Equity and Inclusion
Minneapolis College is changing its institutional approach, from fitting students to our institution's needs to fitting our institution to our students’ needs. We believe equity remedies personal and systemic disadvantages and removes barriers to inclusion. Through shifting attitudes about diversity and the allocation of resources, we achieve just outcomes. We create inclusion through a climate of belonging and meaningful participation. It results from equitable and culturally responsive policies and practices that generate trust.
We state this in the present tense; there is not a destination point; this work is ongoing...
Diversity, equity and inclusion figure prominently in Minneapolis College’s Mission, Vision, Values and Strategic Priorities and in the Strategic Plan. To accomplish the goals laid out in the College’s plans, Minneapolis College has an Equity and Inclusion Division, an Equity and Inclusion Coordinating Committee and multiple subcommittees and project teams that initiate and implement projects and monitor outcomes.
The Equity and Inclusion Division’s mission is to better prepare our college to meet the needs of underrepresented students. The Division enacts this mission in 3 primary approaches: multicultural programming designed to support underrepresented student populations, professional development for our workforce, and an equity lens focused on better matching policy and procedures to the students we serve. Ideally the division serves as a bridge toward trust and a lodestone for both members of underserved communities and for those who wish to provide equity minded service.
The Division of Equity and Inclusion has 2 arms: a coordinating committee which guides the work of approximately 80 people on campus to guide plans and implementation of initiatives, and a staff that oversees programming for specific identity groups that includes the American Indian Success Program (AISP), African American Education Empowerment Program (AME) and Latinos Unidos for College and Higher Achievement (LUCHA).
Mission of the Equity and Inclusion Coordinating Committee:
The Coordinating Committee aligns, guides, and supports the efforts of the Equity and Inclusion Subcommittees and greater campus community to implement the Strategic Inclusion Plan and address inequity, exclusion, and disparate impacts. We ensure equity and inclusion are constitutive to all college processes, policies, and daily practices. We seek to improve our collective cultural responsive, racial literacy and support all campus community members.
Some of Minneapolis College’s diversity, equity and inclusion teams include an accessibility subcommittee, an inclusive pedagogy and curriculum subcommittee, a Dr. Martin Luther King celebration subcommittee and a Pow Wow committee.
Key Equity and Inclusion Documents
- President's Response to Minneapolis College Student Letter (2015)
- 2016 Academic & Student Affairs Fall Conference on Student Letter (PPT)
- Strategic Inclusion Plan 2016-2020
- Out From the Shadows of Minneapolis: Power, Pride, and Perseverance at a Northern Community College book video
- Add book link- Aug 9 Version
- Insight News article on Equity and Inclusion Division
Minneapolis College hosts a culturally, economically, linguistically, and racially diverse student body. As a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) the Minneapolis College Campus is among the most diverse campuses in Minnesota. 72% of the student body is from a demographic underrepresented in higher education.
Some of the distinctions defining who an underrepresented student is, include: first-generation student, a student of color and/or a low-income student.
2019 Race/Ethnicity % of Total Headcount
So what is Minneapolis College doing to address the importance of equity and inclusion related issues that are present on our diverse college campus?
Our approach is 3-fold:
- We empower stakeholders from across the campus – students, staff, faculty – who are passionate about creating an inclusive campus environment and closing opportunity gaps to contribute their expertise via campus trainings and other venues
- We strive to embed equitable policies, procedures/processes and practices into the daily life of the Minneapolis College community. If you are interested in equity and inclusion at Minneapolis College, you are our stakeholder too!
- We seek to be the bridge of trust from members of underserved populations to our institution.
The following student clubs, teams, and individuals have taken ownership on several key issues. We invite you to contact them for further information on how they do equity and inclusion work on our campus.
Equity and Inclusion Initiatives and Leaders
E and I Initiatives with Associated Student Clubs
African American Education Empowerment Program (AME)
“Creating a Culture of Excellence and Inclusiveness”
The AME Program mission is to develop and create pathways for the educational success of students of color. Through intentional programming and support, students develop leadership capacity through mentoring and increased involvement in the college community, society, nation, and the world.
The African American Education Empowerment Program (AME) creates opportunities for the educational success of all students with an emphasis on African American students and students of color at Minneapolis College. There are 4 distinct student groups within AME:
- Brother to Brother (B2B)
- Sisters of the Diaspora (SoD)
- Student Transition and Education Program (STEP)
- African American Parity (AMP) Group.
