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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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February 23, 2011 Campus Newsletter

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Facilities awards: Winners, again

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities logo

Minnesota State University, Mankato again captured awards in both categories of the statewide Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system financial and facilities management excellence competition.

The university received awards for Excellence in Financial Management and Excellence in Facilities Management. Comptroller Steve Smith was selected to receive an Outstanding Service Award.

The awards were announced last week by Laura King, Minnesota State vice chancellor and chief financial officer.

Minnesota State Mankato has received the Excellence in Facilities Management Award for 10 consecutive years (2001-2010), and the Excellence in Financial Management Award for nine of the last 10 years (except 2003).

The financial management award is for significant contributions to increased financial and administrative efficiency and effectiveness. The facilities management award is for successful and timely completion of capital improvement and repair projects, increased efficiency and effectiveness of space use and customer service.

The outstanding service award goes to an individual who exhibits extraordinary professionalism in financial management.

The awards, started in 1997, recognize outstanding contributions of college and university employees who work in finance and facilities management. The winners were selected from nominations made by presidents and college and university leadership.

Strategic plan feedback

President Richard Davenport is seeking feedback about the new strategic plan. The plan is intended to help drive the public phase of the Big Ideas Capital Campaign, to be launched fall 2011.

The president outlined five new strategic priorities in fall 2009, and task force groups developed goals and objectives for each priority. The panel reports were shared with the campus community, revised to incorporate feedback, and integrated into the comprehensive strategic vision and plan.

The next stage of the process will implement the strategic plan. A Strategic Planning Steering Committee, composed primarily of representatives from the original task forces, will continue this stage of the process, under the leadership of Acting Vice President Anne Blackhurst.

The committee will review goals and objectives proposed by the task forces, and will lead the campus community in the implementation of the strategic priorities.

President Davenport welcomes feedback on the plan, and invites faculty, staff and students to submit comments at

2009 graduate summary

Square academic cap

The overall employment rate for 2009 Minnesota State Mankato graduates is 90.7 percent, and the overall related employment rate is 76.9 -- down slightly from previous years, but consistent with other schools across the nation, according to the latest Minnesota State graduate follow-up survey.

Each year the Career Development Center gathers and distributes follow-up survey data for Minnesota State Mankato. The data represents the status of individual graduates within one year following graduation.

This year Minnesota State Mankato achieved an overall response rate of 85.46 percent across all colleges and majors. Other noteworthy information about the 2009 class:

  • The 76.9 percent overall related employment rate compares to an overall related rate of 78.4 percent for the class of 2008 and 81.2 percent for the class of 2007. Considering the job market of the last several years, the decline is not surprising and is consistent with for other Minnesota State and national schools.
  • 20.8 percent of 2009 graduates went on to continue their education. This compares to a continuing education rate of 15.8 percent for the class of 2008.
  • Top employers for the class of 2009 include Mankato Public Schools, Minnesota State Mankato, Immanuel St. Joseph’s Hospital-Mayo Health Systems, Thomson Reuters, Mayo Clinic, Regions Hospital, Verizon Wireless and Wells Fargo.

Detailed information by college and major can be found at Graduates who haven't completed the survey may do so at

Those who have questions may contact Kristin Underwood (Career Development Center) at (507) 389-6061 or

2010 reimbursement deadline

Monday, Feb. 28, is the deadline for submitting 2010 reimbursement requests for insurance-eligible faculty and staff. Accounts include the Medical Dental Expense Account, Dependent Daycare Expense Account, Transit Expense Account and Health Reimbursement Arrangement.

Employees must send their completed Reimbursement Request Forms, along with all appropriate supporting documentation, to Eide Bailly by Feb. 28. Eide Bailly will not accept requests that it receives after the deadline.

Employees will forfeit any money remaining in 2010 MDEA, DCEA or TEA accounts after the end of February. Any balance in the state Health Reimbursement Arrangement carries forward into future years if not spent.

For IFO and administrators, any balance remaining in the Minnesota State HRA carries forward into future years as long as employment continues.

