DMACC Perry hires new heavy-hitters for spring classes

Automotive technology is one of the many courses of study at the DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy, with career exploratory courses also offered in criminal justice, health occupations (CNA), welding -- even teaching. Photo courtesy DMACC

Student loan debt is now the second-highest consumer debt category — behind only mortgage debt and even higher than credit cards or auto loans.

In order to help alleviate this burden, the state of Iowa enacted Senior Year Plus legislation to help provide access to advanced, college-level coursework to high school students.

Local high schools provide some DMACC courses within their buildings at no cost to the high school students, and in addition the DMACC VanKirk Career Academy in Perry delivers a wide variety of courses for students from the Adel-De Soto-Minburn, Dallas Center-Grimes, Panorama, Perry and Woodward-Granger community school districts.

Students have the ability to take career exploratory courses in criminal justice, health occupations (CNA) and welding — even in teaching.

“Not only that,” said Eddie Diaz, director of the DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy, “but we offer some of the general education courses of a liberal arts degree, like composition, psychology and biology, which can help students take an early step in their college career and reduce the amount of money they owe to pay for it.”

Sometimes you can find what you’re looking for right in your own back yard. That is the case for adults looking to a get a top-notch college education at an affordable price. For adults of any age in Perry and surrounding communities, DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy delivers just the highest value for your dollar.

This spring, the DMACC Perry instructor team welcomes three new heavy hitters who not only put college success within reach but do so with the excellence and rigor found in the nation’s best higher-education institutions.

These A-listers come from diverse backgrounds with deep roots in their areas of specialty. They join an already stellar faculty team committed to helping students lay a strong academic foundation and position them transfer with ease to a four-year college or to enter the workforce.

Joining DMACC Perry’s faculty this spring are:

  • Dr. Bethany Sweeney, who will teach history. She has a B.A. from Cornell University, M.A. in U.S. history from  University of California Irvine and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of California Santa Cruz. Her research interests include religion and culture in the U.S., contemporary reading practices and rhetoric and psychoanalysis. She is currently working on turning her dissertation on the Quiverfull Movement in the U.S. into a book.
  • Ruffin Tchakounte will teach biology. He holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Iowa and an M.S. in anatomy from Des Moines University. He is currently a medical student at Des Moines University. A former Hawkeye wrestler, he strives to help motivate students who are interested in the medical field.
  • Damon Adair will teach English. He has B.A. from Central College, Pella, and an M.A. from Drake University. He has three decades of experience teaching AP U.S. history, American literature and composition at Perry High School. A fan of boxing, he derives energy from challenging his students.

At the VanKirk academy, with small class sizes and committed faculty, students get personal attention and ample challenge, leaving here well-prepared for their next career or education move.

“I am amazed at the level of expertise and experience that our instructors bring to the table,” said Diaz, who is in his first year at the director. “We have former police chiefs, a former hospital CEO and instructors with PhDs in mathematics.”

Adult students looking to take evening courses can take classes for as low as $99 per credit, dramatically more affordable than the $400+ that it would cost at most 4-year colleges.

Credits earned at DMACC Perry or any other DMACC campus or learning center are fully-transferable to a four-year college or university, last year 925 colleges accepted DMACC credits. DMACC offers daytime classes for high school students and evening classes for adults.

Enrollment is happening now. Spring terms starts Monday, Jan. 7. To enroll, visit the DMACC Perry VanKirk career Academy website.


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