Driving Change in Higher Education.

Association News

Announcing 2015-16 leadership opportunities, MSCSA internships, new scholarships, and more!

 

 
September Student Leadership Conference
Dates: September 11-13, 2015
Location: Itasca Community College - Grand Rapids, MN and Sugar Lake Lodge - Cohasset, MN
Register by Friday, August 28.
Minnesota Student
Leadership Summit
Dates: October 15-18, 2015
Location:Mall of America / Airport Hilton - Bloomington, MN
Register by Friday, October 2.
More MSCSA events...
The MSCSA conference calendar for 2015-16 is finalized and we are looking forward to an exciting and educational year! Download a copy of our rates, dates and deadlines.
For the first time, we have opened registration for all of the 2015-16 conferences on the MSCSA website and you can begin to register immediately.
Internships Available
Click on the links below to find out more details on these available MSCSA internships.
Saving with Scholarships
As many of you heard, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation dissolved this past March. When this happened, several of the scholarships specifically created to support the students enrolled in a technical program or degree were transferred to MSCSA. Are you one of these students? Are you enrolled in a technical program or degree? If so, read on as this newly transferred scholarship may be for you.
The Morrie Anderson Endowed Scholarship.
Upon Morris J. Anderson’s retirement as Chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in 2001, Mr. Anderson’s colleagues and friends established an endowed fund to recognize his outstanding contribution to education in Minnesota, especially his support of technical education. Therefore, this scholarship was created to support the students seeking a technical program or degree. The specific criteria for applying for this scholarship include: a) be enrolled in a technical program at one of the technical or consolidated colleges within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; are in good academic standing as determined by the campus where they are enrolled; and c) have a financial need and who show great promise. Also, this scholarship may be renewed provided the recipient meets the minimum academic standards as determined by the college president.
Students applying for this scholarship will use the application for the MSCSA Leadership Scholarship and the accompanying process for submission.
Stay tuned to hear more next month on another new scholarship given to MSCSA from the MnSCU Foundation and updates on the scholarship application process.
Will your campus become a Star Campus this year?
You may be asking yourself, “What is Star Campus?” Star Campus is a program that rewards the most active campuses for striving to best represent their constituencies. The Star Campus program has a set of 12 criteria that you must complete 10 of to become awarded the honor. Winning campuses of the Star Campus program will be awarded prizes that will give them resources to become even more effective as student advocates!
For more information, please contact Public Relations Coordinator Austin Ruport at (651) 203-9457 orprc@mscsa.org.
 

2015-16 MSCSA/MnSCU Leadership Opportunities

We are looking for students to serve and take the next step in their leadership journey. There are opportunities on both MSCSA internal committees and Minnesota State system-wide committee. If you are interested in representing students on any of the following committees, please write a letter of intent and email it to President Kevin Parker at pres@mscsa.org by Saturday, September 12, 2015 by 8:00 pm. Letters will not be accepted after this time. Letters of intent should include why you wish to serve on that particular committee and any skills or experience you have that will qualify you for the position. President Kevin Parker will announce who has been selected at the Governing Council meeting on Sunday, September 13.
Internal MSCSA committees are:
  • Diversity Committee
  • Penny Fellowship Board
  • Steering Committee
  • Fiscal Committee
  • Communications Advisory Team (CAT)

MnSCU system-wide committees are:

  • Student Diversity Task Force
  • Technology Council
  • Textbook Affordability Workgroup
  • Coordination Committee
Download the 2015-16 Leadership Opportunities packet for committee descriptions, time commitments, number of seats available, and more!
Don't forget, your campus can earn a Star Campus point just for applying to serve on a MSCSA internal committee.
If you have any questions about these leadership opportunities, please contact President Kevin Parker at (651) 203-9460 or pres@mscsa.org

PRC Austin Ruport speaks on PSEO with Senator
Al Franken

AustinRuport AlFranken PressConference
On July 20th, 2015 Public Relations Coordinator Austin Ruport was one of three individuals invited to speak at a press conference with Senator Al Franken. Austin Ruport spoke about his amazing opportunity as a PSEO student, and how he gained a substantial education at Rainy River Community College as a high school senior. He is honored that he was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of PSEO students in Minnesota for the No Child Left Behind Act, and thanks Senator Al Franken for all his dedicated work to better education for all.

