Issue 554: 10 / 27 / 2014

Relationship Building Is Central to SMARTS’ Growth

SMARTS mentees and mentors meet ...

SMARTS mentees and mentors meet for the first time during orientations where they are paired.

This fall, the Southwest Mentors Advancing Retention, Teamwork, and Success (SMARTS) Program experienced a surge in growth since the inception of the program in spring 2011. The program’s goal to serve 50 students per semester was surpassed with 53 becoming mentees. An increase in mentors grew to 31, which is the largest number to partner with mentees during a semester. Mentees and mentors are self-selected or volunteer to participate. “Encouragement to join is directed toward relationship building and advocacy, introduction to and use of campus and community resources, career exploration and push toward pre-registration, advising, and graduation,” stated Executive Director of Retention and Graduation Cynthia Calhoun. “SMARTS mentors are so important to the progress students make once students decide to become engaged with the program. Our philosophy is that some ‘hand-holding’ may be needed for certain students to become empowered to make good academic and career decisions.”

The program provides several initiatives for mentees and mentors to engage, bond and establish trust, i.e.:

Program administrators have observed a visible pattern and possible correlation between pre-registration and actual attendance for SMARTS mentees that may warrant further study as a promising practice for student persistence. For example, last year (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) 87 percent of the mentees pre-registered and 86 percent returned for the Spring 2014 semester. Since spring 2011, 214 unduplicated students have participated in SMARTS.

Southwest to Host a Community Informational and Job Training Recruitment Fair

Human resource recruiters from local ...

Human resource recruiters from local manufacturing companies vie for Southwest Industrial Readiness Training Program graduates at a recent job fair.

Southwest Tennessee Community College is pleased to announce that the Recruitment and Workforce Development offices are taking a giant leap forward to inform Mid-Southerners about its educational and job-training opportunities for the adult student. Southwest was recently awarded almost nine million dollars in grant funds to train individuals in Advanced Manufacturing, Logistics, and Solutions and will host a Community Informational and Job Training Recruitment Fair on November 11 from 6-8 p.m. The event will be held on the Macon Cove Campus in the Farris Building, 2nd Floor, Meeting Rooms ABC.

 This event will increase community awareness of the many different programs and benefits that Southwest offers and better prepare workers with customized training necessary to grow and advance in a career in manufacturing. It is expected that more than 3,000-plus jobs in this field will become available by 2018.

 The Office of Recruitment and other administrative departments will also be on hand to assist with the enrollment process. Attendees will be able to apply for admissions and financial aid, along with the opportunity to participate in an informational fair.

For more information, contact Shawn Carter: 901-333-4282; or Travis Wilson: 901-333-4847;

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Coffeehouse Open-Microphone Poetry Event

The Communications, Graphic and Fine Arts Department is inviting everyone to the Fall 2014 Coffeehouse Open-Microphone Poetry event. Come and enjoy Starbucks coffee, or hot tea and homemade desserts in a beautifully lighted décor, while students, staff, and special guests read a short favorite poem or prose selection at the mic.

"Selections may be either original pieces or classics; occasionally, we may have a talented student or guest play the acoustic guitar or piano to complement the coffeehouse ambiance, reminiscent of its 1950's heyday in the U.S.," said Sheila Darras, adjunct instructor.

Macon Cove Campus

When: Wednesday, October 29
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Where: Academic Building, Wing C, Room 195 (Presentation Theater)

For additional information, contact Darras by emaill at or call Cathy Levine at 901-333-5346.

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Putting a Freeze on Your Credit Report

Reprinted from The Jackson Sun
By Randy Hutchinson
President of the BBB

News about another data breach is becoming a regular occurrence. Home Depot confirmed that an estimated 56 million debit and credit cards were compromised in a breach of its system between April and September. It’s the second largest retailer data theft on record, surpassing the Target breach in 2013.

The FTC says many of the readers of its blog are asking whether they should limit access to their credit report by putting a credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, on it.

Most creditors pull a credit report when they’re evaluating an application for credit. If they can’t get to it, they likely won’t approve the application. That should thwart identity thieves trying to open new accounts.

You can put a freeze on your credit report by calling each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You’ll have to provide identifying information and pay a fee that generally ranges from $5 to $10.

Each agency will send you a confirmation letter and PIN or password you’ll need to temporarily or permanently lift the freeze. The freeze will remain in place until you lift it, which will also involve a fee.

A credit freeze does not affect your credit score or keep you from getting your free annual credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies (another useful tool in combating identity theft). It also doesn’t stop you from receiving pre-screened offers of credit.

While prospective new creditors won’t have access to your report, existing creditors or debt collectors acting on their behalf will still be able to get it. Government agencies may be able to access it in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.

If you apply for credit, you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily. The lead time varies, so check with the credit reporting company or companies ahead of time. Remember that some employers and landlords, as well as most insurance companies, also pull credit reports on applicants.

A credit freeze stops identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name, but it won’t prevent abuse of existing accounts. You’ll need to monitor statements and talk to your financial institutions about other steps you can take to protect yourself.

An option short of a credit freeze is a fraud alert. An alert allows creditors to get your credit report, but advises them to verify the identity of the applicant. If you provide a phone number in the alert, they must call you to verify that you made the application.

There are three types of fraud alerts:

There’s no cost for a fraud alert. Contact one of the credit reporting agencies and they’ll advise the others to put it on your report with them.

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Southwest Basketball Teams Open Season

The Southwest basketball teams will open the 2014-15 season this week with the men hosting Bethel University’s JV team on October 31 at 6 p.m. at the Verties Sails Gymnasium and the women travelling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for two games in the Baton Rouge Classic.  The Lady Saluqis will take on Bossier City Community College in the opener on October 31, and will play Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on November 1.

Five players return from last season’s 23-4 men’s team including Rasheed Brooks, a 6’6” guard and University of Mississippi commitment who is the Saluqis’ top returning scorer.  Two part-time starters are also back in 6’10” center Dominic Nelson and 6’6” forward Lavontae Waldon.  In addition, 6’4” guard DeAndre McKinnie, one of the team’s top three-point shooters, and 6’6” forward Jovontae Waldon return for their sophomore seasons.  Joining them as sophomores on this year’s team are four transfers – 6’2” guard Johnathan Burroughs-Cook (College of Charleston), 6’2” guard Lorenzen Wright, Jr. (Cincinnati State Technical and Community College), 6’4” guard Earl Bryant (Cowley County Community College), and 6’9” forward Keion Alexander (Cowley County Community College).  Top freshmen are 6’11” forward Jalen McGaughy (Ann Arbor, MI) and 6’8” forward Jimario Rivers (Clarksville, TN).

The Lady Saluqis return three players off last year’s 9-17 team. They are 5’5” guard Iesha Humphrey, 5’11” forward Keoshia McGhee, and 5’11” forward Brandi Whitaker.  The Southwest women have one sophomore transfer in 6’0” guard/forward Shaqunda Durden (Florida State College).  Joining them are four freshmen who have been named to The Commercial Appeal’s Best of the Preps All-Metro Team: 5’5” guard Briauna Mitchell (Hamilton High School), 5’4” guard Kenyata Echols (Hillcrest High School), 5’7” forward Lyric Stallings (Carver High School) and 5’8” guard Casey McClure (Rossville Christian Academy), who returns to basketball after serving in the United States Navy.

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