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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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July 2005 Campus Newsletter

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MSU-sponsored Habitat for Humanity house groundbreakingGoing up: First MSU-sponsored Habitat house

Ground was broken Monday, July 18, for MSU's first Habitat for Humanity house.

The ceremony, at the construction site at 408 Stoltzman Road, included President Richard Davenport, Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott Olson, officials from MSU's Office of Student Leadership & Service Learning, and members of the Mankato and campus chapters of Habitat for Humanity.

The Office of Student Leadership & Service Learning will coordinate the acquisition of volunteer labor, refreshments and small tools for the project. The Mankato Habitat for Humanity affiliate will coordinate fundraising, building site selection, partner family selection and mortgage servicing. The partner family will help to build the house and will purchase the completed home with a long-term, no-interest loan.

Much of the construction will be done by student members of MSU's Habitat for Humanity chapter, which has approximately 150 members. The chapter has helped build houses in Mankato and in Florida, Michigan, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and other locations. The Rev. Tim Berg, chaplain of MSU's United Campus Ministry, is the faculty advisor.

Faculty and staff members are encouraged to help, too. Watch the MSU homepage for work schedules and opportunities to assist.

New VoIP phones being installed across campus

New phonesNew VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephones are being installed in faculty and staff offices across campus.

The signals generated by the new phones don't travel through traditional telephone wires. Instead they use the campus computer network and the Internet.

Voice over Internet Protocol is considered to be the "technology of the future" for wired, wireless and cellular communication. VoIP converges voice, video and data technology, providing many new features and reducing costs.

It uses a broadband internet connection instead of an analog phone line, converting voice conversations into a digital signal that travels through the campus network to its destination, where the signal is converted back to audio. Off-campus calls within the Mankato area are passed to the phone company's regular telephone network. In the future, many long distance and international calls will be toll-free as more consumers and business adopt VoIP phone service.

MSU, with 3,900 phones, is the first large school in Minnesota to fully deploy a VoIP-based system.

HickoryTech, vendor for MSU's current telephone system, is installing and will service the system based on Cisco's AAVID architecture. HickoryTech installed the same VoIP system at Mankato Clinic a year ago.

Users of the new system hear a dial tone and dial the telephone just as they did with the old system. Phone numbers remain the same. But VoIP phones have many new features, including computer-assisted dialing, text and audio messaging, and other extras not available on standard telephones.

VoIP will reduce costs by lowering the monthly fees for each phone while allowing classroom emergency phones to be added without monthly fees, and by reducing long-distance charges.

Phones were switched last week in Memorial Library and Wiecking. The cutover to new phones in other buildings will take place in August and September. See the schedule.

Several classroom learning sessions are available each day July 26-29 and Aug. 1-3 in Centennial Student Union and Wigley Administration Building. Register for a session.

MSU Telecommunications site provides additional information and answers questions about the new system.

Ready for summer football? Vikings Camp starts July 30!

Vikings Training CampReady for some summer football? The Minnesota Vikings return to MSU Friday, July 29, through Thursday, Aug. 18, for their 40th training camp, and you can kick off the event Saturday, July 30.

You can enjoy light refreshments and enter a raffle to win great prizes at a July 30 reception, starting at 2:30 p.m. From 3:30-5:30 p.m., you can sit in the cool comfort of the VIP skybox reserved just for MSU and watch the Vikings huff through their first afternoon practice. The 40th Anniversary Homecoming Party starts at 5:30 p.m., featuring Vikings players and staff and a presentation of the Vikings' 40 years in Mankato, followed by live music on the Vikings Village Main Stage, fireworks and more.

Cost is $20 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, with free reserved parking to the first 30 registrants. Register by July 23; call 1-888-234-3796, or use the MSU Day at Vikings Training Camp page.

Those who have questions should contact the Office of Alumni Relations & Special Events, 507-389-3235, or

Expect heavy training camp traffic again this year

Traffic will be occasionally heavy and parking limited again this year during the Vikings Training Camp July 29 through Aug. 18.

Knowing where to park and when to expect heavy traffic can minimize the camp's impact on your workday. Give yourself extra drive time; get a universal parking pass if you need one; and enjoy the perks of hosting the NFL team that shares the Maverick purple and gold.

