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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

2006-07 News Highlights

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Faculty and students in the Department of Speech Communication are actively involved in a broad number of research projects, presentations, publications, programs, grants, and other activities. The news below highlight 2006-2007 accomplishments in the Department.

Recent Alums Accepts Positions

Holly Manning (MS, 2007) has accepted a position as instructor and assistant director of forensic at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.

Derrick Lindstrom (MA 2007) accepted a teaching position at St. Cloud State University.

Sara Weisenbeck (MA 2007) accepted a position at the College of St. Catherine in the Development Office. Here title is Sponsorship Associate.

Professor Appointed to IRB

Dr. Kristen Cvancara has been appointed by Dean Blackhurst as a member of the MSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) for a three-year term.

RIP Grants!

Dr. Kristen Treinen and Dr. Kristen Cvancara are recipients of 2007-08 RIP (Research Incentive Program) grants. The grants provide a one-course release during the academic year to work on a research project.

Manuscript "In Press"

Dr. Nan Johnson-Curiskis, associate professor in Speech Communication, had a manuscript titled "Pre-registration for Online Courses" accepted for the June issue of JOLT, Journal of Online Teaching.

Alum going to Ball State…!

Joshua Randall, speech communication major, has been offered and accepted a graduate teaching and forensics assistantship at Ball State University.

Alum going to SDSU

David Brennan, speech communication major, has been offered and accepted a graduate teaching and forensics assistantship at South Dakota State University.

Alum Nominated as Teacher of the Year

Suzanne Loen Berg (Master of Arts alumn) has been nominated as Teacher of the Year at Pine Technical College where she is currently teaching communication courses as adjunct faculty.


Dr. Leah White, assistant professor in Speech Communication, has received an MSU Faculty Improvement Grant (FIG) to attend the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Three-Day "Forum Joker" workshop with Augusto Boal and Julian Boal.

Cvancara Receives Grant and Recognition

Dr. Kristen Cvancara, assistant professor in Speech Communication, has been awarded a 2007 Summer Research Grant. 2007 is the first year for the Summer Research Grants at MSU. According to the Research and Sponsored Programs website, the [PDF] $5,000 Summer Research Grant (182 KiB) "supports the dissemination of faculty research, scholarship, and creative accomplishments by providing funding for summer projects that demonstrate a high probability of publication, exhibition, or performance. These grants, which are funded by the College of Graduate Studies and Research upon the recommendation of the Faculty Research Committee, support the dissemination of faculty research in all disciplines, including basic, applied, and pedagogical research and creative projects".


Dr. Cvancara has also been recognized by the Sisters of Sigma, Sigma, Sigma Sorority as making a positive impact on a student's (sister's) college career

The 3rd Annual Relay For Life

The 3rd Annual Relay For Life event at MSU held this past Saturday, April 14th in the Myer's Field House raised $22,000 for the American Cancer Society. Through the hard work and dedication of student volunteers, we had 30 teams signed up for the RFL this year, almost triple what we had last year and we raised almost double the funds from what we raised last year. It is truly inspiring to see how many people come to the event from the community and this year we had incredible guest speakers Congressman Tim Walz, Dr. Kevin Cockerill from the Mayo Health System, and Heidi Rensink, a MSU student and cancer survivor. Thank you to all who participated, showed their support, or helped in any way. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and together we can make a difference. Christa Brown offers a special thank you to Nadene, Kristi, and Jessica who volunteered and helped with the event and to Kathy, Lynn, and Leah for attending the event. It is nice to know there is support from people in the department when we do something with such a great impact on a group of students who are doing very good things for our community and the university.

Holbrook to FSU

Danielle Holbrook (Master of Arts candidate in Speech Communication) has been admitted to the doctoral graduate program in Communication Studies at Florida State University. Danielle has also been offered and accepted graduate teaching assistantship with the program.

Alum is Coach of the Year

Desiree Rowe (MA, 2005) is the recipient of The AFA-NIET Outstanding New Forensics Coach Award. The criteria used by the NIET Outstanding New Forensics Coach Award Committee in making its recommendation are:

  1. a graduate student, assistant coach or team director of an AFA-NIET affiliated team who is in his/her first five years of coaching;
  2. leadership in innovations in forensics; and
  3. qualities as a forensic educator.

A Hall of Fame Inductee

Dr. Nanette Johnson-Curiskis is an inductee into the Redwood Valley Public Schools Alumni Hall of Fame for 2007. The Redwood Valley Hall of Fame is designed to recognize alumni, former school staff members or community members from Belview, Morton, or Redwood Falls who have made a significant difference in the lives of others. The Alumni category recognizes distinguished achievement among those individuals who have attended Belview, Morton, or Redwood Falls school districts. Dr. Johnson-Curiskis graduated from Redwood Falls High School in 1966. Dr. Johnson-Curiskis will be recognized at a banquet in May. Her portrait will be engraved on the school's marble "Wall of Fame." Dr. Johnson-Curiskis was nominated by the wife of her high-school math teacher and her former principal. The nomination was supported by two of her classmates.

Congratulations to Our New Masters' in Speech Communication

Brian Klosa has successfully defended his MFA-Forensics thesis titled "An analysis of Interstate Oratory Speeches: Are they really different?" Brian's thesis was directed by Dr. Leah White.

Jon Loging has successfully completed his MA-alternate plan titled "The Demise of Minnesota Forensic Programs: What Can We Learn?" Jon's AP was directed by Dr. Dan Cronn-Mills.

Sara Weisenbeck (master of arts in speech communication) successfully defended her thesis on April 4, 2007. The title of her thesis is "For Better or For Worse: Spousal Support Between Married Co-Workers." Sara's thesis was directed by Dr. Kristen Treinen.

Nadene Vevea has successfully defended her master's thesis titled "First-Generation College Students: Managing Identities and Negotiating Family Relationships." Nadene's thesis was directed by Dr. David Engen.

Robert Jersak has successfully defended his master's thesis titled "An Invitation to Participation: Identifying the Barriers to Ideological Balance in Civic Deliberation Efforts." Robert's thesis was directed by Dr. David Engen.

