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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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January 17, 2007 Campus Newsletter

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Judy Kuster, Kimberly Contag receive Fulbrights

Judy Kuster (Speech, Hearing & Rehabilitation Services) and Kimberly Contag (Modern Languages) have been awarded 2006-2007 Fulbright Awards to teach and conduct research in Bulgaria and Ecuador.

Judy recently was awarded a Senior Specialists Program scholarship to teach at Southwest University in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. Kimberly last year received a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research at the University of Cuenca in Cuenca, Ecuador — her second Fulbright.

Judy Kuster
Judy Kuster

Judy will lecture on her specialty — stuttering, counseling and internet resources for communication sciences and disorders. Kimberly conducted research on "New Voices in Ecuadorian Literature" late last year.

Their Fulbright awards are the 20th and 21st at Minnesota State Mankato.

Several Minnesota State Mankato students also have been awarded Fulbright student scholarships. Recent master's degree graduate Melissa Siebke is studying and teaching in Spain on a 2006-2007 Fulbright Scholarship.

In 1995 Judy created the Stuttering Home Page, dedicated to providing information about stuttering. For the last nine years she has hosted the three-week International Stuttering Awareness Day online conference. In May she will receive the International Stuttering Association World Congress' Outstanding Contribution Award.

She has taught at Minnesota State Mankato for 20 years.

Kimberly Contag
Kimberly Contag

Kimberly and her husband, James Grabowska (Modern Languages), since last summer have lived in Cuenca, Ecuador, with their three sons. They will remain in Ecuador until this summer.

With her husband Kimberly wrote an award-winning book (Where the Clouds Meet the Water, Inkwater Press, Portland, Ore., 2004) about her German-Ecuadoran grandfather, who was blacklisted and forced to leave Ecuador in 1942 with his four small children. After World War II he and the children returned to Ecuador. One of them — Kimberly's father — was educated in Iowa, and became a veterinarian in New Ulm.

This is Kimberly's second Fulbright. She received her first Fulbright-Hayes Award 20 years ago. She has taught at Minnesota State Mankato since 1992.

Employees double pledges to Combined Charities

charity banner

Minnesota State Mankato employees more than doubled their pledges to the Combined Charities Campaign this year — to $76,597. That ranks the University's employee giving first among the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and second among government agencies statewide.

The 2006 Combined Charities campaign was conducted Oct. 2-31. The annual drive helps community based service organizations such as United Way of Greater Mankato, the Minnesota Environmental Fund, Community Solutions Fund, Community Health Charities, Open Your Heart, and a variety of other causes.

The $76,597 pledged by Minnesota State Mankato employees is more than twice last year's total of $34,812. It represents 9 percent of the $860,832 pledged by employees at all state agencies, and is the second-largest institutional pledge total in the state (second only to the Department of Human Services).

Employees may visit the Combined Charities website for more information.

Leadership Council backs professional development

Leadership Council
The third annual Professional Development Day Jan. 10 was highly successful, with more than 900 registrations and an estimated 500 faculty and staff members participating in a variety of programs.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system Leadership Counsel (all presidents and the Chancellor's Cabinet) recently adopted a new philosophy statement regarding professional development. The statement reads:

"We are committed to developing the talents of Minnesota State Colleges & Universities' employees. We value our employees and understand that continuous learning benefits the entire system by developing and maintaining employee skills that link directly to achieving organizational goals and objectives. Supporting successful leaders at all levels also builds institutional capacity to better serve our students and our communities. This commitment is realized as a shared responsibility between each employee and each college, university, or the Office of the Chancellor."

The new message is "a powerful and visionary statement about why professional development is important for each and every one of us," said Lori Lamb, director of Human Resources. "I am proud to say that we are already in the process of doing great work in this area on our campus."

"The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, directed by Stewart Ross, "is second to none," Lori pointed out. "Our Professional Development Committee, which consists of faculty and staff across our campus, works hard to present many quality programs through the year on a variety of key topics."

