MnSCU Receives Award

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) receives a State Government Innovation Award in recognition of its pioneering web-based search tool for veterans. The award, a partnership between the Bush Foundation and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, recognizes state projects that improve government services to Minnesotans. MnSCU’s Veterans Education Transfer System (VETS) helps current and former service members find programs that award academic credit for their military experience.

The number of MnSCU students who are current or former service members increased by 66.4 percent between 2008 and 2013 from 6,900 to 11,483. During that time, MnSCU awarded 68,977 credits for military experience and training.

VETS is a pioneering, nationally-recognized, web-based search tool for current and former service members that significantly simplifies the process of assessing student competencies and providing students with accurate, easily accessible and personalized information prior to application or admission. The system uses American Council on Education recommendations to help campuses align military training with academic program courses. No other state offers a similar service although higher education systems and institutions in over 20 other states have expressed interest.

MnSCU receives the award at a ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 7.

Student Parent Center Volunteers Sought

The Student Parent Center (SPC) is seeking volunteers for three events. Volunteers may receive incentives for their work in the form of random gift cards from Walmart, Target, Holiday Station stores and the campus book store. The events are:

  • Group Advising and Registration sessions at Saint Paul Campus this Saturday, Aug. 9. The SPC needs help from 7–8 a.m., from 10:15–11 a.m., and from 1:15–2 p.m.
  • Welcome Day on Wednesday, Aug. 20 at Saint Paul Campus from 2–7 p.m.
  • The Resource Fair on Tuesday, Aug. 19, from 2–7 p.m. at Saint Paul Campus in New Main, in the Great Hall.

Volunteers are also needed to help sort clothing and food donations the week before the Resource Fair.

At the Resource Fair, students can pick up free clothing and toys for their children. The SPC is also seeking empty boxes to use for the Resource Fair.

For more information, to donate or to volunteer, contact Sue Fust, Student Parent Center coordinator, at 651-793-1564 or sue.fust@metrostate.edu.

Welcome Day for New Students

Newly admitted students to Metropolitan State are invited to attend Fall 2014 Welcome Day on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Students participate in breakout sessions from 2–7 p.m. The program takes place at Saint Paul Campus, in New Main, Great Hall. RSVP is recommended.

Welcome Day is designed to demystify the college experience by providing students general assistance and answers to basic questions as well as minimize concerns many new students experience prior to the start of classes. The program will connect students with key resources that enhance the academic and social success of students at Metropolitan State. This initiative is a collaboration of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.

For more information, view the Welcome Day page on the university website.

Students may register for Welcome Day at the following link.

 

Market on the Bluff

A new farmer’s market has opened near Saint Paul Campus. Market on the Bluff takes place from 4–8 p.m., every Thursday this summer. The market is located on the plaza of the First Lutheran Church at 463 Maria Avenue, Saint Paul.

Market on the Bluff is a fresh produce and craft market that features music, children and youth activities and more. The market accepts cash, EBT, WIC and credit cards. Market Bucks are offered (for EBT only) where the first $5 is matched with $5 in Market Bucks.

For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/marketonthebluff or call either of the following numbers: 651-271-3795 or 651-387-7374.

Paid Internship Grant and Internship Informational Sessions

Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES) has been awarded a $150,000 grant to create 100 paid internships for university students, 42 of which were previously unpaid internships. These funds are available for fall, spring and summer semesters.

To qualify for the funding available through this grant, students must be undergraduates in their junior or senior year, have a minimum 2.0 GPA, be eligible for financial aid and have no outstanding debt or holds on their account. Nursing, education and international students are not eligible.

ICES also hosts two academic internship information sessions. Both sessions are Aug. 20 at Midway Center in Room 148, 1450 Energy Park Drive, Saint Paul. The first session runs from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., the second session is from 4:30–5:30 p.m.  Registration is required. To register, or for more information, contact ICES at community.engagement@metrostate.edu or call 651-793-1285.

Be a Test Pilot

Career Development is looking for 25 students to test-pilot the new Virtual Career Center (VCC), an online portal that provides career guidance and job search assistance as students navigate their degree program and pursue a professional career.

Developed by Collegis Inc., VCC offers interactive learning modules in the following areas: assessing industries, effective job searches, the hiring process and future career success.

The program works similarly to an interactive video game. VCC’s interactive simulation places the student in the role of the hiring manager for a high tech startup company.

Integrated into VCC is an evaluation tool that provides assessments across six universal career traits. The report provides students with tips to improve their resume and strengthen their interviewing skills. Students can create a professional resume, an employment profile, cover letters, reference pages and thank you letters. For participating in the pilot, students may retain these materials for personal use.

The project is anticipated to begin late August or early September. Only 25 participants can be sponsored, so interested parties are encouraged to sign up soon.

For more information, contact Career Development at 651-793-1528 or career.development@metrostate.edu. Include the student’s name, age, major and class (year in school). By registering, students give permission to share their information with the Collegis Inc. VCC developers.

Construction Update

Parking Ramp Site: Soil Contamination, Testing and Mitigation
During excavation at the parking ramp site, environmental safety consultants discovered soil that has been contaminated with gas and diesel. Further testing and excavation revealed evidence of volatile organic compounds. No evidence of risk to persons on or near the worksite has been found. As health and safety is the university’s highest priority, response to this issue has begun in several ways, such as:

  • Launching new rounds of testing on this and other areas;
  • Removing contaminated soil;
  • Consulting with MnSCU’s finance and facilities leadership team and appropriate regulatory agencies including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Capital Region Watershed District; and
  • Developing plans to replace our intended storm-water infiltration system with a filtration system that will keep storm-water from entering the watershed.

The university is gathering information on potential impact to construction timelines and costs. Some spring semester courses will be moved to other locations to reduce the demand for parking at Saint Paul Campus.

