Innovative Student Affairs Program Award

DCTC Student Affairs Division
DCTC Student Affairs Division

DCTC Student Affairs division honored at Minnesota State conference

The Student Affairs division at Dakota County Technical College was awarded the Innovative Student Affairs Program Award at the Minnesota State Academic and Student Affairs Fall Leadership Conference Wednesday, October 24, 2018, at Breezy Point Resort in Breezy Point, Minnesota. Anne S. Johnson, MBA, associate vice president of student affairs at DCTC, reported that division staff are honored to receive the prestigious award.

“The quality of our Student Orientation and Registration Program would not be possible without everyone in the Student Affairs division working collaboratively to organize, implement and fulfill the program’s goals,” Anne said. “The program helps students prepare for a good start at DCTC by providing ongoing interaction with key people on campus. This one-on-one approach helps students recognize and utilize the numerous, convenient resources the college offers.”

Anne added that the program gives students the opportunity to register for classes through service from their enrollment advisor and financial aid specialist.

“We also offer a Family and Friends session that allows loved ones to understand what their family member or friend will experience at our college,” she said. “We are excited to receive the statewide award. The Student Affairs team has made the Student Orientation and Registration Program what it is today.”

Many areas of the college have experienced measurable changes in student success since the updated orientation model was instituted, including:
  • Success for the first group of students who went through the updated model (began classes in fall 2016) has increased 1.1 percent compared to previous year fall to spring.
  • Success for the first group of students who went through the updated model (began classes in fall 2016) has increased 4 percent compared to previous year fall to fall.
  • Success for the second group of students who went through the updated model (began spring 2017) has increased 2.4 percent compared to previous year fall to spring.
  • Student success for the DCTC fall 2016 cohort was 9.4 percent higher than the average for all Minnesota State colleges.
  • Number of new students entering TRIO/Student Support Services has increased 38 percent since the updated model began.
  • Visits to the Wellness Center (fitness facility) have increased 132 percent from the first year of the updated model till now.
  • Visits to the Military and Veterans Service Center have increased 5 percent in the last year since the updated model was first promoted at orientation.
  • Number of Student Life interest forms collected has increased by 614 percent since the updated model.
    • Student Life interest form indicates that a student would like more information about what clubs and organizations they can join on campus.
  • Walk-in visits to Enrollment Services have decreased 24 percent in August and 26 percent in January.
    • Student walk-in visitors typically have higher-level questions.
    • Updated orientation model proactively answers questions students had been bringing to Enrollment Services during the start of the semester.

Student Orientation and Registration Program Nomination

by Anne Johnson, MBA, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs

Natalie Shrestha, Anna Voight, Anne Johnson

Natalie Shrestha, Anna Voight, Anne Johnson

Student perspective…

Susan Garcia is earning an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in the Executive Assistant program at DCTC with plans to graduate in 2019. Susan is exceptionally active on campus. She serves as Student Senate president and Business Professionals of America (BPA) secretary. She also belongs to TRIO Student Support Services, Phi Theta Kappa, the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA) and Christian on Campus.

Susan credits DCTC staff members and faculty as well as the welcoming and informative Student Orientation and Registration Program as significant reasons she was able to find her confidence and adapt to college life.

Susan Garcia

Susan Garcia

“When I started here at DCTC, I was nervous like most students starting college,” Susan said. “This was my third try at college and was not so sure this was going to be a success since the other two times didn’t work out like I had hoped. Being able to attend the orientation and hear more about the different programs available to students was what made it clear to me that I was going to succeed.”

Susan related that Anna Voight, associate director of student life, was instrumental in sharing with her how getting involved with Student Life was a key to success at DCTC. Anna explained that getting involved with PTK, Student Senate and other clubs makes a world of difference for many students. Engagement on campus is also an important supplement to any resume.

“I expressed my interest in several of the clubs when Anna gave us the survey to fill out,” Susan said. “I’m glad I did because even though I wasn’t initially able to attend the meetings for Senate due to class, I still got the emails and it was a great reminder that they were still interested in my involvement. Anna took us on a walk around campus to show some of the benefits students have from their student life fees.”

Susan added that another person who was important to her success was Patrick Lair, director of student success. During his segment of the orientation, Patrick explained how the grading system worked and what resources were available if students found themselves in a tough spot academically or confronted by life obstacles.

“Patrick talked about the TRIO SSS program, and I was not sure I was a candidate, but decided to try,” Susan said. “I was accepted and WOW! what a difference getting that extra help has been. I would definitely contribute my success to getting involved in the several clubs and utilizing the services available to students such as TRIO and tutors in the Center for Student Success.”

Susan Garcia at DCTC gallery

More about the Innovative Student Affairs Program Award…¹

Innovative programs are those that use new ideas, methods, or techniques that result in improved educational or developmental activities, services, or management for a college or university community. These programs or activities must have been in operation for at least two years.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate nominations:
  • Demonstrate financial creativity or cost effectiveness
  • Encourage diverse and/or multiple subgroups to participate
  • Be adaptable to other institutions
  • Address a demonstrable need on campus
  • Contain an evaluation component
  • Involve collaboration with other college or university departments
  • Enhance student learning or development
Learn more about Student Affairs at DCTC by contacting:

Anne S. Johnson, MBA
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs

¹ Courtesy of Minnesota State