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University news

Upcoming Interstate 94 east metro ramp closures

Construction crews are making progress on the eastbound Interstate 94 pavement replacement. The old pavement is nearly completely removed, and construction crews are on track to begin pouring concrete for the new driving surface of the eastbound lanes this week.

As the project progresses, so does the need to adjust traffic restrictions to give crews the space to complete this important work.

Expect these changes in the coming weeks within the work zone:

  • The ramp from eastbound I-94 to northbound McKnight Road will close early Thursday morning, July 20. Anticipate re-opening both eastbound I-94 to McKnight Road ramps in August.
  • The ramp from Etna Street to southbound Highway 61 will close early Monday morning, July 24, through the end of August

Ramps are being closed to they may be repaved. Closure durations and time frames are all approximate and weather dependent.

What’s next

Anticipate final construction stage in early August. There will be additional lane and ramp closures (and openings) before the project is completed this fall.

Stay Connected

Visit www.511mn.org for real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota.

July 25: U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking town hall

Metropolitan State University will host the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking during a three-day visit to Minnesota for a regional meeting to discuss and deliberate ways to meaningfully engage survivors of human trafficking, as well as educate, empower and create awareness for those survivors.

Five members of the visiting council will meet with survivors in Minnesota, as well as with representatives from the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force, the Minnesota Department of Health, the International Institute of Minnesota, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and state sheriffs and county attorneys. Over the course of the visit, from July 23-25, councilmembers will identify and discuss key objectives for the council’s 2017 report.

The regional meeting will culminate with a public town hall, 1 to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 25, hosted at Metropolitan State University, 700 7th Street East, Saint Paul. Expected speakers include State Senator Foung Hawj of District 67, Saint Paul City Council member Jane Prince of Ward 7, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Anne Saunders of the Minneapolis Field Office, Lauren Ryan, JD, director of Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door at the Minnesota Department of Health, and university President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur. The event is open to news media and will also be livestreamed to the council’s Facebook page.

The council was formed in 2015 under the U.S. Department of State to “provide a formal platform for trafficking survivors to advise and make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policies to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF).”

The council is made up of 11 selected volunteers who are survivors of human trafficking. Its purpose is to provide recommendations to the U.S. government to strengthen federal policy and programming efforts that reflect the best practices in the field. The council meets in person three times annually. An initial report from the council was delivered last year.

IN MINNESOTA*

  • In January 2009, the FBI identified the Twin Cities as one of 13 U.S. cities with a high incidence rate of child prostitution. (source)
  • By very conservative measures, a November 2010 study found that each month in Minnesota at least 213 girls are sold for sex an average of five times per day through the Internet and escort services. This number does not include hotel, street or gang activity. (source)
  • A November 2010 study found that on any given weekend night in Minnesota, 45 girls under age 18 are sold for sex through the internet classified websites and escort services. (source)
  • In 2010, investigators from three states determined that Minneapolis was the home base of a large domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) ring comprised of three generations of one Minnesota family that was prostituting (trafficking) mostly young girls across the United States. (source)
  • About 50 percent of adult women interviewed as part of a 2010 study focused on North Minneapolis stated that they were first traded for sex when they were under the age of 18, with the average age at 13 years. (source)
  • In just one 72-hour sting in summer 2013, an FBI-led operation rescued 105 children and netted 152 pimps in 76 cities nationwide, including four alleged pimps in the Twin Cities.

* “Get the Facts,” Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

Selected nationally, the appointees are from diverse backgrounds and bring personal experiences of human trafficking to the council. They were also selected for their ongoing work and leadership in their local communities against human trafficking.

The council includes Bukola Oriola, a spring 2017 graduate of Metropolitan State University. In 2016, she was appointed to a two-year term on the council. In that year, she attended an inaugural meeting in Washington, D.C., with the council and then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. She also serves as the council’s secretary.

