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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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May 7, 2008 Campus Newsletter

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Spring Commencement

Two Female GraduatesMore than 1,400 undergraduate students will participate in three Spring Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 10.

The ceremonies will be at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. in Bresnan Arena. Students in the colleges of Arts & Humanities and Science, Engineering & Technology will take part in the 9 a.m. ceremony; those with the colleges of Allied Health & Nursing and Education will participate in the noon event; and students in the colleges of Business and Social and Behavioral Sciences will be graduated in the 3 p.m. ceremony.

Master's-degree candidates will graduate with the college of their affiliation.

Music for the three ceremonies will be provided by the Minnesota Valley Brass Quintet (faculty members Gerard Aloisio, Stewart Ross and Doug Snapp; emeritus Tom Giles; and alumnus Dave Schultz). Kimm Julian will perform the National Anthem.

Tim Price, deputy to the senior vice chancellor for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and Dan McElroy, member of the Board of Trustees, will greet the candidates.

Student speakers for the 9 a.m. ceremony will be Tysen D. Dauer, College of Arts & Humanities, and Elizabeth A. Drommerhausen and Christopher Frederick, College of Science, Engineering & Technology. Speakers for the noon ceremony will be Nicole C. Meulemans, College of Allied Health & Nursing, and Yunhui E. Voelker, College of Education. Speakers for the 3 p.m. ceremony will be Evangelos N. Kourkafas, College of Business, and Shannon M. Finnegan, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences.

Steam Shutdown Is May 10-19

Cartoon PipesThe annual steam shutdown will begin Saturday, May 10, at 11 p.m., and steam is expected to be running on Monday, May 19, with all systems fully operational by noon.

The annual steam shutdown allows maintenance crews to inspect and repair components to ensure that the system will be reliable for the upcoming year. The pressure in the steam system is 150 pounds with a temperature of more than 365 degrees, and the only way for the staff to make repairs is to shut the system down.

During the shutdown humidity levels may be slightly higher than normal, because there is no steam available to re-heat cooled air. The steam also tempers the air conditioning, so employees may experience cooler than normal temperatures. Most buildings have electric backup water heaters for domestic water (sinks and showers) with the exception of Taylor Center and Trafton Science Center.

Some residence hall facilities have electric backup water heaters for hot water in sinks and showers, but many do not. Those who have questions should contact Residential Life at 389-1011. Those who have questions about academic buildings should call the physical plant at 389-2071.

The shutdown will affect the following buildings: All residence hall facilities, Andreas Theatre, Armstrong Hall, Centennial Student Union, Highland Center, Highland North, Memorial Library, Morris Hall, Myers Field House, Nelson Hall, Pennington Hall, Performing Arts Center, Taylor Center, Trafton Science Center, Wigley Administration Building, Wiecking Center and shop, Wissink Hall.

Some effects of the shutdown include: no heat for pool water in HC swimming pool (showers will have hot water); steam cooking systems down in CC, Gage, CSU and Children's House; auto claves and lab steam down in Trafton, as well as no heat in green house, no re-heats in animal labs and no hot water throughout; no hot water in Taylor Center (includes snack bar dishwasher); no hot water in Crawford; and no heat for dryer at Highland Center laundry.

Three Named Distinguished Scholars

Suzanne Bunkers

Suzanne Bunkers

David Dickau

David Dickau

James Robertson

James Robertson

Three faculty members have been honored as new Distinguished Faculty Scholars: Suzanne Bunkers (English), David Dickau (Music), and James Robertson (Sociology & Corrections).

Each of the three will maintain the title of Distinguished Faculty Scholar for the duration of their tenure at Minnesota State Mankato. In addition, each recipient will receive $5,000 for professional development and research.

The new award honors faculty members who have distinguished themselves as outstanding scholars, and whose scholarship has earned them national or international recognition. The award, funded by the College of Graduate Studies & Research, will be given to up to three faculty members annually.

Award recipients must be tenured professors with at least eight years of service at Minnesota State Mankato. They must have accumulated a substantial body of scholarly work at Minnesota State Mankato, and must exemplify the highest standards of scholarship.

This year's recipients, selected by the Faculty Research Committee from among nine nominees, were cited at an April 24 luncheon.

Highland Summer Theatre

Highland Summer Theatre PosterThe lineup of shows for the Department of Theatre & Dance's 42nd annual Highland Summer Theatre was announced recently. Season brochures are available, and individual tickets go on sale Monday, May 19.