In years past, approximately 30,000 people have visited the camp over the three-week period. This year camp sponsors expect 10,000 people per day. Traffic will be heavy. Allow plenty of drive time to and from campus, and carpool, bike, walk or take the Heartland Express bus if you can. Bus information is available at 507-625-RIDE, and on Mankato Heartland Express website.

Lots 20, 21, 22 and 23 on Stadium Road will be reserved for camp visitors. MSU will sell parking passes to the public ($3 for a single day; $10 for a five-event punch card; $20 for a universal pass). MSU employees who have purple, green or orange parking permits may get universal passes free from Dave Cowan. To request a pass, email Passes are for use only by employees, and only during work hours.

Soon you'll receive a voucher good for lunch in Vikings Village. MSU's Employee Recognition Committee will sponsor drawings for Vikings merchandise and tickets to the Vikings-Chiefs scrimmage.

MSU is not the primary training camp sponsor this year: the University and several local businesses are title sponsors, and Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Mankato, LLC, is the primary sponsor. The change will bring increased revenues, which mean more scholarship dollars for MSU students.

For more information about training camp, go to the Vikings Training Camp 2005 website.

School of Nursing accredited through June 2010

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education has accredited the School of Nursing through June 30, 2010. The approval comes after an in-depth review that spanned the 2004-2005 academic year.

Accreditation for both the baccalaureate and the master's degree programs in nursing was effective April 15.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education is an autonomous, national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. CCNE accreditation is voluntary, intended as a self-regulatory process to support and encourage continual self-assessment, growth and improvement by nursing education programs.

MSU's graduate nursing program also is accredited until 2010 by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

MSU has offered a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing since 1953. The program emphasizes family nursing, with options for advanced nursing roles of clinical nurse specialist and family nurse practitioner. The graduate program, leading to a master of science in nursing, is designed to prepare advanced practice nurses.

Mary Bliesmer is interim associate dean of Nursing.

COE helping school districts with performance assessment

The College of Education has developed a new evaluation and information model that Minnesota school districts can use to assess teaching and learning, access "just-in-time" professional development, and support teacher leaders.

The model helps districts implement "QComp" (Quality Compensation for Teachers)—a new legislative incentive that makes districts eligible for more state funds if they pay teachers based on performance. QComp, proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and approved by the Legislature last week, provides an additional $260 per pupil to districts that implement the "pay-for-performance" plan.

The legislation requires participating districts to negotiate new salary schedules based on performance, as well as on the traditional elements of seniority and credits. Administrator-teacher teams will develop evaluation criteria customized for each district.

COE Dean Michael Miller says the model provides new, better ways of assessing student achievement and evaluating teaching professionals. "It also provides research-based opportunities for professional growth, enhances the culture of the teaching profession, and empowers school administrators to be instructional leaders."

MSU has developed the model in collaboration with educators from Albert Lea, Austin, Faribault, LeSueur-Henderson, Mankato, Owatonna, St. Peter, Sibley East (Arlington) and Waseca.

Not all districts will get QComp funds. The appropriation is enough for about one-third of Minnesota's 843,000 public school students.

Local school officials who want more information can contact the College of Education at 507-389-5445.

Seven faculty, staff join Leadership Academy

Congratulations to Greg Bednar, Avra Johnson, Lori Lamb, Jayne Larsen, Jan Marble, Jeff Pribyl and Debra Schulz. They've been accepted into the 2005-2006 Minnesota State Colleges & Universities System Leadership Academy program.

Minnesota State's Leadership Academy is an 18-month program that teaches leadership theories, practices and skills to faculty and staff members who aspire to future leadership positions. The program focuses on leadership at all levels, to help faculty and staff more effectively lead their departments and colleges.

The Leadership Academy is sponsored by the Minnesota State Office of the Chancellor, and facilitated by The Academy of Mesa, Ariz. Enrollment is limited to 54 participants. The program provides participants with skills to thoroughly understand, internalize and apply leadership concepts and skills. It focuses on active engagement, meaningful and relevant content, useful and applicable learning, and measurable outcomes.

