Indigenous Strong Breakfast
Saint Paul College hosted the Indigenous Strong breakfast this Friday as a networking event and occasion for invited guests to learn about our new and exciting academic and support programs and partnership opportunities. Our Office of Student Life and Diversity sponsored this event, and I provided the welcome remarks as we continue our commitment to equity and inclusion, and to celebrate the importance of including Native voices on our campus. It is hoped that the representatives from Native community organizations and resources, public education, higher education offices and American Indian family and health centers will help us to grow our Indigenous Strong community at Saint Paul College!
I am proud of the intentional work that our staff and faculty does to promote all voices from our community to be heard, and especially this event of Indigenous advocacy. Current Indigenous Strong members provided a panel discussion. Many advisors and Native American students gathered to enjoy indigenous food, while building new connections on campus.
Intentional partnerships matter. Margaret Mead is often quoted as saying "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." Saint Paul College cannot accomplish our mission alone to provide a meaningful, affordable and exceptional education to all those we serve. It is heartening to know there are so many people helping us build a support system among and for Native American students at Saint Paul College.
Here’s a short recap of a few of my activities this week
Generation Next Leadership Retreat
I attended the
Generation Next leadership retreat along with CEOs and executive leadership of higher education, Fortune 500 companies, philanthropic organizations, K-12 schools and charter schools, where we discussed the annual report, progress of early childhood quality and access, teacher diversity and teaching diverse students, post-secondary preparation and persistence, and transitions. We also reviewed the new strategic plan of Generation Next.
Lunch with Community Leader
I hosted a community leader for lunch at which we discussed workforce issues and expanding potential philanthropic efforts with the Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation.
Meeting with Chief Operating Officer of Ecolab
I hosted the chief operating officer of Ecolab and provided a tour of the College. We discussed workforce shortage, and the critical role that Saint Paul College plays in preparing the qualified workforce talent that Minnesota State desperately needs.
CyberWatch West National Science Foundation ATE
I had a phone conference with principal investigators at
National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education CyberWatch West Center, which is the only ATE western regional center for cybersecurity, to develop and confirm the meeting agenda for the National Visiting Team meeting next week. The primary initiatives are student development, curriculum development/revision/dissemination, faculty development, and outreach/partnership development.
Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation Board Meeting
I attended a
Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation Board meeting to discuss strategies for donor engagement, fundraising, and promoting philanthropic engagement to garner financial support to fund student scholarships. The
Friends of Saint Paul College mission is to advance the mission of Saint Paul College by inspiring philanthropic giving for scholarships and programs to promote student success.
MSPWin Postsecondary Convening Meeting
As a board member of the
Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Workforce Innovation Network (MSPWin), I attended a workgroup meeting to discuss current research, trends, policies and initiatives that could improve postsecondary success for students of color and low-income students in Minnesota. We also discussed the next steps for disseminating this research and providing policy recommendations.
Minnesota State Board of Trustee Meeting
I attended a
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustee meeting where I presented Career and Technical Education initiatives that Saint Paul College has undertaken during the past five years. Saint Paul College has established several intentional partnerships to promote access to exceptional education and pathways for both traditional and non-traditional age students.
United Hospital Foundation
I attended a United Hospital Foundation Board meeting.
Science Museum of Minnesota Dinosaurs & Fossils Exhibit
The dean of STEM from Saint Paul College and I attended the Dinosaurs & Fossils exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota. For more information on this fantastic exhibit go to
Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Dinner
I along with Chancellor Malhotra and presidents of colleges and universities of Minnesota State attended the Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Dinner. The annual dinner benefits the scholarship program and honors the student recipients and Nellie Stone Johnson. Higher education supporters, labor union activists, legislators and students participate in the event. “The endowment is a permanent reminder of Nellie's contributions to civil rights, human rights, and the rights of work force cultural diversity initiative focuses on the recruitment, retention and graduation of greater numbers of students of color.” For more information about Nellie Stone Johnson, go to
Meeting with the Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council Board Executive Director
I met with the executive director of
Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council. The Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council Board is a collaboration between private and public sector leaders who devise strategies that will benefit members of our communities who have traditionally been underserved, under-resourced, 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
In the news
Pioneer Press: Opinion: March 17, 2019
Vekich, Malhotra: Reimagining Minnesota State: Majority aren’t ‘traditional students.’ How should we adapt? This is the fourth commentary by Chair Michael Vekich and Chancellor Devinder Malhotra on Reimagining Minnesota State. You can view their other posts at
Inside Higher Ed: March 19, 2019
JPMorgan's Big-Dollar Bet on Community Colleges
Financial firm rolls out $350 million for career education programs in high-demand fields, following a previous $250 million in similar grants. Of JPMorgan’s $350 million in newly announced grants, $200 million will go toward program development while $125 million will support systems for collaboration and communication between employers and community colleges.
Finally, I want to mention how proud I am of Saint Paul College for once again hosting the Youth Summit organized by OutFront Minnesota’s MN Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Network. Held on March 21, 2019, the
OutFront Minnesota Youth Summit for students in grades 9-12 brought over 500 LGBTQ youth and allies to our campus for leadership development, networking, and the chance to speak directly with state legislators about issues that matter to them. The College knows how important Safe Schools for All is to our community, and particularly the young people who participated in the Youth Summit.
Saint Paul College is committed to our values, particularly those of respecting cultural diversity and inclusiveness, as well as human diversity. We strive each and every day to communicate with integrity and fairness, and to demonstrate patience, compassion and concern with civility and respect, whether we agree or disagree with each other.
I hope you all have a relaxing weekend and enjoy our warm spring weather. For those who have been away for spring break, we look forward to seeing you again next week!
My best, Rassoul
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College