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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

November 25, 2009 Campus Newsletter

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Participants with shovels

President Richard Davenport (center) wields one of nine golden shovels at groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Center for Renewable Energy Research & Technology Transfer on the northwest corner of campus. Others taking part in the groundbreaking are (front row, from left) John Frey (Business, Educational & Regional Partnerships), State Rep. Bob Gunther, State Sen. Julie Rosen, Minnesota State Board of Trustees Vice Chair Ruth Grendahl, Bengt-Erik Lofgren of Sweden's AFAB, State Sen. Kathy Sheran. Devonna Zoig of the Minnesota Corn Growers and John Knox (CSET). Looking on in the back row are Bruce Jones and other members of the Automotive Engineering Technology program.

Renewable Energy Center

Ground was broken Nov. 13 for the new, $1.8-million, 6,300-square-foot Center for Renewable Energy Research & Technology Transfer to be constructed on the northwest corner of campus, near Wiecking Center.

Within the one-of-a-kind center, 4,800 square feet will be allocated to an emissions laboratory and 1,500 square feet will be allocated for the International Renewable Energy Technology Institute. The renewable energy research center is expected to stimulate industry growth and development in bio-fuels and related fields.

The center will be completed sometime in mid-2010. It is funded through federal, state and private sources, including the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Department of Economic Employment Development, the Department of Energy, the Minnesota Corn Growers, Fagen, Inc., AgStar Financial and other partners. Gift-in-kind support with state-of-the-art equipment is being provided by California Analytical Instruments and Environmental Testing Corporation.

Faculty members and students will use the center to test emissions and efficiency for fuels for engines as well as building heating units. Both labs will seek national test and measures and EPA certification.

The IRETI laboratory will function as a test center to support technology transfer for combustible solid fuel and biogas. Its role is especially significant because it will deal with building heating units—a major source of energy consumption. (Heating and cooling of buildings consumes about 40 percent of U.S. energy.)

The laboratory will work globally, starting with Sweden because of its renewable energy leadership. The laboratory's major focus will be to work with Swedish and U.S. companies and entrepreneurs to certify alternative-energy heating technology for the U.S. market.

In addition to research, the center's goal is to provide technology transfer that will move new products toward commercialization, increasing the manufacture of products in Minnesota. The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota has been a strong supporting partner in the development of IRETI in Minnesota.

The International Renewable Energy Technology Institute focuses on commercialization of products through its public-private partnerships. Minnesota was awarded the institute two years ago, and funding was approved during the 2009 legislative session. Since then the institute has brought international attention to Minnesota State Mankato's renewable energy efforts.

The center's emissions laboratory will be the only research facility in the Upper Midwest capable of conducting biodiesel, ethanol, hybrid and other bio-fuel engines tests according to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

The emissions laboratory will pave the way for greater public and private use of alternative fuels. The lab should speed the process for automakers to meet higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards by 2016, and should help public agencies and private companies acquire more fuel-efficient vehicles for their fleets.

Friend, Davenport and Stephenson

Master Sgt. Don Friend (left), President Richard Davenport (center) and Lt. Col. Joel Stephenson (Military Science & Leadership, right) prepare to cut a cake with a cavalry saber at the Veteran's Day Recognition Nov. 10. More than 100 people attended the ceremony.

An X-ray diffractometer

An X-ray diffractometer similar to the one to be installed in Ford Hall.

X-ray diffractometer

Minnesota State Mankato has been awarded $226,290 by the National Science Foundation to purchase a sophisticated new X-ray diffractometer.

The grant's principal investigator, Steven Losh (Geology), along with co-investigators Youwen Xu, Bryce Hoppie, Lyudmyla Ardanova, Chad Wittkop and James Wilde, submitted their proposal in January and received National Science Foundation approval in August. It was the team's third attempt to win the grant.

The state-of-the-art new diffractometer will allow faculty and student researchers to determine the three-dimensional atomic structure of a material by bombarding it with X-rays and analyzing the rays' paths. Using this information, researchers can identify unknown materials and, in many cases, can determine their compositions.

Faculty from several departments will use the instrument for research and as a teaching tool. In addition, researchers from other area universities will have access to the diffractometer, and high school teachers will be able to use it to spark interest in science among their students.

The diffractometer will be installed in a Ford Hall geology instrument room.

The grant is the second major National Science Foundation research instrumentation award received by the university this year. Earlier in the year Department of Biological Sciences researchers were granted $199,475 to purchase a scanning electron microscope.

Electron microscope

The Department of Biological Sciences soon will have a new scanning electron microscope, thanks to a major research instrumentation grant approved by the National Science Foundation.

The NSF appropriated $199,475 for Minnesota State Mankato to acquire the microscope from JEOL USA, Inc. Principal investigator Michael Bentley (Biological Sciences), along with co-investigators Marilyn Hart, Timothy Secott and Robert Sorensen, submitted the grant proposal in January.

The new instrument will allow researchers to look at a specimen, such as a piece of tissue, and analyze its structure and the elements within it.