Those who have questions about account balances or reimbursements should contact Eide Bailly at (952) 944-6633 or 1-800-300-1672. Information and forms are available on the Eide Bailly website at

Sarah Sifers: 'Unsung Hero'

Sarah Sifers

Sarah Sifers (Psychology) received the Unsung Hero Award from the Greater Mankato Area United Way recently. The award recognizes a person who works behind the scenes every day to advance the common good of the community.

Sarah was instrumental in gathering and assessing research that led to the Girls on the Run Program being brought to greater Mankato. She facilitates evaluation for Girls on the Run, and has been an invaluable resource in leading and facilitating evaluation for the BackPack Food Program and the First Steps Collaborative. She includes her students in many assessment projects.

She volunteers behind the scenes for the Greater Mankato Area United Way, and her time and expertise helps organizations gather and compile information to facilitate the design of programs and systems. She also assesses the effectiveness of United Way programs, and helps them tell their stories.

Sloan C Consortium

Sloan C Consortium logo

Minnesota State Mankato has an institutional membership with the Sloan C Consortium, an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into higher education.

The Sloan C Consortium helps institutions and educators improve the quality, scale and breadth of education.

University Extended Education has coupons and discounts available for some consortium workshops and conferences. Those interested may call x2572 and University Extended Education will forward the coupons and discounts if they're still available.

Membership is open to all faculty and staff. Those who want to register for updates and information may click on and create a user account. Those who want more information about the consortium may click on

Mentoring, coaching grant

The College of Education's Center for Mentoring & Induction recently received a $190,000 Minnesota Department of Education grant to develop a three-year mentoring and coaching community of practice for early childhood educators and care providers.

The funding is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Lori Bird and Carol Burns of the Center for Mentoring & Induction will oversee grant activities.

Feb. 24-27: 'Dracula'

“Dracula” performance

Theatre & Dance continues its presentation the premier adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” as the next Mainstage season production in Ted Paul Theatre. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 24-26, with 2 p.m. matinees Feb. 26 and 27.

“Dracula” is a 1924 stage play adapted by Hamilton Deane and substantially revised for American audiences by John L. Balderston in 1927. It was the first adaptation of the novel authorized by Stoker's widow. The first Broadway production starred Bela Lugosi, who made a career of it. Minnesota State Mankato presented “Dracula” in 1983 and 1998.

“Dracula” is directed by Heather E. Hamilton (Theatre & Dance). The role of Count Dracula is played by Dustin Guy Jackson (junior BFA Acting). Abraham Van Helsing is played by Anthony DePoto (second-year MFA Acting). Scenic design is by Katie Phillips (senior BFA Design/Technology).

Individual tickets for “Dracula” are $14.50 regular; $13 for senior citizens, youth 16 and under, and groups of 15 or more; and $10 for current Minnesota State Mankato students. They may be purchased online at, or by visiting or calling the Theatre & Dance Box Office between 4 and 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, at (507) 389-6661.

Feb. 23-26: Pan African Conference

Pan African Conference logo

Building student leadership and encouraging discussion about issues that affect African people is the goal of the 35th Michael T. Fagin Pan African Student Leadership Conference Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 23-26.

“Finding common ground to build unity and respect in Pan African communities” is the conference theme. Workshops and concurrent sessions will let scholars, students, professionals and community members present research and express perspectives on African-American educational, socio-cultural and political issues.

The conference started with a Feb. 23 opening session in Centennial Student Union and a pre-conference observing the annual Somali Cultural Day, including Sudanese history and culture discussions and Anuak history presentations.

Keynote speaker is Abdullahi Abdullahi, founder and president of the Somali American Student Union.

Other speakers and breakout session leaders include Chike Akua, one of Ebony magazine’s “50 Leaders of Tomorrow” and a former teacher of the year; Kenn Stanton, curator of the North American Black Historical Museum at Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada; Twin Cities community organizer Spike Moss; Minnesota State Rep. Jeffrey Hayden; lecturer, writer and commentator Mahmoud El-Kati; actress and writer Trena Bolden Fields; Region Nine Executive Director Reggie Edwards; program organizer Obie Kipper, Jr.; Rev. Jerry McAfee; and author Mary Whitney.

