Recycled Reading, Barn Photography

April 12, 2010

Recycled Reading

When you're done turning the pages of the book on your nightstand, consider turning it into something else. That's the challenge issued by Harper College's Library in its first annual Recycled Books Contest - a competition urging community members, students, staff and faculty to imaginatively reuse their favorite read in an entirely new way. "It's kind of a different way to go green," Instructor Michele Ukleja says. "We're encouraging competitors to come up with new uses for a book that's sitting on their shelf right now. It could be a work of art, or a functional object. As is always the case in the world of books, the possibilities are endless." The contest is part of Harper's celebration of National Library Week, kicking off Monday, April 12; other events include a book sale (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, April 13 and 14 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 15) and a "Library After Dark" open house featuring refreshments, games, prizes and activities. (5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 15). Entry forms are due by 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 13. Entries must be set up between 5 and 6 p.m. Thursday, April 15 in the Harper Library, Building F on the main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. They'll be judged by popular vote at the Library After Dark open house. First prize includes four movie passes and a variety of other library-themed goodies.

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Barn Photography

Students in one of Harper College's newest classes will have unique homework after each session: leave the bustling Northwest suburbs and find a barn to photograph. It's not as much a challenge as it may seem, Instructor Ernest Schweit says, and that's part of the point: there are plenty of farms within a 45-minute drive of Harper's campus, offering students a chance to digitally capture a bit of iconic Americana as they test their photography skills in the increasingly nostalgic arena of barn photography. "The simple way to photograph a barn is to snap a picture like you would for a real estate section," says Schweit, the photographer behind a Farcountry Press book on Wisconsin barns. "But there's also a way to approach it where you take just a piece of the picture. You capture those abstract angles and unique textures: a roof line, for instance, against the rounded curve of a silo." His course, Barn Photography: Preserving an American Icon, is open to all local photographers. It combines classroom sessions on specific techniques and philosophy with individual photo shoots - Schweit will provide students with lists of public barns to photograph - and in-class critiques. "The sight of barns evokes a feeling of years gone by and recalls a time when life was simpler," Schweit says. "In 20 years, a lot of them will be gone. In this class, we're showing students how to preserve them through perfect digital pictures." Schweit spent two and a half years traveling through Wisconsin, chronicling some 100 barns through his camera lens for his book. Raised in Chicago and the suburbs, he fell in love with farms as a college student traveling by train to and from school in Lincoln and Carbondale. His five-week course is $99 and runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays, beginning April 12. It is a non-credit class and open to the public. Students should have a working knowledge of a single lens reflex camera and the ability to bring prints or digital files to class. To register or for more details, contact Continuing Education at 847.925.6300, or visit


Media Note: A jpeg image of Schweit's book, which he compiled with Lake Barrington resident Nancy Schumm-Burgess, is available. For samples of Schweit's barn photography, visit For interviews with Schweit or photography students, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Hot Health Careers

Jobs in Health Insurance Billing and Medical Transcription are on the rise nationally, with employment opportunities expected to grow by more than 15 percent. They're also hot fields at Harper College, with prospective students filling up seats at related College information sessions. "Changes in America's healthcare system are creating - and will continue to create - many new jobs in these two fields," says Geri Kale-Smith, who oversees Harper's certificate programs in Health Insurance Billing and Medical Transcription. "The positions are in-demand, can come with great salaries, and can be extremely rewarding. These programs give students who are interested in the healthcare field some new, viable career options." The two programs are available at Harper in both traditional and Fast Track - Harper's accelerated program for adults - formats, allowing students to complete their certificates in 15 months or less. The College's programs also feature an externship component, giving a jumpstart on their careers by working in the field. Graduates can land a variety of jobs in medical clinics and offices. An information session for adults interested in the College's Fast Track certificate programs in Health Insurance Billing or Medical Transcription will run from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 13 in the Student Center, on the main floor of Building A. An information session for students interested in the traditional certificate programs in the two fields is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 14 in Room X250, Building X in the Avante Center. Both sessions are free and open to all.


