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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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December 9, 2009 Campus Newsletter

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Christmas tree in snow with aurora borealis

'Happy Holidays' banner

Dec. 21-Jan. 1: Limited operations

University operations will be limited between Monday, Dec. 21, and Friday, Jan. 1.

Faculty and staff guidelines for University operations between these dates include:

  • Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 21-23: The University will be open for limited operations.
  • Thursday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve): The University will be open for limited operations. All MSUAASF employees will be on paid holiday.
  • Friday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day): The University will be closed.
  • Monday-Thursday, Dec. 28-31: The University will be open for limited operations.
  • Friday, Jan. 1 (New Year's Day): The University will be closed.

Regular operations will resume on Monday, Jan. 4.

University operations are limited during the winter holiday season to allow as many employees as possible to be gone during this time, and to allow employees who wish to work to do so, while maintaining necessary management of the University.

When the University is open for limited operations, staff members should make appropriate staffing and supervision arrangements in advance, at the divisional level. Those who have questions may contact Human Resources at (507) 389-2015.

Bush Foundation: $6.275 million

Bush Foundation logoMinnesota State Mankato has been selected by the Bush Foundation for a groundbreaking new partnership to transform teacher-preparation programs in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. To support the effort's success, the Bush Foundation is investing more than $40 million, including $6.275 million to Minnesota State Mankato.

The partnership will dramatically change how colleges and universities recruit, prepare, place and support K-12 teachers, and how higher education institutions work with their K-12 partners. The size and nature of the investment is unprecedented in the United States, according to Michael Miller (College of Education).

Over the next 10 years the college will collaborate with 13 other higher education institutions to produce a total of 25,000 new, effective teachers, and to guarantee their effectiveness. The new initiative—part of the Bush Foundation's "goal for a decade" to increase educational achievement across Minnesota and the Dakotas—was announced last week in St. Paul by Bush Foundation President Peter C. Hutchinson and presidents of the participating universities.

"This landmark effort offers the best chance in our lifetime to make dramatic improvements in the way colleges work together with schools and teachers to guarantee effective solutions," said President Richard Davenport. "This collaboration leverages our strengths, including Dr. Miller's exceptional leadership. Dr. Miller and our faculty, with the help of our public school partners, have developed many new ideas that will transform teacher effectiveness."

The College of Education and other participating universities participated in a rigorous, nine-month planning process to redesign their teacher preparation programs. The institutions will develop and implement their redesigned programs starting with the 2010-'11 academic year.

The program includes two years of school experience focusing on the real instructional needs of E-12 learners. Nearly all of the candidates' school experience will involve instruction by teams of master teachers and faculty. Minnesota State Mankato and its public-school partners (Bloomington, Faribault, Gaylord-Arlington-Green Isle, Le Sueur, Mankato, Owatonna, St. Paul, St. Peter and Waseca) will create a pipeline of strong teacher candidates by aggressively identifying, involving, mentoring and advising candidates.

The Bush Foundation asked institutions to use three strategies to promote and support teacher effectiveness:

  • Develop practical methods to measure teacher effectiveness, based on a strong foundation of knowledge from current research data and experience;
  • Discover, invest in and use the most promising 21st-century concepts for recruiting, training, coaching and retaining high-caliber new teachers;
  • Improve teacher effectiveness for both new and experienced teachers as the core of professional development.

Tuition waiver requests

Faculty and staff who plan to request tuition waiver benefits for spring semester are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

Submitting requests early safeguards against cancelled registrations.

Tuition applications must be submitted no more than 10 days following the start of the tuition-waived course. However, submitting the request after Dec. 31 will not prevent automatic registration cancellation.

Requests may be submitted online. Those who wish to file for waiver benefits but are unable to do so within the policy timelines may fill out the "Intent to File" online submission form. This does not replace the tuition waiver request process, nor will it result in a tuition waiver transaction on a student's record, but it will tell Student Financial Services that the employee intends to file a waiver request.

Dec. 15: Work survey

Employees are encouraged to complete by Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Work Climate Survey being conducted by the Great Place to Work Task Force and the Organizational Effectiveness Research Group.

The survey offers employees an opportunity to share their opinions regarding their work environment and to provide timely comments on current and future workplace environment initiatives.

Responses are confidential, and any response that identifies a person, department or administrative unit will be excluded from all reports. Those who have not received the email survey should check their junk mail folders. Those who want to receive the survey in an alternative format should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX at (507) 389-2986.

December: 'Poem Paintings'

Brush and paletteStudents, faculty and staff are invited to visit Brian Frink's (Art) "Poem Paintings" exhibition this month.

"Poem Paintings" is a series of paintings in response to a crown of sonnets, "Key Fallen to Blue," by Richard Robbins (English). The exhibition will continue until the first week of classes in January in the Centennial Student Union Gallery.

The works were made possible through a Nadine B. Andreas faculty research grant.

President's Diversity Awards

Hands of different colors in a circle in the sandRachel Droogsma (Communication Studies) and Catarina Fritz (Sociology & Corrections) recently received 2009-2010 President's Diversity Awards from the Commission on Diversity Awards Committee.

The awards recognize contributions of faculty, staff and administrators to a more culturally diverse campus community.

Rachel helped to gather 75 people with various faith backgrounds to pack food for those in need. She also pairs with Theresa House to encourage homeless children, women and families to create art portraying their experiences with homelessness.

Catarina organized an on-campus presentation featuring two Holocaust survivors. She has taught English as a second language to Indochinese immigrants and works to incorporate speakers from underrepresented groups into her course curriculum.

