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  • PS Alumnus Makes National News for Children's Book Explaining PTSD

    Wichita, Kansas – A Southwestern College Professional Studies alumnus and former academic success coach has made national news for a children’s book he wrote explaining post-traumatic stress disorder to his children.

    Retired Army First Sergeant Seth Kastle, of Wakeeney, Kansas, wrote “Why Is Dad So Mad?” to explain the effects PTSD has had on him since returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Kastle graduated from Southwestern College Professional Studies with a Master’s of Science in Leadership degree in May 2009. His story aired on NBC Nightly News on April 1st.

    Books can be purchased at http://www.kastlebooks.com/ 

     

  • Why Should You Hire a Vet?

    There are approximately 19,000 unemployed Veterans in the United States today. This leaves plenty of opportunities to hire a quality employee who is the perfect fit to make your team a success. Here is a look at some things to consider when hiring a veteran:

    Exhibit proven leadership: From the beginning of a veteran’s career they are placed into leadership roles. Leadership roles that are continuously developed further education, training and on-the-job encounters.

    Mission focused:  Veterans are used to thinking of the mission at hand. Being able to stay focused makes veterans capable of meeting requirements in a professional and timely manner. Obstacles are easily maneuvered and overcome.

    Great team players:  Veterans have been taught to work within a team environment in any capacity whether it be a small role or as a leader. Individual efforts are what make the group successful. No matter the task, they are willing and able to take it on.

    Excellent work ethic:  Military personnel have an understanding of success. Success is dependent on the team in which they are part of. Because of hard work and dedication, veterans are able to take control of their own success and ensuring their promotion. By doing this it ensure the overall success of a company. This will carry over to their civilian career. Veterans are adaptable to new and changing work environments.

    Possess wide range of education and training: Education and training are at the forefront of any military career. Veterans are taught new skills in many different areas with a focus on the newest technology. Veterans are taught leadership, management, operations and sales. Being able to evolve and learn new skills makes veterans eager to learn and adapt. 

    Great contributors: Veterans are used to being challenged. They are encouraged daily to be quick thinkers, precise, excellent decision making skills and to able take initiative. They also have the ability to give credit where credit is due to ensure team cohesiveness.

    Previously passed background checks and security clearances: Over 90 percent of the military have already undergone extensive background checks and have various levels of security clearances. This saves corporations a great deal of time and money.

    Willing to relocate:  When leaving active duty, veterans are given paid relocation services. This can save employers money and ensure the employee will be able to relocate for the position.  Veterans are also highly adaptable and willing to move to meet the job requirement.

    If you have any questions, would like further information or would like to get involved, please contact us at SVA@SCKANS.EDU

     

     

     

  • SC Alumni Invited to Summer Golf Event

    Wichita, Kansas – Southwestern College alumni are invited to take part in a June golf event in Fort Worth, Texas.

    The event will take place at Champion’s Circle Golf Course at the Marriott Hotel located at 3300 Championship Pkwy in Fort Worth, TX from June 12th through 14th, 2015.

    Alumni interested in participating are asked to kindly RSVP to hosts Lindy Craig or Loren Bridge at either craig.lyndon@gmail.com or loren.bridge@nationalcarriers.com by April 30th. For pricing, details, or reservations for rooms, golf or spa call 817-991-8960.

  • Virtual Criminal Justice Session Postponed

    Wichita, Kansas – Due to unforeseen circumstances our virtual session, “The Criminal Justice Process: Are You Prepared,” will be postponed one day.

    The session, which will provide an in-depth discussion on the hiring process of a major metropolitan law enforcement agency, will be held on April 1, 2015 at 7 p.m. CST.

    Topics for the discussion will include the application process, interviewing skills, background investigation, polygraph, medical and psychological exams, physical fitness testing and more. The presentation is designed to provide participants with an inside look at what criminal justice recruiters are looking for in a successful applicant.

    The event will be held online through Blackboard Collaborate at the following link:

    https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sld=2008169&password=MABDF515C1E12E0BB739B471FCD93B8 

     

     

  • Virtual Session to be Held on Criminal Justice Hiring Process

    WICHITA, Kansas - Join us March 31, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. CST for a virtual session, 'The Criminal Justice Process: Are You Prepared?'

    The virtual session will provide an in-depth discussion of the hiring process of a major metropolitan law enforcement agency. The concepts discussed will also assist Criminal Justice learners pursuing employment in probation and corrections. In addition, Security Management learners will benefit since the topics discussed are synonymous with both disciplines.

    Topics will include the application process, interviewing skills, background investigation, polygraph, medical and psychological exams, physical fitness testing, and more. This presentation is designed to provide you with an “inside look” at what Criminal Justice recruiters are looking in a successful applicant.

