Campus-Community Engagement as a Strategy for Health

Minnesota Campus Compact fall conference hosted by IHCC and DCTC Center for Experiential Learning Oct. 30, 2014

Minnesota Campus Compact

WHAT: Minnesota Campus Compact Fall Conference “Campus-Community Engagement as a Strategy for Health”

  • Event hosted by IHCC and DCTC Center for Experiential Learning

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 • 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m (event starts at 10 a.m.; registration opens at 9:30 a.m.)


Heritage Hall Room 203
Inver Hills Community College
2500 East 80th Street
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

COST: Registration is $15 for students and $30 for any IHCC or DCTC faculty and staff • Cost includes lunch • Please register by Thursday, Oct. 15, 2014


Questions? Contact Sinda Nichols at 612-436-2080

“Campus-Community Engagement as a Strategy for Health”

The keynote speaker will be Melanie Peterson-Hickey of the Minnesota Department of Health, the acting director of the Center for Health Equity. Peterson-Hickey will speak on MDH’s Advancing Health Equity report for the state and recommendations for how campuses can help to move the needle on health equity in strategic ways. Three college faculty—Jackie Athmann, Kristi Kelly and Margaret Noirjean—will be presenting during breakout sessions.

How do we engage our resources, as campuses and communities, to move Minnesota toward more equitable health outcomes? Join colleagues for an interactive and informative day focused on three main themes:

  • Innovative efforts to promote health equity through campus-community collaboration
  • Ways to create high-impact, community-based education experiences for future health professionals
  • Strategies that contribute to development of a diverse healthcare workforce

Speakers and breakout facilitators currently confirmed include:

  • Trena Allbritton, PHN, NorthPoint Health & Wellness
  • Mary Clem, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs at St. Catherine University
  • Pam Cosby, MPA, formerly of Minnesota Urban Area Health Education Center
  • Dr. Penelope Moyers, Dean of the School of Health, St. Catherine University
  • Jonathan Watson, Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers Advancing Health Equity representative, Minnesota Department of Health
    Clinical faculty, Northwestern Health Sciences University
  • Margaret Noirjean, Medical Assistant faculty, Dakota County Technical College
  • Jackie Athmann and Kristi Kelly, Nursing faculty, Inver Hills Community College

This gathering is designed to be inclusive of community leaders invested in health equity, faculty and staff in college and university health education programs, and others interested in these issues, including students, national service members, and community members.

The day will feature a plenary with short presentations on each of the key themes of the day, interactive content to draw upon the wisdom of attendees and help them advance their work through connections with others, and afternoon breakouts offering deeper discussion of the morning’s themes.

For more information about the conference, visit the Minnesota Campus Compact event page.
Or contact:

Katie Halcrow
Director of Community-Based Learning
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College
IHCC: 651-450-3241
DCTC: 651-423-8674

DCTC Awarded Nearly $900,000 in Federal Grant

Dakota County Technical College is part of $15 million grant awarded to MnSCU advanced manufacturing consortium


The Minnesota Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (MNAMP) has been selected to receive a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for advanced manufacturing education throughout Minnesota. MNAMP is a statewide Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) consortium that includes DCTC, which received $887,057 to fund training in welding technology and mechatronics. The funding is part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program, which is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education.

Composed of 12 MnSCU colleges and a Center of Excellence, the consortium is led by South Central College, which applied for the grant on behalf of MNAMP and will be administering the grant’s execution. The MNAMP consortium was created to help close the skills gap in Minnesota by implementing a structure for advanced manufacturing education that emphasizes a standardized core curriculum, along with employer-driven apprenticeships and cooperative education opportunities.

The grant project focuses on the fields of mechatronics, machining and welding. Participants will be able to earn stackable, portable industry-recognized credentials (certificates, diplomas, degrees), while simultaneously working in the industry. Participants will also be able to enter academic programs at multiple points based on assessment results that match individual skills.

“We are proud and excited to be part of the MNAMP Consortium,” said Marlo Miller, manufacturing and technology coordinator for the Center for Professional & Workforce Development. “Education for employment is the DCTC mission.”

The grant targets unemployed, underemployed and dislocated workers; incumbent workers; and other adult learners and underrepresented groups. Traditional students are also eligible. The program is expected to benefit more than 3,000 students and hundreds of manufacturing companies throughout Minnesota. Many Minnesota manufacturers, industry and workforce organizations have stepped up to partner with these colleges.


