Present: Bruce Adams, Nicholas Arrindell, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Lorna Forde, Alicia Lynn Hannon, Sabrina Hsu, Matthew Lee, Michael Mills, Roman Santillan, and Clemmie Solomon.
Excused: Ashwani Jain and Nan Qiao. Absent: Eunmee Shim, Joy C. West, and Yasin Yimam.
Staff: None present.
The quarterly meeting via Zoom was called to order at 6:06 p.m. by chairman Mumin Barre.
Approval of the Agenda On a motion to approve by Nick Arrindell, seconded by Roman Santillan, the agenda was approved.
Approval of January 19 Minutes On a motion to approve by Bruce Adams, seconded by Mike Mills, the minutes of the January 19 meeting were approved.
Update: Follow-up on Meeting with County Executive Diane Vu was not present to report.
Financial report (Roman Santillan) Treasurer Roman Santillan reported that MSC has $11,097.79 in the bank but that $6,680.77 of that is being held in trust for the El Salvador country committee leaving $3,369.42 available for general purposes. Additionally, $1,047.60 held for the China Committee. We will continue to seek information about funds still available from our 2020 county grant.
Work Groups: Montgomery College Television & Sister Schools (Bruce Adams)
Montgomery College Television: Bruce Adams reported that MCTV station manager Melissa Pace was unable to attend the February 5 meeting because of a family emergency but that we had a productive meeting. The group agreed to begin with a 30-minute pilot program featuring El Salvador. The consensus was to include elements of a virtual trip to our Sister City along with showcasing the contributions of Montgomery residents from the Sister City. The goal is to complete the pilot by summer or early fall. Bruce thanked Roman for recruiting Jeannette Noltenius to participate on the project. Melissa Pace has reached out to schedule a follow-up meeting next week
Sister Schools: Bruce Adams reminded board members that Deputy Superintendent McKnight has expressed strong support for the creation of a Sister Schools program. Bruce explained that because Superintendent Smith has resigned, we have not pressed Dr. McKnight to follow-up. Instead, Bruce and Mumin Barre met with Elaine Chang-Baxter of the MCPS partnership office. Chang-Baxter explained that the academic side of MCPS is almost completely consumed by Covid. The meeting concluded with an agreement to identify a few modest initiatives that would help move forward toward a Sister Schools program once the new Superintendent is in place. We agreed to reach out to Drew Powell of Rockville Sister City Corporation and liaison from Sister Cities International to all Maryland Sister City programs. The hope is that Drew Powell will identify some best practices, and we would convene our MSC board members interested in this topic with MCPS staff and Drew Powell in mid-March.
Global Classroom Project (Michael Mills)
Dr. Michael Mills presented on the Montgomery College (MC) Global Classroom Project. He described the Global Classroom as a new approach to teach and connect instructors with students from different cultures through the use of online communication tools. Montgomery College primarily focusses on global awareness and provides students the tools to be culturally responsive. Michael showed the board examples of how the University of El Salvador and MC students have shared meetings to discuss experiences via zoom meeting. There are two faculty coordinators that assist with the program. The students meet several times (3-4x) a semester and often times outside of the classroom setting. He expressed difficulties with technology depending on the Country, (e.g., Ethiopia), but the students and teachers have creatively utilized one on one communications via WhatsApp.
Michael stated that the program brings in guest lectures from around the world. The global classroom program currently has partnerships in San Salvador, El Salvador, Ethiopia (Gondar University), London, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are exploring new opportunities in India. A number of students have visited El Salvador and have shown interest in Ethiopia.
Bruce asked if anyone at the college is having preliminary conversations about travel. Michael stated they will not be on campus until Fall 2021 therefore the college does not plan to travel in the near future. Mumin asked for more information on the teachers training program. Michael stated that Daejeon currently has the metropolitan of education with MCPS schools which has been conducted over the past 3 years. Daejeon will send teachers to Montgomery County by way of this program. The college will participate in these efforts but currently the program is impacted by Covid.
Sabrina stated that MC has an MOU with Xi’an University. Michael said it has been difficult getting follow up with them due to the time difference.
Tracey asked Michael about the current cohort and how many students participated virtually. Michael stated that there are 15 faculty teaching multiple section with 3-400 students impacted by this session.
Sister City Committee Reports
India: Bruce Adams noted that the new mayor of Hyderabad, India has just been selected. Bruce said he would arrange a meeting with Aruna Miller, Sanjay Rai, Ram Konda, and Mumin Barre to discuss how best for the County Executive to congratulate the new mayor and begin a dialogue.
China: Sabrina reported that in early January the Northwestern Chinese American Association Lunar Calendar celebration was held virtually online. They had a program pre-recorded on YouTube for people to review and celebrate. She mentioned the County Executive sent a Lunar Year greeting to Xi’an officials.
South Korea: Matthew stated that he will be having a committee meeting soon. He will email Bruce to setup the Zoom invite.
El Salvador: Roman expressed interest in adding Jeanette Noltenius to the board as she has a lot of experience in programming and marketing. She recently held a virtual presentation with 2,500 people watching on Facebook.
Ethiopia: Tracey stated that Yasin is still in Ethiopia, however there is a need to keep the committee revitalized and involved in the interim. She plans to connect with the committee members again by holding a meeting to discuss next steps moving forward.
Old/new business/announcements None.
The meeting ended at 6:47 p.m.
NEXT Zoom Meeting Tuesday, March 23, 2021 @ 6 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Tracey-Alexis Dixon MSC Secretary