MnSCU honors outstanding achievement in diversity, educational programs and services

Posted: May 11, 2010

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Twelve colleges and universities within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system are being honored for outstanding achievements in diversity and educational programs and services.

“These awards demonstrate that faculty and staff at our colleges and universities continue to excel and respond to the pressures to do more with fewer resources,” said Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Linda Baer. “We can be proud of the many innovative programs and services that our faculty and staff are developing to better serve students.”

Selected by a panel of academic and student affairs administrators from various campuses, recipients were given awards in four categories for work in the 2009-2010 academic year. The awards will be presented May 26 at Saint Paul College. The categories and recipients follow:

Excellence in Curriculum Programming Award

Northeast Higher Education District and Minnesota State University, Mankato for its Iron Range engineering program that enables students from rural northeastern Minnesota to earn bachelor’s degrees without leaving the Iron Range.

Alexandria Technical College for its machine tool technology program. While partnerships with high schools and junior high schools provide for greater student engagement, connections with local businesses and faculty advising also help students succeed.

Hennepin Technical College for its fire science technology program, which can lead to bachelor’s degrees and other credentials from Metropolitan State University and Southwest Minnesota State University. Hands-on experiences offer state-of-the-art training.

Innovative Partnering and Collaboration Award

Lake Superior College for its physical therapy clinic, a collaboration with the College of St. Scholastica’s physical therapy program. Students gain realistic patient care experience, leading to increased confidence with communication skills, assessment techniques and treatment interventions.

Minnesota State University, Mankato for its H1N1 immunization initiative, a collaboration with Mayo Clinic, Mankato Clinic and Blue Earth County Public Health. The initiative was also a service learning opportunity for students and practicum experiences for students in health professions.

Century College for its Minnesota child welfare training system, a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and county social service agencies. Common curricula have led to a consistent knowledge base and improved service.

Innovation in Student Affairs Programming Award:

St. Cloud State University for its “blizzardshack” block party, a homecoming event named after the movie “Caddyshack,” that educates students about prevention of high-risk alcohol abuse behaviors. Local companies sponsor holes in a game of mini-golf. Students gain advantage by correctly answering questions.

Lake Superior College for its Parent Program, which offers parents information about adjustments their daughter or son will have entering higher education. Student policies and support resources are among the topics of this parent orientation, the only one of its kind at a commuter campus.

Inver Hills Community College for its On Course Finish What You Start retention program. Personal responsibility, career and life decision-making and college success are promoted to new students.

The Outstanding Academic and Student Affairs Administrator Award: Joan Costello, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Inver Hills Community College, and Kaye Herth, dean of allied health and nursing at Minnesota State University, Mankato. This award is given to a college or university administrator who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and made significant contribution to developing academic or student affairs programming at the individual’s institution.

“We strive to welcome all students on our campuses, and these awards for the leadership, programming and services in diversity and multiculturalism reflect the best of that work,” said Whitney Harris, the system’s executive director of diversity and multiculturalism. “This work demonstrates the system’s commitment to higher education access and opportunity for all Minnesotans, especially those from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education, such as students of color, low-income students and students who are the first in their families to attend college.”

The winners were selected from nominations made by presidents and other college and university leadership for work in 2009-2010. The categories and winners follow:

Best Practices in Diversity Awardrecognizes programs and practices that improve access and retention of diverse campus community members. The winners are Century College for its Preparing to Achieve a College Education or PACE program. Winona State University for its Family Ties Program.

Innovative Practices in Diversity Award recognizes practices that foster inclusivity and are 2 or more years old. The winner is St. Cloud State University for its Native Studies Summer Workshop for Educators.

Outstanding Student Organization Diversity recognizes student-led groups, staff, faculty or administrators’ initiatives that foster diversity and inclusion within the campus and larger community. The winners are Winona State University, 2008 and 2009 Students Club for its “Tunnel of Oppression” and Itasca Community College, a part of the Northeast Higher Education District, for its O-Gitch-I-Dah celebration during American Indian Heritage Month. The honorable mention recipient is the Ridgewater College Multicultural Club.

Institutional Excellence in Diversity recognizes institutions that have made significant contributions in intentional learning and collaborations that promote inclusiveness, access and opportunities within the community, the institution and academic programs. The winner is Inver Hills Community College and the Inver Hills Diversity Council and Ridgewater College for initiating new programs to increase retention of underrepresented students.