Recent News from Campuses
WINONA, Minn. — Jazz at Café Congo (First Congregational Church of Winona) returns with groups from Saint Mary’s University and Wabasha-Kellogg High School combining forces for a memorable evening of music. Saint Mary’s Jazz Combo I and WK’s Vocal Jazz group will be the featured artists on Tuesday, March 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. The groups will perform separately and soloists from Wabasha-Kellogg will also join with Jazz Combo 1 on several jazz standards.
The performance is open to the public at no charge. Café Congo will provide a variety of treats for concertgoers to enjoy while listening to an evening of great jazz. Donations are always gratefully accepted. For more information, contact A. Eric Heukeshoven, Saint Mary’s Music Department, at 507-457-7292 or email@example.com.
Photo Caption: Eric Heukeshoven with Saint Mary’s jazz students.
An exciting new bachelor’s completion program fills the nationwide need for skilled public health workers and offers a flexible degree path for working adults.
The Bachelor of Science in Public Health begins fall 2017 at the Twin Cities Campus.
There is demand for workers to meet community health needs. The aging population, the rise of chronic health challenges, worldwide viral epidemics, and a focus on preventive health are all factors calling for more professionals in the field.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 21% growth in the number of community health workers between 2012 and 2022, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports more public health experts are needed to prevent and treat diseases, identify threats, and facilitate collaboration with communities. Careers include public health care services, governmental public health agencies, the private sector, nonprofits, hospitals, and other settings.
At the bachelor’s degree level, public health is now one of the fastest growing majors in the U.S.
Our unique bachelor’s completion program fills a gap in local education for working adults who have previously earned at least 30 transferable college credits — including community health workers, those with health- or human services-focused two-year degrees, and anyone interested in working in the field of public health.
The series of eight-week courses are designed for working adults who need flexible options to complete a bachelor’s degree. Working students can take advantage of evening classes offered one night a week.
The values-added program will thread the themes of social justice, service, and social determinants of health throughout the curriculum and student experiences.
Applications are being accepted for the Bachelor of Science in Public Health. For details about the program or the schedule of information sessions, contact Laurie Roy at 866-437-2788, Ext. 8606.
Minneapolis College of Art and Design, City of Minneapolis, and Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Announce Statewide Implementation of New Voting Signage
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is launching a new Bachelor of Science in Public Health program in Minneapolis, beginning fall 2017.
Saint Mary’s new program is in response to the nationwide demand for workers to meet community health needs. The aging population, the rise of chronic health challenges, worldwide viral epidemics, and a focus on preventive health are all factors calling for more professionals in the field.
This unique bachelor’s completion program fills a gap in local education for working adults who have previously earned at least 30 transferable college credit—including community health workers, those with health- or human services-focused two-year degrees, and anyone interested in working in the field of public health.
The series of eight-week courses are designed for working adults who need flexible options to complete a bachelor’s degree. Working students can take advantage of evening classes offered one night a week.
At the bachelor’s degree level, public health is now one of the fastest growing majors in the U.S., according to the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health (ASPPH).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 21% growth in the number of community health workers between 2012 and 2022, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ report “Healthy People 2020” identifies the need for more public health experts to prevent and treat diseases, identify threats, and facilitate collaboration with communities.
Careers in this field include public health care services, governmental public health agencies, the private sector, nonprofits, hospitals, and other settings. Saint Mary’s exciting new program will thread the themes of social justice, service, and social determinants of health throughout the curriculum and student experiences.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has a long history of preparing students in a number of health-related occupations, including pre-professional tracks in medicine, mental health practice, psychology, human services, healthcare management and administration, and advance practice nursing.
Applications are being accepted now for the Bachelor of Science in Public Health. For details about the program or the schedule of information sessions, contact Laurie Roy at 866-437-2788, Ext. 8606. Learn more at smumn.edu/publichealth.
Emily Ross ’17 earns a Watson Fellowship for the 2017-18 school year to explore intersection between ceramics and geology in Iceland, Italy, China, Japan, Ghana, and Chile.
Dr. Yohuru Williams, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University in Connecticut, will become the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas on July 17. Williams will succeed Dr. Terence Langan, who has led the college since 2011.
