All posts by Ryan Jay

Metropolitan State Professor Wins 2018 John Saltmarsh Award

Nicholas D. Hartlep, assistant professor of Urban Education, School of Urban Education, Metropolitan State University, has been awarded the 2018 John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leadership in Civic Engagement.

The Saltmarsh Award is presented annually to an emerging leader in the civic engagement field from an AASCU institution or ADP Partner at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting. The award was named in John Saltmarsh’s honor to recognize a long-standing passion of his: nurturing and preparing the next generation of civic leaders to sustain and advance the civic engagement movement.

Hartlep’s passion for education in the field of civic leadership and engagement made him an obvious candidate for this award. In addition to serving as assistant professor of Urban Education, Hartlep is also the coordinator of the Early Childhood and Elementary Education Programs in the School of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University.

“I don’t view myself solely involved with the civic engagement movement, or of American higher education, but rather, I am committed to the future betterment of American society.”

As a professor, Hartlep has developed his own set of tools that he uses in his classroom. As a Korean adoptee raised in the United States, he uses his bicultural experience to send a weighted message to students. “I have interrogated my own identity to develop a practice of critical storytelling that I teach to my students and peers… hearing intensely the stories and experiences of those we encounter to more fully construct an understanding of our shared experience and to forge interpersonal connections that transcend polarized ideologies and identities.”

Hartlep received the award, which includes an engraved commemorative and a cash prize, at a ceremony held June 8, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. The day Hartlep received this honor, he received an email from the award’s namesake, John Saltmarsh. Besides congratulating Dr. Hartlep, the note was copied to several other people, and welcomed Dr. Hartlep to his “posse of big thinkers and change agents.”

“The sky is the limit!”

From here, Hartlep plans to “continue to be a change agent within urban teacher education and tackling problems that are so large that they may not be solved in my lifetime, but I will mentor and pass the torch to my students who may… this award will certainly be a spring board for larger and even more intense work.”




Screenwriting Program takes students on industry journeys

The screenwriting program at Metropolitan State University was recently redesigned to better meet the needs of today’s students and marketplace.

“The screenwriting major at Metropolitan State University began in 1999.  We were pioneers in the field then and we remain innovative leaders today.  The new curriculum positions our students for success,” says James Byrne, screenwriting program coordinator.

James Byrne
James Byrne

Metropolitan State’s screenwriting majors, alumni, and faculty are active in the field in many different ways. Current students write, travel, learn and invest in their futures. Alumni pursue many different paths within the industry. Faculty write screenplays and direct films, winning awards and bringing professional experience into the classroom.

Notable examples of professional and creative accomplishments of current screenwriting majors and screenwriting alumni include:

• Samuel Stiegelmeier, a current screenwriting major, was one of 25 film students selected from universities throughout North and South America to participate as a member of the student Mezcal Jury at the Guadalajara Film Festival in Guadalajara, Mexico.  The Screenwriting Program at Metropolitan State selects one student each year to be the Mezcal Jury Fellow at the Guadalajara Film Festival and to participate in 12 days of films, panels, and professional activities at the Guadalajara Film Festival, all expenses paid.  This not only serves as educational and professional development for the participants, but it is an important intercultural experience. Stiegelmeier was joined by previous fellows, Autumn Kisling and Annie Moua.

• Benedicta Cobbinah will study screenwriting and film history in Rome, Italy in fall semester 2018 as part of a study abroad experience.

• Ian Withey won Best Screenplay at the 2017 Z Fest Film Festival in Minneapolis.

• Andrew Mueller, Stiegelmeier and Adam Moyer attended Steve Kaplan’s Comedy Intensive in Los Angeles in March.  The trip was sponsored by Metropolitan State University.

Metropolitan State’s screenwriting alumni are also staying busy:

• Moua is a media developer at the Science Museum of Minnesota, and a 2017 recipient of a Knight Arts Challenge Grant for her dance company’s new project, CommUNITY: An Urban Dance Workshop.

• Jessica Bergren is the producer of the new feature-length film “Cold November” playing in theaters now. Bergren was also associate producer for the feature film “Virginia Minnesota” premiering at the 2018 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.  She is also a post associate producer at Tremendous! Entertainment.

