August 2019 - Southwestern Illinois College

SWIC Tech Ed students win medals at the National SkillsUSA Competition

Southwestern Illinois College Technical Education students brought home gold medals in Automated Manufacturing from the National SkillsUSA Competition in Louisville, Kentucky – the ninth year in a row that SWIC has earned medals at the event.   

“Once again, our talented Precision Machining Technology students are national champions,” said SWIC Industrial Technology Coordinator Mark Bosworth. “The talent that comes out of this program is just amazing to watch. Our students have won 10 national medals in nine years.”

SWIC 2019 SkillsUSA gold medal Automated Manufacturing team includes:

  • Connor Barnard of Alton
  • Gavin Becherer of Troy
  • Connor Braasch of Troy

  Other SWIC students who competed at SkillsUSA Nationals include:

  • Bryce Dickenson of Granite City – Welding  
  • Clayton Lents of Waterloo – Mechatronics
  • Jonathan Lunk of Waterloo – Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration 
  • Tom Petroski of St. Jacob – CNC Turning  
  • Mike Torre of Highland – CNC Milling   
  • Blake Schuette of Alton – CNC Technician   
  • Nicholas Wittenauer of Red Bud – Mechatronics

SkillsUSA is a national technical education organization that partners educators, employers and students to teach greater skills to Americans, according to its website. The SkillsUSA Championships are competitive events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels.

For more information about SWIC Technical Education programs, visit

Photo caption: The SWIC students in the first place Automated Manufacturing team include, left to right, Connor Barnard of Alton, Gavin Becherer and Connor Braasch, both of Troy.

SWIC to celebrate art, film and music in fall 2019

Enjoy a film festival, purchase original art pieces or listen to the sounds of the SWIC Concert Band at Southwestern Illinois College this fall.

The college’s arts series, called the Southwestern Illinois Creative Arts Syndicate, features a variety of events ranging from a lecture from the SWIC faculty speaker series, titled “Architecture, Renovation & the Haunting of Hartmann Manor,” by SWIC Assistant Professor of Art Paula Haniszewski on Oct. 29, the annual SWIC Pottery & Art sale on
Nov. 28, the SWIC Holiday Concert on Dec. 3, to the first annual two-day Southwestern Illinois Film Festival held Dec. 13-15.

The fall 2019 SWICARTS calendar is below. For details on individual events, visit or  

Oct. 2: Faculty Speaker Series: ­Thrice Homeless – Welcoming Gustav Mahler, with Associate Professor of Music Ed Jacobs, 3 p.m., The Schmidt

Oct. 29:­ Faculty Speaker Series: Architecture, Renovation, & the Haunting of Hartmann Manor with Assistant Professor of Art Paula Haniszewski, 1 p.m., The Schmidt


Sept. 26 – Filmmaker Spotlight: “In Memory of” with writer/director Eric Stanze (This film contains mature content and is not suitable for all ages.) 7:30 p.m., Liberal Arts Theatre

Oct. 17 – Filmmaker Spotlight: Experimental Filmmaker Zlatko Cosic,
7:30 p.m., Liberal Arts Theatre

Nov. 7 – Filmmaker Spotlight: “Dog Days” with writer/director Chad Carpenter, 7:30 p.m., Liberal Arts Theatre

Dec. 13-15 – Southwestern Illinois Film Festival: SWIFF A 2-day film festival. To apply or for more information visit, Liberal Arts Theatre

Dec. 15 – Tim Venhaus Retrospective, 3 p.m., Liberal Arts Theatre


Nov. 15-17 – Fall Theatre Production: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
Main Complex Theatre


For exhibition information, visit

Aug. 22 – Exhibition Opening Reception: Todd May, Nanette Boileau and Daniel Stumeier, 4-7 pm., The Schmidt

Oct. 24 – Exhibition Opening Reception: Cory Sellers, Thomas Matthew Pierson and Amy Reidel, 4-7 pm., The Schmidt

Nov. 26 –Pottery & Art Sale, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Schmidt


For concert information, visit

Sept. 17 – SWIC Music Faculty & Friends Recital, 7 p.m., The Schmidt

Oct. 9 – SWIC Student Recital, 3 p.m., Main Campus Theatre

Oct. 20 – SWIC Concert Choir & Chamber Singers: The Poet Sings, 3 p.m.,
Union United Methodist Church, 721 E. Main St., Belleville