“Yohuru is a proven leader who will provide visionary direction to our College of Arts and Sciences,” said St. Thomas Executive Vice President and Provost Richard Plumb. “His forward thinking will contribute to an environment that supports the intellectual and creative spirit of St. Thomas.” Plumb added that Williams’ experience leading faculty with a strong vision for liberal arts, as well as his deep background in the Catholic intellectual tradition, make him a strong fit for the role.
A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Williams is a graduate of the Fairfield College Preparatory School, a Jesuit school on the campus of Fairfield University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in history from the University of Scranton. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in history from Howard University.
“I am very much looking forward to working with St. Thomas’ world-class faculty and the entire university community in our shared work of forging outstanding young leaders – women and men of character and conscience in the best tradition of Catholic liberal arts education,” Williams said.
Williams began teaching in 1998 at Delaware State University, where he was an associate professor of history and director of black studies. He joined the history department at Fairfield University in 2005, where he continues to teach, and went on to serve as director of black studies and associate vice president for academic affairs. In his current role as dean, he oversees 15 departments, 19 interdisciplinary programs and more than 160 faculty. His research fields include 20th century American history, African-American history, the civil rights and black power movements, and the African diaspora.
In addition to his scholarly work, Williams served as the chief historian and vice president for public outreach and education at the Jackie Robinson Foundation in New York from 2010-14. He is the recipient of the Fairfield University Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Award, given to individuals who demonstrate a commitment to the ideals and values of Dr. King, and he was named a 2009 Emerging Scholar by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
“Yohuru is an inspiring leader with a passion for community engagement and impact,” said St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan. “I am thrilled he is joining our university community and look forward to working with him in furthering our mission to advance the common good.”
St. Thomas Art History Department chair Victoria Young and Dean of the School of Law Robert Vischer co-chaired the search committee that recommended Williams. “The College of Arts and Sciences, with its breadth of disciplines and its focus on the liberal arts and the common good, will be well served and supported by Yohuru’s approach to leadership, scholarship and mission,” Young said. “I am grateful to all the members of our community, particularly those who served on the search committee, for their commitment to this important process and to the continued success of the college.”
“Among his many gifts, what stands out about Yohuru is his ability to bring seemingly disconnected points together to form a coherent and compelling vision for the college,” Vischer said. “Questions about Catholic identity, the relevance of the liberal arts, the role of research in a college that cares deeply about the student experience, the cost-benefit analysis underlying a family’s college choice, the expectations of employers for future generations of workers, the role of fine arts in today’s world – these are not isolated issues for Yohuru. They are part of one story about what a Catholic university is, does and can become. He ‘gets it’ in a way that energizes and inspires.”
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 37 academic departments and interdisciplinary programs.
We are deeply troubled by words that seek to intimidate, divide, or degrade people based on their faith or country of origin. This is not who we are. Hate speech – whether shared out of ignorance, emotion or to advance an agenda – is unacceptable. It is deeply disappointing that the president of our student government or any other member of the St. Thomas community would be accused of anti-Semitic discourse.
Yesterday, the USG president sent a statement to the student body in an attempt to provide context while expressing regret and apologizing for the negative impact his words had on those who read them and members of the St. Thomas community. Further, he stated, “I stand firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, divisiveness and oppression that don’t create an inclusive campus for everyone.”
The University of St. Thomas strongly denounces the 2014 statements that have circulated on social media – and all hateful anti-Semitic, anti-Christian or anti-Muslim posts. Our Catholic intellectual tradition values the fundamental compatibility of faith and reason to foster meaningful dialogue directed toward the flourishing of human culture – culture that respects a vibrant diverse community and works toward an inclusive society.
At the same time, we are deeply concerned about the vitriolic and hateful discourse that targets young voices. Our mission is to educate students to be morally responsible leaders, who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good.
In the coming days, our student body and our student government – which have focused on enhancing diversity, understanding and inclusivity on campus – will need to deliberate about their future leadership. The student government is taking this situation very seriously and is seeking input from the student body. Their governance policies have a clearly defined process when the actions of a leader are called into question. The university will respect this process.
Challenging times test the convictions of any community. It is at this time that our convictions of faith, reason, dignity and diversity provide us strength. To Jewish members of our community we extend our full support and acknowledge the pain and hurtfulness this situation has created. We embrace you and all faiths within our learning community.
