Program FacultyPage address: https://www.mnsu.edu/honors/facultystaff/faculty.html
Honors faculty members are selected for their excellent reputations as scholars, teachers, and mentors. They enjoy creating innovative educational experiences and are dedicated to student success in and out of the classroom. In honors classes, professors demonstrate that knowledge is not something merely to master, but also to wield. There are no closed discussions, no memorization lists. Rather, information is uncovered, shared, and used as a tool by students in their ongoing journey of discovery.
Cynthia Bemis Abrams (M.A., St. Catherine University)
Cynthia Bemis Abrams is a summa cum laude graduate of Minnesota State Mankato and its Honors Program. With a career in public relations, Cynthia advises on leaders on communication, audiences and basic principles of leading others. She earned her Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership after having served in a number of positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors. In 2015 launched Advanced TV Herstory, a podcast that women in and of TV. In her consulting practice, Cynthia provides leadership training to workplace teams, facilitates groups and works with clients on public relations goals and tactics.
Christopher Brown (Ph.D., University of New Mexico)
Dr. Brown is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. He teaches courses in Argumentation, Intercultural Communication and Communication Research Methods. His research primarily focuses on ethnic and race relations, white supremacist groups, white masculinity, and critical/cultural studies. Dr. Brown arrived to Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2011 from The Ohio State University, where he worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He is originally from Chicago, Illinois.
Heather Camp (Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln)
Dr. Camp is an Associate Professor of English and the Director of the Composition Program. She loves to write and is passionate about teaching and learning. In her scholarship, Heather explores questions related to teacher and student growth: What does it mean to "grow" as a writer? How can writing classes support students' professional development? How do personal commitments help or hinder learning? Can goal setting help teachers achieve? Each of these questions has been a recent focus of her work. Heather has published articles in a range of scholarly journals and has been a recipient of the Diversity Champion and Outstanding Service Awards at MSU, Mankato.
Kellian Clink (MA, MLIS, University of Wisconsin)
Kellian Clink is an Associate Professor in the Library, where she has been a faculty member for 27 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in French and English with a minor in Philosophy from Concordia College in Moorhead. She has master’s degrees in journalism and librarianship and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership. She is an amateur historian with recent conference presentations about how women’s suffrage is portrayed in high school textbooks in the US and the UK. She often presents at library conferences and has also been involved in many research projects having to do with academic advising. Her specialist degree thesis told the story of the LGBT Center on Campus.
Kirsti Karra Cole (Ph.D., Arizona State University)
Dr. Cole received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from Arizona State University in 2008. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the English Department. Dr. Cole leads faculty development seminars on writing intensive classrooms, teaches rhetorical theory and methodology, and researches women's activist rhetoric. She has a book forthcoming from Edward Mellon Press entitled, "The Consideration of an Effect: Gothic Cliché as Romantic Object in the Texts of Edgar Allen Poe," as well as an article entitled "Feminist Social Projects: Building Bridges between Communities and Universities," in College English. Dr. Cole has also edited a volume of thirdspace, an online feminist journal.
Brandon Cooke (Ph.D. University of St. Andrews)
Dr. Cooke began his college education in electrical engineering, and ended up with degrees in mathematics and music, and a certificate in East Asian studies. After graduation, he went to Japan to teach English, returned to the States and the University of Maryland, where he took philosophy courses and worked fulltime. He completed his Ph.D. in philosophy at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland. His dissertation on the nature of aesthetic value argued that while what we experience in works of art is partly the construct of our imagination, we can nonetheless make objectively true judgments about artworks. My musical background turned out to play a big role in my work as a philosopher. Before coming to Mankato in 2005, he taught for a semester at the University of Maryland and for three years at Auburn University. He recently spent a year on a teaching fellowship at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, where he met his wife.
Angela Jill Cooley (Ph.D., University of Alabama)
Professor Cooley received a B.A. in History from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where she participated in the Honors Program. After graduating magna cum laude from UAB, she received a J.D. with Honors from the George Washington University Law School and worked as an attorney for seven years. Professor Cooley left the practice of law to attend graduate school on a fellowship at the University of Alabama. She has an M.A. and Ph.D. in History. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. She now teaches as an Assistant Professor of History at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is the author of To Live and Dine in Dixie: The Evolution of Urban Food Culture in the Jim Crow South, which will be published in Spring 2015 by the University of Georgia Press.
