The MCTC News Blog

MCTC English Instructor Shannon Gibney Celebrates Novel Release at the Loft Literary Center

Posted on: September 21st, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Join the Loft Literary Center’s Story of the Book series featuring MCTC English Instructor Shannon Gibney on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.

From the Loft’s announcement:

Young adult author Shannon Gibney celebrates the release of her novel See No Color as part of the Loft Literary Center‘s reading series called Story of the Book. Gibney will share the story of how her book came to be during a conversation with Lisa Marie Brimmer, and read excerpts from the novel. See No Color explores themes of identity and belonging in the context of transracial adoption.

Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, and activist in Minneapolis. Her young adult novel See No Color, will be released by Carolrhoda Lab in November 2015. Her writing has appeared in a variety of venues, including The Crisis, Gawker, and Inside Higher Education. Gibney is a professor of English at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), where she teaches critical and creative writing, journalism, and African diasporic topics. A former Bush Artist Fellow, she lives with her husband and children in Minneapolis.

Lisa Marie Brimmer is a writer and performance artist. She is a two-time Givens Foundation for African American Literature fellow and has received a Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellowship. She is a contributing writer for Gazillion Voices Magazine, a member of Savage Umbrella Theater Company, and board member of Patrick’s Cabaret. Her work has been published in Ishmael Reed’s Konch Magazine and her improvisational music collective, High Society, has been featured on Minnesota Public Radio and KFAI.

There is a suggested admission fee of $5–10 for this event.

MPS Summer College Academy Graduates 1st Class of EL Students from MCTC

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments
MPS English learner students at MCTC.

MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa addressed the graduating Summer College Academy class.

On July 30, Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) celebrated 117 English Learner (EL) students graduating from Summer College Academy classes.

As immigrants and first-generation Americans, EL students often must overcome tremendous adversity to pursue higher education and find jobs. A partnership between MCTC and Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), the Summer College Academy provides academic guidance and direction at a critical juncture in EL students’ academic journeys.

High school students and recent EL graduates participating in the program receive the opportunity to experience college-level language instruction, earn an English credit, and prepare for higher education. In addition, the program’s classes help teach students to utilize their unique backgrounds and multilingualism as strengths critical to their success.

The goal of the Summer College Academy is to accelerate the graduation rate for EL students while reducing or eliminating the need for remedial classes when an EL student starts college.

Under the direction of MPS Deputy Education Officer Elia Dimayuga-Bruggeman and with the support of MCTC instructors, the 117 EL students received three levels of reading and writing classes on the MCTC campus over the course of eight weeks this summer.

Ms. Dimayuga-Bruggeman expressed excitement about the collaborative nature of the program. “By working together, we can move beyond individual efforts and unleash the power of collaboration that will help ensure Minneapolis English Learners can go to college and be prepared for successful futures,” she said. “The partnership between MPS and MCTC to provide our English Learners college-level courses through the Summer College Academy will advance our students on their journey toward high school graduation and place them in a pathway to college and career readiness.”

The program culminated in a Family Celebration and Career Fair, where families and students were provided with information on how to access college as well as different careers that lead to family-sustaining jobs. Participating schools included Wellstone International High School, Edison High School, Henry High School, South High School, Southwest High School, Washburn High School, Roosevelt High School, and Heritage Academy of Science and Technology.

MCTC English Instructor Shannon Gibney Receives McKnight Artist Fellowship

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

English Instructor Shannon GibneyMCTC English Instructor Shannon Gibney is one of four local writers to receive the Loft Literary Center’s $25,000 award for their excellence in creative prose writing.

The McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers are supported by the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis. In order to qualify for the award, writers must have published a creative prose work or had their work published in literary magazines.

“I am so thankful to the Loft, the McKnight Foundation, and our amazing community here, which makes so much possible for us creatively,” said Gibney.

Gibney’s works have been featured in a variety of publications and anthologies including Parenting as Adoptees and The Black Imagination: The Science Fiction, Futurism, and the Speculative. This fall she is slated to publish a young adult novel, and she is currently working on a novel about African American colonization of Liberia in the 19th century.

“I hope to glean as much time and productivity as possible from the grant, and then pass on its fruits and make space for whoever’s next,” she said.

“It is an absolute joy and continual learning experience to work with a professional whose creative work directly intersects with her work as a MCTC faculty, colleague, and her work providing greater service to the communities that we serve here,” said MCTC English Instructor and Faculty Coordinator Taiyon Coleman.

Gibney is on sabbatical this year and will return to teaching in fall 2015.

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.

Kathleen DeVore Sheerin Recognized as 2011 Outstanding Educator

Posted on: March 30th, 2011 by insidemctc 10 Comments

Kathleen DevoreCongratulations to Kathleen DeVore Sheerin, English Instructor at MCTC, who was recognized as one of the 33 faculty designated by MnSCU presidents as “Outstanding Educators.” These faculty were nominated for the Board of Trustees 2010-2011 Educator of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching. All Outstanding Educators will be recognized, and the Educator of the Year awards will be announced on April 20.