shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Campus Community: click here for COVID-19 news and updates.


August 6, 2008 Campus Newsletter

Page address:
MSU Mankato Logo

Successful fundraising year

The Minnesota State Mankato Foundation achieved the second–highest fundraising year in its history from July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008.

The foundation received gifts and pledges of $12,358,843 during its 2008 fiscal year, according to Tami Paulsen, president of the foundation's board and secretary–treasurer of Paulsen Architects, Inc., Mankato.

The results should put Minnesota State Mankato's fundraising efforts at the top of the Minnesota State system, according to President Richard Davenport. "Friends and alumni have been very generous to the university, and I thank them profoundly for their benevolence," he said. "We are grateful for their continued support."

The Minnesota State Mankato Foundation celebrates its 50th year of incorporation this year.

Third doctoral program

MSU Mankato Psychology Department

Minnesota State Mankato will add a third doctoral program this fall: The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree in school psychology. The program will prepare candidates for certification to practice as school psychologists, or for other doctoral–level careers such as university teaching.

The Psy.D. school psychology program recently was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, after a Higher Learning Commission team visited the Psychology Department to examine curriculum and resources.

Nine candidates are registered for the new program. They will complete 106 semester credits, usually over five years (though some students with master's or specialist's training will be admitted with advanced standing). The program emphasizes data–based decision–making multiculturalism, mental health and prevention.

The program meets standards of the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Psychological Association.

The program's coordinator is Daniel Houlihan (Psychology). More information is available at

Minnesota State Mankato became Minnesota's first state university with doctoral students in 2007, when candidates enrolled for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Counselor degree in education and supervision. Those candidates enter the second year of their programs this fall.

Aug. 6: Julia Sears Hall tours

Julia A. Sears Residence HallPublic tours of the new Julia A. Sears Residence Hall will be Wednesday, Aug. 6. Tours will be available to students, faculty, staff and members of the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The campus community is invited to a grand opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m. in Centennial Student Union 253-255.

The building – the first new residence hall in more than 40 years at Minnesota State Mankato – will house 608 students in "semi–suites." Each semi–suite – two bedrooms connected by a full bathroom – provides residents with privacy and convenience.

The building also includes roomy kitchens and contemporary lounges for each of the 15 hall communities, seven laundry rooms, a multi–purpose community space, wide hallways and open staircases, a grill/deli dining area, a convenience store, wireless Internet in common areas, maple doors and cabinets, and two acres of landscaped green spaces.

None of the building costs are funded by tax dollars; revenue for the project is from revenue bonds, which are being repaid from student housing fees.

Julia Sears Hall is the university's fourth residence complex, increasing residential capacity to 3,500 of the university's 14,800 students. The building is named for Julia A. Sears, who served as Mankato State Normal School principal in 1872 and 1873.

Two students receive Fulbrights

Fulbright LogoA current student and a May 2008 graduate have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student scholarships.

Mary Nelson (International Business/French) has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student scholarship to Taiwan as an English teaching assistant, according to the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

She studied abroad in Rouen, France, in spring 2007, and during her senior year worked in the Kearney International Center as College of Business student ambassador, helping to recruit and advise business students on study abroad opportunities.

Lucas Brun (May 2008 graduate, B.A. in German) was granted a Fulbright U.S. Student scholarship as a U.S. teaching assistant at two Austrian schools in the city of Güssing in the province of Burgenland. His award is for one year, with possible renewal for a second.

They are among more than 1,450 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2008–09 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

The Fulbright Program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 286,500 people with the opportunity to observe each others' political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Fulbright recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Those who want more information about the Fulbright Program or the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs may visit or contact James A. Lawrence, Office of Academic Exchange Programs, (202) 453-8531 or

New grading policy

Grading A PaperPresident Richard Davenport has approved a new grading policy effective for the fall semester of 2008–09. The policy, developed and reviewed through the University's policy consultation and approval process, gives faculty members the option to use plus and minus grades.

The new policy gives faculty the option to use plus and minus grades ("A+," "B-," etc.). The policy narrative is available at The narrative spells out new point values to be used in calculating plus and minus grades.

Those who have questions are encouraged to contact the Office of the Registrar.

Driver requirements change

Cars Driving On FreewayThe Minnesota Department of Administration's Risk Management Division is initiating a number of new standards for employees and students who drive state vehicles, or personal vehicles while on state business.

The new standards are intended to improve safety and provide maximum insurance coverage at affordable cost. The discussions have included Minnesota State, university administrators, collective bargaining unit leaders and student associations.

The following changes are being implemented:

  • Drivers of state vehicles or private vehicles used for state business must sign a vehicle use agreement.
  • Timeline for completion of agreement is summer/fall for student drivers; Jan. 1, 2009, for classified employees; and July 1, 2009, for faculty and administration.
  • The Department of Administration Risk Management Division will conduct an annual check to verify eligible drivers for state and personal vehicles on state business.
  • No one under age 21 may drive a state or personal vehicle out of state while on Minnesota State business.
  • Personal vehicles and/or large state vans may not be used to tow state trailers or equipment. A trailer towing training program will be announced when it is finalized.
  • Users of the University's 12–passenger vans must view a training video, and a high–occupancy vehicle training program is in process.

Mileage reimbursement increases

Mileage MeterThe Internal Revenue Service has announced an increase in the standard mileage reimbursement rate for business miles used by state employees effective July 1 through Dec. 31.

Mileage rates are used to calculate reimbursements to employees who use their personal vehicles for business trips.

The university utilizes two reimbursement rates: The IRS standard reimbursement rate (58.5 cents) is used when a state–owned vehicle is not available. A lesser rate (51.5 cents) is used when a state vehicle is declined or not requested by the employee.