• Cole Meyer is currently in production for his new feature film “Chaste” which he wrote, produced, and is directing.

• Stephanie Shinn (’02) owns a production company, ShinnDing Productions, LLC. Shinn produces and edits promotional and instructional videos for Garmin Ltd.

• Evan Price (’06) was script supervisor for AMC’s “Mad Men”, then moved on more recently to serve as script supervisor for CMT’s “Nashville.”

The screenwriting program at Metropolitan State utilizes faculty comprised of working professionals, in the field of screenwriting.

For example, Cristina Pippa‘s short film, “Amelia” screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival Kids Festival.  Her screenplay “Questica” was top 10 for the IFP MN Screenwriting Residency and her television pilot “The Last Job” was a finalist for the Sundance New Voices Lab.

Byrne’s feature-length screenplay, “Things to Do Before Leaving,” won Best Screenplay at the 2017 Hollywood Verge Film Awards and was a finalist in the Screenplay Competition at the 2017 Catalina Film Festival.  His feature film, “Light of Each New Day (in five chapters)” was an official selection in the 2017 Director’s Cut Film Festival in Vancouver.  He is currently developing his screenplay “Things to Do Before Leaving” for a feature-length production slated for late 2019.

This program, mixing the fundamentals of story and writing, with real-world experience, leaves graduates ready to take on a tough industry.

“Screenwriting majors graduate with a market ready feature-length screenplay that is both a significant creative achievement and a building block for the future,” Byrne says. “The Screenwriting B.A. Degree at Metropolitan State University not only prepares students to become screenwriters but also provides a foundation to grow in many different directions.”

Please see for admission information or contact James Byrne, for information about the Screenwriting Program.




April 14-20: Campus screenings from the 37th Annual Minneapolis Saint Paul International Film Festival


Each year, the Film Society of Minneapolis scours the globe in search of cinematic excellence, otherwise not available in our part of the world. Last year, 45,158 attendees saw films from 72 countries. Screenings at Metropolitan State University’s Film Space will be April 14-19.

Metropolitan State will provide complimentary admission to university students for films screened in the Founders Hall Auditorium Film Space throughout the MSP International Film Festival with presentation of a valid Metropolitan State student ID card. University employees can access discounted tickets for screenings in the Metropolitan State Film Space by presenting a valid Metropolitan State faculty/staff ID card.

Download the MSPIFF university schedule

Click on the films title to view the trailer.

Not in My Lifetime

SHOWTIME: 2 p.m., Saturday, April 14
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus

In “Not in My Lifetime,” documentarian Pamela Colby offers insight into the fight for marriage equality from the viewpoint of the GLBT community of the Baby Boomer generation. For the GLBT community of this generation, denial of the right to marry forced couples to navigate an unsteady and often unjust world in order to protect and preserve their love.

Through periods of tensions and injustices, “Not in My Lifetime” showcases the bonds that have lasted and continue to stand for equality in the present day, focusing on individuals and couples of the Baby Boomer generation that have persisted despite adversity.

Colby is a documentary filmmaker and writer with over 30 years of experience in cinema and television. Her credits include Fertile Ashes (’11) and Secrets for Mom (’13). She is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and teaches Cinema and Documentary courses at Film North.

Growing Up Hmong at the Crossroads

SHOWTIME: Noon, Sunday, April 15
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus


From director Safoi Babana-Hampton, “Growing up Hmong at the Crossroads” is a documentary feature that serves as a portrait of culture, family and young adulthood. The film follows four children of Hmong refugees as they forge their places within a constantly shifting world. This film is a sequel to the award-winning documentary feature “Hmong Memory at the Crossroads” (2015), which follows the story of former Hmong refugee Liachoua Lee as he reflects on his family history and its complex ties with French colonial history, the legacy of the French Indochina War (1946-1954) and the American Vietnam War.

Workers Cup

SHOWTIME: 2:15 p.m., Sunday, April 15
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus


Adam Sobel’s documentary “The Workers Cup” is the kind of feature that cannot be ignored. With the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the horizon, Qatar’s migrant population exploded with over 4,000 Asian and African workers living in labor camps. Their jobs are strenuous and low paying, and the camp itself is akin to a prison. Keeping the 2022 Cup in the background, the film instead focuses on the workers’ own football tournament. Made up of workers from the 24 construction companies working in Qatar, the football players are stars when they hit the field, but find themselves on the lowest rung of the ladder otherwise.

