Monday, May 24, 2010

Penny Program Spring 2010 Award Winners

The Penny Program is a fellowship and scholarship program for Minnesota State College and University students participating in public service internships and for those committed to community service. It has been a program of the Minnesota State University Student Association since 1987. Congratulations to our Spring 2010 award winners!

Spring 2010 Award Winners

William Rohla
Award: $5,000 Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship
Internship: Senator Kent Conrad; Washington, D.C.
University: Minnesota State University Moorhead
Major: Political Science
Minor: Philosophy

"My goals for this internship would be to provide all the best information to my Senator and his staff as possible. I plan to be hardworking, honest and prompt in all of my work. I also hope to gain important insight into the legislative process and experience first hand the impact that key legislation has on my community and country. I also hope to learn important information about legislation that effects students. First and foremost, I want to be a successful intern with a great work ethic for my Senator and his staff."

John Parro
Award: $2,500 Timothy J. Penny State Public Service Fellowship
Internship: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Woodbury, MN Office
University: St. Cloud State University
Major: Public Administration

"The feeling of fulfillment I get from being involved with both University and community issues is immense. The most rewarding part of being involved is to see that one person really can make a big difference. In the near future, I plan to continue my involvement within my student organizations that provide community and University outreach. In my more distant future, I plan to continue my involvement primarily by providing service with the federal government. My desire to become a part of the U.S. government comes from my previous experience in seeing what a big difference I can make as long as I am dedicated."

Shanna Decker
Award: $1,500 Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship
University: Winona State University
Major: Business Administration, Management of Information Systems

"Eleven years ago, at the age of seven, my life changed forever when I was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer. This life changing event proved to be one of the most challenging events in my life, but would also serve to shape my future."
"For the past eleven years, I've had the privilege of mentoring, supporting, and personally visiting cancer patients and amputees, from across the nation and around the world, as they undergo treatments and/or recover from limb loss.
"In early 2007 our family had the opportunity to co-found a new non-profit organization called "Brighter Tomorrows." Brighter Tomorrows serves as an outreach to families touched by childhood cancer."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Penny Program Hiring Development Intern

The Penny Program, operated through the Minnesota State University Student Association, would like to invite candidates to apply for the position of Development Intern.

Please send a cover letter and resume to Kari Winter at to apply. Please note in the cover letter if you would like to intern July 2010 - December 2010 or July 2010 - June 2011.

Interns are asked to work 400 hours in a 6 month period, mostly from the MSUSA Office in Saint Paul. The intern will be paid $3000 per 400 hours.

The application due date is Wednesday, June 9th, 2010. The internship description will provide more information regarding the intern duties. For more information about the Penny Program, please visit

MSUSA and MSCSA Release Student Transfer Survey Report

I'm happy to announce that MSUSA and MSCSA (the Minnesota State College Student Association) released our Student Transfer Survey report this morning. Last fall, MSUSA committed to joining MSCSA in learning more about credit transfer in the MnSCU system. In January, we worked with MnSCU's Office of the Chancellor to send out a survey to almost 10,000 transfer students. More than 1,000 students responded to the survey to tell us about their experiences with transfer, including the type of credits they attempted to transfer, whether they sought advice/resources and when, whether they knew about the appeals process, and whether they were satisfied with their transfer experience.

We then worked with the MnSCU Office of Internal Auditing to compare our survey findings with their quantitative analysis of credit transfer and joined together to propose recommendations to improve credit transfer to the MnSCU Board of Trustees today. The board discussed and supported our recommendations, and we look forward to working with the board, the Office of the Chancellor and campuses to implement them.

The student transfer survey report is the culmination of many months of work on this issue. The two student associations have never worked with the Office of the Chancellor to survey students in this way, and I believe that our joint recommendations will allow us to improve students' credit transfer experiences in the future.

As always, if you are a student who has had problems with credit transfer at your college or university in the MnSCU system, please contact me at for information about what you can do, or ask on your campus about the appeals process.

A copy of the full report is available by clicking here.

In addition, the executive summary of the report is below:

Executive Summary

Transfer of credit between colleges and universities in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system is an issue that precedes the system itself. Creation of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) was a significant step in 1994 toward easing credit transfer for students attending state colleges and universities. However, whether reflective of changing need, an increase in credit transfer or changing student expectations, the issue of easy-to-navigate transfer of credits among MnSCU institutions has again become visible.

After a recent increase of expressed concern among students, the Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) and the Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) approached the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), Office of the Chancellor to conduct a comprehensive survey of transfer students to determine what barriers might hinder seamless transfer.

Key Findings:
•Although a majority of respondents rated their transfer experience positively, one-third rated the experience as fair or poor.
•A large majority of respondents indicated that their transfer experience met or exceeded their expectations, but one-fourth said it did not meet their expectations, regardless of whether they were transferring Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) credits or program/major credits.
•By far, the most common type of credits respondents reported transferring were within the MnTC, followed by major or program credits.
•A significant number of respondents did not seek advice in the transfer process.
•Many respondents planned for transfer too late in the process to make good decisions.
•While a large number of respondents used online resources in their transfer planning, they are much more likely to use institution websites than system online resources.
•Although a high number of credits are accepted in transfer, there may be a disconnect between the way credits sometimes transfer and the way students expect them to transfer.
•Many respondents who were not able to transfer credits as they expected reported that credits were accepted as electives rather than as intended major requirements.
•The majority of respondents are unaware that an appeals process exists for transfer decisions.
•For the few respondents who appealed when courses did not transfer, a high number of them had some or all credits accepted upon appeal.