Chris Corley (Ph.D., Purdue University)
Dr. Corley studied History and Philosophy at Bloomsburg University, where he was also an honors student. He earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in European History from Purdue University. He teaches first-year courses on preindustrial European history (from Classical Greece to the Reformation), and advanced courses on early modern (c. 1300-1800) social and cultural history. His specific teaching and research interests include the history of women, gender, the family, and young people in early modern Dijon, France. He has received research and teaching grants from Bloomsburg University, Purdue University, Minnesota State, Mankato, the University of Paris-IV, and the American Historical Association. His published research has appeared in the Journal of Family History, the Journal of Social History, The History Teacher, and The Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council. Corley has presented his research at national and international conferences, including those held in France, Sweden, Canada, England, and Northern Ireland. He has supervised the work of twelve undergraduate and four graduate students who have presented their work at research conferences.
Kristen Cvancara (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Dr. Kristen Cvancara earned her bachelors’ degrees in Business Marketing and Speech Communication at St. Cloud State University (1992), worked professionally in the profit and not-for-profit sectors for seven years, and then pursued her M.A. in Communication Theory and Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Minnesota (2004). Her research interests focus on how sibling, family, and romantic relationship partners use verbal aggression to gain compliance. While on a Fulbright grant in Finland (2012), she began a cross-cultural research study that investigates the relationship between sibling use of verbal aggression and bullying at school. Her research has been presented at national and international conferences, and is published in the Journal of Family Communication, Personal Relationships, and the Journal of Women in Educational Leadership. She actively supports the MSU Leadership Institute and has been a session facilitator for the Institute since its inception in 2006. She teaches a range of classes at MSU to undergraduate and graduate students, including her favorites of Interpersonal Communication, Communication Theory, Research Methods, Family Communication, and Persuasion.
Anne Dahlman (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Dr. Anne Dahlman is Professor of Educational Studies: K-12 and Secondary Programs. She received her doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction: Second Languages and Cultures at the University of Minnesota in 2005. Dr. Dahlman has lived roughly half of her life in Finland, where she was born and raised, and the other half in the United States, where she immigrated as a young adult. She has three Master’s degrees in three foreign languages, German, Swedish and ESL. Finnish is her native language. In addition to living in Finland and the United States, she has lived in Germany and Sweden, where she studied the languages and cultures of those countries. Dr. Dahlman’s teaching and research interests focus on multicultural education, inter-cultural communication and excellence in teaching and learning.
Rhonda R. Dass (Ph.D., Indiana University)
Dr. Dass began her education in Art History and Studio Arts at the University of Wisconsin, graduating with high honors. As a McNair Fellow, she earned her M.A. in Folklore with an emphasis in Material Culture and Museum Studies, and dual Ph.D. degrees in American Studies and Folklore. Dr. Dass joined the faculty at Minnesota State Mankato in 2008 to found and direct the American Indian Studies Program. She is a faculty member in the Anthropology Department, where she teaches courses on Body Art, Museology, Food, and Monsters and Fear. Special interests in aesthetics and popular culture, activism, as well as cross-cultural identity creation and conflict, drive her teaching and research. Dass continues to pursue her artistic endeavors in weaving, painting, and tattooing.
Stephen Druschel (Ph.D., University of New Hampshire)
Dr. Druschel is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, teaching environmental engineering, design and laboratory courses. He performs research related to surface water protection, renewable energy, waste treatment and winter roadway maintenance. While at Minnesota State, Dr. Druschel has overseen 14 undergraduate and 10 external research projects, plus 11 capstone design projects. Prior to his appointment at Minnesota State, Dr. Druschel worked in professional practice for 25 years, focusing on hazardous waste remediation, ecological restoration, landfill design, and street and pipeline reconstruction. Claiming the “civil” in civil engineering as a mission to serve people, Dr. Druschel believes listening and empathy to be two of the most important skills an engineer should develop. A graduate of the Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd) program (American Society of Civil Engineers, 2011), Dr. Druschel may frequently be found in character doing role-play lessons, using story-songs and music to underscore lessons, or actively questioning an entire classroom about how to apply what they are learning to a current event. Dr. Druschel conducted sabbatical study in 2015-16 regarding the history of water engineering as a template for solving environmental problems of current age.
