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The MCTC News Blog

Future Teacher Conference to Recruit Workforce Representative of Student Body

Posted on: February 3rd, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Early Childhood Education student at MCTCMinneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), in collaboration with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), is pleased to host the Future Teacher Conference on the MCTC campus on Saturday, March 7 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The conference is free and open to MPS students, employees and parents who are interested in becoming teachers.

This partnership is part of a larger project bringing together Augsburg College, Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), Saint Paul Public Schools and MCTC to recruit future teachers—particularly teachers of color—to teacher education programs like MCTC’s, in order to facilitate a gateway into the teaching profession and ensure the future workforce is diverse and representative of the student body. Recently, MCTC and these partners received a Bush Foundation scholarship to build educational infrastructure to intentionally recruit teacher candidates of color, improve their clinical experiences while training and support their smooth transition into a teaching career.

The conference provides an opportunity for individuals interested in pursuing teaching to explore their degree options. The event will feature information sessions, lunch and a keynote speaker. Sessions will cover topics including daily classroom experiences of an MPS teacher, how to select an institution of higher education to pursue teaching, educational philosophies, resume building, funding schooling and how to select a licensure area.

Interested in attending the Future Teacher Conference? Register by Feb. 20 by clicking here. Lunch is included.

Photo: An MCTC student in the Early Childhood Education program.

Who Benefits the Most from “Free” College Tuition? (Article from the Star Tribune)

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

This article was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Jan. 28, 2015. Read the full story here.

Who benefits the most from ‘free’ college tuition?

Article by: MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune | Updated: January 28, 2015

Thulani Jwacu understands the power of the word “free.”

When he makes his pitch to low-income teenagers, he can see their eyes light up.

If they go to community college, he tells them, “you don’t have to worry about paying for tuition.”

That, he said, is when they start paying attention.

As an adviser at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Jwacu said he’s thrilled that politicians are starting to talk about making community college free for all.

In practice, more than 30,000 community college students in Minnesota already qualify for enough government assistance to pay their tuition and fees in full, according to state data. In 2013, that meant about a third of the freshmen at those colleges essentially got their education “for free.”

If the sticker price at Minnesota community colleges — about $5,400 a year — dropped to zero, advocates say, that would inspire even more people to get a college education.

But experts caution that free tuition isn’t enough to guarantee success; and that such a change could end up doing more for well-off families than needier ones.

“The irony is that it would probably benefit middle- and upper-income people,” said John (Chuck) Chalberg, a history teacher at Normandale Community College. “They’re the ones that aren’t getting the aid, and now they would.”

The proposals, which were floated recently by the White House and Senate DFL leaders in Minnesota, are both designed to lower the barrier to college, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, a University of Wisconsin professor who is credited with inspiring President Obama’s plan, estimated to cost $6 billion a year.

“Yes, community college tuition is virtually free for very poor people right now,” she acknowledged. But “middle-class [students] are dropping out of college at higher rates than ever before. So helping middle-class kids … is not a bad thing.”

At the same time, she’s skeptical that community colleges, which draw a disproportionate number of low-income students, would suddenly be flooded with the wealthy.

DFL Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, the sponsor of the free-tuition proposal in the Minnesota Senate, said his goal is to nudge students who think they can’t afford college, especially in low-income and rural areas, to give it a try.

One option, he said, may be to include a cap on family income.

Gov. Mark Dayton did not include free community college tuition in his budget proposal this week. Instead, he withheld any recommendation on a funding increase for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities until March, in hopes that administrators and faculty leaders resolve a dispute over a strategic plan for the system, which includes state community colleges.

Since 2006, the community colleges in Minneapolis and St. Paul have offered free tuition to high school graduates in both cities through a program called Power of You, which is limited to families earning $75,000 or less. At first, both two-year colleges saw a surge in enrollment; but only 8 percent of those students had finished three years later, a 2009 Wilder Foundation study found.

As a result, the colleges began working even more intensively with those students, said Kristine Snyder, the dean in charge of the program at MCTC. “We make them come in three times a semester,” she said. Advisers spend a lot of time coaching them on what they need to do to finish — or transfer — on time.

With all the extra attention, the graduation rate has crept up, to 13 percent. But more important, Snyder says, students are sticking with the program, and making progress toward their degrees.

Many of those students, she noted, wouldn’t have attempted college in the past. “Everyone is worried because we need a skilled labor force,” she said. To her, free tuition is a way to meet that need.

“I think all these kinds of conversations help to shift the narrative of who college is for, and why.”

Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384

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.