A look inside modern oppression, Sobel’s film makes it a point to highlight each player’s personal struggle within a suffocating and destructive environment. What becomes clear from their stories is that the path toward a global “celebration” may be anything but.

The Other Man

SHOWTIME: 7 p.m., Monday, April 16
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus

A staged script reading co-presented by MSPIFF and FilmNorth, “The Other Man” by Matthew Dressel is about a weekend in the country that turns deadly when an inebriated hunter accidentally shoots a passing motorist and discovers a man bound and gagged in his trunk.

Number One

SHOWTIME: 6:50 p.m., Tuesday, April 17
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus

In Tonie Marshall’s film “Number One,” the marvelous Emmanuelle Devos plays an ambitious corporate manager, also named Emmanuelle, who dreams of becoming the first woman to lead a major French company.

Emmanuelle is tireless and determined in her pursuits. Currently working as a corporate team leader, she has her eyes set on a promotion but is always passed over despite her hard work and success. When she finally does get the chance, her place at the top is quickly threatened by personal and political factors—her father has a stroke, the lobbyist who championed Emmanuelle for the job suddenly dies and her husband and daughter wait somewhat impatiently on the sidelines. Meanwhile, others work behind the scenes to pull the rug out from under her. Within the chaos, Emmanuelle forges a way through the obstacles and setbacks, only to find herself at another trial—facing herself.


SHOWTIME: 9 p.m., Tuesday, April 17
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus

In Lithuania in 1992, Irena manages a small pig farm, but the switch from communism to capitalism catapults her business into turmoil. Her alcoholic husband is little help, and she has resigned herself to carrying the burden alone. Enter Bernardas, an American who offers a supposed “miracle” by promising to keep the farm alive. As Bernardas integrates himself into all aspects of Irena’s life, his intentions become less clear, and she soon begins to suspect his arrival may not be miraculous at all.

Moments of humor add levity to the story of Irena’s romantic and financial woes, and we as an audience are witness to Irena’s whirlwind of emotions as her business slips out from underneath her already shaky foundations. At its core, director Egle Vertelyte’s film makes for an endearingly strange tale of twisted intentions and the frailty of misplaced trust.

Happy Birthday

SHOWTIME: 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 18
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus


From filmmaker Christos Georgio, “Happy Birthday” tells the story of a broken family in a world of turmoil, and the family’s fight to survive. The central narrative is set in an unsettled Greece and follows riot squad officer Yiorgos (Dimitris Imellos) and his increasingly strained relationship with his teenage daughter Margarita (Nefeli Kouri). Their already fragile bond severs when Yiorgos, while celebrating his birthday with fellow officers, sees Margarita with a group of demonstrators in a fog of teargas.

Realizing they are on opposing ends of the conflict, Yiorgos returns home to a tense encounter with the Margarita. The family matriarch Sofia (Mirto Aikiki) rises above the ensuing arguments to make a suggestion—a road trip to the family’s neglected summer house. Reluctantly the two agree, and what follows is a journey shared by two clashing wills that will not, and perhaps cannot, come to an understanding.

Have a Nice Day

SHOWTIME: 9 p.m., Wednesday, April 18
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus


After his fiance’s botched plastic surgery, Xiao Zhang decides to take drastic measures to help her correct it and steals a case containing over a million yuan ($150,000 USD) belonging to his boss, a local mobster. Word about the missing case reaches the mobster, Uncle Liu, and off we go on a heart-pounding race to get the money back. This turns out to be easier said than done when Xiao Zhang himself gets robbed!

Director Liu Jian gives us a tour of China’s underworld and the odd characters that inhabited it in this edgy, vividly drawn animated thriller. Xiao Zhang’s descent into the worst night of his life is starkly rendered into a modern noir via animation, which is filled with suspicious characters who find themselves caught in absurdity rather than looking for a road beyond the darkness.

