Equity and Inclusion
At Minneapolis Community and Technical College we seek to provide all students the chance to succeed, to see equitable outcomes. Requisite to this approach is recognizing the distinct needs of our increasingly diverse student body and developing the cultural fluency and resources necessary to realize that goal.
Over the past 10 years, Minneapolis College went from having a Special Assistant to President on Issues of Diversity and Inclusion to a Vice President of Students Affairs/Chief Diversity Officer, to a dedicated Chief Diversity Officer in 2014. Minneapolis College ’s President appointed Dr. Jay Williams as the Chief Diversity Officer for the Division of Equity and Inclusion.
The Division of Equity and Inclusion has two arms: a steering committee which coordinates 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).
Why Equity and Inclusion is Important
The majority of Minneapolis College 's student are underrepresented: low-income, students of color and/or first-generation students and don't fit the traditional, four-year college student model.
Therefore, Minneapolis College has been changing its institutional approach, from fitting students to our institution's needs to fitting our institution to our students’ needs. We state this in the present tense; there is not a destination point; this work is ongoing.
- Minneapolis College Student Letter
- President's Response to Student Newsletter
- 2016 Academic & Student Affairs Fall Conference on Student Letter (PPT)
- Strategic Inclusion Plan
Chief 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.
Minneapolis College is ethnically, economically, linguistically and in so many other ways a very diverse campus. In fact, it is one of the most diverse campuses in Minnesota. Minneapolis College’s student population is made up of 72% underrepresented students.
Underrepresented means being a first-generation student, a student of color and/or a low-income student. Minneapolis College has had more students of color enroll as a percent of the total student population for approximately ten years, with the majority of those students identifying as Black/African-American.
You can find more information about Minneapolis College’s students in Minneapolis College’s Data Shop Report document.
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 two-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!
The following issues have been taken up by different individuals and teams on campus. We invite to contact them for further information on how they do equity and inclusion work on our campus.
Diversity and Equity Initiatives and Leaders
- Student Life/Student Clubs (e.g. Muslim Student Association, Feminists Organizing Change) - Student Life
- Student Senate Diversity Committee - Ivonne Hernandez
Employee and Student Support
- African American Education Empowerment Program - Dr. Marcellus Davis
- American Indian Success Program - Jay Williams
- Cultural Competence Circle - Christopher Rau
- Living Room Conversations - Jessica Shryack
- Latinos Unidos for College and Higher Achievement (LUCHA) - Estefania Navarro Hernandez
- Star Scholars - Estefania Navarro Hernandez
- Power of You program - Arcelle Taylor
Research and Trainings
- Mindset, Implicit Bias - Rebecca March, Anna Mazig
- Microaggressions - Anna Mazig, Vivian Ihekirinye
- Gender Equity - Irene Faass
- Gender Equity in the Workplace - Tiffni Deeb
- Culturally Relevant Pedagogy - Lisa Bergin, Miki Huntington, Maran Wolston (Center for Teaching & Learning consultants) and Cheryl Neudauer and Lena Jones (former Center for Teaching & Learning consultant)
- Working with Veterans - Miki Huntington, Tara Martinez, Joe Fruth
Policies, Procedures and Practices
- Workforce Diversity, Shift to Competency Based Qualifications - Dianna Cusick
- Accessibility Resource Center- Caidin Riley
- Student Support Center - Maya Sullivan
- Veterans Services - Renee Cannon
- Equity & Inclusion D2L site [you must be registered to gain access]
- Cultural Fluency Professional Development Suite: Coming soon
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 Steering Committee and multiple subcommittees and project teams that initiate and implement projects and monitor outcomes.
Mission of the Equity and Inclusion Division: The Equity and Inclusion Division supports student success by designing programs for students with particular identity needs, identifying policies and practices when they have a disparate impact on minoritized groups, and advocating for institutional change. We raise equity justice consciousness internally and externally. We believe that consistency and validation are required to overcome the mistrust of public institutions common amongst members of historically oppressed communities.
Mission of the Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee: The Steering 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 fluency, 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.
“I facilitated a Center for Teaching and Learning book group that focused on helping students to succeed. Through that group, I learned about mindset, then stereotype threat, then implicit bias, and the rest is history. I learned that my role as an instructor--how I treat students, the first impression I get from them, how I receive them when they walk through the classroom door, who I call on, what I expect from each student--those things MUST be consistent, clear, and as free of preconceptions as I can possibly make them. Each and every day, for each and every student.
"Now I do a current events activity that prompts students to look at a current event photo and tell me what that photo is about. I ask them to critically think about and discuss the photo and the meaning of its message, and I try to choose news that might not be at the forefront of common news buzz. My students engage in smart, funny, sometimes hard conversations, and almost every single student has mentioned how much they love this activity and how much it has made them question their cultural beliefs about the information they receive every day.”
- Rebecca March, Library faculty member and chair of the Mindset Workgroup
“I am especially impressed by our school's leadership for standing up for DACA recipients (a.k.a., ‘Dreamers’), Veterans, low income (TRIO) students…A small group of us have been working on developing our interpersonal skills using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). I have seen this type of effort work in the private sector and have high hopes that it can help transform how we work together and teach. Minneapolis College should become a beacon of hope for the community and destination for diverse people wanting to be college staff or faculty.”
- Michael Klug, Ph.D., Biology Faculty member and member of the Intercultural Development Inventory Project Team
“I'd like the external community to hear about and know about the ways we have been able to successfully identify and address equity and inclusion issues and that, if you want to experience as well as learn about how to live and thrive in an environment that supports diversity, equity and inclusion, this is the best place to do that.
"Students in my classroom are representative of the broad spectrum of diversity that they will be working with, therefore, I set up my classes so students have an opportunity to learn from each other. My students will be entering the health care field and will have a more compassionate, respectful way of dealing with their patients due to the learning and experiences…within my classrooms.”
- Judine Pattinson, Community Health Worker Faculty Member
“In my limited experience in cultural competency, it’s been impressed on me that providing a place for someone to take their first step on a long journey is critical. I’ve only just begun myself. I know that a large group setting might work for some, but when people are processing and trying to find their voice, less is probably more.
"With that in mind, I wanted to provide a regular opportunity for my neighbors and staff to give a voice to their thoughts and unburden themselves.
"Culture can be so broad – race, creed, class – but what about each department with the college? How do we go about eliminating siloes and building bridges unless we become a bit more cognizant of our own actions and the cultures that are at their root? I think these are some of the questions that have appeared to date and I am looking forward to where our conversations lead us. A more engaged, culturally competent staff is a key building block in solving our retention equation.”
- Christopher Rau, Minneapolis College Chief Financial Officer
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 current book is faculty member Shannon Gibney's new book Dream Country.