Southwest Tennessee Community College

The Southwest Scoop, Issue #608March 13, 2017

Achieving the Dream- Redesign, Reinvent, and Reset Southwest Update

Achieving the Dream (ATD) is a national nonprofit organization leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. ATD acts as a catalyst to help colleges strengthen and build their capacity to ensure that more students complete postsecondary education and have greater opportunities for economic success. In February 2016, a team from Southwest Tennessee Community College attended the ATD annual Dream conference in Atlanta. This exploratory visit gave Southwest staff the chance to experience first-hand the opportunities ATD presented for community college student success. Through support from the Hyde Foundation, Southwest was accepted into the ATD 2016 cohort. Southwest is the fourth Tennessee college to partner with ATD. We join Chattanooga State Community College, Jackson State Community College, and Roane State Community College.

In June, a preliminary ATD Core Team attended the ATD Kickoff Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona. That team included the following members:

  • Dr. Tracy Hall, President of Southwest Tennessee Community College
  • Dr. Christopher Ezell, Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • Jacqueline Faulkner, Vice President of Student Affairs
  • Karen Nippert, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
  • Don Myers, Director of Institutional Research
  • Dr. Marcia Hunter, Professor
  • Lamecia Goode, Advisor
  • Sindy Abadie, Associate Professor
ATD Pie.


At the Kickoff Institute, the team learned of how to impact student success by focusing on seven essential capacities that must be in place for colleges to create a student-focused culture. Those core capacities, represented in the chart below, that ATD has outlined as critical for leading institutional change are: teaching and learning, engagement and communication, strategy and planning, policies and practices, leadership and vision, data and technology, and equity.

Following the ATD Kickoff Institute, Sindy Abadie was selected to lead the College’s ATD efforts. Ms. Abadie is an Associate Professor from the Business and Legal Studies Department who has been at Southwest since 2005.

In October 2016, Dr. Hall launched Redesign, Reinvent and Reset Southwest which will be the framework of the College’s ATD work. She explained that, “We are deconstructing everything that we have been doing and rebuilding the college.” Her goal is to have every process redesigned to be student centered. She made it clear that we must change our way of operating: “this is not another initiative. This is not about tinkering around the edges. This is not another death-by-committee project. This is about fundamentally changing how we do business.” At the October 6 event, Sindy Abadie explained that four main Student Success Committees will work to re-write processes to be student centered. Subcommittees will use data to investigate institutional barriers for our students, then research best practices from around the nation to consider as they write process maps for each area. The committees are charged with submitting a report that describes how the processes were developed and that cites evidence to support their recommendations. The committees are as follows:

  1. Onboarding Committee led by Jacqueline Faulkner, Vice President of Student Affairs. Oversees the Recruitment, Admissions, Orientation, and Financial Aid subcommittees.
  2. Academic Maps Committee led by Jeremy Burnett, Director of Faculty Advising. Leads the creation of academic maps in the areas of: Health and Human Services, Business and Technology, Arts and Sciences, and Workforce Development. Mr. Burnett will also work with a subcommittee to develop a new First Year Experience/Academic Support course.
  3. Student Support Committee led by Dr. Jacqueline Taylor, Executive Director of Retention and Student Success. Lead the Academic and Career Advising, Academic Support, Co-Curricular Support, and Social-Emotional Support subcommittees.
  4. Business Services Committee led by Margaret Hillman, Director of Cashiers and Accounts Receivable. Oversee the redesign of the purge process, reinstatement, and accounts payable processes.
Sindy Abadie, Dr. Luzelma Canales and Susan Mayer present the ICAT results.

Sindy Abadie, Dr. Luzelma Canales and Susan Mayer present the ICAT results.

Since the October 6, 2016 event, more than 200 stakeholders have been involved in the redesign efforts. Committees are meeting regularly to identify barriers to student success, analyze institutional data, research best practices from across the country, and remap processes to be student focused. In December 2016, the College was given the Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool (ICAT) which ATD uses to gauge the institution’s current place in regard to the seven core capacities listed above.

On January 26, 2017, Dr. Hall hosted a Redesign, Reinvent and Reset Southwest update meeting at the Union Avenue Campus- Nursing, Natural Sciences and Biotechnology Building. The meeting was broadcasted to the Macon Cove Campus and Maxine A. Smith and Whitehaven Centers. The meeting included the ATD coaches, Susan Mayer and Dr. Luzelma Canales, who reviewed the ICAT results. Then Sindy Abadie, ATD-Program Director, highlighted the redesign work that has been ongoing and outlined some “early wins” that have already been implemented. The final portion of the meeting was an open forum wherein attendees could ask questions or make comments to Dr. Hall, the ATD coaches, or provide input to the redesign committees.

