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First Friday Forum: Black Awareness and Academics Achievement
Metropolitan State University, St. Paul Campus – Auditorium
700 E 7th Street
St. Paul, MN 55106
Friday, February 02, 2018, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM CDT
Category: First Friday Forums

Black Awareness and Academics Achievement

Friday, February 2, 2018

Registration: 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Program: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Reception to follow at 12 p.m. in the Founders Hall Reception Area.

Friday Forums are cosponsored with the
Metropolitan State University Psychology Department

About the Program

This forum features three speakers who will address the topic of Black Awareness and Academic Achievement.

Eric Mahmoud will draw on his years of experience as an urban educational administrator to reflect on the achievement gap and how pathways to success can be forged despite disparities in educational opportunities. He will discuss closing the achievement gap, highlighting examples from his charter school work and the role mental health professionals/educators and community members can play in bridging the gap.

Dr. Tabitha Grier-Reed will discuss her efforts to address the achievement gap via the African American Student Network (AFAM). Dr. Grier-Reed co-founded AFAM in 2005 as a safe space for Black students on a predominantly White college campus. She will share both quantitative and qualitative research on how AFAM seems to operate in the lives of students. Her discussion will include adaptations of the network for high school students, psychosocial tasks facing African American emerging adults, and AFAM as a culturally specific counseling intervention.

Ted Thompson will identify the importance of mental health to academic achievement for African Americans and the important role of mental health professionals in bridging the achievement gap. He will identify how a resilience approach in a strength based practice can help individuals, families, and the community meet the challenge of addressing the achievement gap.

A reception will follow the event honoring Rudy Rousseau with The John M. Taborn Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychology by a Person of African Descent.

This session is at the intermediate level and is designed for psychologists and other mental health professionals.

This session qualifies for 3.0 continuing education credits. You must attend the full 3-hour program to get continuing education credit for the event.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the achievement gap for African American students and two successful efforts to bridge it. 
  2. Describe the relationship between Black students’ awareness of their culture and academic achievement and the impact of providing a support network on student achievement. 
  3. Identify two strategies that mental health professionals can use to facilitate academic achievement and success for African Americans and how a resilience approach can help individuals, families, and the community address the achievement gap.

About the Presenters:

Eric Mahmoud, is Founder and CEO of the Seed Academy, Harvest Preparatory School, Best Academy, Sister Academy and Mastery Schools. He received his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. After working in the field of computer design engineering, he turned his full attention to developing academic programs. His commitment to academic excellence is reflected in his passionate pursuit of policies and programs that support teachers, empower parents, and inspire students. Under his leadership, Harvest Preparatory and Best Academy are the top schools in Minnesota in closing the academic achievement gap. Mr. Mahmoud has received local and national recognition for his work in education.

Tabitha Grier-Reed, Ph.D., LP, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Social Science, College of Education & Human Development at the University of Minnesota. She received a Ph.D. in Counseling & Student Personnel Psychology, Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. She is an Affiliate of the Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health, University of Minnesota. She has received many honors and awards for her research, creative work, teaching, public engagement, or service. The development and study of the African American Student Network is a cornerstone of her research.

Ted Thompson, B.A., is currently practicing as a life coach. He received his B.A. with High Honors from Morehouse College where he majored in psychology. For over thirty years he maintained a private practice as a licensed psychologist in Minnesota. In his practice, he specialized in child and adolescent development. As a family therapist, he provided clinical services to individuals, couples, and families as well as supervision for staff. A frequent presenter for Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, he addressed issues related to cultural dynamics in delivering psychological services, parenting, and identity formation for children. Mr. Thompson is the recipient of the MPA Diversity in Leadership Award in 2006 and the MPA Diversity Committee Award for Outstanding Achievement in Black Psychology in 2015.

The Minnesota Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Minnesota Psychological Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

ACCESSIBILITY ACCOMMODATIONS:  If you need disability related accommodations, including parking, to make this event accessible, please contact the Metropolitan State University Center for Accessibility Resources, 651-793-1549, or [email protected]

To Register:

Register Online

Click here for a pdf Registration Form and Flyer

Walk-up registrations are welcome the day of, but pre-registration is preferred.

Pricing MPA Member Non-Member Student
Early Bird Registration - Register by January 19 $45 $65 $15
Regular Registration - Register after January 19 $55 $75 $25


Refund/Cancellation Policy: A 100% refund will be made if the event is cancelled. Refunds, less a $5 handling free, will be given if a written cancellation is received at least two working days before the scheduled program begins. Transfer of fee to another program is granted if written cancellation notice is received at least one day before the program. No refund or transfer is given the day of the program.

Diversity Statement

The Minnesota Psychological Association actively encourages the participation of all psychologists regardless of age, creed, race, ethnic background, gender, socio-economic status, region of residence, physical or mental status, political beliefs, religious or spiritual affiliation, and sexual or affectional orientation.Although we are an organization of individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the Minnesota Psychological Association also recognizes our core unifying identities as Psychologists who practice in America. We also recognize that we may hold unintentional attitudes and beliefs that influence our perceptions of and interactions with others. Within this context of unity and self-exploration, we are committed to increasing our sensitivity to all aspects of diversity as well as our knowledge and appreciation of the unique qualities of different cultures and backgrounds.We aspire to becoming alert to aspects of diversity, previously unseen or unacknowledged in our culture. In this spirit, we are committed to collaborating with multicultural groups to combat racism and other forms of prejudice as we seek to promote diversity in our society. To this end, we are dedicated to increasing our multicultural competencies and effectiveness as educators, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and practitioners.