Holly Manning successfully defended her internship report titled "Safe Spaces: An LGBT Allied Training Program." Holly's project was directed by Dr. Kristen Treinen.

Frank Davis has successfully completed his internship report for the Master of Science in Speech Communication. Frank's project was directed by Dr. Daniel Cronn-Mills.

Fay Yusuf has successfully completed her internship report titled: "He's Not a D.J., but He Play's One on the Radio: Using Theory to Explain Communication Practices on the Tone E Fly Morning Show." Fay's project was advised by Dr. Kristen Treinen.

Danielle Holbrook has successfully defended her master's thesis titled "Busting out: A Barthesian Analysis of Lane Bryant's Cacique Advertising." Danielle's thesis was directed by Professor James Dimock.

Lynn Kuechle has has successfully defended her master's thesis titled "Extraordinary Ordinary: Motherhood in the Face of Outdated Ideology and Unrealistic Stereotypes." Lynne's thesis was directed by Dr. Leah White.

Upcoming Relay for Life Events

Tuesday, April 10th, a fundraiser for the 3rd Annual Relay For Life at MSU is being held at Maggie's from 6pm-10pm. Enjoy live entertainment provided by the band Lookout Drive, food and beverages, and a silent auction. All proceeds go to the 3rd Annual Relay For Life at MSU! This event is being planned by grad student, Emily Waterston, in the Speech Communication Department.

Wednesday, April 11th, local establishment Blue Bricks is hosting a tip night as a fundraiser for the 3rd Annual Relay For Life event at MSU. A portion of all tips from food and drink sales from 4pm-2am will go to the Relay. The kitchen will stay open later than usual for the event, till 1:30am with a full menu offered. Come and enjoy a great atmosphere, great food and drink specials, all for a great cause!

The student organization, Colleges Against Cancer, is currently planning the 3rd Annual Relay For Life event to be held overnight in the Myer's Field House on April 14th, from 6pm-6am. The Relay For Life is the largest national fundraiser for the research, advocacy, and education of cancer by the American Cancer Society and also promotes the celebration of cancer survivors. The night is filled with entertainment, games, a silent auction, food, and a great cause. Speakers ranging from oncologist Dr. Cockerell to a student cancer survivor to Congressman Tim Walz will be there. The event is open to anyone in the community. For information on how to get involved or questions about the Relay at MSU, please email Relay Co-Chair and Colleges Against Cancer President Jon Sands or Relay Co-Chair and Faculty Advisor Christa Brown You can also make a donation online.

Students Organize Annual Cancer Relay

This article was in the Free Press yesterday and highlights two students who are part of the Relay planning, Jon Sands (Speech Communication major and President of Colleges Against Cancer) and Elizabeth Moat (next year's President of Colleges Against Cancer).

Full Article

Maverick Speaker is an All-American

Emily Kofoed, a senior on the MSU Maverick Forensics team has been selected to the 2007 AFA-NIET All-American Team. In order to be named to the team, individuals are selected based on three criteria: (1) scholastic achievement, (2) AFA-NIET forensic participation, and (3) community service. Only 17 individuals from across the country were selected for the 2007 NIET All-American Team. Kofoed joins four MSU alums as an NIET All-American including Matthew Collie (2006), Heather Jean Kaiser (2004), Chad Kuyper (2003), and Seth Michael Smith (2001).

The NIET All-American Team was established in 2001.


Jon Sands, a Speech Communication major and President of Colleges Against Cancer, was featured in an interview by KEYC-TV during the 6:00 p.m. news hour. He was interviewed in promotion of the 3rd Annual Relay For Life event which is being held April 14th overnight in the Myer's Field House.


Karie Menser (MSU Speech Communication and Forensics alum) is currently in culinary school. A component of culinary school is an on-sight externship. The school provides several options for students to apply for, or students may look into an internship at a site of their choice. Karie recently applied and was accepted for an internship at Cooks Illustrated. Cooks Illustrated is a prestigious culinary publication, which also is in charge of the television show, America's Test Kitchen. Karie is one of seven interns from across the country. Karie writes, "I am incredibly excited and know my speech background and skills of speaking and writing developed throughout forensics competition will continue to be an asset."

Faculty and students present research at the 2007 Central States Communication Conference

MSU Alum Blair Thompson (MA, 2003) is Now (Drum Roll, Please)…Dr. Blair Thompson!

Dr. Thompson has successfully defended his dissertation titled "Exploring Parent-Teacher Computer-Mediated Communication: Applying Social Information Processing Theory to Parent-Teacher Relationships" at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Big Red!) Dr. Thompson in the fall will be an assistant professor at the University of Western Kentucky.

Campus to Host 700 Speakers at Forensic Tournament

[from the April 4, 2007 Campus Newsletter]

woman speakingMore than 700 college forensics competitors and coaches will be on campus Friday through Monday, April 6-9, for the 30th American Forensic Association-National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET). The event will be hosted by Minnesota State Mankato.

"The fact that the tournament is here is very exciting for us," said Leah White, director of Forensics. "Our university and city will receive a lot of positive recognition through this event and all of its attendees." The visitors also are expected to increase business at Mankato hotels, restaurants, rental services and other local businesses.

Competitors from colleges and universities across the country qualify for the tournament by achieving prescribed minimum scores in previous tournaments. Qualifying students can participate in up to six of the 11 events offered at the tournament.

Seven members of the Maverick Speech Team will compete in the tournament: Seniors Emily Kofoed and Elizabeth Drommerhausen, juniors Zeke Sorenson and Nicole Goebel, sophomore Grant Anderson, and freshmen Alex Garlock and Jason Reisch.

Tournament rounds are open to students, faculty, staff and the public. Additional information about the tournament may be found at the American Forensic Association—National Individual Events Tournament page.

Those who want more information may contact David Brennan at 507-382-5400 or Leah at 507-389-5534.