The program includes two leadership sessions over one year (an initial five-day session, followed a year later by a concluding five-day session). Between sessions, participants have practical experience with guidance from college mentors and Academy coaches.

New IRS rule taxes late expense reimbursements

The Internal Revenue Service recently clarified its requirements regarding prompt reimbursement of employee business expenses, according to Comptroller Steve W. Smith.

The IRS now requires (effective July 1) that employees submit business expenses for reimbursement within 60 days after the expense is incurred, or the trip ends. Those who do not submit their requests for reimbursement within 60 days must claim the reimbursement as taxable income (federal, state, FICA and Medicare), and the University must deduct withholding taxes from the reimbursement.

Expenses incurred July 1 and later are subject to this new requirement.

The University has required that employees submit expense reports to their supervisors for approval within five days after incurring the expense, or five days after returning from a trip. But some employees wait until the end of a semester to submit reimbursement requests.

Because of this new requirement, all employees should promptly submit requests for expense reimbursement. Steve points out that employees who delay will incur added costs to themselves and to the University (MSU must match employee FICA and Medicare taxes).

For more information about employee business expense reimbursement, review the announcements section of the State of Minnesota Employee Self Service website (the site where you view your pay stub details).

Claire Faust Public Service Award nominations are due

The Employee Recognition Committee is accepting nominations for the annual Claire Faust Public Service Award, which recognizes an employee for outstanding service to the university, community, state and nation.

The Claire E. Faust Public Service Award is named after Claire E. Faust, former vice president of Administrative Affairs at MSU. The award will be presented at the Fall Convocation August 22. Recipients receive a distinguished plaque and are recognized on a permanent plaque.

Nominations are being accepted until Wednesday, Aug. 10. For information about the award, or to nominate a deserving individual, visit the Claire E. Faust Public Service Award page.

Still time to plan a Family Weekend event

The Family Weekend 2005 Committee is finalizing plans for the weekend (September 23-25), but there's time to still add an event to the schedule.

In August co-chairs Robyn Goldy and Torin Akey will send a mailing to 14,000 MSU students, and they want it to include as much information as possible. If your office is planning an event that weekend, contact Robyn or Torin by July 29, explaining the time, title, location, contact information and a brief description of the event.

To see what's planned to date, visit the MSU Family Weekend website.

Post Secondary Enrollment Options moves

The Post Secondary Enrollment Options program has moved from the New Student and Family Programs to University Extended Education as part of the reorganization and development of University Extended Education.

Patricia Lipetzky, dean of University Extended Education, administers the PSEO program, and day-to-day activities are coordinated by Kathleen Trauger, director of University Extended Education.

High school PSEO students traditionally have enrolled in University Extended Education courses, including off-campus and Friday-Saturday courses. Housing PSEO within University Extended Education will make it easier for students to find these courses.

Joel Johnson, director of First Year Experience, and Kathy are working together to make the transition smooth and successful. The change was effective June 1.

Faculty/Staff Achievements

Sheryl Dowlin (Speech-Communication) and Suzanne Bunkers (English) completed work on their "Moving Towards Respect" project and its follow-up assessment. A $15,000 "Learning that Lasts" grant from Minnesota State's Center for Teaching and Learning, as well as funding from other educational organizations, funded the research and curriculum project. Sheryl and Suzanne presented a paper about their work at the conference of the International Association for Intercultural Education in Verona, Italy, in April. The paper, translated by Dr. Hamid Bashiriyeh, will be published in "Report on Dialogue," the journal of the International Centre for Dialogue among Civilizations in Tehran, Iran.


Personnel comings and goings at MSU:

Tara Balster is new to Children's House; Marcius Brock recently started at the Registrar's Office; Vickie Hanson joined Student Affairs; Ruth Heilman and Jean Jordan are new to Educational Studies K-12 & Secondary Programs; William Joyce is new to Accounting and Business Law; Syed Raza joined Office Support Services; and Christopher Rupp is new to Theatre & Dance.

We bid farewell to Paul Akemann (Physical Plant); Gerald Stiles (Marketing & International Business); Benjamin Stratton (Building Services); and Adam Swenson (Intercollegiate Athletics).

To keep track of MSU personnel changes, watch the Human Resources Comings and Goings page.