As winter term wraps up, watch Anne Guttridge ’18 (Columbus, Ohio), Mara Pugh ’18 (Portland, Oregon), and Amanda Jin '18 (China) present a short demonstration in their final Tai Chi class last week. Over the course of the term, students in this PE class practiced their balance and breathing using traditional Tai Chi movements, renowned for physical fitness and stress management.
WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre and Dance will present the Shakespearean comedy Much Ado About Nothing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 30-April 1, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2, at the Academy Theatre in the Valéncia Arts Center.
The war is over. Don John, the rebellious brother of Don Carlos, has been returned to his proper subservient relationship, defeated, but not subdued. Count Claudio has proven himself valiant in battle and has fallen head over heels in love with Leonato’s daughter, Hero. And two of Shakespeare’s most beloved characters, Benedick and Beatrice, are at it again, their wits as sharp as swords, continuing their longstanding bantering battle of the sexes. Though so clearly meant for each other, their past failed relationship causes them to swear off any future romantic exploits. Can the others contrive to bring them at last together, even as jealousy and envy drive Don John to try to ruin everything?
For those unfamiliar with the witty Shakespearean classic, director Walter Elder sums up Much Ado as “a merry war between the sexes.” Throughout the play, audiences will enjoy the dance that frequently goes on during courtship as men and women both repel and attract one another. “It’s about pride and swallowing your pride,” Elder said. “It’s about vulnerability and having one’s heart broken. It’s ultimately about love.”
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens and are available by calling the box office, 507-457-1715, from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at www.pagetheatre.org.
Stacey Purvis-Buchwald can’t wait to share the results of her dissertation research.
The former counselor and social worker, current assistant principal, and Ed.D. candidate at Saint Mary’s University was interested to see how students perceive their classroom engagements—within the categories of behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and agentic engagement. Using photo-elicitation, she compared student responses from a STEM magnet school and a traditional public middle school.
She presented her findings this past weekend at the 13th Annual Doctoral Research Symposium at Saint Mary’s Twin Cities Campus.
The timing and the topic coincided perfectly with her work. “I’ve always wanted to continue my education and get a doctorate,” she said. “The timing was perfect because my school at the time was transitioning from a traditional middle school to a STEM magnet middle school. This was an opportunity to do research and apply my learning to the work I would be doing at my site for my community and my students. I was able to find a program at Saint Mary’s that allowed me to choose focus areas within the curriculum that I wanted to learn more about and could apply to my practice.”
Using a sample of students at the traditional middle school and the STEM magnet school, Purvis-Buchwald completed in-classroom lessons around engagement. After studying the four different areas, she then asked students to provide examples of their lived experiences of their engagement in the classroom in each of these areas, using photos taken on iPads. After choosing the best photos and categorizing them, the students submitted their findings to Purvis-Buchwald.
The photos were then published and used in a focus group interview.
Purvis-Buchwald said she found that students at both sites perceived their engagement very similarly. “What I also found was there is a definitely a multi-dimensionality to engagement. For example, when students are talking about emotional engagement, they pair similar perceptions to other categories, behavioral or cognitive. They aren’t isolated.”
And, most interestingly, she discovered that students at the STEM site perceived their engagement as highly collaborative. “In all four areas of engagement, students regularly talked about engagement in relationship to other students or the teacher in the class,” she said. “They always referred to how they were interacting with other students, which is really interesting. Students at the STEM site were thinking, ‘I need to check my thinking with someone else.’ That didn’t happen at the traditional site.”
Purvis-Buchwald can see areas where further research could be developed. “The STEM site had a heavy concentration of inquiry-based instruction, and I would like to do more research on that connection,” she said. “Does inquiry-based instruction lead to a higher-level collaborative engagement? This would help educators to guide their own instructional practices.
“As a principal, I’d like to work with teachers in professional development and evaluation and explain the four categories and help them understand how to look for these categories in their classroom. It would help them determine if students are fully engaged,” she added. “Too often we monitor if students are compliant, on time, have good attendance, and are completing homework. Rarely are there studies looking at all four categories and how students perceive their own engagement. This is very useful for teachers to understand and use in their classrooms.”
