President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur greeted Nagasaki University students Ayano Tsuchihashi and Yoshiki Ohgi who arrived from Japan to attend Metropolitan State in an inaugural exchange between the universities.
The students were welcomed at an event June 3, at Como Park hosted by the Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee, with assistance from the Japan America Society of Minnesota, AnimeTwinCities, and many volunteers. Saint Paul and Nagasaki became Sister Cities in December 1955.
In February 2017, the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Metropolitan State and Nagasaki University opened opportunities for a cultural exchange of students. The memorandum allows students from Metropolitan State to study in Japan for long and short term sessions. As part of the exchange, Metropolitan State will host an equal number of Nagasaki University students. Metropolitan State students will leave in August 2017 to attend Nagasaki University.
The 19th Annual President’s Leadership Awards presentation recognizes the student organizations and leaders that have made great effort to bring quality programming and events to Metropolitan State University.
The event for the university community was hosted by Interim Director of Student Development and Programming Philip Fuehrer and Student Life Leadership Development Coordinator Alysia Lajune on May 24 in Metropolitan State University’s Great Hall, New Main, Saint Paul Campus.
In a welcome address, President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur talked about the importance of an event such as this that highlights the hard work of outstanding individuals. She was especially honored to carry on the tradition passed on to her by her predecessors.
Dean of Students Herbert King echoed Arthur’s message honoring the members of the university community who lead by impressive example.
Student Senate President Dhibo Hussein mentioned some of the accomplishments of the senate in the past year, saying she was particularly proud of the Student Senate’s achievement to getting the Dean’s List added to Metropolitan State University. This award will be put into effect fall 2017.
The list of award winners is as follows:
Outstanding Student Organization Advisor: Linda Martinez
Program of the Year: Understanding and Responding to Mass Incarceration (Alcohol and Drug Counseling Student Association)
Perseverance Award: Richard Downs, Jr.
SLLD Wow Factor Awards: Troy Mathias
Male Student Leader of the Year: Guyo Kotile
Female Student Leader of the Year: Tina Martinez
Student Organization of the Year: Nursing Student Organization
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Site Visit Team will be on campus this week to evaluate the continuous quality improvement and strategic planning of the university. A great deal of planning has gone into this visit, and the steering committee invites the university community to a post-visit celebration.
The event will be 3 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, Great Hall, Saint Paul Campus. Opening comments at 3:15 p.m.
Enjoy light refreshments and a short informal presentation by President Ginny Arthur. Other Metropolitan State campuses will have a special delivery of cupcakes that day those unable to attend event at the Saint Paul campus.
Faculty, staff and students seeking information and ideas on how to respond to recent Presidential Executive Orders on Immigration and Travel are encouraged to participate (via Google Hangout) in a National Teach-in from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8., hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. The National Teach-In intends to assist educators and students in answering the following questions:
What are the legal and historical contexts and issues raised by these immigration policies?
How are students (K-12, undergraduate, and graduate), parents, and families being affected?
What rights people have and what resources are available?
What are some ways that college and university faculty, staff, and students can respond?
Register on the Facebook page and click “Find Tickets.” The Google Hangout link and participation instructions, including how to send questions/comments, will be emailed one hour before the event.
The principal organizers of this event include Arshad I. Ali, assistant professor of Educational Research at George Washington University; Maryam Kashani, assistant professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois; and Shirin Vossoughi, assistant professor of Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. They work individually and collectively in the study and development of educational settings for youth from Muslim, migrant, immigrant, and diasporic backgrounds, with particular emphases on issues of race, gender, and social justice.
On Tuesday, I wrote to you about the recent White House executive order restricting immigration and travel. Today, I want to provide additional details about pertinent systems and procedures already in place to provide for the community’s safety and security.
