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National Study Shows SC Students Come Here, Get Involved

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has announced its results, and Southwestern College is at the top of the heap in many of the characteristics experts find the most important in a high-quality education.

Designed in part to be a more accurate measure of an institution's quality than the popular U.S. News and World Report college rankings (which assess such characteristics as reputation, faculty salaries, class size, and the ACT scores of students), the NSSE looks at how well students are engaged in their education.

Rather than a questionnaire submitted by an administrator, the NSSE polls students themselves to find out if they are involved in their own learning. Do students have to work harder than they expected? How much time did students spend preparing for class? Do students work with faculty members, outside the classroom, to plan and complete research projects? Do students discuss readings or classes with others outside the classroom? Do students feel well-supported in their studies and their social lives on campus?

Southwestern College, as reported by its students, engages first-year freshmen at a much higher rate than most schools:
. First-year Southwestern College students reported a higher level of academic challenge in their studies than was reported by students at other bachelor's degree schools and at all colleges nationally.
. First-year Southwestern College students reported a much higher level of active and collaborative learning than was reported by first-year students at other bachelor's degree schools and at all colleges nationally.
. First-year Southwestern College students reported a much higher level of personal interaction with faculty members than did their peers at bachelor's degree schools and all colleges nationally.
. First-year Southwestern College students reported higher levels of participation in enriching educational experiences (service learning, for example) than did first-year students at other bachelor's degree schools and at all colleges nationally.

President Dick Merriman applauded the NSSE results as a valuable tool as the college works toward improving its academic offerings, as well as an important measuring standard for high school students in the process of choosing a college.

"Southwestern is very, very good at providing our students an intimate, challenging, values-centered education in an environment of personal attention and care," Merriman said, "and we've got proof."


New Online, On Campus Majors Respond
to Need Of Educational Market

Four new online majors in professional studies and a redesigned computer science major on campus have been rolled out to respond to student needs and the changing educational market.

Six of the 10 professional studies majors now are offered in online format: Learners are able to complete bachelor's degrees exclusively through Internet courses in the fields of business administration, business quality management, computer programming technology, criminal justice, human resources development, and pastoral studies. (Business administration and pastoral studies had been online since accreditation approval last summer.)

On campus, the computer science majors that had been previously offered have been redesigned and will, by 2003, consist of three majors-computer science, digital arts, and business and computer information systems. The digital arts major, still under development, should be available in fall 2003 and is designed for visually creative persons. The business and computer information systems major already exists and is designed especially for business-oriented students.

A search currently is underway for a faculty member who will teach, chair a division housing computer science and mass communications, and provide leadership in academic technology. The person need not be a programmer or computer science specialist if otherwise qualified and skilled in the use of technology to support teaching and learning. Persons interested in the position, or in the new majors, should contact academic dean David Nichols, (800) 846-1543 ext. 6205.

The decision to take professional studies majors online was made by the professional studies academic council. Because of accrediting standards, only majors offered in classroom settings at the college can be redesigned in the online format.

With this in mind, the council chose majors based on interest of prospective students, and on potential links to two-year programs that would provide the associate degrees necessary for admittance to the professional studies program.

For more information on the online program, contact professional studies, (888) 684-5335 ext. 112.


New Summer Programs Offer Special Opportunities

High school students and adults will have special opportunities on campus this summer as the SC Summer Academy and the SC Summer Enrichment programs get off the ground.

Organized to offer a Southwestern experience to non-students, the two programs were made possible by the opening of the new women's residence hall during the fall of 2001. The hall has private baths in each room, a feature attractive to persons on short-term visits on the campus.

"We're very pleased to offer these opportunities, both because they allow us to bring people onto campus who normally wouldn't have this experience, and because it brings life to the campus during a time that is normally less busy at Southwestern," says Sue Simmons, director of conferences and summer programs.

The Summer Academy has pulled under one umbrella several camps already offered, as well as adding more interest areas. Rotary Leadership Camp, Horsefeathers & Applesauce Theatre Worskshop, and the athletic training camp have been in existence for several years. They will be joined by a creative writing camp, an environmental biology camp, and a Spanish language camp.

The academy programs are for students who have completed ninth through 11th grades, and who have outstanding academic ability, maturity, and intellectual curiosity. All of the three- to five-day sessions will be during June 9-15 and June 16-22, with registration due by Wednesday, May 15.

Scheduled for the first week of June, the SC Summer Enrichment is "summer camp for adults," Simmons explains.

Experts (including Max Thompson and Richard Wilke) will lead small group sessions in such topics as bell choir, Biblical Lives and Times, birding, creative writing, yoga, genealogy, golf, scrapbooking, Native American history, stained glass, investments, and technology.

Any adult is eligible to attend.

For more information on either the academy or the enrichment program, contact Simmons by calling (620) 229-6141, or e-mail her at ssimmons@sckans.edu.


Psych Students Shine at MPA

Southwestern College psychology students are among the top schools in number of research papers accepted for presentation at the annual conference of the Midwestern Psychological Association. The conference, one of the most prestigious gatherings of psychology professionals, will be May 2-4 in Chicago.

Although less than 40 percent of applicants are accepted for presentation, six of the seven projects submitted by SC students will be on the program. Only five colleges of the 72 institutions represented have more.

Jay Nolan, assistant professor of psychology, is faculty sponsor of the projects.

"In order to get into graduate school, our students need this type of experience," he explains. "This isn't a requirement for psychology majors, but they chose to do it for their own benefit."

Students and paper titles include:

  • Heather Robb, "Influential Factors Which Influence Employee Resistance to Change."
  • Mark Shrewsberry, "Alcohol Stigma Prevalence Concerning Alcohol Treatment Outcomes."
  • Hannah Wolcott, "Illumination Effects on Arabidopis Thaliana, Desmodium Gyrns, and Samanea Saman: A Manipulation of Biological Clocks."
  • Marla Berthot and Emily Ledford, "Levels of Sibling Intimacy in Adulthood."
  • Tasha Doty, "The Spontaneous Eye Blink: A Gender Dependent Measure of Attractiveness."
  • Caryn Huslig, "Physiological Responses to Evolutionary-Induced Dangers."


Mike Conway to Head Moundbuilder Football Efforts

Mike Conway, who took Olivet Nazarene University to the national championships in 1998, is the new Moundbuilder football coach. Conway comes to SC from Arkansas State University, where he coached the defensive line. A former assistant coach at Purdue as well as a player in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League, Conway was named Mid States Football Association Assistant Coach of the Year in 2000 after his team finished the season ranked first in rush defense and third in total defense in the NAIA.

"With the success he had at Olivet Nazarene University, it shows he knows what it takes to win at the NAIA level. Football is important to Southwestern College, and we feel we have the person here to continue that success and improve on it," says athletic director Bill Stephens.


Graduates to Hear Bernette Johnson

Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson will address graduates who participate in Southwestern College Commencement exercises Saturday, May 11. Baccalaureate will be at 10:30 a.m. in Richardson Auditorium, followed by Commencement at 4 p.m. in Sonner Stadium. Johnson had been scheduled to speak for the 2001 Commencement, but an accident prevented her from traveling.

A graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., Johnson participated in a student exchange program with Southwestern, later becoming one of the first African American women to attend Louisiana State University Law School. She received her juris doctor degree in 1969, and in 1994 she became the first African American woman to be elected justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.