All posts by Ryan Jay

Mathematics professor Cindy Kaus receives prestigious award

Dr. Cindy Kaus, professor of mathematics at Metropolitan State University, has been named recipient of the Mathematical Association of America’s (MMA) North Central Section award for Distinguished University Teaching of Mathematics.  John Zobitz, mathematician at Augsburg, nominated Cindy for this award. The Distinguished University Teaching of Mathematics award is based on the following criteria:

  • Be widely recognized as extraordinarily successful in their teaching.
  • Have teaching effectiveness that can be documented.
  • Have had influence in their teaching beyond their own institution.
  • Foster curiosity and generate excitement about mathematics in their students

Cindy received her award at the Spring 2017 Meeting  on April 21-22 at Anoka-Ramsey Community College.  In addition, the North Central Section will forward Dr. Kaus’ name as a nominee for the national award.

June 2: ‘Magia Salvaje’ to screen at Film Space

The Open Screen Film Series presents the Columbian film “Magia Salvaje” in cooperation with Integración Cultural Colombiana en Minnesota, the International School of Minnesota, Global Minnesota, and Metropolitan State University.

The free screening will be at 7 p.m., June 2, at Film Space auditorium, Founders Hall, Saint Paul Campus. Representatives from Integración Cultural Colombiana en Minnesota will discuss with the audience  the award-winning success and cultural impact of “Magia Salvaje.”

Experience the amazing creatures and landscapes of Colombia through a new lens. Colombia “Magia Salvaje” is an ambitious documentary that explores the country’s natural wonders and unique biodiversity. Through stunning cinematography, the film takes to the audience to the depths of the Pacific Ocean, to the Island of Malpelo, follows the tracks of the Lost City in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and accompanies a condor’s flight in El Cocuy. A tribute to the beauty of Colombia, “Magia Salvaje” covers 85 locations and 20 ecosystems. It’s a must-see for adventure seekers and lovers of this natural paradise.

For more information about Film Space, click here.

On Track Podcast: Episode 22

On Track, a podcast series from the School of Communication, Writing and the Arts, has just published its latest episode.

In this month’s edition, we’re discussing the second annual Student Research Conference. On Track was recorded live at the Great Hall. We spoke to a variety of University students in human services, computer science, nursing, and gaming.

On Track informs the larger Metropolitan State community as well as the public about programs, events, activities, and research in the School of Communication, Writing and the Arts.

The podcast can be streamed on both iTunes and Spreaker. We encourage you to give us a listen and to subscribe to the podcast.

Memorial Day weekend campus schedule

All campus buildings will be closed Memorial Day weekend.

Offices and building will be closed May 27–29
This closure affects the following locations:

  • Saint Paul Campus
  • Saint Paul Campus Library and Learning Center
  • Midway Campus
  • Minneapolis Campus, MEC & MCTC
  • Brooklyn Park (LECJEC)

To contact a Safety Officer During Business Hours.
Saint Paul Main Campus Cell:           651.775.0444
Security Desk:                     651.793.1717
Library Cell:                          651.775.0715
Ramp Cell:                             651.368.4297
Ramp Desk:                          651.793.1730
Student Center Cell:       651.775.6724

Midway Center
Security Cell:                                     651.775.6122

Safety:                                     612.659.6910
Emergency:                          612.659.6900

Brooklyn Park (LECJEC)
Safety cell:                            763-488-2655

May 16: Library Game Nights continue through summer

The Metropolitan State University Library and Learning Center on Saint Paul campus will continue Game Nights through summer.

Game Night features classic and modern video game consoles and games, board games, food and music. The event is free and open to students, staff, faculty, and the public. Snacks are provided.

Game nights are from 4 to 7 p.m., each third Tuesday of the month  at the first-floor lounge of the library.

Minnesota Campus Compact award winners

The Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Luncheon and Awards Summit on April 5 at the University of St. Thomas and recognized the 2017 recipients of the Presidents’ Community Partner Award, the Presidents’ Student Leadership Award, and the Presidents’ Civic Engagement Steward Award.

“Expanding the Circle: Dialogue, Opportunity, and Minnesota’s Future,” was the theme at this year’s luncheon. The event “brings together a variety of civic engagement stakeholders both to celebrate the good work already being done across the state and to consider ways of building on that work for greater impact.”

Representing Metropolitan State University was Mark D. Rosen who received the Presidents’ Community Partner Award. Rosen has consistently partnered to expand and strengthen the internship pathway between Augustana Care and Metropolitan State University. Rosen is the program director at Open Circle of Hopkins, an adult day program focusing on community, healthy living, and independence, improving community outcomes while enriching student learning and workforce development.

