May 2017 newsletter
Explore how the student-run radio station at Macalester College has tackled the shift in listener habits and how the University of St. Thomas is implementing its two-year college. Then find some advice for graduating seniors from The College of St. Scholastica’s career services director.
Community building is a trademark of college radio, and it certainly is for Macalester College’s station, WMCN. Dave Collins, Macalester College librarian and a WMCN broadcaster, has been helping with the station for nearly 30 years, starting when he was a student himself. “The station engages a large amount of students. It broadcasts across campus and the station covers a large chunk of hours,” Collins said. “To broadcast this much the station has 70, 80 often upwards of 90 students involved. In that sense, it’s one of the larger groups on campus — not to mention the listenership.”
Thirteen of Minnesota’s Private Colleges have college radio stations; all of them are student led with a focus on serving the campus community. Some are long running stations that started as early as the 1940s, others are recent additions utilizing new online steaming platforms to provide radio to their campuses. Stations have a range of music, talk radio and sports broadcasts that often stream or play 24-hours. Many of the older radio stations have added streaming to keep up with the modern listener.
WMCN is one of the older stations, broadcasting since 1961 and as a student-run station, things can be interesting. The station has focused on supporting and promoting students including their bands. Collins remembered a unique technique to get student bands on the air. “Bands would play in the student union right outside the radio station doors — often there was a mic hanging over the balcony catching the concert, perhaps unbeknownst to the band,” Collins said.
College radio is changing with the times — WMCN now contends with podcasts and Spotify. “A couple years ago at the station training someone had mentioned that they didn’t own a radio,” Collins said. “That’s was a reality check for me.”
WMCN now gets the majority of its listenership from online streaming — but live radio isn’t going away. “The idea of broadcasting on the air is going to be increasingly a new thing for people; anybody can create a podcast and put it out there but there’s something special about doing it live on air,” Collins said.
“There are parts of the station where it’s the same furniture and equipment as 30 years ago but for each incoming class of students it’s brand new,” Collins said.
College radio has been in the news recently with Minnesota Public Radio turning 50 years old this year. The network was started on the campus of Saint John’s University by faculty and a former St. John’s college radio station manager.
By Tom Lancaster
Next fall the Dougherty Family College will begin its inaugural year. The creation of the University of St. Thomas’ new two-year college is an ambitious undertaking, one that is designed to address the college attainment gap in the Twin Cities.
The new college will focus on degree completion and career readiness as well as preparation for further education, according to Dr. Buffy Smith, associate dean of the Dougherty Family College. “The college will be a pathway to upward social mobility — providing a solid educational foundation while [helping students] earn an associate’s degree and have an eye on a bachelor’s degree,” Smith said. “It’s really to help students who may not be ready for a four-year program; they have the intellectual capabilities but may need some additional support.”
Dougherty Family College will enroll 150 students each year. Students will participate in a cohort model with faculty mentors who will lead groups of 25 students. The cohort will take all their classes together, which Smith said will help foster peer accountability and peer mentoring. “The research shows support from peers that the cohort model creates has a positive impact on retentions rates, graduation rates and overall performance,” she said.
Faculty recruitment has been a priority. “When we hire faculty we are focusing on two criteria. First is clear mastery of their academic content area; second is success working with students from diverse populations and a mastery of culturally responsive pedagogy,” Smith said. “We are being mindful of the student’s emotional and social learning as well as the specific content areas.”
The mentoring model that the college is implementing is a direct product of Smith’s research into student success practices. “This model comes from my research and other scholarship on student success,” Smith said. “Ideally the learning model and some of our pedagogies will help influence our four-year program.”
“Students who are looking for an educational experience that will allow them to embrace their cultural background, learn from peers who have similar experiences and connect with faculty and staff as mentors should look to the Dougherty Family College,” Smith said.
By Tom Lancaster
As the end of the semester approaches, many students feel as if their lives have transformed into a whirlwind of due dates, last minute assignments, and of course, finals. For graduating seniors, however, this stress is often compounded by their impending transition into the professional world. With so many different things to consider at once, it is common for seniors to feel overwhelmed by the amount of change they are dealing with and the amount of important decisions they need to make as they start to think about their future careers. To offer some students some advice (and relief), we talked with Mary Anderson, the director of the career services office at The College of St. Scholastica. A career services veteran of over 15 years, she has helped countless students manage their post-grad plans and stress.
Q: What are some of the more common worries you hear about from students as they think about graduating and starting their careers?
A: The students I'm meeting with right now who are seniors graduating, most of them will say, "I'm ready to be done with college, I'm excited to be done, but I'm anxious because I don't quite know what the future holds." There's this turning point where someone is ready for this chapter to be done, but they don't know quite what it's going to feel or look like in that transition from being a student to being a full-time professional. For some of them who don't have something lined up after graduation, they are worrying about how they are going to manage this search once out of school.
Q: What are some challenges that can be overlooked?
A: Students don't always anticipate the change of not having that built in social network. Whether that's because you have friends in your classes, you're living on campus, or you're in athletics, you get used to having a built-in group of friends. I don't think all students realize what a difference that is when you transition out of college. I think this is true for all students, but maybe even more so for student athletes. When you are accustomed to daily interactions with athletes, practices, the team, and your daily student life, it is difficult when all of a sudden your life doesn't include any of that. I think it is surprising for many students.
Q: Do students debate the value of gaining some work experience vs going grad school? What do you say?
