Liberal Arts Archives - Southwestern Illinois College

SWIC Assistant Professor Shows Art in Solo Exhibit in St. Louis Gallery

Southwestern Illinois College Assistant Professor of Art Cory Sellers is letting the world see his immediate family and their development – at least in a symbolic way – through his paintings on display at the Houska Gallery in St. Louis now through Feb. 25.

An opening reception for the show, titled “Foundation Jump,” has been rescheduled for Friday, Feb. 11 from 5-8 p.m. at the gallery, 4728 McPherson Ave., in St. Louis’ Central West End.

Sellers has taught painting, printmaking, drawing and art history at SWIC since 2012. Also, he has taught as an adjunct instructor at many other St. Louis area colleges and universities.

He has exhibited his work throughout southern Illinois, St. Louis, Chicago, and New York City. His works are in private and public collections nationally and internationally.

Sellers earned his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting and Drawing from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, in 2011 and his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois in 2007.

In “Foundation Jump,” Sellers says he has been thinking about his immediate family and their development. The painted forms are symbolic in their placement, color, and usage. Certain features get manipulated or exaggerated using a variety of preliminary drawings both digital and traditional. This process continues until Sellers feels the composition has developed its own characteristics, reminding him that the finished product does not have to look like the initial intention.

The Houska Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A virtual tour of the show will be available soon. Visit for details.

For more information about the SWIC Art program, visit

SWIC Art student displaying work in Art Saint Louis invitational show

Congratulations to Southwestern Illinois College Art student Madeline Field, 24, of Highland, who will exhibit one of her paintings in the Varsity Art XXVI Exhibition at Art Saint Louis March 4-31.

Field, who is seeking her Associate in Fine Arts – Art at SWIC, will be among 44 students from 23 regional colleges and universities in Missouri and Illinois in the 26th annual invitational exhibition.   

Art Saint Louis is a nonprofit community art organization and gallery dedicated to enriching lives through the creative activity of the region’s contemporary visual artists. Varsity Art XXVI is a multi-media exhibit including ceramics, digital media, drawing, mixed media, painting, paper, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

The gallery, located at 1223 Pine St. in St. Louis, is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to presenting this exhibition in-person in the Art Saint Louis Gallery, the show will be presented as a virtual gallery online. Visit for details.

A closing reception for the exhibition is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 31, 5-7 p.m.

The Art Saint Louis Gallery is free & open to the public. No appointment required. Masks are required.

One artist’s work from the exhibit will be selected for an Award of Excellence as an Outstanding artwork. The award-winning artist will be eligible to submit work for Art Saint Louis’ Honor Awards 2024 curated exhibit, a special 10-artist show only open to the Award-winning artists who receive Awards of Excellence in our 2022 exhibits.

For more information about the SWIC Art program, visit

Conqueror’s Christian Center honored as major donor to the SWIC Soup Program

The Southwestern Illinois College Foundation recently recognized the Conqueror’s Christian Center as a major donor to the SWIC Soup Program that helps feed students in need. From left, SWIC Foundation Executive Director Rena Thoele, Conqueror’s Christian Center Financial Secretary Alice Jackson and SWIC English Professor Tami Hughes. Conqueror’s Christian Center has been a major donor of ramen for the program for the last two years. The Soup Program, which provides meals and snacks such as ramen, crackers and raisins to students in need, no questions asked, was started by Arts and Humanities faculty Hughes and Barb Hunter, Ph.D. The food has been distributed through the Success Center since 2015. Prior to COVID, approximately 220 meals were given away to students each week. For information on donating to the Soup Program, call Hughes at 618-301-6721 or 618-641-5174 or email

SWIC to stage The Laramie Project Nov. 5-7

Experience the captivating play, “The Laramie Project,” presented by Southwestern Illinois College Division of Arts and Sciences, as it reveals the reaction to the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming.

Co-directed by SWIC Communication Arts Professors Emily Kelly-Padden and Julie Willis, the 2000 play by Moisés Kaufman and the members of Tectonic Theater Project, focuses on the community reaction to the violent crime. The production will run Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. in the SWIC Belleville Main Complex Theatre, 2500 Carlyle Ave.

“The Laramie Project” centers around a hate crime that attracted worldwide attention, bringing sexual discrimination and violence to the forefront of public discussion. “The play shocks, challenges, and moves all who watch it as it reveals the lowest depths of hatred and greatest heights of compassion that lies within all human beings in any seemingly average community,” as stated on

Tickets are $5 with a student ID, $10 for general admission and can be purchased at the door, cash-only.