Purvis-Buchwald said the experience was fun as well as practical. As an assistant principal for District 196 (located in Rosemount and covering the south suburban Twin Cities), she will be sharing her research with her district, the fourth-largest in Minnesota.
Looking back at her time at Saint Mary’s, Purvis-Buchwald said it was the convenience of Saint Mary’s Ed.D. program that she appreciates most. “The combination of the online format and summer seminar couldn’t be more ideal for an educator,” she said. “Meeting members of my cohort and building relationships was also very valuable. When we got to the online portion, I truly felt like I knew these individuals because we’d spent time together over the summer. I have made amazing connections.”
Two Gustavus Adolphus College alumni were recently named to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal‘s annual list of “40 under 40” of the most influential contributors in business and economic ventures throughout Minnesota. The list highlights exemplary young leaders, sifting through hundreds of contenders to selecting 40 who have made a name for themselves in their respective fields and communities. Leah Wong ’02 and Ari Silkey ’99 were named to this year’s list and will be honored at the 23rd annual 40 under 40 reception on Thursday, March 16, at Minneapolis Event Centers.
Wong is a member of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, serving as vice president of events. She works with a planning committee to organize large-scale public events for Minneapolis and the metro area, including the popular Holidazzle parade.
Silkey currently leads more than 50 employees at the Amazon technology development center in downtown Minneapolis. He reflects fondly on his years at Gustavus and considers his experiences on the Hill invaluable in shaping his early career.
Here, Wong and Silkey answer a few questions…
Gustavus: What is your job like now? What are your responsibilities?
Silkey: I’m the general manager of transportation technology at Amazon in Minneapolis, which opened downtown last summer. I lead a team of software development engineers and managers as we develop cutting edge software applications that fuel Amazon’s rapidly growing operations, fulfillment, and delivery capabilities.
Wong: My job is a new adventure each day! I am blessed to lead an incredible team and work with impactful partners. I am the vice president of external relations at the Minneapolis Downtown Council, a non-profit business association aimed at creating an extraordinary downtown. I have four key areas of responsibility; partnerships, marketing, events, and communications/public relations. I love the excitement, challenges, and relationships each day brings.
Gustavus: How did your time at Gustavus influence your interests and career decisions?
Wong: My freshman year First Term Seminar class happened to be in the communication studies department. Needless, to say…I ended up taking more communication classes and falling in love with this area of study, certainly not my plan, but I’m so thankful for the journey and where it has taken me. I also had the opportunity to participate in many organizations at Gustavus. My involvement and leadership opportunities as part of campus activities and organizations provided me with experiences and insights that helped to shape the future direction of my career.
Gustavus: Did you have any mentors at Gustavus who helped you or offered good advice when you first entered the industry?
Wong: I had great mentors and classmates at Gustavus! Phil Voight and Leila Brammer are two professors that stand out. Both were always willing to help me navigate my next steps and constantly challenging me to do my best. I also had the opportunity to work at Mary’s Flowers in town. I was struck by the incredible passion Mary had for her work and she inspired me to pursue finding a career I enjoyed.
Silkey: Bob Douglas (retired geography professor) was a mentor for me early in my career as I entered into the GPS technology field.
Gustavus: Do you have any advice for current Gusties starting off on new careers?
Silkey: Work hard, take risks and don’t forget to have fun along the way. Pick a subject area and become an expert, opportunities will evolve from there.
Wong: I would encourage current Gusties to start building your networks early, reach out and get to know others within your areas of interest. Tap into your Gustavus connections! Set high goals for yourself, work hard, and build your village with those who will help and support you personally and professionally. On a side note, I’d encourage current Gusties to soak up their time on campus (and don’t take yourself too seriously), it goes too fast!
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
It pays to be curious. As in life and art, as in science: Sometimes where you think you’re headed isn’t where you end up.
Since Dr. Eric Fort, an organic chemistry professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at St. Thomas, joined the university in 2010, he has been working with undergraduate students on a research project that continues to journey not only onto roads not taken, but roads (pleasantly) unforeseen.
The project’s goals when it kicked off in 2010 were relatively clear cut: find faster pathways for creating azaborines – synthetic organic compounds created by substituting two carbon atoms in a molecule with boron and nitrogen. The second goal was to then determine if those molecules could be used in solar cells and in the design of drugs.