A: I think my advice is very field dependent. For example, for students in business fields, many graduate programs want candidates to work before they come back (to grad school). For a student who is pursuing a health or science degree, it's more likely that they would go right on to grad school. I think the other part to consider is how ready and focused the student is. If a student is still unsure about what they want to do, it's a big commitment to go to grad school, and therefore it is probably better to take a year or two to regroup and refocus on goals and plans before continuing to graduate school. For other students, they are focused, but might state, "I know I want to do this, but I need a little breather before I jump into a new program. This is an example of another time when a gap year is really important.
Q: What is your opinion on taking a gap year after graduation?
A: I think that a gap year can be really productive and really valuable. One of the pieces that I think is important is if a student went to do service or travelling for a year, when they come back and they're either applying for jobs or graduate school, they should be able to share why they took the time off and what they learned from it. They need to be able to reflect and articulate what they learned from this time. For example, sharing reflections like "it provided time for me to focus" or "I learned about myself" or "I pushed myself to be independent in a different way" and then giving a concrete story to demonstrate this is an essential part of the process.
Q: As graduation approaches, a lot of people are looking for advice but feel like it's too late to visit their career services counselor. Is that notion accurate or can they come in at any time?
A: It is never too late! Would we ideally like to meet with students in their first year? Definitely. But if they haven't, we still welcome students at any stage. We also see students once they graduate because certain populations have not found a job or they're still looking; we can still provide service. What we then try to do is to meet them where they're at, no guilt. We like to focus on how we can assist them in moving forward in their process and toward their goals.
Q: What were some of your personal experiences after graduating from college? Does it influence how you advise students today?
A: Some of what impacted me the most were the changes and career paths I had from senior year of high school to graduating college. I think it's important to normalize and remind students that along your career path, you will have twists, turns, and changes based on your skills, interests, and learning more of what's out there. A change of plans should not be seen as a failure. Also, when I think about my own transition, I went right on to graduate school, so I can talk about why I made that choice, but also about how many students in my graduate program worked first. Generally, there are many paths to the same goal.
Q: If you could leave upcoming college grads with one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Graduating students often say to us, "I'm entering the real world." One of the things I would share or argue with those students is that college has been the "real world." It's important not to discredit all of the skills that they've developed as these are the skills that will be helpful to them as they transition. Whether its communications, relationships, or leadership roles, they have been developing the resilience and life skills necessary to make them successful as they take that next step in their career path.
By Alboury Ndiaye
While students at the 17 institutions that are members of the Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC) make up 29 percent of all baccalaureate graduates in the state, they benefit from a small share — just 3 percent — of public spending on higher education. It would cost the state of Minnesota more than $350 million each year in additional institutional subsidies if private colleges didn’t exist and our students enrolled instead in public institutions.
St. Kate's Wildcats softball team wins NCAA regional
St. Catherine University's softball team won its first ever regional title on May 14 and advanced to the Super Regional Round against the University of St. Thomas.
CSP partners with Mitchell Hamline to offer new MBA
Mitchell Hamline School of Law will offer its health care compliance program as part of the MBA degree at Concordia University, St. Paul.
St. Scholastica physician assistant program earns accreditation
The College of St. Scholastica’s new physician assistant program has earned provisional accreditation, and its first cohort of 30 students will begin taking classes this fall.
Saint Ben’s/Saint John’s faculty Patricia Bolaños-Fabres receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award
The associate professor of gender studies and Hispanic studies at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University will travel to Ecuador and conduct research.
Saint Mary’s dedicates new center, launches capital campaign
On May 12, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota opened the doors to its new Science and Learning Center in Winona and announced a $57 million capital campaign.
Concordia College student receives Gaither Fellowship
Concordia College graduate Matthew Lillehaugen ’17 has been selected for the James C. Gaither Fellowship by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Carleton makes meaningful connections at Northfield's Greenvale Elementary
Carleton College’s community school partnership is bringing both sides together for the greater good.
Augsburg celebrates last commencement as a college
Augsburg College graduated its final class on April 29. The school officially will become Augsburg University in September.
Macalester professor spoke to the Star Tribune about the “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Macalester College English professor Daylanne English was quoted regarding the new Hulu TV series and a popular course she teaches, “Ecstasy and Apocalypse: Literature of the Extreme.”
Former Ambassador James C. Hormel and Sharon P. Robinson receive honorary degree from Hamline
Hamline University honored former Ambassador James C. Hormel and Sharon P. Robinson, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education president, with honorary degrees May 20.
Still time to register for late-June college visits
There is still time to register for Minnesota Private College Week, which runs June 26-30. Two sessions are held twice daily at all of our member colleges and universities.
The 2017 undergraduate commencements are wrapping up, but you can still find a list of commencement speakers on our website.
New issue of parent newsletter available
The summer issue of The Bridge: Parent News is now available online. Please share this useful resource with parents of college-bound students.
State likely to increase grants for college students
Legislators agreed this month on a higher education bill that would put $36 million of new funding into the State Grant program, which helps one out of four Minnesota college students. At publication the bill has not been signed by Gov. Mark Dayton, but that appears likely, given the administration’s role in the negotiations. Next fall’s awards to students at Minnesota’s Private Colleges would increase on average by $180.
Former interns tell how they landed a first job
The New York Times, Apr. 7, 2017
Sending your kid to college: Why, you ask, should you pay for liberal arts?
Star Tribune, Apr. 24, 2017
Hey, computer scientists! Stop hating on the humanities
Wired, Apr. 24, 2017
Where will your degree take you? Career paths after college
The Brookings Institution, May 11, 2017
Minnesota employers getting creative in the hunt for good workers in good economy
Star Tribune, May 16, 2017
Trump budget would slash student aid and research
Inside Higher Ed, May 24, 2017