Charting our Future in MnSCU's Charting the Future

CTF is moving to a campus-based process. That means that campuses will begin meeting soon to hammer out details of how they implement CTF recommendations on their campus.
In the 200-page recommendation packet, six areas jumped out as areas that MSCSA can get excited about: advising, affordability, diversity, workplace solutions, and technology. Summaries of the major recommendations in these five areas are in the CTF presentation that was shown at the 2015 Presidents' Retreat on August 12-14.

Making an Impact on Hunger

This month, the entire MSCSA staff and cabinet dedicated an afternoon to volunteer at the leading hunger relief organization in the Upper Midwest, Second Harvest Heartland. According to Second Harvest Heartland, approximately 1 in 10 households in our region are affected by hunger. That’s why their staff work each day, and rely on volunteers like us, to repackage and distribute food for those in need.

MSCSA was one of three organizations who donated their time that afternoon to package food. The staff and cabinet were divided into different groups and were tasked with packaging as much food as they could in a two and a half hour shift. In the end, we were able to package 11,692 pounds of donated Kellogg's Mini Fudge Stripes cookies.
If you have interest in volunteering with Second Harvest Heartland, please visit www.2harvest.org/get-involved/volunteer and stay tuned for more MSCSA volunteer events.

Get to know our new staff

BeccaBranumDirector of Policy Becca Branum
Q: Tell us about your work experience and educational background.
A: I graduated from Boston University with a BA in economics and earned my JD from the University of Minnesota Law School. Prior to joining MSCSA, I worked as a Research Associate at the Consortium on Law & Values at the University of Minnesota, focusing on policy analysis and development with regard to law, privacy, and ethics in medical research. I have prior history working in legislative policy and politics – first as an Intern for former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and most recently as a Judiciary Committee Law Clerk for U.S. Senator Al Franken. I wear my “policy nerd” badge with pride and I am thrilled to be pursuing my passion here at MSCSA.
Q: What interested you in working for MSCSA?
A: Higher education faces extraordinary policy challenges. As Director of Policy with MSCSA, I have the opportunity to work with students and empower them to meaningfully address these challenges while utilizing my legal and policy analysis skills. Applying my experience and skills on issues about which I care deeply – you couldn’t ask for a better job!
Q: What are some of the things that you have been working on and are excited to work on in the future?
A: To date, I have focused on Charting the Future and working with staff and students to identify policy priorities to serve the best interests of two-year college students state-wide. I am looking forward to the October Leadership Summit and to meeting more students so I can hear their concerns.
Q: What interests do you have outside of work?
A: Most of my time is spent with my software engineer husband and our sizable “furmily” – Coconut the Pomeranian, Jaws the Corgi, and our cats Fizz & Ruby. When I’m not pet wrangling, I am an avid reader, political gossip hound, and Green Bay Packer enthusiast.
EricHighers
Director of Programs and Events Eric Highers
Q: Tell us about your work experience and educational background.
A: I come to MSCSA after working as an Office Manager for Grassroots Solutions, an awesome consulting firm that specialized in grassroots organizing and engagement. Prior to that I was working with PFund Foundation as the Regional Fellow and Public Ally (as part of the AmeriCorp funded program, Public Allies) to implement a field assessment of the Upper Midwest Region's LGBTQ movement infrastructure, with the aim to help PFund become more responsive as a small community foundation and to energize the movement during the process. Before moving to Minneapolis I was working in Chicago, IL for an educational nonprofit called the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture as their LearnCHICAGO Program Coordinator, where I helped plan, coordinate, and execute short-term programs that connected students to resources in the city to expand their own understanding of their academic interests. I graduated from Albion College, in 2012 with a BA in Sociology, Anthropology and Ethnic Studies. While there I was heavily involved with community organizing around issues pertaining to students of color, LGBTQ students and around the Ethnic Studies department. During my undergrad, I also worked for the Office of Intercultural Affairs and completed an internship for an HIV/STI prevention clinic in Chicago called Vida/SIDA, that focused primarily on supporting LGBTQ Latin@s. Throughout all of these experiences I developed important skills around event planning, educational programs, and community organizing.
Q: What interested you in working for MSCSA?
A: I was deeply captured by the mission of the organization, which is ultimately to advocate for the collective interests of students in higher education at 2-year institutions. Thus, the idea of galvanizing student leaders to advance progress on key issues and to support them in building upon their leadership skills in the process sounded exciting! Through the history of key wins at MSCSA, its been clear that students can affect the change they want to see, and I'm looking forward to this unique professional experience.
Q: What are some of the things that you have been working on and are excited to work on in the future?
A: I'm excited to work on our conferences for the year and not only provide students with quality programming and workshops, but to create spaces for students to feel empowered! It seems the conferences are key places for students to begin considering the impact and issues they face as growing student leaders so I look forward to working with students to explore new ideas and concepts and to introduce new ideas of what leadership can look like! Its also been made very clear that diversity and inclusion are major issues that students want to address in their conference programming. I look forward to thinking through and brining in workshops that help students navigate those tough questions they'll have to consider.
Q: What interests do you have outside of work?
A: I have so many interests! I write and perform as a spoken word artist, I ride my bike everywhere in the cities, I enjoy gardening, and I love, love, love reading- which includes everything from awesome blogs, creative literature, and dense academic texts. I'm a giant nerd and I don't think that will ever change! I also love to exercise- it's the best way to keep myself mentally sane and still feel physically balanced. I enjoy exploring new vegan meals with my friends and I love to dance. Most importantly I spend my time with my friends and community in South Minneapolis thinking, planning and implementing new ways of trying to make our world a better place. The best change we can make is often at the local level, so most of my time is spent thinking about that, or trying to find that inspiration in the art around me.
 
