Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Magazine Fall 2009
Minnesota businesses get a boost from state colleges and universities
COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES
has students going green
Mobile lab delivers hands-on
New academy brings diversity
to emergency services
Colleges and Universities
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities prepare
students for everything from traditional occupations
to cutting-edge careers.
With more than 3,00 programs, the Minnesota State
Colleges and Universities system has programs that fit
ZPVS interests and abilities.
The 32 state colleges and universities in the system
educate more than half of the state’s new teaching
graduates, 82 percent of new nursing graduates, 8
percent of the state’s new law enforcement officers
and 4 percent of new business graduates.
Tuition and fees, which average about $, a year,
are significantly less than at most other colleges
What’s more, your investment will pay off. More than
8 percent of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
graduates find jobs related to their field of study within
one year of graduation.
For more information, go to www.mnscu.edu
or call toll free 1-888-667-2848.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is an
Equal Opportunity employer and educator.
The Minnesota State Colleges
& Universities magazine
Fall 2009 • Vol. 5 • No. 1
Published by the Minnesota State
Colleges and Universities system.
James H. McCormick, chancellor
COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES
Editor: Linda Kohl
ASSoCiAtE Editor: Nancy Conner
Art dirECtor: deborah thayer
PHotoGrAPHErS: Neil Andersen,
Elizabeth deNet, Chris Hayes,
Andy King, Sandra Kretsch, Andrea Mills,
david Page, Stacey rosenberg, Joe rossi,
Martin Springborg, tou Vang
CoNtriBUtiNG writErS: Paul Berger,
Nancy Conner, Chris Hayes, Joe Kimball,
Linda Kohl, todd Nelson, Melinda Voss
Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
wells Fargo Place
30 7th St. E., Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55101-7804
Mobile labs deliver science experiences, medical and
emergency training, and welding instruction by state
colleges and universities across Minnesota.
For a free subscription, contact
Public Affairs at the above address
or call (651) 297-2720.
Students design and construct an earth-friendly
Phone: (651) 296-8012
toll-free: (888) 667-2848
ttY: (651) 282-2660
house to cut energy use in half.
education and training boost success of Minnesota businesses
n His own boss: with technical training, Bob Banks creates family of businesses
n A recipe for success: College helps Noelia Urzua grow La Loma enterprise
n Safety first: Business center helps launch pipe-handling device maker
n Money matters: Professors prepare credit union to teach members about finance
n Minimizing downtime: College helps paper company keep high-tech machines running
the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
system is an Equal opportunity employer
and educator. this document can be made
available in alternative formats by calling
one of the numbers above.
Learning to investigate and avert child abuse
how to deal with suspected child abuse situations.
© Copyright 2009 by the Minnesota State
Colleges and Universities.
CoVEr: Architectural drafting instructor
Sandra Kretsch and Hennepin technical
College students Andrew Petersen and
Colin Perrier were among dozens of
students and instructors who built a
house in Minnetonka that is eligible for
LEEd gold certification. Story on Page 16.
Photo by Joe rossi.
A new child advocacy studies program at winona State University teaches students
New Emergency Medical Services Academy graduates first class .......................13
Armando Camacho comes home to Neighborhood House .................................26 Going green on campus .........................................................................................32
Ecuador project gives nursing students a new perspective ................... Back cover
Grants and recognitions
Normandale Community College student dana willy created this fused glass art. Page 7
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 1
Graduate creates ‘Hammer Hoops’
when Andrew Christensen graduated from
The neighborhood astronomer
Every wednesday and Saturday evening, weather
Hennepin technical College’s multimedia, video design
permitting, Jason Kendall hauls his telescopes to a park
and production program in december 2005, he didn’t
in New York City, points their lenses to the heavens and
suspect that he soon would be back as an instructor.
encourages passersby to stop and take a look. Many
But Christensen kept in touch with college
instructor rich oxley and suggested additions to the
return for a second glance the next time they pass by,
and some start showing up every time.
multimedia curriculum based on what he was seeing
as he launched his career. then he was asked to join
the multimedia program’s Advisory Council. when
the college needed someone to teach, they called on
Christensen for his expertise and real-world experience.
that’s how he ended up on the other side of the
desk, teaching two classes so far, Action Script and
Advanced Flash. “it was always something i thought
i’d like to try,” Christensen said. “it solidifies what you
know when you teach it to someone else.”
For the past three years, his main job was senior
creative technician at Space 150, a digital agency based
in Minneapolis with offices in New York and Los Angeles.
recently he left the firm to begin working on his own.
But Christensen also has been involved this year
in a project to promote the college’s Hammerhead Social
Network, an online network connecting students and
staff. Christensen came up with a concept to help the
By day, Kendall is a computing system administrator
for financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald. But when
college promote the social network to a younger audience
the sun goes down, he’s the friendly neighborhood
and programmed a game called “Hammer Hoops.”
astronomer, pointing out stars, planets and other
the game consists of a cityscape with buildings
representing programs offered at the college. Each
celestial bodies to people in the city’s inwood area.
the sky is familiar territory for Kendall, who earned
building has a ring hovering above it. the player’s goal
bachelor’s degrees in astronomy and mathematics from
is to fling the hammerhead shark through each ring
Minnesota State University, Mankato in 1990. Many
before running out of turns.
“it’s fun to do work for my
alma mater,” Christensen said.
to try the game, visit
came up with an
Hoops” to promote
the college’s social
network to younger
Jason Kendall, a graduate of Minnesota State University,
Mankato, introduces New York City residents to astronomy.
of his fondest memories, he said, are centered on the
university’s Standeford observatory, where he studied the
stars and guided other students through the Milky way.
After going on to earn master’s degrees in astronomy
and theater elsewhere, Kendall moved to New York in
1996. Last year, he started itching to get back into astronomy. He volunteered at the American Museum of Natural
History and joined the Amateur Astronomy Association
of New York. Soon, he hatched a plan for his inwood
Astronomy Project and persuaded the city to turn off the
lights in inwood Park for optimum stargazing one night
last April. His project was featured in the New York times,
by Callahan & Co.
and in June he was invited to give a speech at the Hayden
Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.
Kendall is delighted by the recognition. His goal is
to introduce people to the complex concepts of
astronomy in an inviting way. “My background
in theater provides a bridge so that i can present
these concepts in a way that’s coherent, in a way
that relates to people,” he said.
2 | Minnesota state
College beckons the unemployed
Minnesotans who have lost their jobs during the nation’s
economic downturn are getting a boost in reinventing their careers
by enrolling in flexible and accelerated programs or becoming full-time
students in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
take Anthony Quevedo Jr., who worked 13 years at the Ford twin
Cities assembly plant. Now he’s a computer science student at Anoka
ramsey Community College. He had started taking night classes while
working full time. “i really liked the experience i had,” Quevedo said.
“when i had the opportunity to go back to school full time, i knew this
was the place for me and i have not been disappointed.”
the father of two children, Quevedo plans to complete his
studies at Anoka-ramsey this fall and transfer to the University
of Minnesota to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
with hundreds of programs that can be completed in a year
or less, the system’s 32 colleges and universities provide most of the
displaced worker training in Minnesota. Each college and university
has devised courses and programs needed to meet needs in its
Anthony Quevedo Jr. takes computer science courses at Anoka-ramsey
Community College to build his job skills.
Roxanne, Guitar Hero robot
Unable to beat his friends at the popular
video game Guitar Hero, Minnesota west
Community and technical College engineering
student Peter Nikrin decided to build a robot
it wasn’t a simple challenge. He would
have to build a robot that could correctly hit
color-coded keys on a plastic guitar as the
notes for popular rock tunes scrolled by on
a tV screen. the robot also would need
to hit the keys precisely at the right time.
After numerous failed attempts
using fiber-optic photoelectric-sensing
devices, Nikrin tried a sensor from Banner
Engineering of Minneapolis, which
the college had purchased in a startup
Peter Nikrin works with roxanne, the Guitar Hero
robot he built at Minnesota west Community
and technical College. A sensor inside the robot’s
head reads Guitar Hero signals.
it takes the robot about 9 milliseconds
time to focus on the solenoids, so the robot
educational kit. After programming work
to recognize that it’s time to play a note.
can’t press buttons fast enough to beat the
and installation of a right-angle lens to allow
that’s when it sends a signal to one of
most difficult levels. But the vision system
the sensor to fit inside the robot’s head,
five solenoids that activate the robot’s
itself hits the notes correctly 100 percent
Nikrin succeeded in enabling the robot to
five fingers. the robot, named roxanne,
of the time at all difficulty levels.”
read signals from the monochromatic sensor
averages 98 percent accuracy on the
to detect and identify notes by position
game’s medium setting.
rather than color. Further programming
“the higher the difficulty level, the
Nikrin has graduated and now works for
a twin Cities company. Meanwhile, roxanne
is on display in the college’s robotics technology
enabled the robot to recognize the white
less accurate the robot is, but this is mostly
lab and is used for training and to explain the
circle surrounding a note that indicates the
a mechanical issue,” Nikrin said. “i spent so
basics of programming and robotics to visiting
right instant to play that note.
much time on programming that i didn’t have
high school student groups.
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 3
C a mp u sr o u ndu p Alexandria Technical College
CSI: Alexandria. Alexandria Technical
College’s new 58,000-square-foot Law
Enforcement Training Center, which opened
in August, serves as a statewide resource for law
enforcement training. Unique to the center is
a tactical warehouse for scenarios such as a street,
storefronts and multiple vehicles and a perimeter
catwalk for instructor observation. The training
center also includes a firing range, hands-on
labs, weight room, lockers and a gymnasium.
One-third of Minnesota’s sheriffs and more than
100 Minnesota police chiefs are graduates of the
Alexandria Technical College program.
explore hands-on technical classes and earn
college credit at no cost while fulfilling high
school academic requirements.
Bemidji State University
American Indian Summit helps shape future.
More than 100 people attended “Indian
Education: Yesterday and Today,” a summit
hosted by the American Indian Resource Center
of Bemidji State University and co-sponsored
by the Office of the Chancellor Diversity and
Multiculturalism division. The keynote address
was given by former Board of Trustees mem
ber Will Antell. Student participation included
a panel of current American Indian students
addressing “What Works, What Helps.”
Central Lakes College
Chimney swift hotel ready for the birds. The
Law enforcement students on the left are handing
ammunition to the students on the right who
are on the firing line during this safety training
exercise in Alexandria technical College’s new Law
Enforcement training Center.
Anoka-Ramsey Community College
southwest corner of the Central Lakes College
campus in Brainerd sports an unusual chimneylike tower, and it’s for the birds. Natural
resources program students designed and built
the 15-foot-high aviary landmark to further
the recovery of the chimney swift species. Bird
enthusiasts have observed the species’ decline.
As part of a national conservation project, the
college will monitor the number of birds that
find the shelter during the breeding season and
on migratory flights.
Riding a new wave. Anoka-Ramsey
Community College’s new logo was inspired
by the college’s two riverside campuses: the
blue circular motif represents the continuous
flow of the educational life cycle, and the gold
wave represents students at the center of the
college’s mission. The college’s redesigned
Web site highlights the logo design while its
improved functionality better serves prospective
and current students and other visitors.
Dakota County Technical College
Program getting great mileage. Dakota
County Technical College instructors
Tim McCluskey and Mark Hickman, along
with students from their General Motors
Automotive Service Education program,
converted a Toyota Prius into a plug-in
hybrid electric vehicle. The project included
installing a 188-pound, 5-kilowatt Hymotion
lithium-ion battery pack that recharges when
plugged into a 110-volt outlet. The goal
was achieving at least 70 miles per gallon
on gasoline fuel. Their work proved so
successful that one “hypermiling” road trip
yielded an astonishing 170 mpg. Bemidji
State University was a partner in the project
with the college, which was among several
Minnesota state colleges awarded Minnesota
Department of Commerce grants to develop
Thunder felt on campus. The Thunder
volleyball team took to the court this fall
for the first time in the history of Fond
du Lac Tribal and Community College,
opening the squad’s inaugural season in the
Minnesota College Athletic Conference.
