SWIC-cess Stories

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SWIC Serves Those Who Served


Among the most inspirational students we serve are veterans and active military personnel. So much so, the entire college dug even deeper this year to ensure our military-student service was second to none. Mission accomplished considering the college was recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a VetSuccess on Campus institution, one of only 94 designated colleges nationwide. SWIC also earned the Governor's Award for Excellence for military service; and Military Friendly School® status from Victory Media, which serves military personnel nationwide. Also, for the second consecutive year, the SWIC National Test Center at Scott Air Force Base was recognized by the College Board for being among the top 13 percent of military test centers nationally for administering College Level Examination Program tests. Truly, the unselfish sacrifices of our service women and men have inspired us to reach new service heights.

Going for (LEED) Gold

Starbucks in the new LAC is a popular spot for students.

Our new Liberal Arts Complex, which opened for classes in Spring 2013, is poised to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. The $19.1 million, 78,000-square-foot, "green" building expansion houses 23 classrooms, a 100-seat auditorium, a media production studio, a Success Center and a Starbucks coffee shop.

SWIC IN THE TOP 100 - SWIC has again placed highly among the country's top providers of associate degrees and certificates. According to the June 2013 Community College Week, SWIC has placed in the top 100 in six categories - two more than last year. 

One-Year Certificates:

  • 24th - Non-Minority One-Year Certificate
  • 28th - All Disciplines
  • 82nd - Minority One-Year Certificate 

Two-Year Degrees

  • 20th - Multi/Interdisciplinary Students
  • 30th - Precision Production
  • 99th - All Disciplines- Total Non-Minority 

GED GRADUATION - Our 2013 GED graduation class boasted a total of 598 students - one of the largest GED graduating classes on record. President Georgia Costello, Ph.D., and keynote speaker Bruce N. Cook, LLB, presented Audrey Justus, widow of the late Sheriff Mearl J. Justus, an engraved, framed copy of Justus' SWIC-cess ad during the Certification Ceremony. Costello also announced the creation of a plaque in Justus' honor for placement at either Adult Basic Education at the Belleville Campus or Programs and Services for Older Persons. Justus earned associate degrees in Criminal Justice and Security Administration at SWIC. He also taught future generations of law enforcement professionals through the SWIC Police Academy.

GRADUATION KEYNOTE - Gen. William M. Fraser III, commander of USTRANSCOM at Scott Air Force Base, delivered the keynote address at our May 16 commencement ceremony. President Georgia Costello, Ph.D., presents Fraser with a SWIC pennant to commemorate the event.

GROWING GREEN - SWIC was included in the summer edition of the Illinois Community College Board Magazine for receiving the U.S. Green Building Council Growing Green Award, presented by the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter. The edition also included an article about the Illinois Green Economy Network receiving a $3.7 million grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

ACHIEVEMENT IN FINANCE - Once again, SWIC has been awarded the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. Congratulations to Controller Deb Massena and the Business Office.

SWIC.EDU GETS SMART - The SWIC Web Team unveiled a new mobile version of swic.edu that displays automatically on any smart phone or tablet, making navigating the site easy from wherever you are. Features of the mobile site include 

  • One-touch navigation to the most popular pages on swic.edu 
  • Search from the home page 
  • A-Z index and faculty/staff listings that filter your search as you type 
  • A map feature that uses your preferred map app to give directions to SWIC and around each campus 
  • A phone feature to call each campus directly
  • The option to view the full site, straight from your device

MANUFACTURING DAY - SWIC hosted its first Manufacturing Day Open House on Oct. 4 at the Sam Wolf Granite City Campus. More than 600 people, including 400 students from 14 high schools, attended the event. In total, 29 companies were represented on site and nine manufacturing facilities offered tours. SWIC also offered hands-on demonstrations of new technology and machinery recently added to the Industrial Technology Center. The event was presented in partnership with IMEC - the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, the Southwestern Madison County Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Pictured from left are Southwestern Madison County Chamber of Commerce Director Rosemarie Brown, Granite City Economic Development Director John Ferry, Technical Education Dean Brad Sparks, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Adam Pollet, Ehrhardt Tool and Machine President Bob Roseman, Industrial Technology Program Coordinator Mark Bosworth, Sam Wolf Granite City Campus Executive Director Frank Miles, President Georgia Costello, Ph.D., and Trustee Philip L. Smith.

BRIDGE TO EMPLOYMENT - Students in the Highway Construction Careers Training Program played a major role in the construction of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. A FOX2 News story even featured a SWIC construction trades program graduate, an African-American female who represents those 25 percent of our graduates who found immediate employment including work on the new bridge.  

GREEN BUSINESS CHALLENGE - Director of College Partnerships Marcia Lochmann and three other SWIC staff attended the St. Louis Green Business Challenge Awards Ceremony on December 10 during which Vice President for Community Services and Campus Operations Mark Eichenlaub, Ed.D., accepted the Award for High Performance Building Initiative on behalf of SWIC.