Speech Team to present Forensics Showcase

The nationally ranked Minnesota State Mankato Speech Team will present an evening of entertainment in a Forensics Showcase Tuesday, April 3, at 6 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium.The event will include humorous and inspiring speeches, dramatic interpretive performances, and speeches created and executed on the spot. The Forensics Showcase is generously sponsored by student activity fees.

For MSU events: individuals with a disability, who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event, are asked to contact the Office of Disability Services at 507-389-2825 (V/TTD), 800-627-3529 or 711 (MRS/TTD) at least five days prior to the event.

Speech Communication Faculty Member Wins Award

Dr. Kristen Treinen, assistant professor in Speech Communication, is the 2007 recipient of the Central States Communication Association "Outstanding New Teacher Award". The award recognizes faculty who in the first 5 years of full-time teaching have made an outstanding contribution to the discipline.


Gender Museum/Opening

Tuesday, April 3: 2:30-4:15 p.m. (Performing Arts Center Lobby) Exhibit Runs April 3-5

  • Who: SPEE 403/503 Gender and Communication Class What: Gender Museum The students' aesthetic displays critically explore how gender is communicated in our lived worlds, as well its relationship to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, and other social and cultural aspects.
  • When:
    • Opening: Tuesday, April 3: 2:30-4:15 p.m.
      Meet & talk to the students about their work
    • Museum Runs: Wed., April 4: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Thurs., April 5: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Where: Performing Arts Center Lobby

*For more information, please call or e-mail Dr. Jill R. Hildebrandt: (507) 389-1270.

Burt and Patsy Meisel Speech Communication Scholarship 2007-2008

Applicants must be undergraduate Speech Communication majors.

Applicants should write a statement to the "Meisel Scholarship Committee" as to why she/he should be granted a scholarship. The written statement should be no longer than 500 words and should address the following items:

  • Individual Academic Record
  • Financial Need (if any)
  • Career Goal(s)

Deadline: April 13, 2007

Turn in applications to Kathy Steiner, Speech Communication, AH 230

Larry Schnoor Forensics Scholarship 2007-2008

The purpose of the Larry Schnoor Forensics Endowment is to provide scholarships to deserving students that are participating on the Minnesota State University, Mankato Forensics Team. The dollar amounts to be awarded and the number of recipients will be determined by the committee. All recipients of any award mustbe actively involved with the Forensics Program. Student must submit a written statement as to why she/he should be granted aLarry Schnoor Forensics Scholarship: The written statement should address:

  • Academic record Financial need (if any) Relationship with Maverick Forensics
  • Forensic goal(s)
  • Career goal(s)

"My involvement with the forensics program at Mankato State will always be one of the most memorable experiences in my professional career. I shall always remember the students with whom I worked and appreciate the memories they have given me."—Larry Schnoor

Deadline: April 13, 2007

Turn in applications to Kathy Steiner, Speech Communication, AH 230

Graduate Student Receives MSU Project of the Year Award

Lynn Kuechle (MA candidate in Speech Communication) has been notified she is the recipient of a 2007 President's Commission on the Status of Women Project of the Year Award. The project is research from a feminist perspective and focuses on how motherhood has become filled with unrealistic stereotypes and outdated ideology. The project will culminate in a scripted reading of a compilation of stories collected from mothers through in-depth interviewing. The reading is scheduled for April 30, 7-9 pm, Ostrander Auditorium. All are welcome to attend. Free admission.

Dress for Success

Becky Rick (master's student in Speech Communication) is hosting an event for Dress for Success shortly after the AFA-NIET I April. You are invited to donate to the Dress for Success program. Everybody who has a suit at the back of their closet that they don't wear or can't fit into anymore may bring the suit to Speech Communication main office (AH 230) and drop it off to be donated. Becky is more than willing to pick up, store and transport the business wear—you just have to bring it. While the focus is on women's sizes 16 and up, ANY women's suits/business wear is appreciated.

Speech Communication Students Fight Cancer

The student organization, Colleges Against Cancer, is currently planning the 3rd Annual Relay For Life event to be held overnight in the Myer's Field House on April 14th, from 6pm-6am. The Relay For Life is the largest national fundraiser for the research, advocacy, and education of cancer by the American Cancer Society and also promotes the celebration of cancer survivors. The night is filled with entertainment, games, a silent auction, food, and a great cause. The event is open to anyone in the community. For information on how to get involved or questions about the Relay at MSU, please email Relay Co-Chair and Colleges Against Cancer President Jon Sands or Relay Co-Chair and Faculty Advisor Christa Brown. You can also make a donation online.

There are also two upcoming fundraisers for the Relay. Official sponsor for the Relay, TGIFriday's, is hosting a tip night on Wednesday, March 28th. All tips brought in will go to the 3rd Annual Relay For Life at MSU. Bring friends and enjoy great food, a great time, and help a great cause! There will be a live broadcast by KYSM radio station. This is the 3rd Annual Fundraising Tip Night they have done for us!

On Tuesday, April 10th, another fundraiser will be held at Maggie's from 6pm-10pm. Enjoy entertainment provided by the Lost Walleye's, food and beverages, and a silent auction. All proceeds go to the 3rd Annual Relay For Life at MSU! This event is being planned by grad student, Emily Waterston, in the Speech Communication Department.


A Forensics Alumni & Friends Gathering will be on Saturday, April 7th, 2007, from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. at Maggie's Café and Saloon (1600 Monks Avenue) to celebrate MSU hosting the AFA-NIET. The event is Open house Style with hors d'oeuvres & cash bar. At 8:00 p.m., join current Director Leah White for a toast. Drawing for door prizes provided by the MSU Alumni Association.

Teleprompter System for Department

The Speech Communication Department has been awarded a MSU Technology Grant in the amount of $2755. Dr. Warren Sandmann prepared the grant application. This grant is for the purchase of a teleprompter system for use in a variety of speech communication classes, with primary use designed for SPEE 333: Advanced Public Speaking, SPEE 212: Communication for Business and the Professions, SPEE 233: Communication for Technical Professionals, and SPEE 633: Communication for Professionals classes. Students in these classes are learning skills for communication in the professional world, and one of the major requirements in this area is lectern speaking. The purchase and use of a teleprompter system will allow the course instructors to demonstrate and the students to master effective speaking skills for large-audience situations. There currently exists no technology that is readily available for this process on campus. Approximately 100 students take these courses annually. Additionally, this tool can be used for students in Public Speaking (approximately 500 students per year) and Fundamentals of Communication (approximately 1500 students per year), though primary use would be for the more advanced courses. Finally, the Speech Department will develop a plan to make this tool available to provide services for the university community, offering training in and use of the teleprompter for speakers across campus.