The new volleyball program was the fifth
and final piece of the three-year plan to add
intercollegiate athletics as part of student life
programs on campus. Beginning with football
in 2007, followed by softball and women’s
and men’s basketball during 2008-2009,
Thunder athletic teams have quickly created
a loyal fan base within the communities
served by the college.
10-year partnership, one STEP at a time.
4 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
Thank you, veterans. Century College has
been named a Military Friendly School for
2010 by G.I. Jobs magazine. Century was
honored for its services to veterans, including
a Veterans Center within the campus
counseling area. Efforts include establishing
a veterans club, a veterans speaker series,
a Veterans Reorganization Week and
a Veterans Day Celebration. About 250
students at the college this fall are veterans.
Fond du Lac Tribal
& Community College
Anoka Technical College
Anoka Technical College and STEP, the
Secondary Technical Education Program
of the Anoka-Hennepin School District, are
celebrating a 10-year partnership of offering
technical education and career opportunities
for 11th- and 12th-grade students. Located on
the Anoka Technical College campus, STEP
offers high school students the opportunity to
Hennepin Technical College
Students install the new aviary they designed
and built to provide habitat for chimney swifts
at Central Lakes College.
Next project: a trophy case. Hennepin
Technical College cabinetmaking program has
been selected by the Woodworking Machinery
Ca m pusroun d up
Industry Association as the 2009 Educator
of the Year. The award honors educational
programs that produce skilled employees
for wood product manufacturing companies,
especially those integrating today’s hightechnology equipment.
& Technical College
Wellness Advocates for You. The college’s
Incubator office space now percolating.
student group Wellness Advocates for You has
been working with the University of Minnesota
Boynton Health Service to start a clinic for
students on the college campus. The clinic opened
this fall in temporary quarters and will move into
the expanded student center next year. About 30
students in Wellness Advocates for You initiated
plans for the clinic by surveying their peers.
Minnesota State Community and Technical
College’s Business and Entrepreneurial
Services now is leasing office space on the
Detroit Lakes campus to area small business
owners and entrepreneurs in startup ventures.
In addition to incubator space, various services
are available, including a research library,
conference room, teleconferencing, shared
office equipment, business counseling, services
Minnesota State College –
instructor Keith Hanstad, left, received an award
on behalf of the Hennepin technical College wood
Inver Hills Community College
Learning communities rock. Inver Hills
Community College began its third year
offering students the opportunity to experience
college through a learning community.
Students may enroll in one of 10 learning
community sections being offered fall
semester. The approach encourages student
achievement through shared experience.
Courses focus on a single theme. For example,
Read, Rock and Roll is a nine-credit section
that includes courses in English, music and
reading comprehension. Faculty and students
collaborate in and out of the classroom in
educational activities, tutoring, counseling
Lake Superior College
Nursing student receives extreme makeover.
When the ABC network reality show
“Extreme Makeover” rolled into northwest
Wisconsin to build a new home for the
Jessie and Howie Huber family, hundreds of
volunteers, including Lake Superior College
faculty and students, rolled up their sleeves
and went to work. Jessie Huber is a nursing
student at the college. Building construction
faculty member Tim White and a crew of
building construction students led the charge.
The project was broadcast nationally in
late September. In one segment, art faculty
member Tonya Borgeson showed “Extreme
Makeover” host Ty Pennington how to throw
pots that later were decorated by children on
the job site and planted with herbs for the
family’s new kitchen.
Minnesota State Community
& Technical College
Culinary certificate gets displaced workers
cooking. The college has been approved for
Minnesota State University, Mankato
a grant from Workforce Development Inc.
with federal stimulus funds to develop a shortterm culinary training certificate for displaced
workers through its Red Wing campus. The
program will be led by Chef Tom Skold of the
Harborview Cafe in Pepin, Wis. Students in the
43-hour training program will learn cooking
skills associated with high-quality restaurants.
Classes will be offered in the professional
kitchen at Mississippi National Golf Links near
Red Wing. Students, whose tuition will be
covered by the grant, will attend four weeks of
training beginning late this year into early 2010.
University, Mankato is ranked among the top
quarter of the nation’s four-year public and
private colleges and universities in the 2010
Forbes magazine “America’s Best Colleges”
list. Compiled by Forbes and the Center for
College Affordability and Productivity, the
list ranks 600 undergraduate institutions that
offer high-quality education, significant student
experiences and opportunities for student
achievement. Rankings focus on features that
concern incoming students: interesting courses,
prospects of a good job, chance of graduating
in four years and possible debt.
One of America’s best. Minnesota State
Metropolitan State University
Ceremonial dancing staff presented. Sue K. Hammersmith’s inauguration as the sixth
president of Metropolitan State University featured the presentation of a wooden dancing
staff commissioned by Hammersmith and her husband, Allyn Uniacke. the staff was made
by wisconsin artist dick Mindykowski, a member of the Lac Courte oreilles tribe. the staff
is made of hand-carved alder wood adorned with deer leather and antler, turkey feathers,
French beads, horse hair, and beaver and muskrat fur – all with special meanings to the
ojibwe because they represent Earth’s four orders: physical, plant, animal and human.
Following the inauguration, the staff was presented to the university
for its permanent collection and to be used in future university
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 5
Ca m pusroun d up
Minnesota State University Moorhead
My Country, ’Tis of Thee. Minnesota State
University Moorhead hosted its third annual
campus naturalization ceremony this fall.
Thirty-seven new Americans from 22 countries
took the oath of office from U.S. Magistrate
Judge Karen Klein. Among the naturalized
citizens were three university faculty members:
Sylvia Barnier, senior women’s administrator
for athletics; Cecilia Mafla-Bustamante,
Spanish professor; and Zhimin Guan, art
brings students the most up-to-date education
and skills necessary to become building profes
sionals using “green” materials and technology.
Classes in energy efficiency, sustainable materials
and cold weather construction present knowledge
critical for builders in northern climates. In
addition, high school students in International
Falls completing two years of the building
trades program can earn one year of college
credit toward a degree or diploma.
Pine Technical College
‘The Boiler Project.’ Pine Technical College
is converting its more than 30-year-old steam
boilers to hot water boilers. “The boiler
project,” as it has become known, is anticipated
to save about 30 percent of the college’s
facilities budget annually. The college also
is overhauling its heating, ventilation and air
conditioning system to improve air quality and
energy use. Construction is scheduled to be
completed by the end of the year.
& Technical College
North Hennepin Community College
Makeover transforms college. The East Grand
Three new fully online degree programs.
Top honors for student literary arts magazine.
Forks campus recently celebrated completion
of a $10 million building renovation project
that has earned the name “extreme makeover.”
Renovations to the 1974 building included
construction of an 8,300-square-foot addition
for new classrooms for nursing and allied
health programs and renovation of 31,000
square feet for a learning resource center,
computer labs, technology programs,
bookstore, commons area and cafeteria, and
a new outside entrance and reception area.
Ridgewater College has been approved by the
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
system and the Higher Learning Commission to
offer the college’s first completely online degree
programs: associate degrees in liberal arts, law
enforcement and computer-aided drafting and
design. Ridgewater College began offering online
classes in 2002 and has continued to grow those
offerings with 133 online classes in 2008.
The 2009 issue of Under Construction, the
college’s student literary arts magazine, recently
won first place as Best Literary and Arts
Magazine and Best
from the Community
since 1968, the
short fiction, essays
Cover of award-winning
literary arts magazine
at North Hennepin
two- and threedimensional fine artworks created by students as
part of a collaborative effort between the college’s
journalism and magazine workshop and graphic
Northeast Higher Education District
Staying warm and green ‘Up North.’ Rainy
River Community College’s new green and
sustainable construction technology program
Riverland Community College
‘Flash Fiction’ winner. English instructor Jon
Northwest Technical College
Supporting displaced workers. Northwest
Technical College’s record fall enrollment
includes more than 50 displaced workers who
lost jobs due to the economic downturn.
Supported by the Minnesota Concentrated
Employment Program for Dislocated Workers
and federal funds, the college created a flexible,
custom-designed class schedule enabling displaced
workers to enter the college “at a moment’s
notice,” said Bruce Hemstad, academic dean.
They can begin taking classes immediately, with
summer school courses developed to span any
gaps in the program sequence.
Olseth was chosen over 250 other national
contestants as the 2009 Flash Fiction Contest
Winner for his short story, “Frostbite.” The
story was published in the 2009 spring edition
of the Blue Earth Review, the literary magazine
of Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Contest judge and author Thomas Maltman
chose Olseth’s story for first place, stating:
“The vivid imagery in this piece seared my
consciousness, so I went on seeing it after I set it
down. I love how the writer invokes a moment
in time, even if that moment has a casual
brutality true to rural life. The ending allows
the story to lift and touch on universals.”
Minnesota West Community & Technical College
Auto body students get a customized education.
the auto body program at the Granite Falls campus goes
beyond basic auto body repair as students show
off their artistic talent during the second
year of the diploma program. For their final
project cars, students focus on restoration
and customization, often adding
specialized paint jobs with air-brushing and
graphics, interior upholstery and air-ride and
chassis modifications. the students showcased
their projects and their talents at the campus
Annual Fall Car Show in September.
6 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
Ca m pusroun d up
& Technical College
Saint Paul College
Student newspaper receives top award. The
college’s student newspaper, the Echo, has been
awarded a First Class rating for 2008-2009 by
the Associated Collegiate Press. The award
comes on the heels of the staff receiving “Best
of the Midwest” last winter at the Midwest
meeting of the Associated Collegiate Press.
renovation of the construction trade area
has transformed dated classrooms and shops
into state-of-the-art facilities. The college
also recently upgraded 80 classrooms into
multimedia “smart rooms” and is building
a new Information Technology Services
Center. Changes also are happening
outside the building, with new signage and
landscaping greeting visitors to the college.
St. Cloud State University
New location in town. The university’s new
Twin Cities Graduate Center in Maple Grove
brings graduate-level education opportunities
to the northern Minneapolis-St. Paul metro
area. Initial offerings include the Herberger
College of Business M.B.A. program, the
College of Science and Engineering’s
regulatory affairs and services program,
and courses in the College of Education’s
counselor education and educational
St. Cloud Technical College
Healthy response to the community.
In response to industry partners and students,
St. Cloud Technical College has introduced
a flexible, part-time practical nursing program.
The college surveyed more than 600 practical
nurses at area health care facilities and current
students to determine the need for a part-time
program for practical nurses. The college’s
longstanding relationships with many of the
region’s largest health care providers,
including St. Cloud Hospital,
the Veterans Administration Hospital,
St. Benedict’s Center, Good Shepherd,
Assumption and the St. Cloud Medical Group,
have helped support a 90 percent placement
rate for the college’s nursing graduates.
Looking good, inside and out. Major
shares a semiprivate
bathroom. Twentysix rooms are
available for students
residence for students
opened this fall at
South Central College
Winona State University
New mechatronics program launched.
Safety first. Winona State University ranks as
Fifty-seven students began classes in
South Central College’s new mechatronics
technology program this fall. Designed
by industry and years in the making, the
program answers the need for technicians
with a combination of software, electronic,
pneumatics, hydraulics and mechanical skills.
Ten regional business partners, along with the
system’s Minnesota Center for Engineering
and Manufacturing Excellence, provided
financial support for the program startup.
The mechatronics program was featured as
the cover story in the September/October 2009
issue of Precision Manufacturing, the journal
of the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing
No. 11 on a list of the 25 safest campuses in the
United States, according to research conducted
by The Daily Beast,
an online news site.