One of our first priorities, now more than ever, is the security of our students’ personal and educational information. Therefore:
• We will fully protect our student record information in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA);
• We will not turn over student information to immigration enforcement authorities unless required by a subpoena or court order;
• We will not request or gather information about students’ citizenship or immigration status in the course of providing educational or other services or in connection with public safety activities except as required for financial aid or tuition policies.
We are a public, urban university with free access by all. However, if asked to allow immigration authorities to enter campus properties and buildings we will only agree if a proper court order or warrant is presented.
Metropolitan State’s data practices are governed by FERPA and the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA). That means that student data (beyond routine directory information on which students have not placed a “hold”) may be released in only two cases: when a student signs a release form, or “to comply with a judicial order or lawfully-issued subpoena.”
To fully protect the educational privacy rights of our students I am asking all employees to be cautious if asked for information about a student that does not appear to be necessary to the questioner’s job duties. All employees are empowered to decline to answer those questions, to bring their supervisor into the conversation and to refer the questioner to Metropolitan State’s designated Data Practices Act Compliance Official, our Registrar, Daryl Johnson.
Any official request for protected information must be made to our Compliance Official. That means that, if any faculty member or other employee receives a request for data about a student (from anyone other than an employee with a legitimate need to know), that party should be referred to the Registrar.
It is extremely important, if you receive a subpoena or a court order requesting information about a student, that you contact Daryl immediately. There are provisions for challenging subpoenas or court orders, but the time frame is quite short.
Metropolitan State University has always welcomed and embraced applicants without regard to nationality or immigration status. Two implications of that principle are that (1) no University employee, including security staff, will inquire about students’ immigration status, and (2) within the limits of federal and state law, the University and its employees will not assist in federal immigration enforcement efforts.
Faculty and staff can contribute to students’ security and assurance that they are in a safe place by working to inform themselves about current policies and resources. I encourage departments, service units, and individuals to share useful information with each other. Four of many examples are:
The same principles apply to our employees. The Chief Human Resource Officer, Deb Gehrke, serves as the Information Compliance Officer for employees.
Many in the university community oppose the way the Executive Order has been developed and implemented, and I implore the President to reconsider his action. In the same vein, yesterday I joined many higher education leaders by signing on to the letter from the American Council on Education to the new Director of Homeland Security (text and signatories here).
I appreciate the time that many colleagues have taken to get in touch with me and members of our senior leadership team. I am a firm believer that “all of us are wiser than any of us,” and I welcome suggestions and insights that can increase the sense of safety and freedom that promotes optimal learning experiences.
Members of the leadership team will contribute to this series of messages in the days ahead, as we seek to respond to the wide variety of questions that our current situation naturally raises.
My commitment to the safety and security of all students and employees is unwavering.
President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur, JD Metropolitan State University
To all Metropolitan State students, faculty, and staff:
Since last Friday, many members of our University community and their friends and families have been deeply concerned about the known and potential implications of the recent executive order regarding the travel restrictions affecting refugees, immigrants, and permanent residents of seven nations in Southwest Asia and Africa: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
While we are facing an uncertain policy environment and our civil and legal systems are encountering unprecedented issues, I want to assure all members of our community of two things.
First, our University operates as a leading member of a statewide system guided by an “enduring commitment to enhancing Minnesota’s quality of life by developing and fostering understanding and appreciation of a free and diverse society and providing equal opportunity for all its students and employees.” Our governing Board’s anti-discrimination policy embraces and protects all the diversity of personal backgrounds, identities, and life experiences reflected in our statewide network of learning communities. Stressful times like these serve to demonstrate the power of those commitments.
Metropolitan State’s own mission, vision, and University values explicitly underscore our commitments to disciplined inquiry, excellence, anti-racism, and inclusion. In the weeks ahead, these values will be visible and felt as we all exercise vigilance and empathy for each other’s welfare and needs.
