All posts by William Morris

Global Citizen Award Winners: Alexis Koren & Viviane Vaaj

Since 2013, Dunwoody College’s Diversity Council has presented a Student Global Citizen Award to a student or students whose accomplishments exemplify an enthusiastic awareness of issues related to working and living successfully in our diverse society. The 2018 award recipients are Alexis Koren and Viviane Vaaj.

Alexis Koren
Automated Systems & Robotics
Inver Grove Heights, MN

Photo of Alexis KorenAlexis Koren didn’t have the smoothest high school experience. Not only did she experience bullying, but she also broke her back in six places during her senior year. She was able to graduate six months early, but couldn’t carry on with her education. About two years down the road to recovery, she was determined to put her shattered dreams back together and go to college. She wanted to prove wrong those who were skeptical that she would be able to do so. One of her biggest motivations for this was Hastings High School electronics and electricity instructor Dave Davenport. Because of his classes, Koren had come to love programming robots.

Koren had a desire to attend Dunwoody as her love for electronics and robots was growing. After touring the College, she knew that it was the right place for her.

While attending Dunwoody, Koren got involved in volunteer work — she joined the Leaders of Today and Tomorrow (LOTT), a program that seeks to help young women become leaders in their professions and communities. For her community engagement project with LOTT, she gathered menstrual products for the residents of Simpson Housing Services. Volunteering is an activity she has loved to do ever since she began helping out with her aunt in homes for the elderly at the age of 12.

Koren is excited to start her career. But she also hopes to continue to help others, especially by being an inspiration to them like Dave Davenport was for her.

“I want to be a mentor for other men and women,” she said. “Just because there are so many people who feel like they’re not good enough for the world. Everyone is worth it. It only takes one person to believe in you, for you to believe in yourself.”

Viviane Vaaj
Electrical Construction Design & Management
Rosemount, MN

Photo of Viviane VaajPrior to attending Dunwoody, Viviane Vaaj earned a nursing degree and then worked in real estate, which brought her into contact with a local general contractor firm. After learning more about the field from the general contractor, she developed an interest in electrical construction design. She decided to attend Dunwoody because of the small class sizes and the hands-on method of instruction.

It was not a career she had been aware of right out of high school.

“I have to say, as a woman and minority, I was not encouraged to attend technical schools like Dunwoody,” she said. “We were always encouraged to attend the liberal arts schools.”

While at Dunwoody, Vaaj, who is Hmong, helped others learn more about her background by participating at the College’s yearly Festival of Cultures. She is also very active in her community.

“I didn’t choose to advocate for diversity,” she said. “It was part of who I am.”

Vaaj hopes to help diversify the construction industry by encouraging more women and people of color to enter the field. She understands, though, that any change is going to take time and will require people working together to understand each other.

“What I’ve learned from diversity projects is that there are so many people who focus on the differences of other people that we sometimes forget our similarities,” she said.

Dunwoody College of Technology launches Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering


OCTOBER 5, MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Dunwoody College of Technology is now accepting applications for its new Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, which will begin classes August 2017. The degree will prepare students to enter the field of engineering as software engineers. Software engineers design, develop, test and improve software applications for a variety of fields, including medical, financial, manufacturing, consumer, military, enterprise and other uses.

The degree will incorporate the College’s life-long values of hands-on learning, problem-solving, teamwork and professionalism. Prospective students and others interested in learning about Software Engineering or Mechanical Engineering or both are invited to RSVP for an Oct. 25 School of Engineering Information Session to be held on the Dunwoody campus.

Other Points of Note: 

  • Software Engineering students will benefit from the lab spaces and equipment already present on campus, including networking and web development deployment environments used by Computer Technology students and automated systems and electronic controls labs used by Robotics & Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering students.
  • The decision to launch a bachelor’s degree in software engineering was made in consultation with numerous industry leaders and professionals who highlighted a need for software engineers who combine both theoretical and practical skill sets and experience.
  • Software Engineering is the second degree offering the College’s School of Engineering, which launched with its first class of Mechanical Engineering students in August 2016.
  • Dunwoody is exploring which other engineering disciplines will join software and mechanical as the core majors for the School of Engineering. Currently electrical and civil engineering are at the top of the list.
  • Dunwoody has been approved to offer the degree by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as well as the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The commission’s web address and phone number are: and 312-263-0456.


“As we explored the various options, Software Engineering made the most sense as the second major to add to our School of Engineering,” President Rich Wagner said. “The industry partners we spoke with saw a need for professionals who can design and lead complex software projects. We already supply many of the web developers and computer networking professionals hired by local industry. By adding software engineering we build on those current strengths to help address the need for IT professionals who can bring engineering thinking and skills to the field.”

