HCC’s “Conversations from the Couch” Returns with a Feature on Cultural Responsiveness


Dragon Digital Television

HCC President Dr. Daria J. Willis in an episode of “Conversations from the Couch”

Carlie Olenick

After an inspiring and entertaining first season of “Conversations from the Couch,” HCC President Dr. Daria J. Willis welcomes back the second season by featuring Associate Vice President of Teaching and Learning Dr. Toni Sims Muhammad. 

Previously, Willis has interviewed HCC guests like Tim Banks, Acting Dean of Business and Computer Systems; Dr. David Tirpak, Associate Director of Career Services; Israah Ansari, SGA President and plenty more. 

Asking many of the guests about their goals and advice for HCC students, Willis provides a friendly and inviting environment to engage with viewers over the screen. 

Live streamed on HCC’s Instagram, Dr. Daria J. Willis and Dr. Toni Sims Muhammad both sat down on the infamous “pink couch” to discuss the significance of Black History Month and Muhammad’s journey of her passion for work in higher education at Howard Community College. 

 As she mentions Maryland having its very first Black governor, Wes Moore, Willis expresses the importance of continuing to have “firsts” for Black talent in higher positions. It is vital to teach the truth about Black history to the students and faculty at HCC, to get the stories and facts correct for wider representation and awareness.

Muhammad believes commitment and authenticity in oneself is the prize for overcoming setbacks that Black employees may endure in the workplace. “We know that we are still evolving in this work,” said Muhammad. “We have to remain committed and steadfast on this journey.” 

Paving the way for more African Americans to become firsts in the workplace, Muhammad speaks to the fact that herself and Willis have contributed to the historical foundation of successful representations of African Americans not only at HCC but in their communities and society because of their hard work and commitment to getting the job done. 

Willis and Muhammad explain how they value their students at HCC, and how they look to guide them as individuals on the pathway to success in education and in themselves. They see them as more than just students but as human beings whom they are proud of and value for their recognition of challenging work in school. 

Engaging with students is particularly important in acknowledging them for their purpose and truly getting to know them as people. Muhammad thinks the professional label of “Associate Vice President” should not fool students into thinking that she is just about doing the action of her job title. 

“I want them to know I’m here to connect with you,” said Muhammad. “It isn’t just about me teaching you this discipline.” Muhammad strives to engage with students in ways that make them feel valued in and out of the classroom. 

Sharing many laughs and inspiring words of advice and encouragement, “Conversations From The Couch” is a wonderful way to learn and watch faculty and students shed light on their mission to help students in their journey at higher education and in their personal lives. 


To stay updated on when the next episode of “Conversations From The Couch” is announced, follow Howard Community College on Instagram @howardcommcollege to know who Dr. Willis will interview next!