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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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January 9, 2019 Campus Newsletter

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Outdoor Ice Rink Cancelled

UPDATE--As of Wednesday, Jan. 9, plans for an outdoor skating rink on campus have been cancelled. For more information, please contact Residential Life at 507-389-1011 or the Student Events Team at 507-389-6076.

The Student Events Team is still hosting a free skating night for Minnesota State Mankato students Monday, Jan. 14 at All Seasons Arena from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Mileage Reimbursement Rates for 2019

The standard IRS mileage rate for the business use of an employee’s personal automobile increased on Jan. 1, 2019.

The state bargaining agreements and compensation plans base mileage reimbursement rates on the standard IRS mileage rate that’s in place at the time of travel. As a reminder, two options are provided for determining the mileage reimbursement rate for any given trip:

The IRS standard mileage reimbursement rate (58 cents) is used when a state-owned vehicle is unavailable, and a lesser rate (51 cents) is used when a state-owned vehicle is declined or not requested by the employee.

Click here for more information about traveling for the University.

University Representative to HERS Institute

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

HERS Institutes is offering three different locations and schedules for 2019.

The University’s application process entails a self-descriptive letter, letter of recommendation from a supervisor, resume and a printed copy of the HERS application form. (Note: do NOT electronically submit this online to HERS.) More information and a printable application form available at the Commission’s website.

Completed application packets should be submitted by Jan. 16 to Shalinie Bandaranayaka, the graduate assistant for the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Applications may be submitted via email to

'Dignity Despite Difficulty' Presentation

How do we remain calm and effective regardless of how others behave? Join Ned Rousmaniere as he shares how to manage difficult situations without “losing it.”

Rousmaniere earned his master’s degree in clinical social work at the University of Minnesota, where he studied human behavior and psychotherapy. For 25 years, he has focused on building employee satisfaction and workplace effectiveness, despite the challenges of change, opportunity, conflict, turmoil and uncertainty.

Rousmaniere will present “Dignity Despite Difficulty” on Tuesday, Jan. 29 from 12-1 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union, Room 245. This session is open to all Minnesota State Mankato employees. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. To register, contact Wendy Schuller by noon on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Rousmaniere’s presentation is sponsored by the Minnesota State Mankato Employee Wellness Committee.

Jan. 16-Feb. 8: Jim Denomie Art Exhibit

An art exhibit titled “Fearless” by artist Jim Denomie will be on display in Minnesota State Mankato’s Conkling Gallery (located in Nelson Hall 139) from Wednesday, Jan. 16 through Friday, Feb. 8.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday as coverage permits. Please call 507-389-6412 to ensure the gallery is open.

Denomie will present a lecture on Monday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium, with a gallery reception immediately following the lecture.

Denomie’s presentation is an art enrichment lecture that is part of the Minnesota State Mankato Department of Art’s Art Enrichment and Andreas Endowment Lecture and Residency Series. Denomie will be on campus for an artist residency from 9-4 p.m. Jan. 28-29 in the Nelson Hall Art Studios.

According to a Department of Art preview of the exhibit, Denomie is primarily a painter whose subject matter includes social, political and historical narrative, spiritual and erotic dreamscape, and creative portraiture. A member of the Lac Courte Oreilles band of Ojibwe in northern Wisconsin, he has lived in Minneapolis most of his life. Since graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1995, Denomie has exhibited in over 120 group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally and has been awarded six major fellowships including from the McNight, the Bush and Joan Mitchell foundations, amongst other awards. His work is also in the permanent collections of numerous prestigious museums including the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

The complete 2018-2019 Department of Art Exhibition Schedule, list of artist residencies and lecture series is published online.

Jan. 19: Tom Hanson Presentation

Tom Hanson, who spent 25 years as a U.S. foreign service officer, will give a presentation titled “Diplomacy and U.S. Foreign Policy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” Saturday, Jan. 19 from 1-3 p.m. at Minnesota State Mankato’s Ostrander Auditorium, located on campus in Centennial Student Union.

The event is free and open to the community, and free parking is available in the Visitor’s Lot across the street from Centennial Student Union – one block north of Stadium Road and Ellis Avenue.

