Category Archives: Faculty News

Dunwoody College celebrates Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and Dunwoody is celebrating in some very exciting ways!

Starting tomorrow, the College has several women-focused events on campus, including:

The 76th Diversity Forum: Women’s History Month with guest speaker Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.
March 15, 12:30 p.m. in the McNamara Center
Contact: lparvis@dunwoody.edu

A Kate’s Club Meeting for all Dunwoody women interested in attending  a supportive, networking event.
March 17, 2:45 p.m.
Contact: katesclub@dunwoody.edu

A Salary Negotiation Workshop for students in Dunwoody’s Women in Technical Careers (WITC) Scholarship program.
March 18, 4:30 p.m.
Contact: mwhitman@dunwoody.edu

Note: If you are not a WITC student and are looking for salary negotiation tips, please contact rborchardt@dunwody.edu.

The College has also launched a social media campaign to celebrate women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) professions—occupations that have been historically dominated by men. The campaign features Dunwoody women employees, students, and alumni who are pursuing or already working in a STEAM career.

Several of the campaign’s participants include:

Melysia_Cha

Emily_Miner

Beverly_White

Nicole_Nusbaum
The College invites all women in STEAM careers to participate! To join the campaign, simply tweet or instagram your photo, career choice, and a sentence about what makes you, you.

Make sure to use the hashtag #STEAMwoman or use our social media handle @dunwoodycollege.

Happy Women’s History Month from Dunwoody!

Construction Management program receives $60,000 grant

Construction Management Program Manager Heather Gay and Instructor Jon Hassenfritz hold large $60,000 check at the NAHB 2016 Residential Construction Management Competition

Photo courtesy of NAHB Student Chapter’s Facebook page

Dunwoody College of Technology is thrilled to announce the Construction Management program has received a $60,000 grant from the National Housing Endowment Foundation’s Homebuilding Education Leadership Program (HELP).

The National Housing Endowment is a philanthropic arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which aims to increase education and training opportunities for future leaders in the residential construction industry. HELP awards grants to leading colleges and universities in an effort to create or improve residential construction management programs.

“We applied for the grant because we did not have a strong residential construction focus in the classroom,” said Heather Gay, Construction Management Program Manager. “As a result, students weren’t going into the residential field. There was an interest, but we just didn’t have that knowledge in the classroom. This grant, and our program’s recent faculty hires, will change that.”

Specifically, the $60,000 donation will be used to:

  • Train faculty and students to be Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) and Certified Green Professionals (CGP).
  • Enhance relationships with industry through organized site visits, a lecture series, and various guest speakers/presentations.
  • Increase admissions outreach by targeting high school students in residential construction classes or skilled trades people looking to advance in their career.

Gay said that the outreach plans and any success stories will also be shared with other interested colleges. Gay as well as members of HELP hope that this form of open dialogue will encourage collaboration among all colleges with a residential construction program.

Learn more about Construction Management.

Automotive Dean’s service celebrated at annual potluck, department continues Toys for Tots donation

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren buildingFor the past two decades or so, Dunwoody’s Automotive Department has celebrated the holiday season in a memorable way. The Warren Building is festively decorated; long banquet tables are packed with crock-pot treats; Toys for Tots donations are collected; and students celebrate the end of their final exams and presentations.

This year, however, the annual holiday potluck was even more special than usual as students, staff and faculty bid farewell to Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka who is set to retire January 15.

Kukachka leaves Dunwoody with fond memories

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren building

“The holiday potlucks are definitely something that Automotive graduates remember about their time here,” Kukachka said. “I am going to miss events like these. The students have always been very special to me.”

Kukachka–who has provided the College with over 30 years of service–has been the program’s dean since 2010.

Retiring Dunwoody Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka speaking to Automotive students at the annual holiday potluck event “I have tried to be the kind of dean that students would not be afraid to talk to,” he said. “I wanted students to know that they could come to me about anything—good or bad—whatever was on their mind,” he said.

Faculty applaud student’s Toys for Tots donation

While the farewell was bittersweet, Kukachka was pleased to learn that the Automotive department did well in another  Toys for Tots fundraiser.

“The department has been donating to Toys for Tots ever since Dunwoody got involved with the program in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s,” Kukachka said. “It has become a tradition that the Auto Department does well so every year we try to instill that drive into our students.”

This year a friendly competition was implemented throughout the College with a first place prize of $150 awarded to the department who raised the most dollars and/or collected the most toys.

During the potluck, Automotive donations were totaled, revealing a grand total of about $2,000 in cash and toys—more than any other department.

