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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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January 15, 2020 Campus Newsletter

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Accepted into Festival of International Opera

Minnesota State University, Mankato's Department of Music announced that senior voice student Megan Littlepage (pictured above) was accepted into the Festival of International Opera, FIO Italia, based in Urbania, Italy.

This 2020 mid-summer musical program includes five weeks of intensive opera training including voice lessons, private coaching and Italian lessons.

Littlepage will be performing in a studio concert and will participate in one of the three festival operas: “Falstaff,” “La Cenerentola,” or “L'Incoronazione di Poppea.”

Mileage Reimbursement Rates for 2020

The standard IRS mileage rate for the business use of an employee’s personal automobile decreased on Jan. 1, 2020.

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 (57.5 cents) is used when a state-owned vehicle is unavailable, and a lesser rate (50.5 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.

Encourage Students to Apply for Scholarships Feb. 1-29

Minnesota State Mankato students are encouraged to apply for scholarships starting Feb. 1 on Scholarship Finder.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to make students aware of Scholarship Finder.

Scholarship Finder offers easy, one-stop access to all of the University’s scholarships. Students can find and apply for scholarships based on their major, interests, background, academics, personal circumstances, financial circumstances and more.

Once students sign in, they complete a general application; the site then gives them customized recommendations that match their records. Key word searches assist students in finding scholarships that are unique to them.

Most opportunities are open between Feb. 1 and Feb. 29, but students should check back periodically.

Live Bus-Tracking App Launches

‘Bus Mankato,’ the City of Mankato’s new live bus tracking app, is now available to download to pinpoint Mankato buses and view scheduled stops using real-time information. The app is available on Google Play and the Apple Store. Included in the app is a trip planner, schedule information and a link to transit routes.

The live bus tracking app was developed through a partnership between the City of Mankato and Minnesota State Mankato to help serve community needs while creating real-world learning opportunities for students. A team of students has worked closely with information technology staff to create and implement the app.

“‘Bus Mankato’ provides an efficient navigation tool for Mankato’s transit system riders,” says Paul Vogel, director of community development. “A city strategic goal is to provide affordable transportation and access options to benefit the region.”

“This was an invaluable experience for the university that’s advanced student and staff success, along with helping benefit the community,” says Mark Johnson, vice president and chief information officer of IT Solutions at Minnesota State Mankato.

A complete news release is available here.

IT Solutions Announcements

A few new features and changes were implemented in the University's website content management system, Episerver, at the end of December. Learn more about the changes on the IT Solutions website, or sign up for a Jan. 22 webinar that will provide information on the updates.

An update to Mav Life, the official University mobile app, began Jan. 9. D2L courses now automatically show up in Mav Life, so users can view assignments, check grades, reply to discussions and more within the app (learn more).

Lifelong Learners Winter 2020 Program

The Mankato Area Lifelong Learners will be hosting a series of presentations and speakers from January through March.

Topics include “A History of Eastern Europe”; “What is Stem Cell Therapy and Why Would it Interest Me?”; “A Discussion of The Winter Bees: a collection of stories set in New Ulm” and many more sessions.

Cost of quarterly presentations and the speaker series are $5 for members and $10 for non-members.

In addition, Tom Hanson, who spent 25 years as a U.S. foreign service officer, will give a free presentation on April 25.

Jan. 16: Maverick All-Sports Dome Ribbon Cutting

Minnesota State Mankato will hold a ceremonial “ribbon-cutting” ceremony for its $5.49 million Maverick All-Sports Dome, located at 1910 Monks Ave. (south of the intersection of Monks Avenue and Stadium Road), at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16.

The event is free and open to the campus community.

Scheduled to be among the speakers during a short program at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony are Richard Davenport, Minnesota State Mankato's president; David Jones, Minnesota State Mankato’s vice president for student affairs & enrollment management; Anisa Omar, the University’s president of Student Government; and Todd Pfingsten, the University’s director of campus recreation.

Joining Davenport, Jones, Omar and Pfingsten in a ribbon-cutting party photo opportunity will be a representative from the SCHEELS All-Sports Foundation, University Students and Director of Athletics Kevin Buisman.

The Maverick All-Sports Dome is a 109,850-square-foot, air-inflated multipurpose facility. It provides space for University academic classes, Campus Recreation programs (clubs, intramurals and free play), Intercollegiate Athletics, the Maverick Machine band and other campus clubs and organizations. The facility is available for rent to local youth and adult sports organizations, area school districts and other colleges.