The play deals with themes of an adult nature and is intended for mature audiences.

Funding and resources provided by the SWIC Division of Arts and Sciences, the SWIC Foundation and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

For more information, call Kelly-Padden at 618-235-2700, ext. 5419.

Early Childhood Education instructors Beal and Day earn SWIC Faculty Member of the Year Awards

A dedication to students, a passion for teaching, and a wealth of experience are what made Early Childhood Education instructors Carolyn Beal and Jessica Day the obvious choices for the Southwestern Illinois College full- and part-time Faculty Members of the Year Awards, respectively.

Beal, of Belleville, is an ECE professor and the ECE and Education program coordinator, who has been with the program for 30 years. Not only does Beal care about her college students, but she cares deeply about improving the profession.

“Watching the enthusiasm when a student realizes they have found their calling in this profession is amazing,” Beal said. “Graduation is one of my favorite things about teaching at SWIC. Witnessing students and their families celebrate either persistence in finally completing a degree or being the first in the family with a college degree.”   

Beal has led the initiative for SWIC to become a Gateways Entitled Institution, which provides community college students opportunities to earn credentials while completing coursework. She also co-authored and was awarded a $25,000 ICCB Competency-Based Education Grant. As a result, Beal and her ECE adjunct instructors created modules with avatars in classroom simulations. They also created self-paced, competency-based modules for those who are currently working in ECE centers. 

In addition to her duties as program coordinator, she teaches Intro to Early Childhood Education, Child Growth and Development, Child Health Maintenance, Early Childhood Practicum, and Child Family and Community.

“Carolyn Beal is the ideal educator. She is a known commodity state wide with her ECE colleagues,” said Chief Academic Officer Gina Segobiano, Ed.D. “She is someone who is not only well educated herself but is also compassionate and understanding, and elevates everyone around her through her commitment to the program. Her representation of SWIC and advocacy for the ECE program is commended.”

Beal earned her Associate in Arts in Psychology from SWIC, then known as Belleville Area College, in 1984, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from McKendree University in 1986, and Master of Science in Psychology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1993.

Previously she worked with the Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative as a school psychologist and at My Friend’s House, child care center in Mascoutah as a teacher/director.

She and her husband, Jim, have one son, Elijah, and one daughter, Annika.

Day, of Trenton, has been with SWIC since 2012, first with the Culinary Arts and Food Management program, then as an adjunct ECE instructor, and served as a dual credit instructor since 2016, first at O’Fallon Township High School from 2009 to 2020, then at Triad High School from 2020 to the present. After changing school districts, she developed additional dual credit opportunities at her new school.

She, along with Beal, participated in the $25,000 ICCB grant project which created online, self-paced modules and virtual reality scenarios, plus an institutional grant for increased technology in assessment.

“Education is what remains after students have left the classroom, which is why every class needs to be informational, relevant, and impactful,” Day said. “My job as a teacher is to connect students to content so that they can focus on its implementation in their own unique way.”

At SWIC, Day teaches Growth and Development of Children, Introduction to Early Childhood Education, Intro to Educational Technology, Child Health Maintenance, and Safety and Sanitation.

Day also incorporates service learning into her dual credit courses. While teaching at OTHS, Day sponsored the OTHS Interact Club, which was also sponsored by the local Rotary Club. The student group conducted research to learn more about the needs of those in Malawi, Africa. Day’s students collected and sent more than 3,500 books to Mawali and raised more than $500 for shipping and other costs associated with the project.

“By keeping the students engaged in course content, they are more likely to experience success,” said SWIC Dean of Arts and Sciences Mary Ruettgers, Ed.D. “She is very approachable, well liked, and respected by the dual credit students. These qualities enhance student achievement.”

Day earned her Bachelor of Science in Workforce Education from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2008 and her Master of Public Administration and Policy Analysis from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in 2019. She would love to pursue a doctorate in organizational leadership in the future and use that knowledge to help continue program growth not only at the collegiate level but also within our local schools.

In addition, she works as a corporate trainer at the Corporate Training Center since 2012 and previously worked as an assistant teacher at the Southern Illinois University Child Development Laboratory from 2006 to 2008.

Day and her husband, Michael, have three daughters, Maddie, Makenna and Hallie, and one son, Beau.

Beal and Day were also nominated by the college for the Illinois Community College Trustee Association’s Outstanding Full-time and Part-time Faculty Member of the Year honors.