The list was compiled
using data from more
than 4,000 colleges and
with enrollment of at
least 6,000 students that
have students living on
campus. Statistics about
crimes on and near
Code Blue units for
campus are from data
contribute to safety at
reported annually to
winona State University.
the U.S. Department
of Education under
the federal Clery Act. Among safety features at
Winona State are 11 Code Blue units located
throughout the campus so pedestrians can call
for campus security. While calls for help typically
come only once or twice a year, the units in the
past have contributed to quick response to highrisk situations, including a student who became
disoriented during subzero temperatures and
a nearby house fire. n
Southwest Minnesota State University
Who wouldn’t want to live in Sweetland Hall?
A new 252-bed residence hall named after
the late Doug Sweetland, former president
of the university, opened for fall semester
students. Sweetland Hall is an $11.5 million
three-story structure featuring energy-saving
technologies. Much of the residence hall
consists of four-student suites. Each of the
Normandale Community College
Student art in system display. Fused glass art, left
to right, by students tina Carol, Ann Harste and Laura
Meersman of Normandale Community College are
among faculty and student artworks featured in the
fourth annual art display in public areas of the office
of the Chancellor in wells Fargo Place, St. Paul. other
Normandale students whose fused glass is on display
are Julie Kirihara, Andrew Lamars, Kari Steen, Jeffrey
Stenborn, Anja thomsen and dana willy. the glass
artworks were submitted by the student’s art instructor,
Martha wittstruck. to learn more about the exhibit, visit
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 7
G ra n tsan d re c ogn i t i ons Here is a sample of grants and awards
received by the Minnesota State Colleges
and Universities and their faculty, staff
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
received $800,000 from the National Science
Foundation for support of a study of wild rice
lakes. The five-year project is a collaboration
among college, middle school and high
school student researchers, the Fond du Lac
Reservation’s Resource Management division
and the University of Minnesota.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
a $900,000 grant to support Project Access
through 2014. An effort to extend educational
outreach opportunities, Project Access redesigns
curriculum and delivery methods of the small
business/entrepreneurship certificate and degree
programs incorporating on-site as well as online
and interactive television instruction.
Minnesota State Community and Technical
College was awarded $100,000 through
the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural
Development Recovery Act to enhance the
Business and Entrepreneurial Center on
the Detroit Lakes campus. The grant will
fund additional instructors and equipment
for a business incubator designed to expand
economic development in Becker County
and on the White Earth Indian Reservation.
Minnesota State University, Mankato
professor, received a $145,800 Minnesota
Department of Commerce grant to
purchase, install and monitor four wind
turbines on campus. Winstead and student
researchers will analyze the long-term
performance of the electric generation
systems and develop training materials for
operating and maintaining the machines.
$199,500 to the university to acquire a
scanning electron microscope with an energy
dispersive spectroscopy system for elemental
analysis and research. The project will be
directed by four science and technology
8 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
Research Instrumentation program awarded
$226,000 to six faculty members to purchase
and maintain an X-ray diffractometer. The
state-of-the-art instrument will enhance
research and teaching in geology, chemistry,
physics and civil engineering.
Northland Community & Technical
College, supported by a $95,000 grant from
the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is
installing a new transmitter that will enable its
radio station KSRQ, known as Pioneer 90.1,
to become one of the few stations in northwest
Minnesota to broadcast with a digital signal.
Staffed by volunteers and students, the station
is the only broadcast radio station licensed to
a two-year college in Minnesota and will
become a component of the college’s new
media program, launching in fall 2010.
Pine Technical College was awarded a $300,000
grant from the U.S. Department of Education
in October to create an engaging computer
game to support teaching developmental math
to displaced and underemployed workers. John
Heckman, director of the Johnson Center for
Simulation at the college, is working with the
Northeast Higher Education District and Mesabi
Range Community and Technical College to
complete the project within the next three years.
Recent Fulbright Scholar awards have gone to
Minnesota State University, Mankato, faculty
members Rebecca Bates, computer science,
who will work at the University of São Paulo
in Brazil to develop a Portuguese spokenlanguage interface for handheld devices that
support public health care workers in the field;
and Julieta Alvarado, a harpsichordist and
musicologist who will teach music seminars
and research the oral traditions of colonial
Panama at the University of Panama.
Nineteen Minnesota State University
Moorhead students in an online journalism
seminar won an Emmy award in September
from the Upper Midwest Chapter of the
National Academy of Television Arts
and Sciences for their online magazine,
Horizonlines.org. The issue, “Collective
Histories: Images and Stories Reflecting
a Region’s Past,” focuses on small towns
in rural Minnesota and North Dakota. Since
its inaugural issue in 2002, the magazine has
won 30 national and regional awards. This is
the third year that the state university students
have received an Emmy award.
Kim Lippert, agriculture instructor at
Ridgewater College, recently was selected
to receive an Honorary American FFA Degree.
Formerly known as the Future Farmers of
America, the National FFA Organization is
a national organization preparing youth for
leadership and careers in the science, business
and technology of agriculture. The award
is given to those who advance agricultural
education and the FFA through outstanding
Kirstin Cronn-Mills, liberal arts and
sciences faculty member at South Central
College, was honored by the Minnesota State
College Student Association as the 2008-2009
Instructor of the Year. This recognition is
given annually to one instructor from the twoyear colleges in the Minnesota State Colleges
and Universities system. Instructors are
nominated by their students.
Shawna Peterson, a full-time radiology
student at Minnesota State Community and
Technical College in Detroit Lakes, has been
elected president of the Minnesota Society
of Radiology Students. Peterson will be
a voting board member of the Minnesota
Society of Radiologic Technologists and chair
a student-led fall conference at the Detroit
Winona State University is ranked among
the top 50 public and private universities in the
Midwest by U.S. News & World Report in its
America’s Best Colleges 2010. The university
ranks 47th in the category of “Best Universities
G rant sa n d reCoGn it ion s
– Master’s” in the 2010 list, up from No. 51
last year. The university retained its rank as the
13th public institution on the list. Within the
category are 71 colleges and universities, with
seven from Minnesota in the top tier, including
Winona State University and Bemidji State
Pam Brunfelt, history instructor at Vermilion
Community College, contributed to an awardwinning documentary, “Iron Range: Minnesota
Building America,” created by Twin Cities
Public Television’s Minnesota Channel. The
documentary places the history of the Iron
Range in a national context. Funding was
provided by the Iron Range Resources agency,
the Minnesota Humanities Center and TPT.
The Minnesota Humanities Center is giving
copies of the documentary to all school districts
in Minnesota for use in the classroom.
Cheryl Frank, president
of Inver Hills Community
College, has been named
a 2009 Innovation of the
Year award recipient by
the League for Innovation
in the Community
College. Frank will
be recognized at the League’s Innovations
Conference in March in Baltimore, where she
also will make presentations on the college’s
Access and Opportunity Center of Excellence
and the Finish What You Start initiative.
A 2009 Tekne Award was presented in
October to CareerOneStop.org, a Web site
sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor
offering career and workforce resources to
students, job seekers, workforce counselors
and employers. The Minnesota State
Colleges and Universities collaborated with
the Minnesota Department of Employment
and Economic Development to redevelop
CareerOneStop.org, which serves more than
24 million unique visitors each year. The
Minnesota Tekne Awards honor companies,
innovations and individuals making a positive
impact on the technology-based economy
and are given by the Minnesota High Tech
Association, LifeScience Alley and Enterprise
Minnesota. CareerOneStop won in the IT
Software and Hardware, Communications
and Infrastructure category.
geared to promoting the work of emerging
photographers and photography educators.
Culp, a junior from Winona, said she had the
opportunity to express her creativity through
a class in visual communication.
Each issue of PDNEDU magazine
features the work of a student photographer
in a section called “StudentPhotoOp.”
by Gina Culp,
a winona State
Winona State University student Gina Culp
recently had her photography and thoughts
about her craft featured in a national photog
raphy magazine. The photos by Culp, a mass
communication major, were published in the
spring 2009 edition of PDNEDU, a national
publication of Photo District News specifically
Faculty members honored for Excellence in Teaching
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of
Trustees presented the system’s highest academic honor,
Excellence in Teaching Awards, to four faculty members in
April. Nominations were submitted by institution presidents
and reviewed by a panel of judges. The 2009 recipients are:
Chris Austin, economics instructor at Normandale
Community College. reviewers cited Austin’s
teaching methods for consistently using reverse
design to plan courses, establish learning outcomes
and chart a path to achieve them. Austin uses a
range of collaborative approaches in designing
classes, always with classroom assessment.
Dorian Beaulieu, art instructor at Lake Superior
College. reviewers said that under Beaulieu’s
tutelage, students develop or rediscover their
creative talents and self-confidence. His use of
problem solving and small-group work allows
artistic creativity to flourish. reviewers cited his
respect for individual perception and the value
of a creative attitude. Student art exhibits also
are a key component of his teaching methods.
Ernie Parker, fluid power engineering
technology instructor at Hennepin technical
College. reviewers cited Parker’s use of various
teaching tools such as online or distance
education, team learning, real-world problem
solving and capstone projects. His syllabi mirror
his belief that reflection followed by action lead
to results. His adherence to industry standards
and demands helps form and inform his retention
Deborah Roiger, biology instructor at St. Cloud
technical College. reviewers said her teaching
methods focus on being student centered and
reflect diverse student needs. She engages
students through the Socratic method and realworld situations. After writing curriculum for
a two-semester anatomy and physiology course,
she converted the material to an online course.
She also created a “living textbook” as part of
the lab experience and developed a digital atlas
to increase access to lab resources and more than
100 mini-lectures through streaming videos.
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 9
tr ainin g w h e e l s
mobile lab delivers hands-on science excitement to minnesota schools
urrounded by State-of-the-art lab equipment inSide
Science Express hit the road early this fall. Spending one week at
a semi-trailer, students from elementary to high school age are
each school on the schedule, the lab on wheels will serve an estimated
exploring the scientific scenes behind some of their favorite
7,500 students at 25 schools by the end of the academic year. That is
television shows. At multiple lab stations, they learn to purify DNA
from a kiwi, measure their hair thickness by laser diffraction or use
oil-eating bacteria to clean up an oil spill.
The mobile lab is part of an outreach initiative led by St. Cloud
far beyond initial expectations.
“We thought that we’d see maybe 100 students on an average
week,” said Bruce Jacobson, director of bioscience outreach and
associate professor of biological sciences at St. Cloud State. “What
State University to bring bioscience concepts and hands-on
we’re seeing is that teachers are working hard to get as many students
experience to K-12 students in central Minnesota, enhancing the
in as they can.”
science curriculum of schools that don’t have the equipment and
expertise to provide such training.
“Because young people begin to choose a career path as early
as fourth grade, we want to make sure they’re engaged in and excited
about the sciences long before they come to college,” said David
One of the first stops was Rockford. “The kids got to do a lot
of really neat activities and use equipment we wouldn’t normally be
able to afford as a school,” said Marie Flanary, principal of Rockford
Middle School, which hosted the mobile unit in September.
“I would love to bring it back here because of all the enthusiasm
DeGroote, dean of the College of Science and Engineering at
it brought in the community,” Flanary said. “I had a lot of parents
St. Cloud State.
tell me that it was really cool and their kids talked about it for a long
The 53-foot-long trailer also has a conference area, audio/video
system, wireless network and satellite Internet connections, and space
Jacobson knows the lab is making a difference. He sees it in
for 35 students. The equipment and experiments are designed to attract
the expressions and comments by students such as a high school
young people to careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
sophomore who stepped into the semi on the third day of a
10 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
Left page, teacher Kari dombrovski visits the
new Science Express with third-grade students
Alexis Sanchez, left, and ian Miller from talahi
Elementary School in St. Cloud. the mobile lab
is expected to serve 7,500 students in area
schools during its first year.
this page, Associate Professor Bruce Jacobson,
right, of St. Cloud State University introduces
students to an electronic Pipet-Aid used to
perform a pH color change experiment. Sauk
rapids Middle School Principal Larry Stack, left,
challenging experiment and said: “I’m so
glad we were able to come back here. I love
it out here.”
