Dalton City Council receives updates from DSC, GNTC

Mar. 18—This past fall, Dalton State College had "just under 5,000 students" enrolled, according to college President John Fuchko III.

"That was an 8.2% increase over the previous fall, which made us the second fastest-growing school in the University System of Georgia," he said. "We are really proud of that. The numbers aren't official yet, but for spring we are looking for a 10% increase in enrollment."

Fuchko and Georgia Northwestern Technical College President Heidi Popham as well as students from both colleges spoke at a recent meeting of the Dalton City Council.

"Ninety-one percent of our students are from Northwest Georgia and right at half of that are from right here in Whitfield County," said Fuchko. "But we have 27 states and 35 other countries that we have students from. Over 50% of our students are first generation college students. We are really proud of that."

He said he was also proud that the Wall Street Journal named Dalton State the No. 1 college in the nation for student experience. He noted that ranking was for all colleges, public and private, large and small.

"This city and this community have played a big role in building this college, starting when we were chartered in 1963 to when we opened our doors in 1967 to today," he said.

Mackenzie Manley, president of the Student Government Association, spoke of some of the improvements to the campus and to college services that are underway.

"We piloted food trucks last fall, and we now have four different types of food trucks serving a wide variety of food," he said.

Fernanda Hurtado, head orientation leader, spoke about that program.

"We are the first faces students see when they come to visit Dalton State," she said.

She said if students are accepted the orientation leaders help them in their first days on campus with things such as finding out where their classes will meet and where their professors' offices are.

Popham said Georgia Northwestern Technical College has "roughly 6,300 students" attending classes on its six campuses. She said enrollment was up 9.8% last fall and is expected to be up 11.6% this spring.

"We have 1,000 students attending our Dalton campus," she said. "That includes 75 dual enrollment from local high schools."

She said the college offers programs in allied health and nursing, cyber and business, industrial technologies and public service.

"I want to highlight a couple of programs offered only at our Dalton campus," she said. "We moved our EMT program to Dalton from Ringgold and enrollment has grown from five to 25. That's a partnership with the Whitfield County Fire Department and the Northwest Georgia College & Career Academy. We couldn't do this without their assistance. It serves both traditional students and dual enrollment students."

She said the Dalton campus also offers a flooring installation certificate in a dual enrollment program with The Dalton Academy.

"That program is at capacity," she said.

Diesel technology is also offered only at the Dalton campus. It currently has 17 students.

One of those students, Sonia Avalos, said she entered the program as a dual enrollment student.

"It has been a lot of fun," she said.