Alisa Eimen (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Dr. Eimen studied Art History and German at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Minnesota, where she specialized in Islamic and South Asian studies. While completing her Ph.D., she also earned an M.Phil. from the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (Leiden, Netherlands) and completed a year-long curatorial internship at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She has been teaching Art History at Minnesota State University since 2005, covering a range of topics from ancient to modern art around the globe. Her research interests focus on the ways in which identity and memory shape art and architecture. She has published chapters in several books on Iranian and Indian architecture, and most recently an article on mosque building in Germany in the International Journal of Islamic Architecture (2015).
Lynnette M. Engeswick (Ph.D.,University of Minnesota)
Lynnette Engeswick is a Professor in the Department of Dental Hygiene where she has been a faculty member since 1998. She received her dental hygiene Associate Degree from Mankato State University, Mankato, and Baccalaureate Degree in Business Administration and Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Experiential Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN; and Ph.D. from the University of MN. Lynnette has 20 years of full time clinical dental hygiene practice. Educational passion is community outreach programs for senior dental hygiene students at Harry Meyer Center, School Screening/Sealant Clinics at area elementary schools, Open Door Health Care Center (dental clinic) and the Waseca Federal Prison. Special interests is leading international study abroad courses, gardening, puppies and family time.
Tony Filipovitch (Ph.D., Portland State University)
Dr. Filipovitch is Chair of the Urban and Regional Studies Institute. He was also Dean of Graduate Studies and Research for five years. Tony was born in Chicago and raised in Detroit (although he also spent his summers on his grandfather's dairy farm in Wisconsin). He earned a BA in Psychology (teaching minor in French) from the University of Michigan, and his MA in Phenomenological Psychology from Duquesne University. After three years of teaching inner-city adults for Allegheny Community College, he completed his Ph.D. in Urban Studies at Portland State University. He came to MSU in 1978, after teaching for three years at the University of Tulsa. In his time in Mankato, he has served on the boards of a number of community organizations, including the YMCA, Citizens' Voices, Envision 2020, the Mankato Area Foundation, the Region IX Arts Council, the Mankato Planning Commission and the Mankato Historic Preservation Commission. He also served on the Board of Directors for the national Urban Affairs Association.
Tony's initial research focus was on the impact of city living on child development. Over the years, he has published three books (Urban Community, Introduction to the City, and Urban Analytical Tools) and articles on nonprofit organizations and civic engagement. He is currently working on an inventory of the nonprofit sector in Ghana with colleagues from Kwame Nkrumah University in Kumasi, Ghana and he is helping to establish a center for modeling and simulation at Minnesota State Mankato.
For fun, he has served as a Great Books facilitator for elementary school children, led a Latin Club for middle-school children, and does one-man performances as Thomas Jefferson and Vitruvius Pollio (the Roman architect). In his spare time he works on his garden and his 1880s-era farm house. And he practices yoga, to recover from all that activity.
Rachael Hanel (Ph.D., Bath Spa University)
Rachael Hanel is an assistant professor of Mass Media. She teaches the introductory-level Mass Media course as well as courses in news writing and digital media writing. She spent several years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor and regularly publishes freelance news articles, opinion pieces, and essays. Her memoir, We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter, was published in 2013. Hanel is a proud alumna of MSU-Mankato, receiving a B.A. in mass communications and history, as well as an M.A. in history.
Laura Harrison (Ph.D., Indiana University)
Dr. Harrison joined the Department of Gender and Women's Studies as an Assistant Professor in 2012. Her scholarly interests focus on reproductive rights and politics. Her current research project on gestational surrogacy examines how reproductive technologies intersect with beliefs about race, gender, and family formation. One of Dr. Harrison's primary goals in the classroom is to give students the opportunity to think and write critically about issues that impact their lives. Dr. Harrison has articles forthcoming in the journal Genders and Feminist Media Studies.