A combination of the atmosphere and
interest in the activities has led to a high
level of student engagement. A recent
count by the lab’s lead instructor found
that 90 percent of sixth-graders were
engaged in the learning activity, compared
with 60 to 70 percent of students in a
The impact is attracting the attention
of science leaders throughout the state.
“This kind of implementation is where it
all begins,” said Dale Wahlstrom, chief
executive officer of the BioBusiness Alliance
of Minnesota. “We can’t have an industry
without the kids.”
The Science Express is part of a larger
bioscience initiative, the Strategic Alliance
for Bioscience Research and Education, to
build the future bioscience workforce. The
alliance is led by Anoka-Ramsey Community
College, Minneapolis Community and
Technical College, Ridgewater College and
St. Cloud State University.
The mobile lab’s lead teacher is Mike
Community partnerships have made
Four colleges in the Minnesota State
the project possible. With a donation
Colleges and Universities are collaborating
Gabrielson, a retired high school science
from Medtronic of a high-tech trailer
with St. Cloud State University on the
teacher, and working with him is Stacy
that the Minneapolis firm previously
Science Express project: Ridgewater
Helgeson, an experienced elementary school
used for training physicians, the Science
College, Anoka-Ramsey Community
teacher who has been engaging students
Express is believed to be among the most
College, Minneapolis Community
ages 5 through 12 in the lab experiments.
sophisticated mobile lab programs in
and Technical College, and St. Cloud
Technical College. To learn more, visit
“The kids have been very excited that
they’re seeing things they haven’t seen in
Others contributing in-kind and
the classroom,” Helgeson said. The most
financial support include the Minnesota
popular experiment so far? “The DNA,”
State Colleges and Universities system,
she said. “They extract DNA from a fruit –
Innovative Laboratory Systems, Morgan
kiwi, strawberries and bananas – and
Family Foundation, 3M, Everything Signs
can take home the test tube to show it
and the Minnesota Renewable Energy
to their parents.”
Medical, technical mobile labs
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 11
medical, technical training
hits the road
ridgewater College’s new SimLab brings medical training to hospitals
and clinics. Above, simulation mannequins in the mobile lab provide
ore mobile labS are bringing training and
advantages of mobile training include the ability to bring an
expertise from minnesota State Colleges and universities
organization’s staff together to be trained while continuing to provide
campuses to employers and training sites throughout the state.
patient care, say officials at colleges offering mobile training. the savings
Ridgewater College, with campuses in hutchinson and Willmar,
in travel time and related expenses also can be significant, and in rural
recently rolled out a high-tech mobile medical training facility to serve
areas, several small hospitals and clinics can combine resources to
medical clinics and hospitals across minnesota. dubbed “Simlab l1,”
bring in the training.
it contains the latest in realistic simulation technology to train health
Hennepin Technical College uses a mobile simulation center
care and emergency response professionals and improve patient
with mannequins for training emergency medical personnel and
outcomes at their hospitals and clinics.
paramedics, among others. through scenarios such as cardiac arrest,
the college has several years of experience with simulation
training focuses on recognizing medical problems, making correct
education using mannequins in its on-campus nursing programs. Campus
decisions, teamwork and responding with appropriate care. results
officials say the effectiveness of simulation generated tremendous demand
have been immediate, college officials say.
for ongoing training among health care providers.
Simulation mannequins breathe, cough, talk and respond very much
during a training partnership with allina medical transportation,
for example, a study by doctors showed the success rate of persons
like real patients, without the negative consequences of a mistake in
revived from cardiac arrest went from 22 to 59 percent between
delivery of care. Simulation training experts record each training session
January and July 2007.
and debrief the scenario with participants.
the ridgewater College foundation launched a campaign to raise more
other applications for the fully equipped mobile trainer include
new employee orientations and hospital emergency room personnel
than $2.5 million to design and build the mobile lab. through the generosity
training. the college also delivers mobile fire training and has a
of numerous business partners and donors, Simlab l1 was unveiled in June.
portable welding simulator.
Simlab l1 was developed through ridgewater’s Customized
Minnesota State Community and Technical College has
training and Continuing education division, which contracts with health
a mobile welding lab with 10 welding stations contained in a heated,
care organizations for the training.
ventilated semi-trailer. the trailer is used to provide training for area
the mobile lab also will be used to train businesses for bioterrorism
industry, high schools and displaced workers, and the certified welding
preparation and workplace safety and as a tool for generating interest
instructors and inspectors are available to train virtually anywhere that
among K-12 students in the fields of health care, science and technology.
electric power is available.
12 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
new emergency medical Services academy graduates first class
en young Women and men
the graduates received a certificate in
completed a challenging 10-week training
emergency medical services and qualify to take
program this fall that opens the doors for
the emergency medical technician certification
good jobs in emergency medical services, health care
and firefighting – and they were paid to participate.
the pilot emergency medical Services
qualify to take the firefighter test, broadening
bring young adults from low-income households
the pool of applicants for the fire department.
a nationwide study last year found
close an achievement gap for students of color
that about one-fourth of emergency medical
technicians and paramedics are women or people
a collaboration among the city of St. paul,
of color. according to the minnesota department
ramsey County and inver hills Community College,
of employment and economic development
the pilot academy paid participants $7.50 an hour
projections, the need for emts and paramedics
for up to 25 hours a week during the emergency
is expected to grow nearly 18 percent in the
medical technician certification program.
instructors and supporters exuded enthusiasm
financial support came from the Saint paul
and pride in the students’ achievements at their
foundation, f.r. bigelow foundation, greater twin
graduation ceremony in September at dayton’s
Cites united Way, the otto bremer foundation,
bluff recreation Center in St. paul. many spoke
allina medical transport, fire fighters united of
of the students’ perseverance and the personal
St. paul, the fire Supervisors association and the
challenges they overcame.
St. paul naaCp.
“today, we graduate 10 smart, resourceful,
recommended as a best practice by the
vibrant, courageous and uncommonly wise young
u.S. Conference of mayors and recognized by
members of our community,” said david page,
the international association of fire Chiefs,
instructor from inver hills Community College in
the academy began classes for a second group
inver grove heights. page called their achievement
of students in mid-September.
“without a doubt the high point of my career.”
“it was definitely a rigorous class, and it
before this, he said, diversity among emergency
made me a better person by bringing out the
medical services classes was measured one individual
best in me,” said alexavier Collado, one of the
at a time. “this is an exponential improvement.”
graduates. “most important, the academy helped
St. paul fire Chief tim butler complimented
Briana Jackson, left, and KaSandra Brisco
display the emergency medical certificates
they earned through the Emergency Medical
young adults ages 18 to 24 were eligible
for the opportunity to learn job skills and to
academy program was launched this summer to
into these careers while helping the city of St. paul
Academy graduate Alston riley holds a photo
of himself as a youngster dreaming of
becoming a firefighter.
exam and the St. paul firefighter entrance test.
the graduates and told them, “i look forward
to hearing good things about you when you hit
me choose a career that allows me to help people
for more information on the emS academy,
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 13
Buildin g g r ee n
students design, construct
to cut energy use in half
he houSe on Spring lane looKS liKe an ordinary
stone tile floor on the walkout lower level serves as thermal mass,
suburban rambler, tucked away on a wooded lot on a
storing heat from the sun during the day and releasing it at night.
cul-de-sac in Minnetonka. But look closer, because this
The house is situated to take maximum advantage of sunlight, and
house is different.
That pretty little garden is actually a rain garden, planted
the width of the eaves was calculated to let sunlight in during the
winter months and keep direct sunlight out during the summer.
with drought-resistant varieties and landscaped to collect runoff
In-floor radiant heat, powered by electricity generated outside
so it can percolate into the earth rather than rushing down a storm
of periods of peak demand, provides much of the warmth.
sewer. Four big rain barrels harvest water that runs off the roof
“Until the outside temperature gets down to 25 degrees,
so it can be used for watering plants, and the walkway is made
then and only then does the furnace have to be turned on,” said
of permeable pavers to further reduce runoff.
Sandra Kretsch, an architectural drafting instructor at Hennepin
Inside are more surprises. The 8-inch-thick walls are super-
Technical College’s Eden Prairie campus. Her students, along
insulated, and the roof is insulated to a thermal rating or R-value
with students in carpentry, landscape architecture and cabinetry
of 60. (Building codes require insulation to R-38.) The attractive
programs, designed and built the house over the course of
14 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
the roof is photovoltaic
cell-ready, with the
necessary electrical and
in place for a homeowner
to add solar panels to
roof overhangs are
designed to let in sunlight
in winter months and block
it out in the summer.
walls are 8 inches thick.
collect sunlight in the
winter, which helps heat
the yard is sloped to send water into a rain garden, where it can percolate
into the soil instead of entering a storm sewer.
work areas are illuminated
by LEd lights that save
energy and last up to
60,000 hours longer than
a year. It’s a “green” house that will
use 50 percent less energy than a
Kitchen cabinet finishes
are low in volatile organic
conventionally built house.
Just how green is it? Kretsch said
the house is eligible for gold certification
under the LEED (Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design) rating
system administered by the U.S. Green
Building Council. Once the paperwork
is completed, the house will become
only the seventh residential house in
powered by off-peak
electricity, keeps indoor
air quality high.
A solar tube, lined with
a highly reflective material,
brings natural light into
a windowless bathroom.
Minnesota to earn the LEED gold
Continued on Page 16
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 15
Continued from Page 15
For years, Hennepin Technical College students have
The Spring Lane house, one of two green houses built last
been building houses as part of their educational programs.
year by Hennepin Technical College students, began with the
But last year, several instructors attended a seminar on green
creation of an integrated design team of everyone who would be
construction. Kretsch said a carpentry instructor
working on the house. “It starts with everybody
approached her and said, “Hey, let’s build a
being on board with green strategies,” Kretsch
green house this year.”
said. In all, 42 students worked on the project.
It’s a movement that is catching on across
the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
system. Students in the carpentry and electrician
programs at Ridgewater College are building
a house eligible for LEED certification in
Willmar, and students at Minnesota State
Community and Technical College are building
a green house on the White Earth Reservation
“right now the
job market is
going more green.
students who know
about leed and
and another in Moorhead. Similar projects are
planned or under way at Northwest Technical
College in Bemidji, Northland Community and
Technical College in East Grand Forks, Rainy
Nearly every aspect of the house was
thought through to make it energy efficient and
environment friendly. Paint and other finishes are
low in volatile organic compounds to keep the
indoor air quality high. “You don’t have that ‘new
house’ smell,” Kretsch said. Carpeting is made
from recycled materials. The furnace and water
heater are high efficiency, and showers and toilets
are low flow.
StUdENt At HENNEPiN
Since its completion this summer, the house
has been turned over to the city of Minnetonka,
which provided the land for the project. Elise
River Community College in International
Durbin, community development supervisor for
Falls, Minnesota State College – Southeast
Minnetonka, said the city sold the three-bedroom,
Technical in Red Wing and Winona, Riverland
2,300-square-foot house this fall for $405,000.
Community College in Austin and South Central College
Students in the landscape architecture program install
drought-resistant plant varieties in the yard.
16 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
“We’re very excited about it,” Durbin said. “It’s not only a
great asset for the community, it’s also an educational resource.”
