|The HLC team is gone – here's what's next
As you know, the accreditation team from the Higher Learning Commission visited the Duluth campus Monday through Wednesday. We appreciate everyone's efforts in preparing for the big event, and for showing hospitality to our visitors. We're grateful for the participation of many students, staff, and faculty in the open meetings. Our thanks to the Self-Study Committee: Sister Edith Bogue (chair), Nathan Carroll, Iwalani Else, Lindsey Jaja, Tami Lichtenberg, Kevin McGrew, Brandon Olson, Don Olson, Martin Pflug, Dory Pohl, Sister Mary Rochefort, Jennifer Rosato, Lisa Roseth, and Chery Takkunen. Kudos also to Cari McMillan, Jeri Collier, and Joan Holter, who provided logistical assistance. At the exit meeting, the team praised our comprehensive and transparent report and the willingness of faculty, staff, and students to provide open, constructive feedback. They commented on how visible our mission was in their discussions with all constituents. Within about six weeks we should receive the team's recommendations on continued accreditation and on follow-up activities the College needs to undertake – which are common in the current regulatory environment. We expect to deal with a small number of concerns that don't threaten our accreditation status. The team recommendations will then go to the HLC's Institutional Action Committee for a formal decision early next year.
KPIs rule our world
Key Performance Indicators are benchmarks for gauging the College's progress in advancing the strategic plan. They help the Board of Trustees judge how well the College is doing. Eight of the KPI's represent an overall picture of the College's health. We met the 2011-2012 KPI goals on only one of the eight, but we were very close on most of them and the four-year trend has generally been positive. View the results. In addition to these we track a number of additional KPIs that are categorized according to our strategic priorities and goals. Find them all at css.edu/app/strat_plan/ or find this page by searching for "strategic plan" from any page on Cor. Please note, we're still in the process of completing the overall 2012 KPIs.
What to do with the vacated Science space?
We've decided to use it for biology laboratory and research space and a new office for the School of Health Sciences, which was displaced to Burns during construction of the addition. Meanwhile, we're continuing discussions with developer Mark Lambert about the Woodland Middle School site. If that deal works out we'll move our physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physician assistant programs there. The vacated PT and OT space will be used mostly for psychology and nursing classrooms and offices. We'll also move the College archives into Science. We'll decide later what to do with the open Tower Hall space created by psychology's decamping. Timelines, budgets, etc., have to be worked out.
Strengthening our diversity
For the second consecutive year, retention of students of color was higher than retention of all first-year students. This is rare in the world of higher education. Domestic students of color stayed with us at 85.2 percent compared to 80.6 percent for all first-year students this year. This is also the second year in a row that the Office of Institutional Diversity has offered a week-long Multicultural Leadership Orientation – evidence that these efforts are paying off in student success. The MLO has been nominated for a Touchstone Award by the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, and will be recognized at a ceremony on Oct. 30.
Pieces of Tower along the edge of the prairie
Our Centennial celebrations at the extended sites have been joyful affairs, well attended by current students, alumni, a few journalists and even a politician or two or three – U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann stopped in at the St. Cloud gathering with gracious words for our expansion plans, and the mayors of Brainerd and Rochester attended in their communities. The Twin Cities gathering drew more than 100 folks, including reps from our community college partners and area businesses. At each site we unveiled a piece of bluestone mounted on a pedestal. We hope they will serve as "touchstones" to the mother campus, and help our students be more mindful of their membership in the broader St. Scholastica community.
The Last Word
President's Staff starts every meeting with a prayer or spiritual reflection. Our favorite recently was this poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, offered by Don Wortham.
The leaves fall, falling as if from afar
As if dropped from the distant gardens of Heaven
With forlorn gestures each falls
And through the night wanders the heavy Earth
Away from all the stars, into its loneliness
We all fall—This hand drops there—
And look at those others, it is in all of them
And yet there is One, who in his hands
holds all fallenness, with infinite gentleness.
In the spirit of hospitality, we invite your comments and questions. Click here.
||Don't miss "The Highwayman" concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Mitchell. As the campus entrance sign has said, the music department is rescuing a lost gem of Duluth's musical history – Sister Martina Hughes' 1940 orchestral work.