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Equity Bank Teams with McPherson College to Host Family Financial Health Day

Equity Bank is partnering with McPherson College to host Family Financial Health Day on November 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. in Liberal, Kansas. Experts will be on hand to discuss a variety of financial milestones including paying for college.

Along with financial health information, the college and bank will give away three $1,000 scholarships, for any college, throughout the evening. Those who attend can enter for other prizes, and food from Big Bites will be provided.

President Michael Schneider of McPherson College will speak at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. about affording college, and financial aid counselors will be available throughout the event to meet one-on-one to answer questions about FAFSA, applying for college, saving for college, veteran’s benefits, DACA, and more.

Seward County Community College will be available to talk about two-year college and transfer options.

Equity Bank will also have Kieran Windholz, mortgage loan originator, and Gaylyn McGregor, director of trust & wealth management, on hand to meet with families and answer questions about planning for the future.

Windholz joined Equity Bank in 2017 and serves mortgage loan customers in western Kansas, based out of Equity Bank’s Hays office. McGregor joined Equity Trust & Wealth Management in early 2019, leading the company’s trust division and helping families and businesses with financial planning needs.

The Family Financial Health Day will take place in the community room at Equity Bank, 1700 N. Lincoln, Liberal, Kansas.

Nobody wants to be a teacher today. We have to change that.

Teacher Education student

By Michael Schneider, President
McPherson College

Learn more about the Teacher Education department and the combined B.S./M.Ed. program at McPherson College.

Katie Grose is a second-generation band teacher from Jefferson West High School in northeast Kansas. I heard her story last spring when she was at McPherson College supporting our band program. Her dad was a band teacher and so is her brother. A few years ago, Katie had reservations when her daughter wanted to carry on the family tradition and go into teaching.

The sad fact is, nobody wants to be a teacher anymore. It’s especially true for young people trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. Becoming a teacher isn’t even on their list. It’s not on their parents’ list, either. When polled in 2018, 54 percent of parents nationwide said they did not want their child to become a teacher. Even educators themselves have been advising young people not to enter the profession.

As students headed back to school this fall, Kansas school districts continued to face a teacher shortage of epic proportion. Multiple school districts started classes without the full complement of teachers they needed, and some districts had literally no applicants for open positions this year—particularly in elementary and special education.

From Hutchinson to Meade to the suburbs of Topeka and Kansas City, district superintendents contend that teacher recruitment is more challenging today than at any time in the last two decades. And the recent report on teacher openings by the Kansas State Board of Education confirmed that teaching vacancies are up 27 percent over last year. The Kansas school year started with 815 open teaching positions. Considering the last 20 years of political hostility toward teachers, it’s not hard to figure out why.

It doesn’t get much clearer—kids in Kansas don’t want to be teachers. We have to change that.

Two years ago, with the teacher shortage making headlines and the number of teacher education graduates remaining flat, McPherson College developed solutions to address the problem. We started with the launch of an accelerated teacher education program, which includes an innovative curriculum that gets teacher education graduates into school districts faster and at a higher rate of pay.

Under our program, students can earn a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in just four years. In addition, our program has endorsements in special education and English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), which are both important needs in Kansas schools. This program saves students thousands of dollars. And—because teacher salaries are generally based on the highest level of education obtained—first-year teachers from our accelerated program typically earn a higher starting salary than first-year teachers with only a bachelor’s degree.

We’ve also launched EdChat, an annual event for high school students interested in becoming teachers. In the last two years over 100 students participated in workshops on the latest trends in elementary and secondary education, gaining insights from national and state experts.

The feedback from our EdChat events is encouraging. Participants tell us they’ve gone home fueled with new ideas and eager to earn their education degree. They look forward to having classrooms of their own one day and can’t wait to start their careers.

