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  • Meet the Staff: Academic Success Coach Shirley Baker

    Wichita, Kansas - Becoming an Academic Success Coach was not what Shirley Baker originally had planned at Professional Studies. Already an instructor at Wichita State University, she was hired by PS temporarily to cover for an admissions counselor out on maternity leave. Before her interim position ended, a coaching spot opened. Baker’s background in communications and experience teaching made her an exceptional fit for an advising position.

    “I taught at Wichita State University for many years and met students from a variety of backgrounds,” she says. “Advising is similar to teaching except we get to see growth over a longer period of time. We get to see our students overcome struggles and then watch them graduate.”

    A former adult learner herself, Baker earned her B.S. in Business with an emphasis in Quality Management and her Master’s degree in Communications. Her career background includes positions as a systems analyst, technical writer and marketing manager. She credits those experiences with assisting her when advising students in the Strategic Leadership, Operations Management and Business Quality Management programs at Professional Studies.

    “Improved communication is critical in my position as a coach,” she says. “Our students are busy with their job, family and coursework. If I communicate well and efficiently, based on what each student needs, that helps them be successful.” 

    Baker assists her students with enrolling in classes, buying books and answering questions they have about courses. She also creates degree plans to make sure her learners stay on the path to graduation. Baker advises many of the college’s military learners, splitting time each week between an office at the Professional Studies campus and one at McConnell Air Force Base. Members of the armed forces make up the majority of Professional Studies learners and have some of the more challenging obstacles when it comes to completing a college degree. These are challenges Baker says she is eager to help them overcome.

    “Many students need to balance service-related jobs, multiple deployments plus a family,” she says. “Helping them create a plan and watching them achieve their goals is gratifying.”

    Baker enjoys spending her time away from PS by traveling. She’s already met her goal of visiting all 50 states and has completed a few international trips. She doesn’t have any immediate plans to journey beyond Professional Studies, saying that seeing students through their journey keeps her fulfilled.

    “I love what I do at Southwestern,” she adds. “I think I’ve found a job that matches my personality, so I plan to continue working here with students.”

    Shirley Baker can be reached via email @ or by phone @ 316.866.3383.


  • Southwestern College Named Military-Friendly School ® for 2017

    Wichita, Kansas – Victory Media has named Southwestern College a Military-Friendly School® for the year 2017.

    Veteran-owned Victory Media was established in 2001 to help educators attract quality military students and employees. Its Military Friendly® lists have been published since 2003. The 2016 survey measured how well institutions recruiting programs preformed in three areas: engages the prospective military student in a recruiting environment, educates the military student once they are enrolled at the school and employs the military student in meaningful employment.

    Southwestern College takes pride in providing various online degree programs that meet the needs of service members whether they are at home or deployed. The college gives learners the flexibility to take a break in classes and start back up should they have a career or life event that keeps them from working toward their degree.

    Southwestern College is proud to be one of the elite educational institutions honored to be called a 2017 Military-Friendly School®. 

  • 6 Traits of a Strong Business Leader

    A college education is an asset to any leader in today’s business leader. But certain qualities found in great leaders serve as the foundation. Here are some qualities and traits of outstanding leaders.  

    They Understand & Support  

    Great leaders care about the wellbeing of their workforce. They understand that no matter where they fall on the totem pole everyone plays a key role in the success of the organization. Being understanding when employees have issues at home or sickness or death in their family is paramount to building trust and respect with your staff. Whenever necessary, try to work with staff members on a modified work schedule to accommodate the obstacles they are trying to overcome. Being compassionate will earn you respect and loyalty as a leader.

    They Are Honest

    Just as you expect your subordinates to be honest with you, you should be forthright in return. Solid leaders are virtuous. Will there be times when you can’t divulge information? Of course. But it’s imperative to be forthcoming and transparent whenever possible. Trust is earned and once it’s broken it’s even harder to earn back.

    They Are Organized

    Great leaders plan and stay organized. Part of planning ahead is preparing for possible outcomes of decisions so you can have alternative plans. You don’t have a crystal ball, but successful leaders plan and think things through before executing.

    They Communicate

    Communication is key to running a successful business and being an effective leader. Leaders should never leave things open to interpretation. Rumor mills can tear a business apart and decimate morale. Avoid this by making any changes within the organization clear and by having an open door policy. Your employees should feel comfortable to come to you with ideas or concerns. Effective communication builds trust and respect.

    They Chip In

    Never act too good to perform any job or task. Don’t ask others to do something you are not willing to do yourself. Digging in and helping out is what makes someone a leader. Bosses point and direct others. Leaders chip in and lead by example.

    They Continue to Learn

    Whether it’s going back to college to earn an additional degree or simply taking a free online course, continuing to learn is another trait of a good leader. It’s important to know about new methods, technologies and marketing trends. Additionally, make the rounds at the office and get to know those working for you and what they do. You’ll have a better appreciation for the tasks others complete and they’ll have better appreciation for working for someone like you.