Oct. 23 – SWIC Student Recital, 3 p.m., The Schmidt

Oct. 24 – Choir Concert: No-Name Chorale & Friends, 7 p.m.,
St. Paul United Church of Christ, 115 W. B St., Belleville

Nov. 4 – SWIC Jazz Band, 7 p.m., Main Complex Theatre

Nov. 5 – SWIC Concert Band: Musical Mixtures, 7 p.m., St. Clare of Assisi Church, 1411 Cross St., O’Fallon

Nov. 6 – SWIC Student Recital, 3 p.m., The Schmidt

Nov. 7 – SWIC Piano & Violin Recital: The B Side, 7 p.m., The Schmidt

Dec. 3 – SWIC Holiday Concert featuring Chamber Singers, Concert Band & Jazz Band, 7 p.m., Varsity Gym

Dec. 4 – SWIC Student Honors Recital, 3 p.m., The Schmidt

Dec. 7 – SWIC Concert Choir & Chamber Singers: Carols by Candlelight V featuring St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Principal Harpist Allegra Lilly, 7 p.m., Union United Methodist Church, 721 E. Main St., Belleville


Oct. 18 – College Radio Day, Liberal Arts 1342,  ALL DAY Listen on Blue Storm Radio on TuneIn

Oct. 18 – College Radio Day, Liberal Arts 1342,  ALL DAY Listen on Blue Storm Radio on TuneIn


Public transit is a safe, cost-effective transportation option for people of all ages, and in the St. Louis region, it’s proving to be particularly viable for students. High school, college and university students accounted for nearly 2 million MetroLink and 1.6 million MetroBus passenger trips during the last school year. To underscore the advantages of a robust public transit system and further boost ridership among students, faculty and staff at higher education institutions, Citizens for Modern Transit, Metro Transit, Metro Transit Public Safety and the Bureau of Transit Police are teaming up with St. Louis Community College (#STLCC), Saint Louis University (#SLU), Southwestern Illinois College (#SWIC), University of Missouri–St. Louis (#UMSL) and Washington University in St. Louis (#WUSTL) to host the first ever College Transit Challenge. On Wednesday, Aug. 28, those affiliated with the respective schools can help their college or university win by taking MetroBus or MetroLink that day. Ridership will be tracked via social media. Participants simply check in at a Metro Transit Center – via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – and post a status update or photo with #iTakeTransit, along with their school’s hashtag (ex: #iTakeTransit #UMSL).

The school with the most ridership will be awarded bragging rights and a MetroLink Train Trophy. All College Transit Challenge participants will be entered in a prize drawing for St. Louis Cardinals tickets and more. Plus, those who show their Metro U-Pass to the Bureau of Transit Police and Metro Transit Public Safety Officers when traveling via MetroLink or MetroBus that day may receive a special prize.

“One of the goals of this challenge is to spotlight the fact that academic institutions are helping to support sustainable transit access through transit fare programming,” commented Taulby Roach, President and CEO, Bi-State Development. “More than 100,000 passes provide students, faculty and staff unlimited access for MetroBus and MetroLink trips during the school year through Metro’s U-Pass program. In addition to getting to and from campus, these passes can be utilized to gain free access to restaurants, shopping, employment opportunities, sporting and concert venues, and St. Louis culture. It’s safe, convenient and far more cost effective than driving, paying for parking or utilizing on-demand ride services.”

College Transit Challenge partners are hosting a kick-off event at 8 a.m. at the Grand MetroLink Station. There will be formal remarks by Kimberly Cella, Executive Director, Citizens for Modern Transit; Taulby Roach, President and CEO, Bi-State Development; Colonel Jon M. Belmar, Chief of Police, St. Louis County Police Department; Thomas F. George, Chancellor, University of Missouri–St. Louis; and Ashley Williams, a student from Washington University in St. Louis who regularly uses the local public transit system. Mascots from each of the participating schools, as well as other representatives, will also be on hand.

