Professional Studies Wins Major Award

Southwestern College's Professional Studies was among 58 Kansas businesses and organizations honored at the sixth annual Kansas Award for Excellence banquet Oct. 23 in Topeka. Southwestern received a Performance in Quality Award. This is the second level of three levels of recognition under the statewide program.

This is the second award for quality the professional studies program has received this year: In September, the Wichita chapter of the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), the educational society for resource management, announced Southwestern as its 2000-2001 Company of the Year. This chapter, which encompasses most of the state, chose SC based on its participation and support. Professional studies was a pioneer in providing certification preparation courses for APICS members, and has been an active supporter of the group. The Performance in Quality Award is presented to organizations that demonstrate through their commitment and practice of quality principles, significant progress in building sound, systematic processes and management practices.

This is the second time the program has won this prestigious award, which is considered to be the statewide equivalent of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In 1997 professional studies was honored for the first time.

"We are delighted to be singled out as a top quality organization," says Karen Pedersen, vice president for professional studies at Southwestern. "Because it recognizes our strength in the field of academic and industrial cooperation, it touches on the very characteristics that make our professional studies programs strong."

The majority of the awards were given to for-profit corporations; Southwestern was one of the few non-profits to be singled out, and only one other educational institution was named a Level 2 winner.

Pleas-Bailey New Vice President:
'Extraordinary energy, real commitment

Dawn Pleas-Bailey has been named vice president for student life and dean of students at Southwestern College. Now in her eighth year at Southwestern, Pleas-Bailey had been acting dean of students since spring.

"Dawn brings great things to this job: extraordinary energy, wonderful skills in dealing with people, and a real commitment to helping our students grow into responsible people who contribute to society. I enjoy working with her. This appointment recognizes her growth and great promise as a student life professional and her many contributions to Southwestern," says President Dick Merriman.

Although she has been in the top student life spot for only six months, Pleas-Bailey already has overseen important milestones in the life of the college, including the opening of the new women's hall for occupancy in August. She was the key administrator in the successful "Fall Frenzy" freshman orientation that contributed to exceptionally high student retention during the fall semester.

Her student life team has been reorganized to include an associate dean, a full-time director of counseling and career services, and a director of activities. In addition, Pleas-Bailey oversees campus security and athletics.

Originally from Chicago, Pleas-Bailey graduated from North Central College. She came to Southwestern from Columbus, Ga., where she was director of women and youth services at Open Door Community House. Last year she earned her master of science degree in education from Newman University.

In addition to her Southwestern activities, Pleas-Bailey is a sought-after speaker on issues of diversity and minority encouragement. She has been keynote speaker in the Friends University Faith and Learning Series, has presented workshops on minority preparation for college, and has led sessions on conflict resolution and sexual harassment. She is a popular speaker at Southwestern College's weekly chapel services.


SC Premed Students Shine as Scholars in Primary Care

Although it's by far the smallest among participating schools, Southwestern College is enjoying extraordinary success in the University of Kansas Scholars in Primary Care program. During the past two years, three of the 12 participants have been Moundbuilders.

Juniors Emily Bauer and Casey Dreitz have been chosen as 2001 participants; Ali Wait, an SC senior, is a member of the class of 2000. Robin Walker '99 was one of the inaugural members of the 1997 Scholars in Primary Care class. All have participated in the program while undergraduates at Southwestern.

Other schools represented in the 2000 and 2001 classes include Kansas State University (four students), the University of Kansas (two students), and one student each from Newman University, Pittsburg State University, and Emporia State University.

"Southwestern students have been quite successful with this program, but two in a one year is a tremendous achievement, especially for a school of our size," says Patrick Ross, Southwestern assistant professor of biology.

Launched in 1997, the program provides primary care experiences to exceptional premedical students at Kansas colleges and universities who plan to practice medicine in rural Kansas. Six scholars are selected each year for the two-year program and paired with physician mentors from or near their hometowns. The six Scholars in Primary Care program participants chosen each year are pre-admitted to the University of Kansas School of Medicine provided they complete the program.

Bauer's mentor is SC alumna Dr. Ginger Cauble Senseman '92, a pediatrician in Great Bend. Dreitz, whose hometown is Plains, is paired with Liberal physician Dr. Ian Yeats.


Mossman Renovations Will Give Home to Departments

Heavy equipment has moved onto campus again as Mossman Hall undergoes the most extensive facelift of its 50-year history.

The $1.7 million renovation will gut the former science building, and the resulting construction will provide homes for the business administration, the social sciences (psychology and history), and the nursing departments. In all, 20,100 square feet of building space will be renovated.

The college's board of trustees approved financing the project during its mid-October meeting; by the end of the month the first demolition had been done.

The project had been in the planning stages for several years, with toxic chemicals cleaned out two years ago in preparation. Fund-raising (underway for some time) received a major boost with announcement of a $350,000 challenge grant by the Mabee Foundation, a grant that must be met by Oct. 1, 2002. The Mabee Foundation helped fund construction of the Beech Science Center and Mabee Laboratory Complex with a 1995 challenge grant of $1 million.

"In addition to its importance in bringing together academic units that needed new space, this is the first step in creating a wireless computer network on campus," says President Dick Merriman. "Our long-term relationships with Gordon & Associates and Conco Construction would lead us to predict minimal disruption to our current students and classes, and fast turnaround on the project."

Remodeling of Mossman Hall actually began with the plans for the new science center.

Because the old science center was not adaptable to state-of-the-art laboratories (with accompanying new mandates for safety equipment) the decision was made to move science classes out of Mossman. However, the new building was designed with future use of the old building in mind. The boiler and electrical systems in Beech were sized to handle the renovation of Mossman, thus eliminating that cost from the current renovation.

When the project is completed in the summer of 2002, several major shifts will be seen:

  • The nursing department will be housed in a totally remodeled, state-of-the-art facility with modern laboratories and learning opportunities.
  • The business administration department will move from its current location on the second floor of Christy Administration Building into the north wing of Mossman, allowing enough room for the college's second largest group of majors.
  • The social sciences division will move from the basement of Christy into a main-floor location in Mossman. Here the psychology department will have laboratory space, and all psychology and history professors will have new offices.
  • As a side benefit, the vacating of the business department's suite will allow all four of SC's English professors to move to Christy. This will be the first time in many years that the department has been housed together.
  • The renovated Mossman will be much more energy efficient, and will allow handicap accessibility to the second floor for the first time.

The renovation will carry the look of the much-praised Beech Science Center throughout Mossman. On the outside, for example, the windows and entryways will be redesigned to match Beech. A limestone exterior and red tile roof will blend with Beech's look. On the inside, faculty offices, classrooms, restrooms, and hallways will have the updated design.

And the renovation will be completed at a much lower cost than building a new facility; contractors estimate that the work will cost at least one-third less than a comparable new building.


Max Thompson's Orchids

Max Thompson, although retired from Southwestern College's faculty, continues to immortalize his SC colleagues through his prizewinning orchids.

Each individual plant awarded in American Orchid Society competitions is eligible to be named, so Max honors people and places in his life by saying it with flowers. Prizewinners have included the Southwestern White and the Southwestern Purple, the Walnut Valley (shown on the cover of this issue), the Barbara Kaiser, the Dick Merriman, the Ed Erickson, and the Ralph Decker.

Like their namesakes, Max's orchids clearly are winners.