Dr. Hall provides a report to faculty and staff members on Achieving the Dream progress.

Dr. Hall provides a report to faculty and staff members on Achieving the Dream progress.

The next event scheduled for Redesign, Reinvent and Reset Southwest is planned for early May and will be a gallery walk presenting the process maps and recommendations created by the Student Success Committees. If you would like to be involved in the redesign at Southwest, there is still time! Contact Sindy Abadie at to be added to the Review Committee. This committee will review the process maps and make recommendations to be considered as Senior Staff prioritize implementation.

For more information on Achieving the Dream, visit: To review meeting minutes and documentation for the Student Success Committees, please view the ATD SharePoint Site at:

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Welding Class Shows Southwest's Value to the Community

Welding student receives certification.

Welding student receives certification.

Southwest shines in many areas that have an impact on the community. In some instances, instructors and students have shown an incredible drive in order to become successful, and to propel themselves and our programs to heights that were previously thought unachievable. In this respect there is yet another workforce-related success story that needs recognition amongst the Southwest and Greater Memphis Communities.

After a several year program hiatus, Southwest completed the first welding class at the end of the fall semester in the Whitehead Building on the Macon Cove Campus. There were 14 students in the class who took it upon themselves to earn a total of 105 AWS welding certifications among them, in a three-month timeframe.

Initially, they were asked to earn one, perhaps two certifications each by class completion.

The welding class.

The newly certified welding class.

Taylor Tagg, coordinator of the TAACCCT 4 Workforce Grant, remarked "their total of 105 certifications is literally unheard of, yet somehow they managed to pull it off by helping each other in every facet of learning and application." Class welding instructor Danny Spencer who has over 20 years of teaching experience said, "I will never see the likes of that again in any classroom."

It is important for us to recognize the successes here at Southwest. We are proud to honor the hard work and perseverance of Taylor Tagg, Danny Spencer, and the 14 students who achieved this amazing accomplishment. This is an accomplishment that once again showcases Southwest as a community leader in technical training and technological development.

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Southwest amongst the top area colleges in R.O.I.

as reported by the Memphis Business Journal, Jan. 11, 2017

A recent article showed that Southwest is amongst the best colleges in the Memphis area for Return on Investment (ROI).

Return on Investment

Southwest Ranks Third in local College ROI

The findings were made by comparing earnings with cost of attendance to find which school provides the best return on investment. We are proud to be well ahead of many of the other colleges in the fact that students who attend Southwest get a 5.1 return on their college spending. This means that our students get back over 5 times the value of the money they spent attending Southwest.

Best buys: Which local colleges have the best return on investment?*

Rank - 1
College: Baptist College of Health Sciences
Salary After Attending: $54,100
Average Annual Cost: $9,287
Return on Investment: 5.8

Rank - 2
College: Christian Brothers University
Salary After Attending: $45,900
Average Annual Cost: $8,390
Return on Investment: 5.5

Rank - 3
College: Southwest Tennessee Community College
Salary After Attending: $24,700
Average Annual Cost: $4,861
Return on Investment: 5.1

Rank - 4
College: University of Memphis
Salary After Attending: $35,700
Average Annual Cost: $12,661
Return on Investment: 2.8

Rank - 5
College: Rhodes College
Salary After Attending: $51,800
Average Annual Cost: $25,909
Return on Investment: 2.0

Rank - 6
College: LeMoyne-Owen College
Salary After Attending: $25,600
Average Annual Cost: $13,060
Return on Investment: 2.0

*Based on recent Department of Education College Scorecard data.

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Early College High School Returns to Southwest

Southwest Early College High School (SECHS) recently held information sessions for parents who are interested in enrolling their children in the new school. The first class will begin with ninth-graders and progressively grow to 12th graders. The ultimate goal is to have the children graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree or technical certificate.

Curtis Weathers facilitates information session for interested parents.

Curtis Weathers facilitates information session for interested parents.

The information sessions were led by School Director Curtis Weathers. Weathers informed the parents that this initiative is different from other schools, “We are not an optional school and there is no GPA requirement,” said Weathers. “Our objective is to bathe the student in the college experience by exposing them to the college atmosphere,” he continued. To give parents some idea of how the school would work, he presented YouTube videos pertaining to the “Early College High Agenda” and the concept of “Blended Learning.”

After reviewing the videos, Weathers asked for comment on what the parents “saw” in the clip. Parents stated they noticed, “No overcrowded classes, relationships between students, excited children, and one-on-one time with the instructor.” Parents also favored the blended learning model because it seemed to foster discussion and interaction using various learning tools.

