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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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January 15, 2014 Campus Newsletter

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New University Home Page Launch

In an effort to stay current with new web demands and meet requirements to be accessible and transactional, Minnesota State University, Mankato will be launching a new home page and header on the University's website before the end of January.

The new home page will incorporate a responsive framework designed to function well on both desktop and mobile devices. A more mobile-friendly design has become an important aspect of website accessibility because of the increased use of mobile devices by the University’s audiences.

Minnesota State Mankato is among several universities and colleges transitioning to the mobile-friendly framework, which allows all users to have a more enjoyable experience on the website.

The new header will provide better access to high-priority pages, which were determined through use of website analytics as well as a recently published report about the use of navigation on higher education websites.

In addition, mobile-friendly templates for second- and third-level home pages will be introduced soon. In the meantime, please watch for an announcement of the new university home page launch date.

Give Kids a Smile

Concerned about the growing number of children who are unable to access needed dental care, the Minnesota State Mankato Dental Education Department and area dental professionals will be joining a statewide effort to provide free dental care to area children from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7.

The dental care will be provided in the university dental clinic, which  is locatedin the lower level of Morris Hall. People interested in scheduling an appointment should call the dental clinic at 507-389-2147.

Patients seeking appointments for cleanings, x-rays, exams, fluoride treatments and sealants should be under the age of 18 and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Minnesota State Mankato will also offer free dental exams and x-rays for adults on Friday, Feb. 7 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Please call 507-389-2147 to schedule an appointment.

Professional Development Day

Minnesota State Mankato held its 10th annual Professional Development Day on Wednesday, Jan. 8. More than 40 different sessions on a wide range of topics were offered to faculty and throughout the day.

The day started with an 8 a.m. reception and welcome by President Richard Davenport that was held in Ostrander Auditorium. Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marilyn Wells followed with a keynote address.

To read more about Professional Development at Minnesota State Mankato, please click here.

Visit from University on Africa's Ivory Coast

Professor Saliou Toure, the president of International University of Grand-Bassam (IUG-B) on Africa’s Ivory Coast, visited Minnesota State Mankato from Dec. 1-3 and met with a variety of university administrators and staff, college deans and students. Joining Toure from IUG-B were Chief Operating Officer Samuel Koffi and Academic Advisor Felix Ahoussi.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marilyn Wells hosted a luncheon for the delegation. Invited guests included Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management David Jones; Interim Associate Provost & Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Greer; and Interim Assistant to the President Sandra King.

During the visit, the IUG-B delegation also met with Acting Dean Maria Bevacqua (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences) and Dean Brenda Flannery (College of Business) to explore possible areas of future collaboration. Twenty-two IUG-B students are currently attending Minnesota State Mankato.

HERS Institute for Women

The President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) is accepting applications for the selection of a representative from Minnesota State Mankato to attend one of the annual HERS Institutes for women. The purpose of the Institutes is to advance women leaders in the middle and executive levels of higher education administration.

Twelve women from Minnesota State Mankato have attended HERS Institutes previously. The complete list of those individuals is published here.

Additional information on the Institutes, testimonies, and how to apply (along with a printable application form) are available at the Commission’s website here.

Completed application packets should be submitted by Friday, Jan. 24. Electronic submissions can be emailed to, or hard copies delivered to Jeane McGraw at 325 Wigley Administration Center. Applications will be reviewed by the PCSW and recommendations forwarded to President Richard Davenport.

For more information, contact Keane Richards at

Jan. 24 Registration Deadline for Resource Fair

Registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 24 for businesses and organizations wishing to participate in the Spring Resource Fair set Tuesday, Feb. 4, for new and returning Minnesota State Mankato students.

The event, “February Thaw… Heating Things Up Through Service,” will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom on the Minnesota State Mankato campus. The resource fair is hosted by the university’s Community Engagement Office.

Denise Billington-Just, CEO assistant director, said the event encourages students to participate in recognized student organizations and introduces them to volunteer and service learning opportunities in the Mankato area community. University departments and Mankato businesses are also invited to sponsor booths at the resource fair, she said.

Groups wishing to participate can register online here or by calling 507-389-6076. Limited booths are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

2014 Mileage Reimbursement Rates

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the standard mileage reimbursement rate for business miles. The rate has been adopted for use by state employees and is effective beginning Jan. 1, 2014 and through Dec. 31, 2014. Mileage rates are used to calculate reimbursements to employees that use their personal vehicle for university business trips. Employees should note that the university actually utilizes two reimbursement rates. The IRS standard mileage reimbursement rate (56 cents) is used when a state owned vehicle is not available. A lesser rate (49 cents) is used when a state vehicle is declined or not requested by the employee.