The audience is encouraged to be involved in a question and answer session after his address.

Hanson is a worldwide speaker on the state of the world. He is a 25-year veteran of Foreign Service, having served in East Germany, France, Norway, the Soviet Union, Sweden, and Mongolia. He has served on Foreign Relations Committees in both the U.S. House and Senate and was director for NATO and European Affairs at the Atlantic Council of the United States. Hanson has also served as Diplomat in Residence at the Royal D. Alworth Jr. Institute for International Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth and as co-chair of the China-Asia Business Association.

Hanson has spoken in Mankato on foreign policy previously during the past four years.

More information about Hanson’s presentation is available on the Mankato Area Lifelong Learners website. Those with questions may call 507-389-2011 or email

Jan. 22: World Music with Greg Herriges, Stella Roma

World Music group Greg Herriges and Stella Roma will appear on stage Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave. The concert event is sponsored by the Minnesota State Mankato Performance Series.

Guitarist, bouzoukist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Greg Herriges creates an eclectic mix of music with a unique approach honed by his studies of Asian and other international styles. A virtuoso performer and award-winning composer, his music and writing have found international recognition. Herriges is a recipient of composer/performing artist fellowships and grants from the Bush and McKnight Foundations and the Metro Regional Arts Council, a soundtrack artist and music director for film and theater, and author of seven internationally published music books.

Concert admission is $12 for community members and $11 for University students with a valid MavCARD, K-12 students and children. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Forensics News from Nov. 30-Dec. 1 Tournament

The Minnesota State Mankato forensics team traveled to the University of South Dakota for the first Valley Forensics League tournament weekend (Nov. 30-Dec.1). On the first day of the tournament, Minnesota State Mankato finished second among 13 teams in team sweepstakes. Minnesota State Mankato won four of the six events in which it competed on the first day, and had a finalist in each event. Specifics are as follows:

  • Kylee Johnson: Tournament champion in Program Oral Interpretation and Duo Interpretation
  • Kaylene Kruse: Tournament champion in Duo Interpretation, 2nd place in Dramatic Interpretation (qualifying for the NFA national tournament)
  • Kassidy Tocco: Tournament champion in After Dinner Speaking, 4th place in Poetry Interpretation (qualifying for the NFA national tournament)
  • Emma Roggeman: Tournament champion and top novice in Poetry Interpretation, 3rd place in Dramatic Interpretation
  • Samantha Scholl: 3rd place in Prose Interpretation, 4th place in Program Oral Interpretation
  • Maggie Falkowski: 2nd place and top novice in Prose Interpretation
  • Caitlin Trabant: 6th place in Prose Interpretation

On the second day of the tournament, Minnesota State Mankato was the tournament champion in team sweepstakes, out of 11 schools who attended. Minnesota State Mankato won three of the eight events in which it competed, with students in finals in seven of them. Specifics are as follows:

  • Kylee Johnson: Tournament champion in Prose Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation (qualifying for the AFA national tournament), and Poetry Interpretation (qualifying for the AFA national tournament); 2nd place in Duo Interpretation.
  • Kaylene Kruse: 2nd place in Duo Interpretation, 3rd place in Program Oral Interpretation, 3rd place in Dramatic Interpretation.
  • Kassidy Tocco: 2nd place in Informative Speaking, 3rd place in After Dinner Speaking, 3rd place in Poetry Interpretation.
  • Maggie Falkowski: 5th place in Poetry Interpretation (qualifying for the NFA national tournament), 6th place in Prose Interpretation
  • Emma Roggeman: 2nd place and top novice in Poetry Interpretation (qualifying for the AFA national tournament)
  • Samantha Scholl: 5th place in Program Oral Interpretation
  • Caitlin Trabant: 6th place in Program Oral Interpretation

Student News

A recent graduate of the University’s law enforcement program was featured in a Dec. 12 KSTP news story about police recruiting. KSTP interviewed senior student Santino Braziel a few days prior to his graduation ceremony on Dec. 15. The news clip is available here, with the segment on Braziel beginning about 1:42 into the clip and continuing for about a minute.

