Experts and Insights graphic, new speaker series featuring MCC faculty

Experts and Insights

A Speaker Series Featuring MCC Faculty…

This free educational series is a unique opportunity to connect MCC employees, students, and residents to cutting-edge topics that directly impact our local economy and community. The speaker series is free and open to the public but registration is requested. 

If you need an accommodation or a sign language interpreter, contact the Access and Disability Services department at (815) 455-8766 or

Missed a lecture? Watch past lectures »

Tai Chi for Health, Relaxation, and Fitness

Thursday, August 18 at 6 p.m.

Jim Blaz

The ancient martial art of Tai Chi Juan has been used for centuries to improve flexibility, strength, balance, breathing, posture, and relaxation. Learn how you can incorporate some of these helpful practices to better navigate everyday stress.

Register for Tai Chi for Health

About Jim


Jim Blaz has taught at MCC for more than 30 years and currently leads classes in martial arts, tai chi, strength training, fitness walking, contemporary health issues, first aid and CPR, personal fitness, biomechanics of exercise, and more. He is a certified personal trainer, health and fitness instructor, industrial ergonomist, occupational therapist, strength and conditioning specialist, and weightlifting instructor. Jim has a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois and a master’s in Physical Education from Northern Illinois University. He also serves as the lead therapist and clinic director for PRES Therapy in Crystal Lake, the On-Site Occupational Therapist and Fitness Specialist for Stryker in Cary, and a coach for True Lacrosse in Lombard.

Your Toddler and Your Dog: A World of Difference

Thursday, September 15, 2022, at 6 p.m.

Bill Zingrone

Toddlers and puppies have cuteness in common—but the way their brains develop couldn’t be more different! A child's brain doesn’t mature until age 18-21, yet your dog achieves 80% brain development in just 5 months. Learn fascinating details about how these two adorable family members seek and learn information.

Register for Your Toddler and Your Dog

 About Bill


Bill Zingrone has been teaching Introduction to Psychology, Human Development Over the Lifespan, and Child Development at MCC for more than 15 years. He graduated with his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Northern Illinois University in 2010, with research interests in Cognitive Development and Evolution. Bill is married with 14 grandchildren and is a hockey fan, author, and MCC alumnus.

Using Data to Understand Our World

Thursday, October 20, 2022, at 6 p.m.

Laura Middaugh and Mark Carlson

With the vast amount of information available at our fingertips, it can be difficult to determine who or what to believe. What can best help us navigate it all? Statistics!
But don’t worry—no mathematical expertise is required. Learn how you can easily use statistics to make more informed decisions in your life.

Register for Using Data to Understand Our World

About Laura and Mark

Math instructor Laura Middaugh

Laura Middaugh has taught at MCC for 22 years. She teaches a variety of math classes but specializes in statistics. Her undergraduate degree is from Northern Illinois University and her master’s degree is from Rockford University. One of her favorite hobbies is bicycling.

Math instructor Mark Carlson

Mark Carlson has been teaching mathematics at MCC since 2016. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Michigan Technological University. In his free time, Mark enjoys running, biking, playing video games, and spending time with his wife Megan, whom he recently married.

Rival Politics: China and Iran

Thursday, November 17, 2022, at 6 p.m. in the Luecht Auditorium

Ribhi Salhi

China and Iran are in the news all the time—but why do the actions taken in these countries matter to us? We’ll explore ongoing security concerns, how they impact the United States, and how a changing international political landscape can affect us right here in McHenry County.

Register for Rival Politics: China and Iran

 About Ribhi

Ribhi Salhi

Ribhi Salhi, Ph.D. is a faculty member in the Political Science Department at MCC. Since starting with the College in 2008, he has taught classes in Comparative Government, International Relations, U.S. Foreign Policy, International Terrorism, and U.S. Government. He received his Ph.D. in Public Policies and Administration from Walden University, his M.A. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University, and an M.A in International Relations from Roosevelt University. He is an active member of the Illinois Political Science Association. In his free time, he enjoys soccer games and cardio classes.

A Christmas Carol Revisited: Scrooge's Reclamation

Thursday, December 15, 2022, at 6 p.m.

Ted Hazelgrove and Jim Gould


Get in the holiday spirit with a new take on Ebenezer Scrooge’s well-known tale of personal transformation. We’ll analyze the background and historical impact of this iconic novella and examine the lessons of Scrooge’s journey from closed-hearted and cruel to repentant and redeemed.

Register for A Christmas Carol Revisited

 About Ted and Jim

Ted Hazelgrove has taught writing and literature at MCC for 25 years. For two decades he taught a learning community every semester with Jim Gould, focusing on ethics and composition through the lenses of various subject matter, including A Christmas Carol. Hazelgrove received an MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona and has been an aspiring poet for most of his life. He is an avid amateur musician and has an insatiable curiosity for anything new.

Jim Gould taught for 33 years in the Department of Philosophy at MCC. For 20 years he team-taught classes with Ted Hazelgrove, combining literature and philosophy, like Lord of the Rings and Hunger Games. Jim is the author of over 40 peer-reviewed articles in philosophy, theology, bioethics, disability studies, and higher education curriculum. Since his retirement in 2020, Jim continues to publish in disability studies and serves on the boards of several disability groups and healthcare committees.

