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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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December 5, 2007 Campus Newsletter

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No More Liquor Promotions

In order to encourage healthy choices by students, the Intercollegiate Athletic Department will eliminate liquor and beer advertising from its promotions, and will discontinue sponsorship support from liquor stores and beer distributors, effective July 1, 2008.

The action is being taken to send the message to students that Minnesota State Mankato endorses healthy, alcohol-free choices, said President Richard Davenport.

Some of the advertising will continue through spring of 2008, because contracts for the current academic year expire July 1.

Minnesota State Mankato won't enter into any new beer or liquor advertising or event sponsorship agreements, and won't renew current agreements when they expire on July 1. Athletic Director Kevin Buisman said the policy will eliminate liquor and beer advertising from coupon books, game programs and other publicly distributed materials. Advertising by restaurants that serve liquor will promote food specials rather than drink specials.

Kevin said the financial impact of the decision may be significant, but he hopes that other local businesses will step forward and provide greater sponsorship participation.

Ending High-Risk Drinking

A guest editorial by President Richard Davenport

Minnesota State University, Mankato is in a state of mourning after three recent, tragic student deaths. One tragedy, caused by alcohol poisoning, has placed the University at the center of a debate over binge drinking. Alcohol's role in a second death is being investigated.

As president of Minnesota State Mankato, I want everyone to know that as a community we care deeply about our students and are troubled that alcohol is becoming an increasingly dominant force in the lives of many young people. Some have implied that we're not doing enough to reduce high-risk drinking. In fact, Minnesota State Mankato for many years has led our peers in attacking this concern through strong education programs and disciplinary policies.

The community may not know that we sponsor weekly Thursday night and weekend alcohol-free events, including bowling, billiards, team sports, recreation, talent contests and other alternative activities. We use radio advertisements and posters in residence halls, bars and restaurants, bus shelters, city buses and pizza and sandwich shops to tell students they'll incur thousands of dollars in fines and fees if they violate liquor laws. We sponsor workshops and speakers who discuss the dangers of binge drinking. We tell students repeatedly that, contrary to popular stereotype, most students drink responsibly. In partnership with the city, we have produced a DVD telling students about their off-campus responsibilities. At orientation and through newsletters we tell parents about the risks created when their children abuse alcohol.

Our disciplinary process for students who violate alcohol policies is as strong as or stronger, and more comprehensive, than any other Minnesota university, including Minnesota State University-Moorhead. We place students — including first-time offenders — on probation for violating liquor policies, and require them to meet with hearing officers, complete online and group counseling, and pay program fees. We hold students accountable even when they are not drinking but are present in a residence hall room where other students are drinking. We assess heightened penalties for students who host a gathering with alcohol. If permitted, we tell prospective employers, graduate schools, licensing boards, the military and apartment managers of a student's conduct history — a history that can have life-altering consequences. We suspend and expel students who repeatedly abuse alcohol. We discipline more student alcohol policy violators than any other school within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

A recent survey of Minnesota State Mankato students by an independent agency revealed that 80 percent of our students choose either not to drink or to drink only once per week. Nevertheless, binge drinking remains a very, very serious problem that impacts the entire University and Mankato community.

We are concerned that our efforts are not reaching all students, and are not impacting some students' behavior. It is critically important to involve families and the entire community in influencing young persons' actions. Research demonstrates the importance of family involvement in modeling healthy behaviors and societal values with regard to responsible drinking.

We need to help change the perceived "culture of drinking" in Mankato. We congratulate the Mankato City Council for approving tougher regulations on bar owners — a measure that we supported — and we will continue to advocate for stronger regulations and enforcement. Beginning in July 2008, our athletic department no longer will accept advertising or sponsorship support from liquor stores and beer distributors. We are examining effective alcohol education programs at other universities that we might initiate. We are planning a summit to engage our learning community in action plans that will reach more young people with healthy messages. This initiative will be followed by an invitation to the community and other colleges in the Mankato area to participate in an even broader discussion of this issue.

Reducing high-risk drinking truly is a community cause. For four of the last five years Minnesota has been ranked as the nation's healthiest state. This year it slipped from No. 1, partly because Minnesotans are among the nation's worst binge-drinkers. (17.6 percent of Minnesotans binge-drink, ranking us among the 10 worst states for high-risk drinking.) I will discuss with area legislators how we can approach this growing problem in a statewide effort.

