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MCTC Instructors Named MnSCU Outstanding Educators

Posted on: April 16th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Three Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) faculty members have been honored with the 2014 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Outstanding Educator award. Bayla McDougal (Addiction Counseling), Cheryl Neudauer (Biology) and Greg Skudlarek (HVACR) were nominated from the College community, tasked with compiling an extensive portfolio of their professional work and awarded the distinguished honor earlier this month.

About the Faculty

MnSCU Outstanding Educator 2014When Bayla McDougal started classes at MCTC in 1983, she was a single mother, on welfare and newly in recovery from drugs and alcohol. After 22 years working in the field of addiction counseling, she came back to MCTC as a faculty member in the same program. This fall she will celebrate her 10th year at the College. “I love this place,” she said. “My classrooms are made up of people age 18 to 65,” said Bayla. “Anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of the Addiction Counseling students are in recovery from alcohol or drug use. They are students who already have bachelor’s and master’s degrees, students in school for the first time and students who didn’t think finishing school was an option.” Bayla will take a sabbatical next year to begin work on a book about mindfulness in the classroom. She has been collecting data for this project for 10 years.

 

Neudauer-Outstanding-Educator-2014-200-2Cheryl Neudauer came to MCTC in 2003 as an adjunct Biology instructor, and 10 years later teaches both Physiology and Pathophysiology. Cheryl utilizes a “flipped-classroom model” in her classes: students work in groups to tackle the majority of their tasks, and Cheryl steps in to clarify difficult concepts. “These days, students can get almost any information online,” Cheryl said. “I’m trying to show students how they can think critically and utilize the resources they have.” After a few years of teaching, Cheryl turned her lectures and notes into a course outline with exercises and diagrams. “It’s very affordable, and saves my students almost $500 in textbook fees. They can take another three-credit class for that amount, and now they’re focusing on what’s important.” Among her many accomplishments prior to coming to MCTC, Cheryl taught at a community college in Virginia, performed post-doctoral cancer research and attended graduate school at both the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

 

MnSCU outstanding educator 2014Greg Skudlarek was cool before it was cool. He began working for his father’s refrigeration business at age 14, and began his skills education at one of MCTC’s sister schools: Alexandria Technical and Community College. Commuting to Minneapolis from Alexandria, Greg started his tenure with the College in 1989 when the program was called Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and was part of the Construction Electricity program along with Major Appliance Repair. In 1996 the program was officially recognized as a standalone program and re-named Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) and has become one of the top HVACR programs in Minnesota. “We’re drawing high-quality students to our program,” said Greg. “I have a student who drives from Cannon Falls to come here. He could have gone to Rochester or Redwing, or any of the other metro schools, but he chose to come here.” MCTC’s HVACR program is one of the most diverse in Minnesota, and has earned a reputation in the industry of graduating top-quality students. Greg strives to stay current with HVACR industry changes by attending training seminars, and operates a residential HVAC company in his Alexandria home during the summer.

 

The Outstanding Educator award is an honor bestowed upon a select number of MnSCU faculty to acknowledge and reward exceptional individual professional accomplishment and to encourage ongoing excellence. This designation by their presidents reflects the exceptional commitment that each of the nominees have demonstrated in teaching, in their continuous professional development, and in their service to students, the college and the MnSCU system.

This month, the MnSCU Board of Trustees will honor a total of 30 outstanding educators who teach at 17 colleges around the state. The board will also announce selection of its 2014 Educators of the Year—an extremely significant achievement. Click here for more information.

MCTC Students Participate in SkillsUSA Minnesota Competition

Posted on: April 8th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

SkillsUSA 2014 ParticipantsEleven Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) students recently competed in the SkillsUSA Minnesota leadership and skills conference. Several students won awards for their hard work and creative projects in the fields of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) and Electrical Construction. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations as well as health occupations.

“We’re fortunate our students were able to compete at actual industry sites this year,” said Greg Skudlarek, MCTC HVACR instructor. “Not only do they get real industry experience, it also makes the playing field more level for students coming from across the state.” The competition drew more than 800 career and technical education students who competed in more than 80 hands-on trade, technical and leadership contests. Students from 25 campuses of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and 30 high schools from across Minnesota participated in the competition in Bloomington.

MCTC students have participated in the SkillsUSA competition for several years. In addition to students from the College’s HVACR and Electrical Construction programs, competing students in past years have represented the Machine Tool Technology and Welding and Metal Fabrication programs.

The 2014 national competition will take place this July in Kansas City.

Photo: MCTC students participated in the 2014 SkillsUSA state competition in Bloomington. From left to right: Stalin Ballesteros, Electrical Construction; Andrew Oliver, Electrical Construction; Dylan Mudgett, HVACR; Dave Archambault, HVACR; Alex MacDinald, HVACR.

MCTC Students Participate and Win in SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference

Posted on: May 17th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments
MCTC students and faculty.