These steps by McPherson College are just the beginning. There’s a lot more we can do as a college (and collectively) to get kids excited about becoming teachers.  Twenty years of political squabbling forced an entire generation of Kansas students to grow up thinking that becoming a teacher was a bad idea. Thankfully, the battles over school funding are civil these days, and now maybe we all can move forward with respect and appreciation for teachers so they can focus on learning in their classrooms rather than defending their life’s work.

At McPherson College, we’re changing the conversation about teachers and promoting the idea that teaching is a rewarding career path. We hope you’ll add your voice to this conversation.

Luckily, Katie Grose’s daughter decided to become a teacher and is the third generation of her family to direct bands in the state of Kansas. Let’s do more so that Katie’s grandkids will want to be teachers too—because when kids don’t want to become teachers, it’s the adults who have failed. We can’t afford to fail.

 

Learn more about the Teacher Education department and the combined B.S./M.Ed. program at McPherson College.

McPherson College Announces New Vice President

Erik VogelMcPherson College announces Erik Vogel will lead the Office of Advancement as its new vice president. Vogel brings with him a great deal of higher education fundraising experience and a strong connection to McPherson College that will make a swift transition into his new role, according to President Michael Schneider.

“The McPherson College Building Community Campaign will shape the future of the college, and I am pleased that Erik will lead our team in that effort,” President Schneider said. “His experience and his knowledge of the college are assets that will complement the work we are doing.”

McPherson College recently launched the comprehensive fundraising campaign, Building Community, with an announcement at Homecoming that the college has raised $10.5 million. Starting the campaign with more than 50 percent of the goal raised is unprecedented in the college’s campaign history. The centerpiece of the $20 million campaign is a proposed new student center.

Vogel earned a degree in accounting and business management from McPherson College in 1998 and for the past six years has served as director of annual giving at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) in Marshall, Minnesota. While at SMSU, Vogel exceeded annual fundraising goals, achieved the highest alumni giving percentage among Minnesota state system universities, and launched a successful employee giving program.

“McPherson College is a very special place to me. I am excited and honored to begin this next chapter of my life with McPherson College,” Vogel said. “We have visionary leadership and an excellent advancement team in place at McPherson College. In partnership with dedicated alumni, employees, community members, and other supporters, we can create even greater opportunities for McPherson College students.”

Along with other sales and accounting experience, Vogel also served as director of development at McPherson College from 2003 to 2007. During his time at McPherson College, annual giving income grew from $350,000 to nearly $1 million in three years.

He will begin his new role at the college on November 11.

McPherson College Launches Campaign with $10.5 Million

President Michael Schneider announces the campaign launch

McPherson College has raised $10.5 million toward its Building Community Campaign, a comprehensive funding campaign that launched during Homecoming on October 12. The centerpiece of the $20 million campaign is a proposed new student center. Starting the campaign with more than 50 percent of the goal raised is unprecedented in the college’s campaign history.

As part of the campaign’s launch, the college also announced receiving an anonymous gift of $1 million to fund the community health care initiative, which the college introduced last month in partnership with the McPherson Hospital.

This most recent gift follows another $1 million gift given to the college’s automotive restoration program by Richard and Melanie Lundquist, Californian philanthropists. It was the largest single gift in the history of the program.

The Building Community Campaign focuses on three funding areas: $13 million for capital projects including a new student center and athletic development center, along with updates to residence halls, $3.5 million for restricted gifts, and $3.5 million for the annual fund.

“The steady enrollment growth trend over the past 20 years is a remarkable accomplishment for our college,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider said. “However, that growth requires us to focus on how we develop, maintain, and utilize campus facilities to sustain a growing and thriving community.”

Additional campaign milestones include progress toward the college’s long-term goal of building a $1 billion endowment and cultivating the next generation of support by adding 2,500 new donors.

“McPherson College has a legacy of giving that is unmatched by any of our Kansas colleagues,” President Schneider said. “The work done by our campus recently on our strategic plan, Community by Design, made it clear to us what needed to be done to meet the challenges of higher education. This campaign will help us achieve what we set out to do in that plan.”