Dunwoody Automotive students standing next to toys being donated to Toys for Tots

Program faculty decided to continue the season of giving by also donating their $150 winnings to the toy drive.

Kukachka says that this is the most the Automotive department has ever raised, making it a department—and quite possibly a Dunwoody—record.

Dunwoody College wishes Kukachka all the best

“This year’s potluck was very special to me,” Kukachka said.

“I will miss the people—both students and coworkers. I came here in 1980 wondering if I had made the right decision to change occupations. I know now that yes, I made the right decision to work at Dunwoody.”

On behalf of Dunwoody’s students, faculty and staff, the College wishes Kukachka all the best on his retirement.

Crosby Fellowship awardees announced

Four proposals were recently awarded funding through the inaugural Crosby Fellowship program.

Crosby Fellowships are awarded to Dunwoody faculty to fund projects that will significantly increase the students’ educational experience by raising the quality of instruction or curriculum development.

“When faculty have the support they need, they can provide for student experiences that will help them be more effectively prepared for the workforce,” said Associate Provost Ann Iverson.

Crosby Fellowship recipients

Congratulations to the following recipients of the 2015 Crosby Fellowship:

  1. Group work in a technical education environment, proposed by Senior Instructor Teresa Milligan. Funds for this project will allow Milligan to research and develop best practices for group work in a post-secondary technical education setting.
  1. Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) for Check-Out from the Design Library, proposed by Librarian Sarah Huber, Instructor Jon Hasssenfritz, Principal Instructor Kelly Ness, and Instructor Paula Merns. This project will support the purchase of VR and AR tools available for students to checkout in the Design Library.
  1. Developing Students with Industry Certification; American Welding Society (AWS)-Accredited Test Facility Certification, proposed by Senior Instructor Mike Reeser, Instructor Mark Schwendeman, and Senior Instructor Denise Bailey. The completion of this project will establish Dunwoody as the only AWS Accredited Test Facility (ATF) in Minnesota. This will also raise the quality of education welding students receive by increasing the level of rigor in laboratory assignments.
  1. The Minnesota Community Design Center (MCDC), proposed by Architecture Program Manager John Dwyer and Construction Management Program Manager Heather Gay. Funds for this project will support the first phase in establishing the Minnesota Community Design Center (MCDC). The MCDC would provide pro bono architecture and construction management services to Minnesota communities in need. This project would also provide a source of hands-on assignments for students and employment opportunities for recent graduates.

Construction Management adds faculty as demand for program grads continues

A rise in the number of students enrolled in Construction Management has led to the addition of two new faculty members. The increase in enrollment is both mirrored and fueled by the growth of the Minnesota construction industry.

“We went from graduating 12 students last spring to anticipating graduating 45 this spring,” said Construction Management Program Manager Heather Gay. “Construction has really come back…with a vengeance you even might say.”

Student growth brings expert faculty to campus

In an effort to accommodate the high number of interested students and the increase in job openings, Gay–who helped launch the Construction Management Bachelor’s Degree in 2012–hired Jon Hassenfritz and Rick Larrabee to join her team.

Photo of Construction Management Instructor Jon Hassenfritz

Jon Hassenfritz

Hassenfritz graduated from Dunwoody with an associate’s degree in Architectural Drafting & Estimating in 2007. After graduation, Hassenfritz joined several remodeling companies where he worked as a drafter, estimator, project manager, and salesman. Despite being new to teaching, Hassenfritz says that his recent career move into higher education has been “a very positive change.”

“I wanted to share my knowledge and help educate the future of the industry that I love,” said Hassenfritz. “I have always wanted to teach, and Dunwoody and this program are a great fit.”

Larrabee, who founded Master Builders–a general contracting business specializing in residential and light commercial construction, is also enjoying his new position.

“I appreciate the student demographics here at Dunwoody. There is a greater percentage of non-traditional students as well as students who already have construction experience. Both groups are serious about their education and are excited to be in your class, which makes teaching much more enjoyable,” he said.

Photo of Construction Management Instructor Rick Larrabee

Rick Larrabee

Larrabee brings with him many years of teaching experience. He previously taught Construction Management at UW-Stout and carpentry at Chippewa Valley Technical College. Larrabee says he decided to teach at Dunwoody because he knew the College valued “industry experience and hands-on, applied learning.”

New faculty members help improve residential construction curriculum

Both Larrabee and Hassenfritz started earlier this year and are currently full-time Construction Project Management faculty members. Since then, the Construction Management team has made a number of enhancements to the program, including improvements to the residential construction curriculum. The Construction Management team believes that these improvements will allow program graduates to enter the workforce with more career paths and better job opportunities.

