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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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August 9, 2006 Campus Newsletter

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Full Accreditation

high learning commission logoThe Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has fully accredited Minnesota State Mankato for the maximum 10-year period through July of 2016.

The commission's action was announced last month by Steven D. Crow, HLC executive director. In June the commission's Institutional Actions Council voted to continue the University's accreditation, and in July the council's action was validated by the Higher Learning Commission's Board of Trustees.

"Accreditation by the North Central Association is the most important seal of approval that exists for an American higher education institution," said President Richard Davenport. "It is validation that all of our programs — on-campus, off-campus and online — provide an outstanding education value for our students."

"The Higher Learning Commission can recommend anything from revocation to full accreditation. They recommended full accreditation with one progress report in 2009. This is very, very good, and the entire campus community can be proud for making it happen."

The announcement represents great progress since 1996, when the Higher Learning Commission conditionally reaccredited the University, raising eight major concerns about its programs. The latest reaccreditation requires the University to submit one progress report in 2009 about the alignment of its assessment, planning and budgeting processes.

Early this year a 10-member Higher Learning Commission evaluation team visited campus, meeting with students, faculty members, administrators and staff. The visit followed more than two years of self-study by University staff and faculty.

In their interviews with faculty, staff and students, team members focused on five core criteria:

  • Mission and integrity — insuring that the university uses structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff and students to fulfill its mission;
  • Preparing for the future by carefully allocating resources and planning to improve the quality of education;
  • Evidence of effective student learning and teaching that demonstrates the university is fulfilling its educational mission;
  • Promoting a life of learning for students, faculty, administration and staff, by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice and social responsibility;
  • Engaging and serving constituencies in ways that both the university and the stakeholders value.

The University's self-study effort was led by English Professor Donald F. Larsson and director of Library Services Joan Roca.

Aug. 21: President's Convocation

The 2006-2007 academic year starts Monday, Aug. 21, with the President's Convocation and other first-week activities.

The Convocation, academia's traditional opening event, will be at 9 a.m. in Bresnan Arena, preceded by an 8:30 a.m. reception on the Bresnan Concourse. After the Convocation all faculty and staff are invited to the annual campus cookout from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by President Richard Davenport on the University's central Mall.

Other formal and informal events are scheduled during Orientation Week Monday through Friday, Aug. 21-25, including:

  • A President's Reception for new faculty and staff, 5:30 p.m. Monday in the CSU Heritage Room;
  • A welcome breakfast for new faculty, 8 a.m. Tuesday, CSU 253;
  • A reception honoring former Vice President of Finance and Administration Dean Trauger, 10:30 a.m.-noon Tuesday, CSU 253;
  • Orientation for new graduate teaching assistants, 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, CSU 201.
  • Faculty Association general meeting, 3 p.m. Tuesday, CSU 253;
  • Residence halls open for new students, 9 a.m. Wednesday;
  • New student orientation and advising, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday;
  • Reception for new administrators, 9 a.m. Thursday, CSU Heritage Room;
  • Residence halls open for returning students, 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Faust Award Nominations Requested

Claire Faust
Claire Faust

Nominations are being accepted for the Minnesota State Mankato Claire E. Faust Public Service Award, presented each year to a University employee to recognize outstanding service to the university, community, state and nation.

The award will be presented at the Fall Convocation Monday, Aug. 21. Recipients receive a distinguished plaque and are recognized on a separate permanent plaque.

The Claire E. Faust Public Service Award was developed to recognize a University employee for outstanding service to the university, community, state and nation. It was named after Claire E. Faust, former vice president of Administrative Affairs.

Nine employees have been recipients of the award: Claire E. Faust in 1988, Kuhn Lee 1989, Georgene Brock 1998, Kathy Steiner 1999, David Cowan 2000, David Allan 2001, Kathleen Trauger in 2002, Bill Bernhagen and Stewart Ross in 2003, Barbara Carson in 2004 and Tony Filipovitch in 2005.

The Employee Recognition Committee coordinates the nomination process, and President Richard Davenport makes the final decision on the award recipient.

An online nomination form (162KB PDF) is available.

Research: E-85 Conversion Kits

E-85 logoGov. Tim Pawlenty recently announced that the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research at Minnesota State Mankato will conduct research on E-85 conversion kits. The governor made the announcement at a news conference last week with Auto & Manufacturing Engineering Technology faculty member Bruce Jones, who is director of MnCAR.

