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Background Image students sitting outside of a college building 1950s

Dodge City: Colleges Strengthening Communities  

What do you think of when you think of community college?

In Dodge City Community College’s online exhibit, “85 Years of Change, Challenges, and Community,” we get a chance to consider the impact one community college has had on the residents of Dodge City since its founding in 1935. As part of the  Humanities Kansas initiative, Crossroads: Change in Rural America, “85 Years of Change, Challenges, and Community” focuses on the important role that Dodge City Community College, or DC3, has had in helping citizens of southwest Kansas adapt to changing industries, economies, and environments over the years and asks us to acknowledge the deeper value of the community college as a community-building institution.

View the Online Exhibit

pep rally

Pep Rally at Dodge City Community College, 1960s

Questions for Discussion

Take a few minutes to explore the “85 Years of Change, Challenges, and Community” exhibit, and then answer the following questions:

  1. If you were graduating from high school today, would you choose to go to a 2-year community college or a 4-year college or university?  Why?  
  2. What do you see as the benefits of community colleges as compared to 4-year institutions of higher education?  What do you see as the benefits of 4-year colleges and universities as compared to community colleges?
  3. Community colleges provide many services in addition to education for undergraduates. They often provide continuing education for adults, job training and professional certificate programs, student clubs and community volunteer opportunities, and more. If you were going to create a community college for your county, city, or even your neighborhood, what would it look like?  What classes would it offer?  What services?  Why?

 

Go Further

Now that you’ve explored “85 Years of Change, Challenges, and Community,” consider the following activities as ways to enhance your learning:

  1. Explore the American Association of Community Colleges’ Fast Facts about community colleges. Does anything surprise you?  Why?
  2. Read Higher Education Today’s blog post, “Erasing the Community College Stigma.” How do you think we should combat this stigma?
  3. Head out to Dodge City to safely visit the DC3 campus and tour the nearby Boot Hill Museum. What do these educational and cultural venues tell us about what’s important to Dodge City?  

    Boot Hill Dodge City road sign

    Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

  4. Dig deeper. Author Robert Rebein grew up in Dodge City, attended Dodge City Community College, and is now an English professor and published author, perhaps most famous for his 2013 memoir, Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City. Delve into his moving depiction of a Kansas childhood and ask yourself, how does Rebein’s memory of Dodge City’s main drag compare with that of your hometown in the 1970s?

Don’t forget to share what you’ve learned by telling us about it on Facebook or Instagram.  You can tag us with your thoughts at @humanitieskansas, using the hashtags, #movementofideas and #crossroadsks. We can’t wait to hear what you’ve taken away from these Kansas crossroads!  

Banner image: Dodge City Community College, 1950s. Image property of Dodge City Community College.

 

 

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