Employees are asked to use the new mileage reimbursement rates below when completing employee expense forms for trips taken between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2014.

New Rates (Effective Jan. 1, 2014)

  • State Owned Vehicle Not Available (IRS Standard): 56 Cents per Mile
  • State Owned Vehicle Declined or Not Requested: 49 Cents per Mile

Old Rates

  • State Owned Vehicle Not Available (IRS Standard): Old rates 56.5 Cents per Mile
  • State Owned Vehicle Declined or Not Requested: 49.5 Cents per Mile

Employees who have questions regarding travel or expense reimbursements, can contact Tami Galema-Liebl, the university’s travel claims clerk, for assistance. Tami can be reached at 507-389-5006 or at For additional information on traveling for Minnesota State Mankato, see the links below:

Discover Cuba

Is Cuba on your list of places to see? Unless you have a specific license, it is not legal to travel from the United States to Cuba. However, the Alumni Association has teamed up with Premier World Discovery (an educational tour company) to offer a trip to Cuba from March 16 – 23, 2014. This trip is open to alumni, faculty, staff and anyone else affiliated with the university. Interested parties can call Jen Myers, interim alumni director, at 507-389-1794. Spots are limited so early reservations are encouraged. The Alumni Association offers various trips throughout the year, and 2014 itineraries are available here.

Campus Wellness

The Minnesota State Mankato Wellness Committee offers a variety of activities throughout the semester. A few of the services offered are:

  • Yoga: 50 minute classes are available on Mondays and Wednesdays at 12 p.m. in PH102. The classes will focus on building strength, balance and awareness. The cost is $3 per class, or $25 for 10 classes with a punch card.
  • Zumba: Zumba is a Latin-inspired, easy-to-follow, calorie burning dance fitness party. Classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning Jan. 20 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in room HN225. The cost is $48 for 12 classes.
  • Tai Chi: Tai Chi is a gentle exercise consisting of standing, graceful flowing movements that helps to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and improve balance. Classes are held Mondays and Wednesdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Bresnan Arena.

Theatre Honors for Alumna

Lisa Nanni-Messegee, who received her master of fine arts degree from the Department of Theatre & Dance in 1998, has been nominated for “Best Supporting Actress” for the Deep Dish Groovy Awards. She is up against her co-star, Colleen Zenk. Also, the web series she acts on (“Thurston”) has been nominated for Best Drama in the International Academy of Web Television Awards (

Founded in 2009, The International Academy of Web Television is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of web television as well as furthering the common good and general welfare of industry professionals. “Thurston” is up against programs featuring Anna Paquin (“True Blood”) and Julia Stiles (“The Bourne Identity”). In addition to this, she will have her first published short story appear in an anthology called “Defying Gravity” through Peacock Press. The book launch is in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 11 at Politics and Prose bookstore.

Faculty Research Grants - Deadline March 20

The purpose of a Faculty Research Grant (FRG) at Minnesota State Mankato is to encourage excellence in research, scholarship, and creative activities among faculty by providing seed funding for faculty projects. These grants support faculty initiatives in all disciplines including basic, applied, and pedagogical research and creative projects.

Faculty are encouraged to contact the appropriate college representative for guidance on proposal development. The following website provides information on committee members, funding statistics, and current guidelines:

To gain further insight, attend the following session offered by Research and Sponsored Programs: Spring 2014 Faculty Research Grant Workshop; Thursday, Feb.6; 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in CSU 238.

Application packets must be submitted to Research and Sponsored Programs (WA 325) by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 20. For clarification or additional information, please contact the RASP office at 507-389-2803.

Theatre Asked to Present Scene at Festival

The Department of Theatre & Dance has been invited to present a scene from its 2012-13 Mainstage production of “Spring Awakening” at the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Lincoln, Neb., on Jan. 19-24. Each year, Minnesota State Mankato takes among the largest student contingents in the region, including two Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship nominations from each of its six Mainstage productions.

The last time the department was asked to bring a scene was two festivals ago for its production of “Altar Boyz.” In 2008, it was asked to present scenes from both “Hamlet” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” but declined. Because the festival runs on a calendar rather than academic year, participation is sometimes declined if student actors have graduated.