Congratulations to Kathy, Danielle, and Lou

The President's Commission on the Status of Women, the Women's Center, and the Panhellenic Association have announced Kathy Steiner (administrative assistant in the Speech Communication Department), Lou Eckert (instructor in Speech Communication), and Danielle Holbrook (2nd-yr MA student in Speech Communication) will be recognized as Women of Courage and Vision as part of Women's History Month 2007. Kathy, Lou and Danielle will be recognized at a ceremony on Thursday, March 29, 2007 from 4:00 pm- 5:00 pm in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

Schultz Accepts Position at UWEC

Nicole Schultz (MA, 2004), a doctoral candidate at Bowling Green State University, has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Journalismat the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Her appointment begins Fall 2007. She will be teaching courses in the area of Organizational Communication.

7 MSU Students to Compete at AFA-NIET

Seven members of the Minnesota State Mankato Speech Team will compete in the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament Saturday through Monday, April 7-9, on the Minnesota State Mankato campus.

The AFA-NIET is the nation's most prestigious speech tournament. To qualify, students must place either first, second or third in their events at three different regional tournaments during the year. The seven Minnesota State Mankato students will compete in 16 events.

  • Senior Emily Kofoed (Mapleton, Minn.) will compete in Informative Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, Communication Analysis and Poetry Interpretation.
  • Senior Elizabeth Drommerhausen (New Prague, Minn.) will participate in Persuasive Speaking.
  • Junior Zeke Sorenson (Wyoming) will compete in Prose Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation and Poetry Interpretation.
  • Junior Nicole Goebel (Mapleton) will take part in Extemporaneous Speaking and Communication Analysis.
  • Sophomore Grant Anderson (Mankato) will compete in Duo Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation and Poetry Interpretation.
  • Freshman Alex Garlock (St. Paul) will participate in After Dinner Speaking.
  • Freshman Jason Reisch (Sioux Falls, S.D.) will compete in Dramatic Interpretation.


MSU Students to Compete at the National Forensic Association National Championship Tournament

The tournament is on April 19-23 at Berry College in Rome, GA. Fourteen students qualified for 32 events in that tournament:

  • Persuasive Speaking: Drommerhausen, Kofoed and sophomore Tysen Dauer (Nicollet, Minn.)
  • Informative Speaking: Kofoed and freshman April Larsen (Mankato)
  • Impromptu Speaking: Kofoed, Goebel, Garlock, Larsen and sophomore James Jansen (Olivia, Minn.)
  • Prose Interpretation: Kofoed, Sorenson, Anderson, Reisch, freshman Justin Hathaway (Sioux Falls, S.D.)and freshman Megan Petersen (Owatonna, Minn.)
  • Rhetorical Criticism: Kofoed and Goebel
  • Poetry Interpretation: Kofoed, Sorenson, Anderson, Garlock, Hathaway, Petersen and sophomore Grace Phelps
  • Extemporaneous Speaking: Jansen, Goebel and Senior Joshua Randall (New Ulm, Minn.)
  • Duo Interpretation: Sorenson, Anderson, Reisch and Hathaway
  • After-Dinner Speaking: Garlock and Reisch.

MN State Tournament Results

On February 17th and 18th, the Minnesota State Mavericks traveled to the Southwest State University in Marshall, MN to compete in the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Tournament. The Mavericks finished 3rd overall, with all team members contributing to the team's efforts. Nicole Goebel took 10th in Parliamentary Debate. Alex Garlock took 6th place in Mini-Interpretation with Jason Reisch taking 5th and Zeke Sorenson taking 1st place in that event. In Prose Interpretation, Emily Kofoed took 4th place. Sorenson yook home the 4th place trophy in Poetry Interpretation with teammates Kofoed earning 5th and Justin Hathaway Sorenson 7th. In After Dinner Speaking, Reisch placed 5th and Garlock 4th. Sorenson also took 4th in Program Oral Interpretation while Grant Anderson won the 3rd place honors. Together, Sorenson and Anderson took second in Duo Interpretation with teammates Reisch and Hathaway claiming 6th. Emily Kofoed also placed 3rd in Communication Analysis and 5th in Persuasive Oratory. Team members Megan Peterson, April Larson, Alexandra Franzen, Jimmy Jansen, Joshua Randall, Matt Ruyter and Tysen Dauer all contributed to the team success.

TCFL #5 Results

The Maverick Forensics Team headed up to Normandale Community College to compete in the 5th Twin Cities Forensics League tournament of the the year. Four students competed and all students had at least one event get into outrounds. Zeke Sorenson placed 1st in Prose Interpration and 2nd in Poetry Interpration. Grant Anderson placed 3rd in Program of Oral Interpration. Jimmy Jansen placed 5th in Impromptu Speaking and Tysen Dauer placed 6th in Persuasive Speaking. The team placed 5th overall out of the 14 schools in attendance.


Dr. DroogsmaNew Faculty Member!

The Speech Communication Department at MSU, Mankato is pleased to announce a new faculty member will be joining the department in Fall 2007. Dr. Rachel Anderson Droogsma has agreed to join the faculty as an assistant professor. Dr. Droogsma will be primarily teaching courses in communication and culture.

Dr. Droogsma has a BS from Northwestern University, and an MA and Ph.D. from Howard University. Her doctoral dissertation is titled "He Might of Cracked My Spirit, but He Never Broke It": A Feminist Standpoint Analysis of Woman Abuse Survivors' Messages in the Clothesline Project. Her primary research interests focus on the: Impact of Intersectional Identities (Race, Gender, & Class) on Communication, Marginalized Group Members' Communication of Resistance, Gendered Communication across Cultures, Feminist Theory in Communication & Culture Research. Dr. Droogsma is currently an instructor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA.

