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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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June 16, 2010 Campus Newsletter

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Scott Olson

Scott Olson: Interim vice chancellor

Minnesota State Colleges & Universities Chancellor James H. McCormick has recommended Scott R. Olson, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, as interim vice chancellor for academic and student affairs.

His appointment will begin in July. The board is expected to act on the chancellor's recommendation at its June 16 meeting.

A reception honoring Scott Olson will be Thursday, June 17, from 9-10 a.m. in the Hearth Lounge of Centennial Student Union.

Scott will replace Linda Baer, who is resigning to become a senior officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working with its Post-Secondary Success Initiative.

“Scott Olson brings a wealth of administrative and academic experience to this demanding job,” McCormick said. “Given the pressing challenge we have to produce more graduates, I am confident that we will continue to make progress on that front under Dr. Olson's leadership.”

Scott has been vice president for academic and student affairs and professor of communication studies since 2003. Previously, he was dean of the College of Communication, Information & Media at Ball State University in Indiana; assistant and associate dean of arts and sciences at Central Connecticut State University; and an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University in Illinois.

He holds a bachelor's degree in intellectual history and a master's degree and a doctorate in radio, television and film, all from Northwestern University.

John and Anne Frey with President Daveport

John (left) and Anne Frey, with President Richard Davenport

Freys endow renewable energy research

Undergraduate student research in renewable energy and green technology is being invigorated by a unique new endowment from Anne and John Frey (CSET dean emeritus).

The Anne and John Frey Renewable Energy/Bio Products Research Endowment, donated to the university in May, is one of only a handful of undergraduate sustainable energy research funds in the nation.

It will provide $3,000 each year to a student who conducts applied, faculty-mentored research in all areas of biomass energy, including solar, wind and hydro energy. The endowment also will support student research into energy conservation and bio-based products.

Each student will receive $500 for supplies, and the student's College of Science, Engineering & Technology faculty mentor will receive a $500 stipend.

Anne Frey, who conceived the idea of an endowment to support faculty-mentored student research, said the concept was prompted by a northeast Kansas family who she and her husband knew before they were married. “Each year as I read about the grant recipients in the hometown newspaper, I would remark, ‘That is such a wonderful idea; I would like to do something like that,'” Anne said.

Anne holds degrees in nursing, elementary education, health education and accounting. John, after receiving his doctorate, served for 37 years as a faculty member and dean of the College of Science, Engineering & Technology. He actively sought and obtained grants, and led successful campaigns for state and federal appropriations and for several million dollars in contracts, grants and private donations.

NSIC All-Sports Award

NSIC logoMinnesota State Mankato has captured the 2009-'10 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference/U.S. Bank All-Sports Award for the second year in a row.

The Mavericks also were the All-Sports Award winners in 2008-'09.

Minnesota State Mankato earned 152.5 points in finishing five points ahead of second-place Augustana College, which finished with 147.5 points. The Mavericks will receive their award Wednesday, July 14, at the NSIC Hall of Fame Banquet in St. Cloud.

Minnesota State Mankato won five titles during the 2009-'10 season, including men's golf, men's indoor track & field, men's basketball, baseball and men's outdoor track & field.

Directors' Cup: Sixth thus far

Learfield Sports Directors' Cup logoMinnesota State Mankato ranks sixth in the latest Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings. When the final standings are determined this summer, the Mavericks are expected to finish in the top five for the fourth consecutive year.

The Mavericks' spring ranking was bolstered by the men's and women's golf teams, which both advanced to the NCAA regionals, and the women's team's qualification for the national tournament. Minnesota State Mankato received 71 points from the teams' performances.

As a department the Mavericks have totaled 465.50 points for the year. Defending champion Grand Valley State tops the list with 871.50 points.

Directors Cup points remain to be added for baseball, softball and track and field. The baseball team won the central regional to qualify for the 2010 national championship tournament, and the softball team earned a berth at the central regional.

There are 288 schools that compete in NCAA Division II. Complete Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings can be found on the NACDA website.

Knox, Davenport, and Pearson

Dean John Knox, President Richard Davenport and David Pearson hold the $10,000 check from the Xcel Energy Foundation.

$10,000 from Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy Corp. has donated $10,000 for scholarships and an endowment fund in the College of Science, Engineering & Technology.

The annual gift supports five $1,000 scholarships to CSET students and a $5,000 contribution to the Xcel Energy Foundation Endowment, to sustain future CSET scholarships. The gift brings the endowment total to $20,000.

The gift was presented to President Richard Davenport and Dean John Knox by David Pearson, Xcel's community and local government relations manager.

Another Ostrander honor

For the fourth time this year the renovated Ostrander Auditorium has been recognized for innovative, audience-friendly design. The latest honor is an eight-page, multi-photograph article in Sound & Communications, the trade magazine for the audio-video industry, about the high-tech features wrought by the auditorium's $1.6-million renovation.

The article is posted online.

Another four-page articleby Crestron Electronics is available on their website.

