January 2017 newsletter
Discover Bethel University is immersing high school students in college life through Post Secondary Enrollment Options, and learn more about the new programs being offered by Bethany Lutheran College and Concordia College. Or check out a photo gallery showcasing the types of wintry activities and sports at our colleges. Then learn how the strength of Minnesota’s economy is linked to high levels of educational attainment.
For teenagers who feel they’ve tapped out what their high schools can offer, Bethel University offers an alternative. About 100 high schoolers are taking courses on the Arden Hills campus that allow them to complete their high school degrees — and get a jumpstart on college. The program that makes it possible is Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) and it is available at many public and private colleges statewide.
Annie Goodyear was one of these students. She grew up in Minnetonka and is currently a Bethel undergraduate student. Goodyear already knew what she wanted her major to be when she was in high school and wanted to get a head start on a nursing degree. She heard from a friend about Bethel’s PSEO program. “For me, I knew that I wanted to do nursing and why not get a head start on it at Bethel because they are known for having a wonderful program,” Goodyear said. “The best part about this program was that I could get a full year of college done.”
The structure of Bethel’s program allows PSEO students to be college students, and students have the opportunity to live on campus. If they decide to, they are paired up with another PSEO student and live in a freshman dorm. They are also able to participate in extracurricular activities like sports and special interest clubs. PSEO students are allowed to take courses up to the 200 level, taught by professors alongside full-time undergraduate students. These courses count towards their high school diploma and are also college credits.
For PSEO students, it feels like they’re already in college, said Bret Hyder, Bethel’s director of admissions. “Unless they tell somebody that they are a PSEO student, everyone assumes they’re not,” Hyder said. “Their professors assume they aren’t a PSEO student. If they live on a residence floor, everyone presumes they’re a freshman. We really try to make it an immersive experience for students.”
Fifty percent of the PSEO students go on to attend Bethel, but all students who finish the program get a high school diploma and a unique alternative to traditional high school.
Among Minnesota’s private colleges, Bethel and Concordia University, St. Paul, are the two institutions that do the most work with PSEO students. According to a Minnesota Department of Education report, other private colleges that have awarded PSEO credits in the most recent year included Bethany Lutheran College, The College of St. Scholastica, Concordia College (Moorhead), Gustavus Adolphus College, Hamline University, Macalester College, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and St. Catherine University.
For more information on PSEO at Bethel, check out Bethel’s website.
Learn about many ways that high school students can prepare for college-level work and even earn college credit while in high school.
By Tom Lancaster
Sample of new majors
- Augsburg College – graphic design, music business
- Bethany Lutheran College – American studies, nursing
- Concordia College – neuroscience, finance
- College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University – integrated science
- Hamline University – public service
- Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota – strategic communications, computer data science, digital media and journalism
With more than 145 majors, Minnesota’s private colleges are always weighing when they need to make changes in their academic offerings. It is a sizable commitment and one that colleges don’t make lightly, but each year several new ones emerge. In our latest listing of college majors, new ones ranged from music business to public service to integrated science. We asked two colleges for more background on the decisions and steps involved with their additions.
Bethany Lutheran College adds nursing
With Board of Regents approval and Minnesota State Board of Nursing permission Bethany Lutheran College added nursing, its first bachelor of science. Bethany had been exploring the option of adding nursing for a while and this fall the timing was just right. Rural nursing is a focus of the new program, said Sara Traylor, a Bethany graduate and the director of nursing. “If you look at the area Bethany is in, it’s rural and rural nurses are hard to come by,” Traylor said. “We want to serve our community by incorporating those types of experiences into the program. So the students who are from small towns in the area and who want to stay have that opportunity.”
Creating a new program can be daunting, and nursing programs are resource intensive, requiring special classrooms and materials. Bethany remodeled one of its larger classrooms into a new nursing lab and completely stocked it with new equipment like medical beds and mannequins. The nursing degree includes a structured nursing curriculum paired with liberal arts breadth. Traylor wants the program to be forward thinking. “My vision for the program is to focus on cultural diversity, caring compassion and servant leadership,” said Traylor. The program will start small, enrolling 24 students each fall beginning in 2017, but Traylor is looking forward to growing the program in the future.
Concordia College adds finance
Concordia College created a new major in finance after hearing feedback from some of the business community and the growing finance industry. The curriculum is based around the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute and is a CFA Institute recognized program. Among other things, the program covers about 70 percent of the Candidate Body of Knowledge prescribed by the CFA Institute guidelines.
Christopher Mason, associate professor of finance, described starting a new major: “For me it’s about how do we grow an academic program. It’s three things: cutting edge curriculum, passionate qualified teachers and connecting it to student’s futures. We created a strategic plan to make sure we achieve these three things.”
One of the unique parts of Concordia’s new major is the Offutt School Finance Association, which is a student-led group that manages a set of portfolios. Students have an opportunity to get hands-on experience trading and analyzing stocks while seeing real change in their portfolios. The leadership of the association is made up of finance majors, and each role is connected to curriculum.
