Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) is a community college in Belleville, Illinois. SWIC was founded in 1946 to meet the dual needs of returning veterans and industry in the wake of World War II. Today, SWIC offers over 150 direct work entry and transfer programs.
There are two permanent learning centers off the main campus: Scott Air Force Base, near Belleville, and the East St. Louis Community College Center. These two centers allow SWIC to reach both full-time members of the military and members of a revitalizing community in particular need of educational resources. SWIC classes are frequently held at area schools, including Collinsville High School, Highland Middle School, Columbia High School, and Waterloo High School.
There are five instructional divisions at SWIC: Health Sciences and Homeland Security, Business Division, Liberal Arts, Math and Sciences, and Technical Education. Available degrees include Associate in Arts, AA in Teaching-Secondary Mathematics, Associate in Science, Associate in Engineering Science, AFA Art, AFA Music Education, and AFA Music Performance. Some of the more unique options include Aerospace Studies, Exercise Science Pre-Major, Aviation Pilot Training, Massage, and Music Recording Technology.
Strengths of the Different Campuses
The Sam Wolf Granite City Campus features an Industrial Technology Center, Automotive Collision Repair Technology, Aviation Maintenance Technology, Cisco Networking Academy, Culinary Arts and Food Management, and some Honors Program courses.
The Red Bud campus features the Nurse Assistant program, Fast Track Electronics, Photography and Drawing, a Friday-Only class option, and Cisco Networking Academy.
Non-credit options include Programs and Services for Older Persons (PSOP), Community Education, and Selsius Corporate and Career Training. All adults in Southwestern Illinois are encouraged to engage in one of these learning options as suits their interests and life circumstances.
College for High School Students
SWIC offers several options for high school students to engage in learning at an advanced level, including taking classes (with parent and high school guidance counselor permission) and events such as Allsup High School Entrepreneur Academy, a week-long seminar held in the summer to help students start to think about what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to plan their educations for successful business futures.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The Partnerships for College and Career Success (PCCS) is an education initiative at SWIC that is supported by state and federal funding. PCCS works with community partners to develop and implement 16 career clusters with nearly 80 pathways in career and technical education programs of study. These programs offer individual academic plans to each student as part of preparation for highly skilled and well-paid careers with strong futures. Involved stakeholders include faculty, counsellors, and administrators from SWIC, area career centers, two dozen high schools, and three Education for Employment System directors. PCCS partners with businesses and industries in the area for whom the program is mutually beneficial.
In keeping with their mission to offer educational opportunities to any adult who wishes to pursue them, SWIC maintains open admissions. Some specific programs, such as Homeland Security and Aviation Pilot Training, have further requirements.
In addition to the wide range of state and financial aid options open to any college or university student in Illinois, SWIC offers several of their own need- and merit-based scholarships. The majority of SWIC students receive aid of some kind.
Student Financial Aid Details
Clubs and Organizations
There are a large number of student clubs and organizations to meet the professional and personal interests of a wide diversity of students. Clubs range from the Black Affairs Council to Children’s Theatre Company to Dreams of Democracy to Paintball and Airsoft Club. There are four honor societies on the club roster: Phi Beta Lambda FLA-PBL Inc; Phi Theta Kappa-BC; Phi Theta Kappa RBC; and Phi Theta Kappa- SWGCC. The literary magazine is called Hand to Hand.
Transportation To and From Campus
Belleville is just 17 miles from St. Louis. And, while a town in its own right with a unique history, essentially functions as a suburb today. SWIC offers direct MetroLink service from College Station for convenient access to St. Louis. The Sam Wolf Granite City campus has a MetorBus stop. The Red Bud Campus is accessible only by car. SWIC students have free use of MetroLink and MetroBus services.
SWIC provides a child care center, Kids’ Club, for the children of students, faculty, and staff. The Center offers flexible scheduling. Most of the employees of the center are SWIC students in child care, education, and health-related fields.
Student Enrollment Demographics
SWIC competes in intercollegiate athletics through the NJCAA and the Great Rivers Athletic Conference, along with Kaskasia, John A. Logan, Rend Lake, Lincoln Trail, Olney Central, Wabash Valley, and Southeastern Illinois College. Men’s sports include soccer, basketball, and baseball. Women’s sports include volleyball, basketball, softball, and soccer.
There is a strong intramural program at SWIC at well. Flag football, bowling, basketball, volleyball, softball, and tennis are all particularly popular sports. In addition, there is a gym and free weight room at the athletic facility that are available for general student use.
Additional School Information
The William and Florence Schmidt Art Center at SWIC shows work that speaks to the sense of community at the college. Students are welcome to submit work for consideration for exhibits. The exterior of the Schmidt Art Center is graced by the Schmidt Family Gardens, which are maintained by the SWIC Horticultural Department in agreement with the art center. The gardens have been honoured by the Missouri Botanical Gardens as a Signature Garden. The garden was first designed by landscape architect Robert E. Goetz, who also founded the horticultural internship program at SWIC. Today, the garden displays rock beds, container gardens, and a large variety of both native and exotic plants, including forest grasses, butterfly bushes, blankets of ivy, and flower beds.
- About Us. Southwestern Illinois College. Web. 11 July 2011.
- Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
- Partnerships for College and Career Success. Southwestern Illinois College. Web. 11 July 2011.
- Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.