Leaders of the three Southwest Kansas community colleges shared ideas on cooperation and collaboration recently, and heard first-hand from a Thai refugee and a Dodge City paramedic who are benefiting from shared programs already under way.
Rob Boyd of Ford County Fire and EMS and Dwa Tho, Garden City, spoke to elected trustees and administrative personnel from Dodge City, Garden City and Seward County Community Colleges at GCCC’s Beth Tedrow Student Center.
Boyd focused on the GCCC-based Emergency Medical Services Technology Program, which allows students to advance from EMT-Basic and EMT-Intermediate status to full paramedic certification.
The partnership program lets men and women in Dodge City or Liberal complete a significant share of their class work through live, interactive television originating in Garden City. A related arrangement lets Dodge City and Garden City students take classes in a Respiratory Therapist career program taught at the Liberal college.

“Having this kind of partnership is the only way I could have done this,” said Boyd, who will soon add a GCCC associate degree to his previous DCCC degree. “It has been a huge, time-consuming class, but the school has done an excellent job.”
Boyd cited professional instruction and powerful experiences, including the opportunity to observe live heart surgery at the Kansas Heart Hospital in Wichita.
“You may not think so,” he said to the group of 30 at the meeting, “but to me, well, that was pretty cool.”
He added that completion of a paramedic program requires strong commitment, family support and a flexible employer. Gray County EMS, he noted, is paying his schooling in exchange for a work commitment.
Tho, using a language unfamiliar to him a year ago, told the group he achieved his goal of learning English quickly through the GCCC Adult Learning Center’s English as a Second Language Program.
“I am grateful to all my teachers,” he said, citing his desire to advance to a college degree and eventually become a doctor who serves other immigrants.
Accompanied by ESL Instructor Linda Miller, he outlined the process of learning English, completing a GED high school equivalency program and advancing to college classes.
Success, in Tho’s case, came through a determined effort in reading and writing, two days of weekly computer work and a campus program designed to help immigrants make the transition from adult education to college level learning.

The three-college meeting was originally scheduled to share higher education concerns with Southwest Kansas legislators, but none were able to attend, so board members used the time to discuss common issues. They also exchanged ideas with Janie Perkins, Garden City resident and member of the Kansas Board of Regents, which governs state universities and coordinates community colleges.
Issues included:
• Developmental or remedial classes all three schools must provide for high school graduates not ready for postsecondary English and math curriculum when they enroll in college.
• Courses that offer concurrent high school and college credit.
• The successful academic performance of community college transfer students at state universities.
• Technical and career education, including the fact that more than 70 percent of postsecondary technical education in Kansas is provided by the state’s 19 community colleges.
• Legislation that would allow community colleges to own property outside their home counties or taxing districts.
• New programs in social work and ESL-oriented elementary education provided through Access US, a consortium of Western Kansas community colleges with Emporia, Fort Hays and Kansas State Universities.
Dr. Richard Burke, DCCC president, suggested regular contact between college and high school faculty to address the preparation of high school students for postsecondary curriculum.
“It’s important to build relationships and have open, honest conversations from the head and the heart,” Burke said.
Perkins said the Regents are also concerned about what Dr. Bill Clifford, GCCC Trustee, termed “the remediation burden.” In English and math combined, more than 60 percent of incoming freshmen must take one or more developmental courses.
“The community colleges are at the center of remedial education and it’s an issue of funding,” said DCCC Trustee Shane Bangerter. He pointed out that students from the region’s immigrant population enter public schooling at every grade level, often with limited language skills, creating difficult challenges for area school districts.
“We need the funding, and with it we could make a huge difference,” Bangerter said.
Concurrent college and high school enrollment can often help students see the need to better prepare themselves for college academics, according to Dr. Duane Dunn, SCCC/ATS president.
Burke and Dunn shared reports from the state universities, showing that graduates from both of their schools earn higher grade point averages than their non-transfer classmates on the university campuses. Ballantyne cited reports showing the same results for GCCC.
“We need to sell that fact to the public,” Burke said.
“We need to sell it to the high schools too,” said GCCC Board Chairman Ron Schwartz.
The group touched on ways to share the value and successes of community colleges with the public, ranging from billboards and advertising to annual public reports. In addition, they discussed erroneous beliefs about community college credit transfer problems.
Before concluding, they got an update on progress in replacing Sheila Frahm, executive director of the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees.
Frahm, a former lawmaker and Kansas lieutenant governor, is retiring after more than a decade of service. Board members learned that up to three applicants are being interviewed for the position in Topeka.
“This joint meeting provides an ideal opportunity for the trustees to discuss common challenges and strategies for system efficiencies,” said Dunn. “It certainly helps the administrators of the colleges develop methods of meeting the educational needs of southwest Kansas." SCCC/ATS will host the next joint meeting.
Seward County Community College/Area Technical School will hold two concerts this fall to close the fall 2008 semester. The Winter Concerts will feature the Wind Ensemble, The Singing Saints, The Gentlemen’s Club and the Concert Choir.
Both concerts will be at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4-5 in the SCCC/ATS Showcase Theater.
Members of the Wind Ensemble are Lydia Augustine, Diana Askew, Carina Diaz de Leon, Luis Fuentes, Joseph Harmon, Okoya James and Christopher Perez, all of Liberal; Rachel Vangieson, Ellissa Rivera and Jacob Hampton, all of Turpin; Chelsea Ghumm of Hugoton; Lacy Garcia of Lakin; Elisa Labra of Plains; and Shawn McWhorter of Memphis, Texas.
Choir members are Benn Allen, Hillary Anderson, Jeff Binns, Carina Diaz De Leon, Randy Hawk, Adriana Juarez, Monica Kerbo, Mikayla Knudsen, Sergio Padilla, Ariana Parral, Jacob Riggs, Ellissa Rivera, Melissa Sabillon and Tuyet Trong, all of Liberal; Derek Bridenstine and Rachel McDonald, both of Turpin; Christina Canterbury of Tyrone; Logan Green of Meade; Victoria Jacob of Topeka, Jimmy Ortiz of Ulysses; Brent Ramey of Great Bend and Lillia Torres of Kismet.
Due to limited seating, call 620-417-1451 for tickets or go by the Shank Humanities Building, 1801 N. Kansas. Tickets are $2.

