US Top 20 Online Associate Law Enforcement programs: That’s right, Ridgewater College!

Ridgewater's online program is convenient

Ridgewater’s online program is convenient.

Ridgewater College was not only the first Minnesota college to put its Law Enforcement program totally online among members of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, but now, eight years later, it’s also the only Minnesota program recognized as one of the nation’s top 20 online criminal justice associate degree programs available.

The 2016 honor comes from www.onlinecolleges.net.

“Ridgewater College and I understand the necessity for flexibility in today’s fast-paced world,” explained David Clark, Law Enforcement instructor and program coordinator. “At the same time, we want to make sure our students are leaving college with the necessary skill sets to be successful in any criminal justice career…. The online program offers our students the flexibility to learn on their own time from their own virtual classroom while still adhering to course deadlines and providing the skill sets needed to succeed.” It’s ideal for the self-motivated student.

Law enforcement professionals are in the news almost daily as they serve and protect America’s communities. Attaining the highest standard of skills, processes, ethics, communication, and understanding of people has become increasingly critical in a world of global security threats, terrorists and social challenges that are hitting closer and closer to home.

“Law enforcement is a serious career that demands the dedication of students,” Clark stated. “We offer an opportunity for flexibility in the online program, and at the same time, we teach these young adults what they need to know and set these future law enforcement professionals up to win in their careers.”

Mike Kutzke, Ridgewater dean of technical programs, was the Law Enforcement instructor when the program went online. “We started offering it online to broaden the demographic range of students who could enroll, specifically making it more available to people working full time.”

True for William Hansen Begg of Waconia. “It’s been very easy to maneuver the online format. It’s great to be able to still work full time and also go to school full time.”

Second-year student Brianna Korson concurred. “Having the online option makes it really convenient to do full-time school and be a full-time mom.” She has taken classes both on campus and online is looking forward to taking her skills training and test this spring.

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We are Ridgewater College and Why We’re Proud of It!

Ridgewater stories

Ridgewater College highlights students and programs

Personal experiences speak volumes, whether you are sharing vacation memories or product challenges.

If you’re selecting a college, you may not know current Ridgewater students to hear their stories, but several Warriors and alumni are happy to toot the Ridgewater horn. Testimonials are a great way to discover that Ridgewater College is a great fit for you!

“I chose Ridgewater College because it’s an affordable option compared to other schools, plus
it’s a great stepping stone from a high school to a big university.”
~ Carlos Lopez, Jr, Litchfield, Liberals Arts & Sciences – Pre-Psychology and Computer Science

“My decision to further my education at Ridgewater College was based mainly on word of
mouth from two of my cousins and a friend who had completed the NDT program. I chose to
pursue a career in Nondestructive Testing for a few reasons. One of the main reasons is job
security…. Another reason is financial security. It is very important for me to be independent
and able to support myself.”
~ Melanie Landis, Blackduck, Nondestructive Testing

“I chose Ridgewater because I have heard nothing but good about how great the professors are with their students. My confidence has just shot through the roof! They make me feel smarter than I did in high school, and they make me want to push myself further. They have helped me grow as a student and a person.”
~ Tyler Bailey, Stewart, Liberal Arts/Pre-Psychology

“Continuing my education at Ridgewater has been a wonderful experience. It has far surpassed
my expectations…. My experience at Ridgewater is one that has made a major impact on my life. It has shown me in more ways than one that I am going down the correct path career-wise. It has reaffirmed my knowledge about my passion for children and my love of watching them learn.”
~ Kelsa Fenske, Hutchinson, Early Childhood Education

Read more about students and programs in one of our spring publications. Highlighted programs include:

  • Paramedics
  • Electronics
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • New Grants for Technical Training
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Healthcare Administrative Assistant
  • Nondestructive Testing
  • Practical Nursing
  • Basketball

Click here to see more!

Ridgewater Veterinary Technology Professor in US Top 40

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Cuddle rabbits, revitalize pooches, care for creatures, and learn in one of the top state-of-the-art facilities around!

If you’re looking for a quality Veterinary Technology program with quality instructors, look no farther than Ridgewater College.

Ridgewater’s Dr. Allen Balay has been recognized as one of the top 40 veterinary technology instructors in the country, according to www.VetTechColleges.com .

Job growth in the vet tech field is expected to grow by about 19 percent by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In light of the growing need, VetTechColleges.com staff compiled a list of the 40 top vet tech professors nationwide, based on their current teaching assignment, service outside the school, professional affiliation, and publication.