The SCHEELS All-Sports Foundation provided a $500,000 gift (to be paid over five years) that will help offset the facility’s annual operating costs. In exchange, the name of the facility’s synthetic turf field space is “SCHEELS Field at the Maverick All-Sports Dome.”

Jan. 16: Opera Singer Paul Spencer Adkins

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Music welcomes world-class opera singer Paul Spencer Adkins (pictured) to campus Thursday, Jan. 16.

While on campus, Adkins will present a short musical concert including an informative talk at 2 p.m. followed by a master class from 3-4:30 p.m. for Department of Music students and Department of Theatre actors and singers.

Both events take place in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Avenue and are free and open to other college students and to the public.

A reception for Adkins will follow the afternoon events from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The reception is sponsored by the University’s Office of African American Affairs and will take place in the Multicultural Center, 269 Centennial Student Union. Please RSVP with Director Kenneth Reid via email at by Wednesday, Jan. 15.

A winner of the First Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, Adkins is a leading tenor with opera companies and orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. He made his New York debut at Lincoln Center in the title role of Virgil Thomson's “Lord Byron.” Adkins also produced and starred in the PBS television special “The Musical Legacy of Roland Hayes."

Paralleling his work on stage and in the classroom, Adkins works to create uplifting dialogues on cultural diversity in the workplace and centers of learning. He is a graduate of West Virginia University, the University of the Arts and The Academy of Vocal Arts.

Over the years, his students have included Benj Pasek, one half of the Tony, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning songwriting team Pasek and Paul, whose credits include “La La Land” and “Dear Evan Hansen.” Adkins has also taught actor Nathaniel Stampley, operatic tenor Gregory Schmidt and actress Amanda Jane Cooper, who currently plays Glinda in Broadway’s Wicked.

For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Jan. 21: Blues Musician Mike Munson

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music will present roots/blues musician Mike Munson in concert 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Avenue.

Munson has established himself as a member of the next generation of bluesmen to carry on a tradition some feared was dying out. His music is a master class in creative blues composition and performance, never losing sight of his art form or the music’s roots.

Making his home in the Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota, Munson is well known for his slide guitar expertise. The driving rhythms in his songs are reminiscent of the trains that barrel through his neighborhood. Munson makes regular appearances throughout the Midwest and is currently working on his third release following a debut studio recording and the acclaimed "Live at Ed’s" releases.

General admission for the concert is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Minnesota State Mankato students will be admitted free with a valid MavCARD. Performance Series ticket packages are available for those who pre-purchase. For more information visit or call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Jan. 28: Gypsy Mania Hot Club Quartet

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music will present Twin Cities-based swing jazz band Gypsy Mania Hot Club Quartet in concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28 in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Avenue.

Gypsy Mania Hot Club Quartet performs a timeless jazz tradition commonly known as Gypsy Jazz, a blend of traditional Roma music and swing jazz in the tradition of Django Reinhardt’s French music tradition of the 1930s. The quartet is the creation of longtime bandleader and guitar stylist Glen Helgeson, who is known for pulling together the stars of the Minnesota music scene. Helgeson is an ambassador in the jazz tradition, bringing diverse world music styles to people, educating them in these traditions, and manifesting an unusual ability to write in those genres.

General admission for the concert is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Minnesota State Mankato students will be admitted free with a valid MavCARD. Performance Series ticket packages are available for those who pre-purchase. For more information visit or call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Jan. 28-30: Good Thunder Reading Series features Peter Geye

Minnesota State Mankato will host author Peter Geye (pictured) from Jan. 28-30 as the fifth writer who will be on campus for this year’s Good Thunder Reading Series.

Geye, this year’s Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer, will hold a workshop Tuesday, Jan. 28 and Thursday, Jan. 30 from 10-11 a.m. at the Emy Frentz Gallery, located at 523 S. 2nd St. in Mankato.

On Thursday, Jan. 30, Geye will hold a “Talk on Craft” from 3-4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium. Geye will also read from his work from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the University’s Centennial Student Union, Room 245.

All Good Thunder Reading Series events are free and open to the public.

Geye holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of New Orleans and a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University, where he was the editor of Third Coast magazine. He is the award-winning author of a four-book saga about the Eide family: “Northernmost,” due in February 2020; “Wintering,” which won the 2017 Minnesota Book Award for Novel and Short Story; “Safe from the Sea” and “The Lighthouse Road.” Geye lives in his hometown of Minneapolis.