Empowering students in the development of leadership skills, AME programs contribute to the personal growth, retention, and graduation of students.
- Sisters of the Diaspora
American Indian Success Program (AIS)
The American Indian Success Program is designed to support and foster the educational success of American Indian students attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College (Minneapolis College). Our goal is to create a strong and united cultural community on campus that contributes to the retention, graduation and personal growth of Native students.
The program provides comprehensive support services, from admission to graduation, that specifically address the needs of American Indian students and affirm their Native cultural identity.
- UNITE Student Club-United Nations of Indian Tribes for Education
The Mission of the LUCHA program is to better represent the cultural diversity and identities across the Latinx campus community. We assist in the recruitment, retention, and academic success of Latinx students attending Minneapolis College. Through culturally relevant academic advising, leadership development, honors society opportunities, cultural programming, and community outreach, we empower students so that they reach their fullest potential.
- LUCHA Summer Camp
- Raices Unidas Student Club
Research, Resources, and Training
- Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Course for faculty- Lisa Bergin
- Anti-Racism Pedagogy Across the Curriculum (ARPAC)- Rebecca March
- Minneapolis Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Equity Leader- Rebecca March
- Implicit Bias - Rebecca March
- Microaggressions – Dr. Jay Williams, Nanette Missaghi
- Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Workgroup- Nanette Missaghi
- Trauma Responsive Workgroup- Catrina Huynh-Weiss
- Culturally Relevant Advising Workgroup- Nanette Missaghi
- Gender Equity - Irene Faass
- Culturally Relevant Pedagogy - Lisa Bergin, Dr. Jay Williams, Nanette Missaghi
- A Mindful Approach Towards Equity- Jenny Sippel
- Community Organizing- Lena Jones (former Center for Teaching & Learning consultant)
- Working with Veterans – Renee Cannon, Miki Huntington, Tara Martinez
- Title IX Officer- Patrick Troup
- Hate speech and hate crimes- Dr. Jay Williams. All complaints should be directed to Public Safety.
- LGBTQIA- Dr. Jay Williams, Nanette Missaghi
- Workforce Diversity, Shift to Competency Based Qualifications - Dianna Cusick
- Accessibility Resource Center- Caidin Riley
- Student Life/Student Clubs (e.g. Muslim Student Association, Feminists Organizing Change) - Student Life
- Student Support Center - Becky Nordin
- Veterans Services - Renee Cannon
- Equity & Inclusion D2L site [you must be registered to gain access]
- Drum & Dance Circle—Heartbeats of Community, Sept. 19, 2019
- Indigenous People’s Day Celebration, October 14, 2019
- 3rd Annual Spring Graduation Powwow in April, 2020
- Winter Storytelling in February, 2020
- Dr. Martin Luther King Community Celebration in January, 2020
College Diversity Officer
Under Dr. Jay Williams’ leadership, Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Equity and Inclusion Division is transforming the institution’s approach to equity work. Dr. Jay (typically seen sporting a black hat) is guiding the College’s efforts to embed equity consciousness into its practices, procedures, policies and planning. His cultural fluency training programs and Sociology and Anthropology courses provide a valuable pipeline into insights from students and employees that inform this work.
With a career built on recruiting, supporting and empowering under-served students, Dr. Jay has successfully designed youth enrichment and leadership programs, secured financial support for undocumented students and addressed students’ housing and hunger issues.
His passion to increase access to higher education and inspire hope in at-risk youth has been instrumental at Minneapolis College as well as at Princeton University, the National School and Community Corps, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and Carole Robertson Center for Learning and on Chicago’s West side. In 1993, his community work earned him the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Youth Outreach.
Whenever he’s out and about, Dr. Jay is like a magnet for students due to his well-known commitment to always make time for them. Like his work, Dr. Jay’s eclectic personal interests support vastly diverse pursuits such as serving on the Board of Directors for the American Indian Center in Chicago, at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival and as a coach for junior high school robotics teams.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with honors at Princeton University, Dr. Jay completed his master’s and doctoral work at the University of Chicago. He frequently presents his research on ethnic identity development at academic conferences citing his highest goal as ensuring academic achievement is possible for all.
Director of Equity and Inclusion
Nanette Missaghi started with Minneapolis College in March 2018. She is an author, consultant, and trainer on racial equity leadership, culture, cultural competence, and eliminating racism.
She holds an MA degree in anthropology from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with minors in anthropology and American Indian Studies from Bemidji State University.
