Thirteenth Week of Spring Semester
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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Thirteenth Week of Spring Semester
phi theta kappa


Spring not only brings May flowers, but it also brings our May commencement ceremony! So we're busy now in April cultivating the plans for graduation events and ceremony. It's such a joyous time for our students and their families. I attended our meeting this week where staff and administrators discussed how we're making sure we're getting the word out to students to make sure they apply for graduation and how to participate in the commencement ceremony.

For me, commencement is the most important time in the life of a college, when, our staff and faculty team will witness celebrate the success of our students, as they continue their journey and ability to contribute even more to the community in which we all live. So please help get the work out to friends and family about the Saint Paul College 2017 Commencement Ceremony, which will be held on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 7:00pm, to help celebrate this momentous occasion!


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

Wrapped up HLC Annual Conference - I attended the Higher Learning Commission conference in Chicago throughout last weekend. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides accreditation to Saint Paul College and other two- and four-year institutions in the Midwest.

Comprehensive Workforce Solutions - along with four other Minnesota State Colleges and Universities presidents, we met about the development of a Comprehensive Workforce Solution model using the expertise and resources of our customized training and continuing education units to strengthen Minnesota's workforce in a manner that is financially sustainable and market competitive. This model must enable us to serve more employers more proactively, more comprehensively, while delivering greater value.

IT Career Pathways - I met with the chairs of the Minnesota and Illinois Governors' Workforce Council to discuss academic pipelines and pathways to prosperity initiatives for students from secondary schools on to post-secondary schools. I also gave a tour of Saint Paul College to both chairs.

Minnesota State College Students Association (MSCSA), Students United, and Chancellor's Meeting – I met with Chancellor Rosenstone and members of MSCSA, as well as Students United, as part of their monthly meeting. MSCSA and Students United represent students regarding various system-wide policies and also works with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities staff on budget issues, building project planning, tuition, equity and inclusion, and legislative priorities.

Minnesota Philanthropy Partners Board Member - I had lunch with a board member of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners to discuss how Saint Paul College is forging partnerships with Community Based Organizations to facilitate workforce and gainful employment opportunities to new Americans.

St. Paul City Council - I discussed the development of Career Pathways for internship and employment with a St. Paul City Councilmember. Saint Paul College can fill the talent gap that challenges our city and state by offering 52 different programs in occupational clusters such as Construction, IT/Finance, Health, Business, Transportation, Manufacturing, and STEM.

Meeting with the New Employees – As part of Saint Paul College on-boarding process, I along with members of executive leadership team meet each quarter with all new employees that the College hires. These meetings are designed to promote transparency and open communication as well as building trust and to answer any questions that our new employees may have.

Neighborhood House Public Policy Subcommittee Meeting - I attended a Public Policy Subcommittee meeting at Neighborhood House, an intentional partner of Saint Paul College.

Weekly Legislative Web Ex - I attended the Governmental Relations Weekly WebEx meetings where we discussed the legislative priorities of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Advancement Consultant - I met with an Advancement Consultant to discuss the feasibility of examining a capital campaign fundraising for Friends of Saint Paul College.

CyberWatch West National Science Foundation ATE - I chaired a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education CyberWatch West site visit, the only ATE western regional center for cybersecurity. The CyberWatch West Center is comprised of four founding regional institutions and additional educational members and industry partners. The primary initiatives are student development, curriculum development/revision/ dissemination, faculty development, and outreach/partnership development.

Inauguration of New Metropolitan State University President –I attended the inauguration of Metropolitan State University's President Virginia “Ginny" Arthur.

Saint Paul College Students Excel at SkillsUSA Competition - I want to congratulate our students and faculty who attended the 50th SkillsUSA Minnesota State Leadership & Skills Conference last weekend. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Some of the competitions were held on our campus, such as in the Cabinetmaking competition to the left.

Saint Paul College had 46 students competing in Leadership and Skills contests from Cosmetology, Esthetics, Automotive, Cabinetmaking, Sheet Metal, Electrical, Machine Tool, Truck Technician, Culinary Arts and Welding programs. Saint Paul College students won twelve medals at the competition: 5 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals.

The gold medal winners will continue on to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in June 2017. We wish these students great success as they compete at the national SkillsUSA competition.

Often times, employers wonder if students today are taught “soft skills." I can answer with an emphatic “Yes!" Our students are taught the essential skills that provide employers well-prepared workers. Our students not only did very well in technical areas of competition, but they also did well with essential skills of public speaking, communication, and professionalism.

I am proud of our students. Thank you to our faculty and staff for going the extra mile so our students can do so well. I want to give a special shout out and thanks to our SkillsUSA advisors, Tom Hillstead and Keith Setley, for the commitment and support to our chapter and students.

The hallmark of excellence of any organization is the level of care and intentional commitment each and every member of the organization exhibits towards its member. I am proud to be a part of Saint Paul College and call it my home because, at any given time of the day, Saint Paul College resembles a village where we demonstrate intentional commitment for success for students.

Best, Rassoul
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College

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