It is estimated that the ramp will open early summer of 2015. More information will be communicated as it becomes available.

Interim Parking and Construction Websites and Webcam
Faculty and staff are able to view the parking ramp and student center construction  sites live via webcam. Follow this link, and click on either “Parking Ramp” or Student Center” in the right-hand column.

For the latest in Interim Parking information, find the link “Interim Parking–Saint Paul Campus” on the university home page, or click this link.

Remote Parking System
To-date, the shuttle and remote parking system are functioning well. The shuttle’s hours of operation are extended with the start of fall semester to accommodate students in evening classes. Also, to reduce pressure on university parking capacity during construction, 59 fall semester classes are relocated to Saint Paul College.

Progress on Science Education Center, Traffic-calming Measures
Site preparation work for the science education center begins next month. In anticipation of construction activity, the university has been actively consulting with community representatives and neighbors. In partnership with the city of Saint Paul, traffic-calming measures have been implemented on Maria Avenue between East Sixth Street and East Seventh Street. The parking ramp and traffic-calming measures will be completed simultaneously.

 

Roger Prestwich, Professor and Interim Dean, Retires

Roger Prestwich
Roger Prestwich

The long-time international program director at Metropolitan State University’s College of Management (COM) and the college’s 2013-2014 interim dean has retired after 13 years at the school. Roger Prestwich was granted professor emeritus status.

Prestwich oversaw the international business program since 2002 and served as COM’s international business curriculum coordinator. He negotiated MBA partnership programs with two Taiwan universities. A native of Oldham, England, Professor Prestwich developed and taught bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral international business classes while contributing to professional publications and Twin Cities-area news media, presenting at conferences and serving on boards.

“What I was able to accomplish internationally while representing Metropolitan State was really the pinnacle of my career,” said Prestwich, who lives in Blaine with his wife, Cherie. “I couldn’t have wished for anything more. I’m grateful to the university for that opportunity.”

As interim dean, Prestwich guided COM during continued growth and brought stability to one of the university’s largest colleges. He was COM’s department chair for three years and was a strong supporter of the college’s Doctor of Business Administration program.

COM Professor Carol Bormann Young called Prestwich an “intelligent, knowledgeable and rigorous instructor” and a “consummate professional” whose significant and rich experience as international advisor and consultant “brought considerable value to his students in the classroom.”

As interim dean, Young added, “(Prestwich) made great strides in helping the College of Management chart a course for the future that has, at times, meant making difficult decisions. He has been a leader who understands the need to value both a faculty and administrative perspective and to balance the two.”

Before joining Metropolitan State, Prestwich served as director of the Minnesota Trade Office education program for 12 years and of the World Trade Conference Center for two years. He trained managers from more than 500 companies on exporting, garnering a special service award for outstanding contributions to international trade from then-Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Previously, Prestwich was a COM community faculty member, an adjunct instructor at the University of St. Thomas Graduate School and a research associate at the NorthWest Area

From 1971 to 1987, he was a tenured professor and administrator for Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge, England.

Prestwich earned his BA in geography and a graduate diploma in education from the University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England. He received his MA and PhD in geography and economics from the University of Minnesota, which he attended as a Fulbright scholar.  Prestwich also earned a master’s in international relations from the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England.

In retirement, he plans to continue consulting with organizations and businesses. Prestwich also intends to spend time with grandchildren and remain engaged internationally, serving on the Saint Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations, the Minnesota District Export Council, the Midwest Global Trade Association and delivering talks for the Minnesota International Center’s “Great Decisions” program.

First Staff Emerita Named

Diana Reichel
Diana Reichel

An Oakdale woman who worked for Metropolitan State University for 22 years has retired as the university’s first staff emerita. Diana Reichel spent the past 15 years as office manager for the university’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).  She oversaw a five-person staff as CAS blossomed into one of Metropolitan State’s largest colleges. Reichel was active on several university groups, including the Women’s Commission and the Employee Recognition Committee.  Before joining CAS, she worked in the university’s registration office and at the College of Management. She has volunteered with Meals on Wheels and is continuing that into her retirement. Reichel was honored as staff emerita at Metropolitan State’s 94th commencement on May 5.

Theater Department Has Open Auditions

Metropolitan State’s Theater Department, together with Theater Underground, has set audition dates for the premiere of My Soul, and Other Broken Things by Metropolitan State theater student Sarah Dewhirst.

Auditions are Wednesday, Sept. 3 from 4–6 p.m. and Thursday, Sept. 4 from 6–8 p.m. at Minneapolis Community and Technical College in the Whitney Fine Arts Center’s Stagedoor Theatre, located at 1424 Yale Place, Minneapolis. Auditions are open to all students. Participation on and off-stage is eligible for upper division credit.

General auditions will consist of cold readings and some improvisatory movement work. Performers will be seen individually for approximately 10 minutes on a first come, first served basis. Performers are asked to wear clothing comfortable for physical movement.  Theater majors should bring a headshot and resume.

Callbacks are on Friday, Sept. 5 from 6­–9 p.m.

Rehearsals begin in early September, with performances on November 6, 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. and November 8 at 2 p.m. at the Stagedoor Theater.

Directed by David Hanzal, My Soul, and Other Broken Things traces the coming-of-age of Sephora, a young woman who, guided by a mysterious stranger, returns to her Christian fundamentalist home in search of her estranged mother. Sephora has been living a life that is repugnant to her family and everything that they believe. Sephora takes us with her on a journey that plumbs the darkest depths of the human soul, asking the ever-present question: “Is there a God?”

For more information, contact David Hanzal, director, at david.hanzal@metrostate.edu.

A newsletter for the Metropolitan State University community