 
 
 

President Schoonmaker's farewell, adventures in Charting the Future, new scholarships, and more...

Check out what MSCSA has been up to this last month in the Association Update!
Check out what MSCSA has been up to this last month!
 
 
Join us at the 16th annual Scholarship Golf Classic!
Date: June 25, 2015
Location: The Refuge Golf Club, Oak Grove, MN
Don’t miss out on the 16th annual Scholarship Golf Classic! Registration has been extended to Monday, June 22. Join us at the Refuge Golf Club on Thursday, June 25 and spend the afternoon swinging for scholarships! 

We did it!
Check out the video below to learn about the triumphs and victories that were made during the 2015 legislative session and what that means for Minnesota's community and technical college students.
 
Special Session Update
Legislators met in a one-day special session to finalize portions of the state budget that were not agreed upon at the end of the regular session, as well as a bonding bill. This special session was historic as it is believed to be one of the only times that the legislature has met outside the Capitol chambers. The meetings were held in the State Office Building due to Capitol construction that has the entire building closed.
During the daylong session that lasted into the early morning hours, budget bills for E-12 education, Jobs and Economic Development, and Agriculture and the Environment were passed. There was also agreement on a bonding bill that spent a total of $373 million on project across the state. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities received a total of $31.9 million in projects with $21.2 being funded by the state.
The special session agreement has a full breakdown of the projects included in the bill.

 
Saving with Scholarships
Three of the MnSCU Foundation's endowed scholarships have been transferred to MSCSA.
John Kenneth Niemi Memorial Tool Fund: Provides funds for tool purchases required to complete a technical course of study
Morrie Anderson Award: Provides scholarship support to students enrolled in a technical program at one of the MnSCU technical or other consolidated colleges
Irja Pratt Sundgren Scholarship: Provides scholarship opportunities for students attending one of the five colleges within the Northeast Higher Education District
Stay tuned next month to learn more about each of these scholarships and how the transfer to MSCSA occurred.

A Final Farewell from President Schoonmaker

About three years ago, I found myself mystified by the Itasca Community College Student Senate, where it all started. As I led our campus to success in Get Out The Vote, MSCSA Rally Day, and many campus initiatives, something awoke in me that had been sleeping for quite some time. I was hungry for more. Which brings me to today, as I type my last article for the association as it’s President, it feels immensely bittersweet. I have become part of a loving and supportive family, and I have learned and grown more than I ever could have imagined I would. I know that some of you reading this may be making a transition in your lives as well, and I want to share some parting words about change. When I walked into the Student Senate office for the first time, I was skeptical. When I ran for Vice President of MSCSA, I was scared, but I did it anyway. I stepped out of my comfort zone, out of my “routine,” and I was rewarded with the best years of my life. (So far!) As I make my transition to Bemidji State University, while sad to be leaving, I am so thrilled to see what comes next, because change really is a beautiful thing. It keeps us going. It brings us even higher. It makes life fun. And yes, it can be terrifying. But if I had never faced my fears of public speaking and ran for Vice President, how different my life would have been. Three years ago, back at Itasca, I never would have predicted myself here now. As I look back, however, it all makes sense. I want to express my gratitude to the students of Minnesota for taking a chance on me, and to the staff of MSCSA for supporting me, mentoring me, and inspiring me.
I leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs that has helped me embrace life’s constant changes. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”
This is President Schoonmaker, signing off.
Read Kayley's farewell to the MnSCU Board of Tustees.

