Category Archives: Faculty & Staff

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.

Dec. 1-2: Statistical Analysis System Training for Faculty

Introduction to SAS Studio/University Edition

• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, at Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence (Formerly Advance IT Minnesota), 1380 Energy Lane, Suite 104. St. Paul.

In this workshop, you will learn to access your data, combine tables, compute new variables, explore data with simple statistics and graphs, and perform sophisticated statistical analyses with SAS University Edition.

Open to all Minnesota State Faculty Members interested in learning how to use SAS Studio/University Edition.

SAS Visual Analytics Training

• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence (Formerly Advance IT Minnesota), 1380 Energy Lane, Suite 104.

Explore data using visual analytics in-memory capabilities to better understand all of your data, discover new patterns, and publish reports to the Web and mobile devices.

Open to all Minnesota State Faculty Members interested in learning how to use SAS Visual Analytics.

REQUIRED PREREQUISITE: Faculty should have attended either the Aug. 9 or Dec. 1  SAS Studio/University Edition or have previous work experience with SAS University Edition.

Space is limited to 25 people per session. Sign up at this link:

Create an IT Connect account to register if you do not already have an educator account in.

Nov. 1: Scrabble for Scholarships finals


Throw down with Metropolitan State to watch the Scrabble for Scholarships tournament organized by the Annual Fund Drive Committee, to support scholarships awarded through the University Foundation.

The preliminary round begins at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Saint Paul Campus, Saint John’s Hall L5.

Pat Borchert
August Hoffman


Alec Sonsteby
Peter Gawtry


Winners of the first round will play each other in the final round, immediately following. Proceeds go to the Metropolitan State Annual Fund Drive for Student Scholarships.

New employee: Michael Elliott

Unknown.jpegMeet the newest member of the team in Center for Accessibility Resources, Michael Elliott, program assistant and accommodation coordinator.  He can be found front and center in the reception area of the suite, New Main, L223, Saint Paul Campus.

Elliott comes to us from Minneapolis Community and Technical College where he worked in in Advising and Admissions, the African American Education and Empowerment Program, and as a staffer with the Student Life programs.

Elliott says that some may call him non-traditional and that “Along my journey, I have been graced with mentorship and friendships that have assisted me discovering and listening to my inner guidance. I believe, like many, that education in its many forms can be a powerful resource. All things are possible with function, focus, fortitude and fun.”

He also enjoys science fiction, hardcover books, history, education and his community.

Contact him via email at or by phone at 651-793-1549.

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.

October: Seasonal flu vaccination clinics for state employees

The State of Minnesota Employee workplace flu vaccination clinics have been scheduled.

The seasonal flu shot will be available at selected state agency locations, with no out of pocket costs to state employees who present their Minnesota Advantage Health Plan member ID card (Blue Cross, Preferred One or Health Partners card). Without the Minnesota Advantage Health Plan ID card, the cost of the vaccine is $33.

Workplace clinics convenient to Metropolitan State University employees include:

ETC Building, (Department of Corrections)
Itasca Room, Lower Level, West Entrance (no appointments scheduled at this clinic)
Midway Campus, 1450 Energy Park Drive, Saint Paul, MN 55108
8-11 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 10

MCTC (Minneapolis Community and Technical College)
Room L3100 (no appointments scheduled at this clinic)
1501 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
1-4 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 12

Hennepin Technical College
Room H193 (no appointments scheduled at this clinic)
Brooklyn Park Campus, 9000 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park, MN
1-4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 16

Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul Campus
New Main, Room L220
700 East Seventh Street, Saint Paul, MN 55106
1-3 p.m., Monday, Oct.  23

If you would like to schedule an appointment for a vaccine at this clinic, please send a message to
The last appointments will be scheduled at 2:45 p.m. Please note that an appointment is not required but recommended so that your wait time will be minimal.

If the clinic dates does not work for your schedule, then check for clinics at other Minnesota state agencies at this link.

Get more information about the 2017 Seasonal Flu Vaccination Campaign for State Employees at this link.

Sept. 30: Memorial tree planting to honor former Associate Provost Doug Knowlton

Doug Knowlton

To honor the memory and work of Metropolitan State’s valued colleague, Associate Provost Doug Knowlton, a memorial tree planting celebration is planned.

The gathering will be at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30 at the labyrinth site, 640 7th St. E., next to the Library and Learning Center, Saint Paul Campus (view on map).

All are invited. Any who wish to do so may help with the planting and/or share brief remembrances.

Special thanks to Professor August Hoffman, who has arranged for the event. The memorial tree, a Parker Pear, is a variety that is both attractive and able to thrive in urban settings.

Oct. 5: Mental Health First Aid

Metropolitan State University is launching efforts to reduce and prevent suicide by providing gatekeeper trainings, 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.

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. The next session will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.,  Thursday, Oct. 5 in the Library and Learning Center,  Room 310. Register at this link on

Contact Cassandra Shaker ( with questions.

Raj Sethuraju, Lyan Nyamwaya nominated as Minority Access National Role Models

Dr. Raj Sethuraju and Lyan Nyamwaya are honored as nominees for the Minority Access’ National Role Model.

The award winner will be announced at the Minority Access national conference, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Sethuraju is an associate professor at Metropolitan State University’s School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice.

Nyamwaya is a graduate of Metropolitan State University and founder and current president of the African Nurses Association. She works as a charge nurse at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minn.