Alum Going to OU

Anne Gerbensky Kerber (BA, 2001, MA, 2003) has been admitted to the doctoral graduate program in Communication Studies at The Ohio University. Anne has also been offered and accepted graduate teaching assistantship.

Alum Publishes in Communication Education

Blair Thompson (MA, 2003 and currently a doctoral candidate at University of Nebraska), has an article in the latest issue of Communication Education. The article is titled "The Syllabus as a Communication Document: Constructing and Presenting the Syllabus."

Maverick Forensics Advance at TCFL Tournament

The Minnesota State, Mankato forensics team competed in the Twin Cities Forensics League forensics tournament at Normandale Community College in Minneapolis, Minnesota on January 30, 2007. All five students advanced at least one of their events to the final round of competition. Zeke Sorenson and Grant Anderson placed 4th in Duo Interpretation. Anderson also placed 4th in Prose Interpretation. Additionally, April Larson placed 6th in Impromptu Speaking, Alex Garlock took 4th in After-Dinner Speaking, and Justin Hathaway placed 5th in Prose Interpretation and won 2nd place in Dramatic Interpretation. At this tournament, April Larson qualified for competition at the national level in Impromptu Speaking in the National Forensics Association national tournament.


Dr.. Nan Johnson-Curiskis, our department expert on listening, is interviewed for an article appearing on the MSU homepage.

Full article

Grad Student going to NDSU!

Nadene Vevea, 2nd-yr master's student, has been admitted into the doctoral graduate program at North Dakota State University. She has also been offered and accepted a full teaching assistantship at NDSU.

Maverick Forensics Cleans up at St. Cloud State Tournament

On February 2nd and 3rd, the Minnesota State Mavericks traveled to the frozen north of Saint Cloud State University. The team finished 3rd overall, with all team members contributing to the team's efforts. April Larson received 6th in Informative. Megan Peterson got 6th in Prose and 4th in Poetry Interpretation. Joshua Randall received 2nd in Impromptu, and 5th in Extemp. Grant Anderson was the tournament Champion in POI, and received 2nd place in Duo Interpretation with Zeke Sorenson. Zeke Sorenson also received 2nd in Poetry. Nicole Goebel placed 4th in Communication Analysis. Alex Garlock recieved 2nd in Children's Literature, and 3rd in Discussion. Emily Kofoed received 2nd in Discussion. New comer Alexandra Franzen also contributed to the team's success.

Communication Day: February 7, 2007

  • When: Wednesday, Feb 7, 2007
  • Where: Armstrong Hall
  • Who: All MSU students are welcome to attend
  • What: Information Sessions

Light breakfast…coffee, juice, pastries (hallway outside AH 230)

Stop by for a morning snack and pick up a list of the day's events, information on the major, minor, internship and scholarship opportunities will be available.


Majoring or Minoring in Speech Communication: What it involves and what you need to know (AH 311)

If you're interested in learning more about the major or minor, want to know what classes work well together, or if you just want to be sure you're on the right track for graduation, this is the session for you. There will be plenty of time to ask your questions!


Getting involved beyond the classroom: Building A Resume (AH 334)

This session features students discussing a wide variety of outside-of-class activities—groups such as Colleges Against Cancer, The Speech Club, Lamba Pi Eta (a national honor society) and MSU's nationally-ranked speech team will be discussed. Students will also talk about activities beyond the Speech Department that compliment a major or minor in Speech Communication (e.g., student government, non-profit leadership, and others). This is a great chance to meet and talk with fellow students who are involved in some exciting activities around campus.


Don't sell yourself short! Selling Your Degree to Employers (AH 311)

This session is designed to help Speech majors explain the benefits they bring to potential employers due to their studies of human communication. Topics will range from helping you express what skills and knowledge sets you are really learning in this major to tips for composing a resume. Along with students and MSU faculty, this session will feature Mr. Jeff Cook, an MSU alum who recruits new employees for Digital River, a leading technology company in the Twin Cities.


Getting involved beyond the classroom: Building A Resume (AH 334)

(This session is repeated to offer more students a chance to attend…please see earlier description)


Want to try your hand at communication research? (AH 334)

Interested in communication research? Maybe even graduate school? MSU faculty and students discuss some of their unique and interesting research projects. A valuable session if you think you might someday want to do your own research.


Majoring or Minoring in Speech Communication: What it involves and what you need to know (AH 311)

(This session is repeated to offer more students a chance to attend…please see earlier description)


Free Lunch—Pizza, Pop, and Conversation (AH 208)

Lunch is on us! Please stop by to chat with other students, faculty, alums, or community leaders who have Speech Communication degrees.


Thinking About Graduate School? (AH 334)

Talk with MSU faculty and graduate students about topics ranging from finding the right graduate program to getting accepted. Many graduate students earn their tuition by becoming Teaching Assistants—this topic will also be addressed.


Don't sell yourself short! Selling Your Degree to Employers (AH 311)

(This session is repeated to offer more students a chance to attend…please see earlier description)


Feature Session
Your degree, your passion, and the $$: MSU alums tell their stories (AH 101)

Come hear stories from and talk with three graduates of the Speech Department MSU—one from the non-profit world, one from corporate America, and one from the teaching profession. All three of these individuals will explain how they took their Speech degree into the "real world."

3:15 to ??

