All posts by Ryan Jay

Nov. 17: Spring Faculty Conference 2018 call for proposals deadline

There is still need for faculty presenters for the Spring Faculty Conference. The deadline for presentation proposals is Nov. 17

The 2018 Spring Faculty Conference will be 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. The theme is “Teaching for Inclusion.” The committee will consider only proposals connected directly to the conference theme.

The need for culturally responsive teaching is woven into the mission, vision and values of Metropolitan State University. This need compels the ongoing quest for cultural humility as we seek greater awareness of the facets of students’ lives. Race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious background, accessibility needs, political orientation, military experience, and home language are just the beginning of the conversation about “Teaching for Inclusion.”

How can educators use the power of diversity to improve our classrooms? How can we use the power of our classrooms to impact justice in our surrounding communities? What does “Teaching for Inclusion” mean in the “21st century classroom?”

Do you utilize anti-racist pedagogical strategies? Do you address systems of oppression in your curriculum? How do principles of Universal Design play out in your teaching? What methods — formal and informal — do you rely upon to keep your teaching grounded in Metropolitan State’s bedrock inclusivity?

We invite you to propose a session at the Spring Faculty Conference. This is an opportunity to share your knowledge and best practices with your colleagues. We invite a broad array of proposals from individuals, teams, and panels of faculty. We encourage you to include students where appropriate. Each session is scheduled for 60 minutes. Preference will be given to sessions that employ active learning and sessions which address more than one discipline.

 Session examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Best practices: What does higher education research tell us about teaching for inclusion? What do we do in our own teaching to include our students’ backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences?
  • Cross-disciplinary vs. discipline-based inclusivity: Are inclusion and access addressed differently, depending on discipline?
  • Student panels: What can our students tell us about their differing experiences as learners? What has been effective for them in learning about other cultures and perspectives.
  • Experiential learning: How do students learn about inclusion through experiences outside the classroom?
  • Case studies: What student projects have been most valuable in your classes for teaching about race, culture, access, and inclusion?
  • Universal course design: It’s not just for online learning.
  • Effective practices in online and hybrid teaching: Do we need to take different approaches when students are learning outside the traditional classroom?

Submit proposals to, or e-mail with questions.

Student Angela Edwards recognized with Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Unsung Hero Award

Student Angela Edwards was recently awarded a Minnesota Council of Nonprofits award for unsung heroes for her work with the nonprofit Education Explosion.

As founder of Education Explosion, Edwards works with students in North Minneapolis to achieve educational and career goals through test preparation, counseling and on-site computer training. Because of her work and encouragement, many in her community are moving away from poverty. Edwards is a student in the Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) program at Metropolitan State.

“Angela brings a sense of hope to her community and to everyone she works with, and, according to her nominator, has brought many from poverty to self-sufficiency.  The combination of the incredible work she’s doing plus her determination and heart made her stand out.  That, in addition to the fact that she has never received recognition for her amazing work, really won her the award,” said Sarah Crumrine, communications coordinator for the
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

Edwards was recognized at a luncheon at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and will be honored at its annual conference in October. Each awardee in 2017 will receive a cash prize of $10,000 from the McKnight Foundation and MCN and were honored at a private luncheon in Minneapolis on Sept. 26. Award recipients will also be recognized at the 2017 MCN Annual Conference on Oct. 12 in Saint Paul.

According to Edwards, this recognition will allow her to devote more  monetary resources to her nonprofit, Education Explosion. Winning grants has been difficult and Edwards has been funding the organization through businesses that she has started.  The recognition from this award will help with future grant applications and as she seeks money to fund the organization.

Since 1985, the McKnight Foundation has recognized Minnesotans who have improved the quality of life for current and future generations with the Virginia McKnight Binger Awards in Human Service. In 2015, MCN partnered with McKnight Foundation to coordinate and present the inaugural Unsung Hero Awards, honoring individuals performing life-changing work in communities across Minnesota, with little or no recognition.

Additional sessions scheduled for Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training

Metropolitan State University is launching efforts to reduce and prevent suicide by providing gatekeeper training, which teach participants to recognize signs of distress in people and to connect that person to helpful resources. You can help to prevent suicide at Metropolitan State University. Suicide prevention is all of our business, and everyone can play a role to help.

Training events are planned across several campus locations. Representatives from the Suicide Awareness Leadership Team and Metropolitan State University Creating Awareness Regarding Suicide (CARES), will teach the warning signs of suicide and promote upcoming gatekeeper training.

Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour in-person course for faculty, staff, and students, which teaches the risk factors and warning signs of mental health and substance use related crises, and how to recognize a problem, give reassurance and refer them to seek professional help. Three sessions and locations are offered for this training:
  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 31, Brooklyn Center (Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Center) campus. Includes one hour luch break. Register at:
 Kognito is a 45-minute online training and uses role-playing to teach how to recognize when a student is in crisis and refer them to the appropriate services. There is a general module, a veteran module, and an LGBTQ module. Kognito can be accessed by going to The enrollment key for Kognito is “MetroState.”
Both options count toward community faculty PDA credit.
E-mail with questions.

Oct. 15: Unleash the She, 5K and 10K women’s runs

In recognition of Women’s Health Month, Metropolitan State University is participating in “Unleash the She,” a run and walk to support the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

Start time is 8:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at Phalen Lake Park, 1600 Phalen Drive, Saint Paul.

Visit to register for Metropolitan State’s team. Use code METROSTATE17 for free entry. Space on Metropolitan State’s team is limited to 30 students; register as soon as possible to secure your spot on the team.