In addition, both Rachel and Catarina strive for diversity through their teaching, volunteering and activism in the community and on campus.

Barnes & Noble Sale

'Barnes & Nobles Booksellers' logoBarnes & 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

Raymond Asomani-Boateng's (Urban & Regional Studies) article, "Closing the Loop: Community-based Organic Solid Waste Recycling, Urban Gardening and Land Use Planning in Ghana, West Africa," has been listed in the Journal of Planning Education and Research.

Rebecca Bates (Computer Science) presented "An Introduction to Automatic Speech Recognition" at the first Workshop on Computational Linguistics in Brazil in November.

Scott Bohling (Water Resources Center) recently co-moderated at the Water Resources Conference in St. Paul for the discussion on turbidity in Minnesota waters.

Susan Carlin (Water Resources Center) recently presented a poster, "Conservation Marketplace of Minnesota: Establishing an Ecosystem Service Market to Support Conservation Efforts" at the Land Conservation & Clean Water Summit, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Barbara Carson (Sociology & Corrections) presented "International Sentencing Practices: Implications for Reducing U.S. Use of Prisons" at the American Society of Criminology in Philadelphia in November. She also presented "How Do You Know if it is Restorative Justice?" at the Restorative Justice in Adult Criminal Court Symposium in Columbia, Mo.

Janet Cherrington (Urban & Regional Studies) has been selected as a university professor for "Who's Who in America" 2010.

Rhonda Dass (Anthropology) presented a paper, "Homesteading Heritage: Appropriating Authority through Tattoos," at the American Folklore Society meeting in Boise, Idaho, in October. She also was an invited speaker for the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Advisory Board meeting in Edina.

Sarah Duda (Water Resources Center) recently presented "Crystal Loon Mills Clean Water Partnership: Case Study of BMP Implementation Project for Excess Nutrients in Crystal, Loon and Mills Lakes in Lake Crystal, MN" at the Land Conservation & Clean Water Summit, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Shannon Fisher and Rick Moore (Water Resources Center) presented a paper, "Crop Residue Management Trends in Minnesota" at the 2009 Minnesota Water Resources Conference in St. Paul.

Annelies Hagemeister (Social Work) presented "Violence Against Immigrant Women: Barriers and Solutions in a Rural Midwestern Area" at the annual program meeting of the Council on Social Work in San Antonio, Texas. She also facilitated a full-day training session for Olmsted County Child and Family Services in Rochester in November, presenting "Violence Against Immigrant Women in Southern Minnesota."

Gretta Handke (Geography) is one of 16 founding members of the new Midwest World History Association, which serves and represents high school and university world historians from 13 states and four Canadian provinces.

Tom Inglot (Political Science & Law Enforcement) worked for two months in Poland, Hungary and Romania on a collaborative research project devoted to the study of family policies in Central and Eastern Europe. He also chaired a conference panel, "Recent Trends and Future Family Policy Models in an Enlarged Europe," at the conference of the Network for European Social Policy Analysis in Urbino, Italy, in September. In October he presented "In the Shadow of History—The Emergency Welfare States in East Central Europe" at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary.

Scott Kudelka and Kimberly Musser (Water Resources Center) presented "Minnesota River Basin Trends" recently at the Minnesota Environmental Initiative's policy forum in Excelsior. They also presented "Minnesota River Basic Trends Report" at the Minnesota Water Resources Conference in St. Paul.

Karla Lassonde (Psychology) presented "Confirming Spontaneity in Spontaneous Trait Inferences" at the Psychonomic Society Conference in Boston in November. She also published "Contextual Specificity in the Activation of Predictive Inferences" and "The Activation of Instantiation of Instrumental Inferences" in Discourse Processes.

Steve Losh (Chemistry & Geology) presented "Oil, Gas and Water: Subsurface Flow and Interactions in an Area of Continental Shelf/Slope Offshore Louisiana" at Iowa State University's Geology Department Seminar in November. He and co-author Dan Swart (Chemistry & Geology) received second place in the Thomas Philpot Excellence of Presentation Award at the 59th Annual Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies conference in Shreveport, La., for their talk "Gas Washing Pattern and Economics in an Area of Continental Shelf Offshore Louisiana."

Paul Mackie (Social Work) recently was named an associate editor for the Journal of Rural Mental Health.

Rick Moore (Water Resources Center) presented "Innovative Geographic Media—Connecting People to the Minnesota River" at the 2009 Minnesota Geographic Information Systems and Land Information Systems conference in Duluth.

Lisa Perez (Psychology) presented "The Role of Emotional Labor in the Relationship Between Incivility and Psychological Distress" recently at the International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The paper was co-authored by Angela Lins, a Minnesota State Mankato graduate.

The Minnesota Board of Psychology has licensed Sarah Sifers (Psychology) as a psychologist.

Fred Slocum (Political Science & Law Enforcement) recently was appointed to the executive board of the Minnesota Political Science Association for a three-year term. In November he attended the Minnesota Political Science Association's conference at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn.

The International Workshop on Distance Education Technologies invited Mahbubur Syed (Information Systems & Technology) to serve as a co-chair for the program committee. The workshop will be next fall in Oak Brook, Ill.

Mike Wells (Information Systems & Technology) presented a paper, "An Onshore Alternative to Offshore Outsourcing of Software Development and Testing" at the 2009 National Decision Science Institute Conference in New Orleans.

Fei Yuan (Geography) presented "Analyzing Urban Climate Change Using GIS and Remote" recently at the Minnesota Geographic Information Systems and Land Information Systems conference in Duluth.


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 next newsletter (first of 2010) will be published Jan. 13; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Jan. 8).

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.