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President's open forums give students a voice

Student Open Forum 2016When Dr. Sharon Pierce joined MCTC as its new president in June, she made a commitment to listening to the College’s internal and external communities to gain a full understanding of the College and the community it is dedicated to serving. Following through on that promise, Dr. Pierce held a series of open forums in early October so she could get to know MCTC’s students and provide them the opportunity to have an open, candid conversation with her, asking questions, sharing their thoughts and obtaining her feedback on issues they care about.

The open forums drew students from both liberal arts and technical areas of the College, including representatives from the MCTC Student Senate and the African American Education Empowerment Program (AME). 

“I was impressed by the strong sense of belonging of the students I met who actively shared about how important it is to be engaged in the college community beyond just coming to class,” said Dr. Pierce. “When I asked what brought them to MCTC and what they like about the College, the primary response was the diversity of our student population, our beautiful downtown Minneapolis campus, the ease of access via public transportation and the value of the education they receive.”   

Dr. Pierce noted that the students want to make a difference and are excited to be at MCTC. She shared how many students spoke about how the faculty members care about each student and always go above and beyond to ensure they are provided the opportunity to succeed. They remarked on the excellent instruction across every academic area. “Students also commented on the number and quality of support services and ways to get involved on campus ranging from Veterans Upward Bound, to the Resource and Referral Center and AME to student government, honor society, academic and special interest clubs, counseling and advising services and more,” said Dr. Pierce who came to MCTC, in part, because of the comprehensive student offerings at the College.

“One of the things I love about MCTC is how accessible they try to make everything,” said student Dallas Rising. “Having President Pierce sit down with us to have a conversation as equals was really amazing. It was great to just be able to sit down and find out who she is as a person and have her learn who we are as people too.”

Student Elijah Muhammad shared that his biggest take away away from the meeting was the importance of finding work-life balance and how taking steps toward stress reduction can help a person be more successful in school.

“Part of my role, alongside my talented colleagues, at MCTC is to help students figure out where they want to be, discover more about themselves and ultimately enhance their quality of life,” said Dr. Pierce. “The Open Forums provide a fore’ into better understanding and meeting student and community needs. I look forward to sharing more about what I heard in my dialogues with students in the near future.”