"Dial 'M' for Murder" by Frederick Knott opens the season, starting at 7:30 p.m. May 28-June 1 in the Andreas Theatre. The presentation is sponsored by Hale Associates. Tony Wendice married his wife, Margot, for her money, and he plans to murder her for the same reason, but his perfect murder goes awry. Minnesota State Mankato last presented this thriller in summer 1987.

The rock 'n' roll musical "Smokey Joe's Café," featuring the music of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. June 12-15 in Ted Paul Theatre. Leiber and Stoller invented rock 'n' roll, and their songs are the basis for entertainment that illuminates a golden age of American culture. Featuring nearly 40 of the greatest songs ever recorded, "Smokey Joe's Café" includes many Elvis classics. It will make its Minnesota State Mankato debut.

Tom Griffin's funny-yet-touching play "The Boys Next Door," sponsored by the TRIO programs, is June 25-29 in Andreas Theatre. The play focuses on the lives of four developmentally disabled men who live in a communal residence under the watchful eye of a sincere but despairing social worker. Minnesota State Mankato last presented "The Boys Next Door" in 1992.

Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" closes the Highland Summer Theatre season July 11-3 and 17-20. It is sponsored by Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic, PA, Eide Bailly LLP and the Pamela & Wynn Kearney Foundation, and performances are 7:30 p.m. in the Ted Paul Theatre. "The Music Man" tells the story of a traveling salesman who visits a small Iowa town in 1912. He meets and falls in love with the spinster librarian, Marian Paroo, and he convinces the town that unless they adopt his revolutionary music program, the youngsters of River City will be forever doomed. Songs include "Wells Fargo Wagon," "Iowa Stubborn" and "Till There Was You." Minnesota State Mankato last presented "The Music Man" in 1996.

Those who want more information or a season brochure should visit the Department of Theatre & Dance website or call the main office at (507) 389-2118. Those who want individual show tickets should call the Theatre & Dance Box Office after May 19 at (507) 389-6661 Monday-Friday between 4 and 6 p.m.

'Stomper Move Crew'

Packed Car with Dog Looking Out WindowThe Department of Residential Life is seeking faculty and staff "Stomper Move Crew" volunteers to help greet students and parents as they move in to residence halls on Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Move Crew volunteers receive a T-shirt to wear during their shifts, as well as grateful thanks from students, parents and families.

Faculty and staff greet students and parents, directing them to the correct buildings to get keys and information and watching belongings that are piled in front of residence halls. Religious organizations, Greeks, student organizations and athletic teams assist in unloading vehicles and help to direct traffic.

Those who would like to volunteer or have questions should contact Torin Akey by email or by calling 389-1011 by May 30.

Wanted: Family Weekend Events

MSU Family Weekend CrestFaculty, staff and students are encouraged to propose an event for Family Weekend 2008 Oct. 17-19 to showcase a campus organization, office, department or college.

Family Weekend 2008 will continue the tradition of welcoming students' families to campus and the Mankato area. Objectives of the weekend include:

  • Promote the excellence of academic and extracurricular programs;
  • Demonstrate to parents that Minnesota State Mankato provides a safe, healthy environment;
  • Encourage student retention;
  • Build tradition;
  • Promote the Mankato community.

Those who would like to propose an event should complete the online form. Those who want guidance in developing an event should email Nicole Dose or Robyn Goldy.

May 7: Campus Cleanup

Two People Picking Up Trash OutsideThe annual all-campus flower planting and cleanup will be Wednesday, May 7.

The event will begin at noon; volunteers are asked to gather on the east side of Memorial Library for hot dogs and chips, donated by University Dining.

Facilities Management, which is coordinating the event, seeks volunteers who will be assigned to plant flowers, rake or collect trash in specific areas of campus. Those interested in volunteering may contact Facilities Management at 389-2267 or email Donna Hensel.

May 7, 8: Savings Plan Sessions

MSRS LogoA retirement counselor from the Minnesota State Retirement System will be available to meet with employees Wednesday and Thursday, May 7-8. MSRS administers the General Plan, the Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP) and the Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan (MNDCP).

Sessions will be in CSU 123 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those who want to make an appointment should contact Wendy Schuller at 389-2015.

June 3, 4: Course Design Workshop

A two-day summer workshop in course design, sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning, will be offered for all faculty members June 3-4.

The workshop, for full-time tenured and probationary faculty who plan to return to the university next fall, will be from 9-3 p.m. both days. Stewart Ross (CETL) is lead facilitator, with co-facilitators Ron Nickerson (Recreation, Parks & Leisure Services), Marlene Tappe (Health Science), Vicki Luoma (Accounting & Business Law) and William Brennan (Economics).