The last comprehensive campaign, Power the Future, surpassed its $14 million goal in 2017 and was the third campaign completed since 2004, raising a total of $36 million.

Other gifts announced during the Building Community Campaign launch included:

  • The Gerald J. Holman Tennis Courts funding for the expansion of the tennis facilities by adding three new courts. The new courts will allow the college to host men’s and women’s tennis competitions on campus.
  • The Paul Family Football Field. A gift from the families of Brent and Steven Paul of Bakersfield, California, in support of students and athletics at McPherson College. The college announced the new name of the field during halftime of the Homecoming football game with a sign added to the scoreboard.

For information about the Building Community Campaign, go to www.mcpherson.edu/buildingcommunity.

McPherson College Receives $1 Million For New Rural Health Program

healthcare program gift announcement

A $1 million gift will help McPherson College fund a new community health care initiative, including ten $25,000 scholarships for students committed to community health. Introduced last month in partnership with McPherson Hospital, the initiative features a new enhanced health science degree at the college paired with a wide variety of hands-on educational opportunities developed through the hospital and opportunities for community outreach programs.

“This is an ambitious project with a goal of improving health in our community and becoming a new model for rural health across the state,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider said. “The gift enables us to move forward with the academic aspects of the initiative as well as community outreach opportunities that will provide hands-on experience for student discernment and much-needed services for our community. Although the donor wishes to remain anonymous, the donor is a long-time supporter of McPherson College and advocate of health care initiatives that support our youth, older adults and those who struggle with mental health challenges.”

The new health care programs are focused on creating health-related career pathways for students while engaging them in the community. Every student will participate in multiple field experiences or rotations, and McPherson Health Science Scholars will be matched with signature outreach being developed to solve issues in the community. In addition, a needs capacity survey of all the health-related opportunities available for students will be distributed to understand the broad health care needs in McPherson and the surrounding area.

“Having practiced medicine in a rural community for more than 25 years, I am excited for the opportunities this program will afford not only the students but the communities impacted by their service,” U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall said. “I applaud McPherson College, and its supporters, for identifying and reacting to the need for qualified health care professionals.”

Kansas is among states with the highest numbers of rural hospitals and greatest shortage of health care professionals of all types, according to the National Rural Health Association. Additionally, according to the Kansas Hospital Association, more than 25 percent of the state’s population lives in rural areas.

“We are looking at this from a holistic approach to health care in rural communities,” President Schneider said. “This initiative is considering everything from mentoring youth to supporting our elderly citizens. It also includes solving our challenges to provide good mental health support and treatment for all. It puts our students in the community working with support from McPherson Hospital to solve our biggest challenges.”

The curriculum for the new degree will begin in the fall of 2020. The degree is designed for students who want to study in the field of health science (allied health) and healthcare management with tracks in community and public health, and social and behavioral science while participating in outstanding field experiences, which allow them to give back to the community. For more information about the community health degree, please contact McPherson College admissions at admiss@mcpherson.edu.

New Student Health Center Opens on McPherson College Campus

Campus Health Clinic

McPherson College makes it easy for its students to access health care and counseling services on campus at its new Campus Student Health Center. The new building, located on Gordon Street across from Metzler Hall, is a dedicated student and campus health facility. It will be open for the public to tour during McPherson College Homecoming, October 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The college recognized that navigating the complexities of health care is confusing; particularly for college students who may be dealing with a health crisis alone for the first time. Having a dedicated building on campus for health care services was the college’s response to student surveys that consistently rated access to health and counseling services on campus as a top priority. The new facility opened when classes began this fall.

“Often cost, convenience, and office hours prevent students from seeking medical attention off campus,” President Michael Schneider said. “We offer our students the most comprehensive health and counseling services among colleges our size in the state. The new clinic allows for greater access to high quality wellness resources on campus.”