Faculty/Staff News

Seven faculty, staff and administrators were part of two teams that received the Outstanding Services Award at the Minnesota State CFO Annual Conference, held Dec. 6 in St. Paul, Minn. Members of the Marketplace Implementation Team that was honored were Cheryl Haefner, Cindy Rossow and Steve Smith. Members of the Strategic Budgeting Team that was honored were Lynn Akey, Rick Straka, Pat Nelson and Carrie Chapman.

Maria Bevacqua, professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, was featured in a Jan. 2 KEYC TV Midday Expert segment to discuss vegan diets.

Thad Shunkwiler, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Science, was featured in a Dec. 21 KEYC TV Midday Expert segment on the “risks and myths surrounding vaping.”  Shunkwiler also wrote a recent commentary piece on the growing shortage of behavioral health providers that was published in both the online and print editions of the Mankato Free Press.

Nancy Fitzsimons, professor in the Department of Social work, wrote a recent commentary piece on charitable giving that was published in both the online and print editions of the Mankato Free Press.

Art work by Brian Frink, faculty chair of the Department of Art, is on display in a solo exhibition, “Magical Landscapes,” at the Spirit Room in Fargo, N.D. The exhibition runs from Dec. 31 - Feb. 9. An opening reception will take place Friday, Jan. 18 from 5-8 p.m. 

Dan Cronn-Mills, professor in the Department of Communication Studies, and alumnus Stephen Croucher published recently published a textbook, “Understanding Communication Research Methods: A Theoretical and Practical Approach.” It took Cronn-Mills and Croucher more than three years from inception to publication to complete the textbook.

Department News

Amanda Halabi, a 2012 graduate of the University’s Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master’s Program, recently received an award as one of the top women in consulting for 2018 by Consulting Magazine. Halabi was nominated for the award by her boss at Cognizant, Todd Bricker, who is also a program alum.

The Glen Taylor Nursing Institute for Family and Society recently published its fall 2018 online newsletter.

The Maverick Machine Athletic Bands, Youth in Music and Stanbury Uniforms will be sponsoring their first 'Big Ideas!' Leadership Summit – an opportunity for in-depth leadership training for future section leaders and drum majors. It is intended to be an annual event.

RASP Spotlight

The following principal investigators made submissions in November 2018:

College of Business
 Yvonne Cariveau – Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
 Extension of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Innovation for Assistive Technology in Rochester, Mankato and Normandale
 “A pilot collaboration between the Rochester Destination Medical Center and Minnesota State University Mankato’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship to bring and expand the impact of a high quality, design thinking workshop to Mankato (and remotely to Normandale) with the goals of growing a culture of entrepreneurship by sparking innovative projects for the Assistive Tech Challenge and Big Ideas Challenge.”

Submitted to: Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation for $10,000

College of Science, Engineering and Technology
 Rachel Cohen and David Sharlin – Biological Sciences
 Thyroid Hormone Signaling to Induce Cartilage Regeneration
 “This proposal is examining the signaling that regulates chondrogenesis in an adult animal. Understanding the signaling mechanisms involved in lizard tail cartilage regeneration can lead to insight and novel approaches that might inform therapies to potentially regenerate cartilage in humans.”
 Submitted to: Regenerative Medicine Minnesota for $240,204.32

 Kim Musser with Tyler Grupa and Jessica Nelson – Water Resources Center
 Dubuque County Modeling Project
 “This project would provide agricultural modeling for targeting conservation practices in Dubuque County, Iowa, and would include developing a hydrologically modified digital elevation model (hDEM) for Dubuque County HUC12 watersheds.”
 Submitted to: The City of Dubuque for $89,526.88

 Kim Musser – Water Resources Center
 Exploring Watersheds Through STEM – Collaborative Knowledge and Capacity Building
 “This proposal will create engaging “Discover Your Watershed” GIS Story Maps that will raise public awareness and increase information flow about watershed science in highly-impaired watersheds of southern Minnesota.”
 Submitted to: National Science Foundation for $977,409

 Ryan Wersal – Biological Sciences
 Aquatic Plant Surveys of Five Waterbodies in Sibley County, Minn.
 “This study would document the species, frequency and distribution depth of aquatic plants present in five lakes in Sibley County, Minn. It will also document basic water quality parameters that could affect plant growth.”
 Submitted to: Sibley County Soil & Water Conservation District for $34,127.78

