This week, Saint Paul College welcomed more than 400 students from Saint Paul Public Schools who are actively engaged in completing their high school diploma requirements, through a summer credit recovery program. For the past five years, Saint Paul Public Schools has partnered with the College on this program, giving high school students an opportunity to complete their course work during summer and explore options to pursue a college education. We are delighted to welcome Saint Paul Public Schools students.
Here’s a short recap of a few of my activities this week:
- Attended Funeral of President Earl Potter III - On Saturday, June 18, I attended the funeral of President Earl Potter III in St. Cloud, MN. Attendees included Governor Dayton, Senator Klobuchar, regional and city officials, community members, St. Cloud State University staff, faculty, students, and administrators, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Presidents and Board of Trustee. The celebration of life of President Potter was an reminder for all of us of how we should care for each other, and exhibit the ethics of care and good will towards each other not only during times of sorrow and sadness, but in our everyday lives.
- Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Meeting - I attended the MnSCU Board of Trustees meeting via Web Ex. The meeting focused on fiscal forecasting against various trends, introduction of a new interim university president, MnSCU branding, and celebration of retiree trustees and out-going presidents.
- International IDEA Conference - This week, City of St. Paul and District Energy hosted the International District Energy Association 2016 Conference. Two of our academic deans made presentations about partnership at the conference, which brought nearly 800 people from more than 20 countries to Saint Paul to explore emerging technologies and innovative policies.
- United Hospital Foundation - I attended a United Hospital Foundation meeting to discuss setting major gift priorities, fund raising strategies, and review the future facility master plan.
- New President/CEO Science Museum of Minnesota - I attended a breakfast welcome for the new President/CEO of the Science Museum of Minnesota. We are very fortunate to have a world class Science Museum near the College where our students can benefit from a variety of exhibits.
In the news this week and other noteworthy items:
- New name for MnSCU announced - In a press release this week, it was announced that the Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities endorsed an initiative that changes how the system refers to itself from “MnSCU” to “Minnesota State.” The move does not change the nation’s fifth-largest higher education system’s legal name, which is written in state statute. The Minnesota State system office will begin making the change in July by taking such steps as revising electronic letterhead, updating the website, and using it on newly printed mailers and brochures. Campuses will take steps to indicate they are a member of the Minnesota State system in phases over the next two years, as supplies of existing materials are depleted.
- Financial Sustainability Model Conversations - During this week’s MnSCU Board of Trustees meeting the first report from the Long Term Financial Sustainability workgroup was presented. This resulted in the Star Tribune article State college system faces 'unsustainable' future, report says and the Pioneer Press article Ideas for Minnesota State budget cuts include shared leadership, regional centers, and I have a few comments I want to share with you:
- While the workgroup’s report offers strategies for securing long term financial sustainability for our colleges and universities, nothing in the report is final or has been acted upon. No decisions have been made.
- None of what is in the report is a surprise to us at Saint Paul College. We are aware that the combination of a downward trend in legislative funding, as well as limits on how much students can bear through tuition causes us to make changes, and we have been taking this reality into account as we have developed our strategic plans.
- We remain committed to our students to provide them access to higher education coupled with student success, which are paramount to the mission of Saint Paul College. We look forward to consultations regarding the sustainability plan throughout the summer.
- Pioneer Press Article: St. Paul called a ‘Champion City’ for district energy system by the United Nations - Mayor Chris Coleman and the City of Saint Paul were recognized as one of 45 “Champion Cities” in the world by the United Nations’ District Energy in Cities Initiative during the International District Energy Association (IDEA) conference and trade show. The City was recognized for its’ commitment to sustainable energy and environmental innovation. Fantastic St. Paul! For more information go to http://www.twincities.com/2016/06/20/st-paul-called-a-champion-city-for-district-energy-system/
- Dual Graduate from Humboldt High School and Saint Paul College - A Humboldt high school student earned his Associate in Arts degree as a PSEO student at Saint Paul College. He also was a recipient of the Constance Currie Scholarship through Neighborhood House, and will attend the University of Minnesota in Fall 2016. To read more about this young man go to http://www.spps.org/Page/22985.
- Star Tribune Article: A hospital stint is a window into U.S. immigration - This commentary in the Star Tribune provides a glimpse of how Minnesota has changed for the past four decades. It reminds me of the critical role that Minnesota State College and Universities play in providing training opportunities and gainful employment for the diverse members of our communities across Minnesota. You can view this worthwhile read at http://m.startribune.com/a-hospital-stint-is-a-window-into-u-s-immigration/383478181/
- PRISM Campus Alliance leads Twin Cities GLBT Pride Parade - Saint Paul College PRISM Campus Alliance (People with Pride Respecting Individuality and Sexuality through Mentoring) consisting of students, staff, faculty, and administrators will be the official flag carriers leading the 2016 Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade. Our PRISM students have been given the permanent honor of being the flag carriers leading the parade: https://www.tcpride.org/event/2016-ashley-rukes-glbt-pride-parade/
The concept of exhibiting and demonstrating the ethics of caring is nothing new to us at the Saint Paul College. Our dedicated employees, regardless of their roles and responsibilities ensure that our students who trust us with their future are taken care of, have a safe and welcoming learning sanctuary so they can maximize their capacity and reach higher grounds. Many thanks to our dedicated faculty, staff, and administrators.
I wish you a relaxing weekend.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College