University Folders

All university employees are encouraged to use the official Minnesota State Mankato folder, which was designed to work with any University publications, materials and presentations. The folder, which was created with a finish that minimizes fingerprint marks and reduces sliding in stacks, is available to the university community through Printing Services for 98 cents per folder. Call Printing Services or visit to order your folders.

Home Free Wins 'The Sing-Off'

Home Free, an a cappella group founded by Minnesota State Mankato alumnus Chris Rupp and his brother Adam Rupp, have won the latest season of NBC’s television show/competition, “The Sing-Off.”

The group competed against 10 other a cappella groups for a Sony recording contract and $100,000, in addition to the title of best a cappella group.

Chris Rupp was a music major and a member of the Minnesota State Mankato Jazz Singers. Home Free has returned to campus during the last two years to provide vocal jazz workshops for students.

Jan. 13-29: Gary Erickson Art Exhibit

Minneapolis-based artist Gary Erickson’s porcelain work will be exhibited from Monday, Jan. 13 through Wednesday, Jan. 29 in Minnesota State Mankato’s Conkling Gallery.

Erickson’s exhibit, free and open to the public, is titled “Made in China: Porcelain Spirals.” Erickson’s work will be on display at 139 Nelson Hall, the Conkling Gallery, during gallery hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday).

Erickson will deliver an artist lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21 in Armstrong Hall 101. The lecture will be followed by a reception in Conkling Gallery. Erickson is also doing a Studio Residency on Jan. 21-22 in the Nelson Hall Ceramics Studios.

The exhibit, supported by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, will include items created by Erickson over the past four summers while he lived and worked in Jingdezhen, China, along with white earthenware architectural tiles.

For more information, call the Minnesota State Mankato Department of Art at 507-389-6412. The complete 2013-2014 Conkling Gallery Schedule is located here.

Jan. 23: Pianist Scottie Miller

Blues/boogie piano player and songwriter Scottie Miller returns to perform Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, located at 320 Maywood Ave.

Miller, a Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame member, is an American pianist and singer-songwriter from Minneapolis. His musical style is a combination of blues, soul, funk and jazz. Miller is recognized for his high-energy performances, creative song writing, dramatic lyrics and impeccable piano playing.

Miller performs worldwide as a solo artist, or with the incredibly funky Scottie Miller Band. Miller is also the touring keyboardist for 2010 Grammy nominee and multi-Blues Music Award recipient Ruthie Foster & The Family Band. He appears on Foster's Live At Antones DVD, which garnered a 2012 Blues Music Award for DVD Of The Year.

Concert admission is $12; $11 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549.

Jan. 23: Latino Engineering and Academic Day

More than 200 students and school representatives are expected to attend the annual “Latino Engineering & Academic Day” (LEAD) on Thursday, Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Minnesota State Mankato’s Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

The mission of Latino Engineering & Academic Day is to encourage and motivate Latino youth in grades 9 through 12 to pursue educational opportunities in the area of engineering and to increase their access to higher education.

The event is free and open to the public and will feature information and exhibits from the following academic programs:

  • Automotive Engineering Technology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering Technology
  • Manufacturing Engineering Technology
  • Electrical Engineering Technology
  • Pre-Engineering
  • Construction Management
  • Other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields

Jan. 30 – Feb. 9: 'Kiss of the Spider Woman'

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will open the second half of its 2013-14 Mainstage season with “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” featuring a book by Terrence McNally, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Kander and Ebb is the team behind “Chicago” and “Cabaret.”

The show, which contains mature language and themes, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30-Feb. 1 & Feb. 5-8, and 2 p.m. Feb. 2, 8 & 9, in the Andreas Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

Based on the novel by Manuel Puig, “Kiss of the Spider Woman” is the winner of multiple Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Cell mates in a Latin American prison, Valentin is a tough revolutionary undergoing torture and Molina is an unabashed homosexual serving eight years for deviant behavior. Molina shares his fantasies about an actress, Aurora (originated on Broadway by Chita Rivera) with Valentin. One of her roles is a Spider Woman who kills with a kiss. This is its Minnesota State Mankato debut.

Individual tickets for “Kiss of the Spider Woman” are $22 regular, $19 for senior citizens, youth 16 and under and groups of 15 or more, $15 for current Minnesota State Mankato students. To purchase tickets or for more information about the show, visit The Box Office will reopen Jan. 21. Call or stop by between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, in the lobby of the Earley Center for Performing Arts. Call 507-389-6661.

Faculty/Staff Achievements

Nancy Geistfeld Thomas, after more than 37 years in the Dental Hygiene Department at Minnesota State Mankato, has announced her retirement.