Vicki Hunter (Ph.D., Kent State University)
Dr. Hunter is an Associate Professor in the Sociology and Corrections Department, where she has been a faculty member for five years. She received both her bachelor's degree and her Ph.D. from Kent State University in Ohio. Notably, she was a valedictorian and Mortar Board Scholar of her undergraduate class in 1997. As a graduate student, she served as a research fellow for Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, a national poverty institute. In this position, she worked as a project manager at one site of a national study on welfare reform policies. Her areas of specialization include psychology, social inequality, research methods, family violence, gender, and women's experiences exiting prison. She and her colleague, Dr. Kimberly Greer, are currently conducting a longitudinal study that follows individual women leaving prison over a period of 4 years after their release from prison in order to gain a better understanding of the social and personal experiences of re-entry for women. She also teaches an interactive college course within a prison setting that brings together students from Minnesota State Mankato with students in the educational program at the prison.
Julie Kerr-Berry (Ed.D. Temple University)
Julie A. Kerr-Berry, EdD, is a Professor and Dance Program Director at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU,M). Her primary teaching responsibilities include both theory and practice, ranging from history, to pedagogy, to composition, to modern technique, to dance ethnology, to feminist body politics. She studied the rich history of modern dance and African-based traditions from founding members of these movement practices. She traveled abroad, initially, as a Fulbright Scholar and most recently through a university sponsored grant for international education. Julie is active in the Minneapolis-St. Paul dance community where she often lectures and presents master classes. She is a founding member of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). A published author, Julie’s writing focuses on critical pedagogy in dance education–also a part of her teaching and administrative practice. Nationally, Julie presents her work at various conferences. In 2010, she was the recipient of NDEO’s Outstanding Leadership Award. In 2011, she received a Top Paper Citation from NDEO. In 2012, Julie received a College of Arts and Humanities Award from MSU, M. She has received awards for her choreographic work from the American College Dance Festival, most recently for, War Story in 2014. Julie earned an EdD and MEd in dance from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.
Steve Kipp (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh)
Dr. Kipp received a B.A. in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Virginia in 1970. He received a Masters in astronomy from Wesleyan University in 1977 and his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Pittsburgh in 1980. He worked as an astronomer in Venezuela for a year before coming to MSU. He has worked at MSU to create and operate Andreas Observatory with the second largest telescope in Minnesota. His interest in pseudoscience arose from the publicʼs confusion of astrology and astronomy.
Rosemary Krawczyk (Ph.D., Stony Brook University)
Rosemary Krawczyk is a professor in the psychology department. She received her B. A. in psychology from St. Catherine University and her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Stony Brook University in 1984. Rosemary’s focus areas in psychology are on children’s development and on the psychology of women. Her current research examines the experience of women working in higher education, for which she has gathered data in Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Poland.
Teresa Kruizenga (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Dr. Teresa Kruizenga is an assistant professor of Educational Studies: K-12 and Secondary Programs. She earned her Master of Education Degree-- Literacy in May, 2004 from St. Mary’s University Minnesota. In 2013, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Curriculum and Instruction: Culture and Teaching. Dr. Kruizenga has been the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year award in 2010 and the Apple Polisher Award, in 2012. Her research and teaching interests focus on culturally relevant pedagogy, multicultural education, literacy practices of teachers and learners in K-12 schools and how “culture” and “cultural difference” play out in the practices of schools, teachers and students.
Joseph Kunkel (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Dr. Joseph Kunkel has taught political science courses at Minnesota State, Mankato since 1979. Dr. Kunkel loves teaching and is committed to experimenting with a variety of teaching and learning approaches. His scholarly interests include American politics and political philosophy. He has taught a wide variety of courses in these areas, as well as the introductory U.S. Government course. He believes in the importance of relating democratic theory and practical political participation. His special interests are in service learning, citizen action, and civic education. For ten years he directed a youth citizen education program called Public Achievement, in which university students taught ideas and skills to children aged 12 to 14. He is involved in study abroad and has organized and led annual student study-tours to Italy and Germany since 2002. He was awarded a Fulbright Grant as a Senior Lecturer and taught in Nuremberg, Germany during summer 2011. He has lectured on American politics and elections in Germany as part of that grant, and on several other occasions. During election season he is frequently interviewed by local, national and sometimes German media on U.S. elections and politics. He was chairman of his department for 12 years. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota.
