Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Top Workplace Selection

Top Work Places 2014

Congratulations to everyone here at SCC who makes it possible for this second consecutive selection as a Top Workplace in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch survey.  This independent, employee-driven affirmation of the positive aspects of our work environment is heartening and motivating, I hope for all of us who work here.

Results from this year's survey will be posted soon.  Our strength areas in the survey again this year are in confidence and trust in leadership and the direction of the college.  Our greatest gains were in feeling well-informed about important decisions, faith that senior managers understand what is really happening at SCC, and confidence in the future at SCC.

Whatever the basis of our selection, it should give us great pride in the work environment that we collectively create here at SCC.  This is indeed a special place to learn and to work.  Thank you once again to all of those who contribute to our success in this and every other arena.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

More cause for celebration

On Wednesday, June 11, the Adult Education and Literacy Program held its annual Student Recognition Ceremony in a packed house theater in the Fine Arts Building. This event recognizes students in our English as a Second Language program and those completing their High School Equivalency degrees. It is, without fail, an uplifting and inspiring ceremony, with student stories bound to bring a lump to throats and tears to eyes. This year’s event was no exception.

Here are just a few of the comments from students achieving their High School Equivalency:

“I felt like an outsider and that I couldn’t do well in school. Coming to SCC was one of the best things I’ve done with my time and in life so far. SCC has definitely made me feel more part of the world I live in. Now I can show everyone I know that I am smart, have motivation, and that anything is possible.”

“My GED has been my biggest accomplishment thus far. It gave me a sense of confidence that I so badly needed. It made me feel like I had proved to myself and everyone around me that I could do it and that I am smart enough.”

“Being in this program taught me that it’s possible to continue pursuing your goals no matter how old you are. Today I am majoring in a fashion marketing degree, which was a dream that I was holding in a box before I earned my GED.”

“Achieving my GED/HSE at the age of 30 is surreal to say the least. Obtaining this has given me back my self-confidence that I seem to have lost a long time ago. For once, in a long time, the door to my future has never seemed so exciting and promising.”

“Getting my GED has given me the confidence to realize I can do anything I set my mind to! I also feel that not only is this improving my life, but my son and daughter’s life as well.”

Many of these students, and those completing the ESL program, go on to college here at SCC and elsewhere and from there to remarkable careers. Several students in both programs performed well enough to receive Foundation and Board of Trustee Scholarships.

One of those students, Gia Jurczyk, tells her story here as one of several speakers at the ceremony on Wednesday.

We should be proud of these students and of the work of all those here at SCC who support their success. We talk with deserved pride about our commitment to transforming lives here at SCC. Nowhere is this more evident than in the work and transformation evident in these programs.

Cause for celebration indeed! Congratulations to all of the students, their teachers, volunteers, and everyone in the Adult Education and Literacy program. Work well done!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Commencement 2014

If you haven't seen this video of our 2014 Commencement exercise, please take a moment to view it.

Our own Ben Munson put this together, and it beautifully reflects the joy and satisfaction of completion of this life goal for our many graduates.

Stop back in the next day or two for another wonderful example of how SCC 'transforms lives' following tonight's graduation ceremony for our HSE and AEL students.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Completion and its benefits

As we near Commencement 2014, this is another quick installment on the importance of degree completion.

I've shared previously the statistics we all know with regard to the importance of two-year degree completion to lifetime earnings, job placement, and other material measures of success.  I think that we can also safely assert that completion of the degree affords an important sense of accomplishment among those who receive the degree.  The degree is tangible evidence of progress and achievement along one's life journey and, as such, is cause for celebration and acknowledgment.

For those many students whose plan it is to go on to the four-year degree and beyond in their educational careers, the completion of the two-year degree also serves as a launch pad to greater success in attainment of the four-year degree.  When compared to transfer students not completing the two-year degree, students completing the two-year degree are 49% more likely to complete the four-year degree in four years and 22% more likely to complete the degree in six years (

Degree completion is not the only measure of success in the two-year college world, to be sure.  But for those who hold completion of the degree as a goal, completion delivers on the anticipated promise of furthering and accelerating one's life and career goals.  Congratulations to all of our students - those completing the degree in May, those continuing on with us, and those whose paths take them in new directions.  It has been, and will continue to be, our pleasure to know you and to travel with you on your path.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

More student stories

As we continue our 'Countdown to Commencement' (, stories of student success abound among our soon-to-be graduates.

