DCCC’s SARC Is Committed to Student Success

Lance Ziesch
DCCC Media Specialist
DCCC Academic Coach, Kathleen Keller (above, right), works with DCCC freshman Austin Mee, on Feb. 22, at the Student Achievement and Resources Center, which is located on the second floor of the Science & Math building.

When students walk through the doors of the Dodge City Community College Student Achievement and Resources Center (SARC), they can expect a calm, relaxed environment for tutoring, advising, studying and study hall.

“The mission of the SARC is to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for DCCC students and to empower them to achieve their full potential with mentoring, student workshops and free academic tutoring,” said DCCC SARC director Jorge Estrella. “In addition to tutoring, advising, and a quiet room, we also offer academic coaching and face-to-face and online Student Success Workshops.”

Lucas Richards, DCCC Academic Coach/Learning Specialist, said that in addition to an open study hall for athletes who are required to take it, the SARC also now offers a mandatory study hall for DCCC sports teams that want to have a daily or weekly study hall time.

“Currently the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams have their student-athletes come in Monday through Thursday for one hour a day of mandatory study hall,” he said. “And men’s soccer comes in for an hour every week in the same environment.”

For mandatory study hall, all student-athletes must either do classwork or meet with a tutor—and they have to turn in their cell phones when they arrive. And surprisingly enough, several students have told Richards that they actually like the phone rule.

“It makes them realize how much time they do spend on their phones,” he said. “They end up saying that one hour a day is a time they look forward to because they get so much work done in that hour, because they don’t have any distractions.”

Also during study hall, Richards said SARC staff do routine grade checks to make sure the student-athletes are staying on top of their school work and getting the proper resources they need.

In addition to the mandatory study hall for student-athletes, Richards said the SARC also provides study groups Monday through Thursday for all DCCC students.

“All are welcome to come and get help on homework or to study for finals from 4 to 5 p.m. without having to book tutors,” he said.

In his interactions with students, Richards said he enjoys getting to know who his students really are as people, especially those who come in on a frequent basis.

“You build a strong relationship with the regulars, and they feel comfortable to come and talk to you when something might be bothering them or not going right,” he said. “In addition, you also get to be there for them seeing their successes and, sometimes, even their not-so-good times, which allows you to help them through those moments.”

DCCC academic coach Kathleen Keller, said that in addition to study hall, there are many other reasons students visit the SARC, including help with assignments, help with reading and comprehension of texts and class reading materials, time management issues and study skills.

“Any circumstance that makes students feel lost can trigger a SARC visit,” she said. “But students who come seeking a better way from the outset know we can save them time and frustration by heading off potential problems.”

Keller said her “first job” is to help build the student’s confidence and to let him or her know that it’s possible to succeed at DCCC.

“It may start out with a simple concept of getting a better grade on an assignment, but I find that students tend to progress and seek higher and higher goals,” she said. “They want not only to get a better grade, but have a mastery of the subject matter. And, always, the higher their confidence levels become, the higher they reach.”

Although she is still fairly new to the SARC, Keller said that not all DCCC students, or even faculty for that matter, really understand how the SARC can make their lives easier.

“We can give them strategies beyond the needs of a specific assignment or class,” she said. We can give them skills for four-year college applications and résumé writing. Simply put, there is not one student at DCCC who could not benefit from the SARC.”

The SARC is located on the second floor of the Science & Math building. Originally known as the Academic Success Center, it became the SARC in July 2018.