Why SWIC Archives - Southwestern Illinois College

SWIC Running Start alum gets a jump-start on his career

Maryville native Jackson Smith always knew he wanted to pursue engineering as a career. Smith’s ambition and passion for engineering is what helped him achieve a high school diploma and two associate degrees, at the same time, by being a part of the Southwestern Illinois College Running Start program.

He graduated from Triad High School, earned an Associate in Science and Associate in Arts from SWIC in 2019 and is now pursuing a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics from the University of Evansville.  

The Running Start program allows highly qualified high school juniors and seniors to earn a high school diploma from their local high school or homeschool, while simultaneously earning a transfer degree from SWIC.

Jackson Smith
SWIC Running Start program graduate, Jackson Smith of Maryville.

“I chose to be a part of the SWIC Running Start program because I knew it would make me stand-out from other individuals and give me an advantage over other students trying to enter the competitive field of engineering,” said Smith. “SWIC laid the foundation for my diverse skill-set in physics, chemistry and math; having learned these tools early on in my career gives me an edge and will enable me to excel further in my career.”

He believes that if you do good work and have a passion to keep growing and learning, you can have a real impact in your field and possibly the world. Smith feels that engineering helps people to understand mathematics and principles behind ideas as simple as linear spring motion and as complex as thermo-fluid dynamics.

He is currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Evansville in Indiana, a teacher’s assistant for the Engineering Department, a campus dorm lead resident assistant and will soon be starting an internship at BWX Technologies, Inc.
Smith is a member of the National Mechanical Engineering Honors Society, Pi Tau Sigma, as well as a member of the National Engineering Honors Society, Tau Beta Pi. He has also been conducting research on thermosiphons and solar powered water heaters for use in third world countries.

In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, ultimate frisbee, card games, sand volleyball and watching rocket launches and static fire testing.

In the future, Smith hopes to be able to place his “engineering fingerprints” on as many unique places as possible such as the depths of the ocean, top of mountains or even in space.

“Knowing I helped design and create something that is on another planet or orbiting the Earth would be a crowning achievement,” Smith said.

For more information on the SWIC Running Start program, visit swic.edu/running-start.

SWIC welcomes Dr. Ashley Becker as the new Dean of Business, Health Sciences and Homeland Security

Ashley Becker, Ph.D., has been named the new dean of Business, Health Sciences and Homeland Security programs at Southwestern Illinois College.

Becker brings 19 years of experience in higher education and has held previous leadership roles including Vice President of Instructional Services at Kaskaskia College, Senior Director of Academic Affairs for the Illinois Community College Board and College Director of ITT Technical Institute in Little Rock, just to name a few.

Becker is excited about working with SWIC students, faculty and staff. She enjoys and appreciates the mix of responsibilities and challenges that accompany her new role.

SWIC Business, Health Sciences and Homeland Security Dean
SWIC Business, Health Sciences and Homeland Security Dean Ashley Becker, Ph.D.

 “I love being a servant leader, someone who rallies their faculty and staff together to achieve the college’s mission,” Becker said. “It’s about impact, influence, inspiration and selflessness; I am truly blessed to be a part of this amazing institution.”

In her free time, Becker enjoys watching her kids participate in activities such as tumbling, soccer, track, wrestling, basketball, dance, volleyball and spending time with family.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts from University of Great Falls in Montana and both her Master of Business Administration and Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Phoenix. Becker is also involved with the CAEL Military Advisory Board and the Illinois Articulation Initiative.

Becker and her husband, Ian, live in Trenton and have three children, Kanyon, Grayson and Addison. For more information about SWIC, visit swic.edu.

Chantay White-Williams and Belle Hamm earn SWIC Faculty Member of the Year Awards

A passion for teaching, expertise in their subject matter and drive to help their students succeed are what made Chantay White-Williams and Belle Hamm the obvious choices for the Southwestern Illinois College full- and part-time Faculty Members of the Year Awards, respectively.

White-Williams is a full-time SWIC Associate Professor of English whose academic career has spanned more than 16 years. She embraces the culture of all students and uses creative and diverse material when teaching English and literature courses. White-Williams is a champion for underrepresented students. She developed and launched a course on African-American literature, has advocated to offer minority students more student-centered programming and also rallied to acquire special seating and software updates in computer classrooms for students needing accommodations.

She served as the English and Film Department Chair from 2012-2016; 
served as the Two-Year College English Association 2016 Midwest Conference chairperson; helped establish the Committee on Race and Ethnicity; hosted and assisted in the planning of the English Department’s conference on their Accelerated Learning Program; previously worked as the Computer-Assisted Instruction Coordinator in charge of the computer labs in the Liberal Arts Building; and received the English and Film Department Wonder Women Award while serving as the department chair.