"Professional development is an important initiative for all faculty and staff," Lori said. "As a higher education institution we accomplish the many great things that we do through our people. Everyone needs to be prepared to face the ever-increasing and complex changes in the years ahead."

'Provost' officially added to Scott Olson's title

Scott Olson
Scott Olson

President Richard Davenport is pleased to announce that Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott Olson's title has been officially changed to provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. The change was approved recently by the Office of the Chancellor.

The addition of provost to Scott's title reflects his responsibility for overseeing the operation of the University in the absence of the president, in addition to his leadership of the Academic Affairs Division, President Davenport said.

"Our capital campaign is progressing, which means I must be away from campus more frequently to visit potential donors," President Davenport added. "It is appropriate that Scott's title reflect his leadership duties as the University's second-ranking administrative officer."

"Scott is an extraordinarily capable leader, and I know that the University is in good hands when I'm away from campus."

The term "provost" derives from the Latin praepositus, and later from a 17th-century Middle English word meaning "one appointed to preside over, or superintend." In the 20th and 21st centuries, many North American universities have used the title to designate the institution's second-in-command — most frequently the chief academic officer.

University applies to Northern Sun Conference

Northern Sun Conference logo Minnesota State Mankato formally applied for membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in December.

The University is seeking membership in the Northern Sun starting with the 2008-2009 intercollegiate athletic season, President Richard Davenport and Athletic Director Kevin Buisman said. The decision was made based upon input from faculty, staff, students and community members. The University's current athletic league, the North Central Conference, will disband following the 2007-2008 season.

Kevin and President Davenport met with Northern Sun members early this month, at the NCAA athletic directors' meeting in Orlando, Fla. Members of the league could vote on whether to grant membership to Minnesota State Mankato and three other schools (St. Cloud State, University of Minnesota-Duluth and Augustana College) by mid-February. Minnesota State Mankato was a founding member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, joining in 1932. In 1970 Minnesota State became a founding member of NSIC women's sports competition.

Michael Fagin recognized for student contributions

Michael Fagin
Michael Fagin (right) counsels students of color (photo: The Free Press)

Michael Fagin, dean of Institutional Diversity, has been lauded by the Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists as one of the association's "Honoring Our Elders" leaders.

Mike received an award and plaque in November as one of the association's "Community Allies in Mental Health." He and other awardees also were recognized the same day in a proclamation by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The association said Mike's "wisdom and strength has given others comfort, dignity and hope." It added: "We are forever grateful for your sacrifices and compassion."

As dean of Institutional Diversity, Mike mentors, encourages and empowers students of color. He is the embodiment of diversity at the University, having championed the cause since he became the first director of the University's Minorities Groups Studies Center in 1970.

Luoma Leadership nominations sought

minnesota colleges logoPresident Richard Davenport is accepting nominations for the Luoma Leadership Academy, designed to provide leadership theories, practices and skills to support leaders and prospective leaders of departments and colleges. Nominations are due in the President's Office by Wednesday, Jan. 31.

To encourage a broad and diverse application pool with faculty and staff participation, President Davenport encourages vice presidents, deans, directors and department chairs to submit nominations. Self nominations also will be accepted. Applicants must have support from their immediate supervisors and endorsement from the president, and nomination forms should be forwarded to WA 303 or

The Luoma Leadership Academy is a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities development program named after Trustee Emeritus Jim Luoma. The program focuses on building leadership capacity for mid-level managers.

The program addresses the following goals:

  • Identifying talented employees and developing their readiness and skills for leadership roles;
  • Building a larger pool of potential candidates for open positions within Minnesota State or other assignments that require leadership skills;
  • Creating the expectation that all administrators within Minnesota State must play a role in identifying and nurturing talented staff;

Participants must commit to participating in two five-day sessions and stay overnight at a metro area conference facility/hotel where all sessions will be held. Dates are set for July 22-27, 2007, and July 20-25, 2008. In the intervening year between the two residential sessions, participants will spend about 16 hours per month working on a team-based action learning project.