Other councilmembers to attend are:

  • Harold D’Souza; a survivor, spokesperson, and advocate. D’Souza is a senior supply chain associate for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a position he has held since 2008. He is also a co-founder of Eyes Open International, a founding member of the National Survivor Network, and is active with End Slavery Cincinnati.
  • Ronny Marty; an independent consultant and speaker to combat human trafficking.
  • Flor Molina; founding member of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) Survivor Leadership Program and a member of the National Survivor Network. She has advocated for policies to combat human trafficking since 2002.
  • Evelyn Chumbow; a project assistant at Baker & McKenzie LLP. Since 2014, Chumbow has been an advocate with the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST). She was recently awarded the Presbyterian Peaceseeker Award for her efforts to combat human trafficking.

Oriola, a Nigerian-born journalist who came to Minnesota in 2005 to meet her husband for the first time, was instead held hostage and forced into labor in his Ramsey home, and suffered mental and physical abuse over the next two years.

Oriola has spoken about her experience since 2009. In September 2016, she traveled to her native Nigeria to speak out about the problem of human trafficking. Over 11 days, she met with university students and the international media there to tell her story and experience as a victim of human trafficking and to bring a different understanding and dialogue about the forms that human trafficking can manifest.

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 (www.tocaimn.com), 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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Dr. Amy Gort named new provost at Metropolitan State University

Metropolitan State University has named Dr. Amy Gort as the new Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. She will start at Metropolitan State on Monday, July 3.

Amy S. Gort
Amy S. Gort

The announcement was made to the university faculty, staff and student body early Monday, May 8. As provost, Gort will be responsible for providing vision and strategic direction for the university’s development and delivery of academic programs and for leading the academic and student affairs division. She will also serve on the President’s Executive Council and the President’s Cabinet.

Gort served as dean of Arts and Sciences at Augsburg College since 2009. She had previously served as dean of Arts and Sciences and professor of Biology at Concordia University, Saint Paul. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gort lives in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Her passion for teaching was evident during her scientific training as she sought out opportunities as a teaching assistant, research mentor, and adjunct faculty member. She is experienced and well-versed in strategic enrollment planning, determining budgets for new academic programs, and prioritizing resources to encourage enrollment growth. She has developed collaborative relationships with local community colleges to strengthen articulation agreements, contribute to customized transfer student curriculum plans.

“Our search for a provost and executive vice president was nationwide in scope and attracted a strong pool of applicants. During and after the finalists’ campus visits, faculty, staff, and students generously shared their reflections on the candidates,” President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur wrote in an announcement to the university community. “There was a clear consensus that Dr. Gort’s outstanding academic experience, passion for student access and success, and affinity for our urban mission and communities make her an outstanding candidate for this critical role in our shared work.”

Search committee members included:

  • Marcia Hagen, professor, College of Management
  • Nantawan Lewis, professor of religious studies, College of Liberal Arts
  • Julie Maxson, associate professor, College of Sciences
  • Brenda Merrill, associate professor, College of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Alec Sonsteby, associate professor, Library Services
  • Charles Tedder, associate professor, College of Individualized Studies
  • Craig Hansen, representing the academic deans
  • Joe Rockers, MSUAASF representative
  • Kate Southwick, MSUAASF representative
  • Dina Inderlee, MMA representative
  • Chris Gevara, AFSCME representative
  • Patty McCann, providing support

Dr. Gort will assume the position currently held by Dr. Carol BormannYoung, professor of management, who was appointed interim provost in May 2016. BormannYoung accepted the interim position after Arthur, who was provost at the time, was named president last spring.

Birtukan Abebe honored with nomination for Minnesota State Board of Trustees Professional Excellence in Service Award

Birkutan Abebe

Birtukan Abebe was recently recognized for her years of dedication and service as an academic advisor in the Information and Computer Sciences department by being chosen as Metropolitan State’s representative nominee for the Minnesota State Board of Trustees Professional Excellence in Service Award.  Although she was not chosen at the awards ceremony, Abebe feels it was an honor to be recognized.

“It was an honor to be nominated among six outstanding Metropolitan State University staff for the work we do.  Being recognized at the state level was truly amazing.  It made me feel that my contribution has made an impact to our students’ growth and to help them achieve their goals.  It is always a pleasure working with students and see them accomplish so many things,” Abebe said.