The major also includes an opportunity to go on a one-week international exploration seminar to Europe and Asia, where students meet with executives of major international organizations. Last year in Zurich, students met with the CFO of UBS for three hours and discussed managing portfolios. This sort of experiential learning is a hallmark of Concordia’s new major.
Just over a year ago six students declared interest in finance; now finance is the fastest growing major in Concordia’s business school. This coming fall — the major’s second year — Concordia will be adding additional finance professors and new internships. Mason is excited about the reception of program and is looking forward to its continued growth.
If you’re interested in other majors, you can search for them in combination with other interests using our College Finder.
By Tom Lancaster
The cold, the snow the ice. It’s enough to make many people hibernate until May. But not in Minnesota. We embrace it — and so do our colleges. We asked our colleges to send us photos of students engaged in some type of wintry activity or sport. Yes, there’s a good share of hockey photos, but a few others might surprise you. So curl up, stay warm and explore the cool side of our colleges. (Click here if you can’t see the gallery.)
By Paul Cerkvenik, Minnesota Private College Council President
“A skilled workforce is the cornerstone for Minnesota to be ready to change and grow. Our workforce is recognized as one of the best in the nation. Minnesota must narrow the persistent achievement gap to ensure ALL Minnesotans are job ready for the challenges of a global economy.”
- Doug Loon, President, Minnesota Chamber Of Commerce
Minnesota’s high level of educational attainment has been critical to our state’s economic strength and standard of living. Today more than 50 percent of Minnesotans between the ages of 25 and 44 have an associate’s degree or higher, ranking Minnesota second in the nation in terms of educational attainment. States like Minnesota — with higher levels of educational attainment — have higher median household incomes and lower levels of unemployment.
Our educated workforce has made us a competitive and thriving state. Minnesota has benefitted from a strong K-12 system and a set of diverse higher education institutions, including both two-year and four-year, public and private colleges offering a wide range of degrees and certificates. Together, these institutions have provided our economy with the well-educated workers needed to thrive. However, the demographic trends facing Minnesota are a threat to our continued economic competitiveness.
Today, the growth in our workforce is slowing dramatically while at the same time the demand for college-educated employees is increasing. These workforce challenges are compounded by Minnesota’s persistent educational achievement gaps. To respond, Minnesota must strategically and efficiently invest to prepare the workforce for the future and ensure that no potential worker is left behind. This requires targeting state resources in a way that closes the gaps in achievement while recognizing the education our future workers will require for our economy to thrive.
Slowing workforce growth
Between the 1980s and the 2000s, Minnesota’s workforce grew on average by more than 31,000 workers per year. According to Minnesota’s state demographer, our labor force growth will dramatically slow in the next three decades, due to a combination of an increasing number of workers reaching retirement age and little to no growth in the number of younger workers. The result is an average of only 8,000 new workers per year in the 2010s, dropping to 4,000 per year in the 2020s.
New employers and those that want to expand need communities with an abundant supply of well-educated citizens who can bring knowledge, talent and creativity to the business challenges of our globalized economy. With a workforce that is growing slowly, it will be increasingly difficult for Minnesota employers to find and hire the employees needed to grow and expand their businesses in our state.
“The nation must face up to a need to train more of its workers for the growing high-skill jobs that play an increasingly central role in the post-Great Recession economy.”
- Georgetown University Center for the Study of Education and the Workforce’s 2016 report: “America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots"
According to the Georgetown University Center for the Study of Education and the Workforce, Minnesota will need 74 percent of its workforce to have at least some college education by 2020, and more than half of those jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or higher. For all of Minnesota to continue to compete economically in the next decades, we must further boost our level of educational attainment.
Looking back over the recent recession and recovery, we see the high value that employers already place on those with bachelor’s degrees. As shown in the graph, a 2016 analysis from the Georgetown University Center for the Study of Education and Workforce reported that:
- The number of jobs for those with a high school education or less dropped by 5.6 million jobs during the recession (2007-2010) and grew by only 80,000 during the economic recovery (2010-2016).
- The number of jobs for those with some college or an associate’s degree dropped by 1.8 million jobs in the recession and grey by 3.1 million during the recovery.
- The number of jobs for those with a four-year degree or higher did not drop during the recession and grew by 8.4 million during the recovery.
Economists predict that the rapid pace of technological innovation and globalization means that the jobs of the future will require a more highly educated workforce. According to Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve, “economists are not certain about many things, but we are quite certain that a college diploma or an advanced degree is a key to economic success.”
Minnesota’s persistent educational achievement gaps
Against the backdrop of a labor force that is barely growing, it is clear that our economy needs every worker to be fully prepared. If we are to remain competitive, Minnesota simply cannot afford to waste the potential of anyone in our state.
