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
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.
(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
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
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.
Professor of English