Abebe has been with Metropolitan State for 17 years, and has established herself as a prolific, and influential academic advisor with both students and faculty.  Her life experiences have also helped her to be the dynamic employee she has come to be known for at Metropolitan State.

Slideshow: Haute Dish Spring Reading 2017

Metropolitan State students read works at one of the most renowned literary centers in the United States when Haute Dish, the student arts and literature magazine of Metropolitan State, hosted it’s 4th Annual Spring Reading on Saturday, April 22 at Open Book in Minneapolis. Open Book is the home of The Loft Literary Center, Milkweed Editions and Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Haute Dish is now accepting submissions from students, staff, faculty and alumni for their Fall 2017 issue. Submit your poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir/personal essay, photography, illustration, or digital-storytelling (film/video). Multi-lingual poetry and prose is highly encouraged.

Submissions deadline for Fall 2017 is midnight, April 15, 2017.

For submission instructions or general information at their website, or email them at: hautedish@metrostate.edu.

Photo gallery:

Photography: Kevin O’Connor

I-94 east metro ramp closure update

The ramp from eastbound Interstate 94 to northbound McKnight Road (the loop) will not be closing for project work at this time

See the full list of closures on both westbound and eastbound I-94 from St. Paul to Maplewood

Reminder: Be prepared to choose a lane on westbound I-94

If you or someone you know will be traveling on I-94 between Saint Paul and Maplewood, follow these tips to help be prepared before you drive:

• Drivers traveling on westbound I-94 should be prepared to choose a lane

• Drivers traveling beyond Mounds Blvd should remain in the left lanes and follow the “through traffic, stay left” signs

• Drivers exiting within the five-mile project area between Highway 120/Century Avenue and Mounds Boulevard should stay in the right lane and follow the “local access, stay right” signs

Closure durations and time frames are all approximate and weather dependent.

$1 million gift establishes Summer Scholars Academy

Program aims to close gaps in student success for underserved communities

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 19, 2017 – A $1 million gift from Beverly and Richard Fink to eight Minnesota State colleges in the Twin Cities will establish an innovative program to ensure that students are college-ready by fall semester of their freshman year – at no cost to the students.

The “Summer Scholars Academy” is a bridge program that assists new entering students who are not yet ready for college-level coursework by providing full scholarships for developmental education coursework and other support during the summer prior to their freshman year in college. The program offers courses in mathematics, reading, and writing, as well as other components of student success such as time management, learning strategies, study skills, academic and career planning, campus resources, technology skills, and financial literacy. Students will receive wrap-around support services that include tutoring and academic advising, and will have ample opportunity to get to know each other and to get individualized support from faculty and staff members. In addition to full scholarships for the summer program, students will receive other financial support including subsidized transportation and a $150 scholarship for fall tuition at a Minnesota State college or university after they successfully complete the program. The Summer Scholars Academy will serve 200 students this summer and a total of 800 students over a four-year period.

Continue reading $1 million gift establishes Summer Scholars Academy

Metropolitan State welcomes new Chief Advancement Officer

Metropolitan State University announces Rita Dibble as the new Chief Advancement Officer. She will join the university on May 1.

Rita Dibble
Rita Dibble

Dibble has been vice president for advancement at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. Previously, she held positions in advancement and development at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Wilson College, Misericordia University and the American Cancer Society of Pennsylvania. She holds master’s degrees from S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University and from The Maharaja Sayajirao University.

“I was very pleased with the strong pool of finalists that was attracted to this position and the university. During the campus visit process, Rita’s candidacy was met with broad and enthusiastic support,” said Metropolitan State President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur.

Thanks goes out to the diligent search committee for their good work in screening and hosting the candidates. The members of the committee were:

  • Becca Peters, IFO
  • Quan Zhou, IFO
  • Greg Mellas, MSUAASF
  • Diane DeRosier, MAPE
  • Meiko Yang, AFSCME
  • Francis Schweigert, Dean
  • Deb Vos, Advancement
  • Vicki Berner, Advancement
  • Doug Knowlton, Associate Provost and Chair