For several semesters, Fort and a flock of full- and part-time student researchers experimented with different methods of building a type of azaborine molecule called pyrene, known for its ectoplasmic glow. The project was moving along smoothly and meeting its objectives. Then in summer 2013, Fort and the students working with him made a game-changing observation. Out of curiosity they held a test tube containing the product under a black light one step early in the “closing” process. (The building of this molecule is considered “finished” once all the chains of atoms close up together to form a ring.) Only with closure will the molecule glow (and become pyrene). To their surprise, the telltale green fluorescence of a closed, stable pyrene molecule lit up the tube.
This discovery, Fort said, built the foundation for the “exciting new frontier” into which the project has morphed: new molecule creation.
How to build a molecule 101
To understand their moment of discovery, it helps to first know a bit about how the molecule is built.
An azaborine is essentially a carbon molecule that has been skillfully tinkered with in a lab by some tools of the chemist’s trade: starting materials, other small molecules and reagents (compounds used to cause chemical reactions). Chemists build azaborines by replacing the two carbon atoms at the center of a molecule with one atom a piece of nitrogen (aza) and boron.
The ways in which a chemist can build an azaborine are limitless. Fort likened the building of organic molecules to an artist’s work, recognizing that amidst the weeks and months of monotonous lab work, an element of surprise is always possible.
“Being an organic chemist is a lot like being a sculptor who says, ‘That’s not just a rock, that’s going to be the Pieta,’ or something like that,” Fort said. “For us, we know that our end goal is in three dimensions, we know the shape and the size it needs to be and how the bonds need to come together; we choose small molecules, starting materials and reagents that build that framework up.” The two central atoms aren’t so much “plucked out,” and replaced he said, but rather laboriously and creatively built in “piece by piece in the proper order with the right chemicals to get everything to talk to each other,” in a process that requires patience, skill and imagination.
In the end, at least in Fort’s project, “the last step is one fell swoop where everything locks up (shape shifts from an open ring to a closed ring of atoms) and the final product is really stable.” The molecule remains the same size and shape as with carbon atoms but its overall properties are changed fundamentally. One of the more dazzling transformations that can happen is that the azaborine can become fluorescent, as is the case with pyrene, which is a flat structure with four fused rings.
An organic chemist’s playground
With the rules they believed to govern the molecule (pyrene) turned upside down, Fort knew he had to redirect his course of action. He and his future student teams would focus on uncovering why their closing mechanism worked. Once that groundwork was laid, they could develop new reactions and new molecules. Soon after the serendipitous discovery, Fort applied for, and received a year later, a $50,000 grant from the American Chemical Society to undertake his new, expanded endeavor.
They succeeded, proving that their molecule didn’t need the catalyst because of the boron-nitrogen bond.
“Putting the boron and nitrogen in changes how the molecule reacts by making the energy needed to close much lower than we had thought,” Fort said. “So, not only does it change the molecules in the final product, but on the pathway to that product it’s changing how the bonds form and break.”
Solving that mystery and laying a fundamental framework meant his students wouldn’t be confined to one specific end goal of creating their azaborine as quickly as possible; they could have different end goals based on their interests. While they will continue working with azaborines to make new molecules, Fort’s lab has expanded to building more complicated structures of the compound. Recently one of his biochemistry students built a biologically looking molecule, while another one of his chemistry majors made an electronically structured molecule, and in doing so found another unexpected reaction product and another new mechanism to explore.
“Once we learned those steps to this new way of closing the molecule, in the middle of the process we could say, ‘Instead of putting a swing here, we could put a monkey bar instead and build a whole new playset,’” Fort said. “That’s where we’re at now. We can make molecules! It’s like making playgrounds that kids have never seen before. That was a really exciting development the last year.”
This fall Fort co-wrote (with help from his recent team of students) a paper – the third to come from the study – on their findings, which was published in January.
His students’ ability to run with the new finding is important, he noted, because it further proves that undergraduates can do good science.
“We don’t have the funding or man hours to do huge projects but what we do is find these fundamental things that … helps the entire chemistry community,” he said. “We are finding results that though small or incremental in their own right, their implications are grand. Until our paper was submitted, we were the only people who knew the knowledge behind the closing mechanism … We discovered that.”