Southwestern Illinois College Associate Professor of English Chantay White-Williams, left, of St. Louis instructs Anastasia Ottinger of Shiloh during her English class. White-Williams was named Full-time Faculty Member of the Year for 2020 by the college Board of Trustees.

SWIC Associate Professor of English Chantay White-Williams, left, instructs Anastasia Ottinger during her English class. White-Williams was named Full-time Faculty Member of the Year for 2020 by the college Board of Trustees.

“SWIC has a great many faculty who serve our students and our larger community in an exemplary fashion; however, White-Williams does it in a way that is consistent, year after year, with a thoughtful approach,” said SWIC English and Film Department Chair Steve Moiles. “The college is fortunate to have her in our ranks.”

When she isn’t teaching, White-Williams enjoys reading, volunteering with the Madison County Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and spending time with her family. She also loves all things Star Trek.

She earned her Bachelor and Master of Arts from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is a member of the National Association of Developmental Education, National Council of Teachers of English and International Literacy Association and the Alpha Kappa Sorority-Upsilon Phi Omega chapter.

White-Williams currently lives in St. Louis City and has three sons, Marquis, Jonathan, and Jalyn; and two grandchildren, Jonathan, Jr. and Brooklynn.

Hamm is a part-time Adult Education Instructor who has been with SWIC since 2014. She is always eager to help students realize their potential. Hamm makes it a priority to establish a safe, non-judgmental environment within the classroom which helps nurture learning and self-esteem. She also takes into consideration the mental health and special needs of her students.

Hamm goes above and beyond to help her students succeed. Her extra measures include: individualized instruction, special testing accommodations, finding third-party financial resources, scheduling advocates to assist students in their daily living and medical needs, plus being available outside of classroom hours to meet with learners

Hamm has served as a High School Equivalency instructor at the SWIC Red Bud Campus, has become a certified Standard Proficient instructor by the Illinois Community College Board, trained new instructional personnel, established quality services within the Randolph County area and has become well-known as a community leader and resource for her students and community. It is Hamm’s personal mission to serve others and has proven she truly is making a difference in her students’ lives.

SWIC Adult Education Adjunct Instructor Belle Hamm
SWIC Adult Education Adjunct Instructor Belle Hamm was named Part-time Faculty Member of the Year for 2020 by the college Board of Trustees.

“My teaching philosophy is to show students the potential I see in them, even if they don’t see it in themselves and to give them a reason to be proud of themselves,” said Hamm. “I always strive to look for a reason to tell a student I am proud of them because many of our students have never had someone to express pride in them. As a result, I have been able to establish a safe classroom environment and a good rapport with students because they know I truly care about what happens to them in and out of the classroom.”

In her free time, Hamm enjoys volunteering at nursing homes, crafting, crocheting and spending time with her two Yorkies, Ollie and Sophie.

She earned a Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is Middle School Certified in Language Arts K-9 and Mathematics K-9 and has her Standard Proficient Math Certification.

Hamm and her husband, Kelly, live in Sparta. They have two children, Grace and Luke.

White-Williams and Hamm 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.edu.

SWIC Blue Storm men’s basketball to receive an award for over 1,000 victories

The Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm men’s basketball team, previously known as the Belleville Area College Dutchmen, has won more than 1,000 games since its first season in 1954-55. On Monday, Feb. 24 the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association will honor SWIC Blue Storm with an award for this achievement.

IBCA Hall of Fame Chairman and a member of the IBCA board of directors Mark Kleemann will present the award at the game.

The IBCA recognizes SWIC Blue Storm as one of only a few Illinois community college men’s basketball programs that have surpassed the 1,000 victory plateau. Currently, the National Junior College Athletic Association D-I SWIC (SWIC Blue Storm, BAC Dutchmen) team, has won 1,128 games since 1954-55; captured 14 post season appearances in championship play since 1969-70; won seven state and regional titles and won four trips to national tournaments.

“The victory doesn’t belong to me – it belongs to the students, the college and the community,” said SWIC Blue Storm Coach and NJCAA 2002 Hall of Fame inductee Jay Harrington. “I am very fortunate to have worked for one college for so many years. This is a testament to the college and its commitment to the Athletic program.”

The IBCA represents all of Illinois basketball at the junior high, high school, and the collegiate levels. Each year, the IBCA honors individuals with annual Hall of Fame inductions and Coach of the Year selections. In order to recognize school and team achievements, the IBCA honors basketball programs that have earned only the highest levels of success.

To check out the Blue Storm 2019-20 schedule, visit swic.edu/athletics.

To support Blue Storm Athletic Scholarships, visit thankyou.swic.edu.

