Community Service 2014

Class of 2016 moves in on Friday, August 15 & out into the community on Saturday, August 16

Spartanburg Methodist College, a higher education institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church for over 104 years, is South Carolina’s only private, residential college exclusively for freshmen and sophomore students. That fact might surprise some, but for others, it is the sole reason they choose the small, close-knit community of students, faculty and staff which is SMC.

The exclusivity means SMC’s class of 2016, composed of over 500+ incoming freshman, are immediately immersed into a values-oriented, student-centered atmosphere in the Christian tradition that encourages academic excellence, intellectual exploration, social awareness, and character development within the liberal arts tradition. The student-faculty ratio of 19:1 allows students to know professors personally and immediately engage in the classroom.

For many students, figuring out what they want to study in college (and what they want do for the rest of their lives!) is difficult. SMC provides the time and support freshman and sophomore students need to sort through their many options; and with one of the most comprehensive career mentoring and field of study placement programs around, nearly every student that graduates goes on to a four-year institution, thanks to transfer agreements with over 200 colleges and universities.

SMC welcomes over 73% of students with 3.0 or higher GPA’s, and rewards them with SMC Scholar financial packages. In fact, SMC financial aid packages, including over $14 million in scholarships awarded each year, help 96% of SMC students pay for all or part of their books, housing and tuition, which is less than 75% of the other private schools in South Carolina.

As part of the UMC connection, SMC strives to develop a values-oriented atmosphere where students can develop a sensitivity to the needs of others. Each year, on the first full day that freshman are on the SMC campus, they are sent out into the Spartanburg community to help churches, schools, and non-profit agencies with landscaping, cleaning and organizing, feeding the hungry, working with the elderly, and easing the plight of the homeless. SMC’s 2014 Freshman Day of Service will be held on Saturday, August 16th and over 500 freshmen students accompanied by SMC faculty and staff, will disperse into the community impacting the following 22 Spartanburg sites:

Spartanburg Soup Kitchen, SPACE, Hatcher Gardens, Camp Mary Elizabeth,
Reidville Road UMC, Middle Tyger Community Center, Hollywild Animal Park,
Hope Remains Youth Ranch, Hub City Empty Bowls @ Spartanburg Art
Museum/Chapman Cultural Center, Mobile Meals, Christmas in Action, Alzheimer’s
Assoc., Glendale Outdoor Leadership School, McCracken Middle School,
Cannons Campground UMC, The Waterford at Dillon Pointe,
Hub City Farmers’ Market, Regional Hospice Home, Miracle Hill Thrift Store,
Fuller Center @ Arcadia UMC, Aldersgate UMC, and St. James UMC Playground.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, Candice Y. Sloan, SMC Chaplin, proudly reported that SMC students, faculty and staff provided over 6,008 hours of volunteer labor to the community. SMC…doing all the good they can, by all the means they can, in all the ways they can, in all the places they can, at all the times they can, to all the people they can.

Kelsie Rhodes

Local SAIYL graduate to attend SMC

Spartanburg Methodist College will be the beneficiary of a locally trained leader this coming fall. Kelsie Rhodes, a 2014 graduate of James F. Byrnes High School, will be an incoming freshman at SMC. Rhodes is a former participant of the Spartanburg Academy for Innovative Youth Leadership (SAIYL) program.

The SAIYL program was established four years ago as a leadership program for rising sophomores in Spartanburg County schools. The City of Spartanburg program is designed to offer high school students the opportunity to learn essential leadership skills, understand the workings of local government and become purposefully engaged in community service. The program is now available to rising 9th graders also and this past summer, the City partnered with District 7 schools.

Over the course of the intensive 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, six-week program, students focus on different aspects of leadership and teambuilding; explore opportunities for personal career tracks; gain an understanding of local government organizations and their specific duties, including the relationships among local, county, and state governments; and are exposed to critical life skills issues and issues in general that affect the community of Spartanburg and South Carolina as a whole.
According to Mitch Kennedy, City of Spartanburg’s Director of Community Services, whose department oversees SAIYL programming, “SAIYL provides a hands-on approach to leadership training. Students are exposed to and develop leadership skills demanded by an increasingly globalized world. Rather than reading about leadership, SAIYL students are engaged in a problem and project-based learning environment that encourages the development and appreciation of leadership skills. The City hopes to instill and foster positive attitudes and develop internationally-minded, locally-engaged young leaders.”

At the completion of the six week leadership program, SAIYL students receive an IPAD and a $1,000 scholarship for college, which becomes available upon graduation from high school and enrollment in college. Rhodes, the daughter of Hilton Hunter and Stephanie Rhodes, will be studying psychology at SMC.

Turning Point: The American Revolution in the Spartan District by Katherine Cann and George Fields Jr.

Hub City is throwing a launch party Thursday, October 2 at 7 pm at the Hub City Bookshop for its fifth title of 2014, Turning Point: The American Revolution in the Spartan District by Katherine Cann and George Fields Jr.

