Mark Hickman Named Outstanding Instructor of the Year

ASEP Instructor Receives College’s Top Faculty Award

Mark Hickman, an automotive technology instructor in the GM Automotive Service Educational Program, better known as ASEP, at Dakota County Technical College, has been named the 2009 DCTC Outstanding Instructor of the Year.

Hickman, who began teaching at DCTC in 1988, has a master’s degree in public and nonprofit administration from Metropolitan State University. He has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota. He also has an automotive technology diploma from Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Having worked 11 years as a General Motors master technician and two years as an independent technician, Hickman brings extensive industry experience to his position as an instructor.

“Seeing my students ‘get it’ is the best part of my job. Their confidence soars when they understand a new concept or figure out how something works.”

An Automotive Service Excellence Master Certified Technician, Hickman is a former GM Instructor of the Year. In 2007, he was recognized as a GM World Class Technician, the ultimate honor awarded by the General Motors Service Technical College.

DCTC President Ronald E. Thomas reported that Hickman is exceptionally deserving of the reward. “Mark symbolizes college-level teaching at its finest,” Thomas said. “His commitment to his program is evident in our ASEP graduates, who are roundly viewed as the best-educated automotive techs in the industry.”

Regarding his teaching philosophy, Hickman believes that his students like to learn by actually doing or experiencing. “Seeing my students ‘get it’ is the best part of my job,” he said. “Their confidence soars when they understand a new concept or figure out how something works.”


ASEP students gain paid work experience at sponsoring GM dealers or ACDelco TSS shops. As interns, students apply technical knowledge and diagnostic skills in real-world situations.

The ASEP labs at DCTC are equipped with the latest GM technology, including vehicles, components, training aids and technical information, giving the college’s ASEP grads the know-how and problem-solving tools they need to keep pace with tomorrow’s computer-oriented technology.

To learn more about the ASEP program at DCTC, check out “High-Tech Detectives,”a feature story in the Summer ’09 Schedule Articles.

ISEEK, the go-to source for education and employment info in Minnesota, lists the following salary data for the seven-county metro area:

Automotive Service Technicians

  • Average Wage: $20.10
  • Top Earners: $29.71