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From the President
Dear friends,

Southwestern's 2002 Commencement was steamy (it was hot in Stewart Field House!) and fun. Several aspects of the ceremony were noteworthy. First, many of the students who graduated arrived on the hill the same week I did, four years ago. It was bittersweet to see these "fellow freshmen" graduate, but it was also exciting to see how they have grown. The first students from the college's master of business administration program graduated and they gave rave reviews to the program and its rigor. The first products of the college's online degree completion program in pastoral studies also graduated and one of them made a stirring contribution to our Baccalaureate service.

All this underscores a remarkable transformation at Southwestern. The college is becoming more and more adept at understanding and meeting the needs of lots of different kinds of learners: traditional age students who live with us for four years; students who transfer to our Winfield campus after completing studies at community colleges; adults who need to complete degrees (either on ground or online) while managing jobs, families, and community responsibilities; and graduate students in business and education.

The college is here to serve the needs of the people of our region, to bring them light, as the college motto "Lux Esto" commands. As the needs of our region change, we are finding new and exciting ways to fulfill this mission.

Have a great summer.

Best regards,

Dick Merriman

Faculty Viewpoint

(Editor's note: Troy Boucher, professor of English and chair of the English department, was named the Fassnacht Outstanding Faculty member for the 2001-2002 academic year. We asked Boucher to reflect on changes at SC since he joined the faculty.)

When I first came to Southwestern in 1968 high-tech meant IBM Selectric typewriters, hand cranked mimeograph machines, and rotary dial telephones. Much has changed since Sarah Jo Simpson took your mistake-ridden stencil, attached it to a machine that resembled a poorly designed heart-lung machine, added some foul smelling liquid to the silver cylinder and told you to crank hard and fast. The 21st century, surfing on the crest of the nineties technology wave, has brought many changes to Southwestern and how we think about what we do in education.

Ten to fifteen years ago students and teachers communicated in the classroom, or by phone, by handouts, and handwritten papers. Today, in addition to educating students for a "world without boundaries," we are educating students in "classrooms without walls." No longer does education just take place in a room, nor does it begin and end when the 50-minute period ends. Blackboard® course software allows us to have discussions online; write and give tests that automatically tell students how many answers were right, how many were wrong and then provide correction prompts. And the preceding can be done almost anywhere, anytime. As the campus prepares to go wireless next fall, the walls will become even more invisible; we will have the capability to connect without dangling wires.

By the time school starts in the fall, our new electronic portfolio program will be ready for student and faculty use. Students, as well as faculty, will be able to create portfolios that can contain their best written works, videos, audio creations, and virtually anything that can be stored in a digital format. It will not only provide them with a system for archiving their work and creations, it will become a living collection that can and will change as they change and as their needs change.

The classroom without walls is a challenge to all of us who teach and work at Southwestern, for we must learn and relearn how to use technology as a tool to improve the quality of education. We must learn how to teach and work in an educational setting that is constantly changing and yet maintain the personal touch and contact that has always been the hallmark of a Southwestern education.

Troy Boucher
Professor of English