    The event will be held online through Blackboard Collaborate at this link:

    https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2008169&password=M.DC7E96D41A5F327056193EC95841B2

    The event will be facilitated by SC Criminal Justice Lead Faculty, Lionel Santiago.

    Need help accessing the Blackboard Collaborate session?
    Click here to access step-by-step instructions
    (PDF)

     

  • Professional Studies Marks 20 Years of Helping Learners Achieve Dreams

    The Genesis

    A fundamental shift in how a college degree can be earned took place at Southwestern College 20 years ago. And while making higher education accessible to working adults now seems a natural extension of the college’s mission, at the time the idea of a Professional Studies program seemed a daring proposition. 

    Carl Martin, president of Southwestern College from 1988 to 1998, smiles as he thinks back to how Professional Studies came to be. He recalls when managers from GE Aviation (which had a plant near Winfield) encouraged Southwestern to start a program that would allow its employees to earn their degrees while continuing to work. The need was increasing as more of its workforce was unable to fulfill a desire to further their education while earning a living.

    Then Marvin Hafenstein, who had worked for the Sunbeam Corporation before he relocated to Burden, Kan., paid Martin a visit.

    “Marvin came into my office and offered to simply volunteer to help Southwestern create a learning experience for adult learners,” Martin recalls. “He saw the importance of an educated workforce and he also understood how difficult it was for people who were employed full time to realize those education degrees.”

    But while Martin saw great potential in Hafenstein’s eagerness to make an adult learning center a success, some were skeptical that it could work. Faculty on main campus was leery. After all, this model differed radically from the way things were done in the residential college setting. It would involve affiliate faculty, adult learners, and accelerated learning – concepts foreign to a college serving traditional students since it began in 1885. But after listening to other colleges’ success stories, the Board of Trustees joined administrators in supporting a movement in education happening around the nation.

    “There has been a commitment to excellence and that’s what was the genesis,” says Martin.

    Putting the dream into motion

    Hafenstein brought his background in business and manufacturing to higher education, focusing the early efforts of Professional Studies on business, supply chain management, and manufacturing technology.

    “Marvin wanted the courses to be very career-focused and to be taught by practitioners, so he hired many affiliate faculty members who worked in industry,” said Dick Merriman, current president of Southwestern College.

    The first location offering such courses was opened in downtown Winfield in 1994. But as popularity for adult learning grew so did the need for space in a more highly-populated area. So Hafenstein worked on acquiring about one-third of the space in a building on Rock Road in Wichita. The doors to the East Wichita Professional Studies Center at Pawnee and Rock opened in 1996. 

    “When I first started the building stopped at the bathrooms at the south
    end of the building,” recalls Nancy Morse, Professional Studies assistant registrar. “There were three of us who worked here. We all sat at desks in the south lobby, so we were right there with the students, which was fun. We got to know the students really well.”

    “We gobbled up the building as leases of other occupants expired,” says Merriman. “We unveiled the Jinx and Moundbuilder classrooms and the neighboring offices on the north end during a Board of Trustees meeting. When we finally had the entire building for our use, considering how rinky-dink things looked at the start, that was a great moment.”

    In 1998 Professional Studies expanded to the west side of Wichita, stretching the reach of the college to new markets. That location would close in the summer of 2013, but not before centers were placed at McConnell Air Force Base, Fort Riley, Oklahoma City, and Kansas City. However, technology began to change the pace in which students were learning, creating a demand for more than just on-ground education

    Adapting with technology

    Procedures have changed drastically since Nancy Morse began her career at Professional Studies 17 years ago. In that time she’s held positions as an office manager and has worked in financial aid and the registrar’s office, witnessing the evolution first hand.

    “Our students would bring their financial aid material here and then it would have to be taken to main campus,” said Morse. “Either someone would physically drive it, mail it, or we had a courier service. We all shared one email address at the time.”

    In the beginning, adult learners were offered mostly six-week classes at Professional Studies locations during the day, evenings, and on the weekends. But as the Internet grew in popularity, Southwestern College saw the growing need for flexibility for its students,
    who were balancing their education, jobs, and families.

    Southwestern used its 2001 accreditation review by the Higher Learning Commission not only to extend its accreditation but also to request to begin offering online degrees. The permission was granted and Professional Studies began offering the first online degree program in pastoral studies.

    “From there, our online offerings grew and grew,” said President Merriman. “The shift, though, was not driven by SC or by any other institution. It was driven by the preferences of adult learners. They clearly very much prefer the flexibility of online learning to the night school model that PS started out with.”