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Influential Business Woman

Patricia Miller, St. Louis Business Journal editor, left; Costello; and Jennifer Blome, KSDK news anchor

College President Georgia Costello, Ph.D., is one of the St. Louis Business Journal's 25 most influential business women of 2013. She is the only educator and only Illinois leader on the list.

"This is truly an honor to be recognized in the company of such accomplished business women," Costello said. "I'm glad to represent higher education and the metro-east."

Costello also received the Presidential Award from the Southwestern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission and Southern Illinois Police Chiefs Association.

H.O. Brownback, vice president emeritus for planning, research and development, was appointed as an eligibility and specialized peer reviewer by the Higher Learning Commission. Brownback is part of the commission's most senior body of evaluators. He retired from SWIC in May 2013.

College Activities and Belleville AmeriCorps sponsored a Volunteer Fair in April to put students in contact with nonprofit organizations in our area. Approximately 700 students and community members visited the 30 organizations represented. Students also had the opportunity to prepare 100 hygiene kits for local homeless people.

Through Community Education, 101 College for Kids classes were offered in summer 2013, with 493 students enrolled. In the 24 Kids on Campus classes offered, 241 students enrolled.

The East St. Louis Writers' Workshop series completed its 11th semester in fall 2013. The workshops bring five-seven writers each semester to the East St. Louis Community College Center to speak about their published works and writing experiences.

The East St. Louis garden was planted for its fourth gardening season at the East St Louis Community College Center thanks to the continued funding from annual College Activities grants. The garden continues to engage SWIC students and staff, SIUE Charter School students and community members.

Faculty Development Coordinator Melissa Rossi, associate professor of mathematics; Assistant Coordinator for New Faculty Orientation Dottie Bowers, professor emeritus of radiologic technology; and Assistant Coordinator for Adjunct Academy Marletta Webb, adjunct Instructor, completed the eleven-week online Certified Faculty Developer course sponsored by the Learning Resources Network. 

Marcia Lochmann, director of green jobs, directed a statewide webinar for faculty and staff of Illinois community colleges that are implementing the nearly $3 million in renewable energy projects on their campuses in spring/summer 2014. Lochmann co-manages the renewable energy projects with Tim Gibson of John A. Logan College and will coordinate the implementation of a statewide data aggregation on a virtual dashboard to be called "The IGEN Project," the first statewide project of its kind.

The National Test Center at Scott Air Force Base was among 25 military test centers in the country that administered the most College Level Examination Program exams in 2012-13, putting it in the top 13 percent of all military National Test Centers. This is the second year the SWIC National Test Center has been recognized. 

The Public Information and Marketing Design Group won eight awards in three national marketing communication competitions for work done in 2012, recognizing every graphic artist in the PI&M Design Group.

The Red Bud Campus hosted the annual High School Summer Academy through Community Education. In all, 66 students from eight high schools were enrolled in high school English and math classes, with every student successfully completing their coursework. Success of this year's program was due, in part, to the Foundation grant that allowed awards of $100 transportation and tuition scholarships.

Capt. Michael Stark, assistant director of Public Safety, received the Seven Seals Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. It is the group's broadest and most inclusive honor.

Back to Top Faculty

Don Bevirt, associate professor of art, has written a new photography textbook, "I Can Only Show You the Door: Thoughts on Art and Photography," published by Kendall Hunt Publishing Company and available for use by colleges and universities nationwide.

Thomas "Mac" Chamblin, professor of speech communication, performed at the HEAR Now Audio Fiction and Arts Festival in Kansas City, Mo. Chamblin presented readings of Mark Twain's short stories.

Tina Dierkes, Ph.D., coordinator of the Office Administration and Technology program, was recognized as the Illinois Business Education Association's 2013 Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year. She also received a 2013 IBEA Professional Recognition Award. Dierkes serves on the IBEA Board of Directors as the past president. 

Howard Gunning, associate professor in the Medical Assistant program, represented the Southern Illinois Regional Medical Assistants as a delegate to the Illinois Society of Medical Assistants House of Delegates during the ISMA annual conference.

Stanley Hatfield, professor of earth science, is serving on the Faculty Advisory Council to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Only 12 community colleges have representation at any one time on the council. Hatfield will serve a three-year appointment. 

Rhonda Kern, Ph.D., coordinator of the Radiologic Technology program, was selected by the American Society of Radiologic Technology for both the Leadership Academy and the Educators Academy. 

Garry Ladd, professor of health and exercise science, coordinated a community service project for Health and Physical Education students at the Belleville Campus. The students collected 1,035 items for local food pantries and the Belleville Area Humane Society.

Michael Marlen, associate professor of biology, and Bob Weck, associate professor of biology/department chair, were notified in January 2013 that their proposal - "Spatial and Temporal Changes in Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities and Water Quality in Sparrow Creek" - has been accepted for the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center's summer 2013 Environmental Internship Program. A SWIC student was then selected to receive the internship, which includes a $4,000 stipend. The project is one of only 19 projects selected by NGRREC for summer 2013.

