The successful college experience, of course, is not confined to classes and studying. It also includes the special connections students make with each other through student activities and events. Whether it’s clubs and associations for students interested in robotics or dance club, or a weekly Student Senate general assembly meeting, our office of Student Life & Diversity is truly committed to providing programs, services, and cultural events that enrich and engage students, and enhance their personal and professional development beyond pure academics. This week alone they sponsored, among other things, an on-campus American Red Cross blood drive and a National Coming Out Day panel discussion. The Office of Student Life & Diversity also partnered with Keystone Community Services and Hallie Q. Brown Community Center to host food trucks on campus to provide a relief for food disparity that our students encounter in their communities. Meeting the most basic needs, including financial, transportation, housing, and access to fresh and nutritional foods is a critical component to student success.
I want to thank and commend the office of Student Life & Diversity, and all of our faculty and staff who are advisors for student clubs and organizations, for supporting and adding to our students’ success. Their presence is essential and at the very center of one of my favorite questions: if we do not take care of our students and community, who will?
Here’s a short recap of my week:
Interim Chancellor’s Interview with MPR - This week, MPR interviewed Interim Chancellor of Minnesota State. This interview was insightful and informative. For more information, please go to https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/10/09/interim-chancellor-minnesota-state-on-systems-role-in-new-economy
Downtown Development Framework Steering Committee – I attended a Downtown Development Framework steering committee meeting at the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation to discuss their mission to attract and retain employers to downtown by creating a more vibrant, engaging, and successful downtown St. Paul through convening civic, business, and community leaders in a community-based and centered design process.
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Leadership Council - I attended the Minnesota State leadership council meeting with other Minnesota State presidents. We discussed progress with Minnesota State’s Strategic priorities, on-line education strategies, ERP/Next Gen, strategic approaches to Legislative request by investing on higher education, long term financial sustainability plan, newly proposed financial allocation formula, innovation and collaborative funding, developmental education road map, and operating budget outlook.
Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council Board Meeting - I along with private and public sectors leaders attended the Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council Board meeting to discuss strategies that will benefit members of our communities who have traditionally been underserved and underemployed with a special focus on sector partnerships and career pathways to prosperity. Saint Paul College plays a critical role by training qualified talent for Minnesota’s economy and workforce shortage. Check out saintpaul.edu/programs
College Leadership Meeting - I attended the newly formed College Leadership Team meeting along with members of Executive Leadership Team to discuss college updates on strategic initiatives as well as tactical matters concerning the governance and operation of the College.
Interviews held for Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Research and Dean of Student Success - I took part in the College’s interview process of searching for a new dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Research and new dean of Student Success.
House Capital Investment Committee Saint Paul College Tour - The College hosted the House Capital Investment Committee for a tour of the new Health and Science Alliance Center and presentation of the Saint Paul College Renovation design project.
Twin Cities Baccalaureate Strategy Steering Committee - I along with presidents of Metro colleges and universities of Minnesota State attended a planning session to establish the appropriate oversight structure and system procedures necessary to implement the Twin Cities baccalaureate strategies.
A Conversation with Metropolitan State University - I along with dean of Enrollment Management and vice president of Academic Affairs met with a team from Metropolitan State University to discuss the feasibility of offering a four-year degree, using joint admissions process, for Saint Paul College students at the College.
Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Workforce Innovation Network (MSPWin) – I attended a meeting at MSPWin to discuss intentional investment on various workforce and talent development strategies such as sector academies and pathway to prosperity initiatives.
The Karen Organization of Minnesota - I along with several members of Saint Paul College attended the 7th Annual Karen Organization of Minnesota Gala. We are proud of Saint Paul College Karen students and their contributions to Minnesota’s culture and economic prosperity.
Ujamaa Place Transforming Men's Lives Breakfast - the interim executive director of Friends of Saint Paul College and I attended Ujamaa Place’s 4th Annual Transforming Men’s Lives Breakfast. Ujamaa Place serves young African American men and assists them in becoming stronger, more responsible, employed, prosperous men and fathers who provide and contribute positively to their families and community. Dr. Bernice King, chief executive officer of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, spoke eloquently of the need for all of us to intentionally pay close attention to disparities around us and to be actively engaged and involved, rather than simply being disengaged and watching from the side lines. As Dr. Martin Luther King stated, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Saint Paul College is an intentional partner of Ujamaa Place. For more information on Ujamaa Place go to: http://www.ujamaaplace.org/.
I want to share special recognition received this week by Audrey Bergengren, executive director of Marketing, Communications and Recruitment, who was nominated by Brandon Cobb, admissions specialist and veterans liaison. The plaque reads as follows: “Office of the Secretary of Defense, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve recognizes Audrey Bergengren, Saint Paul College, as a Patriotic Employer for contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.” Brandon is himself a veteran, and in the National Guard and Reserve Force. and we are so grateful for his service to this country. I want to thank both Brandon and Audrey for all that they do for Saint Paul College.
In the Pioneer Press
Finally, I want to share this article with you about one of our recent Practical Nursing graduates, Nour Tamimi. She is featured in this inspirational story of her success and determination as a refugee, and about her participation in “Mile in My Shoes,” a program that helps homeless and disadvantaged people take up running. After unhealthy marriage and homelessness, this marathoner found strength in running: Nour Tamimi’s path to running her first marathon is a road few have traveled.
We never know where our inspiration will come from – but one thing is a constant in my life – I am inspired daily by our students and am very proud of their accomplishments.
One thing I know for sure is that Saint Paul College is part of a much larger community of people who are working towards the greater good. I am very grateful to be a part of this College and thank our faculty, staff and students for your commitment to making this a safe, inclusive and thriving campus.
I wish you a relaxing weekend.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College