About the book

The British Army turned south in 1779, expecting to sweep through the region with the help of their Tory allies, setting the stage for victory in the American war for independence. Upon entering the Old Spartan District in northwest South Carolina, however, they ran up against tenacious opposition from locals and their military leaders. In a series of small skirmishes, the southern Patriots gained confidence and valuable combat experience that led to surprising victories at Kings Mountain and Cowpens, ultimately pushing the British back north toward surrender.

In Turning Point: The American Revolution in the Spartan District, historian Katherine Cann tells the compelling story of how inexperienced backcountry militiamen in the Old Spartan District bottled up the British and learned how to defeat a seasoned foe. George D. Fields Jr., a leading military heritage preservationist, provides color commentary as Fields’ Notes throughout, capturing both the emotion and the commotion of the time.

As a bonus, there’s a handy guide to the Spartanburg Revolutionary War Trail, a driving tour of twelve spots in the Spartan District that were central to the American victory.

Full of drama and memorable heroes, Turning Point is an important and accessible volume about a key moment in our nation’s struggle for freedom.

 

Kathy-Cann August 2014Katherine Cann is professor of history and chair of the social science department at Spartanburg Methodist College. She is a graduate of Lander University and holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina (MA in History) and the University of South Carolina (PhD in History). Dr. Cann is the author of Common Ties: A History of Textile Industrial Institute, Spartanburg Junior College, and Spartanburg Methodist College published by Hub City Press.

Dr_George-Fields - August 2014George Fields is a retired United Methodist minister who served as a pastor, an Army Chaplain rising to rank of Brigadier General, and president of Spartanburg Methodist College. He spends his retirement years researching and preserving Revolutionary War battlefields in South Carolina. He provided leadership in preserving twelve sites, serving as the Military Heritage Director of Palmetto Conservation Foundation.

Hobsons

SMC wins Visionary Award and will be Case Study for Hobsons

Spartanburg Methodist College received word last month they were selected from over 2000 clients for a Visionary Award from Hobsons.

Hobsons, founded in 1974, helps educators, administrators, students and families maximize success through every stage of the learning life cycle. Hobson’s personalized learning, academic planning, post-secondary enrollment, and student support solutions serve millions of students across more than 7,500 schools, colleges, and universities worldwide.

According to Amanda Davis, Client Success Manager for Hobsons, “a visionary is someone who can anticipate future changes in recruitment, enrollment or retention and will adapt accordingly. The Visionary Award is awarded to a client partner who is living out the SLM (Student Lifecycle Management) mentality.”

Last year’s winner was Central Texas College. In addition to SMC, the nominees for this year’s award included Florida International University – Graduate School of Business; University of Oklahoma and University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Davis shared that “working with SMC was a phenomenal experience.” In addition to their visionary award, SMC will be used as a case study for Hobsons. SMC, a longtime Connect user, wanted to optimize efficiency and time management within their admissions workflow, so Hobsons conducted a thorough audit of their Connect usage and found that SMC would be a good candidate for migration to its new SLM tool, Radius. “SMC was not fully utilizing Connect,” says Admissions and Enrollment Marketing Director, Mike Queen. “Even without the migration to Radius, the audit would have been an eye-opening experience and would have driven numerous changes to our recruitment strategies.”

Spartanburg Methodist staff liked the simple interface, organization, and intuitive design, and
Queen appreciated Radius’ relational data model. “It gives a true student lifecycle view from the minute students inquire to 10 years from now,” he says. “It has absolutely changed how we think about data and our entire process in our office.” The thing that really sold Spartanburg Methodist was the communication plan and how counselors could reach out to a certain demographic in a matter of minutes. “This was important to me because my counselors can build personalized communication plans for their population without us having to do that for them,” he says.

Queen admits that he was nervous about the implementation process, but discovered that the migration from Connect to Radius was seamless. In fact, after initially planning for extensive, weekly staff training sessions, he ended up canceling several days of scheduled meetings because counselors caught on so quickly. “That dread of learning something new went away very quickly,” Queen says, adding that ample support and training were available when needed.

Queen worked with a dedicated project manager at Hobsons who guided him through the migration and quickly answered any questions he had. “Hobsons executed and delivered on everything we requested,” Queen added. “They have been a tremendous partner to us.”
Spartanburg Methodist is already recouping its investment in Radius by identifying areas where they can save money. “It’s actually expanding my marketing budget and allowing me to provide more professional development opportunities for my staff,” he explains.

Since Spartanburg Methodist implemented Radius, the acceptance date to deposit date for engaged applicants decreased from 14-21 days to about 7-10 days. Additionally, Spartanburg Methodist has reduced its advertised 48-hour turnaround time for applications to a 24-hour window. “This is not a static database for us,” Queen says. “This is an additional counselor – that’s how powerful it is for us.”

Mary Alice Monroe 2014

NY Times Bestselling Author Mary Alice Monroe to headline SMC’s 2014 Convocation

Spartanburg Methodist College will mark the official start of the 2014-2015 academic year with its annual convocation ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday September 10. The program’s keynote address, referred to by SMC President Dr. Colleen Perry Keith “as a celebration to welcome our new students to the college and gets the campus ready to move into a successful academic year” will be delivered by none other than New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe.