    Southwestern College offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate business-related degrees that include the following:
    Business Quality Management
    Business Administration
    Operations Management


  • Southwestern College Welcomes New Director of Nursing

    Wichita, Kansas – Southwestern College Professional Studies has named Dr. Abbey Elliott, DNP, MHA, RN, CEN, CHSE as its new Nursing Program Director.

    Dr. Elliott comes to Southwestern from Wichita State University where she worked as the Simulation Coordinator for the College of Health Professions’ School of Nursing. She has practiced nursing at Sumner Regional Medical Center in Wellington, KS and in the neonatology and emergency departments at Wichita’s Wesley Medical Center where she continues to enjoy engaging in hands-on nursing and remaining knowledgeable of current practices.

    Dr. Elliott says while she’s always loved nursing, it wasn’t until she led a clinical group of students at the Kansas Heart Hospital that she realized her love for education.

    “My goals are to sustain and grow the RN to BSN program and explore other types of nursing programs that are needed,” she says. “I want to advance the nursing program by continuous review of quality based on nursing and accreditation standards.”

    Dr. Elliott resides in Oxford with her husband and two stepdaughters.


  • Southwestern College Professional Studies Holiday Hours 2016



    Monday, December 19th - Thursday, December 22nd: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Friday, December 23rd, 2016 - CLOSED
    Monday, December 26th, 2016 - CLOSED

    New Years

    Tuesday, December 27th - Thursday, December 30th: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    \Monday, January 2nd, 2017 - CLOSED


  • Meet the Staff: Admissions Counselor Miranda Kober

    Name: Miranda Kober
    Role: Admissions Counselor/RN to BSN Academic Success Coach – and SC Graduate!
    Hometown: Hutchinson, Kansas
    Hobbies: Being outside, going on walks, crafting, cooking, and decorating.
    Accomplishment I’m most proud of: Being the first in my family to graduate from high school, and the first to go to college and graduate.
    Degree: B.A. in Human Resource Development from Southwestern College Professional Studies 
    If I could travel anywhere in the world, I’d pick: I love the water, so I would have to say the Maldives, or Bora Bora.
    Someone who inspires me: Rachel Hollis
    Guilty Pleasure: Sweets
    Family: Wife for almost 9 years to my husband Tony and mother to our four children (three boys and one girl) who range in ages eight to 18 months.  

    If anyone knows the obstacles facing adult learners, it’s Southwestern College Admissions Counselor and RN to BSN Academic Success Coach Miranda Kober. The first in her family to graduate from high school, Miranda understood the importance of education at a young age. That’s why, in spite of the challenges she knew she would face being the wife of an airman and mother of two young children, she set out to earn her degree from Southwestern College Professional Studies in 2011.

    “It was difficult juggling motherhood, being a wife and trying to be a full-time student since I took 18 credits a semester here,” she says. “I learned a good routine and managed my time in a way that I didn’t sacrifice time with my children. I would really focus on reading and homework while they were asleep which helped me maintain A’s for the most part.”

    Miranda graduated in 2013 with her bachelor’s degree in human resource development and soon after accepted a position working in admissions at a for-profit college. But she admittedly became unhappy with some of the practices of the for-profit higher education culture and jumped at the chance to work at Professional Studies when an admissions counselor position opened up in 2016.

    “In the for-profit world it was more about the enrolling even when it may not have been in the best interest of the student, which was really hard to handle after a while. A non-profit college feels more honest and student-based which is something I enjoy more. As a graduate of Southwestern, I knew how the school took care of its students and I was excited to have the opportunity to help adult learners achieve the same goals I had.”  

    In 2017, after the birth of her fourth child, a position was created at Professional Studies that seemed to fit Miranda perfectly. She would keep her position as an admissions counselor in addition to assuming the role as the RN to BSN academic success coach. Having previously aspired to become a nurse herself, she was thrilled to have the chance to work more closely with the nursing students.  

    “I really enjoy getting them started in their education journey and I wanted to take it a step further and work with students up to the point of graduation. I have always found the medical field fascinating. I get to hear the different stories from my nursing students and I know how hard they work in their field. I’m happy to be able to help them on the educational side.”

    Miranda’s passion for working with her learners on a personal level makes her stand out as a coach. She takes pride in being one of their biggest advocates, supporting them throughout their journal toward graduation and reminding them of their potential and abilities when they face challenges that come with being working adult learners.

    “My students are the reason I come to work. Nothing makes my day like having a student send me an email with a passing grade to their class and getting to hear their excitement for doing well in a class when they were struggling with different factors outside of their coursework.”

    Miranda resides in Wichita and enjoys spending time with her husband and four children outdoors and traveling when she gets the chance.

  • The Importance of Professional Credentialing

    WICHITA, Kansas - Professional credentials play a vital role in today’s workforce. Industry certifications allow employers the ability to determine if a prospective employee possesses the necessary skillset, knowledge and experience to perform a specific job.

    • “Certification may positively impact company profitability and provide employees with nationally portable credentials that set them apart when seeking a new job or advancing within their current organization,” said Melissa Murer Corrigan, President of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE).

