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Vision 2013

Minot State names Vision 2013 Merit Award recipients

Minot State University announced Vision 2013 Award recipients. Faculty and staff award winners demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing the university toward its Vision 2013 goals and objectives.

The recipients are Lynda Bertsch, Student Success Center; Jancy Brisson, POWER Center; Lisa Eriksmoen, student life; Dean Frantsvog, and Jay Wahlund, accounting and finance; Rick Heit, marketing; Cathy Horvath and Anton Huether, Information Technology Central; Roger Kluck, facilities management; Kate Marshall and Renae Yale, advancement; Wes Matthews, human resources; Beth Odahlen, Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning; Rick Seklecki, criminal justice; Jason Spain, athletics; Connie Teets, teacher education; Vicki Troftgruben, North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities; Kris Warmoth, Center for Extended Learning; Deb Wentz, Office of the President; and Tiffany Ziegler, social science.

Bertsch, SSC director, exemplifies "above and beyond" in helping MSU students and the community. She meets with students on weekends and evenings. During the 2011 Souris River Flood, she sandbagged, advocated for her 91-year-old aunt and volunteered with the American Red Cross, Lutheran Disaster Relief and the Souris Valley Animal Shelter, which subsequently asked her to be on its board of directors. She also serves on the boards of directors of Roosevelt Park Zoo and Lutheran Social Services.

Brisson, advising coordinator, sandbagged, evacuated faculty, staff and students, assisted flood-volunteer groups and walked dogs at the temporary animal shelter. She volunteered at CONNECTIONS, the new student orientation, off-site registration in Bottineau and Dickinson, commencement, the friend-raising golf tour and The National Day of Service in Remembrance of 9-11. She serves on the Diversity Committee in addition to her duties with the POWER Center.

Eriksmoen, student life director, supervised the housing office during a challenging year. Throughout the summer, MSU housed faculty, staff and students, community members, summer camp attendees and emergency-service workers. She remained focused and flexible, knowing her role impacted student retention. Throughout sleep-deprived days, she remained professional as she worked to ease concern about campus housing shortages. Eriksmoen, who belongs to the Optimist Club of Minot, serves on several campus committees, which include University Cabinet, Student Welfare Committee and Diversity Committee, and advises the MSU Men's Club Hockey Team. She occasionally teaches study skills and online studies.

Frantsvog, as Minot City Council president, volunteered countless hours at the Emergency Operations Center. He manned telephone hotlines to help evacuees and worked with the National Guard, Red Cross, Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, city staff and other agencies. Frantsvog and Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman were the city's representatives to local, regional, national and global media. The Minot native later organized the "Rally for the Valley" fundraiser and testified at the North Dakota special legislative session and traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss flood-recovery funding. In addition to his duties as an associate professor of accounting, he serves in other capacities at MSU. He works at MSU CONNECT sessions, advises the PBL Business Club, serves on the Institutional Review Board and is the MSU faculty athletic representative. He chairs the Minot Recreation Commission and is a member of the North Dakota League of Cities and Trinity Health Foundation boards of directors and Minot High School business advisory board.

Heit, social media specialist, tells MSU's story through photography and video, which often requires working after regular business hours. A flood refugee himself, Heit captured the images MSU needed for insurance, community awareness and historical purposes. He sandbagged and coordinated his church's house-mucking operation. He is his church's financial officer and a Cub Scout and substitute Sunday school leader. He also mentors young people about his profession.

Horvath, information technology director, places students first and advocates for students, her staff and MSU. With her broad knowledge, she proactively prepares MSU's information technology infrastructure for future needs. During the flood, she worked tirelessly with the Emergency Planning Committee and constructed backup plans to ensure the campus network infrastructure would continue operating for the groups working and living on campus to help the community. She participates at CONNECT sessions and on the Information Technology Advisory Committee.

Huether, MSU's webmaster, designs and maintains more than 120 websites and plays an active behind-the-scenes role in the development of all university public-facing Web activities. His campus participation is extensive. He assists with orientation sessions and serves as MSU Staff Senate vice president and a member of State Staff Senate and several committees. He is also scanning yearbooks to be published to the Web for MSU's 100th anniversary. When water overcame the dikes and MSU closed, Huether updated the website with timely information and provided needed assistance - all while evacuated from his home and living with a fellow employee.

