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Seward County Community College has partnered with SMARTHINKING, the leading source for online tutoring and academic support, to offer online tutoring services to its students.

SMARTHINKING provides students with the ability to interact with live tutors at anytime, from anywhere. Students may receive assistance through several services including tutoring in real-time for core courses such as math, chemistry, physics, biology, anatomy and physiology, economics, accounting, and statistics. Writing support for all subjects is also offered to students through an online writing lab. SMARTHINKING e-structors are trained in providing the online academic assistance the students seek. The e-structors have substantial experience in tutoring and teaching in their given field, and they participate in a rigorous online training program and practicum.

By offering online tutoring through SMARTHINKING, Seward County Community College is making convenient and easy-to-use academic assistance available to students despite the time of day or their location, said Todd Carter, Title III Grant director. The service is especially helpful to those students who might not ordinarily be able to take advantage of traditional face-to-face tutoring or on-campus resources. Currently at SCCC, students can use the on-campus learning assistance resources in the Academic Achievement Center for limited hours.

Administrators felt that since many of our students have work and family commitments, they should be able to access academic support to suit their own schedules.

SMARTHINKING has been providing assistance to students since Spring 2000 and currently serves over 300 clients across the nation. Knowing that SMARTHINKING has been successfully tested and highly rated by its users, SCCC can be assured of receiving a high-quality service. Melinda Wright, one of the first students to use the service said, "It's great having someone to answer your questions when you're on deadline. The service is invaluable. I got a 4.0 for the first time in my life thanks to [SMARTHINKING's] help." SMARTHINKING is not designed to replace traditional college assistance programs or traditional college courses. Its purpose is to serve as a supplement, in most cases, to existing campus tutoring programs and provide students with another tool for success.

Any student enrolled in a course at Seward County Community College is eligible for SMARTHINING services. Access will be available through the secure student login on the SCCC website February 8, 2006.

For further information, contact Todd Carter at tcarter@sccc.edu or 629-2643.
Seward County Community College, Liberal, Kansas, received notification from North Central that the Institutional Actions Council has voted to accept the college's application to join the Academic Quality Improvement Program, and the Higher Learning Commission validated the action.

Effective Dec 16, 2005, Seward County Community College became an official participant in AQIP. AQIP provides an alternative process for institutions that are already accredited to maintain its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. With AQIP SCCC will demonstrate it meets accreditation standards and expectations through ongoing events that work with the institution's overall goals and objectives, said Cynthia Rapp, dean of instruction.

Most recently, all personnel participated in a "vital focus constellation" that allowed each employee as both an individual and as a part of a small group to offer input into the direction of SCCC. This follows an employee survey that looked at what SCCC does well and what its needs of the future are.

The college will now take the suggestions from the small groups and outline both short- and long-range goals for the institution.

AQIP's categories include:

  • Helping students learn

  • Accomplishing other distinctive objectives

  • Understanding students' and other stakeholders' needs

  • Valuing people

  • Leading and communicating

  • Supporting institutional operations

  • Measuring effectiveness

  • Planning continuous improvement

  • Building collaborative relationships



AQIP replaces the "one-size fits all" approach and supplies the public with more understandable, useful infomraiton concerning the quality and value of accredited colleges and universities. AQIP also recognizes and celebrates institutional distinctiveness and outstanding achievements.

With this format, everyone has input and the information is personalized to SCCC.

No longer will SCCC develop a lengthy document for 10-year accreditation, Rapp said. Instead, the college will develop shorter and more meaningful reports with data-driven decisions.

"We are excited about this new process to improve the college," Rapp said."We are ready to begin developing our own priorities to make Seward County Community College one of the best community colleges in the nation."
Kansas will salute 43 community college scholars for their academic accomplishments Feb. 15 in Topeka during the 11th Annual Phi Theta Kappa Honors Luncheon. The luncheon is in conjunction with February's Kansas Board of Regents meeting. Those in attendance will hear from Noah Brown, president of the Association of Community College Trustees.

Representing 39 towns and cities, the state's 19 community colleges, and a private two-year college, these scholars have been named to the 2005-06 All-Kansas Academic Team, sponsored by the international headquarters of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees, and the Kansas Council of Community College Presidents.

Representing Seward County Community College are Eva VanWyhe, Liberal, and Crystal Wheatley, Darrouzett, Texas, both nursing students.

VanWyhe is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, SCCC1s honor society, and on the Dean1s Honor Roll. She is involved in the community through Dorothy1s House, Liberal Area Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Center and Ident-a-kid.

Wheatley is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Student Nurses Association and the SCCC Nursing Advisory Committee. She was nominated to the national dean1s list in 2003-04 and 2004-05 and Who1s Who Among American College Students in 2004-05. She graduated from SCCC in May 2005 Summa Cum Laude with a certificate in Practical Nursing. She is now working on her associate1s degree in nursing.

As part of her community service she has arranged a donation project for a former classmate in need of financial help, has coordinated children1s activities for Vacation Bible School and coordinated a baby contest for a German celebration.

