MCTC

The MCTC News Blog

MCTC to Host ”Race in America” Photo Exhibit With Civil Rights Leader as Guest of Honor

Posted on: January 29th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Race in America photoFormer students from MCTC’s Race in America: Then and Now course collaborated to host an exhibit of photography from the summer civil rights course over years past. The exhibit, a prominent feature in this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at the College, runs until Saturday, Jan. 31. A closing ceremony will take place this day from 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m. in the T Skyway, featuring a guest of honor who helped shape the civil rights movement.

The course, offered through the Higher Education Consortium of Urban Affairs (HECUA) and taught by MCTC Political Science Faculty Lena Jones, gives students the opportunity to travel to the southern United States to meet civil rights Movement leaders, visit historical civil rights sights and make connections between past and present struggles for justice and equality. MCTC is a member of the HECUA consortium and the MCTC Foundation generously awards scholarships to MCTC students taking part in the course.

The reception will feature singing, storytelling, discussions, reflections and an esteemed guest of honor: civil rights leader Hollis Watkins. Watkins has been immersed in the struggle for racial and economic justice for over 50 years. He was the first Mississippi student to become involved in 1961 in the Mississippi Voting Rights Project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and since then, has co-founded several organizations including the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Southern Echo, an organization dedicated to providing leadership development, technical assistance, and training to grassroots organizations across the south and southwestern US.

The day’s events will take place as follows:

  • 10:30–11:00 a.m.—Reception Opens (T Skyway)
  • 11 a.m.–noon—The Civil Rights Movement Through Song: Singing and storytelling with Mr. Hollis Watkins (T Skyway)
  • 12:30–2 p.m.—Organizing and Movement Building: Past and Present: A Discussion with Mr. Hollis Watkins [Location To Be Determined]
  • 2:15–3 p.m.—Closing reflections and song with Mr. Hollis Watkins and contributors to the Race in America, Then and Now photo exhibit (T Skyway)

MCTC Students Talk Diversity at Itasca Community College

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

MCTC students at ICCMembers of the MCTC African American Education Empowerment Program (AME) and MCTC Director of Diversity Whitney Harris were invited to visit Itasca Community College (ICC) earlier this month for a day of professional development.

Representatives from ICC had visited MCTC’s AME program last semester, and invited Dr. Harris and the students to speak in light of increasing enrollment of students of color at ICC.

MCTC students from the AME program delivered presentations to ICC faculty and staff and participated in panel discussions addressing teaching in diverse classrooms and managing institutional diversity.

During the panel, MCTC AME student Michael Elliot encouraged ICC faculty and staff to use the experiences each student brings to the classroom as learning opportunities.

“You have to be aware of the needs of your diversifying student population,” Elliot said.

Harris believes both the MCTC AME students and ICC faculty and staff learned from each other by having the opportunity to share their knowledge and stories.

“The students were able to integrate what they had learned at MCTC through their own experiences and teach these college employees about it,” Harris said.

MCTC AME student and tutor Jeodaun Lee described the experience as “a slice of humble pie.” “They rolled out the red carpet for us and wanted to learn,” he said.

“ICC was very receptive of what we had to offer in the realm of diversity and administrative and faculty connection to the student body,” said Elliot.

AME is expected to make a return to ICC in the spring to hold a similar conversation with students.

Photo: The MCTC delegation at Itasca Community College on a frigid January day. From left to right: Michael Elliot, Clay Bradbury, Ronnie Russell-Bey, Jeodaun Lee, Whitney Harris

MCTC Hosts “Race in America” Photo Exhibit Reception with Guest of Honor

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Race in America signFormer students from MCTC’s Race in America: Then and Now course collaborated to host an exhibit of photography from the summer civil rights course over years past. The exhibit, a prominent feature in this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at the College, runs until Saturday, Jan. 31. A closing ceremony will take place this day from 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m. in the T Skyway, featuring a guest of honor who helped shape the civil rights movement.

The course, offered through the Higher Education Consortium of Urban Affairs (HECUA) and taught by MCTC Political Science Faculty Lena Jones, gives students the opportunity to travel to the southern United States to meet civil rights Movement leaders, visit historical civil rights sights and make connections between past and present struggles for justice and equality. MCTC is a member of the HECUA consortium and the MCTC Foundation generously awards scholarships to MCTC students taking part in the course.