    Qualifying Your Military Skills and Training in the Civilian Job Market

    For many service members, the transition to the civilian job sector, specifically career transition, can be a daunting task. Often times, the ability to utilize military experience can be negated by the lack of formal education and professional certifications associated with the respective career field. For service members working in specialized career fields, obtaining a professional certification can open doors to immediate employment upon leaving the armed services.

    In an effort to assist service members with obtaining industry-recognized professional certifications and licensures relative to their military jobs, each branch of the armed services has implemented a Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) program. The COOL programs provide service members with information on certifications that align with their active duty jobs, professional certification training programs, and how to access funding to cover the cost associated with obtaining a certification or license.

    Additional information on the COOL programs can be found by accessing the following links:

    Visit the Center For Corporate Learning Web site for more information regarding certification courses.

  • Former Heritage Learners Offered Credit Transfer Options at Southwestern College

    Wichita, KS – With the news of Heritage College closing its doors, Southwestern College is committed to assisting former Heritage College learners transition into a certificate or undergraduate degree program by accepting the transfer of up to 64 earned credits.

    As a non-profit, regionally accredited college, Southwestern College offers a wide range of degree and certificate completion programs online through its Professional Studies division and traditional degree programs through its main campus in Winfield, KS. 

    “Anytime a school abruptly shuts its doors it’s a real hardship for students,” says Susan Backofen, Vice President of Enrollment at Southwestern College Professional Studies. “We want Heritage College students to know we are here for them to help them continue their education and complete their degrees. Financial aid is available to those who qualify and we will work with them to offer credit transfer wherever possible so they may find a major and proceed.” 

    As part of its commitment to educating adult learners and members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Southwestern College Professional Studies offers its courses in six-week online sessions with eight starts a year.

    Southwestern College has been named a Military Advanced Education Top School, Best for Vets College and Military Friendly ® School for 2016.

    Contact Southwestern College via email at or by phone at 888.684.5335 for more information.

  • Southwestern College Ranked in Top Online Christian Colleges

    Wichita, Kansas - Southwestern College has been recognized for excellence in education, earning a spot on the list of Best Online Christian Colleges for 2016 by The Web site collects data in higher education to provide valuable information to those seeking college degrees.

    The rating was made after analyzing the cost and quality across thousands of colleges in the U.S. with online degree programs. Some of the criteria in selecting the best in Christian online colleges included the number of online programs offered, percentage of full-time students receiving institutional financial aid, student-to-teacher ratio and tuition.

    Southwestern College offers 16 undergraduate 10 graduate online degree programs. Classes are offered in six-week sessions year round to provide flexibility to working adult learners.

  • 3 Habits of Successful BSN Students

    You’re enrolled in nursing school and juggling long shift hours and family life. There’s no doubt about it – you have your work cut out for you for months to come. The great news is that there are ways to stay on top of your game while working through school without stressing out too much or missing out on time with your loved ones. Here are three healthy habits you should start practicing immediately in order to maintain your success and sanity while earning your bachelor’s in nursing degree.

    They Effectively Manage Their Time

    Above all else managing your time is going to be the foundation for your success in nursing school. Just like you, many nursing students are working shifts around the clock while attending classes either on ground or online. And they have to find a way to balance their time at work and in the books with their spouses and children. This is where sticking to a strict schedule will play in your favor.

    Start by making a list of the things you MUST do, such as getting enough hours of sleep, then focus on the other important things like studying, work and time spent with family. It also helps to create a chart for you and your family so it’s clear what hours you will be at work and attending classes. You can also block out time for yourself to study. This will help decrease the stress of staying on top of everything you have going on each day.

    They Study Wisely

    Your spouse and children are just two of the various distractions you will have to manage while trying to study for exams and complete coursework. But there are several simple ways you can keep yourself focused and studying smarter.

    First, eliminate any distractions. Turn off your TV, put your cell phone away and go to a quiet room away from others. If you’re using your computer to complete assignments, it’s wise not to have any browsers open other than the ones necessary for studying. The more time you take looking away at your favorite TV program or to catch up on the latest on social media sites the more time it will take you to re-focus. This is your time to study, so use it wisely.

    Secondly, know what is ahead of you and give yourself plenty of time to study. Making sure you are aware of what the workload will be like for your next assignment or how much time you will need to study for your exams is crucial. This will keep you on task and on schedule.

    Lastly, study in increments. Cramming for a test or trying to retain loads of information in a short amount of time is not very effective. Rather than study for several hours in one day, split up that time between a couple days. Feel free to study for a bit, then take a break and come back it a little later. Spacing out your studying sessions will help you memorize what you have learned.

    They are Prepared

    When it comes to being successful in your BSN degree, it’s important to know from the get go what lies ahead of you. Make sure to read your syllabus and course expectations. Plan your schedule accordingly in order to allow enough time for assignments and studying. Add pending assignments and upcoming exams to your time management chart. It’s going to be a challenge to stay on top of school, work and family life, so writing things down in a place you check often is a great way to stay organized.

    You can earn your BSN with less stress from Southwestern College. Enjoy six-week online classes that you attend on your time!