For senior biochemistry major Sam Madden, who worked on the project last summer, his outlook on the research took a leap forward after just three months in Fort’s lab.
“Being able to conduct research has brought life to my studies in a way that I could not have imagined. Suddenly my mind was searching for connections between the things I would experience in the lab and the new things I learned in classes,” he said. Madden also noted that his experience helped him appreciate the larger process involved in conducting research, such as doing preliminary readings of primary literature, writing a grant proposal (a Young Scholars Grant), learning correct safety procedures, becoming accustomed with lab techniques and always searching for ways to improve reactions.
Fort believes he’s just stepped foot into this area of research and plans to carry on with it into the foreseeable future. The project is on a yearlong hiatus while Fort takes a sabbatical to work in 3M’s hydrogen fuel cell program. But when he returns, he will move forward again, not knowing what new things he and his students will create, only that there will infinite roads waiting for them to discover.
Thanks to the Dean of Students office, several Carls will soak up some serious history during their time off.
One organization and two individuals will be honored at the 29th annual Forum on Workplace Inclusion, the nation’s leading conference on diversity and inclusion that will take place March 28-30 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The forum’s diversity awards are sponsored by U.S. Bank and are given annually to organizations or individuals who show exemplary effort in addressing workplace diversity issues. Recipients will be honored during a special luncheon Thursday, March 30.
The 2017 recipients are:
Michele Meyer-Shipp: Winds of Change Award, Individual
Michele Meyer-Shipp is vice president and chief diversity officer at Prudential where she leads and supports her company’s diversity and inclusion efforts and ensures compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity and affirmative action laws.
Meyer-Shipp is an extraordinary leader who launched her company’s three-pillar diversity and inclusion strategy, promoted an employee disability self-identification campaign, leads equal employment opportunity and unconscious-bias education training efforts for management, and leads employee discussions on topics such as gender in the workplace, remembering Orlando, and navigating through race and police-shooting issues.
A graduate and former adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, Meyer-Shipp is an employment-law expert who is sought to speak at industry and professional association conferences. She approaches inclusivity as a personal mission, mentoring employees and community members and serving on numerous national boards, such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the National Organization on Disability, and the Women’s Presidents Organization. For three consecutive years she made the Black Enterprise List of Top Executives in Corporate Diversity.
Meyer-Shipp has raised awareness and has been a catalyst for change for diversity and inclusion issues, both within the financial services industry and on an organizational and community level. Her experience, passion and advocacy for equality in all forms embody the essential values of integrity, excellence and work ethic. For her broad and deep support of diversity and inclusion issues, the forum’s awards committee is proud to present Meyer-Shipp with the 2017 Winds of Change award.
Department of Citywide Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity for the City of New York: Winds of Change Award, Organization
New York City’s Department of Citywide Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity (CDEEO) has been at the forefront of efforts to increase diversity and promote inclusion in the workforce of New York City, the largest municipal government employer in the country and the most ethnically and culturally diverse city in America. Of the 360,000 people employed by the city, 58 percent are women and 61 percent are racially diverse.
This nine-member team has responsibility for the approval of annual diversity and EEO strategic plans and quarterly workforce dashboards across 40 mayoral agencies. The execution of those plans has accomplished training for more than 50,000 city employees in less than three years. Areas of focus include unconscious bias, LGBTQ inclusion, disability etiquette and EEO workplace rights. Additionally, women and people of color now represent the majority of city officials and administrators, a first in the city’s history of reporting to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In October 2016, CDEEO hosted a historic gathering of diversity and human-resource practitioners from the public sector. This national colloquium for public-sector thought leaders convened 140 participants representing 67 agencies across 12 municipalities. The City of New York repeatedly has secured a score of 100 on the HRC’s Municipality Index for its inclusive LGBTQ policies such as Executive Order 16, which affirms the rights of the transgender community to use same-sex facilities in city-owned or -operated buildings based upon their gender identity and/or expression. Executive Order 21, also issued by Mayor Bill de Blasio, places a ban on salary inquires during employment offers, a policy directly focused on gender equity.