More Information:

For more on Software Engineering and the School of Engineering:

Media Contact:

William Morris, Director of Marketing & College Relations; 612-381-3367

For Admissions information:; 612-374-5800

Founded in 1914, Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. It has provided a hands-on, applied education to more than 200,000 men and women, who in turn have gone on to meaningful and rewarding careers and become outstanding technicians, successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Located on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis, Dunwoody offers more than 30 certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs in the areas of Applied Management, Automotive, Computer Technology, Construction Sciences & Building Technology, Design & Graphics Technology, Engineering, Radiologic Technology, Robotics & Manufacturing, and Workforce Training & Continuing Education.

Newly-launched Jackson Lecture Series has leadership focus

Photo of some of the key organizers of the Jackson Lecture Series. From left to right: Cutlines: 5281: Michael White, Dean of Applied Management; Richard Thomson, Assistant Provost; Board of Trustees Past Chair Ted Ferrara, ’77 Refrigeration; Dr. Bruce Jackson, CEO of The Institute of Applied Human Excellence; and President Rich Wagner

L-R: Michael White, Dean of Applied Management; Richard Thomson, Assistant Provost; Board of Trustees Past Chair Ted Ferrara, ’77 Refrigeration; Dr. Bruce Jackson, CEO of The Institute of Applied Human Excellence; and President Rich Wagner

More than 50 alumni, students, faculty and friends attended the first ever C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series on Thursday, Feb. 5 at Dunwoody College of Technology. The event featured Dr. Bruce Jackson, a talented speaker and expert in Leadership and Human Performance. Dr. Jackson kicked off the lecture series by providing a framework for leadership at any level of the organization.

Dr. Jackson serves as the CEO of The Institute of Applied Human Excellence, a training firm dedicated to helping individuals, teams and organizations achieve peak performance. He is also the Executive Director of the C. Charles Jackson Foundation.

The Jackson Leadership Lecture Series features prominent speakers on leadership topics and is being offered the first Thursday of every month. The next event will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 5, at Dunwoody College of Technology, 818 Dunwoody Boulevard, Minneapolis.

American Technical Education Association national office to be housed at Dunwoody College

Minneapolis, MN, May 2, 2012 — The American Technical Education Association (ATEA) has officially relocated its national office to Dunwoody College of Technology. ATEA is a national professional organization that serves faculty, administrators, educational services vendors, and companies that hire graduates from technical programs.

“It is, indeed, a privilege for the premier post-secondary technical education professional development organization to partner with one of the nation’s premier private technical colleges,” said Dr. Larry Moser, Director of the Secondary Technical Center of South Arkansas Community College and ATEA President.

“The central location of Dunwoody College of Technology in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area will give the ATEA greater exposure and access to the many professional educators involved in technical education.  As President of the American Technical Education Association, I know I speak on behalf of our Board of Trustees in affirming that the ATEA/Dunwoody partnership promises to be one of the most strategic decisions made by the ATEA organization.”

Sandra Krebsbach has been hired as the new executive director of ATEA. Dr. Krebsbach holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota and has previously served as dean of technical trade and apprenticeship programs at Saint Paul College.

“Dr. Krebsbach brings to post-secondary technical education professional development a strong background of academic involvement in post-secondary technical education and an extensive exposure to the political mechanisms influencing the development of technical education,” Dr. Moser said. “We welcome her contemporary and dynamic approach to enhancing all aspects of technical education professional development and to developing strategies to keep technical careers and technical training in the public discourse.  I and the Board of Trustees anticipate many good things to come from both the partnership with Dunwoody College of Technology as our ATEA office site and the great background and activities of Dr. Krebsbach as our Executive Director.”

“What is unique about ATEA is that our members really know each other,” Dr. Krebsbach said. “Our members develop strong connections and engage in dialogue that helps spread best practices in the field throughout the nation.”

“Dunwoody College has long been active in the ATEA and is pleased to be able to provide a location for the organization,” Dunwoody College President Rich Wagner said. “In fact, as a leading advocate for technical education, the ATEA continues the legacy of Charles Prosser, Dunwoody’s first director and the father of technical education in the United States. We also welcome Dr. Krebsbach and look forward to working with her.” Dr. Wagner is also the vice president and president elect of ATEA.

For the past 34 years, ATEA was housed on the campus of North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, ND. The move to the Twin Cities brings with it the advantages of a major metropolitan area with many corporate headquarters and access to an international airport.