SECHS will build a partnership with the parents, according to Weathers, “this is not a school versus parents’ organization.” Other perks for students will be full-time tutors and mentors, laptops will be provided to each student, and they will participate in extra-curricular activities that will enhance student interest.

According to a report by U.S. News & World Report (2016); early college high schools are not widespread, but those that do exist have been remarkably successful; early college schools claim a 90 percent graduation rate; most are on or near college campuses; and some early college schools have a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focus.

Curtis Weathers leads a parent tour of classroom facilities at our Union Avenue Campus.

Curtis Weathers leads a parent tour of classroom facilities at our Union Avenue Campus.

SECHS will provide students an opportunity to complete their high school diploma, receive an associate degree or complete up to 60 hours of college credit by taking a mixture of high school and college classes. During the freshman and sophomore years, the students will mix high school and some college classes in preparation for full college workloads during their junior and senior years. Students will have access to an array of comprehensive support systems, including academic and social skills to help them achieve high academic standards of college. Students have a choice of three different career pathways: Information Technology, Business Management, and Allied Health.

Information sessions will conclude on Saturday, March 25 at 10 a.m. on the Union Avenue Campus. For additional enrollment information, you may contact SECHS at 901-300-0813 or visit

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Project M.O.S.T., Academic Support Center Help Prepare Saluqis for the Future

Since Project M.O.S.T. (Men of Southwest Tennessee) was founded in 2012, it has assisted African-American male students to aid in their retention and graduation efforts. A few semesters ago, Southwest Head Basketball Coach Jerry Nichols approached Project M.O.S.T. Director Kariem-Abdul Salaam with the idea of allowing all of the men on his team to participate in the program. “Though some of them were doing quite well, Coach Nichols felt that what Project M.O.S.T. offers would be value-added to his players,” said Salaam. “I readily agreed because I felt the same way. At the time, the program had already met and exceeded its goals under the grant and we felt it could enhance their efforts using the appreciative and intrusive case management model that we had developed.”

Each basketball player has to undergo the same intensive assessment process that any M.O.S.T. member has to experience. In addition, workshops and seminars are offered to address topics such as: self-esteem, leadership development, manhood and fatherhood development, career development and financial literacy. “The guest speakers at the M.O.S.T. monthly meetings have been fantastic,” said Nichols. “They give our players insight on how to be more than just student-athletes when sports aren’t there for you anymore. These speakers give them a different voice, other than myself, to understand the value of education.”

Members of the Southwest men's basketball team participate in Project M.O.S.T.'s recent bi-weekly success meeting. The topic of discussion was Fatherhood Development: Effects of Absent Fathers on Society.

Members of the Southwest men's basketball team participate in Project M.O.S.T.'s recent bi-weekly success meeting. The topic of discussion was "Fatherhood Development: Effects of Absent Fathers on Society."

“It was interesting to observe the reserved behavior of the team members from the outset and how it gradually started to change after they saw and understood more about our staff and the support services we offer,” said Salaam. “I witnessed relationships begin to form once they realized that we cared about their success and were willing to work with them to address problems that they might incur. We try to emulate the statement that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Many of these student-athletes are from out of state without the immediate support and resources of family and friends. I feel that we are obligated to help them as much as possible.”

In addition to their success on the court, members of the Southwest men’s basketball team have been excellent students as well, evidenced by a 3.1 team grade point average for the fall semester. Every player since Nichols came to Southwest (four years ago) has moved on to a four-year college or university to continue their education and basketball career, and many of those student-athletes have also gone on to earn their bachelor’s degree.

To help achieve this success in the classroom, the team has various hours of study hall in the Academic Support Center. “Ms. Dorothy Blue has provided insight in regards to what subjects they’ve been struggling in, then provided tutors for those classes enabling them to make the best possible grades,” said Nichols. “Most of our student-athletes try to go to study hall (in the Academic Support Center) between 3-4 days a week when they’re not in class or practice. The hours usually vary depending on if their work is completed. Another thing we’re doing is making our players accountable. One example of this is having them put their phone in the locker room before class, which enables them to focus better during class.” Several of the team members have been recognized for their outstanding academic achievements during Project M.O.S.T.’s Annual Men in Black Awards Program.

Through resources that Southwest has to offer such as Project M.O.S.T. and the Academic Support Center, the Southwest men’s basketball program has shown that our student-athletes can be successful not only on the court or field but also in the classroom, and in their lives after their athletic careers are over. As Coach Nichols says, “Our job is to prepare them for the next level and in this way we have been the pinnacle for what a community college stands for.”