For more information about SWIC, visit

SWIC Early Childhood Education Program Awarded $25,000 Competency-based Education Grant

Southwestern Illinois College Early Childhood Education program was awarded a $25,000 Illinois Community College Board Competency-based Education Grant. SWIC ECE Program Coordinator Carolyn Beal and SWIC Dean of Arts & Sciences Mary Ruettgers, Ed.D., co-created the grant application.

 According to the ICCB: This grant is designed to create and support Early Childhood Education competency-based education programs and projects in the community college system. Competency-based education focuses on determining a student’s achievement by evaluating proficiency within a set of learning outcomes and objectives moving away from traditional time-based constraints.

“This grant is a great opportunity for the SWIC Early Childhood Education Department and the SWIC community,” Ruettgers said. “Professor Beal has done a phenomenal job leading the SWIC ECE program as well as serving on many state-wide initiatives to further support Early Childhood Education. Initiatives such as these will help local ECE providers hire qualified candidates.”

Beginning with the Early Childhood Credential, between 2016-2017, all Illinois Gateways Credentials moved from standards and benchmarks to competencies. As a result, many colleges have worked to incorporate competency-based activities within their program framework and outcomes, including those related to technology. Many programs are also working to identify ways in which to observe and assess students in simulated or virtual reality scenarios. Through this grant project, grantees will have access to Mursion Technology, a virtual reality simulation platform, as well as technical assistance from ICCB and its partners.

SWIC is an Entitled Institution for ECE Credential Level 2-4, Infant/Toddler Credential Level 2-4 and Illinois Director’s Credential Level 1. 

This competency-based education grant will support the ECE program with the needed resources, technology and personnel to create modules, align modules with competencies, create assessments and rubrics, and access to virtual technology, Beal said.

The funding from this grant will support the creation of self-paced modules for students to meet the six-semester-credit requirement in Early Childhood Education to obtain the ECE level 2 credential or be lead-teacher qualified. 

For more information about the Early Childhood Education program, visit the or contact Beal at

SWIC to offer additional Gateways to Opportunity Early Childhood Education Credentials

Students in the Southwestern Illinois College Early Childhood Education program now have the opportunity to qualify for several state-recognized credentials as they take courses toward their associate degree.

SWIC has been approved as an entitled institution for Gateways to Opportunity Infant and Toddler Credentials Level 2; ECE Credentials Level 2, 3 and 4; and Illinois Director Credential Level 1.

 “This credentialing system allows students to be recognized for their work in courses as they seek their degree,” said SWIC ECE Program Coordinator Carolyn Beal. “These credentials mean students are meeting the highest professional standard.”

The Gateways to Opportunity is administered by the Illinois Network of Child Resources & Referral Agencies on behalf of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The credentials mean that students have met specific criteria in each of these areas. Each Gateways Credential has components that include coursework and/or training, as well as work and practical experience. Gateways Credentials were created by practitioners, providers, and key stakeholders to support and recognize progressive levels of knowledge and skills in these areas.

Working with children, youths, and families requires specific knowledge and skillsets in order to provide high quality programs and services. Credentials validate that an individual has attained the knowledge and skills necessary to practice this profession. When hiring, some employers give priority to professionals who have earned these credentials, Beal said.

In order to earn these credentials, students must meet all academic criteria set by the college and the INCCRRA, then apply online to Gateways to Opportunity.

SWIC Offers a 66-semester-credit Associate in Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education which is equivalent to the ECE level 4 credential. The Early Childhood Level 3 Certificate is 27 semester credits; the Early Childhood Level 2 Certificate is 15 semester credits; and the Infant Toddler Level 2 Certificate 15 semester credits. 

For more information, contact Beal at 618-235-2700, ext. 5593 or; or visit

SWIC faculty and STL Blues announcer Tom Calhoun inducted into STL Sports Hall of Fame

With a passion for communication, sports and a strong work ethic, it is no surprise that Southwestern Illinois College Adjunct Communications Professor and Blue Storm Radio General Manager Tom Calhoun was recently awarded three honors by the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.

He was inducted into the hall of fame by being presented the President’s Choice Award and also received a commemorative 1500th-game plaque at the 4th Annual Illinois Enshrinement Dinner on February 10. Previous inductees into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame include Bob Costas, Jack Buck and Dan Kelly; which Calhoun has had the pleasure of working with.