The kits currently are not certified for use, but Gov. Pawlenty has encouraged the Environmental Protection Agency to allow the kits to be tested for eventual use in existing vehicles. The governor said research will begin at Minnesota State Mankato in an effort to bring further data to the EPA discussion, and to continue Minnesota's leadership in the use of renewable fuels.

Gov. Pawlenty asked MnCAR to conduct research that will test the effectiveness and feasibility of kits that allow regularly designed gasoline powered vehicles to run on a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, known as E-85. Currently, only specifically built Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) can use E-85.

"More vehicles using more ethanol will reduce our dependence on foreign oil," Governor Pawlenty said. "E-85 conversion kits may be another way to expand our use of renewable fuels in Minnesota. The research conducted by Minnesota State University, Mankato will be important in determining the viability of this flex-fuel technology for Minnesota drivers looking for a homegrown alternative at the pump."

Minnesota is the nation's leader in the use of renewable fuels with highest renewable fuel use per capita in the nation. The state was the first to implement an ethanol standard. Since 1997, Minnesota law has required all gasoline sold within the state to include 10% ethanol (E-10). Last year, the Legislature approved a bill expected to move the state to a 20 percent ethanol standard by 2013.

Minnesota has North America's largest network of E-85 gas stations, with approximately 260 stations now operating. Roughly 140,000 Minnesotans drive Flexible Fuel Vehicles designed to burn either gasoline or E-85.

The Minnesota Center for Automotive Research focuses on student and faculty research dealing with government agencies and industries that are developing alternative fuels, including ethanol. The center also works with manufacturers that are interested in addressing fuel economy and emissions issues.

Research: Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

plug-inThe Minnesota Legislature is encouraging the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research to test two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles as flexible-fuel vehicles.

A bill approved by the Legislature allows Minnesota State Mankato accept donations and work with nonprofit agencies, higher education institutions and others to collect funds for research on retrofitted hybrid vehicles. The Legislature allocated no funds for the research.

Auto & Manufacturing Engineering Technology faculty members Bruce Jones and Gary Mead hope to work with a California company to obtain a hybrid vehicle that the company has retrofitted with a patented battery pack that can be recharged from a household outlet. Bruce, Gary and automotive engineering students would further retrofit the plug-in hybrid so its fuel system can use E85 blended gasoline. Hybrid cars currently on the market can't use E85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline).

Bruce and Gary see plug-in E85 hybrid vehicles as an important step in the journey to reduce the nation's dependence on oil.

Electric motors on commercially available hybrid vehicles merely assist the vehicle's gasoline engine. The electric motor runs at start-up and lower speeds; the gasoline engine powers the vehicle at higher speeds, and the batteries are recharged when the vehicle is coasting or braking.

Retrofitted with more powerful batteries and a plug-in charger, the hybrid vehicle's electric motor becomes the primary source of power, capable of propelling the vehicle for the first 30 miles. The gasoline engine becomes the secondary power source — made less oil-dependent by the E85 retrofit proposed by Bruce and Gary.

Delegation Expands Opportunities in China

Students, faculty members and administrators at Xi'an Institute of Finance and Economy
Students, faculty members and administrators at Xi'an Institute of Finance and Economy rolled out the red carpet this summer for the Minnesota State University, Mankato China delegation.

A delegation of Minnesota State Mankato deans, faculty and staff returned recently from a successful two-week exploratory visit to nine universities in the People's Republic of China.

President Davenport asked the group to identify potential partners for faculty and student exchange programs, joint research projects and distance education programs as a follow-up to his 2005 mission to China with Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The Minnesota State Mankato delegation visited universities in Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and Yangzhou. The delegation included John Frey, College of Science, Engineering & Technology dean; Scott Johnson, College of Business dean; Juan (Gloria) Meng of the College of Business; Patricia Peterson of the Modern Language Department; Patricia Lipetzky, dean of University Extended Education; Caryn Lindsay, director of the International Programs Office; and Tom Gjersvig, director of the International Student Office.

As Scott pointed out, Minnesota State Mankato must provide opportunities for faculty and students to explore the rich history and culture of China as students prepare for careers in an ever-smaller world. "It is widely accepted that China is a rapidly emerging economy that will be a dominant force in global business," Scott said.

John was impressed by the "rather good (and growing) command of English" possessed by many students. He hopes to recruit graduate students from some of the universities in China, and to support faculty exchange within his college.