VetTech.com highlighted Balay’s experience, his authoring of online vet tech study tips available to public, and his commitment to the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Foundation.

Career highlights:
• Began teaching veterinary technicians in 1980
• Taught 21 of his 35 years at Ridgewater as faculty and program director
• Balanced practice with teaching for years
• Maintains limited non-teaching time to horse care

“I love my job because of the opportunity to work with young people. I’ve spent most of my life helping young people learn about careers in veterinary medicine either as the veterinarian or the veterinary technician.”

Giving back to his community is what Dr. Balay loves to do.

Learn more about the Ridgewater Veterinary Technology program: www.ridgewater.edu/vettech.
Learn more about the recognition: www.vettechcolleges.com/blog/40-top-veterinary-technology-profs.
See the hundreds of congrats from students: www.facebook.com/ridgewatercollege

Ridgewater Abroad in Costa Rica: A Chance to Study Outside the Box

Students enjoying a coffee break at the Bird Zoo.

Students enjoying a coffee break at the Bird Zoo

View from Jon Wood's Costa Rica backyardBackyard view for a few more weeks.

 

By Jon Wood, Ridgewater Psychology Instructor, Spring Semester Study Abroad through Education for Global Learning

Stepping off the plane in Alajuela, Costa Rica, I was immediately struck by the sense of anticipation by everyone. Those with whom I traveled were bound for many areas of the country since Alajuela is located in the central highlands. Commuter planes, busses, shuttles, and taxis are preferred transportation to reach the capitol city of San Jose, coffee plantations, and more exotic destinations such as the Arenal Volcano and the Hot Springs, Monteverde with its hanging bridges, Manuel Antonio and its infamous monkey thieves, Guanacaste with beaches and plush hotels, and Guayabo National Monument, the largest archeological site in the country, containing 3,000-year-old aqueducts that still carry water.

Bordered on the north by Nicaragua, the south by Panama, the west by the Pacific Ocean and the east by the Caribbean Sea, this country is home to incredible biodiversity and has the largest percentage of protected land in the world. With the entire country being roughly the size of West Virginia, it is possible to explore much of it in a short amount of time.  From the cloud forests to the rain forests, to the central highlands, to the beaches on either coast, there just seems to be so much to do with not enough time to do it.

Instructor Jon Wood visiting a senior citizen at a senior center in Carrillos Alto.

Instructor Jon Wood visiting a senior citizen at a senior center in Carrillos Alto.

Being a student of behavior, I am most interested in the people, their customs and traditions. From the first cab driver at the airport to every person I have met since, I feel welcomed and at ease. This feeling exists in a country where I know very little Spanish and many know very little English. I had directions to the apartment where I was to stay initially, from one of the Institute’s administrators, Sonia Rojas. She explains that in Cost Rica, one does not find their way in a city of a half a million people by looking for street names and numbers, but rather directions are given in terms of landmarks. Quite literally, if directions include a right turn three hundred meters after the purple bush, and someone decides to cut that purple bush down, the directions would merely be adjusted to include a right turn three hundred meters from where the purple bush used to be. Distance is most often measured in time rather than miles. With many of the roads narrow and containing hairpin turns, it often takes a very long time to go a few miles.

I utilized the economical bus system to traverse the city and beyond – it allows me to interact with the locals. Traveling to the Institute requires me to change busses at a certain point to get to Carrillos, the small town outside of which the Institute is located. Getting there was no problem as I was pretty familiar with the landmarks where I needed to change busses. After living in the area for 10 days and making short trips on the busses, watching the landscape during cab rides, and walking the streets, I thought I had it under control. Coming back that evening in the dark, however, was confusing.

I thought I knew the intersection where I needed to transfer, but coming from the other direction, the stop came quicker than I thought. By the time I realized I missed it and confirmed it with those around me in my “baby-talk” Spanish, it was too far past for me to walk back. I decided to continue on to the central bus station and go back the way I came. I confirmed with my fellow riders which busses to look for, where to find them (each destination has its own bus station) and how and where I need to transfer to get to La Garita, my neighborhood.  As I exited the bus, the young woman sitting next to me, probably about fifteen or sixteen years old, stopped me and explained to me that if I went to a different station than the one I was planning, I could get on one bus that would take me home without having to transfer.  She tried to explain where the station was, but with my limited vocabulary, she realized it wasn’t sinking in. She took my hand and walked me to the correct station about three blocks out of her way to make sure I got on the right bus. I gave her a big hug and thanked her many times. I find that sense of community refreshing and hopeful.

