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.


December 15, 2010 Campus Newsletter

Page address:

Graduate looking at the snowstorm

One of 422 graduates who took part in the Dec. 11 commencement watches through a Taylor Center window as snow swirls outside.

Ostrander Bell Tower in blizzard

Ostrander Student Bell Tower is nearly obscured by snow from an historic blizzard that cancelled hundreds of area events and confined summer-fall graduates and their guests to Mankato for the weekend, until highways were cleared.

Hardy graduates brave blizzard

Some 422 of 1,458 summer/fall commencement graduates braved one of the state's worst blizzards to take part in graduation exercises Dec. 11 in Taylor Center.

Commencement was one of a handful of local events that were not postponed or cancelled by the inclement weather. But the decision was made to hold the event because soon-to-be graduates who indicated that they planned to participate were in Mankato, and friends and loved ones had reserved motel rooms in anticipation of the storm.

Graduate degrees awarded Dec. 11 included 84 master of arts degrees, nine master of fine arts degrees, six master of arts in teaching degrees, nine master of business administration degrees, three master of education degrees, 15 master of public administration degrees, 13 master of science in nursing degrees, 139 master of science degrees, 29 master of social work degrees, two master of music degrees and 44 specialist degrees.

Awarded at the undergraduate level were 93 bachelor of arts degrees, 20 bachelor of fine arts degrees,1,017 bachelor of science degrees, three bachelor of science in civil engineering degrees, six bachelor of science in electrical engineering degrees, one bachelor of music degree, 30 bachelor of science in social work degrees and 19 associate of arts degrees.

Seventy-one undergraduate students graduated summa cum laude, 182 graduated magna cum laude and 149 graduated cum laude.

Five get Global Citizen Awards

Five faculty and staff members recently were honored with Global Citizen Awards for engagement in global research and increased global connections. Global Citizen Awards for 2010 went to:

Raymond Asomani-Boateng (Urban & Regional Studies), an expert on solid waste management in Africa who has published comparative studies in leading scholarly journals. Raymond served on the International Programs Advisory Council and was the key figure in initiating and developing a partnership with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. He also developed a field program for students to go to Ghana.

Diane Berge (Admissions) for many years was gatekeeper and welcome wagon for international students. She reviews 600 international undergraduate applications ever year, shepherds qualified applicants through the admissions process, and welcomes them in front of Centennial Student Union when they arrive.

Stephen Stoynoff (English) directs the Teaching English as a Second Language program. He has published widely and served as editor of the TESOL Journal as well as a member of the TESOL board of directors. He consults for the U.S. Department of State in Saudi Arabia and Ecuador, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Japanese Ministry of Education. He has served on national Fulbright student and scholar selection panels, and he has attracted many international Fulbright students to the master's program in TESL.

Thomas Gjersvig (International Student & Scholar Services) and Rebecca Bates (Computer Science) received the award for their recent Fulbright grants. Tom traveled to South Korea to learn more about the South Korean education system, and Rebecca spent a year as a senior Fulbright lecturer at the University of São Paulo in Brazil.

The Global Citizen Awards were instituted by President Richard Davenport in 2008 to honor outstanding efforts to internationalize research and education. Recipients are nominated by members of the university.

Briana ThreattJennifer PritchettPerry Wood

Briana Threatt (left), Jennifer Pritchett (center) and Perry Wood (right).

CSBS honors three

Perry Wood (Urban & Regional Studies), Briana Threatt (Corrections) and alumna Jennifer Pritchett recently were honored recently as recipients of 2010 College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Advisory Board Awards.

The College of Social & Behavioral Sciences advisory board annually chooses and honors a student leader, a distinguished alumna/alumnus and a distinguished professor. The board makes its selections from nominations submitted by faculty, staff and students.

  • Briana was named College of Social & Behavioral Sciences student leader;
  • Jennifer was named College of Social & Behavioral Sciences distinguished alumna;
  • Perry is College of Social & Behavioral Sciences distinguished professor.

Perry, a Department of Urban & Regional Studies faculty member since 1976, retired last spring. For the last several years he has spearheaded a city, county and state effort to gather local residents’ opinions about new transportation options for Mankato.

Briana is a senior Corrections major from Hopkins, Minn.

Jennifer is co-founder and the CEO of the Smitten Kitten, and co-founder and president of the nonprofit Coalition Against Toxic Toys, an adult industry education and consumer advocacy organization. She helped in the effort to have the word “transgender” officially added to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual Center’s title.

Evaluations by the bucketful

Nate scanning evaluations

Nate Gustafson scans some of the 54,000 faculty evaluations submitted by students.

Institutional Research has received literally buckets of faculty evaluations in the past weeks -- about 54,000 evaluations for 3,100 class sections and 1,250 instructors.

Nate Gustafson and Kim Krueger have been sorting, counting and recording evaluations for days, scanning, tabulating, totaling, displaying numerically and graphically, printing summaries, re-sorting, and sending forms back to instructors.

