October 2019 newsletter
Learn how our colleges help students get a jumpstart on research and on the path to graduate education. Then explore new majors that three of our campuses have rolled out this fall — health communications, computational data science and mechanical engineering.
Many students are looking to enter the workforce after college, but others will continue their education. Minnesota Private Colleges prepare undergrads for success in their pursuit of an advanced degree – including by getting a jumpstart on research, often offering opportunities to students as early as their first year.
“Undergraduate research is important in two ways; the new knowledge or understanding that we create through the research as well as producing the next generation of scholars,” said Melissa Eblen-Zayas, director of the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching and physics professor at Carleton College. “If I have a student who engages in research and afterwards realizes they didn’t like the subject, I don’t consider that a failure. I actually consider that a success in helping the student determine their next steps.”
This undergraduate research is not only getting students ready for the academics of graduate school, it also prepares them for the graduate admissions process. Students looking into traditional Ph.D. programs go through a process of applying to specific departments at institutions as well as meeting with faculty members who have similar scholarly interests. Students who have had the opportunity to do in-depth research go into this process better understanding what topic they’d like to focus on and are better able to connect with the right program and mentor, Eblen-Zayas said.
With a faculty-student ratio of 12:1, Minnesota Private Colleges offer students personal connections with professors who have deep expertise in their fields. “The authentic one-on-one relationship students can get with faculty at a small liberal arts college is probably the most important thing for a student, especially those who are going to graduate school,” said Troy Abfalter, director of TRIO McNair Scholars program at The College of St. Scholastica.
“These types of relationships help students determine a path for what their success looks like,” Abfalter said. “Open dialogue with faculty mentors illuminates new horizons while providing a realistic appraisal of the challenges that must be met along the way.”
At Minnesota Private Colleges 16 percent of graduates pursue additional education within one year of graduation, along with 74 percent of students employed and 4 percent in service, mission or military work.
As well as preparing students for graduate school, many Minnesota Private Colleges offer graduate programs; check them out on our college finder.
By Tom Lancaster
Minnesota Private Colleges create new offerings for students to meet emerging needs. Yes, undergraduates already have more than 160 majors and minors to consider. But there can be good reason to offer a few more.
Health communications major
Bethany Lutheran College
In the early 2000s Bethany Lutheran College started a health communications minor — now with their renewed focus on health care and the recent addition of a nursing degree, the college has added health communications as a major.
Angie Jahr, a communications professor at Bethany Lutheran for over 20 years originally brought the health communication minor to the college. “Over time the health communications minor got put on the back burner,” Jahr said. “But after nursing came to Bethany, administration approached me and ask if there was an option to bring back the program and make it a major.”
“The program works great as a complement to the nursing program,” Jahr said. “Students who end up realizing nursing isn’t for them — we have an exciting, in demand major that’s still in the health care, from a non-allied perspective. Not to mention nursing majors who are interested in communication.”
The major already has 13 students enrolled and Jahr is looking to grow the program. “We have all the faculty in place and have just begun highlighting the major,” Jahr said. “I feel good about our numbers. I’m sure as word spreads, we’ll continue to grow.”
As the health care field continues to change, Jahr thinks a major like health communications will be in high demand. “The student who went through the minor program are doing such a wide variety of things,” Jahr said. “From politics, to counselors, to working for a health system. The skills learned with this degree allow for a lot of opportunities.”
Computational data science major
Hamline has been working towards a computational data science program for a number of years — recently a donor reached out to Hamline and that helped the university to solidify the major.
“Collaboration is a major design principal and focus of the curriculum,” said Andy Rundquist, associate dean of the college of liberal arts and professor of physics at Hamline. “To major in the program the student is required to take at least three courses in another discipline. We want them to have computational data science skills as well content knowledge from a different field.”
Another focus of the major is on diversity. Hamline has course requirements in diversity where students are required to complete courses that engage them in intellectual discourse and reflection about and across differences, but the computational data science major takes it a step further and integrates those requirements and curriculum into their intro level courses, Rundquist said.
Rundquist is hoping to grow the program by 10 students each the next couple of years “This program is really designed for all different types of students,” Rundquist said. “And both the major and minor work really well with other programs.”
“I think this program will become a major player as we expand the expectation of interdisciplinary studies for all of our students,” Rundquist said. “The skills learned in this program are important for a career in the 21st century.”
Mechanical engineering major
For the last 40 years, Bethel has had a dual-degree engineering program — a program where the students take three years of courses at Bethel and finish at another institution for two years. This program had become so popular that the physics and engineering department decided to start offering four-year engineering programs, including mechanical engineering.