All seven delegation members agreed that the teaching of language and culture (English and Mandarin Chinese) will form the cornerstone of the developing relationships. Patricia Peterson was pleased to learn that some of the universities offer BA degrees in teaching Chinese as a Second Language. Graduates of those programs who are interested in teaching English could continue their graduate studies at Minnesota State Mankato, while teaching beginning Mandarin to students here. She plans to explore this possibility over the coming year.

All of the Chinese universities are excited at the opportunity to host our students to tutor their students in English — a subject required in Chinese schools.

Dean Lipetzky is interested in testing the possibilities of "sharing courses or guest lecturing via technology." East China Normal University in Shanghai uses such technology for continuing teacher education in rural China, and would like to continue to explore cooperation with Minnesota State Mankato and the College of Education, in particular.

Dean Lipetzky and Caryn hope that faculty members will develop short-term, faculty led programs for Minnesota students. Such opportunities "in partnership with one or more Chinese universities would allow many Minnesota State students to experience China from a variety of disciplines," says Dean Lipetzky. Caryn adds that her office this fall will offer incentive grants to faculty members to develop such programs.

The Minnesota State Mankato group discovered that the number of students attending universities in China is growing, and were astounded that every university is building new campuses to meet the demand.

While classrooms and libraries are improving, residence halls for Chinese students are, by U.S. standards, quite minimalist. Students live six to a room with bathrooms down the hall and a common bathhouse down the block. International students live two to a room with air conditioning and a TV provided by the university, as well as private bath and shower.

Aug. 15: New Campus Smoking Policy

A new policy outlining guidelines for smoking on campus is effective Tuesday, Aug. 15.

The policy was drafted and reviewed by student, faculty and staff councils and meet-and-confer organizations last year and earlier this year, following a campus-wide survey about smoking in spring 2005. It was approved by the Cabinet and signed by President Richard Davenport in April.

The new policy is intended to promote the campus Health and Wellness initiative, and to address concerns and rights of students, faculty, staff and visitors. According to the 2005 survey, 65 percent of faculty, staff and students want smokers to stay 15 feet from building entrances. Half would like to ban smoking on campus entirely.

The new policy carries forward some current smoking rules, and adds some new restrictions:

  • Smoking continues to be prohibited in all University facilities except for Room 42 of Centennial Student Union. The prohibition applies to outdoor seating areas such as Blakeslee Stadium.
  • Smoking is prohibited in all University owned or leased vehicles.
  • Smokers may not block the route of entrance or exit on sidewalks where smoking is allowed.
  • Smoking is prohibited next to 25 building entrances where it previously has been allowed. (For specific locations, see map at website below.) The new policy designates those areas as Smoke-Free Entrances, where smoking is prohibited.
  • Smoking is permitted at designated outdoor areas that are at least 15 feet from other building entrances. Cigarette receptacles are installed at these areas.

The new policy promotes health benefits for the entire campus community, by moving smoke farther from building entrances, thus reducing risk to non-smokers from second-hand smoke.

It also provides economic benefits: Health insurers promise to increase their fees if clients do not reduce smoking and second-hand smoke exposure among their employees. A pack-a-day smoker in Minnesota spends $35 per week on cigarettes, or $1,825 per year. A 20-year-old pack-a-day student smoker who quits and puts the savings into an IRA at 9 percent a year will save $232,000 by retirement.

Students and employees who smoke are encouraged to enroll in a smoking cessation class. For more information contact Student Health Services at 389-6276 or e-mail

No individual or department will be assigned to enforce the policy. But the new policy empowers and encourages all employees to advise violators of the policy in a non-confrontational manner. If smokers don't comply with the new policy, a campus-wide smoking ban may be considered.

You can download the new Smoking Policy (2.6MB PDF).

Three Join Center for Excellence

Three staff members have joined the Minnesota Center for Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence to develop and articulate the center's mission. Minnesota State Mankato serves as lead university for the center. The Center also has created a new website.

Kuma Takamura is the new executive director. He most recently served as advisor and engineer in the research and development office for the SuSumu Company of Japan, parent company of Thin Film, North Mankato. His industrial experience includes upper-level management, research and development, quality assurance and quality control, manufacturing of thin film passive electronics components, consultation, and service as an advisory board member to the College of Science, Engineering & Technology.

Jim Mecklenburg is program director for Project Lead the Way, a key Center for Excellence middle and high school program. Nationally established, the program is intended to help schools give students the knowledge they need to excel in the high-tech fields of engineering and manufacturing. Jim brings to the position 31 years of experience in education as a teacher, special needs facilitator and administrator. He has served as state supervisor for career and technical education in the trades and industry areas at the Minnesota Department of Education for nearly seven years. Since 1999 he has served as the Minnesota state leader for Project Lead the Way.

