The highlight of my week is always talking to current and former students – whether here on campus or where they happen to work. Saint Paul College students are employed in every facet of the metro area workforce: healthcare, businesses, service industries, and all kinds of shops and restaurants. Last weekend, I had to take my car to a local automotive dealership for service and maintenance. A young man who is a student at in our Automotive Service Technician program worked on my car. He did a wonderful job. His essential skills (soft skills) and technical skills were marvelous and remarkable. Kudos to all of our students and faculty members, as well as our alumni for representing the College so well and serving our community!
Here’s a short recap of my activities and meetings this week:
- Travelers EDGE - I met with the director of community relations from Travelers to discuss the Travelers EDGE (Empowering Dreams for Graduation and Employment) program, which is designed to prepare low-income and students of color for careers in the insurance and financial services industries. We are grateful to the Travelers Foundation for funding the Travelers EDGE program at the College for the second year in a row.
- Strategic Planning Listening Session - Attended Saint Paul College Strategic Planning listening session to seek feedback from our college community and stakeholders concerning Saint Paul College’s current strategic planning document. For more information go to www.saintpaul.edu/StrategicPlanning.
- Saint Paul Public Schools Initiatives - the College’s deans of enrollment management and STEM programs and I met with the interim superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools to discuss partnership opportunities for Career Pathways Academy, Gateway to College, Concurrent Enrollment, Early College, Youth Career Connect, PSEO, and the Power of YOU programs. The College is currently partnering with SPPS on a new Pathway Academies initiative and concurrent enrollment opportunities for their students.
- Allina Health – I met with Allina’s chief human resources officer and also their VP of human resources to discuss the health care occupational sector employment demand. They also toured our Health Sciences programs and state-of-the-art facilities.
- AFSCME Meet and Confer - I along with members of executive leadership team met with the AFSCME employee bargaining unit representatives to discuss operations of the College in their respective work areas. We also discussed planning, budget, facilities, enrollment, policies, long term financial sustainability model, and the integration of Student and Academic Affairs unit Management Study.
- Neighborhood House Board of Directors Meeting - I attended a Neighborhood House Board of Directors meeting. We discussed policies, compensation, strategies, fundraising, and connection with the Community. Neighborhood House is an intentional partner of the College.
- Meeting with Saint Paul College Muslim Student Association - the interim director of Student Life and chief diversity officer and I met with our Muslim Student Association to discuss various topics, including campus climate.
- Charting the Future - I attended the College’s Charting the Future implementation team meeting and discussed the progress our team is making with various initiatives at the College for the first and second year of Charting the Future and the College goals.
- Higher Ground Academy - I had a phone conference with the Executive Director of Higher Ground Academy to discuss educational partnership and access to higher education at the College for their students.
In the news this week:
Star Tribune Article
In case you haven’t seen the Star Tribune article or heard from other sources, the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) indicates income has risen slightly for black Minnesotans. While that’s encouraging, we have a lot of work yet to do yet at the College and in the community to help change the economic and opportunity gaps. I feel our hard work at the College to reach out to underrepresented students is critical to making a difference in educational and employment opportunities. Here’s the link to the Star Tribune article There are glimmers of economic hope for Minnesota's minorities “The latest income stats aren't as gloomy as last year's for black Minnesotans”.
KARE 11 Saturday: Culinary Arts Program Celebrating 75 Years
Chef Sara Johannes, Saint Paul College Culinary Arts instructor, appeared in a segment of the September 24, 2016 KARE Saturday program, and was interviewed by KARE’s Laura Betker. Chef Johannes cooked and shared a great autumn recipe, and also talked about the Culinary Arts program and students. Also discussed was the upcoming fundraising Culinary Arts Chefs’ Dinner at the College on October 14, with proceeds going to benefit student scholarships. I am grateful to our dedicated Culinary Arts faculty for their involvement in the community and making such great social connections benefitting the Culinary Arts students and program. You can watch the video on the KARE 11 website: http://www.kare11.com/entertainment/television/programs/kare-saturday/culinary-arts-program-celebrating-75-years/324771580.
I will end this week’s blog by thanking our dedicated, committed, knowledgeable, and hardworking faculty and staff for their work to serve our students and advancing the mission, vision, strategic priorities, and strategic plan at Saint Paul College. After all, if we do not take care of our students and our community, who will.
I wish you a relaxing weekend.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College