Posted: June 20, 2006

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities honored faculty and staff on Monday at Saint Paul College for outstanding achievements in educational programs and students services at seven colleges and universities.

Selected by a panel of academic and student affairs administrators from various campuses, recipients were given awards in four categories for work they did in the 2005-2006 academic year.

"These awards exemplify an entrepreneurial spirit and a dedication to excellence, not to mention just plain hard work that I see all over the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system," said Chancellor James H. McCormick. "I'm delighted that we can recognize these talented individuals and fine institutions for the contributions they have made to the entire system."

The awards and winners are:

Outstanding Academic and Student Affairs Administrator Award

Jane Early, dean of Arts and Humanities, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Mary Ann O'Brien, dean of Continuing Education and Customized Training, Century College, in White Bear Lake. This award goes to administrators who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and made a significant contribution to developing academic or student affairs programming at their institutions.

Excellence in Curriculum Programming Award

The English division at Minneapolis Community and Technical College was recognized for creating standard objectives for the beginning writing course and adopting a new method of student evaluation. Specifically, the division moved from a blunt and uncompromising high-stakes test toward a more comprehensive and labor-intensive committee assessment. This model is being developed for use across the entire writing curriculum.

Bemidji State University was recognized for its bachelor of fine arts in creative and professional writing, which began in 2001. Drawing students from as far as Pennsylvania, the program adopted a "workshop model," so students create, read and respond to each other's writing in the classroom. More than 60 students are enrolled. The Excellence in Curriculum Programming Award recognizes programs that demonstrate a high rate of employment, transfer, or enrollment in graduate school after graduation; make effective use of technology; generate extramural support or funding; involve collaboration with other college or university departments, employers or community members; and reach out to diverse and/or multiple subgroups.

Innovation in Student Affairs Programming Award

The "Ask Us Program" at Anoka Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids, the "Diversity Development Day" at Normandale Community College in Bloomington and the "Service Learning Program" at Minnesota State University, Mankato received this award for programs that use new ideas, methods or techniques resulting in improved educational or developmental activities, services or management for a college or university community. They must have been in operation for at least two years and be adaptable to other institutions.

The Innovative Partnering and Collaboration Award

The "Teacher Quality Enhancement Partnership Initiative" at St. Cloud State University and the "Century Dental Institute" at Century College were recognized for a program or service that reflects the changing nature of the education landscape by using new technologies and creative approaches to meet critical workforce needs and by helping underrepresented or new students succeed in their higher education experience.

More details about the award-winning programs (PDF).