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Southwestern College will become the first college in the region to make virtually its entire main campus wireless network accessible. Upgrades this summer will make wireless computing possible in all public spaces: classrooms, meeting rooms, the student center, the library, residence hall lobbies, etc. Residence hall rooms will continue to be wired, with a port for each resident.

This fall an e-portfolio program will give all students server space and instruction on building a portfolio of both academic and personal accomplishments.

The wireless and e-portfolio offerings extend SC's leadership in higher education technology, which started when the college began issuing laptop computers to all incoming freshmen in 1999.

A redesigned computer science program that includes major options in computer science and in business and information systems also is expected to appeal to students by stressing communication skills important to employers. An emphasis on Web site design and a course in artificial intelligence are distinct from many other colleges and will communicate the futuristic orientation of the program to prospective employers.


A Southwestern College Men's Basketball Golf Scramble was held for the first time Monday, April 22, at Western Hills Golf Course in Topeka. Eleven teams participated in the four-person scramble, raising more than $2,100 for the basketball program. Celebrity participants included current KC Chief Kendall Gammon and former KU basketball players Chris Piper and Jeff Dishman. Mitch and Tami Holthus, parents of sophomore Brian Holthus, were instrumental in organizing the event.


A CD featuring Frieda Lindburg singing "The Songs I Love" is available with proceeds to benefit scholarships at Southwestern College. Contact Denise Stephens in the institutional advancement office to order a CD - dstephen@sckans.edu, or (620) 229-6279.


Intensive Spanish: Living the Language in Ecuador

They donned ponchos, scarves, hats, and leather zamarros to ride horseback 15,749 feet up on the slopes of Cotopaxi during spring semester at Southwestern College. They ate cuy (guinea pig, a local delicacy) and shopped at one of the world's largest open markets in Otavalo, Ecuador, while fulfilling the college's integrative studies requirements.

The five Southwestern College Spanish language students spent a historic three months studying at the Academia Latinoamericana de Espaņol in Quito, Ecuador: They represent the first class of the college's Intensive Foreign Language program, combining cultural immersion and volunteer service within the first year of study at the college.

"Our Intensive Foreign Language program allows students to 'live' another language, not just 'learn' one," says Moira Rogers, director of the program and associate professor of language studies. "In today's world, this is an essential skill, not a luxury. Students have the opportunity to experience the richness of the world and to take advantage of global opportunities for individual growth, useful employment, and world citizenship."

The Intensive Foreign Language program is not designed for language majors alone. It is for students in all academic fields who want to become proficient in another language. Spanish is the first language the program offers; other languages are scheduled to be added as the program grows.

For the first semester of the freshman year, students study Spanish on Southwestern's Winfield campus with an emphasis on listening and speaking. In the immersion-type model, classes are held in Spanish, and reading and writing assignments are in the context of Latin American culture.

The second semester is spent studying in Latin America.

Rogers chose Academia Latinoamericana de Espaņol in Quito, Ecuador, because of its established international program that has been used by other colleges and universities. Housed in a former embassy, the academy is located in a safe residential area of the Ecuadorian capitol and has gardens with outdoor eating and studying areas as well as recreational facilities.

As part of the program, students are placed in local homes, travel to some of Ecuador's most famous sites of interest, study the Spanish language, and volunteer in their field of interest. All five SC students spent afternoons working with impoverished children in area elementary schools.

When students return to Southwestern for the second full year, they continue with advanced Spanish conversation, composition, contemporary literature and cultural issues, and the course Spanish for Professions while beginning their particular fields of study.

"Living in a country other than my own for a significant amount of time was definitely an eye-opening experience," wrote Michelle Fitzgerald, a senior from rural Sharon. "Although the experience was not always easy, comfortable, or trouble-free, it was one I would never want to exchange."

Though the program was designed for students in their first year of study at SC, the senior philosophy and religion major was allowed to participate because of her interest in becoming fluent in Spanish.


Faces familiar to generations of Southwestern College alumni and friends leave the college

Ralph Decker's personal philosophy of putting students first was seen throughout the campus during his 34 years as an SC staff member. Most recently data coordinator in the institutional advancement office, Decker had been registrar, assistant to the academic dean, and assistant librarian. Decker also has had the voluminous task of compiling alumni notes for The Southwesterner, and was noted for his knowledge of history and relationships of the college.



Peggy Church became the first academic dean of professional studies in 1998, and has been instrumental in the shaping of curricula and hiring of faculty members. During this period of growth, she served as a link between the academic governing structures of the main campus and professional studies.




Retiring after 25 years at Southwestern College, vice president for college services Benn Gibson returned to his alma mater in 1977 as assistant academic dean. His attention to detail and ability to unravel complex policies proved crucial when he moved to the college services area to provide oversight to such critical areas as financial aid, student billing, computing service, and federal compliance.




Kathy Wilgers completed 30 years at Southwestern College, retiring as a faculty member in mass communications. As faculty advisor to The Collegian and Moundbuilder, Wilgers advocated for student freedom of press and inspired loyalty among the staffs. Her service at Southwestern began in the library, and included founding of the Cooperative Learning Center and the essential skills courses.



Back Pack Troupe

More than 1,000 wide-eyed grade school children encountered "opera" for the first time when the Back Pack Opera Troupe made a 10-day spring tour through Winfield area elementary schools. Featuring eight students from the college's CMENC chapter (the collegiate level of the National Association for Music Education), the group took its name from its means of entering the stage. Cast members arrive in street clothes with backpacks, then are transformed into the distinctive characters of Old McDonald Had a Farm, including a Fonzi-esque pig (played by Josh Melcher, right). Marsha Granberry, coordinator of Southwestern's secondary education program, supervised and was accompanist.