McPherson College will continue to partner with Partners In Family Care and with Client Centered Counseling to provide health and counseling services respectively. Partners In Family Care, based in Moundridge, Kansas, is a practice run in part by Drs. Paul and Marla Ullom-Minnich, both alumni of McPherson College. Linda Helmer, also a McPherson College alumna, operates Client Centered Counseling and provides services in the new clinic and at the downtown location.

Health and counseling services at the college are highly utilized by students and staff members, according to the clinic records. Student fees include unlimited health care office visits for full-time students, as well as 10 visits with the counseling office at no charge. Clinical services, like laboratory work, are also available but are submitted to insurances.

McPherson College Named “2019 GREAT COLLEGE TO WORK FOR”

McPherson College was recognized as a “Great Colleges to Work For” for the fifth year in a row and received Honor Roll recognition for the fourth year in a row. McPherson College is the only Kansas school earning recognition on the lists.

The Honor Roll is an elite group of institutions that are standouts within their respective enrollment sizes. This year, 236 colleges were surveyed for the list and 85 were recognized while 42 were singled out for the Honor Roll.

“Everyone at McPherson College works very hard to make this a great place, and it’s exciting to be recognized again this year by the country’s leader in higher education,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider said. “The fact that we have earned this distinction now for five years running–and been named to the Honor Roll for four years in a row–speaks to the strong, collaborative relationships among our faculty, staff, and administration.”

President Schneider points to some of the basics like the college’s health insurance plan that has not had a premium increase for 10 years, annual pay raises, and monthly all campus meetings, “huddles,” as reasons why people like working for McPherson College. Additionally, involvement in programs like training from the Kansas Leadership Center, which develop adaptive problem solving skills, and other significant professional development investments in the operating budget, sets McPherson College apart from other college campuses.

The college is not just a place to clock in and clock out, but it is a community where people care about one another and help each other to be their best persons,” Becki Bowman, professor of communication and faculty chair, said. It is not just a job to complete, but a place where ideas are created, nurtured, and brought to fruition. We are not just students, faculty and staff, but we are a family.

McPherson College was one of just seven institutions nationwide to earn top honors in 11 or more of the report’s 12 categories, which include areas like compensation and benefits along with work and life balance.

McPherson College has always been my home, Tony Segovia, softball head coach, said. “I’ve enjoyed everywhere I’ve worked, but there is something special about this place. I also went to school with many of the staff and faculty, so when I’m recruiting students to come here, I can truly tell them they are in good hands.”

Community is central to McPherson College’s identity, according to President Schneider. “As our college community continues to work through the challenges of an intense yet innovative strategic plan, Community by Design 2021, faculty and staff are actively implementing our plans. Community by Design drove decision-making and much of the work we did over the last year. In addition, we did all of it while balancing our operating budget and maintaining our overall student retention. By working together, these plans will nurture the creative processes to sustain innovative academic ventures that will shape the future of our residential campus community.

The Great Colleges to Work For survey is one of the largest and most respected workplace recognition programs in the country. It recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees regarding workplace practices and policies.

McPherson College Ranks in U.S. News & World Report “Best College” List

For the fourth year in a row, McPherson College has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report on the 2020 “Best Colleges” list for Regional Colleges in the Midwest. Additionally, McPherson College is among only four schools in Kansas ranked as a “Best Value” school by the report.

Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included on the “Best Value Schools” ranking list. When evaluating colleges for this list, U.S. News & World Report considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically and takes into account academic quality as well as cost.

“It is an honor to be included on such a well-respected list,” President Michael Schneider said. “It’s further proof that McPherson College is being recognized for the work being done by our faculty and staff to ensure quality education, excellent student experience, and value.”

Initiatives such as the college’s Student Debt Project, which teaches students how to graduate debt-free, and the college’s successful career placement rate are just two examples of why McPherson College is recognized on the “Best Colleges” list, according to President Schneider.

