Following a spring search committee’s efforts, Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) has announced two new members of its leadership team.
Dr. Avelino Mills-Novoa will join MCTC as vice president of student affairs. Dr. Mills-Novoa will lead efforts to promote the success of the College’s students and employees and improve graduation rates. Working in collaboration with Dr. Whitney Harris and the College’s Human Resources department, Avelino will also promote educational equity and lead efforts to close the gap in educational attainment.
Dr. Mills-Novoa comes to the College experienced in working with students, faculty and staff to promote student success. Dr. Mills-Novoa came to Minnesota as a refugee from Cuba and became the first member of his family to attend college. He started his education at the University of Minnesota’s General College and went on to earn a master’s degree and doctorate in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in counseling from the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development. He has served as assistant dean and director of student services for the U of M’s General College and, on an interim basis, as Associate Vice President in Multicultural and Academic Affairs. He also served as the interim dean of undergraduate studies at St. Cloud State University, and is currently a professor emeritus of Community Psychology. “Dr. Mills-Novoa’s personal and professional background make him a wonderful role model and inspiration for our students,” said MCTC President Phil Davis.
Dr. Gail O’Kane will serve as vice president of academic affairs. Dr. O’Kane is returning to the College leadership team after serving for the last year as interim president of Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC). She will lead the development, administration and evaluation of the College’s academic programs, including accreditation and assessment processes. Working with the faculty, Dr. O’Kane will be responsible for ensuring the College’s curriculum fulfills the needs of students and is structured in ways that provide clear pathways to completion. She will lead the development of MCTC’s academic master plan and guide the College’s response to the academic program review.
Prior to her interim presidency at RCTC, Dr. O’Kane served as associate vice president of strategy, planning and accountability. Before joining MCTC, she served as system director for education-industry partnerships for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. She graduated magna cum laude from Boston College with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and earned a doctorate in neuroscience from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Dr. O’Kane comes with the experience of running the daily operation of a large, comprehensive college like MCTC and has keen insights into the practices that lead to success for students elsewhere in the country,” said Davis.
“The College has the unique opportunity to benefit from the complementary talents of these two exceptional leaders,” said Davis. “We are honored to have them with us.”