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College of Continuing Education News

February 2011 Archives

Quality Control

Outgoing, gregarious, and armed with more than 20 years experience working for companies like Phillips Plastics, Medtronic, and Guidant, Mac McKeen is the new faculty director for the College's Manufacturing Technology Program. Read his story and see how he plans to keep the degree at the forefront of a rapidly growing industry here.

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Meet the New Manufacturing Technology Faculty Director, Mac McKeen

"I like to call it the 'make stuff degree,'" says Mac McKeen, when asked about the College's Bachelor of Applied Science in Manufacturing Technology (MT) degree.

Explains McKeen, the program's new faculty director, "In business nothing happens until someone sells something--and there is nothing to sell until someone makes something. That's where individuals with a degree in manufacturing technology come in, in a variety of positions and roles."

Graduates of the MT program are prepared to compete for many in-demand jobs, including those in purchasing and materials management fields, manufacturing and operations, and quality and compliance.

A firm grip of the basics leads to professional success.

Employers are seeking applicants with a mastery of the fundamentals. And it makes sense. That's how we move forward with any learned skill - through an understanding and mastery of basic tenants. The same holds true for working professionals. Hiring managers have repeatedly pointed to three seemingly basic skill sets they are looking for in potential employees - communication skills, analytical skills, and teamwork skills. In a 2010 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, these three skill sets were cited as the most desired in job applicants.

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While these desired skills seem basic, there are levels of proficiency that make them anything but. They are skills that can be actively worked on, improved, and used as strengths when applied practically.

Creative retreats expand beyond summer offerings.

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Participants of the Split Rock Arts Program have long had the opportunity to use a week or two in the summer to retreat from the routines of daily life and instead, focus on the many rewards of the creative life. For more than two decades, writers and artists--from beginners, to amateurs, to professionals--have traveled to the University's Cloquet Forestry Center or, more recently, the University's Twin Cities campus, from throughout the country in order to immerse themselves in weeklong programs that speak to their interests.

Now, writers and artists of all stripes--those who come from a range of backgrounds and have varying levels of creative experience--can indulge their passion for learning through Split Rock at other times of the year, as well.

Split Rock seasonal retreats are a series of three-day immersions that are offered in the fall, winter, and spring. Like Split Rock's weeklong retreats at Cloquet, the three-day offerings each focus on a specific art, design, or writing topic; and may be taken for academic credit.

The College of Continuing Education is proud to recognize program director's achievements.

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The College of Continuing Education's graduate program recently got another feather in its cap. This October, Sherry Wagner-Henry, director of graduate studies and director of the new Arts and Cultural Leadership master's degree, was named an Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Fellow.

Intermedia Arts is a nationally recognized, multidisciplinary, multicultural arts center dedicated to helping artists and community leaders use arts-based approaches to solve community issues. Its Creative Community Leadership Institute is one of a select few programs in the country to provide comprehensive, professional-level training and support for community artists, organizers, and developers who are working to improve their communities through the use of art. Funding for the fellowships is provided by a grant from the Bush Foundation.

Wagner-Henry is one of a cohort of 25 fellows (roughly half of whom are from the community development field; the other half from the arts/culture field) who will spend five months studying a variety of aspects of arts-based community development, including strategies for sustainability, program design and project planning, fund-raising, assessment, public relations and advocacy, and more.