The National Role Model Awards are given in various categories to individuals who serve as inspirational role models to inspire others to emulate them, and thereby increase the pool of scholars and professionals who will find cures for illnesses or solve technological problems or address social disparities in society.

Find more information about this event at this link:

Prof. James Densley recognized with UK Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award

James Densely

The First Meeting
“I don’t want to arrest gang members. I want to prevent gang members. I want to work in schools to try and catch this on the front end, so that we’re not dealing with these violent issues on the streets.” Dr. James Densley, a researcher conducting an ethnographic study interviewing young people who were involved in gangs in different areas of London, said he was pleasantly surprised to hear a police officer say that. Densley was interviewing Allen Davis, a police officer from London, when they first met for that interview. That meeting led to them starting a small charity organization called Growing Against Gangs & Violence (GAGV) through which they were going to reach out to young people in public schools.

Soon, both Densley and Davis went around public schools in London and conducted listening sessions with young people asking them questions around gangs and youth violence. They were surprised to learn that the young people taking part in these listening sessions readily opened up about the things that affected their lives. These listening sessions allowed the researchers to gain a deep understanding of how the youth culture in the age of social media proliferated and affected the lives of its adherents. Whether or not it was poverty in the community, or a family connection to existing gangs, or, whether or not it was young people feeling afraid in their own communities and looking for gangs to protect them. The reason why these kids decided to join gangs were as varied as the stories the kids told them.

In addition to that, Allen and Densley also uncovered evidence of exploitative relationships between young men and women in gang affected communities. They also discovered that there was a lot of unreported sexual violence, sexual harassment and discrimination that was going on.

Social media played a key role in tying all these wide-ranging experiences together online. Allen and Densley found that young peoples’ lives was increasingly integrated with social media. For example, young kids would be in school gossiping about stuff. The gossiping would then continue on social media. Then what they said on social media would have an impact on what was going on in real life and so on and so forth.

Dr. James Densley and Allen Davis

Time for a Change
Once Allen and Densley realized how complicated and wide-ranging the issue was, they co-wrote a curriculum centered on debunking some of the myths around gangs. Like the false idea that gangs provide you with protection, or provide you with respect, or provide you with money. In reality, none of this is really true. Instead, young people are way more likely to be victimized by joining a gang.

The curriculum also tackled the myths surrounding the knife carrying culture among gangs in the UK. Young people in the UK carry knives instead of guns for protection. Highlighting problems with that by partnering with trauma surgeons who educated young people on the dangers and risks of carrying and using knives was one way to tackle that myth.

Media literacy was used to counter the issues surrounding sexual violence and sexual harassment. Understanding the ways in which gangs posted rap videos on YouTube to promote their stuff. Dissecting the underlying messages of those videos to show how gang culture really worked was one way to teach young people to become conscious and critical consumers of social media.

In order to break down barriers between law enforcement and the community these kids were a part of, the researchers brought in retired police officers into these listening sessions. The goal of that exercise was to get young people to interact with police officers in a non-confrontational setting and develop relationships with these retired police officers, something the kids were unable to do in their own communities. This was also a way to give the kids a different perspective on law enforcement. Plus, having a police officer like Davis in the program was crucial to its success.

Allen and Davis found that going into these schools and developing a curriculum around these issues; getting young people in a safe environment where they felt it was okay to talk about these issues and; using that opportunity to educate them on the risks inherent in youth violence and gangs was very effective.

Although the core of the curriculum remained the same, the researchers added and tweaked parts of the program based on the immediate needs of the school these curriculums were being introduced to. As a result, the curriculum has now been delivered to around 150,000 young people in 600 schools in and around London. Densley said that makes it the biggest charity of its type in England. The focus of the program is especially based in areas and communities that are affected with gangs, youth violence and poverty.

Measuring Change
The initial pilot for this program started in 2008-2009. Then it went on a developmental stage in 2009. Around 2012 is when the program started to expand and build. By then, Densley was working as a professor at Metropolitan State University and had essentially pulled back from being directly involved in GAGV’s activities.

Later on, Densley came back to conduct an evaluation of the work that was being done by GAGV. The evaluation involved surveys with young people in a randomized control trial. Densley found that GAGV was not successful in all of the objectives of the evaluation. However, the results of the evaluation showed that the curriculum was having, what Densley defined it as, “statistically significant results.”

He found out that the curriculum had led to an improved relationship between young people and police. The curriculum was also having a measurable impact on changing the attitude towards, what in the literature is known as, “street codes.” Codes like the idea that you don’t snitch on gangs, the idea that if someone violates you, you violate them back. The curriculum, according to Densley, was “also moving the needle on that.” The results of that finding were published in a journal article. Densley feels that, “it helped us to know that what we were doing didn’t just intuitively made sense, it actually had some sort of evidence based behind it as well.”

The Impact of Change
The mayor’s office in London started a program called Project Oracle to gather evidence about charities that were working in London to try and understand whether, or not, these charities were having a measured impact. They graded the charities on a scale of 1-5. At that time, GAGV was the first project to get level 2 status. In order to try and move up those levels, Densley said that the internal evaluation within GAV (now known as Growing against Violence) is still ongoing.

Allen Davis and Dr. James Densley were awarded with the Points of Light for their volunteering efforts and the change their program brought in the community. In a personal letter to Davis and Densley, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Thanks to your tireless work together, the Growing Against Violence project is educating thousands of children across London about the dangers of knife crime, substance abuse, and gang membership. By identifying young people at risk you are not only preventing them from harm but also teaching them to identify and help their peers who are struggling with these same issues.”