Mark Brown / University of St. Thomas

In the News: Dean Buffy Smith on the Dougherty Family College Block Party

Dean Buffy Smith of Dougherty Family College (DFC) appeared on “The Sheletta Show” to discuss DFC and its curriculum, as well as its statistics on BIPOC and first-generation college students and how they thrive in college. She also promoted the opportunities DFC has to offer, including its upcoming block party on Thursday, May 11, from 11 a.m.-1:00 p.m.  

“Our curriculum is culturally responsive, that means we see our scholars not only as consumers of knowledge but producers of knowledge,” Smith said. “So, we are in partnership with them, and we make sure our curriculum represents our diverse scholars.

“Over 95% of our scholars come from BIPOC communities. Over 80% identify as being the first person in their family to go to college, and over 80% will identify as being Pell Grant eligible. So, we make sure we create a family learning experience for them so they can thrive. That is really important when working with young people – to not just tell them they can go to college but to actually remove the financial, academic and social barriers so they can actually thrive in college,” said Smith.

Interim Dean of the Dougherty Family College Buffy Smith
Dean of the Dougherty Family College Buffy Smith

“…We have the highest two-year graduation rate in the nation; we have 77% of our graduates currently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program or have already earned their bachelor’s degree. Last year, 92% of our scholars graduated with zero student loan debt,” Smith said.

Dougherty Family College provides small class sizes, free textbooks, laptops, meal plans, and a bus pass to its scholars throughout their time at DFC. The college also gives students in their second year an opportunity to work for major companies like Target and U.S. Bank with a paid internship. Sometimes these internships lead to jobs for some scholars.

“We are having the block party to have more members of our community to see and hear from our faculty, staff, our current scholars, our graduates and hear about the experience at Dougherty Family College and hear about the opportunities they have after they graduate from Dougherty Family College. A majority of our scholars do continue on at (the University of) St. Thomas, but they also go on to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Augsburg, Concordia St. Paul, Metro State. They can go anywhere with their degree. … We are making a difference in the lives of our scholars, families, and the communities they represent,” Smith said.

Students will be able to play games, get admission tours, meet faculty, and staff and receive the DFC experience on campus during their time at the block party. This party is open to the community to come and learn about DFC and what it has to offer.