Jimmie Sparks tests for air leaks
using a blower and infared
Carpentry students work on interior framing. the house is
so energy-efficient that the furnace is not needed until the
outside temperature drops to 25 degrees.
City officials hope the house will inspire others to incorporate
the students and faculty. He also conducted site verification –
green building methods into home construction or remodeling
testing to make sure the project followed the LEED program
Colin Perrier, an architectural drafting student who worked
The LEED process, which awards points for environmentally
on the house, said the experience could give him an edge as he
sound practices, forces builders to take a more holistic view of
looks for a job. “Right now the job market is going more green,”
construction, he said. For example, points are awarded for location
he said. “Builders want students who know about LEED and
if the house is within walking distance to shopping, services and
recreational opportunities. The Spring Lane house also received
One of the more interesting aspects of the project for Perrier
was going before the Minnetonka City Council to present the
project plans. He and fellow student Andrew Petersen showed
points for its small footprint, minimal site disruption
and educational value to the community.
Sparks, a 1981 graduate of the carpentry program at Pine
council members 3D computer simulations of how the house
Technical College, also part of the Minnesota State Colleges
could look when finished. Petersen also conducted computer-
and Universities system, said the Spring Lane house shows that
simulated sun studies to determine the angle of the sun at different
it’s possible to build a green house at a reasonable cost. Green
times of the year.
construction actually helps builders make more money because
City officials were impressed with their presentation. “The
they use less material, he said.
point of this is that we can build a house that’s really efficient that
Sparks said he discourages developers from chasing points with
doesn’t cost a million dollars,” Perrier said. “The city didn’t want
“things like whiz-bang geothermal heating systems rather than
another million-dollar house that wouldn’t sell. They wanted
homes that people could afford.”
“I try to get them to think about what are the most cost-
Jimmie Sparks, residential energy program manager with
effective points to gather,” he said. “I am of the opinion that you
Neighborhood Energy Connection, a nonprofit organization
can’t spell green without the two Es. Don’t talk to me about green
that promotes energy-efficient living, served as a resource for
unless you talk first about energy efficiency.”
the house features hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings and a stone fireplace on
the main floor; the lower level has stone tile floors and in-floor radiant heat.
Hennepin technical College carpentry students and instructors on the porch
of the nearly completed house.
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 17
education and training boost success of Minnesota businesses
Minnesota state Colleges and Universities
provide customized training, continuing
education and small business advice
to help businesses thrive in today’s
economy. these stories feature
businesspeople whose work with state
colleges and universities has strengthened
his own boss
building on skills learned in technical colleges,
bob banks creates family of successful businesses
ob banKS learned a lot
such as culverts. Such diverse product lines
growing up on a dairy farm east of
have helped banks hold his own through
Cannon falls – like how to work
the economic downturn, and he projects
seven days a week and, more conclusively,
that he didn’t want to milk cows for a living.
“i knew i wanted to own my own
revenue this year will reach $1.4 million.
along the way, banks has hired a
number of technical college interns and
business and be my own boss,” banks
graduates, including his youngest son,
said. So he enrolled in a two-year industrial
dan, who also completed the industrial
machine mechanics program at minnesota
machine mechanics program at red Wing
State College – Southeast technical, then
in 2004 and is working in his father’s shop.
known as red Wing technical College.
Sons mitch and michael work in sales and
“i thought that industrial machine
marketing; his wife, marlene, is the office
mechanics is such a broad field, i could go
manager; and his sister, barb flynn, is the
anywhere and then decide what i wanted
to do,” recalled banks, 52. today, he owns
two Cannon falls-based manufacturing
companies – Strike products, which
18 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
banks attributes much of his success to
manufactures plastic products for the
the skills he gained at the red Wing campus
concrete and construction industries, and
in everything from hydraulics, pneumatics
banks outdoors, which produces deer
and diesel engine repair to refrigeration, the
stands and other products for outdoors
electrical trade and machining. the hands-
enthusiasts. the companies have 12
on experience rounded out the fix-it abilities
he’d picked up on his father’s farm.
entering college was the first step in
“if you’re going to start small, it’s
seven years of technical education banks
like farming: you’d better be able to fix
pursued while working for others and
your own equipment or you’re not going to
preparing to launch his own company.
survive very long,” banks said. “it’s what i
Since then, banks has received three
Bob Banks is surrounded in his showroom by many of
his products including, clockwise from upper left, plastic
spacers, plastic pipe sleeves and precast bollards, and
a Husky Hauler utility sled and trailer. Banks is holding
an outrigger pad – a polyethylene pad he invented to
provide stability for cranes working on soft surfaces.
skILLs LearNeD IN CoLLeGe
learned at the technical college. there’s no
patents, with three more patents pending,
doubt i wouldn’t be where i am today if it
and developed a wide range of products
wasn’t for the red Wing technical College.”
– from catch-and-release fishing pliers
this year he’s celebrating 25 years
and deer stands to little-seen but critical
in business and the 2009 outstanding
plastic spacers inside concrete products
alumnus award he received in may from
the Southeast technical College alumni association. he was recognized
for his manufacturing business acumen honed at the college and for his
commitment to youth and civic organizations in Cannon falls.
“to come through our college, get the degree he did, enhance his
education at other institutions, develop his skills and go on to get six patents
outDoor proDuCts popuLar
an avid hunter and angler, banks founded what would become
banks outdoors in 1994. one early product was the mighty gripper,
a patented pliers handy in catch-and-release fishing.
today, his outdoor line features two versions of the husky hauler –
– his professional accomplishments are very impressive,” said Jeff meyer,
a sled for pulling behind a snowmobile and a trailer for use with an
director of the minnesota State College – Southeast technical foundation.
all-terrain vehicle – plus various sizes of his Stump deer stands.
“We’re proud to call him an alumnus,” meyer said. “it’s important for
the stands are made in a large rotational molding machine in the
the school to recognize how successful people can become by going through
back of his shop. “that business is booming,” banks said, noting that they
a technical college.”
are popular with retiring baby boomers who like to hunt and, so far, are
banks was in the two-year program at red Wing when his first son was
born. he was taking classes full time during the day and working nights at
northstar Concrete in apple Valley, driving 100 miles a day round trip.
“he was very diligent, very serious,” recalled leon nelson, professor
emeritus of industrial technology and one of banks’ instructors at red Wing.
“it makes me feel good that students go on to reach that degree of success.
apparently recession-proof. “it’s going pretty well, even in this economy,”
banks got a preview of the downturn, when a sharp drop in housing
and other building slowed sales of some concrete- and constructionrelated plastic products.
exceptions include his outrigger pads – large plastic discs that go
We gave them enough variety as far as skill development that they could
under the arms of cranes to provide stability on soft surfaces; a patent-
branch out in many ways.”
pending plastic barrier ring that keeps water from getting into manholes;
after banks graduated from the program in 1977, he continued his
and a variety of plastic bollards. bollards are vertical barrier or protection
education over the next five years while working as a tool and die maker.
posts outside loading docks and, more often these days, guarding the
he took advanced machining at two more colleges in the minnesota State
entrances to retail stores and office buildings.
Colleges and universities system – dakota County
he makes plastic sleeves that go over
technical College and Saint paul College – and attended
steel-pipe bollards and also supplies
dunwoody institute. then he returned to the red Wing
concrete plants with sleeves and
campus to study business management.
materials to make precast bollards.
in 1984, banks opened a machine shop that
eventually would become Strike products.
his signature product was a plastic spacer that
bollards are selling by the thousands
around the country.
“We’ve got two or three
properly spaces the reinforcing wire inside concrete
product lines that are doing pretty
products. the idea had occurred to him while working
well through this,” banks said. “if we
on the maintenance crew at northstar Concrete, back
didn’t keep developing new products,
in his red Wing days. plastic spacers are cheaper to
we’d be down by 30 percent like most
make and ship and won’t rust like metal
spacers, which were being banned from
concrete structures such as bridges and
today, banks’ five injection
molding machines can produce
to this day, banks said, he relies
on the skills he gained at the technical
college to keep his machines – and his
business – running.
“it goes back to those days,” banks
hundreds of different sizes of
said. they (the technical college) got me started
plastic spacers, and he sells
in the machine shop trade. you deal with
millions of them every year.
those skills constantly when you do your own
he has a patent pending on
maintenance. that was the start.” n
a pyramid-shaped spacer he
recently developed and also
is introducing steel hook
spacers for uses where
Cannon Falls manufacturer Bob Banks
demonstrates the Stump blind, a molded
polyethylene hunting blind produced in
metal is approved.
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 19
education and training boost success of Minnesota businesses
Noelia Urzua displays a variety of tamales at La Loma
in Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis.
20 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
Arecipe for success business classes at dakota County technical College help entrepreneur develop la loma
That initial coffee shop evolved into
hen noelia urzua moVed to
Minnesota from her tiny village
Cafeteria La Loma, which sells as many as
of Quebrantadero, Mexico,
2,500 tamales a day. They went on to found
16 years ago, she brought an enterprising
La Loma restaurants at the Midtown Global
nature, leadership potential and
Market in Minneapolis and Plaza Latina
special know-how that formed the
in St. Paul, plus a catering business
foundation for a thriving family
and a wholesale tamale business that
business, La Loma.
serves more than 260 stores in
“I learned to make tamales from my
Minnesota. La Loma also makes five kinds
mom, who ran a tamale business when I was
of “atole,” a hot Mexican beverage
growing up in Mexico,” she said. “Making
customarily served with tamales, and nearly
tamales involves a lot of hard work, but we
30 other specialty products. The company
discovered that people here really love them.”
has 35 employees and annual sales topping
Today, she’s studying business at
Dakota County Technical College while
running a growing restaurant and food
originated centuries ago by
eDuCatIoN a CrItICaL INGreDIeNt
business with her husband, Enrique Garcia,
the Aztecs, tamales consist of
who came with her to Minnesota. She was
that education is a crucially important
19; he was 20.
corn dough, or masa, hand-
component of any entrepreneurial journey.
After working in the Twin Cities
food service industry for several years, the
enterprising young couple decided to start
their own business, La Loma coffee shop at
Mercado Central, a Latin American market
in Minneapolis. With assistance from a local
wrapped in cornhusks or
banana leaves, with a variety
of fillings. La Loma makes
tamales with several meats
and salsas as well as sweet
As the business grew, Urzua recognized
Five years ago, she decided to improve her
English after realizing that she could no
longer help her daughter with her homework.
“I started out just taking English classes,
but my teacher encouraged me to get my
high school diploma,” she said. “Once I had
nonprofit organization, they developed a
varieties with corn, pineapple
business plan, rented kitchen space by the
or raisins, and vegetarian
hour and watched their tamales emerge as
varieties with beans, cheese
She contacted Harold Torrence, a
the cornerstone of La Loma, which means
supervisory and multicultural management
“the hill” in Spanish.
my diploma, I started thinking that I should
go on and earn a college degree.”
instructor at Dakota County Technical
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 21
College whom she had met while taking
Human resources classes taught the
Enrique serves as head of sales and
adult education courses. “Right away he got
benefits of conducting frequent reviews
operations at La Loma. Their daughter,
very excited,” she said. “We made plans to
and evaluations with employees. “I have
Maria, 15 and a high school sophomore,
meet on a Thursday, and by the following
a meeting every month, and we discuss
works part time at the Midtown Global
Tuesday, I had started classes at DCTC.”
our goals and how we are doing,” she said,
Market location, and they have a son,
At first, Urzua said, she found classes
adding that their employee turnover is very
Carlos, 7. Several of Urzua’s siblings also
very hard as she tried to understand the
low. She’s now encouraging some employees
have roles in the business. “My sister,
spoken English, but instructors encouraged
to attend college to prepare for moving up
Erica, is the one who got my mom’s style
her to keep going. “By the end of the year,
in the business.
of cooking,” Urzua said, and together
I could understand much better,” she said.