    Offering online courses also paved the way for Professional Studies to create a relationship with military learners, beginning with the Army when it was selected as an eArmyU partner. And with the east location just a half mile away from McConnell Air Force Base, Professional Studies also made the educational needs of airmen a priority.
    It was selected as one of only 10 institutions for the initial pilot program of the Air Force’s Air University Associate-to-Baccalaureate Cooperative (AU-ABC). The college also became a member of the National Association of Institutions for Military Education Services (NAIMES), participating in professional association meetings. In addition, more staff members with military backgrounds were added to the staff to further invest in military culture. 

    “Our military initiative and focus was multi-pronged and it grew over time,” says Karen Pedersen, vice president for Professional Studies from 2000 to 2011.

    It was a focus that has paid off. Professional Studies was named a Best for Vets College, Military Friendly School, and Military Advanced Education Top School for 2015. Today military learners make up roughly two-thirds of Professional Studies students.

    “Growing from literally no military learners to being in the top 50 institutions receiving military tuition assistance was an incredible accomplishment,” says Pedersen. “I remember the day when it was announced that SC was in the 30s. At that point, I knew we had made it.”

    Professional Studies in the future

    Many would say the success of Professional Studies over the past two decades is simply its willingness to respond to the wants and needs of its learners. The flexible online model, offering adult learners the chance to earn their degrees on their own time schedules has been well received.

    “All of my classes were online and that gave me the chance to continue to use the disciplines I learned in the military by blocking out several hours each day and dedicating it to doing my classwork and assignments,” says Greg Cole, 2010 Professional Studies graduate and Wichita business owner.

    The continued progression of Professional Studies is evident today in its offerings of new and improved programs in the fields of business and technology as it continues to respond to market needs. Its articulation agreements with community colleges across the region offer students a seamless transition to earning their bachelor degrees. The relationship with the military has grown with a partnership with the Defense Acquisition University, allowing its workforce members the opportunity to transfer and apply DAU credits toward their college degree. And its Organizational Partnership program offers training for employees of area businesses. It brings Professional Studies full circle, paving a way for adults to realize their academic dreams the way leadership hoped it would 20 years ago.

    “I think the college’s sincere interest is helping adults achieve their dreams and have better lives has set us apart from many of our competitors,” Merriman said. “We’re in it for the right reason.” 

     

  • Wichita Eagle Writes Article on Upcoming Docking Lecture

    Winfield, Kan., Feb. 4, 2015 — Award winning journalist, director, and best-selling author Sebastian Junger will present the Docking Lecture on Thursday, March 5, at 11 a.m., in the Richardson Performing Arts Center in the Christy Administration building on the campus of Southwestern College. The Wichita Eagle covered the story online Tuesday.

    Junger became a fixture in the international media when, as a first-time author, he commanded the “New York Times” best-seller list for more than three years with “The Perfect Storm,” which became a major motion picture starring George Clooney.

    As part of its Pillars Project, the college focuses each year on one of the virtues celebrated in its alma mater and represented by the Christy pillars of Knowledge, Hope, Courage, and Freedom. The 2014-15 focus on courage inspired the choice of Sebastian Junger to give this year’s Docking Lecture.

    Prior to his visit to the college, Southwestern will present a screening of Junger’s critically acclaimed documentary “Restrepo” on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m., in the Richardson Performing Arts Center.  Co-directed with photojournalist Tim Hetherington, “Restrepo” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and received the 2010 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.  It documents the war in Afghanistan by reporting from the soldiers’ perspectives.

    The public is invited to attend both events and there is no admission charge.

    Junger and Hetherington worked together in Afghanistan on assignment for “Vanity Fair.” They spent a year with one platoon in the Korengal Valley, which is billed as the deadliest valley in Afghanistan. They recorded video to document their experience, and this footage went on to form the basis for “Restrepo.” The title refers to the outpost where Junger was embedded, which was named after a combat medic, Pfc. Juan Restrepo, killed in action.

    The Docking Lecture is underwritten by Union State Bank and by William and Thomas Docking.  The Docking family has played a prominent role in Kansas government and politics for over half a century.  In 1956 George Docking was elected governor of Kansas.  He served two terms, leaving office in 1961.  His son, Robert Docking, was elected governor in 1966 and served four two-year terms, more than any other Kansas governor, leaving office in 1975.  Robert Docking’s sons have continued the family’s commitment to public service.  William Docking was appointed to the Kansas Higher Education Board of Regents in 1995, and served as its chair.  Thomas Docking was lieutenant governor of Kansas from 1983 to 1987, during the governorship of John Carlin.

    Southwestern College is a private institution granting undergraduate and graduate degrees and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.  About 1,700 students attend classes at the main Winfield campus, at six professional studies sites in Kansas and Oklahoma, or online around the world.

     

  • Grad Finale 2015 To Be Held March 4th

    WICHITA, Kansas – Spring and summer graduation applicants are eligible to walk in the commencement ceremony on May 10, 2015 and can get ready for the big event at Grade Finale.