In addition, the Ostrander project was featured in the Association of College Unions Construction and Renovation showcase this spring, and the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers presented Kyko Engineering and Minnesota State Mankato with a Merit Award for Distinguished Engineering Achievement as part of its "Seven Wonders of Engineering" competition.

Women's basketball team

Give to the Campus Drive

Pam Gohl (Intercollegiate Athletics), 2010 Campus Drive chair, reminds employees that the drive is at an impressive 41 percent faculty and staff participation, with a goal of 50 percent by the end of June.

Many gifts combined together have a powerful impact, whether $10 or $1,000, and a generous gift by June 30 will play a critical role in the lives of Minnesota State Mankato students, who need support now more than ever.

Pam asks employees to check out "12 Reasons to Give," created by students on YouTube, and to review testimonials and watch the steady Campus Drive progress.

"You can make an immediate impact and be a champion with a gift online now at our secure website, or by calling the Development Office at (507) 389-6829," Pam says.

June 21: Michael Miller farewell

Michael MillerA farewell celebration for Michael Miller (College of Education) will be Monday, June 21, from 2-4 p.m. in the Hearth Lounge of Centennial Student Union. A brief program is planned at 2:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

In April Mike was named the next president of Northland College in Ashland, Wis. He was chosen after a national search that began last July and attracted nearly 200 candidates.

Northland, known as “the environmental liberal arts college” because of its commitment to the environment and sustainability, has deep connections to Sigurd Olson, one of America's most beloved outdoor writers and wilderness protection advocates. Olson, who died in 1982, studied at Northland and received an honorary degree there, and the college's environmental institute bears his name.

June 22-26: 'Sunshine Boys'

'Sunshine Boys' posterThe Department of Theatre & Dance will continue its 44th annual Highland Summer Theatre with Neil Simon's “The Sunshine Boys,” with performances at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, June 22-26, in Andreas Theatre of the Performing Arts Center. It is sponsored by the TRIO Program.

Al and Willie as “Lewis and Clark” were top-billed vaudevillians for more than 40 years. Now they aren't even speaking. When CBS requests them for a “History of Comedy” retrospective, a grudging reunion brings the two back together, along with a flood of memories, miseries and laughs.

This is the play's debut at Minnesota State Mankato.

Eric Jon Subkoviak, 1993 Theatre alum, returns for his 17th Highland Summer Theatre season as Willie. Third-year MFA Directing candidate Michael James, who directed the summer opener “On Golden Pond,” is Al.

Subkoviak has appeared in such summer roles as Oscar Madison in “The Odd Couple,” in the ensemble of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” and “The Complete History of America (abridged),” Big Daddy in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and as three characters in last summer's “Plaza Suite.” James appeared as Dr. Chumley in “Harvey,” Dr. Ivan Pearson in the original production of “Virgin Territory” and as the Narrator in “The Rocky Horror Show.”

Tickets for “The Sunshine Boys” are $14.50 regular, $13 for senior citizens, youth under 16 and groups of 15 or more, and $10 for current Minnesota State students. Tickets are available online, by calling (507) 389-6661 or by stopping by the Theatre & Dance Box Office between 4 and 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

June 23: Ride with the dean

Biker“Riding With The Dean,” a bike trip to Rapidan with avid cyclist and Interim Dean of Students Walt Wolff, is scheduled for Wednesday, June 23. The 15-mile round trip is open to campus and community members, and will leave from the mall fountain at 3 p.m.

Walt is an avid bicyclist who has made numerous long treks, including a 3,400-mile coast-to-coast ride as a cancer research fundraiser.

Walt and fellow riders will take the scenic Red Jacket Trail to the Rapidan Dam. Students, faculty, staff and members of the public are invited to take part in the ride. The ride is free, but participants must provide their own bicycles, and bring money if they wish to make a purchase at Rapidan Dam Store.

“A rest stop at the Dam Store offers riders an opportunity to indulge in the Dam Store's famous pies before enjoying a leisurely ride back to Mankato,” says Ryan Yunkers (Student Activities), who's helping to coordinate the ride.

Those who want more information may contact Ryan at (507) 389-6076.

June 28: Bloodmobile

Red Cross logoStudents, faculty, staff and the public may donate blood during a Red Cross Bloodmobile event Monday, June 28. The event is sponsored by Upward Bound.

Donors may give blood from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. Appointments may be scheduled by calling (507) 389-1211 or by visiting the Red Cross website and entering sponsor code 5952. Walk-ins also are welcome.

June 28: Leadership Institute deadline

The application deadline for the 2010-2011 Leadership Institute is Monday, June 28.

The primary purpose of the fifth annual institute is to develop the university's number one resource: faculty and staff. It is a selective program for faculty and staff who wish to develop leadership skills, grow in their current positions and prepare for the future.

The institute is a series of monthly day-long sessions that focus on developing leadership skills. Each session includes a combination of lecture, content, interaction and reflection. Participants must commit to attending all sessions, complete required readings and assignments, and participate in discussions and activities.