 Ryan Wersal – Biological Sciences
 Creation of a Crop Profile for Aquatic Plants in the North Central Region
 “This project will create a Crop Profile for Aquatic Plant Management in the North Central Region to increase awareness and knowledge of aquatic plant management and species-specific strategies. The Crop Profile will be disseminated to stakeholders at the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society and The National Aquatic Plant Management Society annual meetings in 2020 and also be shared with the Weed Science Society of America.”
 Submitted to: North Central Integrated Pest Management Regional Center for $28,397

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
 Daniel Sachau – Psychology
 Patterson Comment Coding
 Submitted to: Patterson Companies for $20,000

 Miriam Porter and Raymond Asomani-Boateng – Urban and Regional Studies
 Disaster Preparedness, Risk Management and Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Economy: Case Study of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
 “The end result of this research is publications, presentations and an online course developed to teach Disaster Preparedness and Risk Management in a developing economy.”
 Submitted to: US Aid for $99,943

The following faculty and staff secured over $140,000 in awards in November 2018:

College of Science, Engineering & Technology
 Tracy Stokes-Hernandez – Academic Advising
 National Science Foundation – “North Star Stem Alliance”
 “This program will focus on academic skill development and career preparation, as well as fostering the development of relationships among students and faculty and on promoting participation in local and Alliance-wide STEM activities and events.”
 Awarded: $40,181

 Michael Bentley – Biological Sciences
 TriBeta National Biological Society – “Connective Tissue Infiltration into Three-Dimensional Sintered Cobalt Chrome Alloy”
 “This award will be used to support student research.”
 Awarded: $700

 Cyrus Azarbod – Computer and Information Sciences
 Hochtief USA – “Sustainable Datascience Architecture for Hochtief International”
 “This project will develop a data landscape to link independent data sources from multinational projects.”
 Awarded: $74,871

 Robert Sleezer and Jacob Swanson – Integrated Engineering
 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities – “Leveraging Engineering Education Partnerships”
“This agreement will support the FY19 Discipline Teaching Faculty Development Program.”
 Awarded: $10,000

College of Arts and Humanities
 Heather Camp – English, Coordinator Writing Across the Curriculum
 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities – “Building an Infrastructure for Writing Across the Curriculum”
 “This agreement will support the development of a robust Writing Across the Curriculum program by modeling for Minnesota State Institutions one approach to providing on-ramps and escalators at two-and four-year institutions.”
 Awarded: $10,000

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
 Daniel Sachau – Psychology
 Visit Mankato – “Greater Mankato Growth Beta Testing”
 “This project will design a usability study on Visit Mankato’s website.”
 Awarded: $2250

Division of Academic Affairs
 Alissa Morson – Global Education
 Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council – “Minnesota State Arts and Cultural Heritage Grant”
 “This grant will support the Mankato Area International Festival which is a showcase for the foods, music, dance, and cultures of dozens of nations, all in one place on one day. The event is hosted by Minnesota State University, Mankato, Kearney International Center and the Centennial Student Union.”
 Awarded: $2,975

If you have thoughts on how to further promote these achievements, please email the RASP director at


Russell Skelly, who was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for eight years, died Dec. 3. Skelly worked in Building Services. An obituary is available here.

Mary Dooley, an emeritus faculty member who worked at Minnesota State Mankato for 24 years and served as acting dean of the College of College of Social and Behavioral Sciences prior to her retirement in 1990, died Dec. 8. Dooley also served for one year as assistant vice president for academic affairs. The University’s map library was named in her honor in 2013. The Mankato published a "life remembered” article on Dooley.

Nancy Olson, an emeritus faculty member who worked in Minnesota State Mankato’s Memorial Library for 22 years, died Dec. 24. An obituary is available here.

Online TODAY Magazine

Visit the online TODAY magazine at for alumni news 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 to 95,000 alumni and friends.

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


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 Wednesday, Jan. 23. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Jan. 18).

You should also submit your event to the University’s official Campus Events Calendar by sending an email to Shirley Piepho at