Her perseverance is paying off as she
As Urzua gained business knowledge,
she revamped their business plan. “You
looks forward to earning her associate
have to look at what has been successful in
degree in supervisory management and
the past when writing your business plan,”
they’re developing new varieties of tamales,
including a chocolate version.
In 2006, the Hispanic Chamber
of Commerce of Minnesota named the
three related business certificates
couple to the list of 25 on the
by May 2010. And she’s not
Rise, an award that recognizes
stopping there. “I’m going on
25 Hispanic men and women
to get my degree in accounting
under age 40 who have
at DCTC,” she said. “I’m really
contributed immensely to their
good with numbers – and I know
communities. A year later, the
how important understanding the
Latino Economic Development
financial piece is for any business
Center honored Urzua with the
Empresaria Latina Award for her
Torrence points to Urzua’s
entrepreneurial leadership and
admirable work ethic blended
work as a community role model.
with a unique and strong
This fall, Urzua was
leadership style as the main
recognized as Entrepreneur
reasons La Loma continues
of the Year by the National
to expand, growing at a rate
of 17 percent annually.
“Noelia and Enrique’s
Association for Community
Noelia Urzua, center; her husband, Enrique Garcia, left; and their daughter,
Maria, at their Midtown Global Market location in Minneapolis.
consistency and humility
College Entrepreneurship. She
received her award in October at
the association’s annual conference
have provided a solid platform for their
she said. “Once you know what works,
in Chicago, where the organization also
entrepreneurial spirit, and their authenticity
you need to duplicate that in your own
presented $1,000 to her future alma mater,
and enthusiasm are contagious,” he said.
company and then develop a fresh plan
Dakota County Technical College, to
“Because of their ‘yes, I can’ approach to
family and business, wherever they go,
people will open their doors with a smile.”
Lisa Bah, director of business and
“I’m very excited and honored to receive
management in the college’s Continuing
the NACCE award, which I believe belongs
Education and Customized Training
to everyone at La Loma,” Urzua said. “I do
appLyING Coursework to the
division, sees La Loma as exemplifying the
my very best every day, but I couldn’t succeed
age-old adage of “pulling yourself up by
without the support of my husband, my
family and the great people in our company.”
Now 35, Urzua credits much of her
success to thoroughly researched business
“We’re so proud of Noelia and
She thanked the college for providing
plans and treating her employees like
Enrique’s determination to make La Loma
an essential ingredient in her life. “By
treasured members of her family. “I believe
what it is today,” Bah said. “They’ve spent
enrolling in business programs at the
in giving our employees power and authority
countless hours not only learning through
college, I learned about finance, leadership,
in our business, which gets amazing results
DCTC but also offering their time and
human resources and entrepreneurship.
because we are all working toward the same
support to mentor others with dreams of
I am showing my daughter that I can do it
goal,” she said.
– and if I can do it, she can do it.”
22 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
education and training boost success of Minnesota businesses
bemidji-based small business center helps launch pipe-handling device maker
roubled by Co-WorKerS’ inJurie S
while working with well-drilling pipe,
Jason LaValley designed a heavy-
equipment attachment – the Deckhand – to
handle large pieces of pipeline more safely.
Then LaValley needed a hand with
forming a company to manufacture and
market his invention.
That’s where the Northwest Regional
Small Business Development Center based
at Bemidji State University helped with the
The center’s director, Jorge Prince,
worked with LaValley to write a business
plan, which helped him secure bank financing,
and assisted him with business development
and structure, operations, management and
Less than two years after LaValley first
met with Prince, LaValley Industries of
Jason LaValley created the deckhand, above, to improve worker safety in handling drill pipe. the
Northwest regional Small Business development Center based at Bemidji State University then helped
LaValley industries start manufacturing the device, which can handle pipe of all sizes and weights used
for drilling water, oil or gas pipelines.
“They are a model for startup business
lift, tilt, rotate and move the pipe using a
Bemidji has raised more than $600,000 in
success,” Prince said. “They’ve got a great
grappler arm. Instead of having two people
financing and recorded sales of close to
product, they’re hard-working guys, and
risk injury handling pipe, the attachment –
$1 million in 2009, its first full year in
they’re willing to do what it takes to get the
run by the excavator operator – does
product to the next level. What they needed
“I don’t know where we’d be today
was guidance. When I first met them, they
The Deckhand is safer and faster and
without Jorge,” LaValley said. “The Small
didn’t have a company, but they’ve come
can reduce labor costs for companies, said
Business Development Center has been
a long way in two years.”
LaValley, who is president of the family-
able to provide all the key components and
LaValley had spent most of his working
owned company. His father, Roger, is vice
someone to fall back on to help us learn
life as a foreman in the drilling industry,
president, and the company has three other
nearly everything we needed to know to
where he saw a number of co-workers
get hurt unloading big pipes from trucks.
The next step is working with the Small
LaValley, 32, has a spot on Gov. Tim
Among the incidents that motivated him
Business Development Center on a proposal
Pawlenty’s trade mission to South America
to design the Deckhand was one in which a
seeking additional financing from private
in December. The Deckhand has sold in the
pipe slipped loose from a sling and crushed
investors to prepare for future expansion,
United States and Canada, LaValley said,
the leg of a worker who was positioning it.
Jason LaValley said.
and has received attention in Europe and
“I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better
in Brazil and Chile, likely because of the
way of handling pipeline,’ “ said LaValley,
Prince said. “In this environment, it’s fun to
company’s inclusion in the trade mission.
who sketched out his plans on a notepad
work with a company in an industry that is
The device also has drawn interest from
in a hotel room near a job site where the
growing. We’re here to serve, and we think
manufacturers Volvo and Komatsu, which
co-worker had just been injured.
this is a great opportunity for us to help an
might want to make it available on their
He came up with an attachment
connected to an excavator that can safely
“They’re really on a growth cycle,”
entrepreneur move a new innovative product
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 23
education and training boost success of Minnesota businesses
professors prepare credit union to teach members about finance
hen truStone finanCial
Employee feedback was positive, and
set out to teach its employees and
discussions continued well past the end of
members about managing their
the formal training sessions, Banaian said.
money, the Plymouth-based credit union got
“There was this positive interchange of
help with its homework from two St. Cloud
learning and some very motivated students.”
State University economics professors.
The professors developed a
All 170 employees attended 12 hours
measurement tool to assess employees’
of financial training by professors Rich
knowledge about – and attitudes toward
MacDonald and King Banaian.
– money and financial issues both before
“If we’re going to teach members about
and after the training. A greater number of
money, which we believe is our responsi
employees responded correctly or expressed
bility, we’ve got to figure out exactly what
a more positive attitude – for example, saying
is important to them and make sure our
they would start a personal savings plan
staff knows how to deliver it,” said Lisa
sooner rather than later – on 22 of the 29
Palma, vice president for member services
questions posed after the training.
at TruStone. “It’s something we believe in
TruStone officials are happy with the
within our core values.”
results. “The greatest thing was to be able
TruStone’s interest in educating its
to truly help our membership and report to
members led Palma to St. Cloud State’s
Center for Continuing Studies and its
Corporate Education and Outreach pro
gram, which connected the credit union
with Banaian and MacDonald.
The professors offered lessons on five
subjects selected by TruStone: budgeting,
our board of directors what a great change
rich Macdonald, left, and King Banaian, St. Cloud
State University economics professors, taught the
credit union about money.
about their subject. I liked that they could
relate the curriculum to our economy.”
Banaian and MacDonald have taken
we made,” Palma said. “We took that as a
huge indicator that they made an impact on
Employees apply what they learned in
the training in their interactions with credit
union members, such as offering advice to
reconciling a checkbook, understanding
high-profile roles in interpreting and
someone who had overdrawn a checking
and improving a credit score, putting
explaining often complex economic data and
account, Palma said.
together a savings plan and teaching
trends. They share their insights through
children about money.
writing, speaking engagements and their
step toward directly offering members more
St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Reports,
financial and economic information through
published in ROI Central Minnesota
TruStone’s Web site or seminars hosted
TruStone has branches in Apple Valley,
magazine. Reaching out into the community,
Golden Valley, Maple Grove, Roseville and
Banaian said, is something St. Cloud State
St. Cloud and more than $600 million in
University administrators and the Economics
Federal Credit Union, adopted its teaching
assets, according to its 2008 annual report.
Department both encourage.
mission as it changed its name earlier this year,
The training took place in fourhour sessions conducted over three days.
Employees responded positively to the
“To be able to work with a targeted
training, with one raving that the professors
group of credit union employees who really
were “rock stars,” Palma said.
seemed to show a deep interest in improving
“That’s really something that economics
Building employee expertise is a first
TruStone, formerly known as Teacher
Palma said. A group of eight Minneapolis
teachers formed the credit union in 1939.
“We wanted to pay homage to what our
their economic and financial understanding
roots are, and our roots are teachers,” Palma
professors can have a young person say that
was a great opportunity,” MacDonald said.
said. “We are a credit union for teachers
about them,” she said. “Both of the professors
“We believe in extending our message
and we are becoming a credit union that
are incredibly enthusiastic and passionate
beyond our traditional students.”
24 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
education and training boost success of Minnesota businesses
College helps paper company keep high-tech machines running
Office Papers has invested heavily in
automated equipment to compete
in its highly specialized niche.
Keeping those high-tech machines
running smoothly is critical to the strategy.
To help ensure that they do, the company
relies on Dakota County Technical College
in Rosemount to train its maintenance
technicians in mechatronics, or machine
“We only generate revenue when the
equipment is running, so maintenance’s
mission is to make sure we minimize the
downtime,” said Ross Welsh, human resource
manager at Performance Office Papers.
“The training allows them to troubleshoot
a little more accurately, diagnose problems
and get things running again. Dakota County
Mike Buck, center, an instructor in the electrical construction and maintenance technology program at
dakota County technical College in rosemount, uses portable simulators to train employees tim Meyer,
left, Ken rupp, center, and Steve Feckler, right, at Performance office Papers in Lakeville.
Technical College has really helped us because
the equipment is really sophisticated.”
The move to automation and the training
machines handle almost every step of the
November, building on introductory and
process: They cut the paper, wrap the reams,
intermediate courses already provided, said
that keeps the new machines humming along
put the reams into cartons, put lids on the
Larry Raddatz, customized training director
have helped boost productivity, safety and
cartons, secure the cartons with strap, put
at Dakota County Technical College.
efficiency and enabled the company to stay
the cartons onto pallets and wrap the pallets
cost competitive, Welsh said.
in plastic stretch film.
The company, which manufactures and
“Maintenance is the key to keeping the
distributes specialty office papers nationally,
equipment running, so we’ve done a fair
provides prepunched, perforated papers for
amount of training among our maintenance
business clients and produces two brands of
staff,” Welsh said.
office papers, Perfect and Leading Edge, sold
throughout North America.
The training teaches employees how
“A lot of schools do this training,
but they do it on campus,” Raddatz said.
“Because ours are portable, we take them
right to the company.”
The portable units can be used to
train employees to work with electricity,
electronics, mechanics, pneumatics,
to use programmable logic controllers, or
hydraulics, motor controls, computers and
industrial computers that tell the machines
data communication – known collectively
President Russ DeFauw, has 70 employees
what to do. A major advantage is that the
as mechatronics, Raddatz said.
and sales of about $45 million a year,
training takes place at the company, using
according to Welsh. “Our revenue per
portable training simulators and instructors
upgrades on the equipment, so it’s very
employee is in the $500,000 to $600,000
from Dakota County Technical College,
high tech now,” Raddatz said. “They can
range, which is pretty good,” he said.