South Central College
Consortium Leader

Award Amount: $5,569,615
Total Consortium Award Amount: $14,999,982
Consortium members: Ridgewater College ($1,451,782), Saint Paul College ($1,382,954), Minneapolis Community & Technical College ($1,028,749), Lake Superior College ($908,423), Dakota County Technical College ($887,057), Century College ($790,770), MN West Community and Technical College ($624,735), Northland Community and Technical College ($596,917), Riverland Community College ($519,120), MN State Community and Technical College ($424,351), Bemidji State University ($412,044), Normandale Community College ($403,465)

Industry focus: Advanced Manufacturing

South Central College is leading a consortium of 13 Minn. colleges to promote its Minnesota Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. MNAMP’s Learn, Work, Earn program targets TAA-eligible workers, veterans and other adult learners seeking training to secure or maintain employment. The project focuses on providing career pathways in advanced manufacturing in the fields of mechatronics, machining and welding. Participants will be able to earn stackable, portable industry-recognized credentials while simultaneously working in the industry. Participants will be able to enter academic programs at multiple points based on assessment results that match individual skills.

* ETA News Release: [09/29/2014] “Vice President Biden announces recipients of $450M of job-driven training grants”

For more information about the MNAMP grant at DCTC, contact:
  • Marlo Miller
    Manufacturing & Technology Coordinator
    Center for Professional & Workforce Development

Manufacturing Showcase
Coming to DCTC Oct. 9, 2014

New Course this Spring: Business Writing

People will judge you by the words you use

Business Writing

New Course this Spring at DCTC: Business Writing

by Brett Kolles

Many have heard the phrase that people will judge you by the words you use. This axiom does not need to be negative; in fact, those who write well and communicate with skill are respected in the workplace and often promoted to leadership positions.

DCTC is offering a new course this spring aptly named “Business Writing.” The hybrid course meets every other Thursday evening from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. on alternating weeks. Business Writing focuses on effective, persuasive communication within and between business organizations from the perspective of employees and of managers. Common business communication skills such as professional letter writing, memos, cover letters and resumes, e-mail, and proofreading strategies will be covered.

A very strong focus on proper grammar and persuasive writing development will be emphasized. Students learn to critically analyze communication strategies. Students will also gain experience making an oral presentation, work as part of a collaborative team, and recognize the ethical implications of business communication.

We communicate every day. Learning to communicate effectively and professionally is a skill set that will pay dividends in the workplace.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum Goal
  • Understand/demonstrate the writing and speaking processes through invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing and presentation
  • Participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening, critical and reflective thinking, and responding
  • Locate, evaluate, and synthesize in a responsible manner material from diverse sources and points of view
  • Select appropriate communication choices for specific audiences
  • Construct logical and coherent arguments
  • Use authority, point-of-view, and individual voice and style in their writing and speaking
Business Writing Course Description

Business WritingThis course focuses on effective, persuasive communication within and between business organizations, from the perspective of employees and of mangers. Students learn to critically analyze communication strategies, organizational culture and common business texts, such as memos, reports and case studies; they learn to select quality data from primary and secondary sources; and they write and edit letters, memos, reports and studies in situations that simulate the complexities of small companies and global corporations. Students will also gain experience making an oral presentation with accompanying presentation and software slides, work as part of a collaborative team, and recognize the ethical implications of business communication. This course is not a substitute for ENGL1150 Composition I.

About the author…

Brett Kolles, DCTC English Instructor

Brett Kolles is a full-time English instructor in the General Education department. He also serves as the DCTC Campus Lions Club faculty advisor. Brett has a master’s degree in English, a Master of Business Communication and a B.A. in journalism from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. (read more…)

For more information about the Business Writing course at DCTC, contact:
  • Brett Kolles
    English Instructor
    DCTC Campus Lions Club Advisor
    Dakota County Technical College
    Office 2-720E


DCTC Takes On Iowa Western in Massive Soccer Rivalry

Reivers ranked first in the nation; DCTC ranked 18th

Blue Knights soccer

The men’s soccer team at Dakota County Technical College plays Iowa Western Community College Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, at 7 p.m. in a home game under the lights at the Ames Soccer Complex on the college’s main campus in Rosemount, Minnesota. The Reivers are 7–0–1 and ranked #1 as of Sept. 23 on the NJCAA Men’s Soccer Division I Top 20 National Poll. The Blue Knights are 5–2–1 and ranked #18 on the same poll.

“Last season we lost 1–3 to Iowa Western, the eventual NJCAA DI national champion, in the NJCAA Region XI championship game,” said Head Coach Cam Stoltz. “This year, with the help of our fans and the home-field advantage, we have a lot of faith that we can beat our archrivals.”