Kody Gurlen is one such story.  Kody will graduate from SCC's pre-engineering program in May and will attend Missouri S&T in the fall.  Kody aspires eventually to a doctorate degree in aerospace engineering and a career with NASA or another aerospace company.  Kody is a graduate of Fort Zumwalt West and enrolled at SCC on an SCC Board of Trustees Scholarship.  He serves as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa and is a tutor in SCC's ACE Tutoring Center.  Kody offers this advice to other students:  "Don't give up, stay with it.  Even if it seems hard, you can go to the ACE Center for tutoring or get together with a classmate and help each other."

Heidi Andell is another such story.  Heidi will graduate in May with an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing.  While raising a young family and working two jobs, Heidi pushed off the thought of attending college.  It was while working for a group of doctors that Heidi discovered her true passion for working with patients.  When she received the Progress West Nursing Scholarship, Heidi enrolled at SCC and began her new path toward a nursing career.  "The teachers at SCC have such a passion for teaching and they care about our outcomes," Heidi said.  After passing her board exams this summer Heidi hopes to land a part-time job at a hospital and pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing.

These stories and many like them are cause for celebration.  If you have a student story or know someone set to graduate in May whose story inspires you, please send it to Peggy Schreiner at for sharing in our Countdown to Commencement.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Celebrations of Success

"SCC definitely opens a door that otherwise might not be available for many to step through.  I couldn't afford a four-year program, and the college provided me with a stair step to the bachelor's degree required by the Navy."       Lieutenant Commander Tina M. Cox, '93

"SCC gave me confidence that I was moving in the right direction. It really prepared me for the rest of my education."            Dr. Natalie Greene, '01

These comments from the 2012 and 2013 recipients of the SCC Distinguished Alumni Award and MCCA's Outstanding Alumni Award typify what we hear time and time again from our alumni - opening doors, preparing for one's future, affordability and quality - these are attributes of the SCC experience.

It is estimated that by 2018 the U.S. will need 22 million new workers and that 63% of all jobs will require a college education.  As a starting place, community colleges excel.  In Missouri, 56% of all students completing a four-year degree had their start at a community college.  Community college cost of attendance is, on average, less than half that at four-year public institutions, and 30% of those holding an associates degree earn more than those with a bachelors degree.

As just one example of how prepared SCC transfers to four-year institutions are, the University of Missouri at St. Louis recently reported that SCC transfers to UMSL hold an average grade point average of 3.11 as compared to the average grade point average of UMSL native students of 2.93.  Our students and graduates are prepared - for further education and for careers.

As we count down to our 2014 Commencement it is important to keep a focus on the vital nature of our work and the impact that this work has on the lives of our students through stories, statistics, and the words of our students and graduates themselves.  We should celebrate our success and that of our students and graduates.  Look for more celebrations to follow.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Time Flies

The Present is a Point just passed. ~David Russell
Just yesterday we began a new school year.  I could swear that to be the case.  This morning I glanced at the calendar and noticed that Commencement is 42 days away.  It is cliche to say that time flies.  It is also accurate.  And while we have much to do in the six weeks leading up to assembling to celebrate our graduating students, we will look up one day and be there.
In the coming weeks I will feature several posts that seek to honor the importance of what we do and how we do it, and the significance of the milestones reached by our students on their paths toward completion of whatever goals they have set for their time here at SCC.

Commencement, for many of our students, marks the completion of a goal.  It is also a step on a path, a path that is often filled with struggles, obstacles to be overcome, and challenges to be met.  We should not underestimate the importance of our work in helping students to overcome these obstacles and meet these challenges.  Nor should we take for granted the pride of accomplishment that our students feel upon completing a degree with us.

We help to launch our students to some amazing heights.  They, in turn, give purpose and meaning to what we do.  Let us celebrate this wonderful exchange of gifts in the weeks leading up to Commencement 2014.  Check back here for some of that celebration in these remaining weeks of a school year nearly flown by.