Mitsui Receives Award for Excellence in Multicultural Student Services

Mark Mitsui, president of North Seattle Community College, has been named recipient of the 2013 Rhonda Quash Coats Award for Excellence in Multicultural Student Services. President Mitsui received his award during the 23rd Annual Students of Color Conference held April 11-13, 2013, in Yakima, Washington.

The Multicultural Student Services Directors’ Council (MSSDC) established the Rhonda Quash Coats award in 2007 to honor Dr. Coats for her leadership, advocacy and pioneering activities, which have had a lasting impact on the Washington State Community and Technical College (WCTC) system in the area of multicultural and diversity programs and services.  

The annual award is presented to an outstanding WCTC professional who has made significant contributions to multicultural/diversity student services in the WCTC system in one or more of the following areas:  leadership, advocacy, service, dedication, innovation, and/or research that foster student success.

President Mitsui was nominated for the award by Tina Young, director of Multicultural Services at Seattle Central Community College, in recognition of his long-standing commitment to multicultural education and services in various positions throughout his career in higher education.

As an example of his multicultural focus as president of NSCC, one of Mitsui’s initiatives has been to recruit and encourage graduate students of color in different disciplines at the University of Washington to consider a career in community college teaching. His pipeline project brings graduate students onto the North Seattle campus to work with experienced faculty members and learn firsthand about teaching at two-year colleges.  

Mitsui was speaker for the 2012 fall quarter Veteran’s Day event on North’s campus, “Leadership in Uniform and Beyond: How the Military Service and Moral Leadership of WWII Era Tuskegee Airmen, 442nd veterans, and Other Excluded-Americans Led to Civil Rights.” Honoring Tuskegee Airmen and 442nd Congressional Gold Medal recipients who came to campus, Mitsui also spoke about many other American veterans who are often not included or recognized to the same degree in this annual holiday – female veterans, Filipino veterans and Native American “code talkers.”  

At South Seattle Community College, as vice president of Student Services, Mitsui mandated that all Student Services staff and administrators attend a series of cultural competency workshops. This gave substantial support to South Seattle’s campus diversity professional development efforts.

In the 2008-09 academic year, Mitsui served as a Washington State Student Services Commission liaison to the Multicultural Student Services Council. During this period, Minority Enhancement Funds were under intense legislative scrutiny and in danger of being cut from higher education budgets. Mitsui supported the efforts of the MSSDC, strongly recommending to the commission that they advocate for the continuance of the earmark. Retention of this key funding was successful, continuing support for different diversity, multicultural, intercultural services/offices/centers across the state.

At the conference where President Mitsui was honored in Yakima, 16 NSCC students and five advisors (staff/faculty) attended, along with over 900 other attendees. Three keynotes and over 76 different workshops rounded out the event, designed to build cultural awareness and identity development.

Posted on: April 17th, 2013 at 10:43:06

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