Phi Theta Kappa is the honor society for students attending community and two-year colleges. Membership is based on high grade point averages and other criteria, with members focusing on scholastic achievement and service to community and campus. The 48 individuals are part of a statewide student body of more than 72,000 people enrolled in more than 615,000 credit hours taken annually at the 19 Kansas community colleges.

"We consider this a very worthwhile endeavor for all of the Kansas community colleges to come together and celebrate the achievements of the state's outstanding students," said Ruth Randall, a Johnson County Community College associate professor/honors program facilitator who serves as Kansas Region Coordinator for the Honor Society. "These students are our finest not only in the academic sphere, but also in terms of service and citizenship."

Each scholar was selected by his or her own community college for the tenth annual statewide academic team, and each scholar also is a nominee for the 2005-06 All-USA Academic Team, sponsored by the newspaper USA Today, Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Association of Community Colleges.

Each student will receive a proclamation issued by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, an educational scholarship of $300, and an academic medallion.

Traditionally, the Kansas Regents universities and Washburn University have provided scholarships in the amount of $1,000 for the All-Kansas Team recipients who transfer to their institutions. The students will go to the Kansas Statehouse prior to the luncheon, where they will be given a tour and meet lawmakers.

Some of the honored students are bringing parents, spouses, children, grandchildren, or grandparents to watch as they receive recognition.

Since 1991, Phi Theta Kappa, USA Today, and the American Association of Community Colleges have sponsored the national All-USA Academic Team Program. The Kansas program is an affiliate, and the Kansas students are all nominees for the national honor.

This year, more than 1,100 students nationwide will compete for places on the first, second and third All-USA teams. First team members each receive a $2,500 stipend, and will be featured along with second and third team members in USA Today. Team members are also presented with medallions. Names of the students will be placed on the society's Web site.
James Herbel, a farmer from Hooker, Okla., is what colleges and universities today call a nontraditional student or a student who returns to the academic classroom years after graduation from high school. Herbel, however, is even more of a nontraditional student because most of his entire career in higher education has been through online education.

Herbel has taken classes through EduKan, which is a six-community college consortium in western Kansas that offers general education degrees and courses online for place-bound students.

"I had always wanted to get my degree but had not been able to because of commitments I had elsewhere," Herbel said. "Edukan gave me the opportunity to get my degree and keep up with my work and family responsibilities." After he receives his degree through EduKan, Herbel said he plans to take classes from Kansas State University to receive a bachelor1s degree in business. He then wants to work on a master1s or advanced degree.

He said he started out small by taking his first class in December 2004 in computer applications. Since that time he has taken 18 classes over EduKan and one class on the Seward County Community College campus in Liberal, Kansas. By the end of the fall 2005 semester, Herbel said he will have 57 hours and will be close to having his two-year degree. Most associate1s degrees required 64 hours.

Taking 20 hours on campus is a very large load and Herbel has often taken over 20 hours a semester online. "Taking 20-plus hours has been a pretty good load with the demands of work and family on top of it," he said.

Students who take online courses need to learn to manage their time, said Herbel. 3If you get behind, catching up is very difficult. Students need to try to stay up with the course and the required reading. It is easy to put off assignments and find yourself overloaded with everything coming due at once.

"I am happy with Edukan and the way the courses are presented," he said. "I think I have a 3.70 grade point average; it should be higher, but I got behind due to work requirements and got a B in a couple of classes that I shouldn't have." With a degree the opportunities that open up are numerous, he said. "I can use it in my work, to pursue other endeavors, or to advance my education into an advanced degree." Without online education, it would have been much harder to pursue a degree due to time and travel restraints, he said. "I am not sure it would have been possible without doing it online." It isn1t always easy getting started in online classes. He said there was a learning curve in how the courses were formatted. In addition, because he was out of school for a long time, he said learning good study habits took awhile. "Once I became familiar with the courses, everything else worked very well." Herbel, who is a farmer, is not sure what the future holds after he completes a bachelor1s degree. "I will just see where I want to go from there. " Although online education is a viable alternative for some individuals as compared to the traditional on-campus setting, there are still those individuals who are unsure of this new format. However, like Herbel, there is a large segment of the population who have not received a degree due to various circumstances, but would like to get one now. Many would not have the opportunity to pursue a degree if courses were not available online.

"I found that online learning is not easy; it takes as much or more commitment and self-discipline than on-campus courses," but the opportunity is proving to be a valuable experience for him.

For additional information about EduKan, visit their website or call a representative at one of the six Kansas Community Colleges who are members of EduKan: Seward County, Pratt, Dodge City, Colby, Garden City and Barton County community colleges.
The public is invited to attend the 2nd annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which begins with a "I have a Dream" Community March at 4 p.m., Monday, Jan. 16 at the southeast corner of Wal-Mart parking lot. The march will end at Seward County Community College with food, singing, and special messages in SW229 of the Student Activities Center.

For information, contact Chrissy Davis, 620-626-2716.
If you need assistance with a tracking your progress toward graduation, scheduling courses, transfer information or career exploration or if you have basic academic questions, take advantage of Seward County Community College's evening academic advising.

Advising offices will be open from 5-7 p.m., Jan. 9-12 in room A103 of the Hobble Academic Building.

For information, contact Chrissy Davis, 620-626-2716 or E-Mail.