For more information contact Candace Black at 507-389-2680 or visit

Jan. 29: ‘The Opioid Fix’ Viewing & Discussion

Attendees will explore the education, prevention and solutions surrounding the opioid crisis at the upcoming showing of “The Opioid Fix,” a documentary co-produced by TPT-Twin Cities PBS and Mayo Clinic.

During this event, a panel discussion featuring experts from our the Mankato community will address the specific needs, experiences and local efforts regarding this national epidemic.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. CEU credits will be available. To register, visit

The moderator of the panel discussion is Kristine Retherford, dean of Minnesota State Mankato's College of Allied Health and Nursing. Thad Shunkwiler, assistant professor at Minnesota State Mankato, is one of the panelists.

Jan. 13-31: Kevin Snipes Art Exhibition

Artist Kevin Snipes’ work will be on display in Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Conkling Gallery (located in Nelson Hall 139) from Monday, Jan. 13 through Friday, Jan. 31.

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.

Snipes will deliver an artist’s lecture Monday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium, with a gallery reception immediately following the lecture.

Snipes will be in residence Jan. 27-28 in the Nelson Hall ceramics studios as part of the Art Enrichment and Andreas Endowment Lecture and Residency Series.

Artist information provided by Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Art:

“Kevin Snipes’ constructions are at once playful, but suggest apprehensive narratives on the concept of otherness. In his porcelain vessels, Snipes draws references from pop culture as well as an array of historical influences. His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows both nationally and internationally. He has received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, the Pittsburgh Foundation and Creative Capital. Snipes is currently a visiting artist at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.”

For more information, call the Minnesota State Mankato Department of Art at 507-389-6412. The complete 2019-2020 Conkling Gallery Schedule, list of artist residencies and lecture series is located here.

Jan. 31: ‘A Review of Behavioral Healthcare Ethics’

Health science faculty Thad Shunkwiler, and Jennifer Londgren invite the campus community to attend “A Review of Behavioral Healthcare Ethics” on Jan. 31 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. in CSU 245.

The training has been approved for ethics specific continuing education credits by the Boards of Nursing, Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Behavioral Health. Registration for the training can be found at this link.

Feb. 3: Red Cross Blood Drive

The Upward Bound program is sponsoring a Red Cross Blood Drive.

It will be held Monday, Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union North Ballroom.

Appointments can be made by calling 389-1211 or by going online and entering sponsor code MSUUPWARD.

Walk-ins are always welcome.

Feb. 6: ‘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 will join a statewide effort provide free dental care to children from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6.

The dental care will be provided in the university dental clinic, which is located in the Clinical Sciences Building on campus. People interested in scheduling an appointment should call the dental clinic at 507-389-2147.

Patients seeking appointments for cleanings, x-rays, exams and sealants should be under the age of 18 and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Student News

Student Bla Yang was recently named by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagain as one of 23 appointments to the Young Women's Cabinet of the Women's Foundation of Minnesota.

Students Ciana Ni Churraoin, Joelle Anderson and Madeleine Kennedy received Mardak Scholarships ($2,500 awards) from the United States Handball Association in recognition for doing on-court instruction for the Department of Human Performance's introduction to handball courses. Last year, the women were members of the Mavericks handball team that was runner-up at the 2019 United States Handball Association’s National Collegiate Handball Championships.

Faculty/Staff News

Chris McCormick, assistant professor of creative writing in the Department of English, recently had his debut novel, “The Gimmicks,” reviewed in the New York Times. McCormick's novel was also recently recommended by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Jennifer Karlin, professor in the Department of Integrated Engineering, was named an associate editor of the Journal of Engineering Education.

Andy Roberts, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was quoted in a Dec. 16 KEYC TV story about taking precaution against radon in homes.

John Kaliski, associate professor in the Department of Management, was featured in a Dec. 27 KEYC TV story about how he creates custom, sustainable wood furniture from trees downed in storms.

Gregory T. Wilkins, assistant director for student activities and the Centennial Student Union, was a semifinalist for the inaugural McKnight Fiber Artist Fellowship. Two fellowships are awarded. Of the 63 applicants, he was placed in the top 11.

Steve Smith, assistant vice president for budget and business services, was a member of the NextGen ERP Finance RFP team that was recognized Dec. 12 with the Chancellor's Award at the 2019 CFO Annual Conference held at the Minnesota State system office in St. Paul. The Chancellor’s Award recognizes individuals or teams whose efforts and outstanding work supports the strategic framework and result in systemwide improvements in financial management, services or processes. Award criteria focuses on innovation, collaboration and new work that is above and beyond regular duties.