Are you interested in attending college and need child care? Would you be interested in on-campus child-care facilities? Are you interested in an Early Childhood Development program?
Seward County Community College/Area Technical School I Liberal, Kansas would like to know your opinion in these two areas by conducting a survey. Go online to and take our survey. Your responses will help us plan for the future.
For additional questions, contact Celeste Donovan, dean of student services, 620-417-1016.

Want to try something different this semester? Seward County Community College/Area Technical School is offering two late-start short courses this semester.
Welding (Beginning and Advanced) will be offered from 7-10 p.m., Mondays and Thursdays, beginning Nov. 17 in TA 115, 2215 N. Kansas. The cost is $80.
Certified Nurses Aide will be offered from 2-9 p.m., Monday-Wednesday, Dec. 8-Jan. 22, in T118, 2215 N. Kansas. The cost is $450.
For more information, call 620-624-1173, email or come by 2215 N. Kansas in Liberal.
Models for the Cosmetology Smart Style Competition were Tatiana Condo, Brazil; Blair Breuer, Guymon; Karime Olivas, Perryton; Mayra Frias, Perryton; Lili Acevedo, Beaver; and Tessa Thorton, Goodwell.

The Kylix Art Club at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School is sponsoring its Children’s Art Day from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15, in the art room of the Shank Humanities Building for children in grades 1-6.
The cost is $10 and includes all supplies and drinks. Children are asked to bring a sack lunch.
Please reserve a space by contacting Art Instructor Susan Copas by Friday, Nov. 14 at 620-417-1453 or
Lupe Rosales of Perryton, Texas, and Megan Nickel of Turpin, Oklahoma work on model Mayra Frias of Perryton, all students in the Cosmetology program at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School. Smart Style Salons hosted a hairstyling competition between Seward County, Dodge City and Garden City community colleges. The theme was “Avant Garde.” SCCC/ATS Cosmetology took first and second. The first-place team of Modern Egyptian consisted of Crystal Zirkel, Luz Hernandez, Brenda Perlata and their model Tessa Thortan. The second-place team of Peacock Avant Garde included Crystal Castillo, Jeanette Sandoval, Ingrid Soto, Maggie Stavig and their model Karime Olivas.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in conjunction with Seward County Community College/Area Technical School will host a workshop “Teaching the Skills Necessary for the Redesigned Naturalization Test.”
This free workshop for civics and citizenship teachers of adults and others interested in the testing process will be offered from 5-8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 17 in the SCCC/ATS Student Union, SW229 A-D in Liberal. The workshop will cover the redesigned naturalization test, the naturalization process and how to prepare students for the naturalization interview and test.
To obtain a registration form, contact the SCCC/ATS Colvin Adult Learning Center, 10th and Kansas, in Liberal or call 620-417-1313. Registration is open only in advance.
Seward County Community College/Area Technical School will offer a Conceal and Carry class through Business & Industry from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22 in SU214 E/W, 1801 N. Kansas in Liberal.
The cost is $100 per class and is the mandatory training that is required to carry a concealed handgun. Enroll in advance only by calling 620-417-1170 or
Seward County Community College/Area Technical School Business & Industry will host a customer service workshop entitled “The Customer is the Boss so give ‘em the pickle” from 8-11 a.m. or 2-4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 20 in SW214 E/W.
The cost is $10 per person and is sponsored by SCCC/ATS, City of Liberal—Department of Economic Development and Liberal Chamber of Commerce.
This workshop will show teams how to integrate the pickle-giving culture into the work place and teach four ways to help team members determine what the customer really wants.
To register, call 620-417-1170 or email

Individuals from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas attended the NACE Rectifier School (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) recently on the Seward County Community College/Area Technical School campus. Twice a year individuals come to campus for training.

The Taste of China recently donated $3,000 to the Seward County Community College Development Foundation for the Saints basketball program. Zhen Yu, owner of the Taste of China, presents the check to Brian Zollinger, Saints basketball coach. Also pictured are the Saints basketball team members, assistant coach Ryan Stock, and SCCC Development Foundation Trustee Jim Scantlin. For more information about supporting Seward County Community College/Area Technical School programs and students, contact the SCCC Development Foundation, 620-417-1131.