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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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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:

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

March 22: Nomination deadline for employee awards

Metropolitan State is accepting submissions for employee awards. You are invited to nominate an employee who has demonstrated outstanding character and leadership in their role at the university.

The annual employee recognition event will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Thursday, April 13, in the Great Hall, Saint Paul Campus. At this event, Metropolitan State employees are recognized for their years of outstanding service. Deadline for submitting outstanding employee nominations is March 22. All nominations must be submitted electronically. 

There are a number of categories and criteria for nominations. criteria is online for the Outstanding Employee Award. The Outstanding Employee Award submission form can be accessed here. Send all Outstanding Employee Award submissions to

The Equity and Inclusion Council will present the Equity and Inclusion Leadership Award. This nomination packet is located online here.  Submit nominations for the Equity and Inclusion Leadership Award to

The Anti-Racism Leadership Team will present the Anti-Racism Legacy Award. This nomination packet is located online here. Submit nominations for the Anti-Racism Legacy Award to

Direct questions about the event or the nomination process to Nancy Moritz, Office of Human Resources, at

Award recognizes Metropolitan State’s work on issues of inclusion and equity

Metropolitan State University has been awarded the Minnesota State system’s Office of Equity and Inclusion’s Best Practices in Equity and Inclusion Award for the Racial Issues Graduation Requirement (RIGR). This is a very competitive process because of the legacy of quality work that has been carried out on issues of inclusion and equity across the university’s system over the years.

“I want to extend my congratulations to the many colleagues who have worked to put this curricular innovation in place,” says President Virginia Arthur. “Among them are Prof. Paul Spies, chair of the RIGR Task Force, and his former co-chair, Prof. Daniel Abebe; the RIGR review committee; and Prof. Valerie Geaither and Jill Beaulieu Wilkie, co-chairs of the Anti-Racism Leadership Team (ARLT).”

Paul Spies
Paul Spies

The selection committee noted that an important factor in Metropolitan State receiving the award is the foundational work of the ARLT leading to implementation of the Racial Issues Graduation Requirement, as well as the ongoing work of the RIGR Task Force.

Metropolitan State’s award will be conferred at an award reception during the upcoming annual conference of the Minnesota State Office of Equity and Inclusion. Representatives from the university’s senior leadership team, the faculty and staff will attend to represent the Metropolitan State.

This is a well-deserved public recognition, in which all the contributors should take great pride. It also serves to elevate simultaneously the campus-wide commitment to equity, inclusion, and the quality and relevance of Metropolitan State’s academic programs. The beneficiaries are students, who will learn from the history, issues and values opened up by these courses.