DACCE Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Posted: April 2, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

In 1988, George Mason began offering the Doctor of Arts in Community College Education (DACCE)–a doctoral program focused on teaching and learning in the community college setting. Established as part of the Graduate School of Education, DACCE had its first graduation in 1990. In 2001, the program moved to the College of Arts and Sciences. One hundred students have graduated to date.

The program celebrated its 15th anniversary on March 19, with leading professionals and administrators, former directors and instructors, current students, graduates, and future leaders in attendance.

Honored guests included President Alan Merten; former President George Johnson; Executive Vice President Randall Edwards; Provost Peter Stearns; George Vaughan, the first director of the program, and many former DACCE friends, faculty, and graduates. “We are a wonderful, broad, talented group,” said Director Gail Kettlewell in her introduction. “I’m very proud to be a part of this program.”

The 15th annual celebration was held in conjunction with the Annual Spring Function sponsored by the Association of Community College Educators, an association whose mission is to support the DACCE program, and whose membership is the DACCE student population and alumni. The annual gathering is an opportunity for exploring current issues and trends in the community college profession by bringing in well-known activists for community college education.

George Boggs, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, congratulated the DACCE program for its continuing success and spoke about the challenges and opportunities facing community college education across the nation. “In a world without community colleges, millions of students would be denied a quality education every year,” he said. “We provide an affordable, accessible, high-quality education to an extremely diverse population of students.”

Boggs outlined some of the challenges facing the institutions, including providing adequate support and services for the growing minority population and ensuring financial need-based aid for qualified students. He also stressed the need to constantly expand opportunities and adjust to new technology, including distance learning and web-based learning.

“We must focus on student learning rather than instruction. The institution must accept responsibility for student learning, not just provide access to it. Every student deserves an education and a second chance,” Boggs said.

Bruce Wahl, a recent graduate of the program and teacher at Northern Virginia Community College, said, “The program has made me a better teacher for my students, and that’s why I chose it.”

Henry Coffman, a current student in DACCE, agreed. “I can’t say it is a good program, I can only say that it’s a great program. I use what I learn here not only in my teaching, but also in my daily life.”

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