Posted: May 19, 2009

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

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

“These awards reflect the creative and innovative leadership of faculty and staff at our colleges and universities to better serve students,” said Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Linda Baer. “I am heartened that during difficult times, our college and university communities remain grounded in their commitment to serve students first through quality programs and services.” This is the 9th year the awards have been presented.

Selected by a panel of academic and student affairs administrators from various campuses, recipients were given awards in four categories for work in the 2008-2009 academic year. The awards will be presented May 28 on the Eden Prairie campus of Hennepin Technical College. The categories and recipients follow:

Excellence in Curriculum Programming Award

Rochester Community and Technical College for its international service learning program in Cambodia. Students build wells and bathrooms to improve the water supply and teach English to school children for a non-government organization called Youth Service Cambodia.

Normandale Community College for its Math and Science Academy. Each year, a 30-student cohort has a student service representative who provides one-on-one academic and personal support. The academy was created in 2007 to attract students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to help them succeed as part of an initiative to keep the state globally competitive.

Minnesota West Community and Technical College for its wind energy technology program, which offers courses both online and on campus.

The Innovative Partnering and Collaboration Award

Minneapolis Community and Technical College for its K-12 Connection program. The college has joined with the Minneapolis Public Schools and AchieveMpls for several initiatives, including a college readiness program called JumpStart; a health careers program; and the Power of You, a program that provides free tuition to public high school graduates in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Minnesota West Community and Technical College for its educational center for health careers. By joining with the city of Luverne and Sanford Regional Health Systems, the college turned a vacant healthcare facility into the Luverne Educational Center for Health Careers, which houses radiologic technology, surgical technology, medical assistant, phlebotomy and medical laboratory technology programs, among others.

St. Cloud State University for its “fried ride” program, which uses recycled vegetable oil to power a bus. Aimed at incorporating sustainability into academic and student life programs, St. Cloud State collaborated with Sodexo food service and St. Cloud’s bus service.

Hennepin Technical College for its M-Powered Manufacturing program. Formed nearly five years ago with the local Metalforming Association and HIRED, a local workforce group, M-Powered has proven sustainable by fostering innovative programs in plastics, medical device manufacturing, welding and printing. Trainees take a 12-week, fast-track, industry-specific course at Hennepin Technical College and then a structured 16-week on-the-job training program with local manufacturing companies.

The award for Innovative Student Affairs Program has three recipients:

Minnesota State University Moorhead for its Dragons After Dark program. This is once-a-month, late-night activity that provides alcohol- and drug-free events during peak drinking hours. Each event, planned by staff and student volunteers, has a unique theme complete with activities, food and decorations. All events include a goal of giving something back to the community.

Lake Superior College and Mesabi Range Community and Technical College for their Northern Bridge program, a collaboration of disability service coordinators and education and employment planning professionals in northeastern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Northern Bridge promotes professional growth through networking and best practice discussions, and connects service providers in the area. The collaboration helps to remove barriers for students with disabilities and overcome obstacles in their transition to higher education.

Mesabi Range Community and Technical College for its rural community college retention program. Part of the program, called “Fear to Career,” exposes prospective students, traditional and nontraditional, to career and technical education programs. In addition, a STEM camp includes tours of business and industry, exposure to various curricula, and promotion of leadership and team-building. Students from 30 area high schools also attend a skills fair that includes friendly competition in technical areas such as masonry, carpentry and nursing.

The award for Student Management and Application Retention Tracking

Normandale Community College for its Smart program. In 1999, the college created a systematic data collection and interpretation system for easy access to student information from all sources. The success of this data system led to further investment to create SMART, which includes the Judicial Board, Security, Academy of Math and Science, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness and the student ID card. Having such a wide variety of data immediately accessible has led to improved decision-making and service to students.

The Outstanding Academic and Student Affairs Administrator Award went to Ronald Jeppson, dean of the College of Social and Natural Sciences at Minnesota State University Moorhead. This award is given to a college or university administrator who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and significant contribution to developing academic or student affairs programming at the individual’s institution.