College earns top marks in degree awarded to minorities
By Michael Finch
Miami Dade College is featured as the country’s top associate’s degree producer for minorities in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine’s June 10 issue.
The magazine focuses on minority issues in higher education produces the rankings annually by counting the degrees awarded to separate minority groups and then the institution with the greatest total.
The rankings are based on information each institution submits to the Department of Education from the previous school year. The most recent numbers reflect the 2008-09 school year.
Statistics from Diverse show that MDC awarded more than 6,000 associate’s degrees to minorities for the 2008-2009 school year. That number does not include the 171 bachelor’s degrees or the 1,105 certificates MDC awarded during that period.
Frederic Toney, North Campus academic advisement and career services assistant director, said that advisers are one of the key contributors when it comes to helping students graduate and transfer.
“We are a roadmap,” Toney said. “We help to make sure students position themselves when they leave here, to walk across the stage at graduation and right into another college or university.”
Miami Dade College, one of the few institutions with an open door policy, first opened in 1960 as Dade County Junior College. Now, 50 years later, the college has conferred thousands of degrees and has continued to reinforce its motto that "opportunity changes everything."
The College has eight campuses and more than 170,000 students.
Toney, an employee in student services at the college since November 2004, added that MDC’s best characteristic as an institution of higher education-is that it has an open door policy.
“We are a college that is open to the entire community, where anyone is welcome,” said Toney.
A Fall 2008 enrollment study by the college’s institutional research department shows that 52 percent of MDC students were first generation college graduates.
North Campus student Christelle Fleurius, who graduated this past May with her sister Martine Fleurius, is one such case.
Christelle Fleurius, a Haitian-American student, who was accepted into American University in Washington D.C., credits MDC with preparing her for her future endeavors.
“I really learned so much,” Fleurius said.
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