“This day-long effort is an yet another opportunity for us to reinforce the key role a safe, integrated public transit system plays in providing access and opportunity to an array of resources, including education,” said Kimberly Cella, Executive Director, Citizens for Modern Transit. “We are grateful for our academic partners and look forward to a fun-filled day aboard transit.”

To learn more, visit or

About Citizens for Modern Transit

Citizens for Modern Transit is a nonprofit, member supported organization that leads efforts for an integrated, affordable, and convenient public transportation system with light rail expansion as the critical component that will drive economic growth to improve quality of life in the St. Louis region.

About Metro Transit

Metro Transit operates the St. Louis region’s public transportation system which includes 400 clean-burning diesel buses that serve 83 MetroBus routes in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois. Metro also operates MetroLink light rail vehicles on 46 miles of track serving 38 stations in the two-state area, and operates Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 122 vans. Metro Transit is a Bi-State Development enterprise.

Save lives, donate blood at SWIC Belleville & Red Bud Campuses Sept. 10

Save the lives of up to three people by donating blood during the upcoming American Red Cross Blood Drive Tuesday, Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Southwestern Illinois Belleville Campus, 2500 Carlyle Ave., in the Main Complex Varsity Gym or from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the SWIC Red Bud Campus, 500 W. South Fourth St., in the Performing Arts Room.

“We need every donation we can get in order to maintain the supply in our region,” said College Activities and Student Life Director Amy Brockman. “Your donation truly will make a difference. We hope to see you!”

All types of blood are needed, especially O Positive. If you do not know your blood type, you can find out when you donate.

To donate you must weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old. If you are 16 years old and wish to donate in Illinois, you need a permission form signed by your parent or guardian. New donors should bring proper identification, such as a driver’s license or a state ID.

Individuals are encouraged to set an appointment time, but walk-ins are welcome and will be accommodated as quickly as possible.

All presenting donors will receive light refreshments and a place to rest briefly following their donation.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 618-235-2700, ext. 5561, or toll free at 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5561.

SWIC President appointed to Governor’s manufacturing strategic planning committee

Nick J. Mance
Norma Bellcoff
Norma Bellcoff

Gov. JB Pritzker recently appointed Southwestern Illinois College President Nick J. Mance to the state’s Policy Academy on Strengthening Your State’s Manufacturing, a committee dedicated to developing and implementing a strategic plan to strengthen manufacturing in Illinois.

In addition, Gov. Pritzker appointed SWIC Foundation Board Chair Norma Bellcoff, vice president of Business Development/Trust at TheBANK of Edwardsville, to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Teachers’ Retirement System.

Mance has 25 years of service in community college leadership as a SWIC Trustee from 1993-2018, and 20 years as chair of the SWIC Board of Trustees, before becoming president of the institution in July 2018. He is a Certified Public Accountant, with more than 30 years of senior business management and leadership experience.

“I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to serve on the Governor’s Policy Academy,” Mance said. “This is a chance to strengthen the relationship between education, industry and our state government with the goal of improving our economy.”

The Policy Academy is charged with developing and implementing a plan that will improve retention and competitiveness of manufacturers in the state; increase Illinois manufacturing productivity and sales; and prepare the Illinois workforce for high-demand manufacturing jobs.

Mance is one of only four individuals in the state appointed to the Policy Academy Core Team. The Policy Academy is part of a five-year statewide economic development plan.

Bellcoff’s role on the Board of Trustees of the Teachers’ Retirement System will be to work with other Board members to oversee the operations of the TRS. The Board ensures the continual delivery of the retirement security promised to members by maintaining the highest and most efficient level of service.

Bellcoff has been in the financial services industry since 1988 and began her career at Argosy Gaming Company as assistant director of investor relations before joining A.G. Edwards Trust as a trust officer. Bellcoff joined TheBANK in 2010.

In addition to serving as chair of the SWIC Foundation Board, she also serves on the Marquette Catholic High School Foundation Board as well as other foundation boards and the Southwestern Illinois Division Auxiliary Board of Directors of the United Way of Greater St. Louis. Bellcoff received her bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from Duquesne University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

For more information, call SWIC at 618-235-2700, ext. 5247.

Explore ceramics and pop culture pieces at The Schmidt Art Center

Starting in August, three solo exhibitions at the William and Florence Schmidt Art Center will offer art lovers varying views of American culture through ceramics, a large-scale installation, and drawings and prints.

