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The Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE) is a campus-wide resource that promotes an inclusive atmosphere to foster and enrich multicultural understanding among all members of the University of Minnesota community. MCAE's commitment to creating such a climate is driven by a student-centered culture in which students are the highest priority. Check out our purpose and learn about the campus climate we're working to create. Join us!
MCAE: Looking Back. Advancing Forward.
My first year as Director of the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE) at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has come to an end and what a great first year it was. I have learned so much and have been inspired by such strong direction from the Office for Equity and Diversity as well as overall institutional leadership. The students with whom I’ve had the great pleasure to interact are phenomenal. I have experienced the students here to be smart, motivated, dedicated, and appreciative of the services and opportunities available to them.
The MCAE staff is incredibly talented and committed to the academic and personal well-being of the students we serve. I feel grateful to the staff for their work on behalf of our students as well as for what they have taught me about the university. From the Multicultural Kick-Off (MKO) to the MCAE Student Recognition Event to the Celebration of Achievement honoring our graduates, MCAE offers solid programming, which benefits the whole community. Our instructional center offers critical academic support to students. Our strong community engagement initiatives, including the Multicultural Civic Engagement Program (MCEP), the Multicultural Family Literacy Program (MFLP), and our Kids on Campus (KOC) Program have had a positive impact on the community and on our students’ educational growth.
This year, we saw dynamic, engaging, and inspirational programming in the Circle of Indigenous Nations (COIN). Our St. Paul Office sprung to life with a new design, more open and accessible hours, increased program collaboration with our St. Paul Partners, and increased student traffic. Our computer lab was updated to provide easier access for student use and printing. We moved forward with a more sophisticated check-in process at all of our locations, which will allow us to further measure our impact on campus. Thanks to the help of a design class from the College of Design, we added color, art and new arrangement to the central office and made the foyer a more welcoming space for students coming to receive services.
From my vantage point, MCAE’s strengths and contributions to the university are profound and obvious. Yet, there are always improvements to be made. My priorities for my second year at MCAE include:
- Increased Services for Upper Class Students. We will explore ways of offering more services to upper class students, including the possible expansion of the MCAE Academic Success Action Plan program (M-ASAP), further development of the ambassador leadership program, and increased offerings through Student Excellence in Academics and Multiculturalism (SEAM).
- Intergroup Community Development. We will engage in conversation about what it means to be a part of a multicultural community and set the stage for increased connections across cultures. In particular, we will explore ways to better support and honor native communities, while also welcoming indigenous people warmly into our overall multicultural community. The focus here is both to continue to meet the needs of unique individuals and populations and to provide cross-cultural learning opportunities across all groups served by MCAE.
- MCAE Professional Staff Development. We will develop a model staff that creates and work in a healthy, strong, supportive, nurturing multicultural community. In so doing, we will create a more dynamic MCAE staff presence in the center, across campus, in the wider Twin Cities community, and on the national scene. This effort will result in our talents being better used to serve students and share our value and expertise with the University community at large.
- Partners & Champions. We will further develop Partners & Champions who support our work, can speak to our services, and collaborate with us on important student initiatives; as part of this effort, we will explore the possibility of assigning MCAE liaisons to various partners and champions. Building on our successful alumni homecoming gathering, the alumni group will be further solidified. We will launch MCAE’s University Partners Advisory Board, our Twin Cities Partners Advisory board, and the COIN Advisory Board while we further develop the Student Advisory Board.
We will be a place in which students believe, feel, and know that they are at the center of our work, where students feel supported, engaged, and connected to excel both academically and personally; where the identity and self-expression of every community member is encouraged and embraced; where lives are transformed and social justice is a daily lived experience by all.
I will lead the center forward from a foundation grounded on the following pillars:
- Students are always at the Center of our work. We offer stellar academic and personal support to students through caring administrator-student relationships, as well as academic support initiatives, and opportunities.
- We are One MCAE. Though we work on multiple initiatives and even reside in different spaces on campus, we all work together as “One MCAE” to serve all students. We recognize the individuality of each other and honor that, while striving to be a supportive, nurturing, dynamic, ever-growing and changing team of professionals.
- We welcome students warmly and celebrate their achievements loudly. Through key signature programs, including, but not limited to the Multicultural Kick-Off, MCAE Recognition, and Celebration of Achievement, students experience this warmth and celebration.
- We promote strong Community Engagement. Through our programs, students are connected with the community in ways in which they can both give back and learn.
- We engage our Partners and Champions. Through established relationships and collaborations with University and Twin Cities partners, we help provide the best educational and community engagement experience possible for our students.
- We are a Strong Team. We work together well, resolve conflicts professionally and civilly, and support each other in this important and challenging work. We serve as a model of a healthy multicultural organization for our students,
- We educate students on multiple levels. We provide not only academic opportunities for students, but also educational experiences in leadership, social justice, and intergroup community development.
Here’s to a productive and meaningful 2013,
Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence