All posts by Mitesh Rai

July 28: “Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez” screening at Film Space

Known simply as ‘El Nobel’ or ‘The Novel’ in his home country, Gabriel García Márquez has earned worldwide praise and acclaim for his novels and short stories like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and No One Writes to the Colonel. 

Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Dec. 8, 1982.

Film Space presents the Minnesota premiere of the film Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez. This film is a mile marker documenting the life and legacy of Márquez, directed by Justin Webster. It won the award for ‘Best Documentary’ at the 2016 Chicago Latino Film Festival.

The film is part of the Open Screen Film Series at Film Space. It is presented by the Intergarción Cultural Colombiana en Minnesota, the Colombian Foreign Ministry, and Metropolitan State University. Cosponsors include the Metropolitan State University Library and Learning Center, and Global Minnesota.

Film: Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Date: 7:30 p.m., July 28
Location: Film Space Founders Hall
Metropolitan State University
300 Maria Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55106

Parking is available in the parking ramp adjacent to Founders Hall for $5 to outside guests.

Get more information about Film Space and maps, or search online for “Film Space.

July 26: Disability Rights March and Rally

 

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The landmark provision in the ADA protects the rights of Americans with disability as a civil right, similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This year, to celebrate the 27th anniversary of ADA, a march and rally is being held on Wednesday, July 26 at the State Capitol grounds in Saint Paul. (See details below.)

In her office on Metropolitan State’s Saint Paul Campus, Kristen Jorenby, director of the Center for Accessibility Resources (CAR) at Metropolitan State,  discussed the significance of this event.

Jorenby said that Metropolitan State’s CAR is participating in the event. She said she was surprised whence heard she had been selected to emcee the event.

“I’ve been tapped for a lot of things but never been asked to be an emcee.” Jorenby said. “I’ve been involved with the community a number of years. I sit on the board of Access Press, so people know me from there. I used to spend quite a bit of my time up at the legislature, so I’m known up there, too.”

Regarding the event’s significance, Jorenby said, “Given the current political climate, the community is really concerned about cuts to healthcare; their ability to remain independent and cuts to transportation funding. We have problem within the system that continue to exist. ADA is a huge civil rights act. And this [event] is really a chance for people to celebrate that and reassert that they have this civil right, and they are not going to let them be taken away.”

On how Metropolitan State fares regarding accessibility issues for our students and staff with disability, Jorenby said that the university’s commitment to the issue is part of its mission statement:

“The university will provide accessible, high-quality liberal arts, professional, and graduate education to the citizens and communities of the metropolitan area, with continued emphasis on underserved groups, including adults and communities of color.”

Jorenby also emphasized that this is a shared responsibility of everyone here at the university, and that the issue is not just about physical access. Access to documents, websites and classroom materials are also critical to enable accessibility for all.

Over the years, CAR has provided training on universal design that has taught faculty and staff members how to make courses and documents universally accessible, and has held several workshops such as, “How and When to Disclose Hidden Disability Panel.” CAR also launched the Read & Write software last spring through D2L. The software is a multi-use tool available for free to all students and faculty to help them with reading, writing and language learning. Jorenby pointed out that this speaks to Metropolitan State’s commitment to create an accessible educational environment that makes life better for all of our students.

Some of the ways students, staff and faculty members at Metropolitan State can continue to stay engaged to improve the quality of accessibility for all is by taking part in these workshops and trainings organized by CAR. Students are also encouraged to volunteer to become peer notetakers every semester.

Everyone is welcome to contact CAR directly with any questions, concerns, or if they just want to get linked up to different resources either internally or externally.

WHAT:            Disability Rights March & Rally
WHEN:           Wednesday, July 26, 2017
TIME:              1 to 4 p.m.
DETAILS:
1 p.m. Gathering and orientation at the Minnesota History Center
1:30 p.m. Disability Rights March to the Capitol
2:30 p.m. Disability Rights Rally in the Capitol Rotunda (featured speakers and entertainment)

Accommodations for the orientation and rally include ASL interpreters, CART, and audio description.

For more information or to confirm audio description services or to request a reasonable accommodation not listed above, please contact Cindy at ADA Minnesota, 651-603-2015 or email cindyt@mcil-mn.org, by July 7, 2017.

Disability Rights March final flyer

June 28: Career Info Session with Target Retail Group

Target is seeking Metropolitan State students and alumni to hire as leaders within its stores. Company representatives would like to meet students who are naturally comfortable leading others and who want to develop themselves further through Target’s Executive Team Leader program.

Students with desire to motivate a large group of individuals towards a common goal will have the opportunity to excel. Once hired, all new executives will go through a six-week Target welcome that will entail shadowing a successful executive in a training store.

Register, prepare, and attend this info session to meet a panel of recruiters and employees from Target to learn what your career could be like there.

WHEN: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 28
WHERE: Ecolab (Lib 302), Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul Campus

OPEN TO: All Metropolitan State students and alumni
REGISTER: Handshake events Target Retail Group Career Infosession at https://app.joinhandshake.com/events/55734/share_preview

QUESTIONS:
Phone: 651.793.1528 
Email: career.center@metrostate.edu
Visit Career Center at FH 110

 

July 19: Hear from Professor Nicholas Hartlep on his book, ‘The Neoliberal Agenda and the Student Debt Crisis in U.S. Higher Education’

To say Professor Nicholas D. Hartlep is moving at the speed of light is not hyperbole. He was born in Seoul, South Korea and is a transracial adoptee. His family moved from to Green Bay, Wis., where he grew up supporting the Green Bay Packers football team.

The pace of his life changed drastically after he enrolled as an undergraduate student at Winona State University (WSU). As Hartlep studied at WSU to become a teacher, he enlisted in its study abroad program and went to Granada, Spain; and then student-taught in Quito, Ecuador.

After graduating in December 2006 from WSU, Hartlep took a short break and worked as a substitute teacher until he finally landed a full-time position in the Rochester Public Schools (RPS). Hartlep says he was fortunate to find that RPS’ yearlong Graduate Induction Program (GIP) for “inexperienced” teachers would allow him to earn a Master of Science Degree (M.S.Ed.) from Winona State University’s (WSU) Rochester campus. After the GIP he and his wife moved to Milwaukee, Wis., where he was admitted to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s (UWM) Urban Education Doctoral Program (UEDP).

Enrolling in the doctoral program meant that Hartlep could teach at Harford University Elementary School during the day and attend graduate school at night. During that time, Hartlep was busy between doctoral coursework, his full-time job as a second-grade teacher, and raising his daughter with his wife.

Three college degrees and numerous scholarships later, Hartlep, then 28, found himself with student debt, something he and Lucille Eckrich write about in their co-authored article, Ivory Tower Graduates in the Red: The Role of Debt in Higher Education.

It was this personal experience as a college student that prompted Hartlep to co-edit the book, The Neoliberal Agenda and the Student Debt Crisis in U.S. Higher Education with Eckrich and a former doctoral student of his, Brandon Hensley.


BOOK READING

Hear Nicholas Hartlep, assistant professor in the School of  Urban Education at Metropolitan State University, present his new book, The Neoliberal Agenda and the Student Debt Crisis in U.S. Higher Education.

• 7 p.m., July 19 at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul.

More information at this website.


 

Hartlep spoke recently from his office at Metropolitan State’s Midway Campus:

How long have you been teaching here at Metropolitan State University?

I started last fall (2016). This is my third semester teaching here at Metropolitan State.

Where did you previously teach?

I was at Illinois State University for four years in their Department of Educational Administration and Foundations. I taught Foundations of Education there. Here at Metropolitan State I am in the School of Urban Education.

Did you grow up in Minnesota?

My background is transracial adoptee. I was born in Korea and was adopted here in the Twin Cities, but I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Currently, I live in Hudson, Wisconsin.

What is it about Metropolitan State University that attracted you?

It’s a small world, if you ask me. The Dean of the School of Urban Education [Rene Antrop-Gonzalez] here at Metropolitan State hooded me when I received my Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was a faculty member there and I knew him from back then. I knew he would be an excellent dean to work under. I was right! That was one reason why I chose to come to Metropolitan State.

But another reason is, Metropolitan State focuses on urban education and the fact that it’s located in the Twin Cities area, means that it is well situated to serve the community.

On top of that, I also came to do policy work and the State Capitol is located here in Saint Paul.

Is there something about the Metropolitan State community that stands out in comparison to traditional universities and colleges?

I think our words and our deeds align here at Metropolitan State. We are really walking the talk. Our mission and vision is urban focused, so I do think we are highly unique in that way.

But the prime example of why I believe Metropolitan State is different than other “neoliberal institutions” is the population we serve. We serve many students who are first in their family to go to college; including refugee students and other marginalized populations. That is why it is important for me to do a very good job of equipping these students with all the skills they need in order to be successful in their lives. We are the most affordable urban four-year institution in the state. And the students and faculty in the School of Urban Education is made up of a diverse population.

Certainly, there are areas where we can improve. I know that Metropolitan State is a teaching-focused university. Nevertheless, I still think research is important to do. It is very important for educators in higher education to do scholarly work; it keeps them sharp in the classroom.

One other important thing to consider about Metropolitan State is that it has a strong focus on professors to become stellar teachers. At research-focused institutions the pressure to write is the greatest force at play. That means sometimes the teaching duties get reassigned to graduate assistants and adjunct faculty members. Here at Metropolitan State, the teaching assignments take precedence over everything else we do. That keeps you on your toes.

You are passionate about race relations. What is it about that topic that interests you?

Race and socioeconomic critique are part and parcel to who I am. Race in general has been important to me, most likely because I am an adoptee and have always been aware of how race operates in society. Our new book centers race, centers economics, and critiques capitalism within higher education.

Was there a turning point in your career or life that changed you?

The turning point was college itself. The positive experience of feeling included, valued, loved and cared for that I experienced in college was a major turning point.

I had a miserable time sitting passively in class in high school. I had a critical mentality and I found the traditional teaching method—a “banking method”—very unengaging and dry. All that changed for me in college. For the first time in my life I really enjoyed school—in the sense of formal higher education. And I think the key difference is that in college you have more autonomy and are inspired by professors to read and write.

From kindergarten through 12th grade, I was a reluctant reader. I disliked reading. Towards the tail end of my bachelor’s degree, I fell in love with reading. I became an avid reader. Most of my high school friends and teachers would never envision that I am doing what I am doing right now.

The experience of going to college changed you?

Yes! I saw the lifestyle of these professors and thought to myself, ‘I see what you are doing. I want to do what you are doing. You get to think deeply. You get to write. And you get to teach.’ That combination of reading, teaching, research and service was really something that I saw and fell in love with. I consider myself very fortunate because to become a professor is very challenging.

What motivated you to write The Neoliberal Agenda and the Student Debt Crisis in U.S. Higher Education.

The current practice of higher education, based on the neoliberal agenda, is a pay-to-play sort of model. In my own case, I could not become a professor without acquiring a terminal degree. And I could not get a terminal degree without having the capital to invest in my future.

Now that I am a professor, the dilemma I feel is this dichotomy between a debtor, one who is trying to pay off his debt by working, and the establishment that I work for. My employer is an institution of higher education. Which means that some students are acquiring debt to pay for my salary. Although, I do understand that Metropolitan State has one of the lowest tuition rates within the state of Minnesota. Nevertheless, the thought that many students are becoming indebted to pay for their education remains unsettling within me in many ways because higher education should be accessible and not require debt in the first place.

I am fully aware that the profession I have chosen is not going to make me financially wealthy. If you have amassed a large amount of debt and you are not going to pay it back within your lifetime, then from an economic standpoint, that was a bad decision. Still, I consider myself lucky because I am only 33 years old. I have my whole life ahead of me. Even with all the difficulties I have faced in order to get here, I still consider myself an anomaly. There are millions of students out there that are not as lucky as I was.

Especially when you have these students that are sold this bill of goods whereby they are told that, after 10 years of making on-time payments on their student loan debts, it will be discharged. Then you have these politicians in the state and federal legislatures talking about eliminating the loan forgiveness program altogether. When that happens, it really shows the main ideology behind the whole system. And even these loan forgiveness programs have their own shortcomings. The student debt that is written off through the loan forgiveness program is considered personal income for federal tax purposes.

Traditionally education is viewed as a human capital from a neoliberal viewpoint. The regime claims that you have to make an investment on your future, and the return on your investment will balance itself out once you are done paying off your student debt. That is a typical neoliberal economic point of view.

With this book, I want to discuss the main cause for the student debt crisis. Ultimately, I want to be able to steer the discussion of the value of education in society towards a more equitable system. A vision that considers it a human right for everyone who chooses to pursue higher education.

Do you think government should fund higher education?

My personal view is that some level of higher education should be public and paid for. But we don’t have that system here in the United States. We have a system where we can go to K–12 grades supposedly free, minus the hidden fees. That is it.

And my main concern is, we have these legislators, both in the state and federal legislatures, being lobbied by the financial sector into having these conversations about who should pay for higher education. How are we going to fund it, etc.? And that is a big problem.

Instead of these bureaucrats and lobbying groups, I feel that the best discussions happen at a grassroots level. It is crucial for the demos to be involved in these deep and holistic conversations about the value of education in society and make decisions based on that. And, to tell you the truth, that discussion is taking place in certain pockets of the society.

But we live in a capitalist society. Much of our freedom is afforded to us by the success of the economy.

The student debt crisis in higher education is a problem caused by capitalism, in my opinion. Embedded within capitalism is this imperative for constant growth that is untenable. That is unsustainable from a global point of view. Human beings on this planet have limited means and resources. Incessant growth is the reason behind much of the problem—regardless of whether its climate change or economic misfortune—we humans are facing right now.

We talk about this in our book in more detail. Just to give you an excerpt, in chapter 10 of the book, there is an article by Kay Ann Taylor titled “Golden Years” in the Red: Student Loan Debt as Economic Slavery, where she talks about “the neoliberal capitalist agenda, which has been escalating for decades, college is viewed not as a venue to pursue intellectual curiosity or learning, but instead as economic human capital to determine which cog we fill in the oppressive, undemocratic neoliberal privatization scheme (Giroux, 2014).”

Taylor goes on to explain her theory of accumulation and disaccumulation even further. As a young man—I am 33—I have my life ahead of me. I have the time to repay my debt and then start accumulating assets. Taylor describes disaccumulation with her personal example as an older woman where, even though she has the college degrees she does not have the time to pay back the student debt she accrued as a student and start accumulating assets. Her life circumstances and her personal journey have led her to this point where, even with a Ph.D. degree, she feels helpless.

There is a whole industry in the financial sector that benefits from student debt. In fact, the federal government pays $38 to private debt collectors to retrieve $1 of student debt. Which means, taxpayers are paying $38 to retrieve $1 of student loan debt. That is absurd. That is illogical. It doesn’t make any economic sense. And why is that? Why do we have this problem?

The twisted irony is that the student loan debt crisis is becoming a problem in terms of debt peonage enslavement. The masters are corporations in the financial sector, and to some extent, the federal government. That is a direct result of the neoliberal agenda.

The other paradox of this student debt crisis is that, students are now becoming aware of the fact that they are going to go into debt, and as a result they start questioning their educational choices—like the majors and minors they choose to study. What happens when students start making these decisions based solely on economic sensibilities? It causes the shrinking and narrowing of the occupations that are lower paying. In fact, millennials are making these calculations in their minds as we speak. They are asking themselves, “Why become a social worker that helps society as opposed to a career that just secures money?” When it becomes transactional like that, it defeats the purpose of a liberal arts education. The holistic understanding of what an education is supposed to mean fails as a result.

Did you find any solution to this problem in your research?

The only way out of this mess is a system that is non-capitalistic or non-neoliberal. After poring through all the research on this topic, we found very few non-neoliberal or non-capitalist programs that would be practical here in the United States.

For example, we looked at work colleges that are small sets of colleges where students, in most cases, graduate debt-free. They fund their college education by working within the college—they build things while they are learning. Those tend to be rural and smaller institutions. Would it work at an institution like Metropolitan State? Maybe. Maybe not. Would it work at an institution like University of Minnesota? No, it most definitely would not work.

To exacerbate the matter, researchers in academia produce research findings that can be used for policy, and during that research they like to re-label things. Consequently, major publications will promote the story about the next silver bullet, like “income share agreements,” for example. They present it like it’s this novel approach that is going to save higher education, as we know it. But then when you dig deeper into it, you realize that these are not new concepts. There are authors and contributors in the book that talk about this phenomenon.

All this diversion takes our eyes off of the real root of the problem that we should be focusing on, like: neoliberal capitalism and debtfarism. Until we devote more time to the monetary system that we have here in the United States—and interest is a key component of that—we will not be having the crucial conversation that is required of us to resolve this problem.

Even the language of policy we use to define the student debt crisis in higher education is littered with neoliberal terms like generalizability, scalability, efficiency, and effectiveness. And they are just economic buzzwords. That is why we talk about the need for a new lexicon in our book. We need a whole new lingua franca to dismantle the neoliberal agenda in higher education.

What that means is, ultimately we need to think about and create the policy for higher education from bottom up, as opposed to the current format, which is top down. Perhaps, it’s a policy from the community, the demos, like the People’s Budget.

One last thing I want to mention is, many of the authors and contributors in our book have high amount of student debt. Nevertheless, some critics would argue that they are not representative of the student debt crisis, because the actual crises are folks with smaller amounts of debt; folks who went to for-profit predatory colleges; folks who didn’t get their degree, etc. Yes, this is true. And their voice matters a lot. But, so do the voices of those who became indebted to become academics, people who have accrued six-figure student loan debt in their pursuit for higher education.

July 18: Neighbors Meet Neighbors

Click to download flyer

The East Side Freedom Library is organizing a series of public forums centered around the stories and experiences of recent immigrants to the east side communities.

The series will feature a different community each month where attendees will hear about the community’s history, culture, stories, and challenges.

Event:

  • 7 p.m, June 20 – Hear from members of the Hmong community
  • 7 p.m, July 18 – Indigenous Roots
  • 7 p.m, August 15 – Hear from members of the Somali community

All events will be at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St, Saint Paul. These events are free and open to the public. 

Contact: info@eastsidefreedomlibrary.org
Phone: 651.230.3294

First students in Nagasaki University exchange welcomed to Saint Paul

President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur greeted Nagasaki University students Ayano Tsuchihashi and Yoshiki Ohgi who arrived from Japan to attend Metropolitan State in an inaugural exchange between the universities.

The students were welcomed at an event June 3, at Como Park hosted by the Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee, with assistance from the Japan America Society of Minnesota, AnimeTwinCities, and many volunteers. Saint Paul and Nagasaki became Sister Cities in December 1955.

In February 2017, the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Metropolitan State and Nagasaki University opened opportunities for a cultural exchange of students. The memorandum allows students from Metropolitan State to study in Japan for long and short term sessions. As part of the exchange, Metropolitan State will host an equal number of Nagasaki University students. Metropolitan State students will leave in August 2017 to attend Nagasaki University.

19th Annual President’s Leadership Awards

The 19th Annual President’s Leadership Awards presentation recognizes the student organizations and leaders that have made great effort to bring quality programming and events to Metropolitan State University.

The event for the university community was hosted by Interim Director of Student Development and Programming Philip Fuehrer and Student Life Leadership Development Coordinator Alysia Lajune on May 24 in Metropolitan State University’s Great Hall, New Main, Saint Paul Campus.

In a welcome address, President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur talked about the importance of an event such as this that highlights the hard work of outstanding individuals. She was especially honored to carry on the tradition passed on to her by her predecessors.

Dean of Students Herbert King echoed Arthur’s message honoring the members of the university community who lead by impressive example.

Student Senate President Dhibo Hussein mentioned some of the accomplishments of the senate in the past year, saying she was particularly proud of the Student Senate’s achievement to getting the Dean’s List added to Metropolitan State University. This award will be put into effect fall 2017.

