Letter from President Pierce to Advancement Foundation

August 17, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

All of us at Minneapolis College hope you and your family are healthy and hope you’ve able to find moments of peace during this unusual and difficult time.

As we begin a new academic year, we are welcoming students to participate in courses and other activities in a new manner, mostly online. Our staff and faculty have spent the summer preparing to help our students adapt and thrive as we continue to deliver high-quality academics at an affordable price.

Despite the challenges 2020 has presented us with, the Minneapolis College team has reinvented processes and transitioned to many new ways of operating.

The following highlights recap this work:

  • 500-plus employees moved to remote work
  • 800-plus course sections moved to alternate delivery with approximately two-thirds of course sections being offered entirely online and more being offered using a blend of online and face-to-face classes
  • Despite the rapid change in instruction modalities student success was unchanged Spring semester 2020 to Spring semester 2019
  • Our Spring semester nursing cohort had a licensure pass rate of 94 percent, one of the highest in the state
  • Our School of Liberal Arts and Cultures developed one of Minnesota State’s first zero-textbook cost Associate of Arts programs
  • Minneapolis.edu has become our new ‘front door’ with fresh videos and a new, more engaging presence as students now see this as their primary portal to campus
  • 200 scholarships were awarded totaling nearly $500,000
  • New options were created allowing donors to select specific initiatives to support including the Breakthrough 2020–Bridging the Equity Gap Program, the President’s Excellence Fund and a Career Ready Mentorship Program
  • We reaffirmed our role as an anchor in the community and in positively impacting socio-economic gaps with our Equity Statement
  • Minneapolis College received the Inclusion Cultivates Excellence Award from the College and University Professional Association for Its Competency-Based Hiring Program
  • We launched a new Digital Learning Program to provide students with affordable laptop leasing and reliable technical support along with a fund for donors to help support this important need
  • Minneapolis College received and distributed $2.3 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to eligible students

For additional information about how we have planned a safe, gradual and limited return to campus, visit minneapolis.edu. This coming year, we will work collaboratively to create our next five-year strategic plan, and together we will build on our pledge to becoming an antiracist institution, understanding that it is a journey, not a destination. We will also demonstrate our excellence to the Higher Learning Commission through our Assurance Argument.

As an anchor institution in Minneapolis, our work is grounded in the success of our students and our renewed commitment to equity and inclusion. Together, we are changing the world, by supporting our community’s most vulnerable population in striving for higher credentials, better employment and to have a voice in the broader conversations that will create a better tomorrow for those who come after us.

Thank you for your support of our mission and our role in the community.

Sharon J. Pierce, Ed.D.   

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Minneapolis College Foundation takes the protection and proper use of your information seriously. We are writing to make you aware that a third-party vendor we contract with experienced a security breach. Blackbaud, which hosts our Minneapolis College Foundation donor database, the largest cloud software company in the world serving nonprofits, discovered and stopped a ransomware attack.

This incident did not result in access to your credit card information, bank account information, or social security numbers. Blackbaud has shared that they have no reason to believe that any data went beyond the cybercriminal, or that it was or will be misused, or will be disseminated or otherwise made available publicly.  

After discovering the attack, Blackbaud’s Cyber Security team—together with independent forensics experts and law enforcement— successfully stopped and expelled the cybercriminal from their system. Some user contact information may have been exposed, including physical addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. The incident may have also exposed information pertaining to your relationship with Minneapolis College Foundation such as giving history.

Based on third-party investigations by security researchers and law enforcement, we have no reason to believe this information has been misused, disseminated, or otherwise made available publicly. Nevertheless, we recommend you remain vigilant and promptly report any suspicious activity or suspected identity theft to us and to the proper law enforcement authorities.

To reiterate, no credit card payment information was compromised as a result of this incident. A more detailed description of the security incident, and the steps that Blackbaud is taking to prevent its recurrence, can be found at https://www.blackbaud.com/securityincident.

We sincerely apologize for this incident and deeply regret any inconvenience it may cause you. Should you have any further questions or concerns regarding this matter and/or the protections available to you, please do not hesitate to contact the Minneapolis College Foundation at 612.659.6820.

With Gratitude,

Beverly Wadsworth
Director, Institutional Advancement,
Minneapolis College

Stephanie Hammes-Betti
Board President, Minneapolis College Foundation