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MCTC Celebrates its Staff and Faculty

Employee AppreciationMay is a time of celebration at MCTC, not just for the 1,795 graduates of the College, but for the staff and faculty who work hard throughout the year to ensure MCTC offers a stellar student experience. Dozens of employees were recently recognized at a College event for their years of service to MCTC ranging from five, ten, fifteen, twenty through 45 years of dedication. As years of service were recognized, 18 retirees were singled out to receive additional gratitude and praise as they move on to new things. It was also a time of celebration for 10 faculty and staff who were recently recognized for their outstanding service or accomplishments. It seems only fit to share news of their awards with our community whom they are proud to serve.

Senior Accounting Officer Jason Dorsett received the MnSCU 2016 Outstanding Service Award for Finance Management and Leadership for his significant contributions, including leading system-wide training of business office staff that improved communication between colleges and universities and their students. Jason lives and breathes service and is a trusted figure on campus, especially by students. His efforts also included spearheading a financial aid refund management process on campus and developing a process to assist homeless students and students without bank accounts.

English Instructor Shannon Gibney won a prestigious Minnesota Book Award in the category of Young People’s Literature for her powerful coming-of-age novel about a 16-year-old, bi-racial girl adopted by a white family. The Minnesota Book Awards are presented by Friends of the St. Paul Public Library to writers, illustrators and book artists who demonstrate tremendous literary talent. Shannon’s novel, See No Color, has received praise from literary critics, including being described as “an exceptionally accomplished debut.” A Star Tribune book review stated, “Gibney hits this one out of the park.”

Safety Administrator Amy Hruska received the 2016 MnSCU Award for Facilities Excellence for her leadership in ensuring a safe and healthy campus for all employees and students. Amy reached out to the safety professionals at metro-area MnSCU schools because she believed through collaboration, the system would become stronger and compliance efforts would be greatly enhanced. This group championed changes resulting in system cost savings by sharing resources.

English for Speakers of Other Languages Instructor Ellen Lewin was recently honored with a 2016 MnSCU Board of Trustees Outstanding Educator Award. She was honored for her tireless efforts advocating for English language learners and for exemplifying the concept of being student-centered in all she does. Ellen makes tremendous contributions by teaching in the Reading and English departments, training tutors and providing countless hours of one-on-one tutoring as Faculty Specialist in the Learning Center. She also offers training sessions for faculty working with ESOL students. Ellen cares deeply about students and no matter the issue, she always sees things through their eyes.

Jonathan Lofgren, Addiction Counseling instructor, was honored with a 2016 MnSCU Board of Trustees Outstanding Educator Award for his record of developing meaningful relationships with students that directly influence student success and for consistently encouraging students to be engaged in the MCTC and larger recovery communities. His commitment to students does not stop at the end of a term. His students report that he remains profoundly connected to them as they graduate and move into careers. One former student writes, “we are assured he will continue to support us long after graduation into our careers. He faithfully has the heart of a true educator.”

Bayla McDougal, Addiction Counseling Instructor received the 2015 Bernie Belling Ethics Award presented by the Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health for her consistently ethical behavior and leadership for addiction services in Minnesota. Bayla was also recognized for actively promoting and modeling ethical behavior for the chemical health field as a whole. As a graduate of the first addiction counseling program in the country and an experienced field practitioner, Bayla has built a career using her life experience to help her community.

History Instructor, Diane Pearson, received the MnSCU 2015 Innovation in Global Education Award for her commitment and dedication to broadening the global competencies and perspectives of students. Diane has a passion for engaging in creative practices that enrich the lives of students and increase students’ understanding of the growing interdependence of nations and peoples. She created an event called MCTC Global Conversations which utilized technology to allow students to have face-to-face conversations about global sustainability with students in China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Japan, Mexico and Montenegro.

Curt Schmidt, director of Public Safety received the 2016 Campus Compact Presidents’ Civic Engagement Steward Award. Minnesota Campus Compact is an organization that supports civic engagement and democratic renewal through its diverse network of colleges and universities. Curt is being recognized for his proactive work in reaching out to student and campus groups to promote campus safety and for making a bold move in organizing students, staff and faculty to partner as co-producers of safety on campus. His approach to campus security has been built on respect, trust and understanding.

Mathematics Instructor Ursula Walsh was also honored with a 2016 MnSCU Board of Trustees Outstanding Educator Award for quietly and consistently modeled engaged teaching, a thoughtful approach to curriculum and participation in the life of the college. Ursula consistently asks, “How can I best help students succeed?” She was instrumental in bringing the Statway curriculum to MCTC in collaboration with the Carnegie Institute, to help students fast track through developmental mathematics. Math completion is a major hurdle for students and Ursula finds a way to engage each student in math in a way that is accessible to them.

Tom Williamson, Director of Academic Operations, received the MnSCU 2015 Outstanding Academic & Student Affairs Administrators Award for his demonstrated leadership, commitment and innovation. Tom has implemented important fiscal and operational controls in Academic Affairs and has worked collaboratively with Business Services, Human Resources, Student Affairs and academic divisions to implement efficiencies, improve communication, and help everyone understand the relationship between academic operations and the college’s budget. He is known to those within MCTC as a collaborative colleague who leads by example and raises the performance of those around him.

MCTC congratulates all of the award winners as well as each of its staff and faculty who work tirelessly throughout the College. The College also expresses heartfelt gratitude to its retirees for their dedication and service.