Digital design program based on the growth mindset philosophy

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“Discover you. Find your passion, your life purpose and take action. – Anonymous

To achieve our vision and elevate the lives of students, we must create an environment in which they can explore their interests and passions in a safe and vibrant community.

At the Delaware Area Career Center, we empower our staff to use their talents to develop engaging, innovative, and relevant learning for students.

Our team is responsive as they strive to develop programs that move at the speed of business and industry and are meaningful and engaging for students.

DACC’s digital design program is a prime example of responsiveness in action. In 2006, when BlackBerry was king and Facebook was a novelty, DACC hired Josh Gallagan as the new instructor for its brand new interactive media program. DACC allowed Josh to bring his philosophy that the role of a teacher is to help students identify their passions, determine their purpose, and create a vibrant learning community in which deep levels of engagement could occur.

Now, in 2022, the Metaverse is starting to take hold and enrollment in the program has grown so much that we have three instructors – Gallagan, Wil Rowland and Jeff Fuller – delivering content to students. We are proud of this extension. We are also proud that our digital design students regularly demonstrate their leadership and mastery of skills by entering and winning state and national competitions, winning national student production awards, and participating in the Youth Art Exhibition of the Governor of Ohio.

DACC Notebook:Beyond academics lies the importance of learning self-awareness

One could attribute this drastic growth in enrollment to technology as well as student needs and interests. While this explains some of the program’s growth, Rowland attributes much of the growth to working closely with students to identify their interests. He explains that once student interests are identified, the teaching team helps students develop strong foundational skills and knowledge through a process-oriented philosophy that focuses on a growth mindset.

One way this philosophy feeds into the program is in the way Fuller, Gallagan and Rowland train and enable their students to have a design approach unlike any other designer. They have a proven process they call the “Four Ds” – Discover, Define, Design and Deliver. This thought process not only prepares students for success in their respective design careers, but is also transferable to other areas of student life.

Once students have acquired foundational skills in the curriculum, the digital design instructional team works with students to create an individualized curriculum that encompasses state standards, student interest, and marketable skills. This work is done so that each student entering the program has a unique, rich and meaningful learning experience.

Another aspect that contributes to the growth of our programs is the sense of community we build within DACC programs. Students who enter one of our programs have a head start in building a community around their shared interest in career goals. Fuller says it’s common to hear students say, “I found my people,” as they work together, learn, and grow as a team.

Having such strong student engagement, which translates to increased enrollment, is not unique to DACC’s digital design program. During this academic year, DACC is working with more than 1,200 students in 29 programs to identify their passions, achieve their goals, and find their people.

Jay Poroda is the superintendent of the Delaware Area Career Center.

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