Dodging Bullets 

SHOWTIME: 6:45 p.m., Thursday, April 19
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus


Described as “stories from survivors of historical trauma,” this documentary film co-directed by Kathy Broere, Sarah Edstrom, Jonathan Thunder, and Bob Trench was produced in collaboration with several organizations and is the first to chronicle the impact of historical trauma on the lives of Native peoples today, giving voice to their stories of survival and resilience in the face of multigenerational trauma.


SHOWTIME: 9 p.m., Thursday, April 19
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus


A new type of sports hero is born in this warm hearted, fast-paced comedy from the director/writer of The Sandman. After accidentally losing a large sum of money belonging to his employer on what should have been a sure bet, sad-sack high school German teacher Balz Naef needs to replace the funds pronto. Taking inspiration from the streaker that distracted his heavily favored soccer team, he starts recruiting and training exhibitionists for illegal sports betting. His enterprising hairdresser fixes odds for punters to wager on the length of time a naked runner can stay on the field and shares the proceeds with Naef.

Although streaking becomes a trendy new sport in Switzerland, the soccer club owners are furious and Police Commissioner Sandra Strebel takes on the case. This witty and humorous romp offers excellent scripting and direction and, er, revealing performances from a seasoned cast.

El Inca

UPDATED SHOWTIME: 5:30 p.m., Friday, April 20
Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus

A film from director Ignacio Castillo Cottin, this biopic chronicles the life, love story and eventual downfall of Venezulan boxer Edwin “El Inca” Valero, whose career came to a crashing halt when he was arrested on suspicion of his wife’s murder.

A fighting force of nature, El Inca is propelled toward fame through pure willpower and, despite an accident that threatened to end his boxing career, would become known as one of the boxing greats in Latin America. However, his mental stability and personal life, namely his relationship with his wife Jennifer, become his undoing as marital tensions begin to unravel the boxer’s psyche, eventually leading to a tragic end.

El Inca was the official Venezuelan entry to the 90th Academy Awards.

Five Fingers for Marseilles

UPDATED SHOWTIME: 8 p.m., Friday, April 20

Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus

A hard-boiled Western set in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, “Five Fingers for Marseilles” follows a group of childhood friends who grew up under Apartheid. Once united under a cause, a tragedy results in the loss of their bond. Twenty years later and one of them, Tau, is released from prison. Though determined to start his life with a clean slate, he is pulled back into the fray by another bitter conflict. Wearing the guilt of an unspeakable loss, Tau finds the villains of his youth, white policemen, replaced by a league of black men who call themselves the Night Runners and are led by the brutal Ghost. Forever changed by the past, antihero Tau slowly reunites with his childhood gang to rid the land of the evil that has corrupted it.


New certificate program: Corrections Professional Certificate Program

New for fall 2018, Metropolitan State University will begin offering the Evidence-Based Practice (EBP), Corrections Professional Certificate. This program is comprised of existing courses and courses that are currently going through the curriculum approval process, which have received approval for fall.

Current students pursuing corrections can enroll in this program as electives, and they will be eligible for financial aid like all other classes. This program is also open to non-degree-seeking students, for whom this program would not be eligible for financial aid.

These courses will be held at Midway Campus. The application window is currently open, and the deadline to apply is May 1 (the end of spring semester).

Click here for detailed information about this new program.

April 20: Breaking Chains: Building a Recovery Ecosystem for People of Color and Culture

The annual Breaking Chains: Building a Recovery Ecosystem for People of Color and Culture will feature keynote speaker Andre L. Johnson.

The program will run from 9 a.m.–3 p.m., Friday April 20, in  Founders Hall Auditorium, Saint Paul Campus, 700 E 7th St., Registration 8:30 a.m. Cost is $50 for professionals and $10 for students with school ID. Lunch will be provided. Use this link to register.

Andre L. Johnson is the president and CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project (DRP) —a multi-service agency that provides a wide spectrum of support services to the city’s recovery community.   Johnson has over 29 years of professional experience in recovery advocacy, exemplifying a long-standing commitment and dedication to the field of substance abuse. Since its inception in 2005, the DRP has devoted more than $15 million (via federal, county and local awards) to its mission to help Detroiters who were once on the streets become drug-free and productive citizens.