High-risk drinking concerns all of us. The University will do more to help reduce this affliction, and I urge the community to join us in this critically important cause.

Condolences: Rissa J. Amen-Reif

Rissa J. Amen-Reif President Richard Davenport expressed condolences from the entire campus community to the family, friends and acquaintances of Rissa J. Amen-Reif, a student who died Nov. 18 as the result of injuries sustained after she was struck by an automobile in Mankato.

"Our deepest, heartfelt sympathies go out to Rissa's loved ones, fellow students, friends and acquaintances," President Davenport said. "The campus community is tremendously saddened by this tragic event." The president said the campus' thoughts also are with Corinne Overstake, who was injured in the accident.

A Remembrances webpage has been set up where friends and loved ones can email expressions of condolence.

Leonard A. Ford Hall

The new Trafton Science Center addition will be named after long-time chemistry professor and founder of the Minnesota Science Fair Leonard A. Ford.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system Chancellor James McCormick recently approved naming the new addition Leonard A. Ford Hall.

Construction on the $32.5-million, 70,000-square-foot wing started in September 2006 and will be completed in fall 2008. When complete, the addition will house chemistry classrooms, laboratories and faculty offices.

Leonard was professor of chemistry from 1939 until his death in 1967. In 1950 he founded the first science fair in Minnesota as a tool to interest students in science and in the college. Today there are two fairs — one for elementary students and one for junior and senior high scientists. The elementary fair, attracting more than 1,300 young scientists, is one of the biggest in the United States.

He also spearheaded the effort to add the Nursing program in 1950, and helped establish the dental assisting program — now known as the dental hygiene program.

His book, Chemical Magic, is still published and is used by science teachers across the nation to interest young people in the sciences. An annual Department of Chemistry & Geology lectureship is named after him, and the Ford family funds an endowed chemistry scholarship.

HLC Doctoral Approval

HLC Logo The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has approved the two new doctoral programs, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and the Ed.D in Counselor Education and Supervision.

The approval authorizes the University to offer the two new programs without jeopardizing its accreditation. Higher Learning Commission approval means that the new programs meet commission standards for doctoral programs, and Minnesota State Mankato may confer degrees on those who complete the programs.

The two new programs started this fall, after the 2005 Minnesota Legislature gave state universities the go-ahead to confer applied doctorates.

Four students are enrolled in the Doctor of Education program in Counselor Education and Supervision, and five students are pursuing the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Michael Miller: Interim VP

Michael Miller President Richard Davenport has named Michael Miller interim vice president for University Advancement.

Michael replaces David Williams, who became vice chancellor for university advancement and marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Michael will provide leadership for the Advancement Division, overseeing the offices of development, alumni relations and special events, integrated marketing and the University Foundation. As interim vice president, Miller also will serve on the President's Cabinet.

He has been dean of the College of Education since 2003. Before that he served in various administrative and teaching positions at Gustavus Adolphus College, and before that was a professor at Minnesota State Mankato. He also served as director of special education and school psychologist in several Minnesota and Indiana secondary schools.

He holds an Ed.S. and a Ph.D. in school psychology from Ball State University.

$100,000 Geography Endowment

Professor Emerita Betty Goff has created a $100,000 geography endowment at the University to honor her late husband, Geography Professor Emeritus Dr. James F. Goff.

The endowment, to the Department of Geography, will fund Geography graduate student research fellowships. The late Prof. Goff had no financial support when performing his own graduate research and his wife felt that funding for the students to whom he devoted his career would be a fitting tribute.

The Geography Department remembered James with a reception Dec. 4.

James served on the faculty for 36 years, retiring in 2000. He married Betty Ann Palmer in Mankato in 1969. For 32 years she was an Art faculty member, retiring in 1999.

Maureen Prenn: Acting Dean

Maureen Preen Vice President and Provost Scott Olson recently named Maureen Prenn acting dean of the College of Education. Maureen will serve as acting dean while Michael Miller serves as interim vice president for Advancement.