The class I teach in Costa Rica is Psychology of Adjustment. I ask students to try to discover where their belief systems and values developed. Then I ask them to decide whether they are happy there, or if they might consider a change. Spending time here, I have had the opportunity to visit Alajuela, Carrillos, Grecia, La Garita, Atenas, Poas, San Jose, San Ramon, and, Tarrucares. I find that each community has what I can only describe as a feeling about them. Residents from each community interact differently with visitors. They have a pace that differs from one place to the next. They serve variations on similar dishes, and seem to have varying priorities. I began to wonder how customs and traditions of each community developed and what sort of beliefs and values they have incorporated into their familial cultures. Can you say, “Alternate assignment?”  So, the students will not only looking at their values, but working to understand the values of their homes away from home.

Pyschology classroom in Costa Rica

This classroom doesn’t look like anything at Ridgewater!

Costa Rica home sweet home

Costa Rica home sweet home

PSEO Questions? Get Answers Feb. 8 at Ridgewater College

Students anAsk Admissions about PSEOd parents can have sooooo many questions about Post-Secondary Enrollment Options.


What is it? How does it work? Can I handle it? Will I miss fun times at my high school? Will I fit in? Can I still be in high school band? Can I do PSEO just part time? Will college class times conflict with my high school class times? What if I don’t know any other students? Can I take technical courses or just general education?

See? LOTS of questions. You’re not alone.

Rather than let your head keep spinning with all your questions, let Ridgewater College staff and students treat you to some answers. Visit with admissions staff who have seen all kinds of students succeed and sometimes struggle in PSEO. Discover from current PSEO students what helps them succeed and hear their stories.


If you or someone you know is thinking about a possible PSEO experience, let us help you answer the most important question of all: Is PSEO right for you?

Hutchinson and Willmar Campuses: Monday, February 8, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Go to www.ridgewater.edu/pseo to learn more or to register for the campus you are interested in visiting.

Pickles’ Place at Ridgewater is hopping with fun student videos for young children

 

Reaching out to children in fun, educatPickles Place 12 Haleyional ways is a common goal for students in Ridgewater College’s Early Childhood Education program. How awesome that they get to put it into practice in so many hands-on ways!

Last week students hosted preschoolers for a fun day of singing songs, doing Pickles-flyer-for-TV-timesactivities, playing with puppets such as Pickles, and sharing treats.

If only they could have that much fun every day!

In fact, many of them do at their daycare centers or at home with Mom or Dad, but they can also tune in to see kid-lovin’ Ridgewater students in 24 new videos called “Pickles’ Place”. Pickles has been popular at Ridgewater since 2010 and shown on Hutchinson Community Video Network (HCVN), but it was time for new students, new stories, and new activities. And now they’re available on Ridgewater’s own website!

Videos feature readings and activities of such children’s stories as:
– “Froggy Bakes a Cake”
– “Go Away, Big Green Monster!”
– “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”
– “Snow Dance”
– “Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs”

Check them out to see what fun you could have as an Early Childhood Ed student or what fun your own children can have as they see Ridgewater students and Pickles have fun!

“People of all ages love to tell and listen to stories,” explained Ridgewater faculty Cindy Salfer. “Students in the Early Childhood Education program love to share what they know about engaging children in stories and relating them to activities to make the stories memorable. It has been so fun to watch our students grow and to hear the positive feedback from community Pickles lovers.”

www.ridgewater.edu/picklesplace or HCVN Channel 10

$15,000 donated for 2016-17 Ridgewater Machine Tool students

2U5A1677csIf you’ve ever considered training for a career that’s in high demand but you weren’t sure if you could afford it, now’s a great time to explore Ridgewater College’s Machine Tool Technology. The program is the proud recipient of a $15,000 grant that will directly benefit program students through scholarships for the 2016-17 school year.

Now that’s an industry investing in its future!

“With today’s high demand for skilled CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinists, it is always wonderful to have dollars awarded to us that we can use to recruit and retain new talent,” said Tammy Jablonski, one of Ridgewater’s Machine Tool Technology instructors.

“The scholarship donation comes from the Gene Haas Foundation in support of technical education scholarships in machining,” explained Ridgewater Machine Tool alumni Al Wessels from Productivity, Inc.  Gene Haas also owns Haas Automation, a California-based builder of CNC machine tools worldwide which is represented locally by Productivity Inc., through its Haas Factory Outlet. “Mr. Haas is dedicated to helping students across the United States get an excellent education and practical training and avoid student debt.”

