This week I happened to talk to one of our current students and he was amazed to see all the new structures and remodeling that had been done since he had last attended the College many years ago. He mentioned the great addition of the parking ramp, the remodeled Learning Commons space and the new Health and Science Alliance Center. He also said that he had fond memories about his previous years here, and that he is having a wonderful experience at the College once again – and that most of his positive experiences have to do with facutly and staff, and how well they treat him.
Classrooms, labs, and campus grounds might change as Saint Paul College continues to grow and stay relevant with all of our state-of-the-art facilities, but one thing is constant – our number one priority is the student. I assured him that we will continue to deliver on our promise, when our students start here, they can go anywhere.
My Week at a Glance
The Page Education Foundation Scholars Gala - I attended the Page Education Foundation Gala at the U.S. Bank Stadium. It was founded by Alan Page, NFL Hall of Fame inductee and former Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. This nonprofit foundation’s mission is to encourage Minnesota students of color to pursue post-secondary education. For 30 years, the Foundation has provided financial support, in the form of Page Grants, to students of color. In return for their awards, the recipients, known a Page Scholars, help develop positive attitudes about education among elementary and middle-school children by volunteering as tutors and mentors in their communities. We are fortunate to have Page Scholars at Saint Paul College. For more information, go to www.page-ed.org
Welcoming Week & Immigrant Heritage Month 2017 - I attended a dinner reception at the JJ Hill Center in preparation for the Welcoming Week and Immigrant Heritage Month 2017.
Generation Next Stakeholder – I attended the Generation Next Stakeholder meeting in Minneapolis. We discussed literacy, math, career and college readiness strategies, and post-secondary education options/pathways. Through our partnership with Generation Next, we have helped several elementary-school aged children in the community by placing Saint Paul College student tutors at various schools within the St. Paul Public School system. We are currently working with Gateway to College students by implementing an academic advising model for these students on campus.
District Energy St. Paul – I attended a District Energy St. Paul board meeting. District Energy St. Paul is considered the most notable in the United States for its use of renewable energy sources and implementation of energy conservation measures. I also attended a Regions Hospital Foundation fundraising event as a member of District Energy/Ever Green Energy Board.
MN Philanthropy Partners Board Meeting - I attended a Minnesota Philanthropy Partners Board of Directors Governance Committee and Executive Committee meetings.
Faculty Shared Governance Meeting – The Executive Leadership of the College and I met with the Faculty Shared Governance team to discuss systematic and strategic planning at the College. We also discussed state of the College, fall enrollment, marketing and recruitment, innovative projects, staffing update, IT update, and Friends of Saint Paul College, Foundation fund raising activities.
Central Corridor Anchor Partnership Executive Leadership Meeting – I had a conference call with the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership executive team to discuss the future of health related workforce sector occupations.
Minnesota State Leadership Council Retreat meeting - I attended a Minnesota State Leadership Council Retreat meeting along with the other presidents of Minnesota State institutions and members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet. We discussed the strategic priorities of Minnesota State as well as Enterprise Leadership Model of leading our respective institutions.
United Hospital Foundation Board Meeting – I attended a United Hospital Foundation Board meeting where we discussed their strategic plan and funding priorities.
Celebration of the Independence of Mexico - I attended the celebration of the Independence of Mexico, which was held at the Harriet Island Pavilion. What a glorious event! The Consulate of Mexico is an intentional partner of Saint Paul College. At this event, I met with Saint Paul College graduates who are currently studying at the U of M, Carlson School of Business, as well as other private universities around the Twin Cities. Our students are doing very well and inspire us. We are so proud of our students – current and former; it's always a pleasure to see our alumni doing so well. They inspire us all.
Complete College America Summit – I along with the Commissioner of Minnesota Office of Higher Education, legislators, and representatives from other Minnesota higher education entities met to discuss how we deploy some of the high impact strategies of Complete College America, a national nonprofit that works with states. The aim is to reduce the achievement gap for students of color and sustain actions to develop strategies that narrow the achievement gap and increase college completion. For more information go to: www.completecollege.org
AFSCME Meet and Confer - members of our executive leadership team and I 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
Donor Meeting – The interim executive director of Friends of Saint Paul College and I met with a potential donor, a major construction firm, and an avid supporter of skilled trades construction occupational sector to discuss fundraising priorities for the College.
Two-Generation Approach to Reduce Poverty - I attended a statewide summit about “two-generation” approaches to reducing poverty, or "2Gen" redesign. Participants heard from national and local leaders about 2Gen efforts already underway; developing across sector strategies about ways to move Minnesota forward in our fight to create opportunities and reduce family poverty by addressing the needs of both vulnerable children and their parents together. The summit was hosted by Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, the State of Minnesota, the City of Saint Paul, The Saint Paul Foundation and the Future Services Institute, and featured an Aspen Institute vice president and Aspen Ascend Network executive director.
I am thankful to our faculty and staff who work tirelessly to provide our students with top-notch care and service to ensure they are receiving an extraordinary education at Saint Paul College. For without our students, there will be no need for the College and our community. 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