Media Note: Reporters and photographers can attend Harper's Health Insurance Billing and Medical Transcription information session to talk with prospective students about the career fields. Harper health careers faculty also are available to comment on the programs' popularity. Contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Speech Team Victories

The Harper College Speech and Debate Team continued its winning tradition this spring, capturing one national championship and finishing fourth at another national tournament. The squad was crowned National Champion among community colleges at the annual Pi Kappa Delta tournament in Minneapolis, Minn. Fifteen of Harper's 27 speeches won awards, and two students finished in the Top 10 at the tournament, which drew 60 teams from colleges and universities across the nation. At the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament in New Orleans, Harper's team finished fourth in its division and took seven speeches to the Finals round. Teams from 64 community colleges competed. "Our team members continually impressed us with their strong public speaking skills, their teamwork and their leadership," Coach Jeff Przybylo says. "These victories were a group effort, and all of us are extremely proud of our showing this season." Przybylo also was victorious: he won the Distinguished Service Award, presented annually to a coach who exemplifies longtime leadership in the national organization. Przybylo, of Streamwood, is in his fourteenth year coaching Harper's team, and has been a member of Phi Rho Pi since 1996, serving in various roles - including, currently, Vice President. Harper's Speech and Debate Team has a history of success. The group has won six state titles. This year, the team came in second among two-year schools at the Illinois state competition, taking more than half of its 27 speeches to the Finals round and boasting one state champion.

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,

Small Works Exhibit

Nearly two dozen pieces from artists across the United States are on display through April 22 in Harper College's 33rd annual National Small Works Exhibition. The exhibit, a Harper tradition, showcases small-scale photography, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, digital art and more. All works measure less than two feet. "This show is interesting because of the variety of approaches to the subject matter and the innovative uses of media," Harper Art Curator Margaret Buchen says. "The small scale of the work creates a more intimate relationship with the viewer." The Harper exhibit, which this year drew more than 1,040 submissions from more than 340 artists across the nation, requires every piece to measure 22 inches or less, including display frames. Submitted art was judged by Douglas Stapleton, Assistant Curator at the Illinois State Museum, Chicago Gallery. Several local artists - including Harper College students Kasia Stachowiak of Mount Prospect and Karen Murphy of Schaumburg - were among those chosen to be part of the show. Stachowiak is fascinated with color, patterns and structural forms, and incorporates those into her etched prints. Murphy explores various materials and forms in her ceramic sculptures. The Small Works exhibit is sponsored by the Harper College Educational Foundation. Viewing times are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays through Thursday, April 22 in Room C200, Building C, on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. Call in advance to confirm times, 847.925.6568. The show is free and open to the public.

Media Note: This year's exhibit features work from several local artists, including residents of Glenview, Naperville, Chicago, Schaumburg and Mount Prospect. For more information, including a list of artists, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, High-resolution color images of the works also are available.

Visiting Author

In his 16-year-old novel "Greene's Summer," expatriate American author Thomas E. Kennedy drew on his experience as an editor on a psychiatric treatment handbook to shape a story of a man who struggles to overcome physical, mental and emotional scars after being jailed and tortured for political reasons. Kennedy will read from the book - which recently was republished in the United States under the new title "In the Company of Angels" - at noon on Thursday, April 15 in Harper College's Drama Lab, Room L109, Building L on the main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. The reading is free and open to the public. Kennedy has published more than 20 novels and won many literary prizes. He's now receiving national acclaim for his work in American publications, including the Washington Post and New Yorker Magazine. For more information on the reading, call 847.925.6242 or visit


Press Contact: Terry Karow, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist, 847.925.6627,


Southern Shakespeare

The National Players traveling drama company will bring Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" to the Harper College stage this month - with a bit of a twist. The play, originally set on the island of Sicily, will be set instead in the deep American south in the early part of the 20th century. "The costumes are from the Dixieland Jazz period. The props have a decidedly New Orleans French Quarter feel," says Clay Hopper, who will direct the troupe in its production of the Bard's famous tale. The play tells the story of Beatrice and Benedick, a pair of would-be lovers who have engaged in a war of wits. They've disguised their true feelings for one another, and build a tangled web of obstacles and charades on their path to the altar. Founded in 1949, the National Players is celebrating its 61st season. The self-contained group - members carry their own lights, set and costumes - performs across the country, with actors playing multiple roles onstage and offstage, as actors, managers and technicians. They'll take Harper's stage at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 18 in the Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. Tickets for "Much Ado About Nothing" are $15 for general admission, with discounts for seniors and students. For tickets or information, call 847.925.6100 or visit the Box Office.


