Jeff Williamson.jpg

Jeff Williamson

The month of November is a special time of the year as it reminds us to give thanks.

At North Hennepin Community College, we have much to be thankful for, including celebrating the talents and shared experiences of our students, faculty and staff highlighted here.

Dr. Eugenia Paulus, chemistry faculty for NHCC, was recognized with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. She is the only community college faculty member from Minnesota and one of only two individuals from the state to receive this award, facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation, dating back to its inception in 1995. Colleagues, administrators, and students nominate individuals and organizations for exemplary mentoring sustained over a minimum of five years. We are thrilled she’s being recognized as it reflects her incredible commitment to student success inside and outside of the classroom.

NHCC’s commitment to student success is also evident in the professional training opportunities for campus leadership. Jesse Mason, Provost; Julio Vargas-Essex, VP of Student Success; and Nerita Hughes, Dean of Business, Technology, Career & Workforce Development, recently completed The Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership week-long training. The national professional development activity is sponsored by the Presidents’ Round Table of African-American CEOs of Community Colleges. The Institute’s focus is to transform good administrators into extraordinary leaders.

Of course, student success includes shared experiences with our students, too. Last month, campus leaders invited four students to attend the Student African American Brotherhood conference in San Bernardino, California. One of the students had this to say about the conference: “The conference had amazing inspirational speakers to encourage students. They also talked about mental health, and had a panel with presidents from different schools that we were able to ask questions about student success. I was able to make connections with people from different states. It was overall a great experience!”

In addition, NHCC introduced a new course this fall, African American Civil Rights Immersion Experience, to provide students with an up-close immersive experience of some of the events, places, people and systems throughout the United States that have helped shape and define contemporary African-American theories. As part of the curriculum, 40 students traveled on a bus for six nights to five states and visited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s childhood home, Tuskegee University, Mike Brown’s memorial in Ferguson, Kelly Ingram Park, the 16th Street Baptist Church, Brown Chapel and more.

Students shared that they learned a lot about their families and themselves, and a few expressed interest in attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities after this experience.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank our veterans. We are grateful for your extraordinary service to our country. NHCC invites the community to join us to connect with and honor veterans within our community from 2-2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Center for Business and Technology. The event will include a keynote speaker, panel of individuals connected to military service, community resources and light refreshments. Admission is free, and all are welcome.

Jeff Williamson is interim president of North Hennepin Community College.

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