Sunday, August 6, 2017
Those of you who know me well are aware of the fact I am working on a second degree at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. I guess I have come full circle. I graduated from SAU in 1990, with a communications degree and I hope to complete social work degree requirements by May 2018. That’s a span of 28 years. Whew.
I am more focused and making better grades this time around. Sad to say, I didn’t make the President’s List back in the day. My undisclosed minor was in new freedom and socialization. But, I have this time around – so it’s never too late.
Due to a pending surgery, I had to take online classes this summer. I took one at SAU, but the other course I needed was offered on campus only. I found an online version for the course I needed at South Arkansas Community College, thank goodness.
During my years of living and working in El Dorado, I knew what an asset SouthArk was to the community. It is vital to not only students seeking higher education, but to industries that need a skilled workforce. It will be critical in training a workforce for the new entertainment industry created by the Murphy Arts District. Community events and speakers hosted by SouthArk broaden cultural horizons. I cannot say enough about its value to and impact on El Dorado.
I knew these things, but from a personal, educational standpoint, I had no first-hand knowledge – until now. SouthArk’s partnership with SAU was a life-saver for me.
But, this isn’t about me. It’s about SouthArk. My experience was top-notch. Using my first name, Melanie, I called admissions and received a quick, detailed response on what I needed to do to enroll for a summer course. Heather Smith assisted me and I think by the end of the next day, everything was handled.
It took longer for me to park and walk into the bookstore than it did for the staff to process my tuition payment and hand me a receipt. The staff was polite and gave me printed instructions on how to access my student account. I had no technical difficulties. With that, I was enrolled in Dr. Sterling Claypoole’s abnormal psychology class. I’ve never met him in person, but he was an excellent instructor. He offered a thorough syllabus and course instructions, posted weekly videos, sent routine e-mails and quickly responded to student inquiries. He provided all the tools necessary for a student’s success in the class.
I’m not sure what I expected from SouthArk – certainly, it was nothing bad. But, whatever my expectations were, they were exceeded. From start to finish, everything was handled well and it made for an enjoyable summer learning experience. So thank you, SouthArk, for the role the college played in an old girl’s return to higher education.
Shea Wilson is the former managing editor of the El Dorado News-Times. Email her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheawilson7.