Press Contact: Terry Karow, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist, 847.925.6627,


Disney-Style Success

Disney's secret to success isn't magic. It's a thoughtful approach to customer service, honed over a half-century of experience in the face of fierce competition and the public's ever-changing tastes and attitudes. Harper College will share tips and tricks from one of the world's entertainment empires at a special daylong Disney Institute aimed at arming local businesses for success as the economy begins its economic rebound. "Disney's Approach to Quality Service," hosted by Disney Institute facilitators, is geared to all types of businesses - from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies - and will help owners and others anticipate customer demands, exceed client expectations, understand the need for consistency and create a service plan that promotes Disney-level quality. "We're offering a rare chance to get Disney's success secrets straight from Disney," says Mark Mrozinski, Continuing Education Dean at Harper. "This program will challenge you to see your organization in a new light, and help you inspire your business leaders, energize your workforce and boost your bottom line." The session, offered through Harper's Continuing Education Department, is appropriate for all business sectors - from retail outlets and restaurants to healthcare providers, developers and government organizations. It runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 29 at the Wojcik Conference Center on the College's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $349. To register or for more information, call 847.925.6300 or visit


Media Note: Disney Institute leaders are available in advance of the program for interviews. They are able to offer tips for finding success amid a down - but rebounding - economy, and offer suggestions for preparing a business to thrive once the recession is over. Contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


College Savings Aid

Statistics show the cost of college tuition, room and board at four-year public institutions rose by 30 percent from 1998 to 2008 - and it's still growing. This spring, Harper College will host a free seminar aimed at showing parents, grandparents and others how to financially prepare for higher education. The "Saving for College" session is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21 in the Wojcik Conference Center on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. The event will offer tips from college experts and professional advisors, who will cover the basics of saving for higher education and provide tools to help attendees navigate the college savings process. "Whether the young person in your life is 4 or 14, it's not too early - or too late - to start investing in their education," says Katherine Sawyer, Associate Executive Director of the Harper College Educational Foundation. "Saving that money, though, can be daunting, particularly amid rising tuition and a gloomy economy. This seminar will give attendees the confidence and know-how they need to start saving the right way." The event, hosted by the Harper Heritage Society's Professional Advisor group - an offshoot of the College's Educational Foundation - also will include Harper financial aid experts. To register, visit and select the Professional Advisor Seminar Series, or call 847.925.6490 for more details.


Media Note: Reporters are welcome to attend the event and talk with participants about the task of saving for college amid shrinking financial aid resources and rising tuition costs.


Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Entrepreneur Help

Making a small business flourish can be a daunting task, particularly in a difficult economy. But it's not impossible. With an eye on helping small business owners compete and excel in a continued rough-and-tumble climate, Harper College is hosting Entrepreneur's Quest 2010, a daylong seminar filled with expert tips on marketing, sales, branding, business strategies and the latest technology. Social media trends - including details on promoting businesses, boosting sales and improving customer service via networks like Facebook and Twitter - will be among the topics. This year's edition also will include a panel discussion offering strategies and wisdom from successful, seasoned entrepreneurs. "Staying in business can be difficult struggle for any small business owner anytime, but especially in a time when America is still battling the effects of a devastating recession," Small Business Development Manager Bonnie Richter says. "This workshop will offer strategies for surviving and thriving despite economic challenges, and competing in the nation's new business landscape." If small businesses go out of business, many jobs go, too: more than 70 percent of jobs are created by small business clients like the ones Harper is targeting at the Quest event. Sam Glenn, an author, comedic speaker and founder of the motivational resource company, will serve as the keynote speaker. Glenn's new book, "A Kick in the Attitude," offers tips for using positivity to achieve success. The event also will feature Mike Muldoon, a marketing and management professor and president of a consulting and business coaching practice. Entrepreneur's Quest 2010 runs from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24 at the Wojcik Conference Center on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine. The cost is $60 for those who register by April 1, and $75 afterward. That includes lunch. To register or for more details, visit, call 847.925.6520 or email The event is sponsored by the Small Business Development Center at Harper College, which provides free resources and one-on-one counseling and advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs. For appointments, call 847.925.6520.


Media Note: The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Harper College has had many success stories, despite the poor economy. To interview successful entrepreneurs for this story or others, or for comments on small business start-up tips, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Photo Opportunities

Event: Visit from Geof Manthorne of Food Network's "Ace of Cakes"

Time: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13

Location: Sports and Wellness Center, Building M

Press Contact: Terry Karow, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist, 847.925.6627,


Event: Book reading by author Thomas E. Kennedy

Time: Noon on Thursday, April 15

Location: Drama Lab, Room L109, Building L

Press Contact: Terry Karow, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist, 847.925.6627,


Event: National Small Works Exhibition

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays through Thursday, April 22

Location: Art Exhibition Space, Room C200, Building C

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Event: Entrepreneur's Quest 2010 for small businesses

Time: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24

Location: Wojcik Conference Center

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,