Michigan College Access Network Expands Board of Directors and Announces New Chairperson

 Eight new members from across Michigan increase depth of board experience
to advance college-going culture


Jan. 29, 2019 - LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has announced the election of eight new members to its Board of Directors. The newly elected board members are Bart Daig, Ph.D., Maddy Day, LLMSW, David Gamlin, Donna L. Givens,  Dr. Daniel Little, Sarah Wycoff McCauley, David R. McGhee and Sharon Mortensen.  

“We are thrilled to welcome such talented, diverse individuals to our board,” said Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director. “All of these individuals bring experience, expertise and fresh energy to the table. I’m confident their contributions will broaden our perspective as we increase college readiness, participation and completion throughout Michigan.”

In addition, Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., becomes the incoming board chairperson. O’Connor is associate dean of college counseling at Cranbrook Kingswood High School in Bloomfield Hills. O’Connor has served on the MCAN Board since 2011 and most recently served as Vice Chairperson of the Board. O’Connor is also one of the co-founders/co-editors of the Journal of College Access.

“Our new board, at 15 members, will enable us to expand our reach as we support the important work of this statewide network,” said Dr. Patrick O’Connor, MCAN board chairperson. “We are committed to ensuring that the MCAN Strategic Plan grows our impact in this college access movement. I also want to thank Sharlonda Buckman for her dedication and service as Chairperson of the Board over the last two years,” added O’Connor.

The new board of directors members convened their first meeting Jan. 22, 2019.

The new members include:

Bart Daig, Ph.D., has served in a variety of roles at Baker College over the past 28 years. Currently as the CEO/President, he is responsible for providing vision, strategic direction, and executive leadership for the Baker College System that ensures the achievement of the College’s mission, philosophy, strategies and annual goals. Bart holds a Ph.D. in leadership, a master’s degree in business administration, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He has been a life-long resident of Genesee County and currently resides in Atlas Township.

Maddy Day, LLMSW, holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Washington. In 2010, while pursuing her MSW, Maddy co-founded the University of Washington Champions Program, a recruitment and retention program for students from foster care. She graduated with her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Washington in 2011 and worked as Director of Outreach and Training for the Center for Fostering Success at Western Michigan University for six years, developing and directing the Fostering Success Michigan statewide initiative and supervising the Center for Fostering Success training specialist. In July 2018, Maddy started her own consulting company, Maddy Day LLC, and joined the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative as a Site Consultant. Day resides in Portage.

David Gamlin is the vice president of Midnight Golf Program, a 30-week empowerment and mentoring experience that provides high school students in Detroit with invaluable character education lessons including financial literacy, college preparation, community activism and learning to play golf. Since its creation in 2001, the Midnight Golf Program has helped thousands of at-risk, underserved high school students in the Detroit area enter college and various professional careers. Gamlin has been with the program in some capacity for the past 18 years, having held titles including workshop presenter, program director and, now, vice president. In addition to his work with Midnight Golf Program, Gamlin has 30 years of experience mentoring youth, including work with New Detroit, a civic leadership organization. Gamlin resides in Southfield.

Donna L. Givens has over 30 years of nonprofit leadership experience in areas of youth and family development, community economic development, community partnerships and community education. Over the years, she has developed and implemented demonstration programs and worked in partnership with a number of community organizations with the consistent goal of increasing opportunity, building capacity and fostering growth. Now serving as President and CEO of Eastside Community Network, Givens formerly held leadership positions in a number of nonprofit organizations and boards, including Youth Development Commission, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, New Detroit, Inc., and Bridges to Hope, among others. She has a master of educational leadership degree from Wayne State University, a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a certificate of completion from the Harvard University Summer Leadership Institute. Givens resides in Detroit.

Daniel Little, Ph.D., holds appointments of professor of sociology and professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. Little served as chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn from 2000 to 2018, where he is also a professor of philosophy. Little received his undergraduate degrees in mathematics and philosophy from the University of Illinois in 1971 and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University in 1977. Little has had substantial involvement in the Metro Detroit community, including board memberships on New Detroit, City Year Detroit, the Urban League of Detroit, Detroit Drives Degrees, the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition, and Detroit Public Television. Little resides in Ann Arbor. 

Sarah Wycoff McCauley is the founder and president of Strategic Policy Consultants, a policy consulting firm that represents clients in Michigan and throughout the country on issues related to education and the workforce, economic prosperity, criminal justice, regional collaboration and more. Sarah has nearly a decade of experience with public policy, including work in both state and local government. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Albion College and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan. McCauley resides in Traverse City.

David R. McGhee joined the Skillman Foundation in 2014 and serves as the associate vice president of organizational excellence and impact. Prior to joining the Foundation, David served as a program director for Big Brothers, Big Sisters and as a congressional liaison for U.S. Representative Dan Kildee, who represents Michigan’s 5th Congressional District. David’s work with youth and communities and role as a thought-leader has been recognized across the state and beyond. He was featured in the September 2012 issue of Black Enterprise Magazine and contributed to the National Urban League’s 2013 State of Black America Report. In 2016, he was selected as a Next City Vanguard, joining a group of 45 top urban innovators making equitable change, and was also selected to take part in the 2016 American Express Leadership Academy Alumni Summit, a gathering of the nation’s emerging nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. David received his bachelor’s degree in public administration & public policy from Oakland University and a master’s degree in leadership from Central Michigan University.  David is a lifetime resident of Flint.

Sharon Mortensen serves as president/CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation, a position she has held since June 2012. Under her leadership, the Foundation has begun a career and college access network designed to encourage first generation and economically-disadvantaged students to complete postsecondary training. Sharon has worked in the nonprofit world for over 25 years and has extensive nonprofit and community involvement having served or currently serving on a number of councils, boards and commissions, including the Midland County Health and Human Services Council, Mid-Michigan Medical Center-Midland, City of Midland Housing Commission, Midland Community Center Advisory Board, ROCK Advisory Board, among others. Mortensen resides in Midland. 



As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students, and students of color. For the seventh year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 39.4 percent in 2016. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 percent. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.

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