The other assurance is that we will mobilize the capacities of our University to address our members’ varied needs. For those studying with us under the terms of student visas and directly affected by the executive order, the resources of our International Student Services office are available to provide information, counsel, and referrals as needed. Prevailing wisdom is that individuals should postpone travel to any of the listed countries for at least the next 90 days. Individuals who have come to the U.S. from the listed countries should carefully consider any travel outside the U.S. The ISS staff will be available to assist our students with their questions.
In the days ahead, we will collaborate with University colleagues and community allies to provide times and spaces for the reflective gatherings and listening spaces that will be needed to process the emerging situation and to explore responses that can express our values and commitments in meaningful ways. The Dean of Students will work with the Cultural Coordinators to reach out to students who may be distressed. I have asked the Director of Student Life and Leadership to coordinate with student organizations to see how the University can support them and their activities related to this controversy. I plan to meet with the Student Senate to answer their questions and solicit their counsel on supportive responses.
We will do all we can to support faculty as they deal with these difficult topics in their classrooms. As a University we have a commitment to maintaining safe, respectful educational spaces for all students to explore the many facets of this situation. Students, faculty, and staff must be free to express contrary viewpoints, so long as university conduct rules are not breached.
This University will continue, in the days ahead, to support and include all members of our community, whatever stresses or uncertainties each may be experiencing. No one among us needs to walk through the coming weeks in isolation. If you see particular needs or issues, please contact your instructor, dean, supervisor, the chief diversity officer, provost, or me. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the System’s General Counsel to determine appropriate action as further developments unfold. Please watch for ongoing communications about support and discussion opportunities and please stand together with compassion.
Metropolitan State University President Virginia Arthur and representatives from Osseo Area Schools signed a partnership agreement at a ceremony Jan. 30, at Osseo Senior High School.
The agreement enables Metropolitan State’s School of Urban Education (UED) students access to priority placement at Osseo Area Schools for student teaching and priority consideration for hire in Osseo’s paraprofessional and teaching positions. The agreement will increase teacher diversity in Minnesota and ease barriers of entry for prospective teachers of color and place them at work in ISD 279-Osseo Area Schools.
Once hired as paraprofessionals, eligible UED students can access Osseo’s career ladder for prospective teachers. The career ladder includes benefits such as paid leave of absence during a student teaching assignment in Osseo Area Schools, first consideration for hire in licensed teaching positions, and up to two additional years of seniority upon achieving continuing contract status.
Signing on behalf of Osseo Area Schools was Superintendent Kate Maguire, E.D.D.
Currently, nearly 30 percent of students in Minnesota schools are students of color and American Indian students, yet 4 percent of their teachers are of color or American Indian. The gap is even wider in many Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota schools with a majority of students of color and American Indian students.
“This is a substantive departure from the traditional student teaching model that puts teacher candidates through 13 to15 weeks of unpaid labor and deters many pre-service teachers of color and American Indian pre-service teachers from becoming licensed teachers. Teacher candidates of color and American Indian teacher candidates often do not have the ability to forgo paid work in order to complete student teaching,” says René Antrop-González, dean of the School of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University.
Metropolitan State delegates at the signing also included Provost Carol Bormann Young, Tom Cook, special assistant to the president, Greg Mellas, director of the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship, professors Rosa Fagundes and Paul Spies of the School of Urban Education, among other faculty and staff. Representatives from Osseo Area Schools also included Judy McDonald, SPHR, executive director of human resources; Kelly Wilson, president, Education Minnesota-Osseo; Becky Hespen, president, Osseo Educational Support Professionals; members of the superintendent’s executive team; other district leaders; and other staff and community members who support this work.
The partnership is a result of ongoing efforts and advocacy by Metropolitan State University, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership, and the Coalition to Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers in Minnesota to increase teacher diversity across the state. Metropolitan State and Osseo Area Schools are joined with other concerned universities, districts and organizations in this new coalition formed around the common goal to double, by 2020, the current number of teachers of color in the state and ensure that 20 percent of candidates in the teacher preparation pipeline are persons of color or American Indian.