Early in January, the professors will find their evaluations in their inboxes. These traditionally provide much better insights into how faculty are doing than sites like

Because the process is labor-intensive and cumbersome, a Faculty Association-appointed work group, supported by Institutional Research, is looking into ways to computerize the process while retaining complete datasets.

Those who have ideas or questions about the project should contact Nate Gustafson at (507) 389-1333.

Students update Google Earth

Google Earth logoSeveral students recently provided the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance with an excellent tool for Utah wilderness protection in the form of a Google Earth Wilderness Map.

Undergraduate and graduate students, including Jonathan Graves, Danielle Thomas and Ashley Keul, worked with the alliance for more than a year on a variety of mapping projects. Their flagship project is an interactive Google Earth map that highlights the areas proposed for wilderness in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, with photographs and up-to-date descriptions of these public lands and the threats they face.

The San Juan County portion of the Utah Wilderness Coalition’s proposal soon will be posted on the alliance website at

A new group of students, including Matthew Hines, Brian Combs, Jasmine Koncur, Justin Otsea, Craig Kershaw and Richard DeVito, will continue working on an interactive map for Utah’s statewide wilderness proposal. It, too, will be online soon.

Retired professor Paul Lindfors devised the idea for students to work with the alliance. He recently attended the organization’s grassroots leaders’ retreat, suggesting the project at the school’s Geography Colloquium. Students and faculty responded enthusiastically.

Winter break: Fire alarm testing

Fire alarm

Olsen Fire Protection Company is performing required annual testing of fire alarm systems in all academic buildings and Gage Residence hall during winter break.

Work began this week in all academic buildings starting in Ford Hall and Trafton Science Center. Gage Residence Hall also will be tested (no other residence halls will be affected).

During the testing procedure, faculty, staff and students will hear the alarm horns in short interval beeps. The short beeps do not mean that people must evacuate buildings.

If a real fire alarm goes off during the testing, fire horns will sound continuously. Building occupants then will need to evacuate.

Those who have questions may call the Physical Plant Office, 389-2071.

Jan. 5: Professional Development Day

More than 40 programs about topics of interest to faculty and staff will highlight the seventh annual Professional Development Day Wednesday, Jan. 5.

A program will begin at 8 a.m. with refreshments. President Davenport will welcome faculty and staff at 8:30 a.m. University offices are open during Professional Development Day, but staff and faculty members are encouraged to attend sessions.

Those who want to view available sessions, times and locations and register for workshops should visit the Professional Development page.

Visitors' bureau seeks events

Greater Mankato Growth logoThe Greater Mankato Convention & Visitors’ Bureau is seeking ideas for more community-wide events such as the successful Mankato Marathon, which the bureau hosted in partnership with Final Stretch.

Community-wide events such as the marathon affect all aspects of Greater Mankato’s economic growth. Faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to contact CVB with event suggestions that could be successful in the area.

Those with ideas should submit them to the Greater Mankato Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, or by contacting Larissa Mrozek or at (507) 385-6662.

Mary Dowd: Interim dean of students

Mary Dowd

Mary Dowd (Student Affairs) has accepted the position as interim dean of students from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2011.

Mary has more than 17 years of experience in student affairs at Minnesota State Mankato, and was nominated for the interim position by faculty and staff across campus.

In addition to her current role as director of student conduct, she has served as interim director of the Women’s Center and interim assistant to the vice president for student affairs. Her student affairs experience includes first-year programs and orientation, violence prevention and student policy development.

She has a master’s degree in Counseling and Student Personnel from Minnesota State Mankato and is a second-year doctoral student in Educational Leadership. The search for associate vice president for student affairs and enrollment management will begin immediately.

Library Services newsletter

This month’s Library Services newsletter is available online. Articles include resources and services available to staff; services for online students; Chemists in the Library; Memorial Library interim and holiday hours; and the database spotlight.

To see the newsletter, go to the December issue.

Faculty/Staff achievements

An article by Lori Bird (Center for Mentoring & Induction) recently was published in the online publication Principal Leadership at the National Association of Secondary School Principals website.

Janet Cherrington-Cucore (Urban & Regional Studies) was awarded a contract for the Waseca County Internship project in October.

Rhonda Dass (American Indian Studies) and students from the American Indian Studies Program attended the Native Voice Conference in Dickinson, N.D., last month.

Don Ebel (Sociology & Corrections) presented “Pluralism’s Limits: Regional Patterns of American Church Membership Across the Twentieth Century” at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Meeting, Baltimore, Md., in October.

Tony Filipovitch (Urban & Regional Studies) presented “Mapping the Nonprofit Sector in Ghana” at the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action Conference in Arlington, Va., in November. He also published “American Institute of Architects,” “Turning Point” and “Ukrainian Village” in Chicago: Community (Re)Organizing–Neighborhood, Niches & Community.

An article by Marilyn Frank (Social Work), “Community Social Service Projects: A Service-Learning Model for Community Action,” was published in Quick Hits for Service-Learning: Successful Strategies by Award-Winning Teachers.

