SaintsRiseUp Safe Return | Campus Updates

Apr. 30 Safe Return update

Safe Return

Safe Return

Dear Colleagues,

Over 1.8 million Minnesotans have been fully vaccinated as of today. As we reflect back to where our regional and national communities were even six months ago, this is incredibly uplifting news. Together, we are working towards protecting ourselves, our loved ones and seeing an end to the pandemic. Our State's growing population of vaccinated folks is especially inspiring as we look to a safe, successful fall semester. 

The College continues to encourage all of our eligible community members to receive their COVID-19 vaccine as an act of charity for the safety and protection of others. The vaccine is free, tested and highly effective in preventing COVID-19. Resoundingly, we know that our students and employees are eager to resume "normal" campus operations; having a high rate vaccination protection in our community is a crucial step in this journey.

Despite the promising numbers, in the past couple of weeks we have heard from St. Louis County that vaccination rates are slowing significantly. We also acknowledge that there might be anxiety or hesitancy in receiving the vaccine, or even personal reasons for not wanting to get vaccinated. We respect all peoples' positions while at the same time want to provide factual information to relieve and inform you, especially after the recent pause in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The health of our Community depends upon our ability to fully fight this virus. As a learning community, we recommend checking out the following resources to answer common questions you might have and to address myths regarding the COVID-19 vaccine:

Thanks to everyone for your continued, tireless efforts in keeping our Saints community safe!

St. Scholastica in the news
Student Health Service Manager Christine Sandal was featured in a Duluth News Tribune piece on Tuesday speaking about the College's on-campus vaccine clinic. During April 7-12, Christine and her amazing team administered about 200 doses to our Duluth Campus residential students - quite a feat!

Additionally, Wellness Coordinator Julie Zaruba-Fountaine and Dean of Students Megan Perry-Spears were highlighted for their work tackling COVID fatigue on college campuses, and how institutions can better support their students. Our thanks to Julie and Megan for their efforts and collaboration!

COVID-19 event guide and FAQs
The Scheduling Committee has been navigating the safety for both internal and external events during the pandemic. Under the guidance of this group, an excellent COVID-safe process has been established to ensure safe protocols are in place for facility use for events. Because of their great work, the College has been able to host concerts, dance groups, ceremonies, guest speakers and more. The process for reserving space on campus and submitting a COVID-19 Safety Plan will remain through summer and into fall.

The Scheduling Committee will continue to review events for approval and serve as a resource for planning, including COVID-19 safety protocols. To better serve everyone planning an event, a new event guide and FAQ for event guests has been created and will be updated regularly as protocol changes. Click here to view. This event guide is also available on our website here.

School updates
We are pleased to welcome two new faculty in the School of Sciences:

  • Taylor Hazelbaker, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology; PhD from UCLA, BA from University of St. Thomas
  • Andrew Aebly, PhD, Assistant Professor of Chemistry; PhD from Montana State University, BS from St. John's University

Both will begin in August.

We are pleased to also announce the following faculty will be joining the School of Arts and Letters:

  • Andrew Taylor, PhD, Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies; PhD from University of Virginia, MA from Harvard University, BA from Guilford College
  • Richard Carrick, DMA (expected Spring 2021), Assistant Professor of Music; DMA from University of Washington, MM from University of Oregon, BA from California Polytechnic State University
  • Megan Fritts, PhD, Assistant Professor of Philosophy; PhD from University of Wisconsin - Madison, MA from University of Wisconsin - Madison, BA from University of Missouri - Kansas City

The Chemistry department had its virtual accreditation visit from the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday, April 26. This is the final step in the accreditation process for the Chemistry program. The visit went very well! We will find out the results sometime early in the fall.

The Physician Assistant Program is undergoing it's final provisional accreditation visit this week by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The College's PA program received "Accreditation Provisional" in 2017 as a new program of study, and now is completing this next important step of accreditation. We thank the faculty and staff team, as well as Kim Lakhan, Program Director, and Dean Bruce Loppnow for their leadership and thoroughness in preparing for this important milestone. 

Athletics updates
It's been a busy week for CSS athletics as many teams make their final push to secure top seeds for the UMAC playoffs.

Congratulations to the following individuals for their selection as UMAC Players of the Week: Toni Bishop (Softball Player of the Week), Olivia Howe (Softball Pitcher of the Week), Elliot Schneider (Men's Tennis Player of the Week), Morgan Friday (Women's Soccer Offensive Player of the Week) and Hannah Johnson (Women's Golf Player of the Week). 

The Women's and Men's Golf teams are currently competing at the UMAC Golf Championship in Becker, MN while Men's Tennis (8-4 overall/ 6-0 conference), Women's Tennis (5-5 overall/ 5-1 conference), Baseball (11-5 overall/ 7-3 conference), Softball (29-3 overall/ 12-0 conference), Men's Soccer (4-2 overall/ 4-2 conference) and Women's Soccer (6-0 overall/6-0 conference) all host contests this Saturday prior to UMAC championships slated to start next week. Track and Field are also preparing for the UMAC Championship scheduled for May 7-8.

Bede and Deans' Purchase Award Winners
Yesterday the Library presented two student awards as part of our annual Scholarship and Creative Arts Week. 

The winner of the 2021 Bede Award is Ashley Etter, for her paper Willing Paradise: Death, Desire, and Shame in Emily Dickinson's Poetry. Ashley's paper was submitted for an independent study course she took from Dr. Stephanie Johnson, titled "Emily Dickinson and the Body."

The Deans' Purchase Award winner is Duke Nguyen, for his piece Dazed, which is 18" x 24", oil on canvas. It will be installed in the School of Nursing. 

Please join me in congratulating Ashley and Duke for their achievements!

Chanty Armijo-Cruz named Newman Civic Fellow
Congratulations to Chanty Armijo-Cruz who is concluding her year-long program as a Newman Civic Fellow. Earlier this year, Chanty was chosen as one of 290 students nationwide to participate in this prestigious program, aimed at helping students develop strategies for social change. Steve Lyons and I were honored to present Chanty with a plaque, celebrating her leadership and commitment to activism! 

NACM survey results
We are excited to share some good news! This past year the College participated in the National Alumni Career Mobility (NACM) survey and we are pleased to share a few highlights. 

Alumni from our undergrad programs 5 and 10 years out were surveyed on a variety of topics including current employment status, satisfaction with their career preparation, impact of various campus activities on their career and the role that the Benedictine Values play in their lives. The results were positive, informative and reminders of the important role we play in preparing students for responsible living and meaningful work. We have much to be proud of - for example, 90% of our alums responded that they are satisfied with their career, well above our peers and the national rate! Additional highlights can be found here. We will be looking at ways we can share this story with our prospective students and alumni!

Thank you all for all the hard work underway as we wrap up the spring semester. Enjoy the weekend and stay safe!

Blessings, 
President McDonald