Unfortunately, at the same time that Minnesota’s labor force growth is slowing and the economy needs more skilled workers, too many Minnesotans — particularly those from disadvantaged families — are falling behind.
Minnesota students from lower-income families tend to have lower academic achievement than their classmates from higher-income families, resulting in increased barriers to college access and degree attainment. And these students are disproportionately students of color and from families where they are the first to go on to college. These achievement gaps represent a major challenge to preparing students to enter the workforce with the skills necessary to meet the state’s current and future needs.
Looking across the income spectrum, there is a stark contrast in bachelor's degree attainment rates. According to a national study, 77 percent students from with families that are in the top 25 percent — or quartile —of incomes earn a bachelor’s degree by the age of 24. Contrast that with 9 percent and 17 percent for the lower two quartiles. The educational success of these lower- and middle-income students is essential to meeting Minnesota’s future workforce needs.
To reach higher levels of college attainment in Minnesota, the Minnesota Private Council encourages the 2017 Legislature to target investments in higher education to the students who most need additional support through the Minnesota State Grant program. One in three Minnesota college students benefits from the program. And more on the Council’s request to policymakers is available here.
Students at our 17 member colleges receive financial aid from a number of sources, but grant aid make up a significant part of it. In 2014-15 academic year, 83 percent of all grant aid received by students came directly from our colleges — representing nearly $564 million in aid that students never have to pay back.
Source: Minnesota Private College Council analysis of Minnesota Office of Higher Education’s Financial Aid to Minnesota Undergraduates Fiscal year 2015 report
Saint Mary’s recognized nationally for community service project
The “Jogging For Jack Superhero 5K” recently earned national attention when Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota was honored as part of the NADIIIAA/Jostens Community Service Awards.
Tommie helps parathlete make her run at Rio
It started with a post on the University of St. Thomas Facebook page looking for someone to guide a blind runner.
$10 million gift to College of Saint Benedict to create Center for Ethical Leadership in Action
The anonymous gift will create a permanent endowment fund at the College of Saint Benedict and fund the operations of the Center, including experiential learning, a mentoring program and a speaker series.
New photovoltaic solar field to increase energy production to Saint John’s and community
The three solar fields combined on 27 acres will provide almost 19 percent of Saint John's University annual electric power needs.
Auggie joins advisory board for First Lady Michelle Obama’s college opportunity campaign
Augsburg College student Kitana Holland will guide Better Make Room, a national campaign that celebrates education and elevates the voices of Gen-Z students.
Gustavus wins inaugural Minnesota College Ballot Bowl
Sixty-three percent of Gustavus Adolphus College students registered to vote to win the Minnesota Secretary of State's first-ever Ballot Bowl.
Macalester professor offers ways to achieve financial success in the New Year
WalletHub asked experts what the best New Year’s resolutions were for achieving financial improvement, and Macalester College professor Christina Manning was one of them.
Concordia named a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly University
Concordia College (Moorhead) was named a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists.
Scoville Library history uncovered— literally
Contractors working on Carleton College's Scoville renovation project made a cool discovery, revealing the signatures of some of the original builders of the iconic campus landmark.
Bethel's Model UN Club wins awards at international conference
Four Bethel University students won awards for their simulation of real-world diplomacy at the American Model United Nations (AMUN) International Conference in November.
St. Scholastica online master of education earns high rankings
The College of St. Scholastica's online master of education program is named one of the top 50 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report's new 2017 online program rankings.
Taylor Harwood ’15 receives prestigious Marshall Scholarship
As a Marshall Scholar, St. Catherine University’s Taylor Harwood ’15 will pursue two graduate degrees in London, with the ultimate goal of becoming an archivist.
Hamline alumnus Jack Serier appointed Ramsey County sheriff
New Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier '90 replaces fellow Hamline University alumnus Sheriff Matt Bostrom, DPA '03, who will retire to continue research at the University of Oxford.
Minnesota Private College Scholars Showcase scheduled for Feb. 15
Students from 16 of our colleges will be on hand the morning of Feb. 15 to present their research and what they learned at the 2017 Scholars Showcase in the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda. This is a public event so stop on by if you can make it.
Job and Internship Fair, Feb. 22-23
Undergraduates students from our member institutions will meet and interview with employers at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the 41st annual Minnesota Private Colleges’ Job and Internship Fair. The fair is attended by more than 2,000 students each year.
2017 legislative agenda released
The Council calls for making a significant new investment in the State Grant program — changes that would help students reduce reliance on debt and allow more families access to more choices in higher education. The agenda details recommendations, along with background about Minnesota’s education challenges and how private nonprofit colleges are making a difference.
What 'grit' means for college educators
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 12, 2016
Why Minnesota might run out of workers
MinnPost, Dec. 13, 2016
What is college really for?
Huffington Post, Jan. 4, 2017
The surprising reason why liberal arts majors make the best techies
LinkedIn Pulse, Jan. 4, 2017