    Grad Finale 2015 will be held on March 4th from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Winfield Main Campus at the Student Center Pounds Lounge and from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Professional Studies Wichita East Center, located at 2040 S. Rock Rd.

    The event makes it possible for students to purchase their cap and gown, order graduation announcements, learn about alumni programs and touch base with Southwestern staff to finalize any unfinished business. Refreshments will be provided and any students who complete a check-off sheet can enter into a drawing.

    Information about the commencement ceremony will be posted on the SC commencement Web site after Grad Finale.

     

  • Award Winning War Documentary ‘Restrepo’ to be Shown at Southwestern College

    Winfield, Kan., Feb. 12, 2015 — Southwestern College will present a free screening of Sebastian Junger’s critically acclaimed documentary “Restrepo” on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m., in the Richardson Performing Arts Center.  The public is invited to attend.

    “Restrepo” is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, Restrepo, named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. This is an entirely experiential film: the cameras never leave the valley and there are no interviews with generals or diplomats. According to the “Restrepo” website, the only goal of the documentary was to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 90-minute deployment.

    Co-directed with photojournalist Tim Hetherington, “Restrepo” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and received the 2010 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

    “‘Restrepo’ is an unforgettable and terrifying story—an adrenaline drip of blazing action that assaults your senses and locks your eyes to the screen,” says Steve O’Brien, CBS Radio.  “This is war as only the bravest experience it; enormously affecting.”

    Junger will present the Docking Lecture on Thursday, March 5, at 11 a.m., in the Richardson Performing Arts Center in the Christy Administration building on the campus of Southwestern College.

    As part of its Pillars Project, the college focuses each year on one of the virtues celebrated in its alma mater and represented by the Christy pillars of Knowledge, Hope, Courage, and Freedom. The 2014-15 focus on courage inspired the choice of Sebastian Junger to give this year’s Docking Lecture.

    Southwestern College is a private institution granting undergraduate and graduate degrees and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.  About 1,700 students attend classes at the main Winfield campus, at six professional studies sites in Kansas and Oklahoma, or online around the world.

     

  • Southwestern College to Offer Competency-Based Learning Options

    WINFIELD, Kansas – Southwestern College has been chosen to join a select group of schools that will work together to develop new models for student learning.  The group is called the Competency Based Education Network (C-BEN) and includes 30 institutions and four public university systems. Southwestern College was selected for participation through a competitive process. 

    “It is a tremendous honor to be added to this network,” said Richard Merriman, Ph.D., president of Southwestern College. “SC has a great history of offering original learning experiences for students. Being chosen for C-BEN is positive proof of our commitment to flexible options that meet individual needs. By assessing the knowledge and skills that students already have, the competency model of learning enables students to showcase their abilities.  Then, by evaluating their learning in different ways students can discover both what they know and how well they know it.”

    “That’s the key to good learning” said Andy Sheppard, Ph.D., Southwestern College provost. “Learning comes in all kinds of forms but the trick is finding the right support when you need to know more. Competency-based learning models align well with the mission and values of SC because students will receive more guidance from faculty members and mentors.  Also, because students work at their own pace as they develop a skill, they have the opportunity to save both time and money while earning their degree.”       

    The Competency-Based Education Network is a national consortium for designing, developing and scaling new models for student learning.  The institutions take part in a research-and-development phase, funded by Lumina Foundation, to provide an evidence-based approach to advancing high-quality, competency-based education capable of serving many more students of all backgrounds.

    Some C-BEN institutions use competency-based programs to reduce the time and cost of a college education as students can take courses at their own pace. Additionally, there may be opportunities for students to demonstrate learning they have previously acquired, allowing them to start a program with additional credit.

    “Being asked to join the Competency-Based Education Network is a great honor for Southwestern College,” said Amy Lash Esau, Ph.D., academic dean for Southwestern College Professional Studies. “This is a select group of institutions who have been picked to explore this form of education that may be able to make college more affordable and flexible for students in the future.”

    In joining C-BEN, Southwestern is committing institutional resources to innovate and develop new competency-based programs and will have support from the network for the development. The first competency-based program at Southwestern is expected to be in place in 2015.

     

    About Southwestern College

    Southwestern College provides a values-based learning experience that emphasizes intellectual, personal, and spiritual growth. Founded in 1885 by the United Methodist Church, the non-profit college offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees on-ground and online. Students prepare for careers and graduate studies with courses that foster critical thinking and effective communication and are characterized by meaningful professor-student interaction. The main campus, located in Winfield, KS offers a traditional residential experience.  In 1994, Southwestern began offering programs that embrace prior learning and facilitate career progression for working adults, members of the armed services, and persons in transition.

    For more information visit http://www.sckans.edu/

     

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