“We set the program up to be like a dual-degree major but in-house,” said Brian Beecken, department chair, professor of physics and engineering at Bethel. “The first two years emphasize physics and general courses, and the last two years are mostly specific engineering courses.”
This year Bethel added almost 6,000 square feet in lab space for engineering, focusing primarily on mechanical engineering. With this growth in lab space Beecken expects to see a growth in students declaring engineering and specifically mechanical engineering majors.
“We still have the dual-degree engineering program and we think it still offers a lot to students,” Beecken said. “We do see the future of the mechanical engineering growing and exceeding the dual-degree offering.”
Check out our college finder to search for the current programs our colleges offer. Or view a grid showing the offerings.
By Tom Lancaster
International students account for 5 percent of total undergraduate enrollment. Of our new undergraduate students in fall 2018, 479 were international students — a 5 percent increase compared to the previous year. China is the top source of international student enrollment for our institutions, with 11 of our 17 institutions listing China as a top five source of international first-year students.
St. Thomas promotes sustainability
The University of St. Thomas has announced its first Sustainability Strategic Plan, which identifies goals and action steps to advance the university's commitment to sustainability.
MCAD partners with myTalk107.1 for annual charity event
The Minneapolis College of Art and Design is joining forces with local radio station myTalk 107.1 to create and sell "Masterpiece" works for local charities.
Auggie pass provides Augsburg undergraduate students unlimited rides
Augsburg University's student government approved paying for the pass by student fee in a first of its kind partnership between Metro Transit and a Twin Cities college.
CSB/SJU assistant professor earns Environmental Education award
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University faculty member Corrie Grosse was honored by the North American Association for Environmental Education.
Carleton Professor Cathy Yandell knighted into French Ordre des Palmes Académiques
The ceremony was held at Carleton College and officiated by the Consul General of France in Chicago.
Sustainability is a focus on St. Scholastica campus
Stewardship has long been a priority at The College of St. Scholastica, and with a new grant-funded program and a sustainability-related major, it’s now more important than ever.
Bethel student named to the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team
Offensive lineman Danny Munoz '20 is one of 13 total Bethel University Royals to receive the national award, and the seventh consecutive winner.
St. Olaf Orchestra wins the American Prize
The renowned St. Olaf Orchestra, conducted by Steven Amundson, has been named the winner of The American Prize in Orchestra Performance.
Saint Mary's alumna successful on 'Shark Tank'
Amber Leong, who earned her MBA at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, reeled in a $750,000 investment in her bright light therapy lamps on ABC's "Shark Tank."
Macalester alumnus new book filled with advice and stories for his children
Tim O’Brien, who graduated from Macalester College in 1968, told TIME magazine he hopes Dad’s Maybe Book will serve as an ongoing expression of love for his sons.
Recognizing transfer students
Hamline University celebrates transfer students during National Transfer Student Week.
St. Kate’s holds first Phi Kappa Phi initiation ceremony
St. Catherine University recently initiated members for its Phi Kappa Phi chapter. Membership is granted to students in the top 10 percent of their class.
CSP sets first-year student enrollment record
Concordia University, St. Paul enrolled the largest freshman class in its 126-year history, as it welcomed 351 first-time students this semester.
Students interested in transferring invited to Nov. 11 campus visits
Many private colleges are hosting Transfer Campus Visits on Nov. 11 when community colleges are closed for Veteran’s Day. Visits will include time to talk to admission staff and see what campus life is like.
2019-20 Transfer Guide available
This handy reference for counselors and students alike offers campus-specific information about the transfer requirements at our 17 colleges and universities. View or download a free copy today.
Schedule your own campus visits
Although the larger fall campus visit events are beginning to wrap up, families always have the option to schedule individual visits.
Counselors' Breakfast scheduled for Nov. 13 in Rochester
This free informational session is for high school counselors and others who work with students on college planning. Admissions staff from our member institutions share updates on what is going on at their institutions and answer questions.
Find colleges offering specific programs of study
Our online College Finder has been updated with majors, minors and concentrations offered during the 2019-20 academic year. Or search for athletic programs or clubs and activities in the arts.
Latest parent e-newsletter available
The fall issue of The Bridge: Parent News, the Council’s e-newsletter for parents of middle and high school students, is now available. Past issues along with a sign up to receive the newsletter by email can be found at the above link.
Cheaper, more sustainable dorm decor: Twin Cities colleges set up free stores and swaps
Star Tribune, Sept. 17, 2019
Yes, employers do value liberal arts degrees
Harvard Business Review, Sept. 19, 2019
In the salary race, engineers sprint but English majors endure
The New York Times, Sept. 20, 2019
How college changes the parent-child relationship
The Washington Post, Sept. 23, 2019