The institute will cover key issues such as behavioral styles, ethics, communication, change management, understanding power, conflict management and more. Faculty from academic departments will work with the program to ensure quality and integrity of the learning experience.

Cohorts from past programs have found the experience to be of significant benefit personally and professionally.

Those who want more information should visit the Professional Development Leadership website. The link includes a brochure and application.

June 30: Vicki Langevin retirement

A retirement reception for Vicki Langevin (University Advancement) will be Wednesday, June 30, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the Johnson Alumni Room.

Those who wish to attend should RSVP to or call 389-3235. Those who cannot attend may send regards and well wishes to or via mail to Vicki in care of 224 Alumni Foundation Center.

TIAA-CREF, administrator of IRAP, SRP and TSA/403(b) retirement plans, will continue its one-on-one counseling sessions Tuesday and Wednesday, July 13 and 14.

Sessions will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days in Centennial Student Union 202. Those who wish to discuss their plans and options for managing retirement savings, or to schedule an appointment with a TIAA-CREF consultant, should call (800) 732-8353 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Blakeslee under construction

Mankato's Fourth of July fireworks display won't be staged at Blakeslee Stadium this year because renovations are being made to the field.

The display, sponsored by local businesses and the city, has been held on campus for several years, with spectators watching from the stadium. But crews are re-grading the field this summer, and the entire facility is a construction zone. Spectators won't be allowed into the stands until late July, when construction is complete and the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp begins.


The Center for Academic Success has been recertified by the College Reading and Learning Association.

The association certifies tutor training programs, and the center was certified at all three association levels: Certified Tutor, Advanced Certified Tutor and Master Certified Tutor.

One reviewer commented that the center has “the best training material I've ever seen.”

Walt Wolff to continue as interim dean

Provost Scott Olson recently announced that Walt Wolff has agreed to continue to serve as interim dean of students through December.

Thirteen nominees were interviewed for the permanent position, but the search failed and is continuing.

"Walt has done an excellent job this past year and graciously agreed to continue for the fall term," Scott said. "Please join me in thanking him for his abiding commitment to our students."

Good deed: A successful rescue

SquirrelDuring their noon-time walk recently, Wendy Johnston (Printing Services), her sister, Susan Dueis (PALS) and Linda Clavel (Printing Services) found a juvenile squirrel that was wound tightly in plastic landscape mesh.

The animal was having difficulty swallowing the seeds it had scrounged, so Susan retrieved a pair of scissors from nearby Memorial Library. Jerry Anderson (IT Services) offered his assistance, holding the baby squirrel while Susan carefully cut the plastic away. Wendy poured some water and the squirrel lapped it up. Jerry then fashioned a water dish out of a paper cup, and the humans slipped away, hoping the squirrel would quietly recover.

On returning from their walk, they discovered that the squirrel (pictured here) was doing much better, fighting over an apple core with a young sibling.

Faculty/Staff achievements

Julie Rabaey (International Student & Scholar Services) was a panelist discussing “Life after OPT and/or F1 Immigration Status” at the Minnesota International Educators meeting in May at the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University.

Stewart Ross (Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning) presented on teaching/learning issues at a number of universities and colleges in May. His presentations included Penn State Erie; Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H.; the Kentucky Professional Accountant's Organization in Slade, Ky.; and the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo. He also presented at a national workshop on integrated course design in Chicago for 70 faculty members from around the country.

Beth Sandell (Early Childhood Education) presented several overseas seminars in June: "Child Development and Behavior Guidance," for the Agape Ministries Staff Development Conference in Kherson, Ukraine; "Spice Your Lectures with Active Learning," for the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program alumni conference in Baku, Azerbaijan; and "Improving Academic Writing with the 6 + 1 Writing Traits," for the IREX Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program alumni conference in Baku, Azerbaijan. In April she chaired the global guidelines task force meeting at the annual conference of the Association for Childhood Education International in Phoenix and co-presented at a "train-the-trainer" symposium.

Beth Sandell (Early Childhood Education) co-authored "Professional Relationships in Early Childhood Careers," published by Kendall-Hunt Publishers of Dubuque, Iowa. She also co-authored two articles: "Using ACEI's Global Guidelines Assessment for improving early education" in Childhood Education: Infancy through Adolescence, and "Overview of curriculum development in the Russian Federation in the journal of the Association for Childhood Education International.

Student achievements

Three College of Education students -- Amber Bissonette, Alyssa Nicholson-Hansen and Amanda Sterna -- and faculty members Steven Reuter and Elizabeth Sandell presented “Writing Activity Objectives for Caring for and Educating Infants and Toddlers” at the Focus on Children Conference in Rochester, Minn., in April.


Do you have faculty, staff, student or departmental news for the campus newsletter? Send news items to newsletter editor Michael Cooper. The newsletter usually is published every other Wednesday during the academic year and monthly during the summer. The next newsletter will be published July 14; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (July 9).

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.