“Thanks first to the Gene Haas Foundation and second to faculty member Tammy Jablonski for pursuing the grant in an effort to better serve students,” said Ridgewater College President Dr. Douglas Allen. “This is another support for students interested in pursuing careers in manufacturing.”

Top 5 Benefits to Pursuing a Career in Machine Tool

  1. Numerous job openings for traditional and nontraditional workers
  2. Excellent pay
  3. Great benefits
  4. Fast-paced environment
  5. Mentally challenging and satisfying work

To learn more about Machine Tool Technology, click here.

College Visits 101: Plan Ahead

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Deciding what college to attend can be the most important decision a person will make that can affect an entire life. It can determine potential majors, professional connections, BFFs, and perspectives on education, careers and life.

It’s not just about whether you’ll be a Warrior, Dragon, Gopher or other spirited fan –     this is a BIG, exciting decision about cool, life-changing experiences ahead!

Web sites make it easy for prospective students to research colleges, but many will agree: setting foot on a campus is the best way to determine a good fit.

So what makes a college visit SUCCESSFUL? “Plan ahead,” says Jill Traut, Ridgewater College admissions representative. “Start thinking about college before you are a senior.”
– Research possibilities.
– Visit with college representatives who visit your high school.
– Visit with your school counselor.
– Narrow the list of colleges you will visit.

Or if you are an adult, think about college months in advance of reinvesting in yourself. Many colleges have special event days for group visits. Knowing dates early for your top college choices helps families schedule visits around school or work days off and activities. Like this Wednesday, March 25, the Hutchinson campus will host a Discover Ridgewater visit day. Then on Thursday, March 26, the Willmar campus will do that same.
– Meet faculty and students
– See program areas
– Learn about financial aid and the admissions process
– Experience student life with lunch and a comedian

A great experience can create pitter-pats of excitement for a more directed future!

Want a more informal experience? Call the college admissions office about two weeks prior to your anticipated visit day. Share your visit goals and interests. Then staff can make arrangements with faculty, coaches or activity advisors.

Tips for Students
+ Visit more than one college. It’s about perspective.
+ Avoid scheduling two visits in the same day. Can you say information overload?
+ Decide who will join you. Parents? Great. Friends? Possibly distracting.
+ If you bring friends truly interested in the college, consider scheduling separate tours if your majors differ.
+ Ask lots of questions – tuition, housing, activities, part-time jobs and placement.
+ Explore the community –  your potential new “home”. Continue reading

Online Courses Prepare This Student for the Next Stage of Her Journey

Nicole Melchert-Breitkreutz isn’t very different than many Ridgewater students.  She is a non-traditional student, returning to college later in life to complete her college studies.  She is taking liberal arts courses en route to an AA degree and a planned transfer to SMSU to complete her bachelor’s degree – just like hundreds of other Ridgewater students.

What might make Nicole a little different is that she is working to complete her degree almost entirely online.  I know, many students take online classes, and it’s not uncommon that students would complete an entire degree online.  Nicole’s story, however, is a great example of how online courses at Ridgewater can provide the flexibility necessary to make pursuit of a college degree possible.

You see, Nicole is taking a full-time course load, working full-time, and raising a family.  So is her husband. Busy family, huh? Listen in as Nicole discusses with Ben Taylor from Q102 how e-learning at Ridgewater is creating opportunities for her and her family, and start thinking about how it might be right for you or someone you know!

Nicole’s Story – Online Courses at Ridgewater

Auto Body Collision Repair Students Use New Equipment Thanks to I-CAR Grant

Thanks to a grant from the Minnesota chapter of I-CAR, Ridgewater Auto Body students will be learning weld metal on car bodies with brand new equipment.  Ridgewater received notification of the grant award in the amount of $8,100 this summer and used the funds to help purchase 16 new welders to be used by both first- and second-year students.

The Minnesota I-CAR Volunteer Committee made grant funds available to assist select post-secondary collision repair programs, in obtaining necessary tools and equipment that will enhance the learning experience for students. Qualifying schools must continually demonstrate a high level of commitment to the collision industry and exemplify the standards supported by I-CAR.

Each year, the Ridgewater College Auto Body Collision Repair program trains approximately 70 students for careers in auto body repair in its degree, diploma, and certificate programs.  Students are trained by experienced instructors and utilize the latest technology and repair methods and tools. The program has a strong history of placing its graduates in related fields, with a placement rate averaging over 95%.

I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to training the collision inter-industry. Formed by the collision repair industry in 1979, all I-CAR activities, programs, services, and resources focus on supporting the auto collision repair industry to achieve a high level of technical knowledge through access to training.