Karla Lassonde (Ph.D., University of New Hampshire)
Dr. Lassonde is an Associate Professor of Psychology with a speciality in Cognitive Psychology. She also received a master's degree in college teaching while pursuing her doctoral studies. Her research focuses on human memory and attention, and can be applied to student learning in the classroom. She has found that teaching presents itself as an applied setting that feeds into her intellectual creativity and research agenda. She is passionate about the research process and enjoys mentoring undergraduate research students. She hopes to comvey the importance of learning through shared meaning. As topics are explored in the classroom, she aims to demonstrate that learning is dynamic and reflective, a process she identifies as "recriprocal learning." In addition to focusing on student learning, she hopes her enthusiasm to pursue topics of psychology and her efforts to improve teaching for her students model a life-long approach to learning. This dynamic relationship of teaching and learning accomplishes shared meaning in the classroom.
Caryn Lindsay (M.A., Ohio University)
With a diverse background of experiences from around the world, Ms. Lindsay has been Director of International Programs at Minnesota State Mankato since 2005. Ms. Lindsay is currently working on her dissertation on a small town's response to growing diversity and expects to complete her Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education in December 2014. She received her B.A. in German and International Studies from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and her M.A. in International Development from Ohio University. She has worked internationally as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Information Agency and later for the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. and New York City. One of her most valued experiences was volunteering for a year with a women's center in Prishtina, Kosovo. Ms. Lindsay has lived in Germany, Chile, and Italy and has visited many other countries. She speaks German, Spanish, and Albanian.
Keith Luebke (MFA, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale)
Keith Luebke is Associate Professor in the Art Department and Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Program. He graduated with an MFA in Art from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He has been teaching Introduction to Visual Culture since 1985, but also worked in the nonprofit sector for more than twenty years. Nonprofit experiences include managing a grant program for a foundation, creating housing and supportive services for homeless and very low income families, and directing arts programs. He spent his first sabbatical volunteering at the nonprofit A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. His interests include social inequality, postmodern architecture, the sociology of art, and emerging media.
Brian Martensen (Ph.D., Montana State University)
Dr. Martensen receiving his BA at the University of Texas, he earned his MA and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Montana State-Bozeman in 2001. Dr. Martensen’s research focuses on modeling with differential equations, and topological methods in dynamics and tiling space theory. He has taught at the University of Texas, the University of Montana-Bozeman, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He has served as a mentor for several undergraduate research projects, and he has served on a wide variety of university committees. He currently is Interim Dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology.
Justine Martin (MLIS, MA, University of Wisconsin)
Justine Martin is a librarian/associate professor for Library Servicers. She develops educational library resources and services for faculty and students. Justine provides information literacy and research skill sessions to courses and is a member of Memorial Library’s Reference Team, which offers point of need research assistance. Her scholarship focuses on developing and implementing undergraduate information literacy models.
Martin Mitchell (Ph.D., University of Illinois)
Martin Mitchell is a Professor of Geography at Minnesota State University and holds a PhD from the University of Illinois, a Masters degree from University of Georgia and an undergraduate degree from California State University, Chico. His specialty is climatology, cartography and environmental geography. His favorite regions are the American West, Alaska and the upper Midwest (most notably Minnesota). Prior to entering academia, he worked as a land use planner in Contra Costa County California. He also worked for the US Forest Service in the southern Cascades of CA and a cattle ranch in Northeastern CA and northwestern NV. In 2011, he earned the title of Distinguished University Scholar based on his research and publication record.
Agnes Odinga (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
A native of Kenya, Dr. Odinga received B.Ed. and M.A. degrees from Kenyatta University in Nairobi and her Ph.D. in History from the University of Minnesota. She also recently earned an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Dr. Odinga has taught courses on World History and Sub-Saharan African History in Kenya, at the University of Minnesota, Hamline University, and here at Minnesota State since 2007. She has received numerous grants for her research on women and medicine in twentieth-century Kenya. She has been extremely active in the Twin-Cities East African immigrant community and has presented aspects of her research at numerous community forums throughout the state.
Deepa Oommen (Ph.D., Bowling Green State University)
Deepa Oommen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. She came to MSU in 2010. She was born and raised in India where she did her undergraduate and graduate work in Economics. She moved to the United States in 2004 and did her M.A. in Communication Studies from Morehead State University in Kentucky and her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Bowling Green State University. Her research primarily looks at how factors associated with cultural adaptation of immigrants and sojourners influence their communicative behaviors in intercultural and organizational contexts. Her work has been published in the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, Journal of Communication and Religion, International Journal of Conflict Management, Communication Studies, and Mass Communication and Society.