These new rates are an increase from the previous rates of 50.5 cents per mile for use of a state–owned vehicle and 43.5 cents per mile if the use of a state–owned vehicle is declined.

Those interested in more information may contact Cindy Rossow (Business Services), 389-5006 or Additional information may be found at

Fleet rental rates

Fleet Rental CarA plan to increase vehicle fleet rental rates was presented to the Budget Sub–Meet and Confer Committee this spring, and David Cowan (Facilities Services Director), believes another increase may be necessary.

"Since then, transportation costs have changed dramatically, which makes the assumptions contained in the March plan no longer valid," Dave said. "Gas prices may have taken a dip just recently, but I believe our passenger fleet is not ‘out of the woods’ yet. What's been happening since March is well worth agenda time on the first meeting this fall of the campus Budget Sub–Meet & Confer Committee."

This spring he recommended a 6 percent rental rate increase over the daily rates charged in FY 08. But this increase probably is insufficient to ensure that the fleet's 45 vehicles operate on a "cash–neutral" basis, he says, because "gas prices have risen far in excess of what was estimated last spring."

He plans to formally submit a revised rate hike early this fall to the Budget Sub–Meet & Confer Committee.

Even with the proposed higher rates, departments will find that using a state vehicle remains the most economical method of transportation when compared to using commercially rented vehicles, or using personal vehicles for state business.

Classified professional development

Classified staff members who do not otherwise have access to professional development funds through collective bargaining agreements or personnel plans may utilize the University's Classified Professional Development Fund, which will continue with a $10,000 grant.

All permanent classified staff (AFSCME, MAPE, MMA, MNA, MGEC, Commissioner's Plan, Managerial Plan) employees are eligible.

Information about the fund and a request form for the three 2009 award periods is available at /hr/profdev/developmentfunds.html. Those who want more information may contact DeeAnn Snaza (Human Resources) at 389-6075 or

Sept. 3: Resource Fair

Fair IconFaculty and staff members are invited to attend the fifth annual University Resource Fair Wednesday, Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

Campus departments and organizations are encouraged to host a table at the Resource Fair, to communicate their services to other university employees. Food and beverages will be available.

Those who would like to host a table should contact DeeAnn Snaza (Human Resources) or Cheryl Temple (Academic Affairs) by Friday, Aug. 15.

Departments and organizations are encouraged to have handouts and "freebies" available, and to consider games. Those who want more information may contact DeeAnn at or Cheryl at 389-5147 or

Sept. 19: Nursing research forum

Sigma Theta Tau LogoMu Lambda chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International will present a nursing research forum Friday, Sept. 19, featuring two keynote speakers.

The event will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the South Central College Conference Center.

Alice Wendt will speak from 8:15 to 9:45 a.m. about "The Sum of the Whole is Greater Than its Parts," focusing on relationships within healthcare settings. Linda Olson Keller will speak from 1 to 2:30 p.m. about "The Essence of Nursing Leadership: Courage, Heart & Brains," focusing on creating successful partnerships within the nursing system.

Wendt earned a master's in heath care administration from Cardinal Stritch University and is a graduate of Montana State University and the University of Minnesota. For more than 30 years she developed care delivery systems to improve processes and patient care outcomes.

Olson Keller is a clinical faculty member at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and director of a national public health nursing infrastructure project. Before joining the U of M in 2006 she directed the Center for Public Health Nursing at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Cost for attending the event ranges from free to $70, depending on student/professional status and purchase of lunch. Participants may receive seven contact hours for continuing education credits. Those who want more information may contact Margaret Brewer (Nursing) at (507) 381-6996 or

Robert Hoffman named to SMIF board

Robert Hoffman

Robert Hoffman

Robert Hoffman (Strategic Partnerships) has been named to the board of trustees of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. The 12–member board provides leadership, vision and governance to the work of the foundation in 20 southern Minnesota counties.

Bob holds a Doctor of Education degree from Utah State University and worked for many years for the Taylor Corporation as an executive, directing sales strategy and initiatives on many levels. Before that he was a high school teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.

He has also been a member of the board of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Ecumen, as well as chairman of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.

The donor–supported Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation invests in the region's future growth through grants, loans, technical expertise and partnerships that foster community assets via workforce readiness and entrepreneurial activity.

Thank–a–Thon sets record

Thank-a-Thon MembersThe Minnesota State Mankato Foundation surpassed the annual giving goal of $855,000, with the 2008 fiscal year closing at $862,220.

The 2008 Thank–a–thon finished No. 1 in the 28–year history of the program with 94 percent of the goal paid by the close of the fiscal year. There were 11,333 gifts from alumni and friends.

The Foundation's fiscal year 2009 annual giving goal is $900,000, through 12,000 gifts. Those interested in pledging may visit Gifts may also be made via credit card by calling (800) 662-2705.

Faculty/staff achievements

Faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in the 2009 "Siberia and the World" festival at Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. The event is intended to establish new cultural, educational and scientific links and to broaden mutually beneficial cooperation and academic exchanges between universities. The 2008 festival included presentations on three topics by Carl Egan (emeritus). Those who want more information may go to

Susan Freeman (Women's Studies) has written a new book, "Sex Goes to School," focusing on girls and sex education before the 1960s. Susan's book investigates the classrooms of the 1940s and '50s and offers insight into to the potential for sex education to address adolescent challenges, particularly for girls.

Alpha Sigma Alpha

The Zeta Kappa Chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority received the 2007–08 Crown of Excellence Award from Alpha Sigma Alpha headquarters at the sorority's national convention in Albuquerque, N.M., in July.

It is the highest honor awarded by national headquarters. To receive the award, each chapter member must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, complete 25 hours of community service and be involved in the campus community. Other standards including recruitment, retention, finances and academics also must be met.


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 Sept. 3; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Aug. 29).

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.