Monroe, author of sixteen novels and two children’s books, writes richly textured books that delve into the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the parallels between the land and life. A frequent on the New York Times, USA Today and SIBA lists, she has received numerous awards, including the Readers’ Choice, the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing and was featured at the National Festival of the Book. The Butterfly’s Daughter won the International Book Award for Green Fiction. Monroe also received the RT Bookclub Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year.

Monroe’s latest work, The Summer Wind, a New York Times bestseller, is the second installation in her the successful trilogy that calls attention to South Carolina’s Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in peril. It’s not unusual for an animal to be mixed among the cast of characters in a Mary Alice Monroe novel. It’s become part of her trademark—captivating readers’ hearts with memorable characters and at the same time awakening people to an important environmental issue. Monroe, who lives with her family on a barrier island off Charleston, South Carolina, is an active conservationist and serves on the Board of the South Carolina Aquarium, The Leatherback Trust, and Charleston Volunteers for Literacy.

Described as the “canary in the coal mine,” her convictions give her a deeper sense of purpose and serve to add richness and meaning to her novels. “I wanted to write a novel about the dolphin because we connect with that knowing, beguiling smile,” Monroe stated, whose novels often focus on the connection between humans and nature. “But the impetus for me to write this series now is the hard fact that 48 to 52 percent of the wild dolphins in South Carolina and Florida are sick. Coupled with the morbillivirus striking along the coast, it’s an alarming situation.”

Monroe uses the plight of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin as the undercurrent in her Lowcountry Summer Trilogy, with the perilous life of one wild dolphin as the trilogy’s keystone. While Monroe’s novels are set against issues facing our physical landscape, her stories explore the emotional landscape of contemporary human and moral issues through her characters. “I’m a story teller. I don’t tell or teach as much as create a story world that establishes a meaningful relationship with nature to make readers aware through the power of story.”

In book one, her New York Times bestseller The Summer Girls, Monroe introduced readers to the complex relationships among three estranged half-sisters who return to the family’s historic home, “Sea Breeze,” before it is sold and their grandmother, “Mamaw” moves to a retirement community. The Summer Girls is a perfect beach read and anyone who enjoys such fine southern voices as Pat Conroy will add the talented Monroe to their list of favorites.

The Summer Wind is a much anticipated follow-up to The Summer Girls. Monroe draws readers back to the unspoiled beauty of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina for the second installment in an emotional trilogy about sisterhood, second chances, and lifelong bonds. The Summer’s End concludes the Lowcountry Summer Trilogy and is set for release in 2015. “My greatest hope is that readers become involved with my characters and enjoy a great story. Then, when they close the book, realize that they’ve learned a lot about this important sentinel species.”

The trilogy is timely. The morbillivirus that killed a record number of dolphins along the Mid-Atlantic coast last summer is spreading southward as dolphins migrate down the coast. This measles-like virus killed 1000 dolphins in 2013 from New York to Florida. More than 10,000 dolphins are thought to roam the Southeast, and the numbers in South Carolina-Georgia are estimated between 6,000 and 7,000.

Currently there is nothing that can be done to prevent the infection spreading or prevent animals that get infected from having severe clinical disease. Marine mammal scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Florida Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and nationwide are studying dolphins in Florida and South Carolina looking for signs of emerging diseases and heavy chemical body burdens that may be making the dolphins sick. Scientists also will test for diseases more common to people, but becoming more prominent in dolphins.

Dolphins are a sentinel species. “If dolphins are not doing well, it says something about what humans may be exposed to,” stated Dr. Pat Fair of NOAA. Monroe participated in the Charleston study with Dr. Fair on a floating “doctor’s clinic” that ran a battery of medical tests on dolphins. This is modus operandi for Monroe, who goes beyond academic research and interviews. She immerses herself in the subject by rolling up her sleeves as a volunteer to work shoulder-to-shoulder with professionals. For the Lowcountry Summer Trilogy (The Summer Girls, The Summer Wind, The Summer’s End), Dr. Fair served as a mentor for Monroe. Monroe also is a volunteer at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida and works with dolphin programs designed for special needs children and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Monroe’s efforts to re-connect human nature with the natural world resonate with her readers.
“Mary Alice Monroe has become the premier nature writer among southern novelists. In The Summer Girls she sings a song of praise to the bottlenose dolphins that bring so much joy to the men and women who gaze at the creeks and rivers of the lowcountry each evening. Like all her books, The Summer Girls is a call to arms.” — New York Times bestselling author Pat Conroy.

Leah Pruitt, Director of Alumni Relations, who secured Monroe for SMC’s upcoming convocation, shared “Mary Alice is a familiar voice to many in SC, and after September 10th she will be a familiar face to Spartanburg. Mary Alice found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina and was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that is quickly changing give her a strong and important focus for her books. Our hope is that she will inspire our 800+ student body to find their true calling and strive to leave the world a better place no matter where they roam.”

For information, videos, podcasts, and more, go to www.maryalicemonroe.com and Facebook.