Welsh said. That enables employees to
do things more efficiently, faster and higher
immediately apply information learned in
quality than their competitors can. When
they practice on our simulators, they’re
The 25-year-old company, started by
Performance Office Papers buys paper in
roll form, each weighing up to 4,000 pounds,
and converts the paper into sheets according
to each client’s specifications. Welsh said
The college began providing advanced
programmable logic controller training in
“The owner has invested in a lot of
not creating downtime on their production
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 25
a L u M NI
The president of Neighborhood House
talks about meeting a growing need
Armando Camacho, a 1997 graduate of St. Cloud State
University, has served as president of Neighborhood
House, a landmark social service agency on St. Paul’s West
Side, for more than a year. With 62 employees, it operates
Ramsey County’s largest food shelf, offers English-as-a
Second-Language and graduate equivalency diploma classes
and college prep programs, and sponsors youth activities.
Camacho, who has been a special education teacher, school
principal and assistant director of alternative learning programs
in the St. Paul School District, also earned a superintendent’s
license through Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Camacho moved to St. Paul from Puerto Rico as a child and
often went to Neighborhood House. He’s 35 and married to
Angela Camacho, a teacher in Little Canada. They have two
children, Diego, 9, and Amaya, 7.
Tell us about your new position at Neighborhood House.
As president of Neighborhood House, i’m responsible for all aspects of
the agency, which has a $5.3 million annual budget, serves more than
14,000 people a year and has been around for 112 years.
That sounds like an interesting history.
Neighborhood House was founded in 1897 by Mount Zion Jewish
temple to serve russian Jewish immigrants coming to St. Paul’s west
Side, which often has been called the Ellis island of St. Paul, the place
where new immigrants land. Since then, we’ve gone on to serve many
immigrant communities, including Lebanese, Mexican-American,
Hmong and Somali, and also people who were born and raised here.
we work with anyone who needs help, no matter the culture, the
language or income level.
26 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
How did you end up at St. Cloud
education. i’ve never used the fact that
we have to start early with toddlers talking
i came from a family that didn’t have money
about college. we have a college resources
i started at the University of St. thomas for
or high school diplomas or college degrees
center here, and college counselors come
two years. i knew i wanted to become a
as an excuse not to pursue an education.
on a regular basis to work with our kids.
special ed teacher, but i didn’t realize until
My teachers in the St. Paul schools encouraged
my sophomore year that they didn’t have an
me to continue, and now i’ve completed nine
undergraduate degree in special education.
years of college course work.
St. Cloud did, so i met with the counselors
Has the recession affected
immigration and the things you
do at Neighborhood House?
Can you convey this sense of
the importance of an education
to your clients?
we’re seeing many more people going back
i’m an example of what’s known as the
taking lower-paying jobs that historically
What was it like for you there?
American dream – hard work, education and
have gone to immigrant or migrant workers,
the professors were very knowledgeable,
determination will get you where you want
so to compete, more people are taking
very tuned in to developing a program that
to go. As a teacher and principal, and now the
English-language learning programs because
would help students succeed. i felt i was set
president of a nonprofit, i’ve tried to use my
the bar has been raised. with most businesses,
up to be successful with classes and hands-on
life to show it is doable.
when you have increased demand, you also
there and we mapped out a program for the
next two years. i had to go each summer to
finish my degree.
practice, so i was ready to be a good teacher.
to their home countries because of the lack
of jobs. And American-born citizens are
have increased revenue, but here it’s the
And the professors’ passion for education
Do kids take this to heart?
opposite. demand goes up, donations go
helped me develop my own passion and
we’ve got a lot of success stories about kids
down. our budget decreased from $6.5 million
who’ve gone on to do great things, but you
in 2008 to $5.3 million this year, and next year
don’t hear their stories enough. Many, many
it will be about $5 million.
realize what a great career this is.
You received a superintendent’s
license through Minnesota State
kids overcome great obstacles and go on to
get more education, whether it’s college,
a two-year college or vocational school.
i got it a little over a year ago. ten of us
So how are you dealing with these
we’re trying to share more with the
– most from the St. Paul Public Schools –
community about what we do and how we
contacted Mankato, and they brought the
when you’re in poverty, it’s hard to think
play an instrumental role in society’s safety net,
program here to us.
of going to school for two years or four years
and without that safety net, we’d see increased
when you need to work full time, or more
crime, homelessness and hunger. we hope that
So how did you end up at
Neighborhood House, leading
a social service agency?
than full time, to support your family and
will garner more support, not just in funding
yourself. we need to make college more
but with additional volunteers and things as
accessible, more affordable, and to
simple as getting bags for the food shelf. And
well, the normal career route for me would
understand the population that’s being
we always need food. we’ve seen a 30 percent
have been to apply for a superintendent’s
served. But it’s hard. Even if you tell them
increase in need and have to turn away half
job in the metro area. But i’d been looking at
they’ll have college paid for, many kids
the people seeking appointments. that’s
dozens of families a week.
ways i could expand my leadership to serve
don’t see it as an option. So we need to
everyone from infants to seniors, so i’ve been
put internships and college courses to work
very interested in community education. And
hand-in-hand, so more can start college
moving to a social service nonprofit was in
and complete it.
line with where my interests were taking
Is there a good success story you
tell about your first year-and-a
half on the job?
we had a man come in – a single father in
here, and we used the food shelf here. when
Can more be done to guide the
Latino community toward higher
the opportunity arose to “come home,” it was
the Latino population will triple by 2050. resource center, he got help with financial
too good to pass up.
it’s the largest minority in the country and aid and college planning. He is now enrolled
me. i grew up here on the west Side, my
grandmother learned how to speak English
a dead-end job – looking for what he could
do to improve his life. through our college
someday will be the majority in the United at Minneapolis Community and technical
How has education changed
States. So we need to learn their history. College and hopes to eventually get into a
Not all Latinos are from Mexico – there veterinary program. He wants to be a vet in
i grew up poor and now tell people that the
are different countries, different cultures, bird medicine. As Paul wellstone used to say,
way to break the cycle of poverty is through
different dialects. to make college accessible, “we all do better when we all do better.”
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 27
learning to investigate and avert child abuse
a new child advocacy studies program at Winona State university teaches
students how to deal with suspected child abuse situations
Wo CaSeWorKerS Stepped into the liVing room of
who had been a professional forensic interviewer before joining
a home strewn with empty beer bottles, open pill containers,
discarded food boxes and a dirty diaper. They soon discovered
The mock residence is part of the university’s state-of-the-art
that Janice, the young out-of-work mother, was drunk. And her
National Child Protection Training Center, which also has five
children were due home from school shortly.
courtrooms and four interview rooms. All the rooms are equipped with
This could have been a real-life situation but it wasn’t. The
video cameras that record student interactions for later analysis by
caseworkers – students in Winona State University’s child advocacy
faculty and classmates. University theater arts students and community
studies program – were learning how to investigate suspected child
actors portray abused children, perpetrators and their families.
abuse and neglect. Lending an uncomfortable air of reality was the
Through carefully developed scenarios, students learn interview
fully furnished but unkempt and hazard-prone mock residence,
protocols as well as diversity issues and cultural practices that can
nicknamed by students as “garbage house.”
be mistaken for maltreatment. Chemical dependency and domestic
Though students study theory and research relating to child
abuse, the program immerses them in realistic settings to simulate
violence also are explored.
As a result, students gain a deep-seated understanding of the
home visits, forensic interviews and trials, said Angela Scott Dixon,
intricacies involved in child abuse prevention and investigation.
Students Karina Kujawa, left, and Nathan Amos, right, investigate alleged
child neglect. Angel Hoskin, who works at the National Child Protection
training Center, plays the troubled mother answering the door.
the “caseworkers” begin their assessment in the living room, noting open
prescription bottles, a dirty diaper and discarded food containers.
28 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
“It’s like learning to ride a bicycle,” Dixon said. “You can
read a book about it. But the best way to teach you to ride a bike
is to have the experience of riding.”
Preventing child abuse is goal
of national training center at
Winona State University
Winona State’s program, which leads to a child advocacy
certificate or minor, is the first of its kind in the country, Dixon
said. Begun in 2005, the program attracts students who intend
to become law enforcement officers, teachers, social workers and
health care professionals.
The broad student mix reflects the real-world interactions
of law enforcement, health care and social work in child abuse
An estimated 1 million children in the United States
are confirmed as victims of child abuse and neglect
each year. in Minnesota, 5,400 children were abused
and neglected in 2008, according to the Minnesota
department of Human Services. Seventeen of those
children died from maltreatment.
But many child maltreatment cases are overlooked
cases and plays directly into a core intention of the program –
because professionals have not been trained properly in
to create well-trained and cohesive interdisciplinary child
prevention and investigation, according to Victor Vieth,
advocacy teams. “Ultimately, we are out to produce students who
a former prosecutor, child abuse expert and director of
know how to work with other disciplines and conduct thorough,
the National Child Protection training Center.
lawful and respectful investigations,” Dixon said.
Karina Kujawa, a sociology major who plans to graduate
Established in 2003, the federally funded center
aims to significantly reduce, if not end, child abuse
in December 2010, said the multidisciplinary approach brings
within three generations. to help meet that goal, the
a lot to an investigation. “Someone who wants to be a doctor will
center’s staff is working to establish winona State
see the medical things,” she said. “The law enforcement person
University’s child advocacy curriculum at 100 colleges and
will look for the legal aspects. It helps the process move much
quicker.” Class discussions also are enriched by the students’
varying perspectives. “You learn early on to take in other
people’s views,” she said.
Another student, Jessica Harren, said she likes learning
by role playing. A law enforcement major who intends to become
a police officer, Harren said she now understands the critical fine
points of interview procedures. “Angie and the other professors are
really good about making things clear,” she said. “It’s great to have
universities within the next five years. the center also
trains professionals. Since its inception, more than 40,000
frontline professionals from all 50 states and 17 countries
have been trained by the center.
As Vieth put it, “we simply must produce, beginning
in college, an army of frontline workers well equipped to
organize all the players in their local communities for the
betterment of children.”
to learn more about the National Child Protection
training Center, visit www.ncptc.org.
people teaching us who actually have been in the field.”
Continued on Page 30
Assistant Professor Angela Scott dixon, left, asks students in a training
session about what the condition of the kitchen reflects.
dixon talks with the students about the complexities of conducting
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 29
Continued from Page 29
No standard curriculum existed for training child advocacy
“Watch your body language,” Dixon advised. “How would you
workers until Winona State’s program was begun. So far, eight
like it if someone came into your home and immediately turned their
students have graduated with minors. Another 62 have declared
back to you?” The students immediately grasped her point.
minors in child advocacy. And 40 or so have completed the threecourse certificate program, which equips them to identify, investigate
In the “Janice” scenario, students had to identify the family’s
immediate needs, namely ensuring the children’s safety when their
and respond to early stages of abuse.
The program also prepares students for
internships. Stepping Stones, a children’s advocacy
center in La Crosse, Wis., routinely has one or
two interns from Winona State’s program. “They
are a huge help,” said Leslie Smith, a family
advocacy worker. “If a professional on our staff
isn’t available to conduct a client interview, an
intern who knows what’s happening can assist.”
In addition, Smith said, her staff attends training
every year at Winona State’s center.
In going through the litter-filled two-
mother was drunk and properly storing the
“often, students go
through these scenarios
and come back saying,
‘that’s not what i thought
a mom on welfare would
be like. that’s not what
i thought dealing with
someone in a domestic
violence situation would
be like.’ ”
bedroom mock residence, many students first
must confront how their judgments about accused
– angela SCott dixon,
pills and hazardous cleaning materials carelessly
scattered around the house. But there was also
a problem that was not so obvious. “Look around
the kitchen,” Dixon said. “Janice has a big, big
problem today that we need to get fixed. What
is it?” Aside from noticing a dead mouse in a
cupboard and the rancid refrigerator odor, one
student realized that almost all the food was unfit
for consumption based on the expiration dates.