Keith Mueller, aviation pilot training/aviation management program coordinator, was presented with the FAA Central Region FAASTeam Member of the Year Award in January 2013. 

Jennifer Simonton, associate professor of mathematics, and the Mathematics department coordinated the 34rd annual WYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering) competition hosted by SWIC. Thirteen area high schools and more than 250 students participated in this event.

Lee Smith, fire science instructor, was named one of the Top 14 Fire Science Instructors in the Midwest from firescience.org. In addition, Smith was re-elected vice president of the St. Clair/Monroe County Fire Chiefs Association.

Kim Snyder, Physical Therapy Assistant program coordinator, and Lisa Stejskal, adjunct faculty, received Recognition of Advanced Proficiency in Physical Therapy Education from the American Physical Therapy Assocation.

Matt Swinford, coordinator of the Network Design and Administration program, was recognized by the Cisco Networking Academy as an Expert Level instructor. This award recognizes his achievements as one of the top 10 percent of instructors globally. Swinford is also the 2013-14 SWIC Full-time Faculty Member of the Year.

Leo Welch, professor emeritus of biology, was appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn to serve on the board of the Illinois State Museum.

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From Student to Benefactor

Retired Librarian Bobbie Peduzzi, left, Dean of Learning Resources Laurie Bingel, Fries' aunt Betty Davis, Foundation Executive Director Gary Gray, retired Librarian Jan Kramer and Fries' niece Dawn Davis

Longtime librarian and college alumna Bea Fries' name won't be one students will forget anytime soon. The Belleville Campus library where Fries worked for 45 years now boasts her name. The announcement was made at the Thanks For Giving event that honors Foundation donors. Fries left the college the largest single one-time gift in college history.

The Foundation awarded nearly $100,000 in scholarships to more than 230 SWIC students for fall 2013.

Faculty and administrative enhancement grants totaling $19,000 were awarded.

The 2014 Employee Giving Campaign achieved a new record of giving. Thanks to the generosity of the SWIC family, the campaign raised $54,570 in support of students and enhancement programming.

In December 2012, the Foundation announced a $25,000 commitment from Helitech President William Courtney in honor of his wife for the Mrs. Tamarra Lane (Allen) Courtney Scholarship. The scholarship will fund two $2,500 awards for students pursuing a nursing career. Also announced was a $10,000 award established by the International Police Association Region 57 for students studying law enforcement administration.

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Season in Review

Keanau Post, left, and President Georgia Costello, Ph.D., hold a framed article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that featured the 6'11" center. Post signed to play with the Mizzou Tigers.

The men's and women's basketball teams wrapped up tremendous seasons, the women's season capped with a return trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association's national tournament. The Blue Storm claimed the top four honors in Region 24:

  • Men's Coach of the Year Jay Harrington
  • Men's Player of the Year Keanau Post
  • Women's Coach of the Year Mike Juenger
  • WBCA First-Team All-American and Player of the Year Janelle Cannon

In addition, Trae Anderson and Tony Bradley were men's All-Region and All-Conference players and Brandon Book was named to the All-Conference Second Team. Breana Baker and Danielle Duncan were women's All-Region and All-Conference players.

Business students won plenty of awards at the Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference. In addition to individual awards, the group received the Gold Seal Award of Merit and Second Place for the Largest Local Chapter Professional Division Membership for the North Central Region.

Precision Machining Technology students Cody Coffin and Mike Campbell scored big at the SkillsUSA National Competition. Coffin won gold in precision machining technology and Campbell won bronze in CNC turning.

The College Activities Board held its annual holiday toy drive for Big Brother Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois. More than 300 items were donated to provide a happy holiday for area children.

The Phi Theta Kappa Theta Epsilon Chapter hosted peer chapters at the Belleville Campus during the Illinois Regional Convention. More than 200 students and advisers attended. Chapter adviser Julie Stellhorn was named an Outstanding Adviser. The chapter received the Most Improved Chapter award, accompanied by a student scholarship to attend the 2014 International Honors Institute, and, for the second consecutive year, earned the 5-Star level in the Phi Theta Kappa 5-Star Chapter Development program. 

Craig Washington, an April DCEO construction completer, received his BPI certification in August, landing a job as an energy auditor for East St. Louis.

Back to Top PSOP

Project ReRunway was held April 8 for a sold-out crowd of 200. This very successful luncheon and fashion show featured fashions from local resale shops modeled by senior program participants. 

More than 100 Senior Companions and guests attended the Annual Recognition Luncheon on May 31. College President Georgia Costello, Ph.D., and Vice President for Community Services and Campus Operations Mark Eichenlaub were present to offer their appreciation and support of the Senior Companion Program.

Approximately 400 seniors attended the annual Senior Celebration on May 3.

The Belleville News-Democrat featured PSOP in a photo essay in its Sept. 29 edition. Photographer Steve Nagy followed PSOP for a few months capturing the different activities it offers, including a Cardinals game, a Missouri Botanical Garden trip and fitness classes.