Published October 1, 2019
At the September 26 Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees meeting, trustees approved the purchase of new software designed to improve student experience as well as develop improved course design.
Title V and the Connection Center will purchase Focus 2 software that will help students facilitate career choices and discover their learning styles.
The Focus 2 package contains personality assessments and inventories based on conceptual frameworks that assess a student’s values and skills to gather characteristics, strengths, preferences and interests that align with specific careers.
The software provides more than potential career choices. It helps students discover why those career choices are good for them by revealing strengths and competencies students may not have identified in themselves.
Chloe Wurst, Title V Advising Specialist, said it’s critical for students to have an understanding of themselves when pursuing an education or career choice. One of the reasons DC3 provides this opportunity to students is because they’re undecided on a major or career choice. That indecisiveness can greatly impact retention and graduation and can ultimately leave students floundering toward career achievement.
Wurst said perhaps the biggest take away from the assessments is discovering self-identity.
“That transition into college can be a scary time,” Wurst said, “especially if you are unsure of who you are as a person. Sometimes that identity component is the first step in an educational experience. As a new college student, the whole experience can be quite intimidating and create a lot of uncertainty and doubt.”
Research has shown that retention and engagement is greatly improved when students are more informed and more actively involved in their career choice.
“We can help discover your strengths and characteristics and then explore how those interests align with fields that utilize similar strengths and characteristics,” Wurst said. “That generates purpose and meaning and it’s critically important for a student to know where they stand on their career path.”
Wurst notes that the assessments will be the first step. The software will only be as good as the facilitation following the assessments.
“What’s most important is that they understand what these results mean,” she said, “and how we then help students discover strategies that translate into the classroom that cater to their strengths.”
When students are able to more readily identify their strengths they are also able to more readily overcome their weaknesses.
“They see their positive attributes and it opens a conversation,” Wurst said. “Now let’s look at these results and analyze your learning profile and who you are as a person and then let’s talk about what strategies and methods you could carry into the classroom.”
According to Wurst, when students have relevant information and can put meaning to it, a new level of learning is sparked, often giving students the confidence and motivation that they may not have had prior to using the resource. Plans are to provide the assessments to students even before they begin school.
“Embedding a model like this early and giving it to potential students who have not had a chance to investigate college can be a thought-provoking recruiting tool,” Wurst said.
The Focus 2 software will also include a component that allows prospective students to match their interests to the colleges programs and majors, it’s in order to assure a good fit as well as strengthen the bonds connecting a student to the school.
“As we expand and improve the technical programs at this college, this is the type of thing we need more of,” said DC3 President Dr. Harold Nolte. “These student-focused initiatives are just going to improve the overall student experience at Dodge City Community College.”
For the second year in a row the Conquistador men’s golf team is been named Academic National Champions by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
Athletic Director Jacob Ripple presented head coach Chris Robinson and his team, currently ranked No. 14 in the nation, with a plaque commemorating the honor.
“It seems like this has become a yearly thing,” Ripple said. “Coach Robinson does such a great job with his players both on the course and in the classroom.”
Trustees voted to approve the 2019-2020 faculty contract to include an increase to the base salary index of approximately 3% to $35,175.
Trustees also voted to form two committees, one committee to study the salary index and fair market value in faculty contracts, and a second committee to study sick leave policies.
By Scott Edger