“I’m excited that ATEA will now be located at Dunwoody,” Dr. Krebsbach said. “I think it will be especially helpful for it to be in the Twin Cities because Minnesota is such a powerhouse in healthcare, printing, information technology, precision manufacturing, automated packaging, construction and other industries that employ graduates of technical programs. Many Minnesota based companies have a national workforce, relaying on technical colleges in other states to provide trained employees. ATEA can be a helpful partner in professional development and best practices in those states as well as in Minnesota”

ATEA was chartered in Delmar, NY, in 1960. From the beginning its goal was to “promote technical education for interested and qualified youth and adults … recommend standards for technical education … [and] provide an opportunity for an exchange of ideas among persons in the technical education field.”

The mission of the American Technical Education Association is to serve as the premier provider of professional development for postsecondary technical educators. It holds both a national conference and regional conferences.   It also gives out yearly awards to educators, students and other individuals who support the organization’s goals and publishes a refereed journal twice a year, which is edited by Dr. Sandra C. Coyner of the University of Akron.

The next national conference will be held March 20-22, 2013, in Chattanooga, Tenn., and will be held in the Twin Cities in 2014, the year that Dunwoody celebrates its Centennial.

As a national organization, ATEA draws its leadership and membership from across the country. Current members of the executive committee in addition to Dr. Moser and Dr. Wagner include: Jane Hildenbrand, chair and professor of early childhood education, Ivy Tech Community College; Dr. James King, vice chancellor, Tennessee Technology Centers; Bob Wallace, director of finance, Tennessee Technology Centers; and Dr. Paul Young, president, North Wyoming Community College.

In addition, the ATEA board includes members from institutions located in the Northeast, South, Midwest and West.

About Dunwoody: Founded in 1914, Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit, technical college in the Upper Midwest. For more, visit

Darlene Miller share thoughts on 2012 and manufacturing

Darlene Miller, president and CEO of Permac Industries Inc., was recently included in a Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal round up of local executives thoughts on the coming year in business.

Miller serves on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and has been instrumental in the development of the Right Skills Now program. In the interview the MSP Business Journal asked what could be done to “improve the manufacturing condition of the Twin Cities”?

Miller’s response was: “Grow more skilled and trained people, such as those enrolled in our ‘Right Skills Now’ program at Dunwoody and South Central College…”

Click here to read the full story (subscription required).

Dunwoody College hosts conference for technical educators



William Morris, Manager of Marketing & Communications
(612) 381-3367;

Dunwoody College hosts conference for technical educators

Minneapolis — March 28, 2011 — Dunwoody College of Technology is the host institution this year for the annual conference of the American Technical Education Association (ATEA), which takes place March 30 – April 1. The conference will be held at St. Paul’s Crowne Plaza Riverfront and will bring together postsecondary technical educators from across the country to share best practices in applied and technical education.

Keynote speeches will be presented by:

  • William Symonds, director of the Pathways to Prosperity project, who will speak on “Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century”
  • James Brazell, a technology forecaster, who will speak on “The Future is Here: Mainstreaming Community College Technical Programs”
  • Corporate Trainer, Columnist and Entertainer Stevie Ray, who will talk about speaking in public and thinking on your feet
  • Rachel Lund, principal instructor in Arts & Sciences at Dunwoody College, who will speak on “Navigating a Life Interrupted”

Breakout sessions will cover everything from changes in the collision repair industry to 3D printing to using web conferencing. Dunwoody faculty will present the following sessions:

  • Principal Instructor Leo Parvis: “Managing Diversity in the Technical Professions”
  • President Rich Wagner: “Leaders in Postsecondary Technical Education Roundtable”
  • Principal Instructor Rachel E. Lund: “Setting Your Course for Great Leadership”
  • Program Director Chad Kurdi: “Significant Changes to NEC2011”
  • Senior Instructor Arlinda Henderson and Senior Instructor Jenny Saplis: “An Innovative Approach to Teaching the Arts to the Technical Thinker”
  • Principal Instructor Pete Rivard: “Considering the Carton: Educating Inside the Box”

In addition to the conference sessions, there will be a tradeshow featuring a variety of exhibitors.

For more information, visit the ATEA 2011 National Conference web page.

Founded in 1914, Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. It has provided a hands-on, applied technical education to more than 300,000 men and women, who in turn have gone on to meaningful and rewarding careers. Located on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis, Dunwoody is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


ASA Minnesota scholarship for Dunwoody student

The American Subcontractors Association of Minnesota held its 11th Annual General Contractor of the Year, Scholarship and Membership Excellence Award Dinner at the Mendakota Country Club on Jan. 27, 2011. Brooks Schuettpelz, a Dunwoody Electrical Construction Design and Management student, was one of the lucky Scholarship Recipients at this year’s dinner.

ASA-MN scholarship winner Brooks Schuettpelz