The University will be responsible for hotel and transportation costs (approximately $950 per one-week session). The academy will accept up to 54 participants for the 2007-2008 year.

Nominees will be notified and asked to complete the application form and send in a supervisor's and president's endorsement along with two letters of reference. Eligible participants may include department and faculty deans, human resource directors, business managers, chief financial officers, and faculty and staff who aspire to future leadership positions.

Faculty and staff accepted for last year's program include Deborah Anderson (Human Resources), Kevin Buisman (Intercollegiate Athletics), Mary Hadley (Chemistry & Geology), Randall McClure (English) and Maureen Prenn (Education). For more information and nomination and application forms, see the Minnesota State Human Resources page.

Bryn Mawr Summer Institute for Women

The President's Commission on the Status of Women announces the application process for the Bryn Mawr/HERS Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration.

The Institute will be at Bryn Mawr College June 23 through July 18. The institute is intended to improve the status of women in the middle and executive levels of higher education administration. One representative from Minnesota State Mankato will be selected to attend. More information about the institute can be obtained from the HERS website.

The application form and information about the Commission on the Status of Women can be found on the Commission on the Status of Women website. Completed application packets should be submitted by Feb. 1 to Katie Boone, CSU 173. The president's selection will be announced no later than Feb. 15.

University Desk Calendar

University Desk CalendarPrinting Services has produced the first-ever University Desk Calendar. The CD-style calendar is a great way to show off your pride in the Purple and Gold, and they make great gifts to departmental advisory board members and other friends of the University.

Photos in the calendar come from the University's Image Bank, with a color band below each photo from the graphic standards secondary color pallet.

The cost of the University Desk Calendar is $4.50 each, or $5 each in a mailing package. Employees may purchase calendars from Printing Services, by sending a Printing Services work order.

Jan. 31: Deadline for business card discount

University business cardsOnly two weeks remain to exchange your old Minnesota State Mankato business cards for the newly redesigned cards at a 50 percent discount.

The new cards, with the handsome purple-and-gold Minnesota State Mankato brand identity, have been available since November 2006. Since that time Printing Services has offered its half-off discount for any employee who exchanges 100 or more of the old cards for 500 new ones.

But the discount expires Jan. 31.

The new design is part of the Communicating with Pride campaign. The business cards are printed on white stock, and offer several advantages over the old version:

  • The font for your name, title and contact details is larger.
  • More space for your program and contact details.

Those who turn in at least 100 old cards to Printing Services by Jan. 31, and allow a minimum delivery time of two weeks, will receive 500 cards for only $20.75.

Become part of the new Minnesota State Mankato brand identity. Order your new business cards from Printing Services before Wednesday, Jan. 31. Take your old cards to Printing Services, 309 Wiecking Center.

Mileage reimbursement rate increases

card SpeedometerThe Internal Revenue Service has announced an increase in the standard mileage reimbursement rate for business miles.

The rate has been adopted for use by state employees and was effective January 1, 2007. Mileage rates are used to calculate reimbursements to employees who use their personal vehicles for business trips.

Employees should note that the university utilizes two reimbursement rates. The IRS standard mileage reimbursement rate is used when a state-owned vehicle is not available. A lesser rate is used when a state vehicle is declined or not requested by the employee.

Employees should use the new mileage reimbursement rates when completing employee expense forms for trips taken after Dec. 31, 2006. The rates:

Old Rate:New Rate:
State vehicle not available (IRS standard)44.5 cents/mile48.5 cents/mile
State vehicle declined37.5 cents/mile41.5 cents/mile

Employees who have questions regarding travel or expense reimbursements should contact Margaret Novak, the university's travel claims clerk. Margaret can be reached at 389-5006 or For additional information about traveling for the University, go to the University Travel website.

Jan. 18: 'Mint' in Ted Paul Theatre

The Department of Theatre and Dance will present a remounted production of "Mint" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in Ted Paul Theatre of the Performing Arts Center.

All tickets are $5 and will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m. that night in the lobby.

