Dear colleagues and students:
I am proud to recognize six Metropolitan State University staff who were nominated for the Minnesota State Board of Trustees Professional Excellence in Service Award. This award recognizes the key role that MSUAASF service faculty play in providing outstanding service to our state universities and to the Minnesota State system. This is the award’s third year.
Nominees must have been employed for a minimum of five consecutive years at a Minnesota State university, with the two most recent years in the MSUAASF member’s current position.
At Metropolitan State University, we received six nominations:
- Birtukan Abebe, academic advisor in the Information and Computer Sciences Department. Birt’s devotion to helping the Metropolitan State community is limitless. Her 17 years at the University have enabled her to grow into her influential position as an excellent academic advisor. Her in-depth knowledge of all things “Metro,” combined with the perspective of her own experience as an international student, uniquely equip her for the critical role she plays.
- Jill Beaulieu Wilkie, academic advisor in the College of Community Studies and Urban Affairs. Jill has served the Metropolitan State community for 35 years, as both our American Indian retention and recruitment specialist and an academic advisor. Her earlier years included work on the conversion from quarters to semesters, and helping create advising systems on which we rely today. Jill continues to support American Indian students, serves on the University’s American Indian Advisory Committee, and is the co-chair of the Anti-Racism Leadership Team.
- Andrew Cseter, director of TRIO programs (SSS-Classic, SSS-Care, & Upward Bound). Andrew is an eight-year veteran of Metropolitan State. Andrew’s TRIO leadership role involves providing advising, counseling, and support services for our students. He is known for continuously seeking out ways to collaborate with other units on grant-writing opportunities and other revenue-generating opportunities for students and the University. In addition to offering workshops and cultural events for TRIO students, he is active in the statewide and regional TRIO professional organizations.
- Sandi Gerick, director of advising, School of Nursing. Sandi is an amazing human repository of information about Metropolitan State’s processes and procedures, state board of nursing policies, and departmental policies and procedures. She advocates steadfastly for students and School advisors. She is particularly known for her affirming and encouraging presence, her commitment to excellence in advising, and wholehearted support for the department.
- Stanley Hatcher, academic advisor, College of Individualized Studies. Before coming to CIS, Stanley served as the University’s African-American Success Coordinator. Prior to coming to Metropolitan State, he advised African-American students at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Stanley has taught as a member of our community faculty, and served as ASF’s grievance officer. In his 15-year tenure here, he has also been a long-time member of the Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Committee.
- Laura Jensen, assistant director of financial aid. Laura’s 26 years at Metropolitan State have given her not only exceptional facility in helping students with complex financial aid issues, but encyclopedic knowledge of University information and navigation generally, on which her colleagues are happy to rely. She has been described as her office’s “rock.” She is a stalwart committee member on campus and volunteers with the statewide financial aid association.
The Metropolitan State Excellence in Service Committee had the difficult task of recommending one nominee to be forwarded to Minnesota State for consideration as a representative of Metropolitan State University. After careful consideration of all six excellent candidates, the committee recommended and I endorsed the nomination of Birtukan Abebe. Birtukan will attend an Excellence in Service recognition program in April, where the system’s Board of Trustees Professional Excellence in Service Award recipient will be named.
I want to thank and acknowledge Birtukan, as well as Jill, Andrew, Sandi, Stanley, and Laura for the excellent service they provide and the recognition of their peers, who nominated them for this award. All six are role models as creators of the excellent experience we strive to create for our students, faculty, and staff.
President Virginia "Ginny" Arthur, JD
Metropolitan State University