Students and faculty members will use the microscope in classes for cell biology, geology, engineering and other fields. In addition, the instrument will be a regional research resource for other universities and private industries.

The microscope, to be installed in December, will be housed in the Biological Imaging Center in Trafton Science Center.

Mars rover runners-up

Michael Trombley and Andrew Scalzo with rover and awardsA Mars robot vehicle designed by students Michael Trombley (Mechanical Engineering) and Andrew Scalzo (Manufacturing Engineering Technology) won second place in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' 2009 international student design competition final earlier this month.

Michael and Andrew received a second-place trophy, a plaque and $1,000 in prize money. In addition, $500 was awarded to the Minnesota State Mankato American Society of Mechanical Engineers chapter.

The two are members of the Minnesota State Mankato American Society of Mechanical Engineers chapter advised by Jin Park (Mechanical Engineering).

They won for their plans for a Mars radio-controlled NASA robot vehicle that can retrieve small rock samples and can move over specified obstacles. The vehicle is designed to be controlled from a manned spacecraft or from Earth.

The competition was the headline student program of the ASME International Congress and Exposition 2009 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Michael and Andrew defeated 15 teams, including six foreign teams from Canada, Egypt, India and Lebanon. Michael and Andrew qualified for the final stage by winning first place in the regional design competition in April 2009.

11 employees win grants

Eleven employees recently received grants for completing a variety of projects.

Grant recipients, their project titles, their funding agencies and their grant amounts include:

  • Jim Wilde (Mechanical & Civil Engineering): "Real-World Pavement Preservation Solutions," Mn/DOT, $94,984;
  • Debra Gohagan (Social Work): "MN BSW Child Welfare Consortium," University of Minnesota-Minnesota Department of Human Services, $76,110;
  • Patrick Tebbe (Mechanical & Civil Engineering): "Tebbe CCLI Engaged Phase 2," National Science Foundation, $422,765;
  • Brenda Flannery (Management): "Facilitating the Development of Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs," Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace, $61,000;
  • Guadalupe Quintero (Multicultural affairs): "Minnesota State Mankato Latino Students Wellness Program," Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, $7,000;
  • Anthony Filipovitch (Urban & Regional Studies): "Greater Mankato City Center Economic Profile," Greater Mankato Growth, Inc., $4,860;
  • John Frey (Strategic Business, Education & Regional Partnerships): "International Renewable Energy Technology Institute," Minnesota Department of Commerce, $1.5 million;
  • Jim Gullickson (KMSU Radio): "Arts & Cultural Heritage," "FY10 Radio Equipment" and "FY10-11 Radio Operations," Department of Administration, $238,500, $18,180.80 and $52,108;
  • Michael Fagin (Institutional Diversity): "MA-CAP 10" and "Minnesota State Mankato Target Enrichment Program," Minnesota Office of Higher Education and Target, $44,000 and $10,000;
  • Anne Willaert (Healthcare Education Industry Partnership): "American Cancer Society-CHW," American Cancer Society; $29,000;
  • Dale Haefner (Music): "Concert Series 10," Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, $2,000.
'HERS - Higher Education Resource Services' banner

Debra Schulz completes HERS

Debra Schulz (Registrar's Office) recently graduated from the 2009 HERS Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration at the University of Denver in Colorado.

The institute prepares women for leadership roles in higher education. The institute's focus was "Women's Leadership in Times of Crisis: Leveraging Our Responses for Institutional Renewal." Participants learned about the economic environment, planning and implementing change and converting challenges to opportunities.

The 32 participants represented 22 institutions, and the faculty included 20 senior women leaders from a variety of colleges and universities. The Denver Institute is the newest of three Higher Education Resource Services institutes. Institutes also are held at Bryn Mawr College and Wellesley College.

Debra has been at Minnesota State Mankato since 1993, serving as assistant registrar since 2005. She is in charge of registration for the university and is the academic athletic eligibility coordinator for Division I & II sports.

She was sponsored by the Office of the President, and was selected through a process facilitated by the President's Commission on the Status of Women. Four university women faculty members and administrators have participated in HERS Institutes in the last five years.

Anne Willaert: Humphrey Fellow

Anne Willaert (Healthcare Education Industry Partnership) has been named a policy fellow at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

The program prepares individuals for leadership roles in public affairs and examines national and international issues facing the United States. Anne is one of 37 individuals selected for the 2009-2010 program.

Fellows are selected from Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities to be a part of the nine-month educational experience including workshops, seminars and leadership development activities.

Brian Fazio awards

Greater Mankato GrowthThe Community Engagement Office recently received the 2009 Brian Fazio Business-Education Partnership Award and Shirley Piepho (Scheduling & Conference Services) received the Volunteer of the Year Award from Greater Mankato Growth Inc.

The partnership award recognizes the Engagement Office's work to increase quality of education and reduce hunger in the Mankato area. The office partners with local businesses on many efforts, including the Campus Kitchen project and Mavericks READ, a children's literacy program that pairs college students with preschool children to help them learn to read and write.