Georgia Jackson, who retired from Minnesota State Mankato on Dec. 13 after working on campus for 38 years as a general maintenance worker, wrote the following to express her appreciation for the well wishes she received at her retirement reception: “Thank you to the campus community and Building Services for the wonderful retirement reception on Dec. 10. Thank you for all the gifts, cards, hugs, and KIND WORDS about my years of service! It is greatly appreciated!”

Becky Copper-Glenz, currently dean of the College of University Extended Education at Minnesota State Mankato, accepted a new academic opportunity as the dean of Graduate and Continuing Education at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. Copper-Glenz’s last day at Minnesota State Mankato will be in late January.

Ann Fee, director of planning and administration for the Division of University Advancement at Minnesota State Mankato, accepted the position of Executive Director of the Arts Center of St. Peter. Fee’s last day at the university was Jan. 3.

Tom Inglot (Government) published an article, "Western Welfare States Watched from the East During the Cold War: Condemnation, Competition, and Creative Learning," in the Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy (United Kingdom).

Heather Von Bank, associate professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Science, has agreed to partner with the US Play Coalition as its second university partner. The university, Bank and numerous students will have a strong presence at the organization's 2014 Conference on the Value of Play. For more information, please click
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Department News

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences released its December 2013 newsletter. The newsletter is available here.

The Office of Research & Sponsored Programs winter newsletter is published [PDF] here (2 MiB).


Dennis Barron passed away Nov. 17, 2013. Barron worked at Minnesota State Mankato from 1971 to 1983. An obituary for Barron is available here.

Externally Funded Projects

Bruce Jones (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) “MEG Corporation Biodiesel Genset Research” funded by MEG Corp Fuel Consulting.

Kenneth Adams (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) “North Star STEM Alliance” funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

James Wilde (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) “Rolling Resistance of Pavement Surfaces” funded by the MN Department of Transportation.

Michael Wells (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) “Brown Technology Campus Cooperative” funded by Brown Printing.

Vince Winstead (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) “Robotic Monitor” funded by Bolton and Menk, Inc.

Amy Scheuermann (College of Education) “MDE Supporting Educators Working with Students with Disabilities” funded by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Maverick Forensics

On Dec. 3, Maverick Forensics attended an individual events speech tournament hosted by the Twin Cities Forensic League at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. The Mavericks took home nine competitive awards, including:

  • Ryan Rendall: 2nd place in After-Dinner Speaking
  • Jordan Carrilllo: 3rd place in After-Dinner Speaking and 3rd place in Communication Analysis
  • Kaila Beckner: 4th place in Informative Speaking
  • Zach Aufenthie: 5th place in After-Dinner Speaking
  • Brady Taylor: 5th place in Poetry Interpretation
  • Margaret Pence: 6th place in Persuasive Speaking and 6th place in Dramatic Interpretation
  • Luke Schroeder: 7th place in Dramatic Interpretation

On Dec. 6-7, the team traveled to the Michael Nicolai Invitational Tournament hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Stout. The team placed third overall. Here are individual results:

  • Zach Aufenthie: Tournament Champion in After-Dinner Speaking, 3rd place in Communication Analysis and 6th place in Individual Sweeps
  • Jordan Carrillo: Tournament Champion in Dramatic Interpretation and 4th place in Communication Analysis
  • Zach Aufenthie and Ryan Rendall: 2nd place for Due Interpretation
  • Margaret Pence: 3rd place in Informative Speaking, 6th place in Impromptu Speaking and 6th place in Persuasive Speaking
  • Aletta Arndt: 3rd place in Poetry and 4th place in Prose
  • Cade Shelton: 4th place in Poetry
  • Kaila Beckner: 5th place in Prose
  • Ryan Rendall: 6th place in After-Dinner Speaking
  • Caitlin Frymet: 6th place in Communication Analysis

Online TODAY Magazine

today magazineVisit the online TODAY magazine at to keep up-to-date with news, alumni and stories about the people who help make this University great.

The mission of TODAY is to entertain, to inform and to connect the reader to the campus. The print TODAY is mailed twice per year to 95,000 alumni and friends.

TODAY welcomes story ideas supporting this mission. Contact Sara Frederick at (507) 389-6981 or to share ideas.

Content is updated regularly, so check back often!


Do you have faculty, staff, student or departmental news for the campus newsletter? Send news items to the Media Relations Office at The newsletter is published every other Wednesday during the academic year (except during scheduled break weeks) and monthly during the summer. The next newsletter will be published Jan. 29; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Jan. 24).

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.