“We have some of the highest placement rates in the country with two-thirds of our graduates having jobs or graduate school placement before they even graduate,” President Schneider said. “Combined with our focus on eliminating student debt we are proving to students and families that a McPherson College education is the best choice, and resulting in growing enrollment this fall and steady retention over the past few years.”

This year, McPherson College moved up 10 places in the “Best College” ranking, and was included in the top twenty schools for Campus Ethnic Diversity as well as in the top twenty of Top Performers on Social Mobility. The social mobility ranking is new to the report this year and measures how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants (those typically coming from households whose family incomes are less than 450,000 annually, though most Pell Grant awards to students with a total family income below $20,000.)

The U.S. News & World Report has been ranking colleges for 35 years. The rankings are based on several key measures, each weighted as a percentage of the total score. Graduation, retention rates, and social mobility, assessment of excellence by peers, quality of faculty resources (such as class size and student-faculty ratio) account for more than three-fourths of the ranking.

The remaining one-fourth of the ranking is determined by a college’s student selectivity, and amount of alumni giving and the financial resources at the institution’s disposal. The data gathered for the rankings serves as an objective guide for students and families who are making decisions about attending college.

Helping Students Graduate with Zero Student Debt Should Be the Goal of All Colleges

Student Debt Project

By Michael Schneider, President
McPherson College

Kylee Martin from Goodland was one of thousands of Kansas high school students considering their college options. She visited a couple of state schools. Even after receiving some great scholarships, she knew that student loans were inevitable. She qualified for over $40,000 in loans to pay for her degree—it was tempting to take the money, but she didn’t need it. She didn’t end up at a state school. Instead, she came to McPherson College. As a student here, she realized quickly that she didn’t have to mortgage her future. Kylee joined our Student Debt Project and learned how to manage her finances to take care of the cost of education before graduation.

We don’t think graduating with a mortgage on your education needs to be a solution to college access. And as a private institution, we’ve done something about it. We make college accessible without lots of debt. The Student Debt Project helps students at McPherson College eliminate their need for loans so they can graduate with little—to zero—student debt.

National media are obsessed with the price of a college education, while colleges are countering with bigger scholarships. Nationwide, student loan debt is at an all-time high of $1.52 trillion—second only to mortgage debt. Some 371,000 Kansans collectively owe more than $11.5 billion in federal student loans. In fact, among all Kansas graduates in the class of 2018, nearly 60% of them graduated with debt. I think what Kansans are worried about most is college loan debt. Debt should be the new focus of our discussion with college-ready families.

There’s a myth that students who attend private colleges accrue more debt than their public university peers.  But it’s not true nationally, and especially not true here in Kansas.  In fact, McPherson College graduates finish with no more debt than graduates from Kansas’ public universities—both average less debt than the price of a new Honda Accord.

Funny thing, though—about 81% of McPherson College graduates finish their degree in four years, compared to 66% of Kansas’ public university students.  That means our graduates are already out in the workforce earning a living, while their friends at public university are still working on their degrees.

The Student Debt Project combines financial literacy education, jobs and mentorships to create a pathway for students to graduate with little or no debt. McPherson College is matching a percentage of every dollar students contribute to their education while they are in the program.  Dedicated community mentors are supporting our students as they balance work, education and life during their college career, as well as providing financial management skills for a lifetime.

We developed the Student Debt Project because it’s good for the economy, good for families, good for Kansas, and good for the nation.

As the president of a small college that competes with state-run and for-profit schools, I’m often asked the question: Should small colleges exist?

My answer is, absolutely! Programs like the Student Debt Project are one reason why.

And when the Class of 2020 graduates in May, our focus on financial literacy, employment and mentorships will speak for itself. Kylee Martin will walk across the stage to receive her four-year degree at McPherson College, graduating with little—to zero—student debt.

 

Learn more about the Student Debt Project at McPherson College.