"Dr. Prenn was the best choice for a variety of reasons," Scott said. "She is a full professor with tenure, which is generally a precondition for serving as a dean, and she has significant department chair experience. She has previously served in the dean's office, thereby understanding its day-to-day operation, and has a thorough understanding of accreditation issues throughout the college."

"These five ingredients proved to be a unique combination."

Navitus Prescription Benefit

Navitus Logo Faculty and staff enrolled in health insurance through Minnesota State Mankato will have a new prescription drug benefit through Navitus Health Solutions beginning in January 2008. Navitus is the new pharmacy benefit manager for the the MN Advantage Health Plan effective Jan. 1.

New Navitus ID cards and other important plan information will be mailed to employees' home addresses in mid-December. Employees also will receive new health insurance cards for 2008 in a separate mailing. Employees should check their cards and report any problems to the insurance company.

Beginning Jan. 1, the pharmacy will not be able to process prescriptions unless presented with a Navitus card. The health insurance card will not work for filling prescriptions; the Navitus card must be used. In addition, some prescriptions will require pre-authorization from Navitus.

Those who want to learn more about the Navitus Plan and to find out which prescriptions require pre-authorization should visit the Navitus website.

Dec. 5: David Hellstrom

David Hellstrom Nationally known health educator David Hellstrom will present "The Real Buzz: Truth and Lies about Alcohol" on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Hellstrom's talk, free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public, will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

Hellstrom, a national expert on alcohol abuse, is a spokesman for healthy choices regarding alcohol and other health education issues.

His talk is sponsored by a federal program and research grant designed to test whether a comprehensive social norms campaign can reduce the incidence of high-risk student drinking and related behavior.

Social norms marketing is based on research that shows students inaccurately believe that many students engage in high-risk drinking. The campaign is intended to debunk that myth. "MSU Gets It" posters, bus wraps and radio ads point out that "80% of MSU students drink 0-1 time per week."

Those who want more details about Hellstrom or his talk may visit the REAL Buzz website.

Dec. 5: Kessel Lecture

Kathryn Sikkink Internationally renowned human rights activist Kathryn Sikkink will discuss "The Justice Cascade: The Origins and Effects of Human Rights Trials" during the 2007 Kessel Memorial Lecture Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Sikkink's lecture, free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public, will be at 7:30 p.m. in Room 253-54-55 of the Centennial Student Union.

Sikkink, author of the award-winning book Activists without Borders, is Regents Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. She holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

The Department of Political Science/Law Enforcement's Kessel Lecture is delivered each year in honor of the late Professor Abbas Kessel, who taught in the department for more than 20 years. The lecture reflects Kessel's lifelong commitment to peace, human rights and environmental health, and features scholars and activists whose work demonstrates courage, incisiveness and dedication to global issues.

Dec. 5, 6: TIAA-CREF Counseling

TIAA-CREF Logo TIAA-CREF will offer one-on-one counseling sessions Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 5 and 6.

TIAA-CREF administers the IRAP, SRP, and TSA/403(b) retirement plans. Tax-deferred and Roth programs are offered through the 403(b) plan.

Individual counseling will be available Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 4 and 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 123 of Centennial Student Union. On Thursday, Dec. 6, counseling will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 201 of Centennial Student Union.

Those who wish to schedule a counseling session should visit the TIAA-CREF website or call Dianne at (800) 877-6602.

Dec. 13: Retirement Counseling

Minnesota State Retirement System Logo A Minnesota State Retirement System retirement counselor will offer one-on-one counseling and a group presentation Thursday, Dec. 13.

MSRS administers the General Plan, the Health Care Savings Plan and the Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan.

Individual appointments will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, in Room 123, Centennial Student Union. Those who wish to schedule an appointment should contact Wendy Schuller at 389-2015.

A group presentation will be Thursday, Dec. 13, from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 201, Centennial Student Union. No registration is necessary for the group presentation.

Dec. 15: Commencement

Summer-fall commencement exercises will be Saturday, Dec. 15, in Bresnan Arena.

Two commencement ceremonies are scheduled: One at 9 a.m. for the colleges of Arts & Humanities, Business, and Science, Engineering & Technology; one at noon for the colleges of Allied Health & Nursing, Education, and Social & Behavioral Sciences. Master's-degree candidates will graduate with the college of their affiliation.

