DCTC General Education Faculty Operate Heavy Construction Equipment

Interdepartmental collaboration provides insights that benefit students

One sunny Friday in September, several adventurous instructors in our General Education department tried out some big machines out back on campus to learn more about an area of technology their students are studying as a career path. Roger Gartner and Joel Fogarty, DCTC Heavy Construction Equipment Technology instructors, had prepared a hill out behind the college and were present to guide operations.

“Roger and I are building bridges and we felt this was a perfect way to facilitate this,” Joel said. “The collaboration will be great for the industry.”

The Heavy Duty Construction Equipment Technology program began its first run using the student cohort model this fall. Gen Ed instructors teaching the cohort got firsthand experience operating the types of machines their students will be maintaining and repairing in their future careers.

“This was great,” said English Instructor Margaret Milne, pictured on the left. “It definitely created a common experience. I can tailor some of my writing assignments to fit the needs of these students.”

Dan Stinnet, an environmental biology instructor, pictured above, was equally impressed. “This will serve as an icebreaker to more closely relate to our Heavy Equipment Tech students,” Dan said. “It’s easy to understand why they’re interested in machinery once you get to experience it. I felt like a kid in a toy store!”

“Now I’m familiar with some of the terminology,” said communications instructor Georgina Lorencz. “This will help me connect with students right out of the gate.”

Critical Thinking Instructor Wes Jorde greatly enjoyed the outing. “Operating these machines takes a lot of critical thinking. Let’s do this again!” Wes said.

At the end of the afternoon, Instructors Fogarty and Gartner had nothing but encouraging words for their new operators. “Great work, Gen Ed!”

The collaboration between HCET and General Education is an excellent example of how Dakota County Technical College is committed to providing a top-quality educational experience that prepares our students for rewarding careers and life as engaged citizens.