Sixteenth Week of Spring Semester 2018
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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Sixteenth Week of Spring Semester 2018
​​​2018 Outstanding Student Award Recipients

Outstanding Student Awards Celebration

We honored 20 outstanding students who were nominated by the faculty in their respective areas of study and program majors. I had the privilege of giving the opening words of welcome, and it was fabulous to see their academic excellence acknowledged and celebrated so directly by their instructors. I heard so many inspiring and exceptional stories of our students. This is a remarkable achievement for our students and I am proud of them.

We truly mean and stand behind our slogan “Start here. Go anywhere." This slogan can mean many things to many people. But, I firmly believe that our caring and dedicated faculty and staff strive unselfishly to partner with our students, guide and mentor them, and facilitate opportunities for success for ALL members of our college community. Caring for our students and our community is in our DNA at Saint Paul College.

With spring semester finals coming soon, I am requesting that you share words of encouragement with our students who are preparing for their finals. Positive words of encouragement go a long way for our students, and we all wish them well!

Here's a short recap of a few of my activities this week:

Associate Dean of Faculty and Staff Development Interviews

​The dean of Student Success, vice president of Academic Affairs met and I interviewed candidates for associate dean of Faculty and Staff Development. As part of Saint Paul College’s strategic investment in teaching/learning and staff development the College is investing in employee development and engagement.

District Energy St. Paul and Ever-Green Energy

District Energy St. Paul and Ever-Green Energy

I attended the​Ever-Green Energy and District Energy St. Paul board meeting and we discussed strategic planning and their visions for the future, as well as new market, consumer, and technology demands/trends. District Energy St. Paul is considered the most notable in the U.S. for its use of renewable energy sources and implementation of energy conservation measures.

Meeting with Community Leaders

I met with two community leaders who are passionate supporters of Saint Paul College, to discuss philanthropy and Minnesota’s current and future economic and workforce trends. As a matter of fact, one community leader is an alum of Saint Paul College, and we’re grateful for this lifelong support.

LeadMN Meeting

LeadMN Meeting

I met with the senior vice chancellor of Student and Academic Affairs of Minnesota State and members of LeadMN as part of their monthly meeting. LeadMN represent students from all of Minnesota State’s two-year colleges.

Weekly Legislative WebEx

Weekly Legislative WebEx

I along with presidents of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities attended a Legislative WebEX to discuss the legislative bills that are currently being reviewed in both the Minnesota House and Senate

Minnesota State Student Success Metrics Meeting

I along with several presidents, staff from Institutional Research and Planning and the senior vice chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs, all from Minnesota State, met to discuss different elements of student success metrics, informing the Strategic Performance Framework Metrics.

Neighborhood Association Development Meeting

Saint Paul College hosted a neighborhood association meeting where we listened to ideas and sought feedback from our neighbors concerning a potential partnership with the Higher Ground Academy and new residential development that will be led by the Exeter Development Group.

Mayor Carter’s City of Saint Paul Children Savings Scholarship

I spoke with the coordinator of Children Savings Scholarship fund to discuss the College’s representation on Mayor Carter’s workgroup. For more info, please see the Star Tribune article published in January: Melvin Carter proposes $50 college savings account for every St. Paul child: Following model of other cities, St. Paul would seek $50 for all kids for college.

College’s Executive Leadership Retreat Meeting

I along with members of executive leadership team attended a cabinet retreat meeting where we discussed leadership styles, and how we can work as a high performing team.


NAACP-Saint Paul Freedom Fund Banquet

NAACP-Saint Paul Freedom Fund Banquet

I along with Saint Paul College faculty, staff, students, and dean of Student Success and Equity/Inclusion Officer attended Saint Paul NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet. Rev. Dr. Charlotte Keys was the keynote speaker. This year’s theme was Return-to-GRACE: Green, Reproducible, Affordable, Clean, Energy, which is an efficient way to revitalize economic prosperity and development in our communities.

Saint Paul Public Schools Career Day

Saint Paul Public Schools Career Day

I gave the welcome keynote to Saint Paul Public Schools students during their career day at the College. Career days are designed to promote career exploration for SPPS students who are interested in pursuing Career and Technical Education programs.

Deputy Director of Public Library Services

Deputy Director of Public Library Services

I met with the deputy director of Saint Paul Public Library services to discuss potential partnerships between Saint Paul College and St. Paul Public Libraries.

In the news

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Newsletter
State Gains 2,900 Jobs in March: Unemployment rate steady at 3.2 percent
The DEED newsletter reports on unemployment in Minnesota, stating Minnesota employers added 2,900 jobs in March, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), and we’re below the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.1. But Minnesota’s job growth the past 12 months of 0.7 percent is below the national 1.6 percent rate. Saint Paul College can assist employers by providing employers exceptional quality graduates, especially in the tight labor market of manufacturing.

nprEd: How learning happens
High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University
A decades old issue is still being discussed about 4-year colleges being seen as the only worthy pathway for high school seniors – this time the discussion is in Seattle, WA. Read the story and also listen to the recorded broadcast on “All things considered.” It’s all so familiar that so many are missing out on well-paying jobs that are available through 2-year colleges just like Saint Paul College.

I will end this week’s blog by sharing a quote with you from President Truman:

… the foreword to President Truman’s 1947 Commission on Higher Education that called attention to the dangers of a higher education system that functioned not to provide opportunity but to sort students: “If the ladder of educational opportunity rises high at the doors of some youth and scarcely rises at the doors of others, while at the same time formal education is made a prerequisite to occupational and social advance, then education may become the means, not of eliminating race and class distinctions, but of deepening and solidifying them.”

This is why it is important and significant to protect the open access mission of two year institutions, such as Saint Paul College.

Of special note

Top Ten Most Innovative Digital Community Colleges 2018 Congratulations to IT Services – Thanks for all your innovations!

Top Ten Most Innovative Digital Community Colleges 2018 Congratulations to IT Services – Thanks for all your innovations!

Saint Paul College was once again recognized as a tech-savvy school by the Center for Digital Education, through their Digital Community Colleges Survey. The Center for Digital Education’s Digital Community Colleges Survey Awards honor community colleges utilizing technology to engage students and improve learning. In 2017, we were ranked ninth for mid-sized colleges (enrollment of 5,000 – 10,000 students). This year, we jumped up to fourth on the list! For more information: Top Ten Most Innovative Digital Community Colleges 2018

Women Chefs and Restaurateurs National Conference

Women Chefs and Restaurateurs National Conference

The Twin Cities played host to the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs 2018 national conference April 21-23, with our Culinary Arts department hosting their time on campus on day 3 of the conference. Here’s a glimpse of our students with renowned Chef Carla Hall:

Cabinetmaking Service Learning Project with Homeward Bound

Cabinetmaking Service Learning Project with Homeward Bound

Kudos to the College’s students and faculty of our Cabinetmaking program for their hard work and volunteerism with Homeward Bound, Inc. This was the Cabinetmaking program’s 11th kitchen remodel for Homeward Bound Inc. Here’s a link to the project photos:

To our faculty and staff, I sincerely thank you for being game changers, and for your dedication, commitment, and intentional higher calling work, leading to excellence for the College and our students.

Have a safe and relaxing weekend.

Best, Rassoul

Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College

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