Additional workshops by faculty and staff members and student panels will address contemporary issues facing Pan-African youth. Students will present papers on several topics, including health, black women in leadership, blacks in higher education and business, faith communities and student leadership.

Friday will be African Dress Day, and the conference will culminate Saturday evening with a talent celebration and ceremony.

Those who want more information may visit

Feb. 24: 'eFolio'

'eFolio' logo

Shannon Jeffries (Information & Technology Service) will lead a session and presentation on “Getting Started with eFolio” -- a program that lets users display and organize information -- on Thursday, Feb. 24.

The workshop, offered by the Honors Program, will be from 2-4 p.m. in Memorial Library Room 94a.

The program lets users display and organize educational accomplishments, volunteer experience, professional development and interests through publications, presentations, curriculum vitae, resumes and other documents.

The session will explain the eFolio interface, contact information, page creation, basic content, uploading files and images, artifacts and more. The session is open to 20 participants.

Those who wish to register may go to Those who want more information may contact Andrea Haberman at or (507) 389-1314.

Feb. 24: 'Reflection'

Carnegie Professor of the Year John Zubizarreta, immediate past president of the National Collegiate Honors Council and a professor at Colombia College in South Carolina, will present “Encouraging and Developing Reflection for Improve Learning” Thursday, Feb. 24.

His 7 p.m. lecture, in Armstrong Hall Room 102, is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public. The presentation is sponsored by the Honors Program.

Feb. 25: 'Portfolio development'

John Zubizarreta of Columbia College in South Carolina will present a two-part Honors Program presentation about teaching and learning, “Portfolio Development & Reflective Practice,” on Friday, Feb. 25.

The event will be in Morris Hall Room 210. Part 1 will be from 9:15-10:15 a.m., and part 2 will be from 10:25-11:45 a.m. The presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Teaching  & Learning and the College of Education.

Part 1, “The Learning Portfolio: Reflective Practice for Improving Student Learning,” offers a foundation for thinking about the value of reflective practices in student learning. Participants will be invited to consider how to create a classroom climate that encourages reflection, and to identify strategies and methods that promote reflection to improve learning.

Part 2, “Portfolio Development,” offers a foundation for reflective practice in student learning and application of print and electronic learning portfolios across disciplines. The workshop will examine how to develop, assess and archive learning portfolios.

Those who wish to register for the workshops should click on to

The session is open to 20 participants. .
For more information, please contact Andrea Haberman at or

Feb. 25: 'Learning assumptions'

Lynee Groves, director of instructional strategies for eFolioWorld and the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, will present “Learning Assumptions & Portfolio Thinking” Friday, Feb. 25.

The presentation, open to faculty and staff, will be from noon to 1 p.m. in Morris Hall Room 211. It includes a free lunch and is offered by the Honors Program.

Participants will examine portfolio strategies that make a positive difference in the assessment of learning outcomes.

Those who wish to register should click on The session is open to 20 participants.

Those who want more information may contact Andrea Haberman at or (507) 389-1314.


Feb. 25: Status of Women

The President’s Commission on the Status of Women seeks submissions by Friday, Feb. 25, for three projects of the year: Undergraduate student, graduate student and faculty/staff member, recognizing excellence in creative and/or research-based work pertaining to women and/or gender-related issues.

Award recipients will be honored at the Women of Courage and Vision Awards Reception and receive $350 cash awards.

Those who wish to apply may go to, sending a brief reflection addressing the significance of the project and its relevance to women.

The commission also seeks applications for research and professional development grants -- stipends of up to $500 to students and employees to conduct research or attend professional conferences about the status of women and/or gender issues.

Deadline for the grant proposals is Friday, March 4. Those who wish to apply should visit

Feb. 26: ‘Iktomi’

The Department of Theatre & Dance will present the only public performance of its annual children’s theatre touring production, “Iktomi," on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 11 a.m. in Andreas Theatre of the Performing Arts Center.