Open Reception at Maggie's (on Monks Avenue by Jake's Pizza)

Come talk informally with MSU alums, faculty, and students in the department. An excellent opportunity to relax and ask questions that have arisen throughout the day as well personally meet the day's speakers. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

Special thanks to the students who helped plan this event: Greg Husak, Carlene Johnson, Daniel Monahan, Erin Roach, and Phillip VanWyngarden, and to the MSU alums who took time out of their busy schedules to share their stories

Speech Communication Faculty Instrumental in MSU Leadership Institute

Brochure highlighting the Department’s involvment (broken link)

Hell Froze Over Swing

On January 13th and 14th the Minnesota State University-Mankato Forensic team traveled to the Hell Froze Over Swing hosted by the University of Texas-Austin and Bradley University held on the UT-Austin campus. The tournament is one of the most competitive events of the year prior to the national tournaments held in April. Four team members attended. Senior Emily Kofoed had an excellent weekend advancing to the semi-final rounds in persuasive speaking, poetry interpretation and prose interpretation on the first day of the tournament. She also advanced to prose interpretation semi-finals on the second day of the tournament. Three first year team members joined Kofoed on the trip. Justin Hathaway, Jason Reisch and Megan Petersen also represented Minnesota State Mankato at this prestigious event.


Dr. Dan Cronn-Mills served as a visiting professor for Loyola University on the doctoral dissertation committee of James Dittus. The dissertation is titled "The End of the Summer at the End of the Century: The Cultural Mosaic of Higher Education as Depicted in Films of the 1990s." The successful dissertation defense was held January 8, 2007.


Kathryn Dederichs (MA, 2003) has received an Award of Excellence from Minneapolis Community and Technical College to develop a speech communication website along with implementing downloadable pod casts. It will be up and running by the end of Spring 2007.

Faculty and Students Presenting at the
2007 Central States Communication Association Conference

Communication Studies and Forensics: Bringing New Scholarship to Forensics and
Forensic's Place in Advancing Scholarship

  • Chair: Larry Schnoor
  • James P. Dimock and Joshua Randall, "It not all rhetoric and performance studies: What forensic coaches should know about small group theory and team dynamics."
  • Holly M. Manning and Chad J. Kuyper, "What happens in forensics stays in forensics: Bridging the gap between activism and complacency in topics and literature used in forensics competition."
  • Kristen Treinen, "Empowering…but for whom?"
  • Respondent: Larry Schnoor

Sara J. Weisenbeck, "Intercultural communication: Small group 'voice' project"

When Did Mother Become a Dirty Word: Examining the Perception of Mothers in Society and the Workplace

  • Chair: Lynn Kuechle
  • Christa Brown
  • Kristin Treinen

Kristen Treinen, Promoting Social Responsibility In The Basic Course Through Critical Communication Pedagogy

Jessica Samens, Flying Solo: Graduate Students Teaching Upper-Level Courses,

Kristen Eis Cvancara, "Modeling the influence of peer anti-social communication behaviors on compliance gaining strategies used in romantic relationships."

Blurring the Line: An Examination of Ethical Dilemmas

  • Chair: Jessica Samens
  • Participants:
    • Hillary Hoover
    • Jessica Samens
    • Katie Ischkin

Robert S. Jersak, "Comics in the College Classroom: Inciting Student Sngagement with the Humanities." *

David E. Engen and Scott D. Johnson, University of Richmond "Social Class in the Interpersonal Communication Course." (one of the Top Papers In Communication Education)

Kristen P. Treinen, "GenNext: Exploring the impact of traditional aged college students on basic course directors and teaching assistants."

Beyond the Classroom: Basic Course and Civic Engagement

  • Chair: Kristen P. Treinen
  • Participants:
    • Jessica Samens
    • Kathleen Crawford

Lemley, "Identity Actualization Within the Application of Self and Other."

Joshua Enoch Randall, "Communication Apprehension: How the Discipline Can Help."

Spotlight Panel on State Journals

Co-Chair Nanette Johnson-Curiskis, Editor, Communication & Theatre Association of Minnesota Journal

Performance through Sports, Alcohol, Rock and Television Families

Chair: Michelle D. Dodge


Speech Team and SPEE 100 Students Complete Successful Food Drive

Food Drive

Joshua Randall, Megan Petersen and Emily Kofoed

For the third semester in a row, the Minnesota State University-Mankato Speech Team and students enrolled in SPEE 100 conducted a successful food drive during finals week. During the scheduled final exam periods, Speech Team members collected food provided by students enrolled in SPEE 100. Students brought their items to the classroom where speech team members organized, packed and then delivered the food to the Echo Food Shelf. Over 1100 items, totaling 1360 lbs, were donated and delivered to the food shelf. Dr. Leah White, Director of Forensics, and Dr. Kristen Treinen, Director of the Basic Course, are pleased with the partnership between the speech team and SPEE 100 students. They hope to continue the drive at the end of each semester. The drive encourages Minnesota State Students to see how they can be connected to the greater Mankato Community.

Speech Team Has Successful Fall Semester

Despite starting the year with only 5 returning team members, the Minnesota State University-Mankato speech team has had a successful first semester of competition. Efforts were focused on significant recruitment which has paid off with the addition of over 15 new team members. Although new to college competition, these new team members have performed well. Many having already earned final round awards at regional tournaments.

Fall Highlights

The Minnesota State University-Mankato Forensic team traveled to the UW-Stout tournament on December 1 and 2. The team placed 4th overall. Many students received individual awards. Senior Emily Kofoed placed 1st in communication analysis, 3rd in persuasive speaking, was a semi-finalist in prose interpretation and was 5th in the overall individual sweepstakes competition. Senior Joshua Randall placed 6th in extemporaneous speaking. Junior Nicole Goebel placed 3rd in communication analysis. Junior Zeke Sorenson and Sophomore Grant Anderson placed 5th in duo interpretation. Sorenson also placed 2nd in program oral interpretation and 5th in prose interpretation. Sophomore Grace Phelps placed 6th in poetry interpretation. Freshman Alex Garlock placed 3rd in after dinner speaking. Freshman Justin Hathaway was a semi-finalist in prose interpretation.

The Minnesota State University-Mankato Forensic Team traveled to two tournaments in Madison, Wisconsin on November 11 and 12. At the Badger Memorial Invitational hosted by the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Senior Emily Kofoed placed 4th in both Communication Analysis and Persuasive Speaking. Kofoed also placed 6th in Poetry Interpretation. Junior Zeke Sorensen placed 2nd in Program Oral Interpretation. Sophomore Grant Anderson placed 6th in Prose Interpretation. At the 4th Mid-American Forensics League tournament of the year, hosted by Madison Area Technical College, the Mavericks placed 6th as a team, with many students earning individual honors. Emily Kofoed placed 6th in Persuasion, and 2nd in Communication Analysis. Zeke Sorensen was the tournament Champion in Program Oral Interpretation, and his duo with Grant Anderson received 5th place.

