INA - Surprisingly enough, there are similarities between Rend Lake College and the U.S. Army. Just ask Charley Holstein.
Holstein, a retired Army officer, has been the new Vice President of Student Services at RLC for three weeks now.
He earned his bachelor's degree in pre-law and administration of justice from SIU-C in 1989 and dual Masters Degrees in Management and Human Resources from Webster University in St. Louis in 1999.
He served as an enlisted soldier in the Army for several years before attending SIU-C where he enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, ultimately graduating first in his class, designated as a distinguished military graduate, and receiving a Regular-Army commission as a Second Lieutenant of the Artillery.
Serving his country was a calling that would take him and his family to far-reaching realms of the world and involve him in top-level defense work. He served in locations ranging from northern Alaska to South Korea, to the deserts of New Mexico while involved in the U.S. nuclear weapons program, and serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Holstein was part of a small group from his commissioning class of 1989 to attend, as a resident, the Army's prestigious Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While a student there, he was selected to participate in a "training with industry" project to develop a strategic plan to increase military student admissions for Strayer University in Kansas City, Mo. The project ultimately increased military student enrollment by 22%.
He has served as the Deputy Director of Human Resources and Battalion Executive Officer with the 101st Airborne Division, where he deployed to Kuwait and Iraq as part of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Holstein was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his actions in the war.
After more than 20 years of service and promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, it was time to come back home.
He retired from the Army last year and now holds a steady address in Fairfield with his wife Shelly and their three children - 16-year-old son Eric, 12-year-old daughter Emily, and two-year old son Nathan.
With resume bullets like waging a war on terrorism, executing top secret missions to defend freedom and spending nearly two years in combat, some might say that an administrative position with RLC might be a little - for a lack of a better term - boring. According to Holstein, that is just simply not the case.
Holstein told the RLC Board of Trustees at their January meeting that he is "humbled" and "excited about the opportunity and very happy to be here." The Board approved Holstein for the position in December.
"I've been here a few weeks and am thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and dedication of the entire organization," Holstein said. "It's remarkable the similarities that exist between my past and present duties. Both center on taking care of people - previously soldiers and now students.
"While the terms and acronyms may be different, the core functions are very similar. Counseling, training, discipline, and fiscal responsibility are huge in the military and are just some of the strengths I hope I bring to the Rend Lake College team."
His knowledge fits right in with his new duties. As Vice President of Student Services, Holstein oversees the Academic Counseling Center, Financial Aid Department, Student Records, the Registrar, the Learning Resource Center (Library), Special Programs such as the Adult Education and Family Literacy Program, the Child Care Resource and Referral Program, the educational programs at Big Muddy and Pinckneyville Correctional Centers, and the Child Care facilities at the main campus as well as the Mount Vernon Marketplace. He also handles student discipline and grievance procedures. Holstein reports directly to RLC President Mark S. Kern.