Last August, Metropolitan State University hosted a unique conference organized by the Coalition to Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers in Minnesota designed explicitly for current and aspiring teachers of color. The event was attended by 250 people from more than 100 organizations, school districts, institutions and various racial/ethnic communities throughout the state.
The coalition advocates at the state and local levels for the following policies and investments for systemic change needed to address major barriers to the profession and diversify the teacher workforce in the state:
Increasing pathways for diverse youth, paraprofessionals and career changers to enter the teaching profession
Gov. Mark Dayton, shown in this photo taken Dec. 10, 2016 at Metropolitan State University, announced details of a bonding bill that includes his recommendations for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Renovation (HEAPR) and bonding projects.
Welcome to the start of this new semester! I hope you are feeling rested and ready for the unique opportunities that are waiting for you on campus. I am excited, too, about the events, milestones, and challenges facing us as a University community in the months ahead.
We have been preparing for many months for an upcoming site visit by a team from our regional accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (Feb. 27-Mar. 1).
In addition to previewing a significant amount of information we have sent them in advance, the team is laying plans now to meet with groups of faculty, students, and staff while on campus, to gain additional information and perspective on our work. After the site visit, we will eagerly await their report, which will recognize recent progress and help shape the next phase of our continuous improvement agenda, in pursuit of teaching and serving students at the highest levels achievable.
One example of our continuous improvement efforts is a pilot process for academic program reviews that is being launched in the Academic and Student Affairs division this year. The review process, in combination with analysis of student learning outcomes, serves to evaluate program relevance, effectiveness, and alignment with Metropolitan State University’s mission and strategic goals, and generates insights that can inform continuous improvement goals.
Planning continues for our presidential inauguration events, April 7. While the name of such an event highlights the president, these occasions in the lives of universities are also priceless opportunities to attract the attention of the public and significant public figures to an institution’s students, programs, campus, recent accomplishments, and availability to emerging learners. It’s a chance for a growing public university to shine, and for us that means telling our story (which is really the sum of our students’ amazing stories). A university inauguration is an infrequent but valuable opportunity, and we are working to make the most of our 2017 event.
The fiscal year 2018 budget development process is under way, as promised. You can expect to hear and see frequent updates as we take the time to align resources with priorities, between now and July 1.
The 2017 legislative session began on Jan. 3. While the legislature returned to both a beautifully restored Capitol building and a long list of pressing issues to address, our attention is fixed on the Minnesota State Board’s biennial allocation request for operating funds for Metropolitan State and 36 other institutions for FY2018 and FY2019, as well as action members could take on tuition policy.
The Board’s proposal offers to hold tuition at current levels, if a request for $143 million (to offset 3 percent inflationary costs for each year) is approved. The request also seeks $25 million for student grants to reduce disparities, and $10 million toward a shared financing approach for the “ISRS Next Gen” initiative (toward which the system will contribute $75 million).
The Board’s $254.5 million capital bonding request was not addressed in 2016. Minnesota State has gone through a process of validating the items in the request in light of circumstances on campus in the past year, and adjusted the items for inflation. The renewed bonding request for 2017 is $270.8 million (of which the system would finance $51.4 million). We have a strong interest in MCTC’s HEAPR request, which includes funds to upgrade and improve mechanical systems at MEC. In addition, projects at five Metro Alliance colleges will enhance the education many of our future students receive.
This legislative session is a pivotal time for our entire system, and specifically for our students, current and future. I invite you to follow your representatives’ work this session by subscribing to daily updates from Minnesota State. You can text SESSIONUPDATES to 22828, or sign up online .
After months of diligent research and negotiations, I am very pleased to announce that student health care will be available this semester. Watch for messages from the Dean of Students office for more details.
I plan to continue holding open office hours across our four main locations. These were well attended and very useful during fall semester. Look for the schedule to be released later this week; I hope you will drop by!
Again, I wish each of you a successful and rewarding semester.
President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur
Metropolitan State University
A newsletter for the Metropolitan State University community