The MCTC News Blog

Student Success Initiatives at MCTC

Posted on: July 1st, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Students collaborating.New initiatives aimed at improving student success have shown strong results, according to a recent report released by the College’s office of Strategy, Planning and Accountability (SPA). Educational equity and student success comprise the College’s strategic priorities, and the four initiatives tracked in this report are specifically aimed at meeting those priorities.


The African American Educational Empowerment Program (AME) and student center was founded in 2011 by dedicated students who brought a national concept to this Minneapolis campus. AME is comprised of four programs, and the AME student center is available for homework help, classroom collaboration and community building. College research showed students using the AME center—particularly male students—were significantly more likely to complete courses and remain enrolled in the College than those not using the center.

Accelerated English (ENGA)

Accelerated English courses combining developmental English with college-level work were offered for the first time in 2013. The research found students needing developmental English instruction were significantly more successful when enrolled in the combined course, passing at a rate similar to students who tested directly into college-level English. Furthermore, these students completed their college English requirement in one semester instead of two.

English Instructor Michael Kuhne explains that students may face any number of outside factors, so success in developmental courses may take place in addition to or in spite of factors like inconsistent child care, health issues, addiction, family illness and so on.
“The students who succeed in these courses not only leave with more academic confidence, they understand the demands of college a bit better and are better able to plan accordingly,” said Kuhne. “They know how to create study and support groups. They gain clarity, both about why they are in college and how they will succeed in college.”

Embedded Advising

Embedded advisors working specifically within College academies began providing integrated advising to students in 2011. Research found students who saw their appointed academy advisor in their first semester at MCTC were almost twice as likely to continue at MCTC for a second year than students who did not see an advisor. Data will be further analyzed in the coming year to determine whether integrated advising has a positive effect on timely graduation as well as the effect on retention.


Statway, a Carnegie Foundation initiative designed to help community college students complete a college-level math course with less frustration and lower dropout rates than traditional college algebra, finished its first year of implementation this spring. MCTC research found that students in the accelerated, experience-based math alternative were between three and five times more likely to enroll in the subsequent math class the following term compared to developmental math students not enrolled in Statway. “Students enrolled in Statway this year built a strong community,” said Carmen Buhler, Mathematics instructor and one of three Statway instructors at the College. “In light of the successes of the first year of operation, we are looking forward to a second year of Statway courses.”

These initiatives, aimed at increasing success in the classroom as well as graduation or transfer rates of participating students, are only a few instances of efforts at the College to empower students to be successful inside and outside the classroom.

MCTC Provides Training to Caribou Coffee Employees

Posted on: June 24th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments

The Division of Workforce Development, Continuing Education and Customized Training (CECT) at Minneapolis Community and Technical College just completed Project Management: Core training for 24 Caribou Coffee employees on the MCTC campus during June. Caribou Coffee has worked with CECT over the last two years for customized training and to offer continuing education classes to their employees in computer technology and business management. “I believe MCTC is one of the best options for computer training. It has been a great experience,” said Julie Droegemueller, Director of Human Resources.

If you would like more information on continuing education or customized training for your department please have your supervisor contact Jan Morrissey at

MCTC’s DECA club partners with Twin Cities Rise

Posted on: December 13th, 2012 by insidemctc 2 Comments

DECA logoDECA, a student-led business club at MCTC, partnered with the local non-profit Twin Cities Rise (TCR) in an all-day mock interview event held at TCR’s Minneapolis location on December 4, 2012. 

TCR helps the chronically unemployed seek promising job opportunities. It places program participants in positions that pay at least $20,000 annually, provide benefits and offer potential for advancement. Prior to job placement, TCR provides training in interviewing skills to help prepare applicants for the workforce. Typically, TCR uses human resource professionals from its corporate partners–many of which are Fortune 500 companies–to conduct the interviews. The partnership of DECA and TCR was a natural fit, as both groups focus on professionalism, career development and confidence building. “I learned a lot from teaming with the human resources professionals. I saw firsthand how they approach interviews and what they look for in candidates” said DECA president Matt Hatle. 

