Denmark Technical College was founded in 1948 by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina with the mandate to educate African American citizens in the trades. It is a comprehensive two year college. The school was originally known as Denmark Branch of the South Carolina Trade School System, but achieved independence and changed to its current moniker in 1969.
DTC serves the citizens of Bamberg, Barnwell, and Allendale Counties in particular but is open to serve students throughout the state of South Carolina. The city of Denmark, roughly 50 miles south of Columbia and 85 miles northeast of Charleston, is home to approximately 5,000 residents. The campus is situated on 53 acres in town.
Associate degrees are available in administrative office technology, criminal justice technology, computer technology, early care and education, electromechanical engineering technology, electronics technology, general business, general technology, and human services. The programs with the heaviest enrollments are beauty and cosmetology, family and social work, liberal arts, and security and law enforcement.
Diplomas are awarded in administrative support, barbering, cosmetology, and practical nursing. The school also awards certificates in accounting, building construction fundamentals, computer servicing repair, criminal justice, culinary arts, early childhood development, general studies, gerontology, general studies, multimedia web graphics design, nurse aide assistant, plumbing, pre-medical, welding, and word processing.
Other academic programs include general associate degrees in the arts and sciences for students planning to transfer to four-year institutions. The most popular schools for transfer are South Carolina State University and Voorhees College.
Each program of study is supported by an advisory committee. These committees, comprised of local businesses, industry, health, and government representatives, evaluate the coursework of the programs and provide advice to ensure that academic programs closely reflect the contemporary needs and technologies of their fields. The career center offers career exploration, resume assistance, employer contacts, and experiential education in the form of internships, summer work, and cooperative programs. The Academic Support Center runs a tutorial computer lab for on-line tutoring services as well.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Although admissions are open, applicants are expected to take the SAT, ACT, or the Placement Test (COMPASS) as part of the admission process. Prospective students should submit high school transcripts or GED scores with the application. Incoming students are expected to have 4 years of English, 2 years of a foreign language, 4 years of mathematics, 2 years of science, and 2 years of social studies represented on their high school transcripts. A modest, non-refundable fee is due with each student application.
Student orientation sessions are held on the weekends during the summer to inform incoming students about what they should expect in college. Both new students and their parents are welcome to attend. The various divisions within the school make informative presentations and students receive campus tours, introductory counselling, and placement testing.
In addition to the standard forms of federal aid available to college and university students in the United States, students have access to state aid through several South Carolina programs. South Caroline LIFE scholarships provide completely free tuition to eligible students, while the Lottery Tuition Assistance Program provides significant help to South Carolina residents. Around 97% of students receive some form of financial aid. Tuition costs for out-of-state students are roughly double the costs for in-state students.
In order to qualify for a South Carolina need-based grant, a prospective student needs to be a legal resident of the state of South Carolina, be of good moral character with no felony convictions or criminal record, be admitted and enrolled at least half-time as an undergraduate student while seeking a degree, and make satisfactory academic progress as defined by their college. To receive a renewal of the grant, a student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 and complete a minimum of 24 credits per academic year.
The campus is home to several social and academic student clubs organized under the auspices of the Student Government Association (SGA). Options range from the Student Christian Association to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Fraternity to the Building Constructions Fundamentals Club. In addition to the opportunities on-campus, students are warmly welcomed to participate in clubs and organizations in the wider community, such as the Arts Council, the Apollo Music Club, the annual Black History Celebration, the Historic Society, and a rich assortment of Christmas-based festivities and contests that have sprung out of historic traditions in the area. Gospel choir and drama club are both particularly popular groups on campus.
Roughly 1,500 students attend at least part-time. Most of the student body is relatively young for a two year college; 79% of the students are under the age of 25 and only 8% are over the age of 40. Today, about 94% of the student body is African American, while the remaining 6% is European American. Additionally, about 60% of the student body is female while the remaining 40% is male. These demographic numbers are fairly similar to those in the surrounding area—the town of Denmark is about 86% African American and 13% European American. 98% of students come from the state of South Carolina.
DTC is the only technical college in South Carolina to offer on-campus housing. About a third of full-time students reside on campus and participate in the college meal plan. To apply for campus housing, complete an application with a modest, non-refundable application fee and a signed medical form with immunization records showing current vaccinations for tetanus, polio, rubella, and tuberculosis. Alcohol is not permitted in the residence halls, even for students who are of legal drinking age.
Counseling and Other Student Support
The counselling center provides a number of services to help their students succeed. Depending on their needs and situation, students may receive individual counselling, group counselling, academic counselling, tutoring, or partnership with a peer counsellor. Students may also receive testing at the center. Available tests include the ASSET/COMPASS placement test, Advanced Placement (AP) tests, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and Proficiency Examination Program (PEP) tests.
In keeping with the college’s mission to provide higher education for any student in their catchment area who desires it, the Students with Disabilities office provides many forms of support for students with disabilities, including priority registration, priority parking, and various learning aids and tools.
Student Enrollment Demographics
The athletics department competes in the NJCAA in Region 10, which includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia—a catchment area of around 36 colleges. The school sponsors two competitive intercollegiate teams: men’s basketball and women’s basketball. The college also sponsors intramural teams in volleyball, tennis, basketball, and flag football.
Although Denmark is fairly rural, its proximity to the urban areas of Charleston and Columbia mean that there are a number of cultural opportunities for students, as well as opportunities to engage in the community. The town is located on a rail line served by Amtrak. The Silver Star train stops in town daily, taking passengers to Miami via Tampa, Jacksonville, and Savannah to the south and New York City via Columbia, Richmond, Washington, and Philadelphia to the north. This train service not only facilitates leaving town for cultural opportunities, it makes Denmark easily accessible to students from large urban areas who wish to study in a rural setting.
The college works closely with area employers to transition their students from the classroom to the workforce. Major employers in their catchment area include Barbham Oil Company, Bramberg County Memorial Hospital, Bamberg School District #1, Bamberg County School District #2, Voorhees College, Goodrich Pump & Engine Control Systems, ABL Management, Rockland Industries, Enterprise Bank of South Carolina, Lifetime Doors, Specialty Washer Company, Bamberg County Disabilities and Special Needs Board, Edisto Electric Cooperative, South Carolina Department of Transportation, Kearse Manufacturing, Boddie-Noell Enterprises and Kinsouth Corporation. Primary manufacturing employs more people in the area than any other industry, although health care is a close second.
Students are welcomed to join opportunities at the University of South Carolina Salkehatchie Leadership Center, which partners with agencies to provide leadership development for area businesses. Participants in the County Leadership Programs are expected to broaden their community perspectives, meet with local and state leaders, expand their network of community contacts, assist in bringing together diverse groups of leaders who are invested in working toward the well-being of the community as a whole, identify areas of community concern, participate in forming solutions to community problems, participate in a skills retreat, promote public safety, and complete class projects to present their work to other students.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.