Growing up, Calhoun had a love for sports. He played baseball while attending Belleville West High School and was especially fond of Stan Musial. He also played street hockey. As a child, Calhoun was a part of a church youth group. One day after delivering a sermon, a lady told him that he had a great speaking voice and that compliment would go on to pave the path for his future career.

Calhoun went on to pursue a career in mass communications. While in college, he worked at the college radio station. After graduation, he took a position at WIBV, 1260 AM in Belleville and went on to work at several other radio stations throughout the years. In 1987, Calhoun started as the public address announcer for the St. Louis Blues hockey team. During his 33 years announcing for the St. Louis Blues, he has never missed a game.
As of Feb. 24, he has announced over 1,514 games.

“One of my fondest memories of my career will always be announcing for the 2019  Stanley Cup Finals series, where the St. Louis Blues took home their first Stanley Cup,” said Calhoun. “I was also blessed with my health and a strong family growing up; which helped teach me and guide me in the right direction.”

In 2013, he began teaching at Lindenwood University in Belleville and in 2019, started teaching at SWIC and managing Blue Storm Radio. Calhoun enjoys seeing students light-up when they finally understand something. “It is gratifying,” he says. “I love to have the opportunity to connect with my students and help them achieve their future career goals.”    

Calhoun suggests that anyone looking to enter any mass communications field should put in effort in their language arts classes, understand phonics, be able to diagram a sentence and understand the English language better than the average person. At SWIC, he has taught Introduction to Mass Communication and Radio Production.

Being inducted into St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame by receiving the President’s Choice Award and receiving a commemorative 1500th game plaque from the NHL off-ice officials meant a great deal to Calhoun..

“I am grateful that all my years of hard-work are being recognized and the effort I have put into my career is being highlighted,” said Calhoun. “That’s special stuff right there, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

In the future, Calhoun hopes to continue announcing for the St. Louis Blues and to raise awareness of SWIC’s Blue Storm Radio. He would like to make it a recognized entity within the community.     

He earned his Associate in Arts degree from Belleville Area College; a Bachelor of Science from South Illinois University Edwardsville and a Master of Arts from Lindenwood University. In his free time, Calhoun and his wife train their seven chihuahuas and enter them into dog shows. He also enjoys woodworking.

Calhoun and his wife of 42 years, Barb, live in Millstadt, Illinois. They have two children, Ian, 39 who lives in Vail, Colorado and Stewart, 35 who lives in San Diego. Stay connected with him via his social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For more information about SWIC classes and programs visit

SWIC students to display their works at Varsity Art XXIV in St. Louis

Southwestern Illinois College art students will showcase their artistic talents at the annual Art Saint Louis multi-media exhibition “Varsity Art XXIV.”

The show will feature 40 original artworks by undergraduate and graduate-level art students, representing 20 St. Louis regional colleges and universities from Missouri and Illinois.

This year, outstanding art students Sasha Nicole Agnew of Fairview Heights and Rebekah Segelhorst of Venedy, Illinois have been chosen to represent SWIC at the event. Agnew will be showcasing paintings and Segelhorst will be presenting a wearable art piece.

The show kicks off Friday, Feb. 28, with a FREE opening reception on Friday, March 6 from 6-8 p.m. at Art Saint Louis, 1223 Pine St. in St. Louis.

Student artwork created from a variety of media including ceramics, drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and video will be on display through Thursday, March 26.

The Varsity Art XXIV annual event is a collaboration between Art Saint Louis and the participating collegiate institutions, their art faculty and students. The Art Saint Louis artistic director works closely with art faculty at the area’s colleges and universities, inviting the professors to select two outstanding art students to represent their art department and institution in the annual show.    

To view the Facebook event click here and to view the Facebook opening reception event click here. For more information about the SWIC art department or art program visit


The Southwestern Illinois College Red Bud Campus will host its annual poetry contest for area students and residents this spring.

Individuals of all ages are invited to showcase their creative abilities in the contest through poetry. Divisions for entries are as follows: adult, high school, eighth grade, seventh grade, sixth grade, fifth grade and fourth grade.

Each contestant is allowed to submit one poem and all entries must be turned in with a completed entry form by 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Entry forms can be found online at and submissions can be mailed to Amy Brockman at 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville, IL 62221 or turned in to the SWIC Red Bud Campus Student Development Office, Room 175.

Contestants will be recognized for their poetic excellence at an award ceremony Tuesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Room. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in each division. Winners will have an opportunity to share their poem during the ceremony.    

For more information, call Amy Brockman at 618-235-2700, ext. 5324.