Summary of Recommendations:
•Develop uniform and on-going education for staff who train advisors
•Clarify the use of syllabi, course outlines, or other course equivalency documents
•Review messaging around effective transfer within the MnSCU system and elsewhere
•Improve marketing of electronic planning tools and provide better student training in the use of these tools in transfer planning
•Explore barriers to credit transfer that result in appealed transfer credits that were initially rejected
•Work to advise students of the appeals process, and monitor appeals and their results at the system level to help identify future issues
•Increase central office staff to more adequately meet transfer goals
•Assure accuracy of and compliance with equivalency data in electronic tools
•Evaluate the complexity of the current transfer system and engage in ongoing improvement
•Engage in a study session on transfer mechanisms nationally, and review models that could be used in Minnesota
•Implement systematic monitoring of transfer data as a part of the Board of Trustees’ annual work plan
•Include a measure of transfer on the system’s accountability dashboard

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship - Award Winner Announced!

The Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship Advisory Board would like to congratulate Cheree Johnson, a student at Bemidji State University, for being chosen as the Spring 2010 award winner! Cheree is the first student to receive this scholarship and will be given $500 to help cover the cost of her textbooks.

Cheree is a sophomore, majoring in Marketing Communication. She believes, "Leadership is more than just knowing how to guide people. A true leader has courage, strength during adversity, and hope for the future." Each applicant is asked to describe what kind of drink they would be at a coffee shop and why (since Jared was such an avid mocha drinker). Her answer is attached!

In November of 2007, the Minnesota State University Student Association lost a highly valued student leader. Jared Paul Stene led his peers in advocacy for public higher education and was able to make a real and lasting impact during the all too short time he had here with us.

In an effort to recognize his leadership, the MSUSA Board of Directors felt it was important to honor Jared's hard work and commitment by creating a scholarship in his name. The Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship is a way to honor the phenomenal accomplishments Jared had, and to carry forward Jared's belief in opportunity for all who wished to pursue higher education. This scholarship will be awarded to students who share Jared's leadership and passion for student advocacy. The financial support will assist students in continuing to lead others at a time when tuition continues to rise.


The Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship Advisory Board

If you would like to donate to the Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship please click here!

Monday, May 3, 2010

MSUSA Alumni Association Update - April 2010

Congratulations to all of the Spring 2010 graduates! We hope you'll become involved with the MSUSA Alumni Association!

Spring BBQ and St. Paul Saints Game
The Alumni Association Board would like to invite MSUSA alumni and their families to help us welcome new graduates to the Alumni Association. MSUSA Alumni will be gathering on Saturday, May 15th at 5:00 to tailgate before the St. Paul Saints game at 7:05 p.m. Food will be provided by the Alumni Association. Tickets to the game are $8.00.

RSVP to Kari Winter at 651-224-1518 or by email before noon on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 if you would like to get tickets in the stadium near the other alumni. RSVP anytime prior to May 15th for tailgating.

Chair Applications Currently Being Accepted
The Alumni Association Board has extended it's deadline to receive applications for Chair of the Alumni Association Board until June 2010. Applications can be downloaded here and sent to Dusty Finke, Alumni Association Secretary/Treasurer.

MSUSA Alumni, Jason Fossum, hired as new Executive Director

Jason attended Winona State University where he received a bachelor of science degree in Public Administration. While in school, Jason was involved with MSUSA as a board director. Previous work in the non-profit and political sphere includes: serving as the director of government relations with the Minnesota State College Student Association and doing research at the Minnesota House of Representatives. We look forward to working with Jason in the future!

Kelly Asche, Executive Director, Leaves MSUSA
We would like to thank Kelly for his four years of dedication to MSUSA. Best of luck to him as he begins graduate school at the Humphrey Institute in the fall.

Wine Tasting to Benefit Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship
On Sunday, May 16th, Solo Vino Wines in Saint Paul will be holding it's 2nd Annual Rose Wine Tasting. A portion of the ticket price will be donated to the JPS Scholarship! You can purchase your $25 ticket at Purchase tickets soon because they will sell out!

Register Now for the Penny Golf Scramble
Join us on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 at The Jewel Golf Club in Lake City, MN for the 17th Annual Penny Golf Scramble. Shotgun start will begin at 12:00 p.m. followed by a steak dinner and raffle. New this year will be a training clinic taught by the golf club pros from 2:00-4:00. The training clinic will cover all aspects of the game for new golfers. Click here to see a list of raffle items. Past MSUSA Boards and campus delegations are invited to form teams and become a sponsor! Registration forms can be downloaded here.

MSUSA Elects New Officers
MSUSA students elected new officers in April for the 2010-2011 academic year. The new state chair will be Andrew Spaeth currently serves as the Bemidji State University student body Co-President and as a member of the MSUSA Board of Directors. The new vice chair Caitlin Stene serves as the Winona State University student body President and is a member of the MSUSA Board of Directors. Students will be completing the Treasurer election at the next Delegates Assembly. The new officers will begin their terms on July 1, 2010.