DACC Foundation receives gift to fund mobile app

Foundation Executive Director, Tonya Hill (right) gratefully receives the gift of $20,000 from Sue and Dr. Robert Ewbank (left, center) in support of a new mobile app for students.

Dr. Robert Ewbank and his wife Sue are no strangers to the Danville Area Community College Foundation. They have been donors for more than 25 years, establishing their own scholarship 15 years ago. Student support is vital to the couple.

Recently, their support of DACC students took a new turn when they heard about the mobile app that the College plans to purchase to help students navigate online resources.

The Ewbanks donated $20,000 to cover the first year and related expenses to put the mobile app in place, recognizing its value to student success and completion.

DACC Foundation Executive Director Tonya Hill said, “Dr. and Mrs. Ewbank have gone beyond scholarship support to touch all students with this student-success tool. They hope to inspire others to make gifts to support this project because of its significant impact on students.”

Approved by the DACC Board of Trustees at their April meeting, the mobile app by Unifyed will cost $18,664.91 for the first year. Subsequent years are slightly less, but still a substantial investment for the College.

The cost is worth it. “The app will become their (the students’) one-stop source for everything they would otherwise have to hunt around for on the Web site or through the self-service system or email or even in a hard-copy document,” says Stacy Ehmen, DACC’s Dean of Student Services. 

“The students who have reviewed this app with us say that having all of these services available by logging into this one app will make it really popular.”

The new mobile app will help DACC faculty and staff communicate with students where they are most comfortable and accessible—on their phones.  The app will provide every student with a cell phone access to all of DACC’s services, including tutoring, homework, financial aid, grades, and online classes.

The plan is to have the app in place for a soft roll-out by the fall.

 “A significant number of DACC students can’t afford laptops or computers. And access to Wi-Fi can get spotty in certain dead zones throughout Vermilion County,” reported Dr. Stephen Nacco, DACC President. “But almost all of our students have a cellphone in their hand. It’s the one piece of technology that crosses all technology barriers and socioeconomic lines.”

A team of DACC faculty and staff, led by Dean Ehmen and Asst. Dean of Student Services/Chief Diversity Officer Carla Boyd, reviewed several mobile apps and developers before settling on the Unifyed product.

The team was comprised of Proffesor Kathy Hunter, Network Director Mark Barnes, Online Learning Director Maggie Hoover, Web Technician Jung Ae Merrick, Programmer/Database Administrator Brian Pollitt, and Systems Administrator/Programmer Jessica Miles.