The list of award winners is as follows:

  • Outstanding Student Organization Advisor: Linda Martinez
  • Program of the Year: Understanding and Responding to Mass Incarceration (Alcohol and Drug Counseling Student Association)
  • Perseverance Award: Richard Downs, Jr.
  • SLLD Wow Factor Awards: Troy Mathias
  • Male Student Leader of the Year: Guyo Kotile
  • Female Student Leader of the Year: Tina Martinez
  • Student Organization of the Year: Nursing Student Organization

 

 

 

July is Alcohol Awareness Month

July is Alcohol Awareness Month! Join the university in spreading awareness by participating in a variety of activities. Healthcare and Wellness Services is offering opportunities which include:
  • Substance abuse self-assessment tool (e-CheckUpToGo metrostate.edu/alcohol-drug-abuse-prevention)
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving Speaker, 4 to 5 p.m., July 17, Student Center, Room 101
  • Alcohol use and prevention talk, 4 to 5 p.m., July 12, Student Center, Room 101
  • Wear Red Day, July 17
  • Smoking Cessation Classes 3 to 4 p.m. each Thursday, SJH 254
Be aware that Zipnosis, the telemedicine platform has changed its name to OnCare. If you have already used Zipnosis, you will not need to re-register. The new link is https://www.oncare.org/
For new users, please remember to register using your university e-mail address and Star ID, and use the following link:https://app.oncare.org/passcode/msu

 

Photos: Student Research Conference awards

President’s Poster Award: Alex Hepp, Chidiebere Khannaroth, Brian Thill; The Making of a Death Star
President’s Paper Award: Kenneth Abbott; A Multi-Specialty Medical Mission for Syrian Refugees in Jordan
Best Project Award: Eric Fulwiler; Hosting Websites with a Raspberry Pi
Conference Organizer Award: Liz Tetu; Technopaganisms + Videogames
Runner Up: Ian Hamilton; Rimworld: Community Driven Game Development
Student Scholars Committee Award: Jill Fallon; Theories & Civic Engagement in Later Life
Runner Up: Shaun Hurley; Volunteering Hours and Tenure and it’s Relationship to Mood
Student Scholars Committee Award: Nikitha Kommera; Smart Augmented Reality in CyberSecurity and Forensic Education
Library Award: Rebecca Knuckles; Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mortality Among America’s Elderly Population
Library Award: Donald Jones; Gesture and Memory
Runner Up: Brian Trac; Metroid’s Other M
Most Promising Research Award: Chris Kempe, Andrew VanDenBrocke, and Kate Ries; The Synthesis of 1,8-napthalamides in the Fluorescence Detection of Metal Ions through Chelation
Runner Up: Rhea Fofana; The Implementation of a Human Immunodeficiency (HIV) Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Program in an Urban Public Health Clinic: A Quality Improvement Project
Best Visuals Award: Kyle Jenness; History and Impact of Super Mario Brothers
Most Inspiring Research Award: Denny Yang, Students Salon: Sharing the Culmination of Student Artistry
People’s Choice Favorite Poster: *Names Not Available; The Network Thief
Runner Up: Randy Conaway: Effects that Social Media Has on Self-Esteem

Photos: Career Opportunities in Commercial Real Estate

An event hosted by the Commercial Real Estate Diversity Collaborative (CREDC) on May 17, 2017 at Metropolitan State’s Student Center was collaborative effort with the university’s Career Center to bring professionals to campus to talk about the many aspects of commercial real estate.

Stephanie Lee, vice president, Carlson Commercial
Judy Jandro, senior vice president, Bell State Bank and Trust
Anne Kane, community development director, City of White Bear Lake
Charlie Nestor, development and leasing manager, Hillcrest Development
Bob Pounds, senior vice president, Colliers International
Rich Forslund, senior property manager,  Colliers International

Panelists were industry professionals who discussed development, capital markets, lending, management, brokerage, city planning, and economic development.

The two-hour event concluded with a question and answer session and a brief informal meeting for students and alumni present to network with the panelists.