This week, as I was doing one of my routine walks throughout the campus, I ran into three brothers who are all attending Saint Paul College. All three are pursuing STEM programs and are happily and actively involved at the College. And it’s not the first time I’ve met family members attending at the same time. Three brothers at one time is a little unusual, I’ll admit. But having relatives attending together isn’t all that unusual – whether it’s spouses, or an aunt and a nephew, siblings or cousins - we’re pleasantly aware of these occurrences. We also have students attending whose parents and grandparents attended here before them. For all of our students, whether they have actual relatives here or not, we hope they all feel connected to us. We’re just so glad that they all have been a part of our Saint Paul College family.
This notion of being a college community that treats everyone as a family and serving families, generation upon generation, is in our DNA. Maybe what really resonates with our students it’s how committed we are to our system of values to guide us in what we do. We focus on excellence, integrity and respect. Without those things we wouldn’t be “us.”
I am proud and honored to work at Saint Paul College, where together, we can make purposeful and intentional differences in the lives of our students, our community, and Minnesota.
Here’s a short recap of my activities and meetings this week:
- Student Debt Tour Kick-Off Event - Our Student Senate hosted the Student Debt Tour Kick-Off event this Monday, in partnership with a coalition to address student debt. The coalition includes MSCSA, Education Minnesota, the Minnesota Nurses Association, the North Star Policy Institute and the Communication Workers of America. The Student Debt Tour will cross the state addressing education debt and raising awareness.
- Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood - Attended a Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood (SPPN) Board of Directors meeting, continuing to focus on education as a tool to end multi-generational poverty by creating early pathways of opportunities leading to college and career success.
- Minnesota Philanthropy Partners – Attended a Board meeting at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, a network of charitable affiliates, anchored by The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Community Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation, and Mardag Foundation. More than 2,000 charitable organizations and donor funds are supported, to ensure all people and communities in Minnesota will thrive.
- Hungry for Equity Partner Forum - the president of Growth & Justice, our dean of STEM programs, and I discussed the upcoming Hungry for Equity Partner Forum being held on March 5, 2016 at the College. Saint Paul College Student Life and Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) are proud to be partnering with Growth & Justice and several other organizations to present a forum to explore solutions, policies and practices that drive equitable college and job opportunities in Minnesota.
- Central Corridor Anchor Partnership - Attended a Central Corridor Anchor Partnership meeting to discuss the future of health related workforce occupation sector and the strategic planning process.
- District Energy Workforce Joint Taskforce – Attended a meeting with several board members of District Energy and Evergreen Energy to discuss strategies for workforce and talent development.
- City of St. Paul Economic Development Partners - I met with the representatives for economic development from City of St. Paul, Executive Director/President of St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, Ramsey County Deputy Commissioner, President/CEO of BOMA, President/CEO of St. Paul Port Authority, and Executive Director of Riverfront Corporation to discuss economic development and workforce development issues related to city of St. Paul and Ramsey County.
Meetings on Campus
- Chief Diversity Officers Meeting - I along with Saint Paul College Chief Diversity Officer met with the Chief Diversity Officer from Metropolitan State University to discuss potential partnership.
In the news this week and noteworthy items:
2016-2017 Inclusive Excellence Grant - Saint Paul College has been selected as a recipient of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities 2016-2017 Inclusive Excellence Grant. The grant provides supplemental funding to implement Equity Training Series Project. I want to thank the Saint Paul College team, led by our Chief Diversity Officer, for securing the grant to help implement the Racial Equity Framework and Diversity Plan at the College. I am proud of our faculty and team.
Star Tribune - I would like to share with you a commentary that I read, which I encourage you to read in its entirety: Addressing race and disparity: One life at a time, all ideology aside - A search for those doing work that counts. Near the end, the author writes “But by working at ground level, by caring more about results than rhetoric, people at institutions like Urban Ventures, MAD DADS and EMERGE recognize that both empathetic liberal ideas and tough-love conservative ideas can be assets. The approaches can complement, not compete with, one another.” I know the College is on the right track. We have been intentional in terms of leveling the playing field for students of color and students traditionally underserved by higher education. Our job is not done, by any means, but continuing similar work to what we have started through partnerships in creating programs such as the Power of YOU, College Readiness Academy, Gateway to College, and Trading Up is only the beginning.
I will end this week’s blog by offering a quote from his holiness, the Dalai Lama. I had the honor and privilege to be in his presence last Sunday. His eloquence stayed with me as he said “I want to share my basic thinking and also I think some of my experience as a human being, not as a Buddhist, certainly not as a Dalai Lama, but as a human being,” he said. “How to create a happy humanity, a peaceful humanity, that ultimately lives with a sense of concern — that is compassion.”
We, as a community at Saint Paul College, strive to show compassion, respect, and honor the lives of our students. Our journey is a never ending one, but we strive to learn from our students every day, in the hopes to become better human beings ourselves, and show deeper compassion towards one another and our students!