The reception will feature singing, storytelling, discussions, reflections and an esteemed guest of honor: civil rights leader Hollis Watkins. Watkins has been immersed in the struggle for racial and economic justice for over 50 years. He was the first Mississippi student to become involved in 1961 in the Mississippi Voting Rights Project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and since then, has co-founded several organizations including the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Southern Echo, an organization dedicated to providing leadership development, technical assistance, and training to grassroots organizations across the south and southwestern U.S.

MCTC, Augsburg & Others to Diversify Teacher Workforce

Posted on: December 23rd, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Bush_GrantSTORYMinneapolis Community and Technical College will collaborate with Augsburg College, Minneapolis Public Schools and Saint Paul Public Schools to utilize funds from a recent Bush Foundation grant to build educational infrastructure that intentionally recruits teacher candidates of color, improves their clinical experiences while training, and supports their smooth transition into a teaching career.

“Currently, about 97 percent of teachers in Minnesota are white,” said Kristy Snyder, dean of Academic Foundations. “MCTC has a strong record of engaging future teachers of color in our culturally competent teacher education program to prepare them for their future classrooms. Around 60 percent of students in MCTC’s educational programs are students of color. This grant encourages creative ways to recruit and retain teacher candidates of color, and because of that, Augsburg reached out to us to collaborate with them.”

This effort to recruit and support teacher candidates of color comes amidst the climate of teacher shortages in areas like special education and ESOL, and also in light of a large portion of the state teacher population approaching retirement age. The grant will strengthen the existing connection between MCTC’s two-year program and transfer opportunities to Augsburg while providing supplementary support to candidates to ensure their success as new teachers.

“The program at MCTC is very focused on cultural competency,” said Snyder. “For this reason, we currently attract many teacher candidates of color. By strengthening our articulation agreement with Augsburg, we strengthen the incentive for candidates to complete MCTC’s program, transfer and be placed.”

“Our greater goal is to utilize our community resources to close the state’s achievement gap,” said Snyder. “This is the perfect opportunity to make use of the talent and experience in our own communities.”

MCTC will host a Future Teacher Conference on March 7 for individuals interested in learning more about MCTC’s educational programs. Registration will be available soon on the Minneapolis Public Schools website.

Whitney Harris, Embracing L’esperance

Posted on: December 31st, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments

Embracing “L’esperance”—Tomorrow is Going to be Great

Whitney Harris-MCTCInspired by the remarkable collection of students, faculty and staff at MCTC, Whitney Harris, executive director of diversity, has a strong sense of respect for the power of education present within the walls of the College. Whitney joined MCTC during the summer of 2013 to engage students, faculty and staff in enhancing their professional development and training. He is also spearheading an equity task force to develop and implement planning to support student success and increase educational equity. To back the initiatives, he is engaging people both at MCTC and within the broader community.

“Hearing students articulate where they are going and how they are moving to the next level is exciting,” said Whitney. “Each individual comes to the College with their own personal experience, and the stories they share are amazing and diverse.”

Whitney’s own story runs deep. As the son of civil rights activists in Louisiana, Whitney developed an interest in diversity early on and was exposed to an array of topics including ability, race and gender. At school and in his community, Whitney advocated on behalf of his sister with disabilities. He also participated in civil rights marches and demonstrations alongside family members to encourage awareness for important issues, and he watched his mother tirelessly advocate for civil and women’s rights.

Whitney is extremely connected to his family, and often recalls a blessed relationship with his great-grandmother who was six years old when the U.S. outlawed slavery. He vividly recalls conversations with her in which she shared memories of her own mother feeding neighborhood children—many of whom had scars from abuse. “When my great-grandmother was a child, she didn’t realize her friends were slaves, nor did she realize the magnitude of their experience,” said Whitney. “What she remembered was the care her family—especially her mother—took with them to help meet their basic needs.”

It is the same care Whitney brings to his work at MCTC. “It has been important for me to recognize there are no magical formulas for human issues,” said Whitney. “Regardless of how we feel about another person’s beliefs, it is important to recognize it is real for them.” Whitney believes we need to experience controversial issues from a sense of justice that is accomplished when we live and work in a just manner. “I can use my own response to make a difference for others,” said Whitney. “This can be humbling, yet gives me an opportunity to learn from others and enjoy each moment.”

Whitney has experience across academic disciplines including special education, psychology, theology, sociology and philosophy. He is active in his community and stays involved with many organizations including the American Men’s Studies Association, Southern Poverty and Law Center, African American Leadership Forum and OutFront Minnesota. He also volunteers with individuals experiencing homelessness through his church.

Across his work and his involvement, Whitney embraces “l’esperance,” a French word meaning “the expectancy.”

“It means that tomorrow is going to be great.”