All participants receive a $350 stipend, a copy of the book "Creating Significant Learning Experiences" by Dr. L. Dee Fink, and breakfast and lunch each day.

Enrollment is limited to 20 participants, and interested faculty should register by Saturday, May 10, with Stewart Ross.


June 2-4: LabMan 9

Minnesota State Mankato will host LabMan 9, an annual conference of information technology professionals, Monday through Wednesday, June 2-4, in Centennial Student Union.

The ninth annual event is designed for people associated with the maintenance of computing labs in colleges, universities and K-12 school districts or libraries. Participants will include professionals from across the United States and abroad.

The conference will provide participants the opportunity to discuss common topics and trends with colleagues from other institutions, and will help them learn new concepts of managing computing labs. The event includes information about the technical and administrative aspects of managing computer labs.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Academic Computer Center. More information is available online.

Honors for 'Stardust and Fate'

Stardust and Fate: The Blueroad Reader"Stardust and Fate: The Blueroad Reader," a collection of new writing from the road by more than a dozen Minnesota State Mankato writers and artists, has been named a finalist for two 2008 Midwest Books Awards.

Published last summer by Blueroad Press and edited by John Gaterud (Mass Communications), "Stardust and Fate" features short fiction, literary journalism, essays, memoir, poetry and art.

The book is competing in the Midwest Books Awards' Travel and Cover Design (3-color or more) categories. Winners will be announced May 14 at a ceremony at the Minnesota Humanities Commission in St. Paul. The awards are sponsored by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association, which covers 12 states.

Contributors include English faculty Ron Gower (emeritus), Suzanne Bunkers, Richard Robbins, Candace Black, Roger Sheffer, Terry Davis, Donna Casella, Ed Micus, Nick Healy, Nate LeBoutillier and Michael O'Hearn; Brad Widness (Art); Joe Tougas and Rachael Hanel (Mass Communications), Ann Rosenquist Fee (Publications) and Kris Higginbotham (Printing Services).

Copies of "Stardust and Fate: The Blueroad Reader" are available at local bookstores and online.

Intervention Training

TiPSEleven students and staff members recently completed a day-long workshop in TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures), providing them with skills to intervene when students are misusing alcohol.

The students and staff - representatives of Student Health Services, Residential Life, Greek Life and Student Activities - will facilitate a two-hour program for students. This program is intended to develop students' "people skills," providing specific information about how to detect when a friend or classmate has had too much to drink, and teaching intervention strategies.

TIPS was designed by the Health Education Foundation of Washington, D.C., and is being used by more than 300 college campuses across the country. Campuses employing the training believe it helps prevent alcohol-related incidents.

The TIPS curriculum uses three components:

  • Information about how alcohol affects the body, and legal liabilities associated with the consumption of alcohol;
  • Training to recognize signs of intoxication and prevent alcohol misuse; and
  • A practice session to build confidence for using the shills.

TIPS seeks to help students create a responsible social environment that minimizes alcohol abuse, drunk driving and alcohol-related liability.

Those who want more information should contact Honey Stempka.

Technology Funding

3 Earths Shaped Like LightbulbsThe Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System will provide funding to Minnesota State Mankato for projects that support innovative use of technology to enhance student learning and improve student services.

Faculty, students and staff may submit proposals for funding. Projects might target increasing online enrollment, increasing upper division and graduate enrollment, or increasing enrollment of underrepresented populations.

More information about the program is available online. (link removed)

Proposal forms must be completed and submitted by Aug. 29. (link removed)

Faculty/Staff Achievements

Heather Biedermann and Joni Myers (Library Services) attended a three-day Minnesota State supervisory training session, "Frontline Leadership: The Art of Supervision," in the Twin Cities in March.

Christopher Danielson (Mathematics & Statistics) presented two sessions at the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual conference in Duluth in April. He presented a set of ideas for improving pre-service elementary teachers' understanding of place value, and shared preliminary results from a research project involving the geometry knowledge of pre-service secondary math teachers.

Casey Duevel (Library Services) was part of the Electronic Resources Panel round table discussion at the MnPALS Reference Work Day in March.

Francis T. Hannick (Mathematics & Statistics) presented a workshop on Hands-On Experience with Numerous Activities for the Elementary School Mathematics Curriculum at the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in Salt Lake City, Utah, in April.