3rd Annual Great MSCSA Get-Together a Success!

Despite the rainy weather, over 100 people from our MSCSA family joined us and attended the 2015 Great MSCSA Get-Together. It was a spectacular celebration with students, alumni, friends, and family at the MSCSA office to celebrate our year and enjoy the afternoon together. Mini golf, dodge ball, and water balloons contributed to the success of this awesome event. Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us and we hope to see you all at the next Great MSCSA Get-Together! Tentatively mark your calendars for Saturday, June 4, 2016!
 
 

 

MSCSA Sponsors the MSUSA Penny Golf Scramble

 
MSCSA recently had the exciting opportunity to help sponsor the 2015 Penny Golf Scramble, hosted by the Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA). The day was filled with sunshine, laughter, and folks excited to help students succeed. Our own Director of Government Relations, Jason Fossum, was a member of the winning team! 
Although Mr. Fossum is an awesome golfer, the real winners are the MnSCU students who receive the opportunity to be recognized with either the Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship or the Timothy J. Penny Federal Fellowship. Events and opportunities like the Penny Program remind us how important it is to be grateful for what we have and willing to give back when we can.

Get to know Development Assistant Joyce Petsch

JoycePetsch HeadshotQ: Tell us about your work experience and educational background.
 
A: I worked for the state of Minnesota from 1971 until 2011 - 40 years, working in the Department of Agriculture, Public Utilities Commission, and Telecommunications before beginning the last 21 years in higher education. During those years, I worked at Metropolitan State University, Minnesota State University System, and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. My positions included working with several commissioners, but mainly in advancement and development areas.
Q: What interested you in working for MSCSA?
A: While working at MnSCU, one of my responsibilities was the administrative assistant to the MnSCU Foundation. Its purpose was to raise funds for student scholarships and programs. When the MnSCU Foundation dissolved this year, it had transferred several of the scholarships to MSCSA which were designated specifically for the two-year college students. I love being given the opportunity to roll out these funds and to once again work with students.
Q: What are some of the things that you have been working on and are excited to work on in the future?
A: I have been working with the donors of the scholarship funds to maintain our relationship with them to ensure their scholarships will be distributed. I'm excited to meet more students, distribute more scholarships, and attend the annual Scholarship Gala in January.
Q: What interests do you have outside of work?
A: I love running, biking, swimming, and have participated in several sprint triathlons. I also love gardening and traveling.

The Adventure of Charting a Better Future for Students

Come one, come all as we tell you the tale, of the long awaited adventure called Charting the Future. Together we set sail three years ago to chart our future, and we have come a long way since that first day. What started out as an idea with a lot of unknowns, transformed into six recommendations for us to consider.
Eight teams were formed, and over the last two years, we have charted unknown territories to create initiatives that will lead to the glorious buried treasure that is a better higher education system for students. As with all adventures, we sailed through some rough seas, but each crew came together to create a map to the treasure. As the crews worked tirelessly towards finding the prize, a common theme came to light: collaboration. Each crewmember on each team had their voices, thoughts, and concerns heard. Now each crew is about to complete their plan and dock their ship for the last time.
The future of Charting the Future is in our hands, as it leaves the crews and travels to campuses and regions across the state. Each of the plans from the eight teams will be published during the month of July and will start to be discussed between the different constituents. Each campus will have a crew of their own that will assist the president with starting to implement the different initiatives. These changes may take a bit of time, however the outcomes will be significant. As the new crews are formed and the plans implemented, the treasure of a better higher education system for students is within our reach!
While each story must ultimately come to an end, this one is not quite done yet. The crews gathered together for one final swashbuckling party to recognize and thank all members and the work that has been completed. There was even a Charting the Future recognition video at the event that featured several MSCSA students. With this final send off, it was time to head back to work and continue seeking that treasure!

 

What can we expect for Star Campus in 2015-16? 

Logo StarCampusStar Campus was an initiative created five years ago and has since become a unifying force at many of our campuses. The idea was that student senates who’ve demonstrated their commitment to the organization would easily be able to achieve Star Campus status and thus be rewarded with prizes that would give them resources to become even more effective as student advocates.
We anticipate that next year’s Star Campus program will experience the highest level of campus participation. The last two years have seen blockbuster numbers of Star Campus recipients andd we expect this trend to continue as campuses start to build upon years of prior success. New ways for students to monitor their progress and submit criteria will make Star Campus easier to participate in than ever before! This, coupled with a revamped marketing strategy, will help to keep our campuses motivated and engaged throughout the year. Students like to know what to expect and this will be reflected in a more consistent and clarified list of Star Campus criteria. You should begin to see some of the changes as the 2015-16 Star Campus program is rolled out in the coming months-so stay tuned!
Please feel free to send questions about the Star Campus program to prc@mscsa.org.
 
