The Thirteenth Week of Fall Semester 2015
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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

The Thirteenth Week of Fall Semester 2015

As president of Saint Paul College, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all who are a part of our college community for making this college an inspiring and very relevant place. It has been a very difficult week locally and throughout the world as people experience unbelievable losses. Whenever I think about this college, whenever I step onto our campus and walk through our hallways, I feel a sense of pride and comfort as I see our diverse college community peacefully interacting and engaging with one another. I am emboldened by our openness to challenge each other to become an even more welcoming community. Not every place has the courage to honestly explore how to become more equitable. I am heartened that we also have the commitment to keep improving on embracing - and truly appreciating - our differences.

I want to say how proud I am of the Beta Xi Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) students who began their work in June to put together their Honors in Action project culminating in Friday’s panel discussion Police Perception: A candid discussion about diversity, community, and policing. Over 200 people attended the event, which was hosted by our PTK chapter, in conjunction with the Office of Student Life & Diversity, and the Criminal Justice Club. Attendees included many students, faculty and staff from the College, but also many from our surrounding community, which truly added to the depth of the evening’s discussion. The evening’s discussion ended, but I know the discussion w​ill continue and be carried forward into our daily lives.

I am blessed to be a part of one of the most diverse colleges in Minnesota.

Here’s a short recap of my activities and meetings this week:

  • Expanding Partnership with Saint Paul Public Schools - the Superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools and I discussed details of a new delivery model for concurrent Career and Technical Education courses and programs at the College.
  • Minnesota Philanthropy Partners Grants and Community Initiative Committee Meeting - I attended a Minnesota Philanthropy Partners Grants and Community Initiative Committee meeting where we discussed the new grant application processes and fund allocations for each of the community impact initiatives.
  • Central Corridor Anchor Partnership Executive Committee Meeting - I attended a Central Corridor Anchor Partnership Executive Committee meeting where we discussed workforce system strategies for the healthcare sector.
  • Twin Cities Regional Construction Trades Workgroup - I attended the Twin Cities Regional Construction Trades Workgroup meeting, with participants from construction firms, community based organizations, labor unions, employer organizations, and representatives from philanthropic organizations who are all part of the larger workforce project.
  • Higher Learning Commission AQIP Workshop - I attended an Academic Quality Improvement program (AQIP) accreditation workshop session at Hennepin Technical College.

Meetings attended:

  • Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Meeting - I attended the MnSCU Board of Trustees meeting.
  • President’s Advisory Council - Strategic priorities of the College were discussed at our President’s Advisory Council meeting
  • Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation Board Meeting - We discussed Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation Strategic Plan and fund raising priorities.
  • MnSCU System Brand Identity Task Force Meeting - I attended a MnSCU System Brand Identity Task Force meeting via WebEx to discuss the next steps.
  • Faculty Interviews - I participated in full-time faculty interviews as part of the process in making a strategic investment to promote teaching/learning excellence and student success at the College.
  • United Hospital Foundation Board Meeting - attended a United Hospital Foundation Board meeting where we discussed their strategic plan and funding priorities.
  • HealthEast Workforce Strategy Meeting - I met with an executive from HealthEast to discuss workforce strategies for the healthcare sector, with a tour of our college, including our state-of-the art simulation lab.

Events on campus

Autumns Beauty

Autumn’s Beauty was an event sponsored by Career Services, Cosmetology, Nail Technician, Esthetics and Massage Therapy programs, as a way for students to showcase their talents in a runway show and provide free chair massages for event guests. I am proud of our students for demonstrating their expertise and what they are learning in their programs. This event was as spectacular as always!

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Health & Science Alliance Center Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on what happened to be a cold, blustery November day, but the dignitaries speaking at the ceremony, tossing the first ceremonial pieces of dirt, and attending the reception really helped warm the occasion. We’re all very excited about this expansion, which will provide critical space for the College’s STEM and health career programs. It’s anticipated that the Health and Science Alliance Center will be completed by Spring Semester 2017. You can read more about our new Health & Science Alliance center in our college news: Saint Paul College poised for new building project: Health and Science Alliance Center.

In the news this week

  • Star Tribune - Our Power of YOU program was mentioned as a creative model as a means to help fill the “social-class gap” in Gail Rosenblum’s article in the Star Tribune: A troubling 'social-class gap' in college gap-year studies

Upcoming Events

5th Annual Friends of Saint Paul College Scholarship Gala – There are still a few spots available for the 5th Annual Friends of Saint Paul College Scholarship Gala on Friday, December 4, 2015 at Saint Paul College. 5:30pm Silent Auction & Buffet Dinner; 7:00pm Live Auction and Program. There is still time to reserve your place for the Gala, which is the flagship event for raising money for scholarships for our students.

We continue to reach out to alumni, friends, business, industry and the community for input on our programs through our advisory committees, financial support for our students, and partnerships with community based organizations to help improve higher education opportunities for the most at risk. As a public institution we are here to serve everyone. I am so grateful that we are not alone in this pursuit. I’m reminded again of one of my favorite quotes by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Finally, I want to take one last moment to reflect on the many human lives lost in these past weeks, and regardless of the geographical locations of these acts of violence, I am hoping for better understanding of our differences as we all move forward together.

My best,

Rassoul Dastmozd
President/CEO 651.846.1335

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