From left to right: MCTC instructor Greg Skudlarek and students Reed Sweeney, Tom Pederson, Andy Gurskis and John Singel.

Minneapolis Community and Technical College students competed in the SkillsUSA Minnesota Leadership and Skills Conference last month, and several of them won awards for their hard work and creative projects. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations as well as health occupations. Top SkillsUSA state performers include the following MCTC students:

  • Andy Gurskis, 2nd place, HVACR
  • Reed Sweeney, 4th place and honorable mention, HVACR
  • Max Foutch, 3rd place, Industrial Motor Controls
  • Tom Hermes, 4th place and honorable mention, Industrial Motor Controls
MCTC students and faculty

From left to right: Tom Hiltner, Tom Hermans, Max Foutch, Mark Eckstein and Dean Weikle.

In July, 2012, MCTC HVACR student Chad Rubey placed fifth out of 28 college competitors in the national SkillUSA Championship. At the annual national-level SkillsUSA Championships, over 5,600 students compete in 94 occupational and leadership skill areas.

SkillsUSA programs include local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills.

Exploring MCTC’s welding and metal fabrication program with Todd Bridigum

Posted on: September 20th, 2012 by insidemctc No Comments
Todd Bridigum assists student Lizzy Hallas

Todd Bridigum assists student Lizzy Hallas

Talk to anyone in the welding field and they’ll inevitably tell you two things: first, the work itself is a unique mix of art and trade, and second, there are myriad job opportunities on the horizon.

MCTC Welding and Metal Fabrication Instructor Todd Bridigum won’t argue with either statement. After learning welding at Saint Paul College, Bridigum worked in the field for several years before joining MCTC in 2002. We asked him for his thoughts on MCTC’s program, career prospects for welders and how welding fits into the modern-day U.S. manufacturing resurgence.

How did you get into welding? 

I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Hamline University. While studying, I fell in love with visual arts and wanted to further develop my skills. Going into welding was a natural choice. I earned a welding and metal fabrication diploma and worked for several Twin Cities-area companies, building everything from spiral staircases to hospital equipment to industrial ovens. I also have a studio space where I’m able to continue my studies in prints, drawings and metal sculpture.

What do you teach at MCTC?

I’m an instructor for all of the day courses within MCTC’s welding and metal fabrication program, along with welding courses within the machine tool technology and HVAC-R programs. I also enjoy team teaching a direct metals course in MCTC’s visual arts program.

Are you seeing an increased demand for welding?

Yes. We’re seeing a revival in the U.S. and manufacturing, and welding touches all areas of the manufacturing process. There’s a significant gap in the welding field because many of today’s welders are in their mid-50s and will be retiring soon. As a result, there will be more career opportunities in the years ahead.

Welders are also needed outside of the manufacturing sector. Consider Xcel Energy. It’s an energy company, but you could also consider it a welding company because it employs hundreds of welders around the country to maintain its plants.

How has MCTC responded to the demand for welders? 

We recently added an evening welding program and we’re looking at expanding the day program to keep up with demand. Welding training will continue to grow at MCTC.

Why is the program so popular? 

Students gain tangible skills with a short investment of time.The program provides a strong foundation so students can go directly into the field or continue their studies in an engineering program at a four-year university.

All of that aside, welding is challenging. You can compare welding to learning to play the piano because it takes lots of practice to do it well. Once you master welding, however, you’ll have a marketable skill and will have a strong career now and into the future.

MCTC Students Win Competitions at Minnesota SkillsUSA Championships Conference

Posted on: April 1st, 2011 by insidemctc No Comments
MN SkillsUSA winners

MCTC Students Mat Borchardt (3rd in HVACR) and Huge Vizzard (1st in Industrial Motor Controls)

Minnesota state colleges captured gold, silver and bronze medals for 193 college division students at the SkillsUSA Minnesota 2011 State Leadership and Skills Conference, March 25-27, 2011, at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington.

MCTC students represented the Construction Electricity, HVACR, Machine Tool and Welding programs at the competition.

MCTC student Huge Vizzard placed first in the Industrial Motor Controls contest. The contest was held at the Viking Electric distribution center in Minneapolis. Mat Borchardt placed third and Soua Lee placed fourth and received honorable mention in HVACR.

The 75 competitions focused on technical skill demonstration, with over 540 students from 25 campuses of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities competing.

SkillsUSA Minnesota is a leadership organization for students in career and technical programs in high school and college. Students participate in leadership and skills competition at local, state and national levels where they build and reinforce technical skills, self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills. The contests were held in the following nine career and technical education cluster areas: arts and communication; construction; health services; legal and protective services; hospitality; human services, manufacturing; science, engineering and technology; and transportation.

65 first-place college division and 62 high school division first-place medalists are eligible to advance to the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Mo., June 20-24.

More than 500 Minnesota businesses were involved in the conference and provided 20 contest host sites; medalist prizes totaling over $410,000; 500 contest judges; and many volunteers.