Missaghi’s interests include racial equity, culturally responsive pedagogy and the intersection of culture and race in educational settings. Missaghi is a licensed Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) coach.
Missaghi contributed chapters in the following works:
- Out From the Shadow: Power, Pride, and Perseverance at a Northern Community College. An American Story in White, Black, and Red
- The Network for Excellence in Teaching. Preparing Effective Teachers: Multiple Approaches to Ensure Teaching Quality and Impact. Co-author with Elizabeth Finsness, Chapter 8-Measures of Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy
- Equity Pedagogy: Teaching Diverse Student Populations. The Relevance of Culture and Identity: Why it Matters.
- More Courageous Conversations about Race by Glenn E. Singleton. Co-authored Chapter 11-Eden Prairie Schools- A Case Study with Dr. Melissa Krull.
- Missaghi contributes to the Eden Prairie News Spiritually Speaking column and writes a blog called CultureIntel at www.cultureintel.com.
African American Education Empowerment
Dr. Charles Watson
Dr. Charles H. Watson grew up straddling two worlds: the scholarship boy from the inner-city, learning in one world while living in another. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, a town of stark contradictions, his mother made one fact plain—few forces on earth exceed the transformative power of education. With such belief instilled to his core, Charles went on to graduate from Columbia University. Trained in classics of the western intellectual tradition, he then pursued doctoral studies in philosophy at Stanford University and later worked there as a post-doctoral teaching fellow in the humanities.
For 7 years, he held an interdisciplinary chair in the humanities, as a member of the teaching faculty at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Since the fall of 2012, Dr. Watson has been an adjunct instructor at Minneapolis College in the Department of Philosophy.
Author of The Existential Imperative: On the Material Production of Authenticity, Charles seeks to encourage students of color in locating their narrative voices in a broader conversation about the examined life and the conditions for flourishing. Charles is interested in the service that can be paid to the civic good through the building up of intellectual and moral character. He believes the black intellectual tradition exemplifies learning as an act of self-emancipation and illustrates a biography in triumph of the human spirit under adverse circumstances.
Latinos Unidos for College and Higher Achievement (LUCHA) and Star Scholars
Vladimir works with many Latinx and underrepresented students on campus. Having a passion for higher education, he truly believes in the transformative power that higher education brings to all students.
While serving as a Latino Student Recruiter and a Latino Student Advocate within the Minnesota State system, he has been able to create and maintain relationships with students, families and community organizations. Being part of the Latinx community himself, he truly understands the importance of supporting and empowering all students though resources and opportunities.
He believes in Minneapolis College’s institutional approach to fitting our institution to our student’s needs. His approach to helping students has led him to co-advise Raíces Unidas, our Latinx student group, as well as participate with Phi Theta Kappa, the international honors society.
While he is passionate about the work that he does, he also finds time to interact with students by attending and helping out with student run events. He is not only a staff member, but also a member of Minneapolis College’s own community.
American Indian Success
Contact Nanette Missaghi for more information.
Catrina is the executive assistant to Dr. Jay Williams (College Diversity Officer for Equity and Inclusion) and Patrick Troup, Vice President of Student Affairs. She has a background in educational programming, performing arts, youth development, and science. She has over 15 years in creative production, from producing educational television programs for PBS, C-SPAN, Discovery and Travel Channels, to events with national and local non-profit organizations.
Catrina received her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Wellesley College. In her spare time, she is a professional actor and storyteller. Her strong desire to “do her dreams” has landed her swimming with penguins in the Galapagos, crewing on a double-masted schooner to Cuba, working in Washington, D.C., and living pura vida in Costa Rica and London.
Equity and Inclusion Administrative Support Specialist
Jonathan graduated from Minneapolis College’s Cinema Program in 2010. He believes storytelling is our most powerful tool for bridging cultural barriers. Having written everything from screenplays to young adult novels to picture books, Jonathan is passionate about all art that shines a light on underrepresented realities.
He joins the Equity and Inclusion team after receiving his Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults degree from Hamline University in 2019. Jonathan’s professional background includes health licensing, natural foods, and arts nonprofits. When he is not at work, he enjoys live music, reading, drawing, gaming, and fitness. His office is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ identifying students.
Dr. Sharon Pierce, Minneapolis College’s President, has engaged employees in a book club that focuses on better understanding current issues in diversity, equity and inclusion.
The most recent book read is faculty member Shannon Gibney's latest offering book Dream Country.