Accept a Facebook invitation to the game at

DCTC vs Iowa Western

For more information about NJCAA athletics and men’s soccer at DCTC, visit GoBlueKnights.com, or contact:
  • Cam Stoltz
    Athletic Coordinator
    Men’s Soccer Head Coach

Creating Online Learning Communities

Business Management instructor talks about improving online teaching skills

Online Learning Communities

Creating online learning communities

by Harold Torrence, Ed.D

In our Business Management program at Dakota County Technical College, online learning has become a prevalent and preferred alternative for students in recent years. We offer both hybrid (online-enhanced classroom) and online courses—and in fall semester 2014, our online courses filled up faster than our hybrid courses.

Several reasons might explain this new trend; one might be that our adult learners represent a larger percentage of our student population. Our adult learners are trying to reinvent themselves by enhancing their employability skills while pursuing a college experience and degree. Online learning offers an excellent option to balance learning, living, working and surviving in this ever-changing workplace environment.

During my eight years teaching online courses, I’ve found that many things have changed. Experience has shown me that online teaching requires a completely different set of teaching skills. A cornerstone of my teaching is based on shaping a sense of learning together as a community in the classroom so that students can be co-participants in the social construction of knowledge, skills and abilities.

As a facilitator of transformation, I find that I have an easier time igniting the fire and passion for lifelong learning when I’m standing in the physical classroom. When it comes to the online classroom, conveying this message can be challenging. I have tried using different tools to establish the strongest human connection possible. Below are some of the practices I have incorporated in my online teaching to develop online learning communities.

The traditional online discussion forum is where students find commonalities and are able to learn from one another. From the instructor’s standpoint, replying to more than 200 postings per week per class can be almost impossible. Another teaching dilemma centers on finding a way to reply to a limited number of students without creating a sense of favoritism in the virtual classroom.

I had to find a better way to show my students that I was not only reading their postings, but also able to provide the appropriate feedback they required. Five years ago at a faculty meeting, one of our adjunct instructors showed us how to use Adobe Connect to set online meetings, which provided a huge opportunity to change how I taught online. I moved from static, online-recorded lectures to dynamic, live webinars. From that moment on, I started incorporating non-mandatory (magic words) weekly webinars for extra credit. All of a sudden, retention rates in my online courses improved considerably.

In my webinar videos, I can show my face to my students, which is a key first step in forging the human connection. Webinars are my preferred way to explain the syllabus, give assignments and lectures, and showcase excellent student work. Adobe Connect has the ability to record everything live, and I am able to post the hyperlink in multiple places in our online learning platform as well as e-mail the link to my students soon after the webinar closes.

Webinars have enhanced the online learning experience in my classes. Below are comments I received from my students in a recent fall class:

“I really appreciate being able to access the link and watch the webinar during the week. I’m the type of learner that really benefits from hearing in addition to reading the material, and the webinars will be a great tool to use during this course.”

“I wasn’t able to participate in the webinar, but I was able to watch the recording. Not only was it useful to go through what was expected in this class, but your review of the PowerPoint was also very informative.”

“I also appreciated being able to watch the webinar and I think that these webinars will be a great tool to help with clarifying and supporting the weekly lessons.”

In my webinars, I always remind my students about the importance of learning from one another and how their individual contributions help shape strong learning communities. I also use this time to connect with their online discussion participation and include their examples in my lectures. This makes learning relevant and applicable to their knowledge construction process.

Individual and ongoing feedback are critical elements of success for online learners. I have been able to improve my feedback delivery by adding rubrics and oral comments to each assignment in their corresponding drop boxes. Students learn how they are performing both promptly and as often as possible. They know what I expect from them and what they need to do to improve.

Continuing to share our online teaching and learning practices is vitally important. I have been able to learn a lot from my peers on both the DCTC and Inver Hills campuses. I believe this should be a more intentional endeavor. True professional learning communities offer a great opportunity to enhance our online teaching skills in our search to improve our student online learning retention and success. Let’s continue sharing what we learn.

About the author…
Harold Torrence, Ed.D

Harold Torrence, Ed.D

Dr. Harold Torrence is a Business Management instructor. His areas of focus are the Business Administration A.S. degree, the Business Management A.A.S. degree, the Multicultural Leadership Diploma, Multicultural Supervision certificate and the Occupational Spanish program.

Dr. Torrence holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UNITEC, or Universidad Tecnológica del Centro. He also holds both a Masters of Arts in Management and a Master in Public Administration from Hamline University. In 2012, he earned a Doctorate in Education from Hamline University. (read more…)

For more information about the Business Management program at DCTC, contact: