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The College of St. Scholastica

Dear Colleagues,

What an amazing homecoming we had last weekend, as we welcomed so many Saints! A talent show, the Prism Concert, Volleyball game, Football game, alumni gatherings, the CSS Hall of Fame Induction, Sunday Mass with Bishop Felton and the launch of our newly formed School Advisory Boards; we have much to be thankful for and celebrate. Congratulations to all who helped coordinate, orchestrate, lead and plan — it was a full weekend that clearly demonstrated our Benedictine values of hospitality and community.

This week’s update is full of important information to share with you, including news about CSS’s new health insurance plan and our holiday schedule.

COVID-19 updates and resources

The State continues to experience high transmission rates across all of its counties. From Oct. 6-20, Minnesota’s 18-24 age population saw an increase of approximately 3,000 new cases. While we have much to be proud of regarding our campus’ mitigation measures, we know that masking and the COVID-19 vaccine remain our best tools in preventing spread among students and employees.

Thank you for doing your part to mask up (on and off-campus!), and thank you to everyone who has submitted their COVID-19 Vaccination Attestation form to date. Please don’t forget, all employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22. If you elect not to become vaccinated, you must present a negative COVID-19 test weekly to Human Resources beginning the week of Monday, Nov. 15.

Two other important updates shared on behalf of MDH/CDC:

  • The CDC has recently modified their testing/close contact guidelines for fully vaccinated people. If you are fully vaccinated and have been exposed to a positive case, they now recommend you test 5-7 days after close contact (previous recommendation was 3-5 days): Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.
  • Minnesota just launched an incentive program called Give Kids A Shot. Kids aged 12-17 are eligible for a $200 visa gift card upon completion of the vaccine series: Kids Deserve a Shot!

Higher Ed Vaccine Ambassadors

We are so proud of SGA President Jaci Tourtellott who served as one of the state’s Higher Education Vaccine Ambassadors! Thank you to Jaci for representing the College and encouraging fellow Saints to get vaccinated. You can watch Jaci’s video here: Higher Education Vaccine Ambassadors — Jaci.

Accreditation news

Congratulations to the Occupational Therapy master’s program and the BS in Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) program for two very successful accreditation visits this week!

  • The entry-level Occupational Therapy master’s degree program at The College of St. Scholastica is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). This week the CSS MS OT program faculty and staff hosted a two and a half-day on-site evaluation team from ACOTE, which ends with an informal conversation between the on-site evaluators and the faculty and a formal closing meeting during which the visit team reads a formal Report of On-Site Evaluation (ROSE). The on-site evaluators found no areas of non-compliance with any of the 120 standards and offered some suggestions for consideration. CONGRATULATIONS to all involved in ensuring such an outstanding outcome!
  • The bachelor of science in Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) program underwent a two-day re-accreditation review on Oct. 19-20. The review team from the Commission on Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) evaluated a self-study and curriculum review, and also conducted interviews with CSS administrators, faculty and staff, the program’s advisory board, students and College support offices. The outcome was exceptionally positive: All 26 CAHIIM standards were fully met, the review team highlighted numerous department strengths, and also provided a few helpful recommendations. CONGRATULATIONS to the OT team for their high-quality work!

CSS Institutional 2025 Strategic Plan

Our CSS Strategic Plan 2025 is now available on our new website and a limited supply of hard copies are available through the President’s Office. Please contact Cari McMillan at for more information.

Athletic updates

The Athletics Department welcomed home the Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductees on Saturday, Oct. 16. You can view the event at Joining the Athletics Hall of Fame:

  • 2000 NAIA National Championship Baseball Team
  • Jen (Houck) Zwick — Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country ’07
  • Derek Johnson — Men’s Basketball ’07
  • Katelyn (Meger) Mathison — Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field  ’10
  • Toby Peter — Men’s Soccer  ’10
  • Greg Young — Baseball  ’02

Saints athletics has entered into “crossover season” where fall sports are a little over a week away from beginning MIAC playoff competition and winter sports are beginning practices and scrimmages. You can catch all of the action at and watch in person with your CSS ID. Go Saints!

Bringing Joy, a Conversation with United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and the American Indian Community Housing Organization hosted a free virtual event featuring poet laureate Joy Harjo. You can stream the conversation here Over 400 people participated, including members of the CSS community.

Event organizers also shared with us a link to a community art project that was created to honor Harjo’s work and celebrate her virtual visit to Minnesota, an e-book entitled Bringing Joy: A Local Literary Welcome. The book features work from area students, writers and artists; we hope you enjoy it!