SWIC to offer a technical writing course for STEM+M students Spring 2020

Being able to effectively communicate is a skill required in every profession and not only for liberal arts and English majors.

Southwestern Illinois College will begin offering a technical writing course starting in the spring 2020 semester. The course, English 203 Technical, Scientific and Professional Communication, will prepare students for writing skills needed for future study and employment in STEM+M, (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) fields. Students will acquire writing and technological skills and develop an understanding of how to use those skills to create communications which are suited to the appropriate audience, purpose, context, genre and modality.

The course will enable students to produce written and visual communications that express important concepts in STEM+M fields. Students will become aware of how to produce professional communications, critique digitally produced texts and how to become confident, prepared communicators within their STEM+M professional lives and careers.

Spring 2020 classes begin Saturday, Jan. 11. For more information on this class contact SWIC English Department Chair Steve Moiles at 618-222-5469 email steve.moiles@swic.edu, or to search for courses offered at SWIC,
visit swic.edu/courses.

December high school grads can register for SWIC spring 2020 classes Nov. 5

If you’re a current high school senior graduating in December 2019, then get a head start on college courses by registering for spring 2020 classes at Southwestern Illinois College during December High School Grad Night, Tuesday, Nov. 5 from 3-7 p.m. at the SWIC Belleville Campus, 2500 Carlyle Ave.

Students will be able to:
– Complete an application and get a student ID number.

– Take the English and Math Placement tests.

– Meet with an academic advisor to discuss degree requirements or transfer courses.

– Register for classes.

– Set up SWIC student email and eSTORM accounts.

– Ask general financial aid and payment arrangement questions.

A photo ID is required. Event check-in begins at 2:45 p.m. in the Information Sciences Building Lobby. Students taking the placement tests must check-in before 6 p.m.

To register for the event visit: swic.secure.force.com/events/#/list. For more information contact admissions at 618-235-2700, ext. 5675.

SWIC to Host Workshop for Parents of Future College Students

If you are preparing to send your son or daughter to college in the near future, the Southwestern Illinois College workshop, Parent 101, can help you understand the ins and outs of the college process.

This free workshop will be held Tuesday, Oct. 1, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Belleville Campus, Liberal Arts Complex, 2500 Carlyle Ave. The event is open to the parents or families of future college students in eighth through twelfth grades.

The informational presentation will Include:

  • Timeline for preparing for college
  • The financial aid process
  • Earning college credit in high school  
  • Transferring courses to four-year universities
  • Cost saving benefits of education and training at SWIC

Assistance completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is available for families of high school seniors during the event.

Helpful items to bring for FAFSA completion include:

  • Photo ID
  • Federal Student Aid ID         
  • Social Security Number and birthdate
  • 2018 Federal Tax Returns or Estimated Income
  • 2018 W2’s or Estimated Income
  • Other Income documents (SSI, TANF, Child Support, Disability, etc.)
  • Value of investments, stock, bonds or mutual funds
  • Balance of bank account (checking/ savings)
  • Month and year of marital status

Check-in starts at 5:45 p.m. in the LAC Lobby.

To register online, visit swic.edu.

For more information, contact the SWIC Enrollment Services at 618-235-2700, ext. 5675, or toll free at 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5675.

SWIC Receives $1.4 Million Workforce Equity Grant for 2020

A $1.4 million Workforce Equity Initiative Grant from the Illinois Community College Board will enable Southwestern Illinois College to develop employment training programs to assist minorities in underserved communities.

“The grant will help create, support and expand short-term workforce training opportunities in high-need communities focused on specific sectors with identified workforce gaps,” said SWIC President Nick J. Mance. “We look forward to expanding career pathway programs and pulling communities together to help students achieve their educational goals.”

The communities that will be served by the grant include Alorton, Brooklyn, Cahokia, Centreville, East St. Louis, Edgemont, Fairmont City, Granite City, Lovejoy, Madison and Washington Park.

SWIC will develop training programs in the fields of Welding, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Health Sciences, Food Service and Forklift Training.

The goal is to recruit up to 500 students per semester and an additional 200 students who are already pursing one of the designated career pathways. The college plans to  participate in 20 outreach activities in the next year.

This project was championed by Illinois state legislators who support community colleges and workforce training initiatives, especially Sen. Chris Belt, D-Cahokia, and Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea. Other supporters include: Sen. Rachel Crowe, D-Wood River and Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis and Rep. Nathan Reitz, D-Steeleville.

For more information, contact the SWIC Chief of Staff Beverly Fiss at 618-235-2700, ext. 5247 or beverly.fiss@swic.edu.

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 michelle.birk@swic.edu.

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 swic.edu/foundation.