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Sigma Kappa Delta and the Languages and Literature Department Present Visiting Writer Eric Shonkwiler

Mark your calendar to attend the reading on Thursday, March 16 at 1 p.m. in the Farris Building, Room 1201 (Auditorium), Macon Cove Campus.

Eric Shonkwilerv

Eric Shonkwiler

Eric Shonkwiler is the author of three books and has lived and worked in every contiguous U.S. time zone. His debut novel, Above All Men (MG Press, 2014), won the Coil Book Award, was chosen as a Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, and was included as a Best Book of 2014 selection on multiple lists, including The Next Best Book Club's and Chicago Book Review's. His second book, Moon Up, Past Full (Alternating Current Press, 2015), is a collection of award-winning novellas and short stories, including two Luminaire Award for Best Prose winners and one finalist, five Pushcart Prize nominees, two Best of the Net Award nominees, three storySouth Million Writers Award nominees, a Queen’s Ferry Press Best Small Fictions Prize finalist, and a Coalition of Texans with Disabilities Pen 2 Paper Fiction Prize finalist. His latest novel, 8th Street Power & Light (MG Press, 2016), is a stand-alone sequel to Above All Men.

Shonkwiler's fiction has appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Fiddleblack, [PANK] Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, and elsewhere. He was born and raised in Ohio, received his MFA from University of California-Riverside as a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow, and was a New River Gorge Winter Writer-in-Residence in West Virginia. He has taught college-level English and creative writing, and has formerly served as Regional Editor for Los Angeles Review of Books, a reader for [PANK], and Editor-in-Chief and Fiction Editor for Crate Magazine: The Journal of UCR. Shonkwiler currently serves as Director of Critique Services & Acquisitions Editor at Alternating Current, as well as an occasional Staff Book Reviewer for The Coil.

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Dr. Richard Webby to Give Influenza Talk March 23

Influenza Vaccination: A Game of Cat and Mouse with Dr. Richard Webby

Influenza Vaccination: A Game of Cat and Mouse with Dr. Richard Webby

What: Influenza Vaccination: A Game of Cat and Mouse with Richard Webby, member, St, Jude Children's Research Hospital
When: March 23, Noon - 1 p.m.
Where: Nursing, Natural Sciences and Biotechnology Auditorium, Union Avenue Campus
Who: Students, faculty, staff and guests are welcome.

Dr. Richard Webby, member of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, will give a talk entitled, "Influenza Vaccination: A Game of Cat and Mouse" on March 23.

Webby will speak about the difficulties of identifying current strains of the influenza virus and combatting it as the virus mutates into forms that are difficult to contain and catch up with.

The talk will start at Noon, and commence at 1 p.m., Thursday March 23, at the Nursing, Natural Sciences, and Biotechnology Auditorium at the Union Avenue Campus. Students, faculty, staff and guests are welcome to join us for the talk.

This talk is part of the Natural Sciences Seminar Series presented by the Southwest Science Club.

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TSBDC Hosts Spark the Dream Series on March 23

Each semester, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at Southwest Tennessee Community College coordinates with the Business and Legal Studies program to host a Lunch and Learn series called "Spark the Dream." The purpose of the session is to encourage entrepreneurship and business careers. It is free to our students, faculty, and staff and is especially targeted toward those interested in Business Careers.

Don Hutson

Don Hutson

  • What: Lunch and Learn (box lunch and drink is provided, registration is required)
  • Speaker: Don Hutson, CEO, Chairman, and Global Consultant
  • Date: Thursday, March 23, 2017
  • Time: 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., with lunch to follow for registered attendees
  • Place: Macon Cove Campus, Bert Bornblum Library, Room 122 (Auditorium/Theatre)
  • Registration: To register for this free event, please contact Yolanda Handy via phone: 901-333-5085 or email:

Learn what it takes to become a successful business entrepreneur or work your way up the corporate ladder. Hutson is the CEO of U.S. Learning and Chairman of Executive Books. Hutson's client list includes over half of the Fortune 500. He is the author or co-author of 14 books, including New York Times best sellers, The One Minute Entrepreneur and The One Minute Negotiator. Hutson will uncover the characteristics, tactics, and skills every business owner or corporate leader needs to know.

Mark you calendars and plan to attend this free event. Seating is limited so please call 901-333-5085 or email Yolanda Handy at to register for this seminar. Lunch will be available for registered attendees.

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Southwest to Host SBA Emerging Leaders Program

The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in historically-challenged communities. The initiative provides these executives with the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote the economic development within urban communities.

