By SCCC/ATS President Duane Dunn
We have had a great month of events, celebrations, and activities at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School as part of national community college month. I hope you had the opportunity to join us in recognizing the benefits of having a college in our community and region.
Our college’s mission can be summarized in a few words of “improving the life of the individual”, and we truly believe we are reaching our mission. Community colleges are a unique aspect of educational opportunities in the United States, established over a period of time and throughout the entire country. In the last few years other countries have realized the value of providing higher education at an affordable rate and with a focus on accessibility. The Liberal community chose to provide that affordable access to our area over 40 years ago and SCCC/ATS is among the last community colleges authorized by the Kansas legislature, and we strive to ensure that benefit is a reality.
We focus on operational efficiency, instructional accessibility, and excellence in achievement. We have been recognized by the Aspen Institute, a national research and policy institute, for our effectiveness and efficient use of resources for student achievement. They recognized us as among the top 45 community colleges of over 1200 colleges in the nation included in their research.
We offer courses at our campus here in Liberal, at eleven outreach centers in our neighboring communities, and we provide extensive courses online and through ITV.
Our students excel above national standards on licensing exams in nursing, respiratory therapy, surgical technology, and medical lab technology. Our automotive students excel in their automotive service excellence exams, and our welding student leave with AWS certification. Last year our first class of Corrosion Technology students far exceeded the national certification standards for employment. This month we were notified that Marivel Mendoza has been recognized as a national scholar through the Coca-Cola Phi Theta Kappa program, and Jose Medrano has been recognized as Kansas Press Association collegiate journalist of the year.
During the past few years we have enhanced our agriculture program to include an emphasis on plant science, soils, greenhouse management and will soon be including a food safety and science component to our curriculum. We have added energy related programs in corrosion technology, natural gas compression technology, and process technology to provide opportunities for local and regional industry employment as well as the chance to work for national energy industry corporations. Those agriculture and energy industry related programs will continue to strengthen our local economic base as well as provide high wage and salary careers for our graduates.
This month we have hosted hundreds of visitors to our campus for events such as the spring musical, scholarship phone-a-thon, Spring Fiesta, softball and baseball games, spring brunch, car show, basketball player D-I commitment signing, livestock judging contest, the ag department’s show pig sale, technical school alumni luncheon, athletic banquet and hall of fame ceremony, and children’s art day.
As we conclude the spring semester we anticipate that a record number of students will graduate and move on to their careers or further education. It’s been an incredible year of accomplishments, student achievement, employee involvement, and community support. On behalf of the entire college I express our appreciation for the support, involvement, and achievement of excellence that we realize at SCCC/ATS.