Mar 20, 2008
Students discover that learning opportunities abound at Fox Valley Technical College—both in and out of the classroom.
Part of FVTC men’s basketball coach Glen Orsburn’s job is to make sure his players know what they’re doing on the court. But an equally important part is making sure they know what they’re doing off the court.
Orsburn is a firm believer in skill building. He is proactive in making sure the lessons learned at every level of the college experience translate into the workplace later on. “I believe the biggest thing in both cases is preparing to be successful,” he says. “In basketball practice you prepare for the games. And in class you prepare for a career.”
As an instructor in FVTC’s Information Technology department, Orsburn has many opportunities to teach life lessons to both his students and his players. And very often, he finds those lessons are remarkably similar.
Mike Chivington, a 19-year-old student from Oshkosh, learned that first-hand. A member of the basketball team, Chivington is studying Web Development & Design, and hopes to have his degree by 2009. “Some of the guys from the IT department were on the team, so that helped us work toward our goals—we already knew each other and were friendly,” Chivington says. “I am now a better communicator from being on a team and working toward a career in IT.”
Sometimes the lessons learned on the court can pay unexpected dividends. That’s what Aaron Gillum discovered last year when he was unexpectedly put in a position of authority on the team. “I was co-captain my first year,” recalls Gillum, a 19-year-old Green Bay native. “That was a little unusual. The fact that I was a co-captain and also the youngest person on the team meant I had to work harder to get people’s respect. That was a good lesson.”
Gillum quickly learned to lead by example. “I learned that actions speak louder than words, and you can’t force people to respect you,” he says. “When the other players saw how hard I was willing to work, I think that helped to establish me as a leader.”
While pursuing a General Studies transfer certificate with aspirations to become a teacher, Gillum is looking forward to applying the lessons he learned both in class and on the basketball court. “It’s not much different in real life than it is on the court—a lot more gets done when everyone pulls together,” he says.
FVTC offers plenty of opportunities for students to develop the skills they’ll need in the workplace, while having fun at the same time.
The College has 43 student organizations, all of which help students develop and refine their communication, organizational, and conflict-resolution skills.
Through volunteering in their local community with friends, or joining fellow classmates on service trips to destinations like Jamaica and Chicago, FVTC students develop hands-on leadership skills during these life-changing experiences.
In addition to competitive men’s basketball, participating in intramural athletics fosters team-building skills.
FVTC’s Student Government Association is fertile ground for cultivating a skill set called for in today’s workplace.