Call for entries for Student Film Festival

Submit your film to be be screened in the university’s new state-of-the-art digital cinema theater. The inaugural Metropolitan State Student Film Festival will be 7 p.m., Oct. 20, at Film Space theater in Founders Hall, Saint Paul Campus.

The festival is open and non-juried. Students or alumni with a short film to showcase are encouraged to send their name, the film title and its duration to James Byrne, Do not send the film. Only films under 20 minutes will be considered.  The submitter must be the film director or screenwriter.  The window for entries will close when spaces are filled or by the deadline, Oct. 16.

Oct. 19: Reunion for public relations majors

Catch up with former classmates and meet the new cohort of graduates and current students studying public relations at Metropolitan State.

The inaugural reunion for public relations graduates and current students (2005-present), and guest speakers will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday Oct. 19, at the Metropolitan State Minneapolis Campus, room T3930. Greg Zimprich and Rose McKinney are hosts. The reunion is held in conjunction with the fall semester Communication 481 students.

Admission is free, and light snacks will be provided.

RSVP at this link. Click here for a campus map.


Oct. 10: Think Tank, “We Are All Criminals”

This think tank will examine how a criminal record limits career options and complicates a job search, challenge our perception of what it means to be a criminal and help us to help students. It will also explore the feasibility and possibility for a “second chance” and raise questions about privilege, class and race matters.
Guest speaker Emily Baxter champions social justice and equity and  is the founder and executive director of We Are All Criminals (WAAC). She was the director of advocacy and public policy at the Council on Crime and Justice in Minnesota and as assistant public defender at the Regional Native Public Defense Corporation.
The event will be 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 10, in the Library and Learning Center, room 302, Saint Paul Campus. Cookies and lemonade will be provided. Feel free to bring a lunch.
  • Faculty and staff register here
  • Metropolitan State students register here
We Are All Criminals combines criminal justice statistics and statutes with compelling photography and first-person narrative to demonstrate the destruction caused by decades of mass criminalization, while leaving the reader with a sense of hope and inspiration to affect change. It is an examination of criminality, privilege, punishment, and second chances. Woven throughout is incisive commentary on the havoc our carceral state has wreaked upon the nation; the disparate impact of our legal system on poor communities and communities of color; and the exploration of innumerable life barriers created by criminal and juvenile records.
About the organization: WAAC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that inspires empathy and ignites social change through personal stories of crime, privilege, justice, and injustice, disrupting the barriers that separate us. We envision a more just and equitable world, where each of us is able to transcend our past and reach our full potential. More information on the organization
can be found at

Social work student Marbel Lih awarded MnSSA scholarship

Marbel Lih
Marbel Lih

Marbel Lih, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work at Metropolitan State University, has been awarded the 2017-2018 Minnesota Social Services Association  Diversity Scholorship.

Lih identifies as a black female African American immigrant, and upholds values such as respect, justice, equality, dignity and freedom. She is a mother, wife, caregiver, and beyond that an empathetic professional who will stop at nothing to help people find solutions.

Since immigrating to the United States, Lih has been a passionate human services worker for both private and state organizations. Being one with a family history of mental health problems, and after working several years with clients who have mental health issues, Marbel knows firsthand the trials that burden these individuals and families, which inspires her passion to serve.

Oct. 26: “We Are Anishinaabe: Honoring Textile Traditions” exhibit reception at Gordon Parks Gallery

Metropolitan State University Gordon Parks Gallery presents “We Are Anishinaabe: Honoring Textile Traditions,” a group exhibition of Native American design and crafted art by Delina White, Sage Davis and Lavender Hunt, all of Walker, Minn., and enrolled members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

Great Lakes Woodland Skirts Artists Portrait


The exhibit opens with a reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26, with a gallery talk by the artists at 7 p.m. The exhibit will be on display Oct. 31 through Nov. 22. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday. The gallery is located at the university’s Saint Paul Campus on the third floor of the Library and Learning Center, 645 East Seventh Street.

“The exhibition We Are Anishinaabe honors native traditions through cloth and beads. The Anishinaabe hold great respect and appreciation for the beauty of their lakes and woodlands home,” says guest curator Margaret Miller. “Through beading and sewing, artists Delina White and her daughters, Sage Davis and Lavender Hunt, share the Anishinaabe way of honoring the nature spirits of their homelands. The designs and materials used in their garments and jewelry show reverence for the environment passed down to them through ancestors. With great attention to symbolic design and detail, White, Hunt and Davis create stunningly, beautiful ensembles in vivid colors that celebrate the traditions of their culture and pride in being Anishinaabe.”

For more information about the exhibit, contact Erica Rasmussen, gallery director, at 651-999-5942 or e-mail her at

Metropolitan State University, a member of Minnesota State, is the Twin Cities public, urban, comprehensive state university providing lifelong learning, and competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels.

Sept. 21: Film screening, “The Embrace of the Serpent”

The Minnesota premiere of “El Abrazo de la Serpiente” (“The Embrace of the Serpent”), will be 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium. Admission is free.

This Colombian film was Oscar nominated in the Best Foreign-Language Film category.  Based on a diary, it is the story of Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.

“I have seen this brilliant beautiful film and I highly recommend it.  You will be transported to a different time and place.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to see a movie in Film Space yet, this is your chance,”  says James Byrne, Screenwriting Program coordinator and
Film Space director.

The screening is hosted by Metropolitan State University, College of Liberal Arts, Film Space, and community partners, the Colombian Consulate (Chicago), Intergarción Cultural Colombiana en Minnesota, and Global Minnesota.