Posted by Dena Roland Woods on July 19, 2018
Categories: Featured, Why SWIC

Pictured: SWIC 2018 Full-time Faculty Member of the Year Speech and Communication Professor Thomas “Mac” Chamblin.

A love of teaching, expertise in their subject matter and attention to students’ needs are what made Thomas “Mac” Chamblin and Robert McCarty the obvious choices for the Southwestern Illinois College full- and part-time faculty members of the year awards, respectively.

Chamblin is a SWIC Speech and Communication professor whose academic career has spanned nearly three decades. He has taught almost all of the courses within the Speech, Theatre, and Mass Communications departments at one time or another. He served as director of the college’s children’s theatre company for 16 years; started SWIC’s internet radio station, Blue Storm Radio; developed a significant portion of the department’s courses and created the entire mass communications program.

“I emphasize understanding of fundamental principles for all of the students’ courses,” Chamblin said.

“Knowing the fundamentals will give students a reliable foundation for the future which will help them solve challenges and develop confidence in their thinking. Our students are amazing in their tenacity, resourcefulness, and cheerfulness despite the complexities of their challenges. I am extremely proud of them.”

In addition to serving as a SWIC full-time faculty member, Chamblin has served on the Illinois Articulation Initiative Communications panel evaluating courses for transfer. He also served for a decade on SWIC’s communication assessment committee; participated in committees dealing with tenure and textbooks, as well as helped create rubrics and videos on how to evaluate students’ oral communication skills for instructors outside of Speech.

Chamblin has been selected for the past five years to be a reader and performer at the
National Audio Theatre Festival in Kansas City; and because of his leadership, Blue Storm Radio has continuously won national awards through the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System.

On his own time, Chamblin is a voice actor performing most recently at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. He is a board member of St. Clair County Greenspace, and former president of the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum. Chamblin also works to restore wild prairie grass and volunteers to read news for a network that serves the blind.

He earned a Bachelor of Science from Murray State University in Kentucky, a Master of Science from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Fine Arts from Webster University.

Chamblin and his wife, Janise, live in the Signal Hill area of Belleville. They have a daughter, Layne, who lives in Seattle.

Robert McCarty
SWIC 2018 Part-time Faculty Member of the Year HVAR Adjunct Instructor Robert McCarty.

McCarty is not only an adjunct faculty member for the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program, he is also a graduate of the program. He has been an instructor with SWIC since 2001. McCarty teaches all levels of HVAR classes. Many students consider him not just an instructor, but also a mentor in their lives.

Colleagues say McCarty is an embodiment of the SWIC mission and institution. He inspires students to be their best and develop a love for lifelong learning. Before coming to SWIC, McCarty served in the United States Air Force from 1970 until 1990, where he held the rank of lieutenant colonel. McCarty encourages students to obtain the education and life skills necessary to become successful and responsible citizens.

In addition to teaching, he is instrumental in upgrading lab equipment and curriculum to new industry standards in an ever-evolving field. He has served on the HVAR advisory committee for many years offering his expertise to continuously improve the HVAR program. He strongly supports the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and encourages his students to get good grades so they can be invited to join PTK. The HVAR faculty, coordinator and students have consistently praised McCarty’s work and his outstanding teaching evaluations consistently reflect his effectiveness as a teacher and mentor.

“I came to SWIC as an adult, eagerly wanting to learn a new trade and Mr. McCarty was key to my success in that he taught the material that inspired me to think,” said HVAR student John Green. “Mr. McCarty embraces any opportunity that allows him to teach a student how to think and not what to think, which makes him a great teacher.”

In addition to McCarty’s teaching and mentoring students, he works with local businesses to secure equipment donations and other items for the HVAR program, which will enhance student learning. He stresses the importance of annual maintenance programs to ensure equipment longevity and instills that knowledge and work ethic into his students.

Outside of teaching, he rehabilitates old houses and enjoys wood working.

McCarty earned his Associate in Applied Science degree in HVAR from SWIC; a Bachelor of Science from the United States Air Force Academy and completed undergraduate pilot training at Columbus AFB in Mississippi.

McCarty grew up in Elko, Nevada and currently lives in Belleville with his wife Jo A. McCarty.

Chamblin and McCarty are 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. Winners will be announced in June.

For more information about SWIC visit