Music will be provided by the Minnesota Valley Brass Quintet (faculty members Gerard Aloisio, Stewart Ross and Doug Snapp; Emeritus Professor Tom Giles; and alumnus Dave Schultz), with faculty member Kimm Julian performing the National Anthem. Mary Jacquart, director of government relations for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and David Olson, chair of the Board of Trustees, will greet the candidates.

Jan. 9: Professional Development Day

Professional Development Logo Faculty and staff members are reminded to register for Professional Development Day (Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008) before leaving campus for the holidays.

Professional Development Day is an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn from colleagues and professionals in the community. To register, faculty or staff members should go to the Professional Development page and enter your e-mail password.

Jan. 11: Diane Kalis Reception

Diane Kalis Faculty and staff are asked to save the date (Friday, Jan. 11, 2008) for a retirement reception honoring Diane Kalis (Advancement) for her service as special events coordinator and chief commencement officer.

The reception will be from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the Heritage Room of Centennial Student Union, with a program at 2 p.m.

Faculty/Staff Achievements

The Minnesota Department of Transportation asked Aaron Budge (Mechanical & Civil Engineering) to present at the 36th annual Midwest Geotechnical Engineering Conference sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration in Bloomington in September.

Janet Cherrington's (Urban & Regional Studies) paper on community-university partnerships was selected for presentation at the Journal of World Universities Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She will create a virtual presentation. She also was selected to referee papers for the Forum, and she will be credited as an associate editor for the volume(s) to which she contributes.

Kimberly Contag (Spanish) was awarded an Alumni Educational Achievement Award at Iowa State University in October. Kimberly graduated from ISU in 1980 with a BA in International Studies and a BA in Spanish.

Alisa Eimen (Art) recently received a Getty Foundation Grant to support travel and participation in the 32nd Congress of the International Committee for the History of Art Melbourne this winter.

Paul Eskridge (Physics & Astronomy) presented a research seminar to the Department of Physics & Astronomy at U.W. LaCrosse in October. The title of the seminar was "Galaxy Evolution Up Close: Using Image Dissection to Study the Histories of Nearby Galaxies." Paul and several other authors also had a paper, "Star Clusters in the Nearby Late-Type Galaxy NGC 1311," accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.

Scott Fee (Interior Design & Construction Management) presented a paper, "Sustainable Construction Practices: Contractors' Awareness and Participation," at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Construction Building Research International Conference in Atlanta in September. Scott also presented a talk, "Eden Campus: Africa's First Green Business School," at the South Central College Global Connections Conference in September.

Dave Gjerde, Karen Fluegge and Marcius Brook (Registrar) attended the annual Upper Midwest Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers conference in November.

Francis T. Hannick (Mathematics & Statistics) presented a workshop, "Hands-On Experience with Numerous Activities for the Elementary Math Curriculum," at the fall conference of the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics in Greenville, S.C., in October.

Marilyn Hart (Biological Sciences) will present "Immunolocalization Studies in Murine Myocardium Defective in Attaching Thin Filaments to Z-lines" at the American Society of Cell Biology Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., in December.

In-Jae Kim (Mathematics & Statistics) gave a talk, "Trees with distinct eigenvalues for distinct diagonal entries," at the Mathematical Association of America-North Central meeting at Bemidji State University in October. His paper, "Classification of trees each of whose associated acyclic matrices with distinct diagonal entries has distinct eigenvalues," was accepted by the Bulletin of the Korean Mathematical Society.

Alison Mahoney (Biological Sciences) co-authored an article, "Three new varieties of Packera paupercula (Asteraceae, Senecioneae) in midwestern and southeastern North America," that was accepted for publication in NOVON, and will appear in 2008.

Liz Miller (Art) received a 2007-2008 MCAD/Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists. Additionally her work is in a group exhibition, Urban Fabric, at the Traffic Zone Gallery, Minneapolis, and was included in a recently book, Tactile: High Touch Visuals.

Russ Palma (Physics & Astronomy) presented a paper, "Developing a Speaker Exchange Series between MSU Mankato and MAAPT Institutions," at the October meeting of the Minnesota Area Association of Physics Teachers Conference at St. Cloud State University.

