Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Comments from the January meeting of the MnSCU Board of Trustees

This afternoon I testified to the MnSCU Board of Trustees on behalf of the state University students.  The President of the Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) and I have the opportunity at the monthly board meeting to address the board with any concerns we may have an update them on the work of our associations.

Below are the remarks I shared with the board:

"Good Afternoon Chair Theiss, Trustees and Chancellor Rosenstone, I am Amanda Bardonner, State Chair of the Minnesota State University Student Association.  Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
Earlier today you passed a new Strategic Framework for the system.   Though no one knows exactly what this framework will develop into, our association is excited to continue participating in the brainstorming process and developing a new “norm” for our students.  This new way of thinking rejuvenates the system, and signals new possibilities for our students to succeed.    

We have taken the opportunity to review the legislative report on credit transfer, and appreciate the system’s continued efforts to improve transfer at our colleges and universities.  It is important to note that although 91% of students do not experience credit loss due to transfer, there are still issues related to communication and process needing to be addressed.  Students outside of the 9% who experienced credit loss do experience problems related to communication and process issues, including those whose credits transfer as they should, but not as the student expected.  We believe the system is committed to continued work in these areas, and look forward to partnering in these efforts.
Another brief point I’d like to make with regard to transfer is about the focus on communication of the appeals process.  We agree that better communication to students about their right to appeal is important, and progress is being made in this area.  We hope, however, the system will also work to evaluate the reasons for the initial rejection of credit and make efforts to reduce the need for student appeals as a part of continuous improvement in the area of credit transfer.

This is an exciting time for MSUSA with not only the hiring of our new executive director but also the success of our initiatives.  Last semester, with the help of MSCSA we were able to collect over 4,000 student signatures in opposition to the proposed cuts to the Pell Grant, making this our largest push to date.  Though we were saved from cuts for the next year, the fight is not over.  We are now working to keep these students engaged by collecting their story of how the Pell Grant has helped them with their academic success.  We continue to educate students on the proposed Voter ID amendment and will launch a textbook survey to our students regarding the price of textbooks and evaluate if the legislation has made an impact. We will also work at the legislature to lobby for substantial HEAPR appropriations. 

I also have the pleasure today of introducing our new Executive Director, Elsbeth Howe.  Elsbeth spent 11 years with MSUSA before her time as the student senate advisor at MCTC and her most recent role as a legal instructor at Minneapolis Business College.  We are delighted to have Elsbeth back with the association and look forward to what is to come."

If you have any questions regarding the board meeting minutes or my testimony please contact me  at 

Amanda Bardonner
State Chair 
Minnesota State University Student Association

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