CSS in the news

Congratulations to Chief Master Sgt. Jozef Miketin ‘13 (MBA ‘14) who was recently selected as Command Chief of the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard: Chief Master Sgt. Jozef Miketin named Command Chief of 148th!

Alyssa Frick ‘20 sat down with CBS’ Natalie Grant to talk about life as an ICU nurse, the emotional toll it took and how she learned to prioritize her mental health during the pandemic: Facing the front lines: Northland ICU nurse shares her journey through the pandemic.

Grants for the 2021-22 academic year

Our faculty and staff are doing exciting, innovative work that advances our mission and celebrates our value of the year, Love of Learning. Here is a list of all of the projects that have received grant funding for the 2021-22 academic year. Congratulations to these members of our community!

  • Kimberly Lakhan — Health Resources & Services Administration — Physician Assistant Training in Primary Care — $1.5M over five years
  • Shelly Smart — Health Resources & Services Administration — Rural Optimization of Behavioral Health for Underserved Settings & Trainees (ROBUST 2.0)  — $1.3 M over four years
  • Karen Rosenflanz — American Councils for International Education — Russian Partnership — $5,000
  • Kirsten Walker — U.S. Department of Education — TRIO Talent Search 2021-2026 — $1.6M over five years
  • Jennifer Rosato — National Science Foundation — Coaching for Equity in Computer Science — $1M over three years
  • Maria Stuber — Women’s Sports Foundation — WSF VanDerveer Fellow Kristen Bourne — $17,500
  • Monica Marciniak — Edwin Eddy Charitable Foundation — Accessibility Initiatives — $13,000
  • Amy Bergstrom — Ordean Foundation — Ojibwe Medicine Garden — $10,000
  • Renee Fall — Google — Dual Credit Computer Science Research — $94,900
  • Kevin Seime — Pachel Foundation — Wireless Microphones for Enhanced Sound Quality — $2,650
  • Monica Hendrickson — Essentia Health, maurices, Minnesota Power, Enbridge, National Bank of Commerce, United Parcel Service — 2021 Thanksgiving Buffet — $23,500 to date
  • Sheryl Sandahl, Trish Johnson, and Nathan Wright — Manitou Nursing Scholarships — $525,000 over six years

Influenza vaccines available

Student Health Services (SHS)  has the 2021-22 influenza vaccine available. Students can receive the vaccine at no charge; while insurance is billed, whatever is not covered by insurance will be covered by their student health fee. Faculty and staff can get the vaccine, as well. Please bring proof of insurance and wear short sleeves!

Please call 218-723-6282 for an appointment. SHS will be hosting a mass clinic the first week in November so stay tuned for more information soon.

Preferred definitions

Last year, members of the College’s Inclusive Excellence Committee came together to create a shared vocabulary. These definitions are intended to allow us to advance inclusive excellence, avoid misunderstandings and foster a campus culture where everyone can thrive. To access the College-preferred definitions, please visit (Information and Resources > St. Scholastica Preferred Definitions). The Committee also acknowledges that language is fluid and the glossary is not meant to be exhaustive. If you have revisions or suggestions, please send them to Laura Johnson.

Winter Holiday closure

As per our annual holiday calendar, the College will be closed on the following days. Please note that the days of observance have been modified due to the weekend holidays.

  • December 24th — Christmas Eve
  • December 27th — Christmas Day Observance
  • December 30th — 1/2 Day — New Year’s Eve Observance
  • December 31st — New Year’s Day Observance

I am pleased to announce that we will again provide additional bonus days this year for employees:

  • December 28th — Bonus Holiday
  • December 29th — Bonus Holiday
  • December 30th — 1/2 Day Bonus Holiday (so full day off if added to the December 30th New Year’s Eve Observance noted above)

In other words, the College will close on Friday, December 24 and reopen on Monday, Jan. 3. I hope that these bonus days will provide you with the opportunity for well-deserved rest and renewal! If you work in a role that requires you to be present at some point during the holiday week, please work with your supervisor to arrange for equitable time off before the end of January.

We are already halfway through the fall semester and it seems to be flying by. Thank you all for the tremendous work you are doing to ensure our students’ success and well-being. We continue to be impacted by the pandemic and this is a toll we will feel for some time. Nevertheless, our hope carries us forward, energized by our learners and leaning into our Benedictine value of Love of Learning. There is much to celebrate!

Stay safe, be well.


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