McPherson College Teams With McPherson Hospital to Offer New Model for Rural Health Care

Health Care Initiative launch

An initiative introduced by McPherson College and McPherson Hospital with a focus on community health sets out to become a new model for community health care in rural areas.  It features a new enhanced health science degree at the college with a wide variety of hands-on educational opportunities thanks to a partnership with the hospital.

Working together toward healthier communities is the goal of the partnership. The partnership will provide opportunities for student learning and community outreach with the intent to create a new model for rural community health in Kansas. There is more to a healthy community than just treating people who are sick, explained McPherson College President Michael Schneider.

“We are looking at this from a holistic, patient-centered approach to health care in rural communities,” President Schneider said. “In small communities, you need to be resourceful uncovering ways to build a healthy community. It includes everything from mentoring at-risk youth to making sure our elderly citizens are safe when they return home from a hospital stay. It also includes solving our challenges to provide good mental health support and treatment for all. This partnership will put our students out in the community working with support from McPherson Hospital to solve these challenges.”

The new degree and partnership was announced August 29 at McPherson College where Rep. Roger Marshall, M.D., spoke about the importance of working together to support rural health.

“Health care, like many industries in Kansas, struggles to find qualified employees,” said U.S. Congressman Marshall. “I served as an OBGYN for more than 25 years and understand the need to find and retain hardworking, qualified medical staff. Partnerships and educational opportunities like the one announced today are an important step in meeting the health care needs of all Kansans and creating educational opportunities for those who want to live and work in rural America.”

The joint initiative aligns the college and hospital to provide students access to its facility resources and people for internships, field experiences, observation, and clinicals. The cooperating effort offers students opportunities for real-world experiences in all aspects of health care delivery, and develops a workforce pipeline for the hospital and other health care agencies across the state as students graduate from the new program. One of the first efforts the new initiative will pursue is a survey of all the health related opportunities available for students in Central Kansas.

“The delivery of health care and the needs of consumers have changed dramatically over the years and are likely to continue,” Terri Gehring McPherson Hospital president and CEO, said. “By combining our resources, talents and expertise we have the opportunity to accomplish so much more than we can individually to address these needs.”

President Schneider add, “Our organizations face similar challenges. This partnership allows us to work together with common goals. The primary focus of the college is creating pathways to careers in community health for our students. By working with the hospital, we also have the ability to provide signature outreach programs for some of the most vulnerable populations of any community, such as at-risk youth and the elderly.”

Last year, the college conducted an environmental analysis that included community focus groups with more than 60 area health professionals and community leaders participating. The research uncovered opportunities for developing an enhanced health science degree focused on health careers as well as support for a college and hospital partnership.

“The concept of partnering makes a lot of sense,” John Worden, chief operating officer at the hospital, said. “It became clear as we discussed the possibilities that we can unite and work together in a way that improves the health care delivery model and provides educational opportunities for students.”

Over the next 10 years the U.S. Department of Labor projects a 10-20 percent growth in careers related to community health. In Kansas, community health careers in telemedicine, telehealth, behavioral health, health care administration and community health planning are in high demand. Locally, a Community Health Needs Assessment, conducted annually by the hospital, prioritized the need for more mental health resources and services.

Kansas is among states with the highest number of rural hospitals and greatest shortage of health care professionals of all types, according to the National Rural Health Association. Additionally, according to the Kansas Hospital Association, more than 25 percent of the state’s population lives in rural areas.

“In the focus groups, we observed amazing community support for both the college and hospital,” Gehring said. “Participants were excited about the potential partnership and asked how they could help. This reinforced why McPherson is such a great community. We work together with a shared vision of success.”

Curriculum for the new degree will be offered beginning in the fall of 2020. The degree is designed for students who want to study in the field of health care while participating in outstanding internship opportunities which allow them to give back to the community. For more information about the community health degree program, please contact McPherson College admissions at admiss@mcpherson.edu.