Judith Evans is the Center's director of marketing and communications. She has served in the non-profit sector developing and directing marketing and communications strategies for more than 15 years. She most recently served as director of admissions and communications for Loyola Catholic School, Mankato, and communications director for the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Graduate student Safee Hashmi is assisting the Center with its new website. The site will be updated frequently with new Center information. Center officials are working with each of the educational partners to have an MNCEME link installed on their websites.

The Minnesota Center for Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence uses acclaimed customized training programs, nationally recognized pre-engineering programs, and cutting-edge applied research and industry collaboration to help prepare students to assist Minnesota companies to compete in a changing global market.

MNCEME is one of four centers of excellence established by the Minnesota Legislature. It is comprised of lead university Minnesota State Mankato; Alexandria, Anoka, and Hennepin Technical Colleges; Normandale Community College; South Central College; and the Northeast Higher Education District.

New Director for Gerontology/Center on Aging

Jim Tift will become director of Gerontology/Center on Aging this fall, replacing Leah Rogne (Sociology), who served as interim director in 2005-2006.

The appointment was announced by John Alessio, dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Science.

Jim earned a master's degree in gerontology from Florida State University and has a long history in Minnesota in the field of aging. A former staff member of the Minnesota Board on Aging, he has taught courses on aging at St. Mary's University, Metropolitan State University and Inver Hills Community College.

He will continue the Gerontology Program restructuring process started last fall, updating age studies offerings and developing an identity for the Center on Aging.

"I am very pleased with our progress this year," Leah said. "We have increased the numbers of gerontology minors and graduate students, and we have strengthened our connections with the community and with related departments on campus. We have strong support for our programs in the community, and the University has clearly shown to the community its strong support for age studies on campus. I know that we will continue to make excellent progress next year under the leadership of Jim Tift."

During the last year a university task force and working subcommittees completed an environmental scan of opportunities and challenges for the program. The task force will make recommendations for curricular and administrative changes during the next year of the three-year reorganization process.

The Center held its first public event in March — the Chesley Lecture on Aging, a talk about vital aging and elder-friendly communities that was heard by 200 people.

For more information contact Leah at 507-389-5610 or

New Round of ASF Special Initiative Awards

New proposals for MSUAASF Special Initiative Awards are being solicited by the Special Initiative Awards Committee, with a deadline for submission of Monday, Oct. 30.

Initial awards will be made by Nov. 30, and participants will have the spring semester to work on their proposals. Final reports will be due by May 30, 2007, so that payments can be made before the end of the fiscal year. This new round of proposals will be duplicated in the 2007-'08 fiscal year as well.

The MSUAASF contract provides for Special Initiative Awards of up to $5,000 to ASF members for proposed work initiatives above and beyond the normal requirements of the individual's position. The initiative must promote excellence and benefit the University mission or the Minnesota State system.

Detailed criteria for the new round of awards and a call for proposals were sent recently to all MSUAASF employees by the Human Resources Office. Proposals must be submitted on a Special Initiative Award form. Those who missed the July e-mail may contact Human Resources for a copy of the criteria and a form.

Aug. 11: Tuition Due Date

The university's tuition due date is Friday, Aug. 11, for students registered through Monday, Aug. 7. To meet the new tuition payment policy requirement and to avoid registration cancellation after this due date, employee/dependent tuition waiver forms were to be submitted to the Office of Human Resources on or before Friday, Aug. 4.

Employee or dependent students whose tuition waiver requests are not reflected on their university records at the time the new tuition policy cancellation process is run will have their registrations cancelled, provided they do not meet any of the other minimum payment requirements of the policy. This procedure has no provision for automatic reinstatement of registrations cancelled for nonpayment.

Faculty and staff who wish to submit tuition waiver requests for fall semester can download the form (126KB PDF).

For employee or dependent students who register for fall semester courses after Aug. 7, tuition waiver forms must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources by Friday, Aug. 25. This provides adequate time for the waiver to be reflected on the student's university records, which will prevent registration cancellation for nonpayment following the tuition due date of Friday, Sept. 1.

Two Awards for the CSU

csuCentennial Student Union has been honored with two additional design awards.

This spring the CSU was awarded a Gold Citation from American School & University magazine, and is featured in the August Educational Interior Showcase issue. Paulsen Architects of Mankato led the $11-million renovation that began in February 2004 and was completed in September 2005.