“That’s right,” Dixon said. “This kitchen could
fool you because there’s a little bit of food here
but not enough for this family’s dinner tonight.”
Viewing the array of empty vodka bottles,
abusers or squalid conditions can unfairly color
newspapers and empty food containers on the
their conclusions. “It’s easy to condemn someone
kitchen table, Dixon also challenged her students
suspected of child abuse,” Dixon noted. “Often, students go through
to find the mother’s strengths. One student spotted the answer: the
these scenarios and come back saying, ‘That’s not what I thought a
newspaper’s help wanted section and open bills showed the struggling
mom on welfare would be like. That’s not what I thought dealing with
mother was trying to deal with her financial quandary.
someone in a domestic violence situation would be like.’ ”
Students also must learn to develop a rapport with victims and
Dixon smiled. Her students were learning what they needed to
know. “This is why I believe Winona State has something special
alleged perpetrators. Sometimes it takes practice. During a recent
here,” she said later. “With this program, we can make a real difference.
training session, the two students who encountered Janice, the tipsy,
We stand a chance of significantly reducing child abuse not only in
out-of-work mother, almost immediately turned their backs on her.
southeastern Minnesota but throughout the United States.”
tom Hill, an information technology staff member at winona State
University, designed the technology for managing 19 video cameras
in the training center.
Students in dixon’s forensic interview course watch a classmate interview
an actor posing as a child who may have been abused. Later, the students
critique their classmate’s interview.
30 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
Troubled economy drives fall enrollment boom
More students poured into the 32
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
this fall than ever before, resulting in the
largest increase in the number of students
since the system began.
the state colleges and universities
system now has 198,792 students or 12,641
more students than last fall when 186,150
students were enrolled, nearly a 7 percent
increase. Previously, the largest increase
in the fall headcount was 9,023 additional
students in 1999. Also, this is the fourth
consecutive year that the system’s fall
enrollment has set a record high.
Enrollment increases were particularly
strong at the system’s 25 community and
technical colleges. thirteen colleges had
increases greater than 10 percent.
“we know the economy was a major
factor driving this enrollment boom,”
Chancellor James H. McCormick said. “this
unprecedented growth comes at a time when
budgets have been cut at the state colleges
and universities, so faculty and staff are
working harder than ever to serve students.
we especially welcome the opportunity to
serve displaced workers seeking to retool and
upgrade their knowledge and skills.”
Meet the new trustee
Gov. tim Pawlenty in August appointed
one new member to the Minnesota State
Colleges and Universities Board of trustees.
Christopher Frederick will serve a two-year
term ending in 2011.
degree in electrical
University, Mankato, where he is currently
pursuing a master’s degree in engineering.
Graduate of Monticello High School.
BACKGroUNd: was elected to the Student
Senate at MSU, Mankato, became vice
president and then president of the student
body; elected state chair of the Minnesota
State University Student Association in 2008.
From May 2008 to August 2009, worked for
Avery weigh-tronix as a project manager.
rEPrESENtS: State university students
FAMiLY: Father, younger sister and brother
“Minnesota higher education is the cornerstone
in creating a successful and flourishing economic
community. I am humbled and excited about
the opportunity to serve in a capacity to impact
the future of higher education.”
2009-2010 Board of Trustees
Front row, left to right: Clarence Hightower; Cheryl dickson; david olson, chair; James McCormick, chancellor;
and Louise Sundin. Second row, left to right: Christopher Frederick; dan McElroy; terri thomas; Scott thiss,
treasurer; ruth Grendahl, vice chair; and Christine rice. Back row, left to right: Jacob Englund; thomas
renier; duane Benson; and James Van Houten. Not pictured: david Paskach.
Enrollment was up in nearly all
categories. the number of students of
color this fall grew by 18.7 percent, from
27,446 to 32,585, while enrollment of white
students was up 8.6 percent. the number of
high school students taking college courses
through the Post-Secondary Enrollment
options program grew by 4.8 percent.
Also, enrollment in online credit and
noncredit courses grew by 21.7 percent to
47,794 this fall. the system offers about
200 programs completely or predominantly
online through Minnesota online at
Students First project aims
to improve services
to better meet the needs of today’s
students, a new initiative known as
Students First began taking shape this
fall in the Minnesota State Colleges and
Universities system. when complete, the
initiative will allow students to:
n Apply to more than one of the 32 state
colleges or universities by submitting
a single application.
n Conduct a single search for courses,
programs or system colleges and
n register at the same time for courses
at more than one system institution.
n Pay one tuition bill online even when
courses are taken from more than one
university or college.
n Create individualized plans for timely
increasing numbers of students
are taking courses from more than one
Minnesota state college or university
during the same academic year. Currently,
about 12 percent of the system’s students
are enrolled at two or more of the system’s
institutions in a given year.
“we expect that number to grow,”
said John o’Brien, director of the Students
First initiative. “By upgrading these services
we believe students will be able to take
full advantage of the educational programs
offered by the system’s colleges and
fall 2009 | Minnesota state | 31
right, Kali Kotz, a junior majoring in mass
communications, helped winona State University
get its Zipcar program up and running.
Below, the Husky Fried ride bus runs on a mix of diesel
and recycled vegetable oil from food service deep
fryers at St. Cloud State University.
going green on CaMpUs
Zipcar: a greeN optioN
at Winona State university, where
president Judith ramaley was one of
the early signatories of the Climate
Commitment, alternative transportation is
one facet of its overall approach. in addition
to a bike sharing program on campus,
the university this fall launched zipcar,
re e n e n er g y, C ar b on f oot pr i ntS
through a “do it in the dark” competition among
used now at more than 120 campuses
and sustainability are part of the new vocabulary
at state colleges and universities across
“the green fee heightens the standard of
three zipcars are available for students,
minnesota as students and staff adopt new habits to
environmentalism on campus and creates more
faculty and staff to borrow 24 hours a day,
conserve resources and help save the environment.
awareness,” said Crystal middendorf, a junior and
seven days a week. for a $35 annual fee,
past president of Students for the environment,
zipcar participants can borrow a car for about
foods. Some cafeterias have gone trayless in order
a group that urged students to adopt the green fee.
$8 an hour or $66 a day on weekdays and
to reduce food waste and dishwashing. and others
She said, “every student will learn to be a better
slightly more on weekends.
are collaborating with local communities for creative
steward and citizen and to take responsibility because
projects. in St. Cloud, a metro bus dubbed the “husky
we all leave some kind of mark.”
Some campuses are serving more locally grown
fried ride” is powered by a mixture of 30 percent
“i signed up for zipcar because it’s
right here on campus. you can’t get any
the five state colleges that make up the
more convenient than that,” said student
diesel and 70 percent vegetable oil recycled after use
northeast higher education district are participating
ashley groux. “a lot of people are looking
by the food service at St. Cloud State university.
in Schools Cutting Carbon, a program to reduce their
for transportation, and this is an inexpensive
carbon footprint by consuming less fossil fuel. biology
way to get around.”
“the husky fried ride has shown students that
while global exploration of sustainable concepts
instructor don graves is devoting his sabbatical
is important, collaborating with others on a local
this year to coordinating sustainability projects and
and administrative services at Winona State,
basis can have an immediate impact on our carbon
educating students. graves said, “the students seem
said the university pursued the partnership
footprint,” said Wanda overland, vice president for
to be excited about these issues and thinking about
with zipcar because of the program’s
student life and development.
the planet they are going to be inheriting.”
“multiple levels of benefits.”
at bemidji State university, students endorsed
at the 11 minnesota State Colleges and
Kurt lohide, vice president for finance
“Students don’t have to take
a $5 per semester green fee two years ago that has
universities whose presidents have signed the
on the expense and hassle of having a car
generated more than $40,000 to support a new
american College and university presidents Climate
on campus, and because we’re decreasing
sustainability coordinator and a variety of student
Commitment, the campus communities are taking
the number of personally owned vehicles
projects to reduce junk mail, provide reusable bags,
steps toward becoming “climate neutral” – meaning
brought to campus, it’s supporting our goal
purchase energy monitors and cut electricity use
zero impact on the earth’s climate.
of becoming carbon-neutral,” lohide said.
32 | Minnesota state | fall 2009
Contributions to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation help prepare
the next generation of emergency first responders, teachers, engineers, health practitioners, scientists
and other professionals to serve Minnesotans.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation is a partner and advocate for
the system’s 32 state colleges and universities by raising and distributing funds to benefit students,
programs and communities.
Gifts may be unrestricted or directed toward a specific institution or program. To learn
Colleges & Universities
or call (651) 297-5519.
& Technical College
Thief River Falls
& Technical College
East Grand Forks
Community & Technical College
Fond du Lac Tribal &
Minnesota State Universities
Minnesota State Colleges
& Technical College
Central Lakes College
Pine Technical College
St. Cloud State University
Minneapolis St. Paul
College South Central
College Community &
Owatonna Technical College
White Bear Lake
Wells Fargo Place
30 7th St. E., Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55101-7804
Phone: (651) 297-5519
Toll-free: (888) 667-2848
TTY: (651) 282-2660
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
wells Fargo Place
30 7th St. E., Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55101-7804
Phone: (651) 296-8012
toll-free: (888) 667-2848
ttY: (651) 282-2660
PErMit No. 171
St. PAUL, MN
ecuador project gives nursing students a new perspective
Study trip to eCuador introduCed
they spent the first week in the city of quito, followed by a week
marie thompson, a nursing student at riverland
in the rain forest learning about indigenous cultures. the students
Community College, to the exotic natural beauty of that
worked with public health nursing programs that serve children and
South american country but also the widespread poverty and lack of
adults in the remote villages, and they gained experience teaching basic
adequate medical resources.
first aid and healthful habits such as brushing teeth.
they met people in the rain forest who walked five miles each time
they needed medical care. “it was an eye-opener,” she said. “they don’t
“i’ve always been drawn toward other cultures and different
ways of doing things,” thompson said. “i thought it would be really
cool to see how another country does things, especially the rain
forest. they taught us about their traditional medicines, and we
went on a hike where they showed us the plants and trees used for
thompson said they also treated children for head lice and visited
a maternity hospital. the riverland students took along donations from
local organizations, including toothbrushes and toothpaste, children’s
clothing and toys, and supplies for the nurses.
the program is named “troika,” which means a group of three,
because a minimum of three colleges collaborate on each of the
international programs, offered through Community Colleges for
international development, inc. the riverland students joined
nursing students from hillsborough Community College
in tampa, fla., parkland Community College in
Maria thompson, right,
a riverland Community
College nursing student,
participated in an
preparing to plant
yucca, a staple in their
diet. the red dots were
painted on faces as
part of the ceremony
performed by the elder,
left, who taught how
to plant the yucca.
have enough of the resources – food, clothing
Champaign, ill., and tulsa Community College
and basic necessities – that we have for daily
life,” she said.
thompson, 21, was among six nursing
students from riverland Community College who
visited and worked in ecuador this past may through
an annual study-abroad program for community colleges that gives
Students are responsible for the trip’s cost,
and they are enrolled in a two-credit international
transcultural nursing class. riverland annually provides
$3,000 for student scholarships. rosenberg said a third
trip is planned for spring 2010.
thompson, from albert lea, graduated with a practical
students a better understanding of the larger global context in which
nursing diploma last year and works in a nursing home as a licensed
practical nurse while completing an associate degree in nursing.
the students were led by riverland instructor Stacey rosenberg
thompson said she’d like to return to ecuador or work in a similar
as they toured hospitals, a nursing home and day care center and
place. “it taught me a lot and showed me a lot of different ways of
worked alongside public health nurses.
doing things,” she said.
C4 | Minnesota state | fall 2007