Glen Peterson (Ph.D., University of Northern Colorado)
Glen Peterson is Emeritus Professor of Rehabilitation Studies, having retired in 2011. He was educated at San Jose State University, University of Wisconsin-Stout, and the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Peterson is a certified rehabilitation counselor, and he practiced in the field for many years before turning to university teaching. He has received many awards for his teaching, and he serves on the editorial board for journals and newsletters in his field. He is an active member of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education.
Andrew Phemister (Ph.D., Michigan State Univeristy)
Andrew Phemister is a tenured, Associate Professor in the Rehabilitation Counseling Program at MSU, Mankato. Andy completed his doctoral studies in Rehabilitation Counselor Education at Michigan State University where he began his research focus on the sociological and psychological influences that may affect adjustment to disability. He is particularly interested in the person, environment factors that impact how individuals with disabilities interpret and attribute meaning to their lives. He has been in involved in several professional activities since coming to MSU, Mankato including serving as the chairperson for the Cultural Diversity Committee and a volunteer-member for the International Committee, both in the College of Allied Health & Nursing. Other professional activities include serving on the Disability Awareness and Advocacy Group (DAAG), the Minnesota Rehabilitation Association (MRA), and the Minnesota Rehabilitation Counseling Association (MRCA). Dr. Phemister has published, presented, or guest lectured on a number of topics including Counseling Theory; Objective Self-Awareness, Stigma, and Disability; Factors Impacting Clinical Judgment; Rehabilitation Counseling Ethics; Diverse Experiences with Disability; and Professional Writing.
Paul Prew (Ph.D., University of Oregon)
Dr. Paul Prew’s research and personal interests all revolve around the growing concerns regarding the destruction of our environment. Of particular interest is how these environmental threats are forcing changes in indigenous groups as well as in poorer nations around the world. To get a first-hand look at these issues, Dr. Prew has traveled to Ecuador to learn from an indigenous group, Sarayaku, and other groups who resist environmental degradation and threats to their livelihood.
Dr. Prew is a local Midwesterner, living most of his life a mere four hours drive from Mankato. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, he received his Masters in Sociology from MSU-Mankato when it was still Mankato State University. Dr. Prew returned to teach at MSU-Mankato after his PhD program at the University of Oregon where he specialized in environment, Marxist theory and labor studies.
Elizabeth Sandell (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Dr. Sandell received three degrees from the University of Minnesota: a BS in Social Work, a MS in Educational Administration, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Her mission is to organize, host, and teach people in transition so that they grow in faith and hope, they control their decisions and resources, and they employ their gifts and talents. After more than twenty-five years in early education administration and teacher preparation, she came to Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2005 to teahc in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She has visited all fifty of the United States and six continents. She served as President of the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children and as the chairperson of the Global Guidelines Task Force for the Association for Childhood Education International. She has provided teacher training throughout the United States and in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Portugal. She has authored thirteen books and published journal articles and book chapters. Her research interests are in quality of early education and cultural competency.
Roger Sheffer (D.A., SUNY Albany)
Dr. Sheffer has taught Creative Writing at Minnesota State Mankato since 1980. He earned a BA and Doctorate of Arts from SUNY Albany. His short stories have appeared in three collections, the latest in 1999 in Music of the Inner Lakes from New Rivers Press. His most recent magazine publication was a story in the summer 2007 issue of Harpur Palate, and was a finalist for the John Gardner Award.
Ronald C. Schirmer (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Dr. Schirmer is an Associate Professor of Anthropology, and completed his Ph.D. in Archeology in 2002 at the University of Minnesota, with a doctoral minor in Quaternary Paleocology. Ron's research focuses on examining the interrelationships between people and the environment, especially as those relationships become characteristic in specific cultures and then are used as markers of identity when different groups of people interact with each other. He researches throughout the southern half of Minnesota, with foci in the Mississippi and Blue Earth valleys. In addition, he works with several Native American groups in Minnesota and Wisconsin on archaeological site preservation and community outreach to give descendent communities greater voices in research and preservation.
