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.

Methodist Cross and mission

Life After School Summit helps dreams come true

An event organized by a United Methodist Church in Taylors, S.C., shows the positive influence churches can have in encouraging young people to continue their education. More than 150 youth and family members attended the Life After School Summit at St. Mark UMC in Taylors, S.C., on May 17, 2014, for presentations and exhibits by representatives from colleges and universities, the armed forces and other organizations.

For the past decade, St. Mark has sponsored an annual education program about scholarships and college testing requirements typically attended by 7-12 students and their family members from the congregation. This year, however, the program was opened to anyone in the community, and about 125 students and 45-50 parents participated, including several busloads of participants from other churches. “One of the most powerful things we had was nine of our [church’s] college students, ranging from freshmen to first year out of college, who were on a student-only panel,” said church member Derek McGowan, a corporate campus relations manager and former U.S. Air Force recruiter who chaired the church’s program committee. “They opened up and talked about anything those students needed to know about going to college. That received the highest marks.”

Representatives from seven colleges and universities, the military and other organizations were present for workshops, counseling sessions and other presentations. More than $280,000 in scholarships were offered to students attending the event. Melanie Overton, assistant general secretary for Schools, Colleges and Universities at the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry, said the St. Mark event is a great example of how churches can help high school students. “The church has a role to play in mentoring students,” Overton said. “Some students need the help of a community to explore their options and prepare themselves to make the best possible decision about their future.” Churches are a part of young people’s lives long before they begin thinking about college, Overton said. “Churches are there when kids are in middle school and high school, and they are the ones who can help nurture their aspirations and help them think about financial planning and those kinds of things,” Overton said.

Six workshops ran simultaneously in church classrooms on topics such as job enrichment opportunities, military careers and parenting first-year college students. A representative of the Workforce Development Agency in nearby Greenville talked about summer jobs for students. A panel of parents discussed how to help students get through their first semester. Other speakers talked about how to fill out job applications and how to be successful in interviews.  One standing-room-only session featured college coaches and players who spoke about NCAA rules and requirements. “A lot of students were thinking how easy it is to be on scholarship and go to college, so some of the high school coaches sent their football teams to the meeting,” McGowan said.

“We didn’t want to exclude anyone in our congregation by focusing on academia only. That’s why we called it the Life After School Summit,” McGowan said. “Traditionally, churches have a college program or something that’s college-focused, [and] there is nothing there for people who want to go to technical colleges, two-year schools, trade schools or the military. So adding that component made it a much more successful program because those rooms were filled, as well.”

Retired teachers and educators in St. Mark’s congregation served as part of the support team for the summit, and 7th and 8th grade students wore “Ask Me” t-shirts and helped participants find their sessions. The church’s hospitality committee provided free lunch to everyone attending.

One college participating was Spartanburg Methodist College, a two-year liberal arts institution in nearby Spartanburg, S.C., where more than half of its 800 students are the first in their families to attend college.

“A two-year school [like Spartanburg Methodist] is really a great place for people to start, especially if they are first-generation students, because of the one-on-one attention that our students receive,” said Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, president of the 103-year-old United Methodist-related college. She said because the college focuses on the first two years, faculty and staff really understand the challenges these first-generation college students face. “And we work to try to make those challenges manageable for them,” she added. Nationally, about 20 percent of students who start two-year colleges complete their four-year degree elsewhere, but that percentage at Spartanburg Methodist is more than four times greater, Keith said. “Our mean graduation rate for the last nine years is 41.3 percent for those who actually go for the full two years and meet all of the degree requirements to graduate,” she said. But Keith said 82 percent of Spartanburg’s students either graduate or go on to pursue their education somewhere else.

Following on the summit’s success, McGowan said St. Mark is planning another educational event later this year.