Every Rend Lake College student in need of textbooks likely has visited the campus Textbook Rental Center. At the helm of this hub of activity is Dorothy Feira, who recently was recognized by her colleagues and the college administration as a co-recipient of the 2004 Outstanding Staff Award.
Feira received the award during the annual RLC Board-Faculty-Staff Dinner, held Friday, May 7, at the Rend Lake Resort Conference Center.
"I feel deeply grateful and overwhelmingly proud that my work has been a positive contribution to Rend Lake College," Feira said.
Feira "exudes every characteristic that the college would consider to be outstanding," said her colleagues in a nomination letter. "Her stellar performance as an employee is an essential element in the success of the Textbook Department and the college as a whole."
Feira’s duties include ordering and maintaining the required texts for all classes offered by Rend Lake College and coordinating textbook rentals for in-district high schools which participate in dual-credit programs.
Feira is an alumnus of Rend Lake College, having received her Associate in Applied Science in Business Management in 1997. In 1998, she received an Associate of Arts Degree. She continued her education at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in the field of Workforce Education and Development, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in 1999 and a Master’s Degree in 2002.
"I wanted to go to school as a child, but in 1963, there was not a lot of funding for college," Feira said. As one of five children, money was tight at home as well, she said.
Feira said she earned each of these degrees while working full-time at Rend Lake College, "so it can be done for anybody who wants a college education."
Feira started at Rend Lake College in 1993 as an assistant bookstore manager. She moved up to her present position as Textbook Sales and Rental Coordinator in 1998.
"In the last six years in our department, I’m glad we’ve seen the development of the textbook rental program," said Feira. "I’ve seen the difference it makes for students in paying for their educations. I think that is the most positive thing that has come from this department, making that work for the students."
RLC is an innovative regional leader in the textbook rental program. The program charges $47 per book, $20 of which is a deposit fee returned to the student when the book is returned in good condition at the end of the semester. Students still may buy their books if they choose.
The program is so unique, Feira said, that her master’s degree thesis was based on it. She credited Bob Carlock, RLC Vice President of Finance and Administration, for designing the system.
"It’s been a really effective program," Feira said. She said the reduced cost for textbooks causes scholarship and grant money to go farther at Rend Lake College than other institutions.
"I’m really thankful to my staff for helping make everything work so well," Feira said.
Also winning the Outstanding Staff Award this year was Community Education Director Dawn Gibson.