Sachi Sekimoto (Ph.D., University of New Mexico)
Dr. Sekimoto earned her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of New Mexico in 2011. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, she teaches courses related to intercultural communication. In her teaching, she focuses on issues of globalization, racial and ethnic diversity, cultural identity, critical literacy, media representation, and social justice. In her research, she is primarily interested in theorizing the relationship between culture and communication through critical, feminist, and phenomenological perspectives. She is originally from Tokyo, Japan.
Emily Stark (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)
Dr. Stark earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2007, and then joined the Psychology Department here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests lie in understanding the things that influence our judgments and decisions, such as emotions, logical reasoning, personality traits, the context of the decision, and other factors. She is also involved in several research projects tied to understanding how students learn and how to motivate better study habits, as well as how to improve students’ critical thinking abilities.
Jocelyn Fenton Stitt (Ph.D., University of Michigan)
Dr. Stitt studied English Literature and Women's Studies at Pomona College in California (B.A.) and postcolonial literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland (M.Litt) before beginning her doctoral work. Stitt's experience as an undergraduate at a liberal arts college that emphasized small class size and discussion-based seminars convinced her that she wanted to be a professor. She is looking forward to teaching similar seminars in the Honors Program.
Stitt is an Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies where she teaches courses on global feminism, postcolonial culture and theory, and feminist mothering. She received her Ph.D. in English and Women's Studies from the University of Michigan and has held fellowships at the Institute for the Humanities at Michigan and the International Museum of Women. Her publications investigate the intertwining of the familial and the imperial in Britain and the Anglophone Caribbean from the nineteenth century to the present, in journals such as Small Axe: A Journal of Caribbean Criticism and ARIEL. She coedited with Pallavi Rostogi Before Windrush: Recovering an Asian and Black Literary Heritage within Britain (2008). Stitt and Pegeen Powell co-edited Mothers Who Deliver: Feminist Interventions in Public and Interpersonal Discourse, which was published by SUNY Press in September 2010.
Ginny Walters (M.Ed., University of Cincinnati)
Ms. Ginny Walters is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where she received a B.S. in Secondary Language Arts Education and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Postsecondary Literacy Instruction. Ms. Walters was an honors student during her undergraduate years at the University of Cincinnati. Her honors experiences included an alternative spring break trip to Appalachia, volunteering with non-profits, honors seminars focusing on the culture of books and reading, architecture, and history, and short-term study abroad trips to Paris, France and Moscow, Russia. During graduate school, she served as a Graduate Assistant in Student-Athlete Support Services and the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards.
Gina Wenger (Ph.D. Penn State University)
Dr. Gina Mumma Wenger is a Professor in the Department of Art. Dr. Wenger began her career as a public school art educator and administrator, completing a BA and MA in Art Education and receiving a doctorate from Penn State University in Art Education. Her research focuses on contemporary issues in curriculum and teaching with an emphasis on feminist pedagogy and critical theory. Dr. Wenger’s current writings investigate the history of art education within the Japanese American Internment Camps of WWII. She has constructed a photo documentary of the camps as they stand today and the children’s artworks created within the camps.
Gwen N. Westerman (Ph.D., University of Kansas)
Dr. Westerman is a Professor in English and the Director of the Humanities Program. She studied English and Philosophy at Oklahoma State University, where received her B.A. and M.A. in English. She earned a Ph.D. in English from the Univerity of Kansas and her dissertation focused on discourse analysis and the design of human-computer dialogue. At MSU, she teaches technical communication, literature, and humanities courses at undergraduate and graduate levels. An artist and poet, she is enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate, and incorporates the languages and traditions of her family in her writing and art. She is the author Follow the Blackbirds, a poetry collection in Dakota and English, and co-author of Mni Sota Makoce: Land of the Dakota, a history of Dakota land tenure in Minnesota.
Leah White (Ph.D. Arizona State University)
Dr. White earned a B.A. in Communication and English Writing from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, a M.A. in Speech Communication from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in Communication from Arizona State University. Her research focuses on performance studies, rhetorical theatre and criticism, and feminist theory, and she has completed many professional development workshops on theatre and performance pedagogy. She has served as the Chair of the Communications Studies Department and is the Director of the Forensics Program and the Chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Women.