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Minority Serving Institution Convening

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Minority Student Success: Using Data to Effect Change
October 14-15, 2016

President Mark Mitsui of Portland Community College and Professor Robert Teranishi of University of California Las Vegas were featured at this inaugural event – the first of four – planned annually on the Richland College campus in Dallas, Texas.

President Mitsui’s knowledge of the conference theme and MSIs comes from a long distinguished career in higher education in Washington State and most recently as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education.  Among the kernels of wisdom illuminated during President Mitsui’s keynote address was the power of qualitative data to contextualize and give voice to the populations we seek to study, support, and empower.

Quite often research designs intended to produce quantitative data, even as results are disaggregated by ethnic subgroups, do not provide a cohesive narrative to bring clarity to a problem or need in our communities.  He drove this point home by sharing his experiences working with the AAPI community in South Seattle.  Through conversations with the community in South Seattle, he and others were able to see that the lack of male role models was as a major factor affecting academic outcomes among males within the Khmer community. 

I took note of President Mitsui’s insights into grant funding opportunities now and in the future and was particularly pleased to know that MSI’s and other institutions that are looking to develop their capacity can tap into opportunities in unexpected places.  I mean, who knew that there were a ton of internship opportunities for our students at the Smithsonian or student support-related grants under the USDA SNAP program?

For his part, Professor Teranishi walked us through the Partnership for Equity in Education through Research (PEER) study to unveil the tremendous success De Anza College, City College of San Francisco, and South Seattle Community College have experienced across key academic outcomes and indicators among the AAPI students at these institutions.  The data presented in this study also illustrates the ethical quandary that all AANAPISIs face inherent in program designs and interventions intended to benefit a small proportion of eligible students.  Professor Teranishi uses a funding gap analysis sourced by IPEDS data to reveal just how much of a financial investment is required to bring these successful “pilots” to scale and across all AANAPISIs to help bring equity in the allocation of federal and philanthropic resources to schools with significant AAPI enrollment. 

The MSI Convening was organized exceptionally well and utilized the best Richland College had to offer from its president, Dr. Kathry K. Eggleston, to the student volunteers who were particularly impressive as guides and facilitators both in and out of the classrooms (location of breakout sessions).  There were many wonderful features on the campus grounds and in the buildings/rooms that contributed to a conducive space for this event.  I am especially grateful for the opportunity to tour the English Corner where faculty and staff from the World Languages, Culture, and Communications department continue to move the needle for underrepresented ethnic minority groups and others who struggle through college-level English courses.

If given an opportunity to participate in the next scheduled MSI Convening in 2017, I would like to see more emphasis on the availability and use of technological tools to compile and analyze data, and how these tools may be adapted or scaled up to complement or integrate with current database systems on our college campuses.  Overall, I was very satisfied with the speakers and scheduled workshops I attended.

As we say in the Mariana Islands, un dangkulu na si yu’us ma’asi (a big thank you) to the staff at APIASF as well as the Kresge Foundation for providing me with the financial support and opportunity to experience Dallas, Texas, Richland College, and its inaugural Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Convening.   I look forward to sharing all that I have learned with my colleagues at the Northern Marianas College and utilize successful strategies to inform my work.

Leo Pangelinan

Northern Marianas College

Leo Pangelinan

Photo, from L-R: Brian Goo, Mission College; Fanny Yeung, California State University, East Bay; Leo Pangelinan, Northern Marianas College

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