“Iktomi” is based on Native American Dakota stories of the spider-trickster spirit. Incorporating live music and controlled audience interaction, the production performs modern interpretations of familiar Iktomi tales such as Iktomi and the Ducks, Iktomi and the Buzzard and Iktomi and the Buffalo Skull.

Tickets are $5 and may be purchased online at or by calling the Theatre & Dance Box Office at (507) 389-6663 from 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

March 3: Computer gaming

A person playing a computer game

Faculty, staff, students and the public are invited to “Serious Games,” a brown bag lunch, Thursday, March 3 in Centennial Student Union Room 204 (Nichols Room).

Tony Fillipovitch (Urban & Regional Studies), will discuss how computer gaming can go beyond entertainment to solve real world problems. The noon presentation will be followed by a question and discussion period.

The event is organized by the Minnesota Modeling & Simulation Center.

March 4: Women of courage

Students, faculty and staff are invited to nominate women at Minnesota State Mankato for Woman of Courage and Vision recognition. Nominations must be submitted by March 4.

Each year the Women's Center, Commission on the Status of Women and Panhellenic Council celebrate women of courage and vision with a reception in their honor. This year’s reception will be March 22 from 3-4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Hearth Lounge.

Students, faculty and staff members may submit nominations online at Those who want more information may visit

April 12: Chesley Lecture

Robert L. Kane

Robert L. Kane will present “Caregiving: Not for Sissies” as the sixth annual Chesley Lecture Tuesday, April 12, from 4-6 p.m. in the Heritage Hall of South Central College.

Kane is professor and Minnesota Chair of the Long-Term Care and Aging Department at the University of Minnesota. The lecture is sponsored by the Chesley Center on Aging.

The presentation will discuss Kane’s new book, “The Good Caregiver: A One-of-a-Kind Compassionate Resource for Anyone Caring for an Aging Loved One,” and will discuss the caregiver shortage. Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.

A book sale and signing will be held immediately following the lecture in cooperation with the Barnes & Noble bookstore. Advanced copies of Kane’s book will be available. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tickets for the event are $10 for general admission and free for students. Those who want more information may contact Donald Ebel at or Alexander Garklavs at

Faculty/Staff Achievements

Michelle Alvarez (Social Work) was elected president-elect of the School Social Work Association of America, and has been appointed editor-in-chief of Children & Schools, the journal of the National Association of Social Workers.

Janet Cherrington (Urban & Regional Studies) has been re-appointed to the City of Janesville’s Economic Development Authority. She also was elected to chair the commission.

Colleen Clarke, Tami Wilkins (Government) and 21 students traveled to Europe for the International Criminal Justice study abroad program last month. The students studied other nation’s criminal justice systems and responses to terrorism in England, France and the Netherlands.

Tony Filipovitch (Urban & Regional Studies) received the Mankato Rotary Club’s “Service Above Self” Award recently. This award is given to non-Rotarian members of the community in recognition of their service to the community. Tony also was appointed to the 2011 Minnesota Social Studies Standards Review Committee by the Department of Education commissioner.

Eiji Kawabata (Government) presented “The Politics of Privacy in Japan: Global Policy Convergence and the Personal Information Protection Act” at the Center for Japanese Studies, University of California, Berkeley, in January.

Lori Lahlum (History) published “Mina Westbye: Norwegian Immigrant, North Dakota Homesteader, Studio Photographer, ‘New Woman,’” in Montana: The Magazine of Western History.

Phil Miller (Economics) was interviewed recently by WKSU (Kent State radio) for a story about the Cleveland Indians using their ballpark as a winter sports park during the winter. Phil also was interviewed by The Chicago Tribune for a story about the advertising value TCF Bank received when the Vikings-Bears game was played at TCF Bank Stadium rather than at the Metrodome.

Mike Nolan (Small Business Development Center) discussed entrepreneurism and the center for the “careers” class of high school juniors at St. Clair High School recently. He also was asked to present a workshop on social media at the Sister Cities International Conference in April.

