June 2019 newsletter
Whether it’s research with faculty members or hands-on learning in the community, learn why summer learning is important for students. Then explore how the Council’s 17 members are meeting the educational needs of our state and our students.
As summer starts, students continue their learning on and off campus. Whether it’s research with faculty members or hands-on learning in the community, summer learning is important for students in their academic life as well as when they enter the workforce.
Now a sophomore at Gustavus Adolphus College, Maya Lengvenis was awarded the Johnson Fellowship from the college to research mid-range wireless power transfer. She and professor Jessie Petricka are investigating the ability for power to be transferred over a couple inches to a couple feet. “Our long-range applications for this are in the biomedical field, charging things like pacemakers and cochlear implants,” Lengvenis said.
Lengvenis was awarded this fellowship before her first year and was given the option to decide which summer she wanted to do her research in. “Not that many first years get to start off with research right away,” Lengvenis said. “It’s a great opportunity to get my foot in the door in the world of research.”
Lengvenis is living on campus with a small group of students and is excited about the opportunity to learn outside of the traditional classroom. “Even though we’re on campus and in a classroom, it feels different than class,” Lengvenis said. “And I’m learning so much that I’m not sure I could learn during the semester.”
Petricka, an associate professor of physics, agrees with Lengvenis that this is a great way to learn — and very different than the traditional classroom experience. “Longer-term independent research with a faculty member like this in the summer really allows for exploration that is broad and tests one’s problem-solving skills,” Petricka said. “Just in a few weeks Maya has already learned four new computer programs and many things that traditionally she’d learn much later in her college career. Summer is the time students can do this type of exploration.”
“We as a community need to focus on how we can provide these types of learning experiences to more students and to a broader representation of students,” Petricka said. “It’s important that every student has the opportunity to do this type of exploration.”
Andrew Bailey is also expanding his learning during the summer. He is a senior at The College of St. Scholastica and is a Phillips Scholar. The Phillips Scholars Program supports students with a scholarship and a stipend to undertake a community-based project. Working with St. Scholastica, community organizations and others, Bailey hosted a weekend-long leadership conference for middle school students in Duluth.
“We did a lot of reaching out to organization in Duluth for partnerships,” Bailey said. “We knew that partnering with organizations was going to be the best way to reach students. We wanted these organizations to see us as a resource.”
Bailey’s personal experience with leadership development inspired him to offer this conference to students in Duluth who might not have many opportunities like this. “Thinking back to the opportunities I’ve had — they’re the reason why I’m in student government and leadership,” Bailey said. “I wanted to share similar opportunities with students and families right here in Duluth. It was also important for me to eliminate as many barriers as possible.”
“The summer gave us some time to have everyone soak the program material in,” Bailey said. “If everyone had to go back to school on Monday — it might have been too much information to process.”
Andrea Mayer, director of career development at Concordia University, St. Paul, sees the impact of summer learning. “It’s critical that students are engaged during the summer,” Mayer said. “Whether it’s research, an internship, volunteering or a job — these experiences can be very impactful.”
Summer opportunities aren’t just important for the student’s academics success, but employers are looking for candidates with a broad range of skills. “In these types of opportunities students often learn a complementary set of skills than when they’re in the classroom,” Mayer explained. “Skills like professionalism, collaboration and business acumen are extremely important to employers and these types of experiences teaches them.”
“Connecting summer learning with your major or program is a great idea,” Mayer said. “Think about these opportunities in a holistic way and how they help you achieve your long-term goals.”
However students are squeezing extra value from these months before classes start up again, Mayer thinks it is worth reminding them to balance their obligations with the opportunities of the season. “You can still have fun while gaining skills,” she said. “Don’t stress out too much about finding the “perfect” opportunity — remember to enjoy your summer!”
By Tom Lancaster
Each of the 17 private nonprofit institutions that make up the Minnesota Private College Council is unique. They are different in numerous ways, from their locations to the majors they offer to the students they serve. Yet there is a lot to say about our collective impact.
We educate tomorrow’s workforce
The knowledge and skills gained at our colleges and universities are exactly what employers seek. A liberal arts education that emphasizes critical thinking skills and real-world experiences is more relevant than ever in our global economy. Overall, our contribution is significant: our institutions award 30 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in the state. This share is higher in specific areas, including physical sciences (49 percent), nursing (44 percent) mathematics and statistics (35 percent) and business (33 percent.) We also award significant numbers of graduate and professional degrees.
We reflect Minnesota — and the world
Our students reflect Minnesota, which is where two-thirds of our students are from. Consider in that:
- Twenty-five percent of our domestic undergrads are students of color and Native American.
