJCAA All-Americans. In addition, MCC offers on-campus activities and more than 28 student clubs.

The honors group Phi Theta Kappa helps MCC students to develop leadership skills. MCC students may participate in study-abroad programs in more than six countries.

From the low student-to-teacher ratio in classes to flexible course offerings, MCC’s focus is always on helping each student to complete his or her degree. The college’s engaging environment stimulates more critical thinking and sharpens decision-making skills, better preparing students for a bright future. Learn what’s new at MCC by following the college on social media at mchenry.edu/social.