Also recognized at the awards luncheon was The Coalition for Increasing Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers in Minnesota (, who were awarded the Presidents’ Civic Engagement Steward Award by Metropolitan State University President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur.  Victor B. Cole, Brett Grant (Voices for Social Justice and TOCAIMN co-chair), Dr. Stanley Brown (Hopkins School District), Dean Rene Antrop-Gonzalez, Professor Paul Spies, Ron Anderson (vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, Minnesota State, and chair, MNCC),  Dr. Yvonne RB-Banks and Dr. Rose Chu.

Minnesota Campus Compact is not simply an organization with a board of directors, staff, and member presidents. They are a network of people passionate about educating active citizens and engaging higher education institutions in collaborative efforts that build more just, equitable, and democratic communities.

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President’s Circle of Engagement recognizes faculty for engaged teaching strategies

Each year, through the President’s Circle of Engagement, Metropolitan State University’s president recognizes faculty members for the use of community-engaged teaching and learning strategies, calling attention to the importance of this approach to student learning and its relation to the university mission of “commitment to community partnerships through curriculum, teaching, and scholarship.”

Faculty members in the President’s Circle of Engagement are invited to attend a reception hosted by the university president where they are acknowledged for their efforts, and learn about select community-engaged projects being led by their faculty colleagues.

Do you wish to be included in the 2017 President’s Circle of Engagement? RSVP at this link.


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Photos: Strange Attractors Festival

After an 18-year run, the Strange Attractors Festival has concluded. Retiring after 35 years as a faculty member, David Means had coordinated the festival of experimental music and intermedia art to bring national and international artists, composers, and musicians on campus to perform and collaborate with students since 1998. 

Means is a renowned artist with an international reputation and unparalleled standing in his community, with installations and live musical performances exhibited throughout the United States and Europe. He has composed more than 300 musical pieces and performed live in more than 10 countries.

His first post-retirement project is with the Echofluxx Ensemble, who will be performing live at Echofluxx 17, an international festival of experimental film, music, and dance, from May 3-6 in Prague. 

Below are photos from the final Strange Attractors Festival.

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May 16: East Side Volunteer Fair to connect community with volunteer opportunities

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at the East Side Volunteer Fair. The free event will be noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at 463 Maria Avenue in Saint Paul. The volunteer fair is hosted by East Side Elders, a nonprofit organization that serves seniors in the community. 400dpiLogo_2017_331x200.png

Attendees will enjoy free snacks and beverages, enter to win door prizes, and will meet with representatives from community organizations that serve the East Side of Saint Paul.

“This event is geared toward people who are looking for daytime volunteer opportunities. We are hoping that the event will attract retirees, stay at home parents, those who work from home, students with flexible schedules, and other community members,” said Kala Hotakainen, East Side Elders Volunteer coordinator.

Community organizations that will be in attendance include the Arlington Hills Community Center, East Side Lions Club, the Karen Organization of Minnesota, and the East Side Arts Council. Nonprofits are invited to apply for a free table at the event by contacting the organizers at

Outstanding Student Bukola Oriola selected commencement speaker

Metropolitan State University celebrated its 100th commencement exercise, May 1. The student speaker, Bukola Oriola, College of Individualized Studies Outstanding Student, graduated with her bachelor’s degree in individualized studies with focus on community leadership and diversity.

Approximately 1,100 students  received  their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and  761 students participate in the commencement exercise hosted at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium at Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Bukola Oriola will be the student speaker at the Spring 2017 commencement exercise.

Oriola is a Twin Cities activist and internationally-known figure for her advocacy work in the fight against human trafficking. In 2005, Oriola left her life and her publishing job in Nigeria in favor of a new life in the United States. Not long after arriving, she found herself in an abusive relationship and spent two years living the horror that is human trafficking. Oriola was able to remove herself from that situation and was determined to help others. Already holding a degree in mass communications in Nigeria, Oriola decided to return to school, and in 2014 she enrolled in the individualized studies program at Metropolitan State University.

“College is where you learn to project yourself in ways that people can understand and you can positively impact the community,” she says.

Through her advocacy and degree program work, in 2016, Oriola was appointed to a two-year term on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. In that year, she traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend an inaugural meeting of the council with then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Before her return to university, Oriola braided hair to make ends meet. She was nervous about returning to school, but in her upbringing education was a priority. Her parents made sure that all of their children graduated from college.

“I watched my parents sell our most prized belongings to put us through school,” she said of her parents’ dedication.

As part of Oriola’s individualized studies program, she and another Metropolitan State student researched and designed a trip to Nigeria to visit colleges and polytechnic schools to spread a message of hope and speak about her experiences in human trafficking. The trip proved to be a massive success; their message reached an estimated 20 million students in just ten days.

Oriola graduated with honors and was the student speaker at her commencement ceremony. Graduating is bittersweet for Oriola, because her parents are deceased and most of her family are unable to travel to the U.S. to celebrate with her. She looks forward to having more time to dedicate to “being the voice for victims and survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.”