"Mint," was written by Master of Fine Arts student Randy Wyatt, was the top one-act play entry at the January 2006 Region V Festival for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. As such, it was assured a performance at the 2007 Festival and will be presented at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. The festival runs Jan. 21-27.

Wyatt expanded the original play to 90 minutes. It was directed by Paul J. Hustoles, director of theatre, and presented in the Andreas Theatre Nov. 30-Dec. 3. Built to travel, the Jan. 18 performance also will offer students who are trucking the set and costumes an opportunity to practice unloading and reconstructing it, as they will do in Ames.

"Mint" is a story of relationships between a young man, Charlie, and others in his life: his father, who recently passed away; his boyfriend, Howard; his mother, Bethany, who is seemingly suffering a nervous breakdown; and his aunt, Sheralyn, a fundamentalist Christian who doesn't approve of Charlie's lifestyle. It features Joey Ford as Charlie, Claire Lloyd as Sheralyn, Ben Olthafer as Howard, Heather Ann Folsom as Bethany and Luke Katuin as Martin, as well as a slate of student designers: Philip C. Warren, sets; Britt Katuin, costumes; Jake Yenish, lights; and Paul Davidson, sound.

The Department of Theatre & Dance will resume its 2006-07 Mainstage Season with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" Jan. 31-Feb. 4 and Feb. 7-11 in the Andreas Theatre. Individual tickets go on sale Jan. 22 by calling the box office at 507-389-6661 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Jan. 19: Retirement celebration for Nancy Hallett

Join the Finance and Administration Division in celebrating with Nancy Hallett on the occasion of her retirement Friday, Jan. 19, from 10-11:30 a.m. in Centennial Student Union Rooms 253-255. Refreshments will be served, and a program will be held at 10:30 a.m.

Nancy has been in the Minnesota State Mankato Finance and Administration Division since December 1989, and she has been a great asset to the division and to the University. Her actual retirement date was Jan. 9.

Jan. 29: Terrorism expert Tom Maertens

Terrorism expert and Minnesota State Mankato graduate Tom Maertens will discuss how he believes terrorists will strike next in a lecture on Monday, Jan. 29.

Maertens will talk about "The Terrorist Threat: An Insider's Perspective" during the fourth annual College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Advisory Board Lecture Series. His talk, free and open to the public, will be at 10 a.m. in Ostrander Auditorium, Centennial Student Union.

His lecture will explore the past, current and future state of the War on Terror, including potential use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Maertens, a 1965 graduate, spent most of the last 35 years traveling the globe as a U.S. diplomat, a Peace Corps volunteer, and a naval officer.

His final government position was as a senior official in the U.S. State Department's Office of Counterterrorism during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. He helped organize the U.S. response to that attack, which came to be known as the War on Terrorism.

He has written a number of articles on terrorism and the war in Iraq, which are available on his website.

Laura Bartolo: Interim director, McNair Program

Laura Bartolo has been named interim director of the McNair Scholars Program, part of the College of Graduate Studies and Research.

The McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded TRIO Program for undergraduates who aspire to graduate school. Currently the program serves 22 undergraduate students.

Laura served as career services advisor at Rasmussen College and as adjunct instructor at both Rasmussen and Minnesota State Mankato. She has also worked in counseling and education with at-risk families and children.

Career Development Center spring activities

CDC logoThe Career Development Center asks staff and faculty members to help make students aware of the center's spring semester activities and services, including:

  • CDC QuickStop, where students can have resumes and cover letters reviewed. 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Career Resource Library (WA209).
  • Practice Interviews, an opportunity for students to hone their interview through a practice session with an employer volunteer. Jan. 30-Feb. 2, CDC Interview Suites. For more information and to sign up go to the Fairs & Events page.
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences Spring Career Day, Wednesday, Jan. 31, CSU Ballroom, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Job Search Spring Training: Career Development Center coaches will show how to improve resumes, basic job searches and interview skills. Feb. 13-15, Career Development Center Resource Library. Pre-registration is required, and space is limited.
  • Department of Recreation, Parks & Leisure Services Summer Job Fair. Seasonal employers discuss employment possibilities with students. Wednesday, Feb. 14, CSU Ballroom, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • MN State Universities Job Fair, Monday Feb. 26, Minneapolis Convention Center. Registration begins Jan. 17. View a list of attending employers and job openings at the MNSU Job Fair page.
  • Idealist Non-Profit Career Fair, Thursday March 1, noon to 4 p.m., Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. For more information and registration, visit the website.
  • Minnesota Education Job Fair, Monday, April 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn about interviewing and employers who will be attending the event at the Minnesota Education Job Fair page.
  • Perfect Interview™, an electronic system that allows students to conduct a self-directed practice interview that can be recorded and saved. Pre-registration is required. Students may login to to sign up for a one-hour time slot. Find out more at the Perfect Interview page.

Free recreation memberships

Campus rec logoFree faculty-staff memberships to Otto Recreation Center for Spring Semester 2007 are being offered by Minnesota State Mankato Campus Recreation and TCF Bank.

Faculty and staff members qualify for the free membership by opening a new TCF MavCard Faculty & Staff Checking Account. Those who already have TCF MavCard Checking Accounts may qualify by referring another faculty or staff member to open a new account.

New accounts must be opened by Wednesday, Jan. 31, to qualify for the free membership.

Faculty/ Staff Achievements

Donna J. Brauer (Nursing) presented "The relationship between co-morbidity and health-related quality of life in those with symptomatic cerebral small vessel disease" at the 13th Annual Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Research in Lisbon, Portugal.

Cecil Keen (Geography) received a Cooperative Weather Observer 10-Year Service Award from the National Weather Service recently. The awards are for official weather observers who have taken daily weather observations for the National Weather Service.

An article by Joanna Mink (English), "A Possible Connection to The Mayor of Casterbridge, Lucetta and Lillie," was published in The Thomas Hardy Journal last fall.

Speech Team, students donate to food shelf

The Speech Team and students enrolled in Basic Speech 100 donated more than 1,100 items — totaling 1,360 pounds – to Mankato's Echo Food Shelf as the result of a finals week food drive in December.

The team's successful food shelf drive was the third in as many semesters.

Speech Team members collected food provided by speech students during final exam periods. Team members organized and packed the food and delivered it to the Echo Food Shelf.

Leah White, director of Forensics, and Kristen Treinen, director of the Basic Course, said they hope the partnership between the speech team and the speech class students continues at the end of each semester.

Class earns $1,395 for Special Olympics

Graduate students in Minnesota State Mankato's Sport Management class presented a check for $1,395 to the Minnesota Chapter of Special Olympics on Dec. 12. The proceeds came from a silent auction conducted at the Dec. 2 Maverick men's hockey game hosted by class members. The class auctioned 26 items, including a 1980 Maverick championship hockey jersey, a Rod Carew-autographed baseball, gift certificates and sporting apparel.

The auction was part of a two-day event, "Raising Spirit in 2006," organized by class members. The class, Sport Media Sponsorship and Sales, is taught by Minnesota State Mankato faculty member Jon Lim. In addition to the auction, as part of "Raising Spirit in 2006" the class hosted a sport camp for Mankato-area elementary students. The students played

Financial Planning students exceed pass rate

Students in the University Extended Education and College of Business Financial Planning Certificate Program have exceeded the national Certified Financial Planner® Examination pass rate for the fourth straight time.

Certificate Program students achieved a 71 percent pass rate on the July 2006 CFP® Examination. The national average pass rate was 58 percent.

The rigorous certification is the most highly recognized and respected professional certification among financial service professionals.

Established in 1998 as a way to meet the continuing education needs for financial planning professionals, the Financial Planning Certificate Program includes five separate courses. Course topics include Principles of Financial Planning and Insurance, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Planning and Estate Planning. Students have the option of taking courses in any order and at locations in Bloomington, Minneapolis, Plymouth or Saint Paul. Successful completion of the program meets the educational requirement to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination.


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 Jan. 31. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Wednesday (Jan. 24).