RVC Awards 2021 Faculty Of The Year

Molly Sides, Professor of English, has been honored as the 32nd recipient of the Rock Valley College Faculty of the Year award.  Sides was presented the award during the college’s virtual faculty development session on April 1.

Sides has taught at RVC since 2002. In addition to her teaching, she is the Faculty Liaison to the college’s Writing Center, where over the last several years she has headed a campus-wide initiative to improve writing across the curriculum, and where she recently spearheaded an effort to provide online access to supplemental instructional materials on various aspects of writing and editing to the larger campus community. She has also served as the Chair of the Visiting Writer committee, which brings notable authors to campus each year for a reading/lecture, increasing access to the arts for students and the greater community alike.

In the classroom, Sides has restructured the English department’s creative writing offerings and successfully re-introduced creative writing courses into the class rotation. Her successful efforts with the creative writing courses has helped keep Voices, RVC’s literary and arts journal, in circulation and also thriving as an online publication.

“I deeply believe in the importance and power of language both in art and in practical expression, and it’s an honor to have a career that allows me to share that belief in a way that not only can inspire others but provide them opportunities for growth and exposure,” said Professor Sides. “[RVC] and my colleagues here have seen me through as much as any family does, and I’m proud to be a thread in its fabric.”

In the community, Professor Sides has worked with Rockford Public Schools to guide fifth graders through the novel writing process during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and with the Rockford Area Arts Council both as a participant in a professional writing group, and as the Lead Artist teaching creative writing to students in the summer ArtsPlace program.

In June of 2019, she completed a draft of her personal opus, a novel-length work of literary fiction, titled Pigeon House.

“[Pigeon House] is the hard-earned result of a journey that started years ago, when one of my daughters asked me about who I used to be,” said Professor Sides. “’A writer,’ I said, and because my two little girls—Raine and Ila—are my whole world, I knew I had to live up to that title, and try to make them as proud of me as I am of them.”

Sides holds an MFA in Creative Writing of Fiction from George Mason University.


Faculty of the Year Recipients at Rock Valley College

2021: Molly Sides
2020: Not awarded
2019: Brian Wagner
2018: Amanda Kieper
2017: Paul Laprade
2016: Dr. Chris Kramer
2015: Joe Haverly
2014: Dr. Paul McCombs
2013: Crystal Dinwiddie
2012: Dr. Michael Youngblood
2011: Dr. Julie Hernandez
2010: Linden Griesbach
2009: Dr. Erin Fisher
2008: Robert Hessel
2007: Dr. Beth Ingle
2006: Dr. Penelope Blake
2005: Diane Koenig
2004: Norma Anderberg-Freeberg
2003: Dr. Martin Quirk
2002: Judy Straffin
2001: Tom Lombardo
2000: Dr. Michelle Rotert
1999: Peter Frisk
1998: Robert Benham
1997: Karen Messley
1996: Richard Rundall
1995: Kanwal Prashar
1994: Nancy Sylvester
1993: Larry Zachary
1992: Dave Arnold
1991: Jack Simon
1990: Dave Ross
1989: Dave Gustafson