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MCTC's MnSCU Outstanding Educators

Three Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) faculty members have been honored with the 2016 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Outstanding Educator award. Ellen Lewin (English for Speakers of Other Languages), Jonathan Lofgren (Addiction Counseling), and Ursula Walsh (Mathematics) were nominated for this recognition by members of the MCTC community, and then selected to receive the award by a committee of administrators and faculty. They will officially receive their award at a system-wide ceremony on April 20 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Outstanding Educator 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 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.

On April 20, the MnSCU Board of Trustees will honor a total of 35 outstanding educators who teach at 20 colleges around the state. The Board will also announce selection of its 2015 Educators of the Year—an extremely significant achievement.

About MCTC’s Outstanding Educators

Ellen Lewin, English for Speakers of Other Languages

Ellen LewinEllen is student-focused and student-centered. She is a tireless innovator, consistently implementing new ideas and technologies into the classroom.  Ellen truly loves her students and her work, and it is reflected in the hours she spends honing her instruction, working with students, and mentoring her colleagues and students. Ellen has been with the college since 1986.

To quote from the nomination the committee received for Ellen:

“Ellen’s passion for teaching and learning is matched by her competence, pedagogical content knowledge, and her overall professionalism. This combination makes for a powerful educator and colleague.”

Jonathan Lofgren, Addiction Counseling

Jonathan LofgrenSince joining MCTC in 2006, Jonathan Lofgren has consistently encouraged students to be engaged in the MCTC community and the larger recovery community. Jonathon’s approach in and out of the classroom reflects that he values each and every student in his courses.

To quote from the nomination the committee received for Jonathan:

“As his former student, I recall Jonathan showing deep interest towards diversity and people of all cultures. He created a welcoming environment and believed and motivated all of his students to succeed beyond the Addiction field. He has mastered maintaining the relationships he's built and profoundly remembers that though he teaches numerous students, he values each and every single student body. Students trained under Dr. Lofgren leave his class with confidence and security. They are assured he will continue to support them long after graduation into their careers. He faithfully has the heart of a true educator.”

Ursula Walsh, Mathematics

Ursula WalshUrsula Walsh has been with the college since 2000, and in that time has gained both the respect and admiration of students. Math completion is a major hurdle for students. Ursula finds a way to engage each student in math in a way that is accessible to them. She is able to help students both gain skills and overcome math anxiety.

To quote from the nomination the committee received, discussing a classroom observation, for Ursula:

“What I loved (and I don’t use that word lightly) is how Dr. Walsh used this time to teach the lessons that are too frequently assumed but rarely named: grit, determination, persistent and productive struggle.  Rather than fearing failure – something many of these students had experienced repeatedly when it came to mathematics – the students began to see wrong answers as opportunities to learn and improve.  Dr. Walsh refocused their attention away from ‘failure’ and toward an analysis of the process that led them, how that process worked initially, but where along the line it failed them.  Cartoon-like light bulbs would go off throughout the room!  After thirty-five years of teaching, I know that failure can be the best teacher, but getting students to a place emotionally and intellectually where they can encounter failure and learn from it is a great challenge, one that Dr. Walsh has conquered.”

Please join the campus community to honor MCTC’s three 2016 MnSCU Board of Trustees Outstanding Educators
A reception will be held Thursday, April 28, 2016 from 12:30-2 p.m. in T.1400. A short program will be held at 1 p.m. Beverages and desserts will be served.

Find more information about all of the MnSCU 2016 Outstanding Educators

MCTC Past Outstanding Educators
2015: Taiyon Coleman, Kim Munson, Linda Russell
2014: Bayla McDougal, Cheryl Neudauer, Greg Skudlarek
2013: Marcella Jones, John Plomondon
2012: Hafed Bouassida, Jane Leach
2011: Kathleen DeVore
2010: Todd Bridigum
2009: Lynn Bollman, Judith Caney, Joseph Rine
2008: Shirley Flittie, Barbara Hager
2007: Felix Ampah, Steve Kaufman