Schedule for Breaking Chains:
9 a.m. — Introductions and logistics
9:30 a.m. — Presentation by Andre L. Johnson
10:30 a.m. — Spoken word from two of the Coalition
10:40 a.m. — Break
10:50 a.m. — Presentation by Andre L. Johnson
Noon — Lunch and panel of drug counselors
1 p.m. — Activism plans at small tables, directed by Andre. How can professionals start their own larger
recovery community?
2 p.m. — Break
2:15 p.m. —Final summary, evaluations filled out and submitted

 This event is sponsored by: Metropolitan State University Alcohol and Drug Counseling Student Association, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, Minnesota Addiction Professionals MNAP and NAADAC, Alliance Wellness Center, Nuway Counseling Center, Meridian Treatment Programs, Restoration Counseling and Community Services, Avivo, Micah House, Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies, Resurrection Treatment Center, NEW-WAY Treatment Center, Juel Fairbanks Chemical Dependency Services, Minnesota Recovery Connection MRC, and Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health MAARCH.

CANCELED | April 13: Career Center Spring Think Tank with Paul Timmins


The Career Center will host Paul Timmins for a Think Tank discussion on career development from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Friday, April 13, at the Library and Learning Center,  LIB 302, 645 E 7th St., Saint Paul.

The Career Think Tanks are ongoing forums for dialogue, information exchange, and innovative ideas on helping our students realize their career aspirations.

Attend to hear from Paul Timmins, director of the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts Career Services and president of the National Career Development Association.

Open to the public. Faculty and staff welcome. No RSVP necessary.

Postponed | April 14: March for Science MN 2018 Rally



The annual March for Science Minnesota Rally is around the corner, and Metropolitan State University has announced its plans to participate.

Participants will start to gather at the Minnesota Senate Building (corner of University Avenue and Park Street) at 11:30 a.m. and will leave for the Minnesota State Capital at 11:55 a.m. The march runs from noon to 2 p.m.

The intent for Metropolitan State representation at the March of Science is to promote a science positive message. Feel free to bring your friends and family along.

Organizers want to emphasize a reminder to staff, faculty and students who wish to march with the contingent that they are representatives of Metropolitan State.

Organizers would also like to invite people to make signs in the Science Education Center first floor study area on Tuesday, April 10 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Supplies will be provided and participants are also welcome to bring their own.

Remember to wear Metro Blue, Metropolitan State gear or science-themed wear.

Brian Goodroad selected 2018 Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Metropolitan State Associate Professor Dr. Brian Goodroad has been selected as a 2018 Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP).

Goodroad joins a group of leaders whose scholarly work and forward-thinking contributions have led to meaningful improvements to healthcare and the nurse practitioner role.

The purpose of the AANP Fellows is to impact national and global health by engaging recognized nurse practitioners, like Goodroad, to lead new initiatives and support the AANP mission. Further, the FAANP program provides a forum to extend and enhance Fellows’ efforts to mentor and to facilitate leadership development of NPs. Goodroad  joins a group of 696 Fellows nation-wide, with seven  in Minnesota.

A reception and banquet will be held Thursday, June 28, in Denver, Colorado.

Feb. 28: Sachiko: A Bomb Survivor’s Story

Caren Stelson, author of Sachiko: A Bomb Survivor’s Story, will visit Metropolitan State University for a conversation about bomb survivor, Sachiko Yasui’s  life, and to discuss her lecture to medical doctors at the University of Wisconsin Medical School about radiation exposure.

Sachiko received the American Library Association’s Siebert Award for Information Books, and the Jane Addams Book Award for Peace and Justice, among other recognition. Stelson’s visit will be 3 to 4:20 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Midway Center, room 154, 1450 Energy Park Drive.

Stelsonis an active partner at Metropolitan State and Nagasaki University as the two build close ties via the Nagasaki-St. Paul Sister City organization.

No RSVP necessary. Contact Michal Mosckow at with questions.

March 11: Winter Clothing Drive

The Social Work Student Association is hosting a winter clothing drive. Donate your clothes at bins located in the Student Center, Founders Hall, and Library and Learning Center now through Sunday, March 9.

Donated items will be available for pickup at a free “shopping” event from 1-4 p.m., Monday, March 11 in the Student Center, room 101.

The event is open to the public.

Contact Rachel Hanson at for more information.