September 2019 - Southwestern Illinois College

Higher Learning Commission permits SWIC to Follow Open Pathway to Accreditation

The Higher Learning Commission has confirmed that Southwestern Illinois College may pursue accreditation in the future under the Open Pathway model. This 10-year-cycle, like all HLC pathways, is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement.

The college is accredited by the HLC through 2024 and has been continuously accredited since 1961. For the last 20 years, SWIC has used the Academic Quality Improvement Program model, a system of action projects and self-evaluation, to seek accreditation.

“This is the best result we could have hoped for when submitting our systems portfolio,” said SWIC President Nick J. Mance. “I could not be more proud of this monumental feat and how the entire college pulled together and made it possible for us to illustrate the great work each of us does to support our mission.”

The systems portfolio is a self-evaluation report detailing the ways in which the college has met the HLC’s criteria for accreditation. The evaluation of the portfolio could have led to either the Open Pathway or the Standard Pathway, which requires more HLC oversight of the institution.

Under the terms of the 10-year Open Pathway process, institutions must:

  • Submit an annual institutional update
  • After four years, submit an Assurance Review detailing ways in which accreditation criteria are fulfilled
  • Between five and nine years, create and implement a “Quality Initiative” project
  • After 10 years, undergo a comprehensive evaluation by an HLC review team.

The Quality Initiative component affords institutions the opportunity to pursue improvement projects that meet their current and future goals.

For more information, contact the SWIC Accreditation Liaison Officer/ Assurance System Coordinator Michelle Birk at 618-235-2700, ext. 5400 or

Manufacturing Day: SWIC & Local Manufacturers Showcase Future of Industry

Check out high-tech automated manufacturing machinery, hear from regional manufacturers and discover how American manufacturing is flourishing – all at the Southwestern Illinois College Manufacturing Day celebration.

SWIC will open its doors for a Manufacturing Day Open House — Friday, Oct. 4, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. — to showcase new technology, educational programs, career opportunities, products and services. The SWIC Sam Wolf Granite City Campus, 4950 Maryville Road, will serve as the event hub for the day.

More than 1,200 local high school students are scheduled to attend.

The celebration is free and open to the public. The welcome ceremony begins at 9 a.m.

“Our goal is to show students and the community what great opportunities are available in technical education at SWIC and that there is an abundance of well-paying, secure careers in manufacturing right here in the Metro East,” said SWIC Dean of Technical Education Brad Sparks.  

World Wide Technology Raceway Owner and President Curtis Francois will serve as the keynote speaker; and SWIC Precision Machining Technology student Connor Barnard of Alton, a national SkillsUSA winner, will provide a student perspective. Two other national SkillsUSA winners, Gavin Becherer and Connor Braasch, both of Troy, will be recognized.

At the open house, visitors can tour the Precision Machining Technology, Electrical/ Electronics, and Welding Technology labs. Plus they can see first-hand how cutting-edge computerized machining, robotic welding and 3-D printing equipment is changing technical education and manufacturing.

Also, visitors can test their skills with a virtual welder and talk with more than 25 area manufacturers that will be on-site to display their products and capabilities.  

The event is presented in partnership with the Granite City Economic Development Department, IMEC – Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, Madison County Employment and Training, St. Clair County, and the Southwestern Madison County Chamber of Commerce. 

For additional information, visit or call the SWIC Technical Education Division at 618-931-0600, ext. 7476.

SWIC releases summer 2019 grad list

     The following is a list of Southwestern Illinois College students who graduated at the conclusion of the Summer 2019 Semester. The students’ names are listed alphabetically according to hometown.

The list also denotes students who graduated with honors (a 3.5 grade point average or higher) and with a perfect 4.0 GPA: SWIC Summer 2019 Graduate List.

For more information, contact SWIC Public Information and Marketing at 618-235-2700 or 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5786.

SWIC Dine & Dash event aims to be fun for whole family

Help support Southwestern Illinois College scholarships and programming, check out cool classic cars, dash across campus, grab a bite to eat from a food truck and rock out with live music at the Dine and Dash for Education event Friday, Oct. 18 from 4-9 p.m. at the SWIC Belleville Campus, 2500 Carlyle Ave.

The fun begins at 4 p.m. with a car cruise and food trucks. Live music begins at 5 p.m. and the 5K run/walk takes off at 5:30 p.m.

“We’ll have something for everyone from food and music to face painting and classic cars,” said SWIC Foundation Executive Director Rena Thoele. “We want people in the community to come out, have a good time and learn more about SWIC.”

Get information and view demonstrations from several of SWIC’s academic programs. Kids will enjoy face painting, pumpkin decorating, bounce houses, and puppet shows with American Sign Language interpreters.

The Classic Car Cruise will feature automobiles from Belleville Gear Jammers Classic Car Club. Live music will be provided by The Woo Daddies, a popular St. Louis based band whose style ranges from Blues and Jazz to Rockabilly and Pop.

Food trucks will be on-hand serving Mexican, Indian, and American cuisine, with vegetarian and vegan options available. Pirtle’s will be selling their famous ice cream for dessert. Beer, soft drinks, and water will also be offered.

For more information or to register for the 5K walk/run, visit