Collaboration driving change

Thursday, August 21, 2014

President Earl H. Potter

President Earl H. Potter addresses employees at the 2014 Convocation opening ceremony.

President Earl H. Potter Roland Specht-Jarvis, German professor and head of the faculty bargaining group, was one of the Convocation speakers 

President Earl H. Potter's Aug. 20 Convocation address was a recitation on past, present and future collaborations.

Potter and other campus leaders shared remarks at the ceremonial opening of St. Cloud State's 145th academic year. Convocation, which runs through Aug. 22, is the University's annual assembly of people and ideas. View a video recording of the ceremony.

In coming months, employees will help implement "Charting the Future," the strategic plan to increase access, affordability, excellence and service by improving collaboration across the 31-school Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system.

"I know this project has been the subject of some contentious conversations," Potter said. "I have faith in it because of how deeply it involves us. It is not being done to us. It will not work -- we will accomplish nothing -- if the way we decide to change is not the product of our work together."

On Nov. 6, MnSCU leaders will be on campus to get input on how "Charting the Future" ideals can be realities at St. Cloud State.   

Potter praised employees who collaborated through the summer on a comprehensive facilities plan, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation process and an exterior signage and wayfinding plan.

"We're going to spend a lot of time talking about how space serves our purpose and how we create the spaces that will enable us to achieve our mission," Potter said. The University will integrate its plans with the City of St. Cloud's comprehensive plan, also in development, he said.

HLC Quality Initiative Steering Committee members collaborated this summer on a draft of the University's institutional learning outcomes. Learn about the outcomes at an 8:45 Aug. 21 presentation in Atwood Ballroom called "From Quality Initiative to The Husky Compact – What factors shaped the formation of the Husky Compact?"

The university has engaged Michigan-based Corbin Design to deliver recommendations for improved exterior signage and wayfinding. In June, Corbin executives gathered ideas from staff. They'll return in September to gather input from students and faculty. 

"If you've bumped into visitors to our campus who are confused about where to go, and wonder how to find their way, you know we are not a friendly and easy place to find your way around," Potter said. 

Collaboration with science-based businesses will accelerate at St. Cloud State thanks to conversion of ISELF's tax-free construction bonds into taxable bonds, Potter said. Among its many purposes, the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF) was built to solve business problems throughout the region, with particular focus on Central Minnesota's more than 50 precision-manufacturing companies.

Faculty and students in ISELF are already collaborating with GeoCOMM, the St. Cloud-based provider of 9-1-1 emergency response software systems. Vizualization engineer Mark Gill, undergraduate students Steve Henningsgard (Maple Grove) and Alex Persian (Becker), and Adel Ali, associate dean of the College of Science and Engineering, are working with GeoCOMM on a next-generation 3-D mapping system.

"A 3-D system will allow first responders and dispatchers to identify the location inside the building the caller is located," Potter said. "First responders will be able to load the information into their system and know what the interior of the building looks like and where exactly to go in the building."  

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