An article, "Sign patterns that require a positive or nonnegative left inverse," co-authored by In-Jae Kim (Mathematics & Statistics), was published in the Electronic Journal of Linear Algebra. In-Jae also co-authored an article, "On Fiedler-and Parter-vertices of acyclic matrices," in Linear Algebra and its Applications. And In-Jae presented "Inertias of Matrix Patterns" at the Mathematical Association of America North Central Section meeting in April.

John Krenz and Robert Sorensen (Biological Sciences) and graduate student Zachary Bateson presented a talk, "Sperm precedence in squamates: may the best man win," at the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference at Ohio University, Athens, in March.

An article co-authored by John Krenz (Biological Sciences), "Field thermal biology in Phymaturus lizards: Comparisons in arid environments from the Andes to the Patagonian steppe in Argentina," is scheduled to be published in the Journal of Arid Environments.

Peg Lawrence (Library Services) will co-present "Battles and Triumphs with Online and Batch Inventory" with Mary Ann Greenwald and Bruce Wilmes at the Ex Libris Users of North America meeting in Long Beach, Calif., in July.

Pete McDonnell (Library Services) co-presented "Blogs and Wikis for Reference and Instruction" at the MnPALS Reference Work Day in March at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul. He also moderated a panel discussion, "Problems and Solutions in the Electronic Resources Frontier."

A paper by Steve Mercurio (Biological Sciences), "Global Warming and Sustainable Development: Governing a Crisis," was published by the Oxford Round Table.

Russ Palma (Physics & Astronomy) gave an invited seminar, "The Early Solar System: Surprises from NASA's Stardust Mission," at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., in April.

Joan Roca, (Library Services) attended the annual meeting of the directors of the Consortium of MnPALS Libraries at Hennepin Technical College in March 20. He also took part in the first Advanced Leadership Institute for Senior Academic Librarians at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in March.

Patrick Tebbe and Saeed Moaveni (Mechanical & Civil Engineering) and Louis Schwartzkopf (Physics) received a renewable energy grant from the Minnesota Office of Energy for "Performance Analysis of Solar Thermal Walls in the Twin Cities Area."

An article by Y.L Tsao (Mathematics & Statistics), "Applying Mathematical Path for Math Learning," was published in Science Education Monthly Journal.

Christophe Veltsos (Information Systems & Technology) was selected to speak at the 2008 Secure360 conference in May in Minneapolis. Secure360 is the biggest security-related conference in Minnesota, covering topics such as risk management, information security, governance, audit, contingency planning and human capital.

The Food Science program was honored at the FFA convention in Minneapolis in April. Dorothy Wrigley (Biology) and Joye Bond (Family & Consumer Science) received honorary FFA degrees for their work with the FFA Food Science Career Day.

Sun Yu (Philosophy) was invited to give a colloquium with her paper "Vicissitudes of the Gene" at the Philosophy Department of Minnesota State University Moorhead in April. Her talk was a joint Philosophy and Biology colloquium.

A paper, "Confinement Analysis in Symmetric and Asymmetric Nanoscale Slab Slot Waveguides," co-authored by Qun Zhang (Electrical & Computer Engineering) was accepted for presentation at the Optical Society of America 2008 Integrated Photonics and Nanophotonics Research and Applications topical meeting. Qun also submitted "Confinement optimization of symmetric and asymmetric slab slot waveguides" to OSA Optics Express.

Student Achievements

Biology graduate student Zachary Bateson received the Best Presentation Award for his talk at the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference, Ohio University, Athens, in March.

Michael Witthaus and Adam Sudbeck (Biological Sciences) recently won the prestigious Tri-Beta Biology Honor Society's John C. Johnson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for their presentation at the Minnesota Academy of Science meeting in April. Their winning poster, "Characterization of Pripheral Neurovascular Capillary Structure," also qualified them for the Brooks and Johnson Travel Stipend to present their work at the next Tri-Beta national convention. They are students of Michael Bentley. Tri-Beta is a biological honor society, and the local Pi Psi chapter was chartered in spring 2007.

A 2008 ASEE conference paper "Construction of a Radiant Cooling and Control Demonstration Unit for Use in Engineering Courses" by Patrick Tebbe (Mechanical & Civil Engineering) and student co-authors Brian Weninger and Corey Thibeault won an ASEE Best Paper Award.


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 June 4; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (May 30).

You should also submit your event to the university's official Campus Events Calendar. Go to the events calendar website, click on the self-service "Submit Event" link, and provide the information requested.