Miriam Porter’s (Urban & Regional Studies) paper, “Global Solutions, Experience in a Vastly Different World,” was published in the International Journal of the Humanities in January. She will present the paper at the International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities in Granada, Spain.

Atrayee Ghosh Roy (Economics) presented “U.S. Foreign Indebtedness, Monetary Policy and Economic Growth,” at the American Economic Association conference in Denver last month. He also served as a discussant for a paper on India’s gender imbalance.

David Viscoli (Music) recently performed concerts with the Chiarina Piano Quartet at The Ohio State University (Columbus and Mansfield), Augsburg College in Minneapolis and the Owatonna Center for the Arts.

Student Achievements

Dana Vetter (Economics) was awarded the 6th annual Jason Kesler Senior Scholar Prize in Economics.

Rachel Youngblom (Psychology) co-hosted a panel presentation for graduate students and interns at the Minnesota School Psychologists Association conference on Jan. 28.

The School Psychology Society organized a Mittens for Mankato Students drive. The donated winter apparel was given to local schools.

Alan Robbins-Fenger (Urban & Regional Studies) published “Policy Revisions Underway for the Mississippi National River and Recreation Are,” in River Management Society Journal. The article is based on his master’s capstone project.

Who's Who

Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges honored 82 students from the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences recently.

The award honors students’ exemplary academic performance in class, participation and leadership, service to the university, and potential for future achievement. Faculty members nominated recipients.

Honorees included Katherine M. Ambre, Collen E. Erickson, Megan R. Heutmaker, Amber J. Marra and Kylie M. Melvin (Anthropology); Nathan D. Cassin, Austin L. Lee, Christina C. Lotton, Yuyoung Park, Seth D. Parks, Nina M. Tikkinen, Dana T. Vetter, Jonovan M. Welsh and Jamie K. Whipkey (Economics); Kristina M. Boyce (Ethnic Studies); Kari A. Jansen, Betlehem A. Semhge (Gender & Women Studies); Stephanie J. Gamboni, Brock R. Kanstnrup, Kimberly A. Kolander, Neal J. Pastick, Micah A. Solano, Caleb L. Wunderlich, Soyeon Yang and Paul R. Zunkel (Geography);

Diane E. Brue, Adam J. Fitch, Austin L. Lee and Patrick J. Nelson (History), Glenda L. Becthold, Kari A. Jansen, Maraget L. Steck and Sheryl R. Velishek (Non Profit Leadership); Micaiah L. Becker, David W. Brouwer, Kyley L. Groby, Na Young Heo, Mathew R. Heytens, Anna M. Hoehle, Ji-Yeon Lee, Tyler C. Linde, Maxwell R. Rewitzer, Miseon Shin, Ashley A. Thurmes and Jamie L. Winter (Government);

Meghan K. Brazel, Lauren M. Cardoni, Jenna R. Helget, Daryung Kim, Katelin M. Nelson, Brittany A. Regan, Nicholas L. Rousslang, Jaime J. Schroeder and Lauren P. Stelten (Psychology); Kyle A. Blahnik, Andrew D. Block, Daniel E. Clark, Carly R. Leffelman, Christopher R. Ross and Mark P. Schroepfer (Social Studies); Becky V. Chamlongsong, Carlan M. Fergason, Tiffany M. Gullord, Lindsey M. Jensen, Emilie J. Kuenzel and Renee A. Lips (Social Work);

Jill L. Deike, Crystal L. Dervetski, Elizabeth M. Donkers, Kayla M. Doorenbos, Colleen E. Erickson, Lindsey J. Gorton, Stacy J. Jacobson, Kathryn M. Keller, C’Reisha D. Martin, Jacob T. Miller, Kelsey M. Murray, Shoko Nakamura, Benjamin D. Oulman, Joely A. Patten, Meghan L. Petersen, Britany A. Porter, Alisha C. Portner and Elena Shrestha (Sociology & Corrections); and Derek J. Eiden, Philiipp Nagel, Micah A. Solano, Caleb L. Wunderlich (Urban & Regional Studies).


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 March 16; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (March 11).

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.