As we near the end of the semester, our staff and faculty are working as a cohesive team by reaching out to our students so they can complete this leg of their academic journey at the College. This is at the heart and soul of what Saint Paul College does best.
Their efforts do not go unnoticed by our many business, industry, government and community partners. They marvel at the level of care and passion that our faculty and staff demonstrate so we can bring the best out in our students, challenging them to grow intellectually and to excel in whatever they do.
Our advocates and community supporters see the integrity of our work here as an institution and want to be a part of the success of our students and all we serve. I offer my humble gratitude to everyone for their commitment to our students and all of the ways they support us.
Here are some highlights from a few of my activities and meetings this week:
- Meeting with MnAMP partner colleges - I attended a WebEx meeting with other Minnesota State colleges of the Minnesota Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (MnAMP) consortium to discuss the midway progress of the project to help close the skills gap and improve pathways to careers in machining, mechatronics and welding through education, credentialing and workforce training.
- Meeting with the Beta Xi Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) students - I along with the executive director of Friends of Saint Paul College and the interim director of Student Life/chief diversity officer met with our Beta Xi Alpha Chapter of PTK students to discuss their proposal of holding a PTK Political Culture Seminar. Faculty and students will design the format for this seminar. I am proud of our students for their active engagement in civics and deliberative dialogue about our democracy at the College.
- Governor Dayton’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations – the College hosted a Law Enforcement and Community Relations Council meeting covering issues related to criminal justice and social justice reform, police training, workplace and policy oversight board diversity recruitment and retention, community and law enforcement health and wellness, and policy development and implementation.
- Lunch with President Emeritus Donovan Schwichtenberg - I had a lunch meeting with Donovan. He is enjoying retirement and pursuing many hobbies. Donovan is indeed a “President of Presidents,” a great friend and a wise mentor. We toured the campus and he met with some members of the College community.
- All College Staff Meeting - I attended the year-end all staff college meeting where I discussed the critical role each of us play to ensure student success; moreover, a helping hand so they can each attain their academic goal at the College. To set the stage for my discussions, I read an excerpt (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/48990) from Mayo Angelou’s poem “On the Pulse of Morning.” Our students come to College from many walks of life, each and every semester. We are the rock and the tree that welcome this river of diversity, a beautiful tapestry of humanity in search of opportunities.
- Higher Ground Academy - Our VP of Finance and Facilities, our director of Facilities and I met with the Executive Director of Higher Ground Academy to discuss educational partnership and access to higher education at the College for their students.
- Breakfast with Saint Paul College Student Senate – the College’s executive leadership team and I met with our Student Senate for breakfast. The meeting was designed to promote open and transparent communication, and we discussed a variety of issues. I am very impressed by the dedication and caliber of our students serving on the Student Senate.
- Transforming Minnesota's Workforce Development System, Implementing MN WIOA State Plan - The College hosted a Workforce Development partners and stakeholders meeting to discuss the state of workforce training in Minnesota, focusing on strategies to implement the state's newly approved Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plan and align state resources to implement that vision. Input gathered at this meeting will inform the next steps for operationalizing the plan and possible legislative priorities. This event was sponsored by DEED and DEED’s Commissioner.
I will end this week’s Blog by sharing a student’s story with you. This student is currently taking STEM courses at Saint Paul College. After graduating from high school, he was initially undecided where to attend college. Although he had other admission offers from major universities in the Midwest, he decided to stay local and register for courses at Saint Paul College. He chose our College for two reasons: the quality of our faculty and our student-centered approach by staff. These qualities are inherent in our faculty and staff. It’s what makes our College a wonderful place for our students. After all, if we do not take care of our students, who will?
Stay warm and I wish you a relaxing weekend.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College