The College of St. Catherine became St. Catherine University on June 1, 2009.
GREEN LIVINGKaties' environmental initiatives take root and grow.
WANT PROOF that the Green Revolution has taken root at St. Kate's? Next time you're on campus, take a stroll past Fontbonne Hall and look up.
If the top of Fontbonne's solarium looks a little shaggy, that's the whole point. Last summer, a crew transformed it into an ecologically sustainable green roof, installing a special waterproof layer, then adding soil and native plants. Look for the roof, which thrived all summer and fall, to be alive and growing again come spring.
"Green roofs also reduce urban runoff," adds Swanson, now a graduate student in ecology at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. "With a traditional roof, after a heavy rain, the runoff runs over the asphalt shingles, down the gutters, across fertilized lawns and eventually into lakes and rivers." But plants on the roof collect most of the water, so any excess drains slowly.
The task force spearheaded the green roof project. The Student Senate allocated $15,000 for roofing membranes, planting materials, consulting and engineering fees, and various other costs. The task force also made funding requests to the Weekend College and Graduate Student boards which signed on with an additional $4,000 and $8,000, respectively.
Swanson and others who worked on the project are hopeful that once people understand the benefits, more campus buildings could sprout leafy green tops. "We hope this could be the start of something bigger," she says.
MLIS poised for accreditation
The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program is up for initial accreditation by the American Library Association (ALA), a status that, if granted as expected this winter, would make St. Kate's the only college in Minnesota offering the MLIS on its campus.
St. Kate's has offered its program in collaboration with ALA-accredited Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, since 1992. Other programs in the state are not ALA accredited and primarily are focused on meeting the Minnesota Department of Education school media specialist licensure, according to Mary M. Wagner, Ph.D., professor and MLIS program director, who adds that online programs are available nationwide. There are currently 240 to 250 students in St. Kate's program.
The proposed initial accreditation marks the culmination of five years of pre-candidacy and candidacy, during which the ALA put the program through rigorous review. "We've shaped and revised and created what we think needs to happen in the program to meet the standards," says Wagner. "It all culminated in October when we produced the program presentation: what we are, what we do and how all that meets the standards."
Once initial accreditation is achieved, says Wagner, the faculty will turn its attention to re-envisioning the curriculum. "Then we are free to create the kind of curriculum that our faculty here think is needed to put into practice."
For example, Dominican students currently have four courses required for the degree and eight electives. Wagner's team is looking at five, potentially six required courses and six electives.
"We're assessing position descriptions and we're beginning to see that what is currently covered in electives is now being asked of everybody," she says. "At the same time we have to look at what we can drop."
WHERE'S KATIE?Worldly women are studying abroad
This year, Katies are really out there — as in out in the world studying, learning about other cultures and generally expanding their horizons. Catherine Spaeth, the College's director of global studies, reports that in the winter semester of '09, 35 St. Kate's students will be studying abroad (four for the entire academic year); and 77 scholars left the United States during January term.
The school is now affiliated with more than 150 study programs in other countries. Spaeth, whose office helps negotiate and maintain those affiliations, says the number of Katies who choose to spend part of their college years abroad has doubled in the last decade. Now, 21 percent of students spend some time during their academic career studying in another country.
"Our College has a long history of making meaningful connections to the rest of the world," Spaeth says, "but interest in international study has grown significantly in recent years. Among our students today, there's a real awareness of internationalism, an acceptance of the importance of understanding other cultures."
This year the College is well represented around the globe, with students on most continents. For example:
Teaching TeachersBringing Engineering into the Elementary Classroom
With the State of Minnesota currently looking at standards for incorporating engineering into the elementary school curriculum, teachers already are concerned about how these standards are going to take shape. "There's a lot of fear and worry about this," says Rebecca Schatz, president and founder of The Works, a hands-on museum of engineering for children in Edina, Minnesota. "Suddenly all grade school teachers are going to have to do it."
So Schatz hooked up with the College of St. Catherine last fall to launch the state's first conference on integrating engineering in the elementary classroom. Scheduled for February 6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the conference is called "E4," or "Excellence in Elementary Engineering Education." More than 200 teachers, administrators, engineering professionals and civic leaders from all over the state are expected to attend. St. Kate's was a logical place to launch what Schatz hopes is an annual event. The College is a leading advocate of so-called "STEM" education — science, technology, engineering and math; it requires three STEM courses for education majors and offers a STEM minor.
To develop the conference program Schatz partnered with Yvonne Ng, director of the College's Center for Women, Science and Technology and an assistant professor of computer science. "We were looking for anyone doing anything good with elementary engineering in the state, and that process uncovered Yvonne," Schatz says. "I was so impressed with her and with the program at St. Kate's."
The conference promises that attendees will leave with information on new elementary engineering standards, knowledge of engineering and why it's important, activities for the classroom and ideas to integrate engineering into other subjects.
LEARN MORE @ theworks.org
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Latin Enjoys an Unexpected Surge
Celebrating 10 YEARS!St. Kate's nationally recognized Center for Sales Innovation celebrates its 10th anniversary this academic year. On November 20, center director Lynn Schleeter, left, gathered with representatives of partner companies for an executive breakfast in the President's Dining Room. Guests included Richard Blakeman, vice president of Miller Heiman.