Emerging Leaders Initiative

Emerging Leaders Initiative

Over the course of seven months, participants are given the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend specialized workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and the financial community. Seventeen local business owners will be selected for this “mini MBA” program. Classes are set to begin on April 4 at Southwest’s Maxine A. Smith Center. For more information, contact the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Southwest at 901-333-5085.

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Honors Academy Achievements

Honors Academy

Honors Academy

During the Honors Convocation ceremony, we celebrate Southwest student achievements. Students receive Departmental Academic Awards, Honors Awards, Leadership as well as Service Awards. We recognize 4.0 GPA students, best Honors Academy students, best clubs, and ambassadors. It's a significant event for students in their college life when many administrative staff and faculty are present to celebrate their achievements.

This noteworthy event will be held on April 4 at 3 p.m. in the Nabors Auditorium on the Macon Cove Campus.

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Community Outreach

The Memphis Christmas Parade in Whitehaven (formerly called the Holiday Festival Parade) was held last November. The parade was started in 1968, sponsored by the Academy for Youth Empowerment, under the direction of Hazel Moore.

The main idea behind the parade was for schools, community organizations and businesses to work together to build a stronger community. Southwest Tennessee Community College was represented very well by the Saluqi Cheerleaders and Mascot. They performed from Southland Mall (Elvis Presley Blvd. and Shelby Drive) down Elvis Presley to the Whitehaven Plaza.

The parade was covered live on WMC-TV 5. Our Whitehaven Center also hosted the luncheon for the parade volunteers.

Saluqi Mascot

Saluqi Mascot

Saluqi Cheerleaders

Saluqi Cheerleaders

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Southwest Recruiters on the Go

Southwest recruiters talk to students of all grades at a recent Brown Baptist Church College Fair.

Southwest recruiters talk to students of all grades at a recent Brown Baptist Church College Fair.

Nigel Stephenson was gearing up to talk with prospective students in the Mitchell community

Nigel Stephenson gearing up to talk with prospective students in the Mitchell community.

Shawn Boyd and Nigel Stephenson recently represented Southwest at the Walk for Education.

Shawn Boyd and Nigel Stephenson recently represented Southwest at the Walk for Education.

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There’s More Than One IRS Scam

By Randy Hutchinson
Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South

The top scam reported to the BBB in the past two years was the IRS impostor scam. Crooks call and tell people they owe back taxes and dire things will happen if they don’t make immediate payment arrangements. Most people know better, but some get nervous when they hear “the IRS is calling” and fall for the scam.

In October, authorities in India raided 14 call centers where many of the scam calls originated. In February, the FTC settled charges with a U.S. company it labeled a “money mule” because it arranged for runners to collect the money victims wired to pay their alleged debts. The company kept a portion of the payments and delivered the rest to the scammers in India.

These law enforcement actions have led to a sharp reduction in reports of the IRS impostor scam, although we expect them to pick up again when other crooks fill the void. This is not, however, the only IRS-related scam.

Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau

The agency recently put out a new alert on a scam first identified in early 2016. We’ll call it the “W-2 scam.” Crooks perpetrate it to get salary and other personal information they use to file fraudulent tax returns requesting refunds or to commit other forms of identity theft.

They start by obtaining the names, job titles, email addresses, and other key information on company executives and employees in human resources, accounting, or other departments. Sources include social media, LinkedIn and corporate websites.

Then they send a message, purportedly from the CEO or another senior executive, to an employee asking for salary and other information on all employees. The IRS cites this example of a phony email:

“Kindly send me the individual 2016 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 company staff for a quick review.”

The “sent from” and “respond to” email addresses look legitimate, but in fact the response goes to a bogus email address controlled by the crooks. In its 2016 alert, the IRS said the scam was primarily directed at corporations. Other kinds of organizations are now being targeted, including temporary staffing agencies, chain restaurants, school districts, and even casinos run by Native Americans.

The W-2 scam is a form of business email compromise (BEC) attacks that the FBI says targeted over 15,000 companies between January 2015 and June 2016. In other BEC scams, victims are convinced to wire money that ends up in the hands of the crooks.

I shared advice on protecting your company from BEC attacks in an earlier column. In addition to employing good information systems security measures, your company should:

  • Avoid free, web-based email.
  • Have systems that detect slight variations in reply emails and domain names. For example, the crooks may change to
  • Verify changes in vendor payment locations.
  • Be careful what employee information is posted on company websites and social media accounts.
  • Scrutinize requests for payments or sensitive information that seem out of the ordinary and be suspicious of requests for secrecy or pressure to act immediately.

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Save the Date

Southwest’s 2017 Commencement

FedExForum, Downtown Memphis
Saturday, May 13 at 10:30 a.m.

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