Plants, The Forest, and You

Thursday, January 19, 2023, at 6 p.m.

Richard Tobiasz

Humans and plants—we’re a lot more connected than you’d think! Learn about the benefits of shinrin yoku (forest bathing) for mental and physical wellbeing, explore plants' simple structure and function, and discover how plants can improve your health and help modify climate change.

Register for Plants, The Forest, and You

 About Rich

Rich Tobiasz in front of plants

Rich Tobiasz grew up in Chicago where his grandmother taught him to garden organically. While he spent most of his working life as a nurse, paramedic, and fire chief, his passion has always been gardening. Today, he operates a small vegetable farm in Spring Grove with his wife, Wendy.  

He has taught at MCC, as he says, “for a long time,” first teaching First Responder, EMT, and Paramedic classes, then teaching in MCC’s Fire Officer program. A few years ago, he moved to the Horticulture/Agriculture department where he now teaches several classes, including Fruit and Vegetable Production, Specialty Crop Production, Intro to Soils, Plant Problem Diagnosis, and Intro to Plant Science. He has a master’s degree in crop science from the University of Illinois where he also volunteers as a Master Gardener.

“Both Sides Now”

Rescheduled for Thursday, March 2, 2023, at 6 p.m.

Pat Gaughan and Nancy Maio

This live musical presentation featuring vocals, guitar, and fiddle journeys back in time to the 60s and 70s through the important music of several women folk musicians. Explore social justice, civil rights, peace movements, and feminism through the songs of artists such as Joni Mitchell, Mary Travers, Joan Baez, and Judy Collins.

Register for “Both Sides Now”

 About Pat and Nancy

Pat Gaughan teaches World Music and guitar at MCC. She has been teaching through Continuing Education for over 30 years, and as Music faculty for 20. Pat received her Bachelor of Music from the American Conservatory of Music and her master’s in music from Northern Illinois University. Pat performs vocals and guitar on the folk music circuit throughout the Midwest with fiddler Nancy Maio.

Nancy Maio is active as a violin teacher and performs with several local orchestras including the Racine Symphony, the Festival City Symphony, and the Wisconsin Philharmonic. In addition, she is a sought-after Irish Step Dance competition musician.

To Infinity and Beyond: The World of Disney

Thursday, March 16, 2023, at 6 p.m.

Jim Stockwell and Rob Allare

Explore the magical world of Walt Disney through his theme parks and movies. You’ll discover the history behind the two coastal locations and the rides that inspired (and were inspired by) the most successful canon of films in American cinema. Plus, you’ll learn why Disney considered imagination the most valuable tool in creating anything.

Register for To Infinity and Beyond: The World of Disney

 About Jim and Rob

Rob Allare and Jim StockwellJim Stockwell has been with MCC since the spring of 2003. He served 11 years as an adjunct before becoming full-time in 2014. He received tenure in 2017. He teaches Introduction to Film, Introduction to Speech, and Advanced Film. In the spring semester, he contributes to MCC’s twofer program, teaching Reel Minds. In addition to his class load, he coaches both the women’s and men’s tennis teams and advises both the Film and Chess Clubs. He wrote his first textbook, Appreciating Film, which he uses in all his classes.

This will be Rob Allare’s eighth year at MCC. After spending a decade in the consumer goods industry, he decided to go back to college to get his undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Northern Illinois University. He currently teaches American History but has taught other classes as well. His hobbies include running (he has done eight marathons!) playing guitar (loves Led Zeppelin) and traveling with his family. He hopes to go to Japan next year with his wife and two sons.

Renewing Shakespeare from the Page to the Stage

Thursday, April 20, 2023, at 6 p.m.

Jay Geller and Ted Hazelgrove

Can Shakespeare help us understand human behavior? We’ll discuss the important work of the bard as both a literary and performing text, using films and live-action scenes to illustrate our points.

Register for Renewing Shakespeare »

 About Jay and Ted

Jay Geller

Jay Geller is beginning his 23rd year as the department chair of Theatre at MCC. He is also chair of Speech and Journalism and teaches speech, film, and all theatre courses. He has directed and produced 50 productions at the College. He has an undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Illinois State University. He loves to travel, running, and everything about the Marvel Comic Universe!


Ted Hazelgrove has taught writing and literature at MCC for 25 years, with an emphasis on Shakespeare and Greek and Roman mythology. He received an MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona and has been an aspiring poet for most of his life. Hazelgrove is an avid amateur musician and has an insatiable curiosity for anything new.

Stuck in an Echo Chamber? How to Find Your Way Out

Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 6 p.m.

Kim Tipton

Seeing more polarized information these days? You’re not alone. We’ll examine bias in the media and help you learn how to recognize it. By analyzing “filter bubbles,” we’ll discover how our own bias can affect us when seeking out information.

Register for Stuck in an Echo Chamber »

 About Kim

Kim TiptonKim Tipton is the Reference Librarian at MCC and provides information literacy instruction for MCC 101, English 151, and English 152. She’s also the advisor for It’s Lit: The Low-Key Book Club. Kim has been at MCC for four years and has a master’s in library and information science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She lives in Crystal Lake with her family and enjoys photography, baseball, camping, and hiking.

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