Gary Rockswold (Mathematics & Statistics) coauthored a third-edition text, Intermediate Algebra with Applications and Visualization, (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Boston). His coauthor, Terry Krieger, is a former Minnesota State Mankato graduate student who teaches at Rochester Community College. Gary presented "The Amazing Impact of Mathematics on Society" to more than 200 mathematicians at the national American Mathematical Association TYC meeting in Minneapolis in November. He was invited to give this presentation at the 20th annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics in San Antonio in March 2008.

Christophe Veltsos (Information Systems & Technology) attended TechnoForensics 2007, a three-day conference on computer forensics, digital evidence and e-discovery, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD.

David Viscoli (Music) recently performed at the Bloomington Center for the Arts and Concordia College.

Vincent Winstead (Electrical & Computer Engineering Technology) recently submitted two abstracts for consideration for the American Society for Engineering Education conference in 2008. He also submitted two grant proposals for funding from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The first relates to the development of a robotic message-painting system and the second is a joint proposal with members of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (affiliated with the University of Minnesota), related to active monitoring of scour erosion. Each proposal requests $50,000.

Qun Zhang (Electrical & Computer Engineering Technology) submitted an NSF collaborative research proposal on "Simulation Accuracy Control in Fiber Optic Communications" with faculty from the University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of Southern California. Minnesota State Mankato is the lead institution.

Qun Zhang and Han-Way Huang (Electrical & Computer Engineering Technology) submitted a paper, "Using Gaussian approximation for performance evaluation in optical DPSK systems," to the Optical Fiber Communication Conference 2008.

Students Win All Three Fazio Awards

Minnesota State Mankato students won all three of this year's $5,000 Brian Fazio Business Creation Project awards to nurture promising new business startups.

The competition is sponsored by Greater Mankato Growth. It is open to students attending Bethany Lutheran College, Gustavus, Minnesota State Mankato, Rasmussen and South Central College.

Students are encouraged to team up with other students, faculty or business leaders to create a proprietary product, technology or process. The goal of the project is to encourage students to start businesses in Mankato.

The winners will get cash, technical and administrative support and office space from the Business Accelerator Program at Technology Plus.

The winning teams:

  • Kato Collar, by students Brandon Wells, Lindsay Hass and Michael Thomas, and faculty member Jeff Chambers. The collar would prevent injury to football players without restricting mobility.
  • Surf, Internet Marketing Management, by student Andrew Mueller and faculty member John Kaliski. The initiative would make Web site planning and Internet marketing campaigns easier and more effective.
  • Athletech, by student Keir Asher and faculty members Shane Bowyer and Gregg Asher. The business would create a Web site to provide amateur coaches with online coach training.

Brian Fazio led area economic development efforts as the executive director of Greater Mankato Economic Development Corp. from 1998 until his death in 2003.

Student Achievements

Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) National Biological Honor Society has approved establishing a charter in the Department of Biological Sciences. TriBeta is a society dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. A ceremony establishing the charter, as well as the induction of new members, was Nov. 28. Forty-five undergraduates, four faculty members and one administrator became members. Marilyn Hart is the faculty advisor.

The Construction Management Student Association raised more than $6,300 at its sixth annual CMSA Golf Classic at North Links Golf Course in September.

Students in Liz Miller's art drawing classes participated in a two-week wall drawing project in the Centennial Student Union Gallery: "Sol LeWitt's Legacy: Drawing on the Wall." The collaborative project involved nearly 75 students, including those in Drawing Foundations, Drawing 210, and Drawing Workshop.

Nathan Madden has been selected by MSSA as Senator of the Month. MSSA officials say he has gone above and beyond his senate duties, has been active in making motions and was voted vice chair of student affairs.


Do you have faculty, staff, student or departmental news for the biweekly campus newsletter? Send news items to newsletter editor Mike Cooper. The newsletter is published every other Wednesday during the academic year and monthly during the summer. The next newsletter will be published Jan. 16, 2008. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Jan. 11).

Submitting an event for the Campus Newsletter doesn't mean that it will be posted on the Campus Events Calendar. To list events on the events calendar, coordinators should go to the website, click on the self-service "Submit Event" link, and provide the information requested.