DECA members teamed up with TCR’s corporate partners to conduct 20 mock interviews of TCR’s participants. After the sessions, interviewers met with participants to offer feedback and tips to better their interview practices. “Roleplaying the interviewer really helped raise my awareness of what I should be focusing on when I’m interviewing” said DECA member Errol Ilbuga. 

“It felt good helping people who had faced some adversity in life develop a real job skill. I interviewed a disabled veteran, candidates with felonies and single mothers with several children,” said DECA member Nada Elsewehy. 

MCTC’s DECA club competes in business competitions around the country, builds campus life and volunteers in the community. DECA meets weekly in MCTC’s Helland Center, and welcomes new members from all majors. If you have questions, please contact the club’s advisor, Jason L. Cussler at

Taste of Art Cupcake Wars

Posted on: June 14th, 2012 by insidemctc No Comments

MCTC students at Taste of Art Cupcake WarsA team of about 15 students from Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Culinary Arts program won third place at the Taste of Art Cupcake Wars held June 10 at the Double Tree Hotel in St. Louis Park, earning $1,000 toward a scholarship fund. The cupcake wars were part of a second annual fundraiser for Partnership Resources, Inc., a resource that creates connections between adults with disabilities and the community, and The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Minneapolis Chefs Chapter Scholarship Fund.

The $1,000 that the MCTC team will be added to the MCTC scholarships fund available through the Minneapolis Chefs Chapter. The ACF will then award two $500 scholarships to two individuals it finds most deserving and in need of financial aid toward higher education.

MCTC cupcake display

Three additional metro culinary arts schools participated in the competition, including Saint Paul College, Le Cordon Bleu College Minnesota and Art Institutes International Minnesota. Each team was required to produce 200 cupcakes and decorate at least 50 during the event. Three professional chefs judged the cupcakes on taste, decoration, design, display and degree of difficulty.

“The students did an awesome job,” said Phil Gatto, MCTC culinary arts instructor. “This event shows how two great organizations (Partnership Resources and ACF Minneapolis) can benefit from people that give back to the community.”

MCTC Students Honored in SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference

Posted on: May 15th, 2012 by insidemctc No Comments

Minnesota state colleges captured gold, silver and bronze medals for 213 college division students at the SkillsUSA Minnesota 2012 State Leadership and Skills Conference, March 23 – 25, 2012, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington. Three students from Minneapolis Community and Technical College placed in the top three in the Heating, Ventiliation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) and industrial motors categories.

Conference participants“It felt good to represent our program in the competition,” says Chad Rubey, MCTC student and first place winner in the HVAC-R category.

During the competition, students from 27 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations like weldingcomputer-aided draftingprecision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. All contests are run with the help of more than 500 industry, trade associations and labor organizations, and contestants are judged by industry professionals.

Rubey will be among the 200 student competitors and advisors representing 39 colleges and high schools advancing to the 48th National Leadership & Skills Conference, which will be held June 23-27 in Kansas City, MO. High school and college students will compete separately but perform the same procedures.

Preparation for the state competition begins in the classroom and according to Ian Tanttari, second place winner in the HVAC-R category, his education at MCTC paved the way for his participation. “Without the program at MCTC, I wouldn’t have been able to compete at all,” says Tanttari. Mike Johnson, second place winner in the industrial motors category and student in MCTC’s construction electricity program, had a similar perspective.  “Without going to MCTC I would not be in the competition,” he says.

Conference participantsThrough SkillsUSA competitions, students have the chance to test their skills against industry standards required for job acquisition. “My favorite part about the competition was talking to the judges afterwards and hearing what a current employer thought I should work on,” says Pat McNamara, competitor in the industrial motors controls category.

The opportunity to participate in the competition also means a chance for students to build their credibility. “The simple act of competing looks good on a resume and most employers recognize that the students who compete and place in the top three are the outstanding students in their graduating class,” says Greg Skudlarek, HVAC-R instructor at MCTC.

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers and industries, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA chapters help students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations excel. SkillsUSA has more than 300,000 students and instructors as members.

For more information, visit