“It’s what makes our program so unique,” Gay said. “With a degree in Construction Management, you can be a Project Manager, Field Engineer, Sales Manager, etc. Sometimes degrees can be so specialized you really only have one path–that’s not the case for our graduates.”

Larrabee also suspects the high need for Construction Management graduates will not falter anytime soon. “The Department of Labor projects shortages of qualified Construction Managers and skilled workers for the next several years, making jobs in the construction industry even more appealing to students making career choices,” he said. “It really is a great time for our students to be graduating from our Construction Management programs.”

Learn more about Construction Management

Dunwoody Construction Management is a stackable bachelor’s degree program. Students start by earning a certificate or an associate’s degree from Dunwoody’s two-year Construction Project Management program. Interested applicants—as well as transfer students—can then earn their bachelor’s degree in Construction Management after an additional two years of study.

Graduates of the Construction Management program take on a wide array of professional roles including project managers, construction managers, estimators, drafters, business leaders and entrepreneurs. The average annual salary for Construction Managers in the state of Minnesota is $90,340*.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Construction Project Management and Construction Management programs.

 

 * Based on May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for the state of Minnesota published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov.

 

Dunwoody hosts MIE meeting to help enhance international students’ experience

Dr. Leo Parvis talking to audience at October MIE Meeting at Dunwoody College of TechnologyThe College recently welcomed members from Minnesota International Educators (MIE) as they attended a board meeting on campus. The MIE is a professional association that works to help staff and educators in international student admissions and/or services create a positive experience for international students across the state of Minnesota.

“We decided to host the meeting at Dunwoody because we wanted to bring more visibility to the College. We wanted other schools to know where we are located and that we do accept international students,” said International Student Admissions Counselor Meera Weist. “It is also a great opportunity to find out what other colleges are doing and determine what we can and should incorporate here as well.”

MIE board member talking to audience at October MIE Meeting at Dunwoody College of TechnologyThe three-hour meeting included updates from the MIE and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP); a discussion on immigration changes; and a student panel.

The panel—consisting of international students from MCAD, UM-Twin Cities and St. Olaf College who are also part of the LGTBQ community—described how their gender identity and/or sexual orientation affected their study abroad experience, and what educators can do to help improve it.

MIE board members and guests discussing updates at October MIE Meeting at Dunwoody College of TechnologyA first time event for Dunwoody, Weist says the meeting was an excellent way for the Dunwoody Admissions team to continue to understand—and enhance—international student’s stay here in the Twin Cities.

If you are an international student looking to continue your education at Dunwoody, please contact Weist at mwiest@dunwoody.edu.

Bridget Reynolds Inducted into International Fraternal Organization

International Order of Hoo-Hoo LogoBridget Reynolds, Dean of Construction Sciences & Building Technology, was concatenated (inducted) into the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo at the 123rd International Hoo-Hoo convention, which was held in Minneapolis earlier this month.

The International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, Inc. is a fraternal and service organization whose members are dedicated to the progression and welfare of forest-based industry. Members include individuals from professions like forestry, education, research and manufacturing who work closely with wood-based products and/or the lumber industry.

Reynolds was welcomed by Snark of the Universe—and the fraternity’s first female Snark since it’s founding in 1892—Mary Beth Moynihan from J.B. O’Meara, Inc.

Reynolds will now serve on the education board of the Twin Cities Hoo-Hoo Chapter #12.

Construction Project Management students Melysia Cha and Andrew Hoogenakker also attended the convention. Cha and Hoogenakker supported the convection’s logistics by welcoming members and assisting with registration setup.

Cha and Hoogenakker said the most enjoyable part of the day was listening to stories from attending members – some of who had traveled from Australia and Malaysia to be there.

For more information on Hoo-Hoo, visit http://hoo-hoo.org/index.php.

Auto Instructor Lonny Lunn Receives Instructor Recognition Award

Congratulations to Senior Automotive Instructor Lonny Lunn, a 2015 recipient of the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Industry Education Alliance Instructor Recognition Award!

Lonny holding award.

The ASEIEA award is used to recognize instructors who have gone above and beyond in helping their students and advancing their career in technical education.

To achieve this recognition, instructors must meet a number of criteria, including at least five years of teaching experience; documented attendance at instructor training events; a history of placing students in work-based learning assignments; and ASE Master Certification in the area in which they teach.

Lonny talking with student next to car.

“Receiving this award is a great honor,” said Lunn. “Being with the students is the best part of my job. I enjoy nothing more than that learning moment—that moment when I see something click with my students.”

Lunn has been with Dunwoody since 2002. He currently manages the Honda Professional Auto Career Training (PACT) program.