MCC’s Title V Project, Students & Employees Nurtured & Developed for Academic Success (SENDAS), is a comprehensive development plan that reinforces key institutional commitments to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Guided Pathways to Success (GPS). The project aims to increase student persistence, course completion, graduation rates, and transfer rates with (1) enhanced and integrated student support, (2) coherent, systemic professional development, and (3) the development of a more inclusive hiring process. The grant includes the following professional development goal:
- Improve responsiveness to diverse student populations through coherent, systematic professional development on mindfulness and culturally responsive practices.
The three activities listed below aim to fulfill this grant goal.
Student and employee success will be supported through mindfulness practices to help improve health and mental clarity while reducing stress and burn out. Contemplative pedagogy uses techniques that encourage students to notice and appraise their own experience for the deeper meaning and significance which, at their foundation, is the practice of mindfulness (Bush, 2011).
Mindfulness professional development opportunities and an annual conference will be offered to all MCC employees. More information, including the workshop schedule and stipend structure, is available on the CTL SENDAS Mindfulness webpage.
Chávez and Longerbeam (2016) explain the critical practice of cultural introspection for teaching across cultures “that will enable us to understand the role of our own cultural influences in our pedagogical choices, interactions with students, and judgements about values, priorities, and student behaviors” (p. 217). Multicultural awareness and competency training traditionally focuses on conceptual knowledge of cultural differences rather than cultural development through introspective practice. The SENDAS Project aims to transform the current climate of diversity, equity, and inclusion by engaging faculty and staff through a mindful practice of cultural introspection to extend cultural responsiveness across campus.
Professional development that fosters cultural responsiveness as a way of being and an annual conference will be offered to all MCC employees. More information, including the workshop schedule and stipend structure, is available on the CTL SENDAS Cultural Responsiveness webpage.
In Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines, the authors promote the idea that Learning communities can “purposefully restructure the curriculum to link together courses or course work so that students find greater coherence in what they are learning as well as increased intellectual interaction with faculty and fellow students” (Gabelnick et. al., 1990, p. 5). The SENDAS Project will initiate a partially integrated learning community model by which instructors teaching early, critical courses in targeted Fields of Interest partner with instructors teaching a paired course to develop shared components of their syllabi, contextualize instructional materials, and develop shared assignments.
More information about learning communities, including opportunities to participate in integrated course design professional development, is available on the CTL SENDAS Learning Communities webpage.
During the early spring 2020 semester, the collective minds of seventeen MCC employees came together to draft the SENDAS grant proposal with the intention to elevate the experience and outcomes of diverse learners at MCC. In addition to student impact, this grant also aims to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion among college employees. The Title V SENDAS grant was awarded to MCC in October 2021. This five-year grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
The SENDAS Project teams include a core team made up of key personnel for each grant activity and an advisory board made up of representatives across the college to steer grant activities and make connections to college priorities.