- Nineteen percent of our students are “first-generation,” meaning that neither of their parents completed a degree.
- Twenty-seven percent of our undergrads receive federal Pell Grants, which serve students from low-income families.
It’s important to note that our undergrads aren’t all starting straight from high school. Twenty-two percent of our new students are transfer students, many from Minnesota community colleges. We also know that 13 percent of new students are independent, meaning they’re age 25 or older. (Six of our colleges offer evening and weekend degree completion programs designed for adult learners.)
And yes, our colleges do draw students from outside Minnesota to our state, many of whom will contribute to our workforce. Among our undergraduates, 27 percent come from elsewhere in the United States and 5 percent come from other nations.
We help students succeed
Our four-year graduation rate is the best in the state. And when compared to other states’ graduation rates — for both public and private institutions — our rate is the best in the Midwest and ranks third nationally. What makes the difference? Credit personalized attention and strong student support. The result is that our students are able to stop paying tuition and start what’s next sooner, whether that’s going to graduate school or starting careers.
We also stand out when looking at the average graduation rate for students of color and Native American students, as well as the graduation rate for low-income students who receive Pell Grants. In both cases our rates are the highest in the state and higher than the averages for public and private colleges nationwide.
We serve a public purpose
While our institutions are private, as nonprofits they serve a public purpose — meeting the educational needs of our state and our students.
The median income for our alums working full-time in Minnesota four years after graduation is $57,100.
Careers begin for Hamline's class of 2019
The Hamline University Career Development Center has helped many Pipers secure their dream jobs right out of college.
D.C. Summer Study Program back for its 40th year at CSB/SJU
Twelve College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University students from all majors beginning summer internships.
MCAD announces new president
The Minneapolis College of Art and Design has named Sanjit Sethi as its next president. He will take office on July 15.
St. Scholastica names Barbara McDonald as its 13th president
The College of St. Scholastica has announced that North Hennepin Community College president Dr. Barbara McDonald will become its 13th president, effective Aug. 5, 2019.
St. Olaf has 13 Fulbright fellows
Ten members of the St. Olaf College Class of 2019 have been named Fulbright fellows, as well as three recent graduates who applied through the college.
A longstanding internship at the Minnesota State Capitol helps Bethel University students navigate the transition from college into the working world.
10 Carls receive Fulbright awards
Meet the Carleton College alumni who will spend a year abroad on prestigious Fulbright grants.
Concordia St. Paul dedicates Ries Tower
Concordia University, St. Paul honored retiring President Dr. Tom Ries by renaming and dedicating the recently purchased Central Midway Building as Ries Tower.
Augsburg to start women's wrestling program
Augsburg University becomes Minnesota’s only university with a varsity women’s wrestling team, set to compete during the 2019-20 academic year with Max Mejia as the first coach.
Saint Mary’s hosts interactive Regenerative Medicine Workshop
With funding from a $49,000 grant, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota recently hosted its second Regenerative Medicine Workshop for 10 regional college students.
Two Macalester alumni behind medical app NightWare
The Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center is testing Macalester College alumnus Tyler Skluzacek’s '16 NightWare invented to ease his father’s PTSD. The article quotes Grady Hannah '96, NightWare’s chief executive.
SOLV Initiative: Bringing Asmat to the Classroom and Beyond
As part of the SOLV Initiative, the University of St. Thomas installed a collection from the American Museum of Asmat Art at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Record-setting Fulbright year
Out of six applicants, Concordia College had four students receive scholarships. Seniors Toby Kindem, Alexandra Rankin, Hannah Allen and McKayle Carter have received Fulbright awards.
Schedule campus visits anytime during the year
Even though Minnesota Private College Week wraps up June 28, students and families are welcome to visit our colleges anytime. Watch for campus visit days this fall too.
Council and Fund board changes effective July 1
Mary Hinton, president of the College of Saint Benedict, will continue as chair of the board of the Minnesota Private College Council and Minnesota Private College Fund. This summer, the Council will welcome two new presidents to the board — Barbara McDonald of The College of St. Scholastica and Sanjit Sethi of Minneapolis College of Art and Design — along with a new community member, Dexter Davis of Securian Financial Group.
The equity problem with saying 'college isn't for everyone'
Forbes, May 20, 2019
Study finds more low-income students attending college
Inside Higher Ed, May 23, 2019
Double the Pell Grant for the best return on investment for students and taxpayers
The Hill, May 28, 2019
Is college worth it? Yes
Inside Higher Ed, June 10, 2019
Rural students often go unnoticed by colleges. Can virtual counseling put them on the map?
The Hechinger Report, June 11, 2019