Pat Sexton, professor and director of athletic training education in the Department of Human Performance, took office as president of the BOC board of directors in January 2020. He was elected to the board in 2015.

Turgut Guvenli, professor of marketing in the Department of Marketing and International Business, attended the Academy of International Business Southeast Asia Conference from Dec. 1-9 in Cebu, Philippines.

Juan (Gloria) Meng, professor of marketing in the Department of Marketing and International Business, visited with co-authors Hofstra University and Siena College for research project and program review Dec. 17 through Jan. 7 in New York City.

Jianwei Hou, professor of marketing in the Department of Marketing and International Business, presented "On-line Shopping Patronage: Do Demographics and Psychographics Really Matter?" Dec. 28 through Jan. 3 at the Clute International Academic Business Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Wade Davis, assistant professor in the Department of Accounting and Business Law, participated in a faculty-led international comparative law and justice course Dec. 31 through Jan. 11 in Ireland.

Kevin Elliott and Ann Kuzma, professors of marketing in the Department of Marketing and International Business, co-led the New York City study tour Jan. 2-9 in New York City.

Department News

The College of Science, Engineering and Technology hosted a regional VEX Robotics Competition in Myers Field House on Dec. 20. The event included 84 teams (43 high school teams and 41 middle school teams) and approximately 400 students.

The Center for Excellence & Innovation is offering instructional design drop-in sessions. No appointment is needed. Faculty members are encouraged to bring questions about teaching with tech, online course design and student success questions. See the calendar for details.

The Center for Excellence & Innovation is offering D2L Brightspace drop-in sessions. No appointment is needed. Faculty members are encouraged to stop by with questions. See the calendar for a schedule.

Library Services published its December 2019 newsletter.

Human Resources published its [PDF] February 2020 newsletter (533 KiB).

The Department of Construction Management published its Fall 2019 newsletter.

The Maverick All-Sports Dome was inflated Nov. 26. A 45-second time-lapse video was taken of the inflation process.

The Career Development Center announced that the "Careers in Nursing and Healthcare" career fair for students will take place in the Minnesota State Mankato Centennial Student Union ballroom Jan. 24 from 2-4:30 p.m. Professors, advisors and staff are asked to encourage students to attend. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to attend to see how much employers appreciate the preparation that Minnesota State Mankato provides for its students. There are no pre-registration or attendance fees required for students. Attendees should wear professional attire and scan in for their name badge. Impromptu interviews may take place.

The Campus Kitchen was featured in a Dec. 15 Mankato Free Press story about how Campus Kitchen has now served 90,000 meals in nearly 15 years. The article was also published in the Star Tribune.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) summer schedule: The Minnesota State Mankato IRB only functions on a part-time basis in summer, so reviews will be delayed from the normal review schedule. The following schedule will be observed. Remember that submissions are not sent for review until the Principal Investigator (who must be a faculty member) has signed the submission. Please be aware that the review schedule is not a promise that approval will be in place.

Tidbits from the Institutional Review Board (IRB): Contact or call 507-389-5102 with IRB-related questions. IRB has posted useful information at this link.

Starting in Fall 2020, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Minnesota State University, Mankato will require all researchers to complete some training before IRB will review submissions. More information regarding the trainings is available here.

For the latest news on Maverick Athletics, visit


Gary Hudson, an emeritus faculty member who was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 31 years, died Dec. 2. Hudson served in several part-time positions, including veterans’ counselor, orientation director and human subjects research committee chairperson. An obituary is available here.

Patricia Palm, an emerita faculty member who was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 39 years, teaching in the rhetoric and public address department, died Nov. 25. An obituary is available here.

George Green, who was employed at Minnesota State Mankato as a faculty member for 25 years, teaching within the political science department, died Dec. 10. An obituary is available here.

Carl Anderson, who was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 35 years, working as a repairman, died Dec. 14. An obituary is available here.

Shirley Johnson, who worked at Minnesota State Mankato for 25 years in the graduate education office, died Jan. 5. An obituary is available here.

Margaretta Handke, an emerita faculty member who taught in Minnesota State Mankato's history department for 24 years, focusing on world, medieval, Middle Eastern and Asian history, died Dec. 27. 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 Joe Tougas at 507-389-1369 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. 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 by sending an email to Shirley Piepho at