Annelies Hagmeister (Social Work) presented “Impact of Custody and Visitation Arrangements on Rural Minnesota Battered Women” at the Council on Social Work Education Meeting in Portland, Ore., and at the Child Custody Roundtable in St. Paul in October.

Tom Inglot’s (Government) book, “Welfare State in East-Central Europe, 1919-2004,” was reviewed in Political Studies Review, Europe Asia Studies and Austrian History Yearbook. Polityka Spoleczna (Social Policy) also published Tom’s “Family Allowances as ‘Rejected’ Heritage of the Communist Welfare State, 1947-2003” in October.

Books by Andrew Johnson, “A Short Guide to Action Research” and “Believe Again: A Journey Back to Faith,” were published recently.

Barbara Keating (Sociology & Corrections) was elected president of the Midwest Sociological Society, the discipline’s regional professional association.

The Associated Press Minneapolis Bureau interviewed Joseph Kunkel (Government) about trends in voter turnout. He also was interviewed by a number of other media about the 2010 election.

Richard Schiming’s (Economics) article, “Healthy Middle Class Prevents Double Dip Recession,” was published in Minnesota Valley Business last month.

An article by Jennifer Veltsos (English) and Christophe Veltsos (Information Systems & Technology), “Teaching Responsibly with Technology-Mediated Communication,” was published in the December 2010 issue of Business Communication Quarterly.

Vang Xiong (Ethnic Studies) presented “The Challenges of Hmong Gay Men in the United States,” at Critical Perspectives in Hmong American Experiences and Scholarship in Madison, Wis., last month.

Kim Zammitt and Robin Wingo (Social Work) co-chaired the Minnesota Council on Social Work Education Conference in October.

Maverick Battalion cadets

Maverick Battalion cadets finished third in the 2010 Ranger Challenge Competition.

ROTC: Tops in competition

Cadets from the Maverick Battalion’s Army ROTC program finished third place overall in the 2010 Ranger Challenge Competition at Camp Ripley, Minn., in October.

The battalion also finished high in several challenge categories:

  • Second on the written patrol test;
  • Second in weapons assembly/disassembly;
  • Third on the one-rope-bridge; and
  • Third on the fitness test.

The 2010 Maverick Battalion Ranger Challenge team included seniors Marcus Piepho (Economics), Dan Sweeney (Mechanical Engineering) and Caitlin Christopherson (Nursing); juniors Lance Switzer, Joseph Kienholz (History), Eric Pittelkow (Human Biology) and Phil Kaminsky; sophomore Alex McGillick (Political Science); freshman Eric Debruzzi; and coaches Jeremy Milstead and Timothy Harting.

The Maverick Battalion also took second place in the Army Ten-Miler Race in Washington, D.C. Out of more than 50 teams from across the country, the team had a combined time of 4 hours, 13 minutes and 31 seconds.

The team included LTC Joel Stephenson, 2nd Lt. Tim Harting, 2nd Lt. Jeremy Milstead and Cadets Marcus Piepho, Dan Sweeney and Jon Kasprisin.

The Army Ten-Miler is the third largest ten-mile race in the world, hosting more than 30,000 runners.

Minnesota State Mankato Army ROTC includes cadets from Minnesota State Mankato, Gustavus Adolphus College and Bethany Lutheran College.

Forensic Team results

Forensic Team members took part in various tournaments at Normandale Community College, Hastings, Neb., and Menomonie, Wis.

Five team members earned third place in Team Sweepstakes in the Twin Cities Forensic League Tournament. The results:

  • Ryan Zahn was first in Prose Interpretation and third in Poetry Interpretation;
    Molly Carmody (Speech Communication) was second in Extemporaneous Speaking;
  • Skylar Carlson (Speech Communication) was third in Prose Interpretation and second in Poetry Interpretation.

Four members competed in the new Nebraska Alumni Swing in Hastings:

  • Suzanne Lumberg (Speech Communication) was sixth in Impromptu; first in Program Oral Interpretation; third in Program Oral Interpretation; first in After-Dinner Speaking; and third in Individual Sweeps;
  • Jordan Christiansen (Speech Communication) was third and fourth in Poetry.

The team earned second place among 12 schools in the University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Michael Nicolai Tournament:

  • Ariel Klugman (Political Science) was first in Duo Interpretation; second in After-Dinner Speaking; and third in Extemporaneous Speaking;
  • Lumberg was first in After-Dinner Speaking; second in Music Interpretation; third in Programmed Oral Interpretation; and fourth in Individual Sweepstakes;
  • Bradford Wakefield (Mass Communications) was first in Music Interpretation and fifth in Programmed Oral Interpretation.
  • Zahn was second in Prose Interpretation; third and fourth in After-Dinner Speaking; fourth in Impromptu Speaking; fifth in Extemporaneous Speaking; and sixth in Individual Sweepstakes;
  • Christiansen was second in Communication Analysis and third in Poetry Interpretation;
  • Carlson was first in Duo Interpretation; fifth in Poetry Interpretation; sixth in After-Dinner Speaking; and sixth in Poetry;
  • Carmody was fourth in Extemporaneous Speaking.


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 Jan. 12, 2011; 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.