Evangeline Colarossi-Staff Writer
One of the newest educational additions to Dordt allows students to graduate in two years and head into the workforce.
The Professional and Technical programs, or Pro-Tech, are 2-year programs for students to obtain Associates of Science degrees in either farm operations and management or manufacturing technology.
According to Professor Oscar Rodriguez, the goals of these two programs are “(to equip) Kingdom citizens to be ambassadors in the areas traditionally not taught at Christian colleges, prepare graduates for both work and further education, and help shorten the divide between the ‘spiritual’ and the practical.”
There are two branches of the Pro-Tech program: Agriculture and Manufacturing. Two of the newest professors, Oscar Rodriguez and Tom Colarossi are in charge of the Manufacturing and Agriculture programs, respectively. The Agriculture program has 21 students while the Manufacturing program has 8.
Over the coming years, Dordt hopes to see growth in both the programs and the students involved in the programs. Since Pro-Tech is brand new, professors are battling with the challenge of forming a curriculum. Learning how each of the students absorbs information also makes this a learning experience for both the students and the professors alike.
For the Pro-Tech program, there is an emphasis on hands-on learning. How can professors educate students in a classroom setting, but also give them the real-life experience that many lack prior to entering the workforce? Professor Colarossi tries to ensure students are able to learn about their field while creating connections with local businesses. He takes his classes on trips to many of the local farms, dairies, and places like Trans-Ova Genetics and Siouxpreme Egg Products.
“I want them to be able to think through and do something useful, not just hand them an assignment and tell them to do it,” said Professor Colarossi.
While the goal is to incorporate working skills and knowledge into these students at the end of their two years, students are more than welcome to pursue a 4-year degree as well.
After graduating, students “will be better prepared to enter a four-year program related to their area of study, because two-year programs are loaded with lots of hands-on and practical skills that can be useful for four-year graduates,” says Professor Rodriguez.
For any future students considering these programs contact the admissions office.