With these clear examples of exceptional work, the forum is happy to present CDEEO its 2017 Winds of Change award.
Jordan Roberge: Friend of the Forum Award
Jordan Roberge, manager of individual accounting for Minnesota-based HealthPartners, has been a forum volunteer since 2008, shortly after moving to the Twin Cities from New Hampshire.
He has served on the forum’s program and logistics committees with current responsibility for the efficient operation of the Marketplace. He had developed relationships between the forum and regional nonprofits, advocated national sponsorship of the forum across multiple industries and promoted exhibit sales.
While many forum participants have seen him announce drawings and other events at the conference, you most likely would find him behind the scenes making sure forum logistics are running smoothly. His organizing efforts include signage throughout the convention center and covering all forms of social media, including his insightful tweeting.
A resident of Minneapolis, Roberge is a New England native who studied at the University of New Hampshire. He relocated to the Twin Cities in 2007 to lead diversity and inclusion for Supervalu.
Because of his willing spirit, can-do attitude and limitless commitment, the forum is pleased to present its 2017 Friend of the Forum award to Roberge.
About The Forum on Workplace Inclusion
Housed at the University of St. Thomas, the forum will bring together 1,300 participants from 40 states, 11 countries and more than 300 organizations.
Registration is still open for the conference, including the March 30 diversity awards luncheon.
Participants can choose to attend the full three-day conference from March 28-30, or just the first day March 28, or the second two days on March 29 and 30. Special rates for travel and accommodations also are available. For more information and to register, visit the forum’s website here.
St. Olaf College students Anne Halloin ’18 and Gabrielle Simeck ’18 have been named Smaby Peace Scholars.
The Peace Scholars Program is designed to expand students’ awareness of current issues relating to peace, justice, democracy, and human rights through a series of educational experiences in Norway. Two students from each of the six Norwegian-American Lutheran colleges — Augsburg, Augustana University, Concordia, Luther, St. Olaf, and Pacific Lutheran University — are chosen to participate. This year the group will also include two scholars from Sacramento State University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Students at St. Olaf receive funding to participate in the program through the Philip C. Smaby Peace Scholars Endowed Scholarship, which was established in honor of the late Philip Carlyle Smaby, a Minneapolis-St. Paul philanthropist who attended St. Olaf and three of whose children are alumni (Mark Smaby ’66, Gary Smaby ’71, and John Smaby ’76).
The 2017 program will begin with six days at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue in Lillehammer, where the scholars will participate in dialogue sessions with students from the Balkans and Caucasus regions in addition to other conflict areas.
The scholars will then move to the University of Oslo International Summer School, where they will spend six weeks deepening their understanding of the history and theories regarding conflict, war, and peace. In addition to lectures and seminars, they will visit some of the leading peace organizations in Norway, including the Nobel Peace Center and the Peace Research Institute.
Scholars also have an opportunity to take an additional undergraduate course of their choice. Simeck will take a course in Scandinavian government and politics, while Halloin will study international politics.
Simeck, a native of Lake Forest, Illinois, looks forward to focusing on peace studies and exploring questions of conflict resolution and social change.
“The Peace Scholars program was the perfect fit. I’m excited to get a chance to conduct my own research in a vastly different context than St. Olaf and gain practical experience facilitating constructive dialogues,” says Simeck. “I am looking forward to meeting students from all over the world and digging into questions of politics, culture, and identity.”
As a political science major, Simeck has studied international relations, international law, and non-violence resistance.
“As a French major who is currently abroad, I was hoping to continue sharing in an intercultural exchange,” she says. “I look forward to learning about Norway’s unique role in the development of peace studies. I’m thrilled to have the chance to participate!”
Halloin, a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, hopes to bring something unique to the program as a religion major.
“The most inspiring part about this program is that violence and conflict are not mysterious happenings, but rather the result of poor international policy and economic patterns — meaning that conflict can be resolved, and violence can be prevented,” says Halloin.
Halloin’s studies have revealed to her that religions — especially monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam — have peace as one of the main elements of their theologies, but can be justified for violence.
“It’s easy to see differences between people, and between different religions,” she says. “But it’s more important to note that every religion ends a prayer (whether that be shalom, salam, shanti, or amen) with asking for peace.”