Jurors noted the "dramatic change from dead and dark to alive and bright—it looks like a brand-new facility. (Paulsen Architects) clearly achieved their goal of opening up the spaces, improving the lighting and improving the expansiveness of the areas."

The union also received a 2006 FAB Award from the Northland Chapter of the International Interior Design Association, in recognition of the most "Fresh, Artistic and Brilliant" work that the design and architectural community has to offer. The IIDA Northland Chapter covers Minnesota, the Dakotas, western Wisconsin and southern Canada.

The two awards are in addition to the March 2006 Facility Design Award of Excellence from the Association of College Unions International.

Royalty Payments on Track for Another Record

Based on income from the first two quarters of 2006, the University is on track to collect record royalty payments this year from vendors who use the University's name and logotypes on garments and other items sold for profit.

Second-quarter royalties totaled $4,776, bringing the total for 2006 to $18,306. That compares with $15,758 for the same period last year.

In 2005 royalty payments achieved a record at $34,189 — 5.4 percent higher than 2004.

The Media Relations Office oversees licensed vendors, approving, disapproving or requiring changes to each proposed design. Last year the office reviewed more than 660 designs submitted by commercial vendors. The royalty payments go to the Finance Office, and are used primarily for academic and athletic talent grants.

Lou Bellamy: McKnight Distinguished Artist

Alumnus Lou Bellamy, founder and artistic director of the Penumbra Theatre Company, has been named 2006 McKnight Distinguished Artist by the McKnight Foundation of St. Paul.

The award, which recognizes Minnesota artists who have made significant contributions to the quality of the state's cultural life, includes a $40,000 cash prize.

"Lou Bellamy embodies the spirit of the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award," said Erika L. Binger, board chair of the McKnight Foundation. "The excellence of his craft is evident in Penumbra's loyal following and critical acclaim. Lou's commitment to the community, however, is what truly distinguishes him among exceptional Minnesota artists."

Lou graduated from Minnesota State Mankato with a BA, and received an MA from the University of Minnesota. In 1976 he founded Penumbra as a forum for African-American voices in Twin Cities theatre. He has been a member of the University of Minnesota faculty for 29 years, and currently serves as associate professor in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance.

In 1962, then-Mankato State Professor Ted Paul sought out black actors for a staging of "Finian's Rainbow." Ted invited Lou to join the cast, sparking his lifelong theater career.

Anne Blackhurst: Interim Graduate Studies Dean

President Richard Davenport announced recently that Anne Blackhurst is the interim dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research.

Anne will serve on an interim basis for two years. She replaces Fernando Delgado, who recently was named dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Hamline University.

Anne has been a graduate faculty member for 12 years, most recently as chair of the Department of Counseling and Student Personnel. In the last two years she has been active in University discussions about implementing doctoral programs.

She came to the University in 1994 as an assistant professor of Counseling and Student Personnel. She was promoted to associate professor in 1998 and full professor in 2004. She served as department chair in 1000-2001 and from 2005 until her latest appointment.

Before coming to Mankato, Anne was assistant dean of student life and director of residence life at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio; associate director of residence life at Ohio University (Athens); and director of residence life at the College of Idaho. She has taught as an adjunct at Marietta College, Ohio University and the College of Idaho.

Student Michael Boulton Elected Trustee Treasurer

Michael Boulton
Michael Boulton

Master's degree student Michael Boulton has been elected treasurer of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.

Michael began serving a one-year term as treasurer Aug. 1. He was elected to the position at the Board of Trustees meeting July 19. At the meeting the trustees also elected David Paskach, Marshall, as board chair and Clarence Hightower, Plymouth, as vice chair.

Michael, one of three student representatives on the board, is pursuing a master's degree in urban and regional studies. In 2005 he earned a bachelor's degree in political science and business administration from Southwest Minnesota State University.

He served on the board of directors for the Minnesota State University Student Association and was president of the Southwest Minnesota State University Student Association. He was appointed to the board seat for a state university student for a two-year term ending June 30, 2007.

Student Achievements

Recent master of arts graduate student Chad Kuyper was named Outstanding Graduate Student of 2006 by the Department of English. Kuyper graduated in May with a master of arts in English. He earned the award for unparalleled academic achievement, teaching, research and service to community during his two-year term as a graduate assistant.


Do you have faculty, staff, student or departmental news for the biweekly campus newsletter? Send news items to newsletter editor Mike Cooper at The newsletter is published every other Wednesday during the academic year and monthly during the summer. The next newsletter will be published Aug. 23, 2006. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Wednesday (Aug. 16).