Shirley received the award for her work with the Greater Mankato Convention and Visitors Bureau and Greater Mankato Growth. She encourages university professional staff and other organizations to take advantage of Convention and Visitor's Bureau offerings.

The awards were presented Nov. 17 at Greater Mankato Growth's Greater Mankato Business Awards banquet.

Dec. 2-5: 'Rocky Horror Show'

'Rocky Horror Picture Show' posterThe Department of Theatre & Dance will present the stage version of the cult movie favorite The Rocky Horror Show Wednesday through Saturday, Dec. 2-5.

The performances will be at 7:30 p.m. all four days and also at midnight Friday and Saturday. All performances will be in the Andreas Theatre of the Performing Arts Center.

The Rocky Horror Show is best known as a 1975 British musical comedy film that parodies science fiction and pornography films, starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick.

The movie has the longest-running theatrical release in film history. In 1977 it gained notoriety as the first movie from a major film studio to be shown as a midnight film. Rocky Horror has a large international following and is one of the most well-known and financially successful midnight movies of all time.

Tickets for The Rocky Horror Show are $9 regular; $8 for senior citizens, youth under 16 and groups of 15 or more; and $7 for Minnesota State Mankato students.

Tickets are available online at the Minnesota State Mankato Theatre website or by visiting or calling the Theatre & Dance Box Office at (507) 389-6661 from 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

New Combined Charities deadline

'Minnesota State Employees Combined Charities Campaign—State Employees Caring for Minnesota'Pledges to the Minnesota State Employees Combined Charities Campaign are still being accepted. The deadline for donations has been extended until Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Employees may donate in two ways:

  • Submit a written check to the charity of their choice and send it to Diane Roggow (Human Resources) in Wigley Administration Room 336 or David Cowan (Facilities Services) in Wiecking Center Room 358.
  • Contribute through payroll deduction, which can be done online:
    Those who donate through payroll deduction will be able to use their pay stubs as tax documents for charitable deductions.

Dec. 14, 15: EDGE

The Executive Diversity & Global Education Certification Program, Level II will be Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 14-15, at 7700 France in Edina. The workshop will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 14, and 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 1.

The program is part of a three-level series that offers opportunities to learn more about managing diversity work in higher education. It will review the Lee Bolman-Terrence Deal book "Reframing Organizations," allowing participants to focus on four frames of leadership.

It is intended to develop a better understanding of how leadership styles impact diversity on a college campus, and to teach ways to create and support diversity, what it means to be an empowering leader, the symbolic role of a leader in diversity, and the political realities of diversity advocacy.

Fee for the course is $350, including continental breakfasts, lunches, a textbook and all training materials. Minnesota State Mankato faculty and staff can attend for $175.

Although the program is a three-level series, participants can join levels one and two in any order they choose. The third level is for those who have taken the first two.

College of Business: Gold award

The College of Business has received the 2009 Education Benchmarking Commitment to Excellence Gold Award from Educational Benchmarking Inc.

The award was announced early this month by Joseph A. Pica, Educational Benchmarking CEO. It identifies institutions and programs that have participated continuously in Educational Benchmarking Inc. programs.

Educational Benchmarking Inc. provides comprehensive, comparative assessment instruments and analysis for quality improvement efforts at more than 1,200 colleges and universities.

Barnes & Noble sale

'Barnes & Noble booksellers'Barnes & Noble bookstore is offering a sale through the start of winter break. Faculty, staff and students may buy one Jansport apparel item and get 50 percent off the second. The sale includes sweatpants, T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts.

Sweatpants, included in the sale, are available in nine graphics and colors.

Faculty/Staff Achievements

Jennifer Veltsos (English) presented "The Intersection of Visual Rhetoric and Business Communication: Corporate Visual Identity" at the annual Association for Business Communication National Conference in Portsmouth, Va., recently. She also was selected as the 2010 coordinator of ABC's Rhetoric Special Interest Group.

David Viscoli (Music) performed Beethoven's "Triple Concerto" with the Mankato Symphony this month. Two other soloists also performed: Tony Ross, principal cellist of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Ruggero Allifranchini, associate concertmaster of the St. Paul Orchestra.

Students exhibit research

Education students exhibited new learning activities that they developed for young children as part of "Imagine the Amazing," an educational event for youngsters Nov. 19 at Madison East Center.

The students researched and assembled developmentally appropriate learning activities as part of faculty member Elizabeth Sandell's "Theories of Development and Learning in Early Childhood" class.

The free event, sponsored by the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota, was in the shopping center's mall. It included live entertainment, hands-on activities and the student research posters.

Peter Olson, director of the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota, selected 11 students to exhibit their work, including: Chris Willette, Alicia Peters, Sarah Gerdes, Krysta Swearingen, Kathy Brenny, Brittany Jansma, Sasha Flores, Kelly Nickell, Erin Latt and Bre Peterson.


Do you have faculty, staff, student or departmental news for the biweekly campus newsletter? Send news items to newsletter editor Michael Cooper. The newsletter is published every other Wednesday during the academic year and monthly during the summer. The last newsletter of 2009 will be published Dec. 9; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Dec. 4).

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.