To the Metropolitan State University community:
The end of June marks the conclusion of the 2017-2018 academic and fiscal year. As we prepare to begin a new year next week, this is a fitting moment to reflect on the past year’s significant milestones, which set the stage for our goals for the coming year.
Two of this year’s most recent accomplishments will also prove to be major inflection points for our University’s capacity and performance. First, our FY19 budget was, for the first time, fully loaded in the online system and ready for encumbrances in mid-June. This milestone was accomplished, with significant input from units and individuals, in spite of a compressed timeline for the budget’s development. The fact that we will begin in August to develop the FY20 budget and the preliminary FY21 budget promises an even stronger result next spring. Congratulations again to our CFO, Tracy Hatch, to her team, and to contributing colleagues in units across campus.
Second, less than 48 hours ago we witnessed the launch of the new, student-focused website that our ITS team has worked so intensely on, with colleagues in every unit, for two years. It is not only visually striking and highly intuitive for our new and prospective students, but it is also built on a robust and state-of-the-art foundation that will support ongoing development and updates well into the future. Furthermore, our team, and not a consultant, built it, making it truly our own. This immense web presence project demonstrates the skill and professionalism of our ITS team, led by CIO Steve Reed, and it represents the University in outstanding ways in the dynamic and competitive digital world.
On the theme of recent innovations that directly touch our students, both of this year’s commencement cycles were based on the new structure of two smaller ceremonies on a Saturday. The new space is beautiful and comfortable, and the overall result has been a significant “win” for our students, their families and guests, and the many colleagues who helped execute these complex ceremonies. Again, congratulations to all, and especially to this year’s 2,300-plus new graduates.
Our academic programs continue to define our transformative impact on students, their communities, and our state. Exciting new developments include the Master’s in Urban Education (I was pleased to shake the hand of this program’s first graduate!), and approval for both the M.A. and the M.S. in Individualized Studies, as we continue to build our distinctive future on our founding principles, which are now coming to be recognized as best practices in higher education. It was also gratifying to see spontaneous legislative interest in our fledgling cybersecurity program, as well as to receive new federal funding for its development.
This year we also marked, with a ribbon-cutting and signing ceremony, a new partnership with Hennepin Technical College’s Eden Prairie campus, extending our baccalaureate completion options further into the southwest suburbs. On the Dayton’s Bluff campus, our consultants for the GROW-IT Center are completing final design work, which will enable us to solicit vendors’ bids. We anticipate breaking ground in late summer; when our students return, they should see welcome activity on that stretch of Maria Avenue. In the northwest suburbs, we continue to engage in exciting planning discussions for a proposed Performing and Fine Arts Center. Our public partners include North Hennepin Community College, the City of Brooklyn Park, the Osseo Area Schools, Hennepin County, and Minnesota State.
After a year’s experience with our new University Councils structure and processes, I am gratified to see the quality of discussion, attention to processes and policies, and collaboration between Councils that is already reflected in their year-end reports. I look forward to the very constructive contributions these bodies, and their affiliated committees and team, will make to our collective work and learning on campus.
One very visible indicator of academic quality is our professional programs’ national accreditation status. It was very gratifying this year to see that the Department of Social Work, the School of Urban Education, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences' Doctor of Nursing Practice program all received reaffirmation of their accreditation from their national associations.
It is a great pleasure to recognize those members of our Resident Faculty who received tenure and were promoted to Associate Professor. Please join me in congratulating:
- Dr. Kathleen Cole, Department of Social Science, College of Liberal Arts;
- Dr. Debra Eardley, Department of Nursing, College of Nursing and Health Sciences;
- Prof. Donald Eubanks, Department of Social Work, College of Community Studies and Public Affairs;
- Dr. Karen Gutierrez, Department of Nursing, College of Nursing and Health Sciences;
- Dr. Kimberly Halvorson, Department of Psychology, College of Community Studies and Public Affairs;
- Dr. Nicholas Hartlep, Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, School of Urban Education.
- Prof. Steven Hirsch, Department of Accounting, College of Management;
- Prof. Christine Larson, Reference Librarian, Library and Learning Center;
- Dr. Alexandra Layne, School of Communication, Writing, and the Arts, College of Liberal Arts;
- Dr. Therissa Libby, Department of Human Services, College of Community Studies and Public Affairs;
- Prof. Duncan McCampbell, Department of Marketing, Supply Chain Operations Management, and International Business, College of Management;
- Dr. Susan Misterek, Department of Marketing, Supply Chain Operations Management, and International Business, College of Management;
Colleagues who were promoted to Professor include:
- Dr. Ramin Daghigh, Department of Natural Sciences, College of Sciences
- Dr. Heidi Frankard, Department of Psychology, College of Community Studies and Public Affairs;
- Dr. Faisal Kaleem, Department of Computer Science and Cybersecurity, College of Sciences.
- Prof. Deborah Mosby, Department of Human Services, College of Community Studies and Public Affairs;
All promotions take effect on July 1. Tenure took effect on June 15. These reviews are conspicuous reminders of the outstanding work our IFO faculty do with and on behalf of our students.
Two notable markers of our services to students deserve mention. First, in the most recent edition of CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index, Metropolitan State’s ranking, out of 1,363 colleges and universities, moved up to 78th (in the top 6 percent). “Social mobility” in this context refers to students from lower socio-economic strata achieving higher standards of living within a certain number of years after earning a bachelor’s degree. It is gratifying to have this objective validation of our success in one of our long-standing goals for our graduates.
Second, recent data for the retention and graduation of our students by ethnic and racial categories show that, semester by semester, the success rates of our students of color and majority students are very close: one semester students of color perform better by a point or two, another semester white students are up slightly, and sometimes they are at parity. We are determined to develop solutions that raise these success metrics in absolute terms, but it is a mark of progress toward equity that all of our students appear to be enjoying the benefits of enrolling with us to comparable extents.
Continuing the theme of contributions to our students’ success, I was grateful to see that faculty and staff gave well over $33,000 to the Foundation, much of which supports the scholarship programs that are so critical to our students’ persistence. Thank you!
One of my own goals has been to assemble and develop a high-functioning senior leadership team. I am very pleased with our progress, and I look forward to another productive year’s work in partnership with the Cabinet and Executive Cabinet.
Also on the theme of leadership, many of us were pleasantly surprised when the position of chancellor was offered on a permanent basis to Metropolitan State’s recent interim president and Minnesota State Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra. It is wonderful for the system to continue to benefit from his experience, wisdom, and collegiality, and I am grateful to have a chancellor who, while he has 36 other institutions to attend to, really “gets’ Metropolitan State!
These are just a few highlights of our many collective and individual accomplishments. It is a privilege to serve with such talented and effective staff and faculty.
I wish each of you a restful weekend and an enjoyable Independence Day holiday. I look forward to sharing with you the University’s upcoming year of teaching, learning, serving, and innovating.
Virginia “Ginny” Arthur, JD