TCC’s Diverse Faculty Fellow for Psychology
Field of StudyPsychology
Melanie McClain is one of two new Diverse Faculty Fellows who started working at TCC this Fall. She is a Psychology instructor within the School of Liberal Arts & Public Service and is located at Metro Campus.
Her educational journey started later in life. Due to a demanding job and raising three children, McClain had given up on her dream of earning a degree. However, after the encouragement of Dr. Kay Wright, a tenured professor at Langston University, McClain decided to invest not only in herself but also in her family.
“For months, Dr. Wright talked to me about returning to school. After numerous conversations, I re-entered TCC in 2009,” says McClain. “Yes, I was nervous about attending college courses again, but Dr. Wright encouraged me along the way. I graduated with a Liberal Arts associate degree. Once I completed TCC, Dr. Wright insisted I enroll in classes at OSU-Tulsa for a bachelor’s degree. In 2011, I graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
“I thought my journey was over until Dr. Wright insisted that I return to the classroom and pursue my master’s degree” explains McClain. “Five years later, I received my master’s degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma.”
McClain’s work experience includes community building and engaging with various student populations in elementary, middle, and secondary education, as well as in the mental health field. “My career has allowed me to be in spaces with students facing academic, social, and environmental challenges that impact their ability to be successful. I have dedicated my life to helping others reach their academic goals because I remember how much Dr. Wright and others supported me during my academic journey.”
After being furloughed in Fall 2020, McClain continued as an adjunct instructor at TCC where she gives back to students and the community. “Before being a part of the Diverse Faculty Program, I’ve always wanted to serve others. TCC fosters me to do just that in my classrooms, while working with scholars.”
The Diversity Faculty Fellow Program is a two-year commitment and funded by an anonymous donor with the goal of exposing students to visibly diverse faculty to help prepare students for the world’s changing demographics while broadening the scope of classroom discussions, perspectives, and experiences.
“My forward thinking within my classrooms means that I recognize everyone is not starting from the same point; therefore, I consistently promote equity in and outside of classroom spaces by embracing, encouraging, seeing, and hearing all scholars and colleagues,” McClain says. “Taking this approach is my foundational belief that diversity within my classroom is a strength, not a weakness and all are welcomed at TCC. And having a faculty member who not only looks like them but has also had to overcome challenges to finish college can show TCc scholars that they are not alone.
“I am fully committed to every scholar’s success in my classroom, knowing that each positive encounter will lead them closer to graduation.”
Why is this program essential to TCC?
Dr. Brad Duren, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts & Public Service, says, “This program demonstrates TCC's dedication to diversity and equity within our academic programs. The DFF brings vital experiences and perspectives to the classroom that help foster a broader understanding of the subject area. As our community embodies diverse experiences and backgrounds, it is essential that our programs do the same.”
He continues, “Professor McClain has both the experience and expertise to bring Psychology to life in ways that enhance the educational experience for her students both in and out of the classroom. She is innovative in her approach and empathetic to the experiences of her students. She embodies and is dedicated to the TCC principle that ‘Everyone Can Learn’, and I look forward to seeing both her and her students achieve great things.”