 
 

Students Applaud Legislative Leaders & Governor for Tuition Cut

For the first time in memory, students at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges will see tuition go down as a result of the higher education budget bill signed by the governor. The bill provides 100 million in funding to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system to freeze tuition in the first year of the biennium while providing a one percent reduction for college students in the second year, all the while maintaining the quality services and programs that are currently being offered. The higher education budget bill is a huge step toward making college affordable in Minnesota. 

“Students at Minnesota’s public community and technical colleges will see much needed relief from increasing tuition costs thanks to the leadership of state legislators and Governor Mark Dayton,” said Kayley Schoonmaker, President of the MSCSA. “These leaders, along with many other legislators, have done a great thing for students by providing lower tuition for all students and targeted aid to make college free for some.”

The Minnesota State College Student Association worked closely with two-year community and technical college students from all corners of the state to advocate for the tuition freeze and was thrilled when it was announced that the outcome was even more than students could have hoped for. MSCSA will continue to work to ensure accessible, quality, and affordable public higher education for all Minnesota students.

MSCSA sent a letter today thanking Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls), and Governor Mark Dayton for prioritizing college affordability while maintaining quality at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges. Below is the content of the letter.

 

Dear Governor Dayton, Senator Bonoff, and Representative Nornes,

On behalf of the nearly 200,000 community and technical college students across the state, I want to share my sincerest gratitude to each of you for the commitment you showed this session to the issues facing our students.

We’re grateful that each of you recognized the unique challenges our students and campuses face and addressed these head-on in the budget. Our students currently pay the third highest tuition and fees in the nation. By providing significant new funding to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system and directing those dollars toward controlling tuition, you have set us on a path out of the top 5 nationally in tuition and protected the quality programs offered that are key to meeting our state’s workforce needs.

As a result of the higher education bill this session, students at our campuses will, for the first time in memory, see a reduction in tuition costs. In fact, building off the work of the previous legislature’s tuition freeze, our students will see three straight years of flat tuition and a one percent reduction in FY17. Due to the leadership of elected officials like you, many of our students will graduate paying the same or less than they did when they started their higher education journey.

We’re also grateful that the bill included funding and language aimed at implementing new transfer pathways for students in the MnSCU system. We have seen other states undertake similar reform and students there have benefited greatly from the transparency and certainty these new pathways bring. We’re excited to be a part of this crucial reform that will allow students to graduate faster, with less debt, and will allow them to enter the workforce quicker. This is something that will be of great benefit to our local, regional, and statewide economy.

We’re also excited about the pilot program to provide tuition assistance to students entering certain technical programs. We have long believed that our technical programs offer great benefits to students and our state’s economy and believe this program is a great step in recognizing their value.

Once again, thank you for your commitment to students and higher education in Minnesota. The efforts you put in this session are invaluable and appreciated by students on our campuses.

Sincerely,

Kayley Schoonmaker
MSCSA President

A victorious close to the 2015 legislative session!

The regular state legislative session concluded last week with a flurry of action around the state budget and other important issues. As the legislature and governor negotiated an agreement around state spending, one budget bill that was wrapped up and signed into law was around higher education appropriations.

Minnesota's community and technical college students had a truly remarkable session. This is thanks to the work of the many students who came to the MSCSA's advocacy day, testified at hearings, met with legislators throughout the session, or participated in other events.

The final higher education budget bill included many provisions that directly and postively impact students on our campuses. Some of the highlights include:

  • $100 million in new base funding for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. This was 70 percent of the funding requested by the Board of Trustees and is a significant investment of new funding.
  • Language freezing tuition in the first year of the biennium and reducing it by 1% in the second year at all MnSCU community and technical colleges. This is the first time in memory that students will actually see a decrease in tuition costs. This is a historic and amazing step in addressing the need for affordable and accessible two year colleges.
  • Language directing the creation of new transfer pathways that will bring clarity and simplicity to the credit transfer for students moving from a MnSCU college to a system university. The new pathways will require students to stay on path toward graduation, but will also guarantee them timely graduation if they do. Implementation of these new pathways was a top priority for MSCSA and we're thrilled at its inclusion into the bill. 
  • An increase of approximately $900 in the Living and Miscellaneous Expenses Allowance (LME) in the state grant program calculation. This was another top priority for MSCSA. 
  • A pilot program aimed at providing grants to Minnesota high school graduates who move into certain technical programs the semester following their graduation from secondary education. This program is a last dollar scholarship, meaning it will cover unmet need for a student after federal and state financial is figured in and includes requirements that students receiving a grant receive mandatory mentoring as they progress through their program. The program is funded at $5 million in FY17 and funding moves through into FY18. 
  • Language aimed at making different mechanisms for developmental education available to students.

Once again, we'd like to thank students across Minnesota who contributed to the success of this legislative session. If you have questions around the bill or the session in general, please contact the MSCSA office at 651-297-5877.

MSCSA announces Executive Director Mike Dean

MikeDean HeadshotDear MSCSA Students, Alumni, and Friends,

I am pleased to announce the new executive director of the Minnesota State College Student Association, Mike Dean.
The MSCSA staff, cabinet, and governing council are very excited about Mike's experience as a nonprofit leader and a higher education advocate. He comes to MSCSA with experience in management, fundraising, and public relations.

Mike is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in political science and international relations. Prior to joining the MSCSA, Mike rebuilt the Minnesota chapter of Common Cause as a leading advocate for open and accountable government. During his tenure, Mike played a huge role in limiting the influence of political spending after the US Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

Mike also brings years of experience working with higher education institutions in advocating for state support of higher education. While working for the University of Minnesota, Mike helped craft the grassroots strategy that resulted in the passing of the University of Minnesota stadium bill.

I am excited about the passion and vision that Mike will bring to the MSCSA as we develop the next generation of leaders in Minnesota and advocate for all Minnesotan's right to accessible, quality, and affordable public higher education. Please join me in welcoming Mike Dean to our organization at The Great MSCSA Get-Together on Saturday, June 13. You can read more about Mike and his background below.

Sincerely,
Kayley Schoonmaker
MSCSA President

 

Learn more about Mike!

Tell us about your work experience and educational background.

My career has been at the intersection of the non-profit and higher education sectors, as I have helped both build grassroots movements that bring about transformational change. I have years of experience working in higher education by helping institutions like MnSCU, the State University System of New York, and University of Minnesota build effective advocacy programs to garner adequate state support. While working for the University of Minnesota, I managed a grassroots advocacy strategy which sent over 15,000 letters to legislators in support of the UM Gopher Football Stadium. This advocacy was pivotal in convincing elected officials to support public funding for the stadium.

More recently, I was the executive director of Common Cause Minnesota, a citizens advocacy organization that empowers citizens to take a more active role in the democratic process. During my tenure, I helped rebuild the state organization into a powerful advocate for good government in Minnesota by bringing greater disclosure to political spending in Minnesota, ensuring oversight to the recount and redistricting process, and urging the governor to reopen the capitol when it was closed during the government shutdown.


What interested you in working for MSCSA?

Over 15 years ago, I was a student leader at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working to keep tuition affordable and empower students to have their voice heard. The life lessons and friendships that I made as a student leader had a huge impact on my life. I was able to gain so much from that experience as a result of the amazing staff that I worked with as a student leader. It was their mentorship and passion for helping others that helped shape who I am today.

I am excited about working for MSCSA because I want mentor the next generation of civic and business leaders in Minnesota. It is my way to give back to all those that have mentored me over the years.


What are some of the things that you have been working on and are excited to work on in the future?

I am excited about ensuring that every Minnesotan has a fundamental right a quality education that extends from preschool to community college. For Minnesota to compete in the global economy, we need to make sure that Community Colleges are free to all those that choose to attend. This will be critical in creating opportunities for every Minnesotan.

I want to help the MSCSA build a movement that guarantees every Minnesotan's right to attend a high quality community college for free.


What interests do you have outside of work?

I am an avid marathon runner that is always looking for a good place to run. This spring I completed my first Boston Marathon.


What is your favorite quote?

"If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them." - Sen. Paul Wellstone


How can people contact you?

You can email me at mdean@mscsa.org or call me anytime at 651-203-9454. You can also follow me on Twitter @MDean_MSCSA. I look forward to connecting with you all. If you are free on Saturday, June 13, come say hello and introduce yourself at The Great MSCSA Get-Together!

Photos


Happening on Twitter