Artists Nanette Boileau, Todd May and Daniel Stumeier’s exhibits will be displayed from Aug. 22 through Oct. 10 at The Schmidt. An opening reception will be held from 4-7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 22 and artist talks at 6 p.m. at the art center on the Southwestern Illinois College Belleville Campus, 2500 Carlyle Ave.

The exhibits offer viewers a chance to reflect on the timeless exploration of wheel-thrown ceramic forms using natural gas reduction; investigate a large-scale installation about varied and non-conformist paths of Americans fighting for their dreams; and view drawings and prints that examine Midwest American popular culture in light of current attitudes toward race and class.

“These exhibits give us a chance to discuss current events within our society and culture,” said Schmidt Curator Nicole Dutton. “As well as, reflect on the past and hopes for the future.”

For more information about these exhibitions, The Schmidt, the art center’s calendar of events and arts education programs, visit or call 618-222-5ART (5278).

SWIC ranked No. 5 top value for nursing programs in Illinois

Southwestern Illinois College’s Nursing Education program is ranked No. 5 for Best Value in the state, according to online magazine Nursing Explorer.

The magazine rated 1,721 nursing programs in 45 states based on information from the Department of Education and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. SWIC placed at the No. 5 spot out of 63 programs in Illinois.

“We’re very proud to offer such a high-quality program at an affordable price,” said Julie Muertz, dean of the SWIC Health Sciences and Homeland Security Division. “Our program is well-known throughout the Metro East and St. Louis for graduating qualified RNs. I’m glad we’re getting recognition at the state level too.”

The ranking scores are based on the NCLEX nursing exam pass rate and the institution’s net-price. Each school was awarded a score between 1 and 100 that reflects the quality of education offered at the school and the program’s affordability. Rankings can be viewed at

If a school has a high NCLEX pass rate and low tuition, then its ranks will be higher. Averaged over the last five years, SWIC has a 90 percent NCLEX pass rate. Tuition and fees are only $122 per semester credit, plus financial aid and scholarships.

SWIC offers a two-year Associate in Applied Science degree in Nursing Education. The program includes classroom and hands-on lab instruction, as well as clinical experience working with real patients in health care facilities.

Registered nurses provide a variety of comprehensive medical services that range from promoting good hygiene to administering medication in order to maintain or restore a patient’s good health. Nurses practice in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, physicians’ offices, schools, industries and home-health-care settings.

For more information about the SWIC Nursing Education program, contact the Nursing Education Director Angela Gilbreth at 618-235-2700, ext. 5268 or, or visit

SWIC Precision Machining courses at Red Bud High School open to the public

Learn the basic principles of precision machining from safety and set up to drilling and cutting in Southwestern Illinois College courses offered at Red Bud High School this fall.

SWIC will offer two Precision Machining Technology courses, PMT 101 Intro to the Machine Trades and PMT 102 Intermediate Machining at the high school, 815 Locust St., in Red Bud. The courses are open to the public as well as to Red Bud High School students.

Both four-semester-credit courses count toward the SWIC Precision Machining Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree and Certificate. They will be offered Monday and Wednesday nights: PMT 101 – Aug. 19 to Oct. 14, 5:15-9:35 p.m., and PMT 102 – Oct. 16 to Dec. 11, 5:15-9:50 p.m.

“SWIC wanted to offer the residents of Randolph County the opportunity to experience these career-building courses in the local area,” said SWIC Dean of Technical Education Brad Sparks. “If they discover their interest in Precision Machining, they can purse the college’s other degree and certificates courses and start working toward a career.”

In PMT 101, students will learn basic hand tools, measuring tools, and layout procedures, then transitions into basic machine principals including safety, operation, and part set-ups for primary and secondary machining. In PMT 102, students will learn   

four machine operations (drilling, turning, milling, grinding). Thread cutting, advanced milling operations and the introduction of the surface grinder will be covered.

Graduates of the PMT program are prepared to work as toolmakers, CNC programmers and operators, general machinists and maintenance machinist in manufacturing as well as the steel, chemical, oil, food and beverage industries.

For more information about the PMT courses offered at Red Bud High School or other PMT courses, visit For registration information, visit