The Minnesota State-Mankato forensics team traveled to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois for the 59th annual L.E. Norton Memorial Tournament on November 3 and 4. The tournament had over 40 schools in attendance from all over the nation. 11 members of the team traveled and the results are as follows: Senior, Emily Kofed placed 6th in Communication Analysis and Freshman, Alex Garlock placed 2nd in Novice After Dinner Speaking.

Professor and Graduate Student Co-Author Research

Dr. Kristen Treinen, assistant professor, and Nadene Vevea, MA student, are presenting a research paper at the Basic Course Director's Conference in Las Vegas, NV, January 2007. The paper is titled: "Interviewing a Professional: Connecting Communication Theory to the 'Real World'"

Faculty Write Winning Grant Proposals!

  • Dr. Nan Johnson Curiskis and Dr. Kristen Cvancara have received CETL (Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) grants for Spring 2007. Dr. Johnson-Curiskis' project is titled: Online Small Group Communication; Dr. Cvancara's project is titled: Designing a Team-based Research Methods Course
  • Dr. Warren Sandmann and Professor James Dimock have been selected as Teacher-Scholar Fellows for Summer 2006. Dr. Sandmann's project is titled: Instructional Communication: Developing the Textbook and Creating the Class; Prof. Dimock's project is titled: Creating an MSU Student-Run Summer Workshop for Regional Forensics Students.
  • Dr. Kristen Treinen, Prof. James Dimock and Dr. Daniel Cronn-Mills have received a joint IPESL (Initiative to Promote Excellence in Student Learning) grant for Spring 2007. The title of the project is: Infusing Critical Thinking Throughout SPEE 100: Fundamentals of Speech Communication.


Dr. Daniel Cronn-Mills' sabbatical request for Fall 2007 has been approved.


The National Communication Association annual convention was held November 14-19, 2006. A number of faculty, graduate students, and faculty emeriti were elected to various national positions, including:

  • Dan Cronn-Mills: Elected Chair of the Masters Education Section of NCA
    Appointed as a Committee Member of the Forensic Assessment Project of the American Forensic Association
  • Jessica Samens: Selected as a reviewer for the Disabilities Issues Caucus of NCA
  • Kathleen Crawford: Selected as a reviewer for the Visual Communication Divison
  • Larry Schnoor, faculty emeriti: Re-elected representative from the Arguementation and Forensic Division to COFO
    Elected as Vice-Chair Elect of the Emeritus/Retired Members section of NCA—with responsibilities to plan the 2008 programs for the NCA Convention for that section and be Chair of the Section the following year.


Christa Brown has received a $2,500 Faculty Improvement Grant. The grant will pay for coursework Christa is taking toward completion of her Ph.D. in Communicaton Studies at Regent University.


Josh Randall and David Brennan have received a grant to support their research from the Undergraduate Research Center. The URC committee writes:

We are very pleased to inform you that your Undergraduate Research Center (URC) Application for Project Support, "An Ethical Debate: Measuring Truthiness In Parlimentary Debate" was selected to receive funding. You have been awarded a Small grant of $500 to be used for project supplies. Congratulations!


On Saturday, November 4, 2006, the Minnesota State-Mankato Forensics Team traveled to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls to compete in their annual forensics tournament. Though Mankato only brought two competitors, they placed sixth out of eleven schools competing. Elizabeth Drommerhausen placed 2nd in Persuasive Speaking and 3rd in Program Oral Interpretation. Nicole Goebel placed 3rd in Impromptu Speaking and 4th in Communication Analysis


On Saturday October 14th, the Minnesota State-Mankato speech team traveled to Eau Claire Wisconsin to compete in the 3rd Mid-American Forensics League tournament of the year. The team finished 3rd, overall, with many students receiving awards. Three freshmen mavericks placed in Novice prose, with Megan Petersen placing 5th, Justin Hathaway placing 3rd and Jason Reisch placing 2nd. In Communication Analysis, Junior Nicole Goebel placed 4th. Senior Emily Kofoed placed 3rd in Persuasion, and 2nd in Poetry Interpretation. Zeke Sorenson placed 6th in Poetry, and was the tournament champion in Program Oral Interpretation.


On October 6-7, the team traveled to Concordia College tournament in Moorhead MN where they also earned the 3rd place overall team finish. Senior Joshua Randall placed 4th in Impromptu Speaking. Senior Emily Kofoed placed 2nd in Persuasive Speaking and Senior Elizabeth Drommerhausen was 4th in the event. Junior Zeke Sorenson placed 5th in Program Oral Interpretation and 3rd in Poetry Interpretation. Junior Nicole Goebel placed 5th in Communication Analysis. Freshman Alex Garlock was the top novice in After Dinner Speaking.

Cronn-Mills Accepts Guest Reviewer Position

Dr. Dan Cronn-Mills has accepted an appointment as a guest manuscript reviewer for the African Journal of AIDS Research (AJAR). The journal is published by The Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation (CADRE). According the organization's website CADRE "is a South African non-profit organisation working in the area of HIV/AIDS social research, programme development and communication"

"AJAR was established in July 2002 by CADRE and the National Inquiry Services Centre (NISC). AJAR publishes papers that make an original contribution to the understanding of the social dimensions of HIV/AIDS research in African contexts. It includes articles from the disciplines of sociology, demography, economics, epidemiology, psychology, anthropology, media, health communication, cultural studies, public health, nursing, social development and social work. AJAR is an accredited SAPSE journal" (


Katie Ischkin, graduate teaching assistant in Speech Communication, has received word she is a recipient of an ISES scholarship for 2006-07. According to the organization's website at

"The Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter is underwriting student memberships in ISES for the best and brightest students who have a demonstrated desire to actively explore and participate in the special events industry. The benefits and criteria of student membership last through the current membership year.

