Legislative Update: January 25, 2019

The House Higher Education Finance and Policy committee heard from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College President Stephanie Hammitt, Dean of Student Services Anita Hanson, and Dr. Robert Peacock, Fond du Lac Tribal College Director, on Wednesday about the mission, vision and core values of the college.

President Hammitt shared with committee members about what makes the college unique. Hammitt said that Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College is the only tribal and state community college in the country and is the first Tribal College in Minnesota. The college is a member of both Minnesota State and American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) with World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) accreditation. Fond du Lac is also the only community college approved by the Legislature to offer a four-year baccalaureate degree.

Some of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College’s attributes shared with the committee members include 76 percent of the college’s undergraduates in fiscal year 2018 were classified as underrepresented, meaning students were either non-white, or Pell eligible, or first generation. The college’s underrepresented population is 23 percent higher than the Minnesota State system.

The committee also heard from Minnesota State faculty organizations, IFO and MSCF. Inter Faculty Organization (IFO) President Brent Jeffers, a faculty member at Southwest Minnesota State University, shared with committee members that the Minnesota State universities are places of hope and opportunity. Jeffers said the IFO supports efforts that prepare students for life and are responsible for excellent and accessible education in Minnesota. He said the IFO is concerned with the budget constraints on campuses, but is committed to partnering with the committee to make students and campuses successful.

Minnesota State College Faculty (MSCF) Vice President Matt Williams, a faculty member at Inver Hills Community College, told the committee that MSCF is proud to work in open access institutions where everyone is welcome. Williams spoke about the challenges students face, and said they can become barriers to achieve success as a college student. He talked about the importance of student services for all students.

There is not a lot of legislative activity in St. Paul today. The Senate E-12 Finance and Policy committee will meet this morning at 9:30 to talk about the P-TECH School Model, a new six-year public school model focused on STEM fields and career and technical education. If interested, you may view that hearing at Senate Media Services.

Another reminder to mark your calendars and join us for Minnesota State Day at the Capitol Tuesday, January 29, 2:30-4:00 p.m. in the State Capitol Rotunda. Minnesota State’s 30 state colleges and seven state universities will be at the Capitol to share student and campus stories with legislators and the public.

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