"Outstanding Career Networking: As a member of ISES, you will have opportunities to meet and work with area event professionals who are experts in various disciplines including: Event Planning and Coordination, Special Event Management and Production, Design Décor and Rental, Technical Services and Products, Food Service (Caterers), Venue Management, Public Relations and Marketing, Fundraising and Non-profit Event Planning.

"Industry Affiliation & Education: You will be a member of an international network that comprises more than 4,000 members in more than a dozen countries. The organization promotes life-long education for event professionals through regional/national conferences and the Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) exam—the hallmark of professional achievement in our industry.

"Hands on Planning Experience: Scholarship winners will be invited to:

  • Attend a of our chapter's monthly Board of Directors Meetings.
  • Assisting with monthly chapter events including the prestigious Minnesota Star Awards.
  • Gain 10 Hours of actual hands on experience with Industry Professiona"

Dimock's Thesis Selected to Represent Arts & Humanities

Two theses from the college were nominated for the MAGS thesis competition, James Dimock's The Place of Parliamentary Debate in a Pedagogy of Argumentation (chair, Dr. Leah White, Speech Communications), and Jennifer Renier's The Land as Feminine in O. E. Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth (chair, Dr. Donald Larsson, English). The review committee, Donna Casella from English and David Engen from Speech Communications, found both theses to be exceptionally good work. They recommended that James Dimock's thesis be forwarded to the Graduate Committee as the nomination from Arts and Humanities.

Speech Comm Professor in Minnesota Monthly

In the October issue of Minnesota Monthly you will find the following:

"How to Love Better"
"Today: Listen Up"

Remember when she told you she loves lilies? No? That's probably because you weren't listening. And you wonder why you're in the doghouse for bringing her carnations? "Women and men listen differently," says Nanette Johnson-Curiskis, PhD, a communications professor at Minnesota State University-Mankato, who received the 2005 Outstanding Listening Educator of the Year award from the International Listening Association. "Women offer vocal and nonverbal cues to acknowledge they're listening, like nodding or saying 'uh-huh.' Men don't do that." She suggests getting rid of distractions first: turn off the TV, cell phone, and BlackBerry. Then get on the same level, whether that means taking a seat or standing closer. As you listen, repeat what you just heard so it sinks in. "Above all, shut up," says Johnson-Curiskis. We hear you.


Alum Interviewed on Research

Dr. Stephen Croucher (MA, 2003), was recently interviewed by the the Springfield Republican newspaper. He references in the article research he conducted while a graduate student at MSU, Mankato. The research was later published in the National Forensic Journal.

Professor, Grad, and Ugrad Present at South Dakota Speech Communication Association Conference

  • James Dimock, ass't professor was on four panels:
    • What is Good? Constructing a Meta-Ethics of Communication
    • Building the Case for "Debate Across the Curriculum"
    • Swap Meet of Teaching Strategies
    • Love, Lust and Indifference: Re-reading Plato's Phaedrus
  • Hillary Hoover, graduate teaching assistant, was on two panels:
    • What is Good? Constructing a Meta-Ethics of Communication
    • Building the Case for "Debate Across the Curriculum"
  • Josh Randall, undergraduate, Josh was one the panel:
    • Building the Case for "Debate Across the Curriculum"

Professor selected to Edit International Journal

Dr. Nan Johnson-Curiskis has been named co-editor of the International Journal of Listening. Nan will be in charge of annual Special Editions. The journal is now officially associated with Earlbaum publishers. ILJ will be producing two journals a year—one "regular" edition and one "special" edition. Nan's co-editor is Dr. Jim Floyd of Central Missouri State University.

Article Accepted for Publication

Christa Brown and Lynn Keuchle have an active-learning assignment titled, "Engaging Communication in Community" which has been accepted for publication in the 2006 CTAM Journal scheduled for publication this fall.

Dimock Thesis Selected to Represent Department

The MAGS Selection Committee is pleased to announce the thesis written by James Dimock titled The Place of Parliamentary Debate in a Pedagogy of Argumentation has been selected to represent the Department in the university-wide MAGS Competition. The thesis will now advance to competition at the college level in Arts and Humanities.


Seth Michael Smith (MS, 2003) has accepted the position of Director of Forensics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.


Dr. John Katsion (MA, 1997) has accepted the position of chair of the speech communication department at Multnomah Bible College and Seminary in Portland, OR.


Faculty and Students Presenting at NCA 2006!


Susan Adams Lloyd (MA, speech communication, 1991) has been named Vice President and General Manager of WCCO-TV Minneapolis/St. Paul. The complete story may be found online.


Professor Emerita Dr. Patricia Palm updates the department on her international adventures!

"I just returned from Melbourne, Australia and the 2006 Zonta International Convention. I was the parliamentarian for President Mary Ellen Bittner for the Zonta International Board of Directors meetings June 21, 22, and 23; for the 2006 Zonta International Convention June 24-29; and for the post-Board of Directors meetings June 30 & July 1. The newly elected president of Zonta International is Olivia Ferry of the Zonta club of Makati & Environs in the Philippines. She has appointed me Zonta International Parliamentarian for the 2006-2008 biennium. After the convention I spent a few days in Wellington, New Zealand. While there I attended the Zonta Women's Night at Astrals 2006 which was held in the Banquet Hall of the Beehive (the uniquely shaped home of New Zealand's government). I was privileged to listen to the Women's Debate between the top female debaters in the Australasian region. The three-woman teams debated 'This house would have mandatory quotas for women in Parliament.'"


Dr. Daniel Cronn-Mills has been elected vice-president of the American Forensic Association (AFA). Dan will serve two years (2006-2008) as the vice president, two years as the president, and two years as the immediate past president. The AFA is "committed to public advocacy, and those who teach it". The AFA is the parent organization for the National Debate Tournament (NDT) and the National Individual Events Tournament (NIET), publishes the national peer-reviewed journal Argumentation and Advocacy, and is a primary sponsor of the Summer Conference on Argumentation.


Speech Communication Faculty and Students Presenting at CTAM 2006!