Kluck, assistant facilities management vice president, coordinated efforts to save the MSU campus from devastation, while his home was destroyed by flooding. His quick thinking saved buildings and financial resources by keeping damages and losses to a minimum, ensuring a safe community haven from the flood's impact. Kluck's staff also transformed the MSU Dome into a secure shelter for flood evacuees. He chairs the Prairie Federal Credit Union board of directors and is a member of Minot Public Schools board and the state's licensing board for engineers.

Marshall, donor relations officer, tirelessly supported MSU and the community in the flood fight. She sandbagged, evacuated and housed flood refugees, mucked out houses and fundraised for MSU flood families. She established an Emergency Operations Center call center and database system for tracking calls, donations and distribution of needed items. At the same time, she assumed many of the duties of an alumni director for the Golden Awards banquet and alumni Homecoming activities. She was also coordinating a capital campaign. She belongs to Minot Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Committee and Young Professionals.

Matthews, human resources director, advises employees about work relations, medical issues and policy interpretation, often guided by policy, as well as subjective problem solving. He continues to serve on the North Dakota University System HR Council and the State Employee Compensation Committee. When the first evacuation notice was given, MSU transitioned to emergency operations to help the community. Matthews was instrumental in setting up MSU's call center and organizing MSU volunteers to help with the evacuation and set up for the Dome shelter. He was MSU's communications liaison, day and night, with the Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Guard and other organizations utilizing the campus.

Odahlen, CETL director, locates volunteer, internship and civic engagement opportunities for MSU students, faculty and staff. She and other MSU staff members created CONNECTIONS, part II of the orientation process, which introduces students to resources and service activities. A flood refugee, Odahlen helped others evacuate, mucked out houses, delivered food and water and helped residents return home. Later, she coordinated CONNECTIONS groups to assist Roosevelt Park Zoo with its continued flood recovery, organized MSU's National Day of Service and worked with Honors Class 391 on its "Adopt a Neighborhood" flood recovery project. She continues to connect MSU students, faculty and staff with agencies, such as the Salvation Army, RSVP+, Lutheran Disaster Relief and Campus Ministries, to assist in flood recovery. She co-advises the Residence Hall Association, organizes the annual MSU Engagement Fair and belongs to Rotary and YP.

Seklecki, associate criminal justice professor, exemplifies "Students First" in his behavior and attitude. Because of his expertise in the area of child abuse, he often lectures to nursing and social work students, as well as Trinity Hospital staff. He advises more than 30 CJ majors, chairs CJ master thesis committees and serves as CJ Club faculty advisor. He has taught campus self-defense classes, and he regularly volunteers for CONNECT sessions and is on the IRB. Seklecki is mayor of Max and belongs to the promotion and evaluation boards for the Minot Police Department. During summer 2011, he sandbagged and later rearranged his classes to enable flood-impacted students to complete them. He did multiple one-on-one sessions with students to ensure they understood course material and were progressing in his classes.

Spain, head women's soccer coach, exudes contagious enthusiasm for MSU, constantly thinking of ways to move the university forward. Because of his many contacts in California, he helped enrollment services recruit students there, and he hosted several visiting California high school students for Easter Sunday dinner. Prior to the flood, Spain and his assistant coaches helped evacuate Lura Manor and several Minot homeowners. Later, they traveled to Velva to assist residents. For several weeks, Spain and his wife, Catherine, made and delivered meals for flood refugees. He and his team collected items for care packages for military troops during the holidays. He coaches five traveling youth club soccer teams, since no other parents volunteered; he is also training a young Minot boy, who wishes to try out for the U.S. National Team.

Teets, teacher advisement and field placement secretary, approaches everything with exuberance and a willing spirit to make both MSU and the community better. Dedicated and efficient, she is patient with students concerned about the field-placement process. She served MSU Staff Senate as its secretary/treasurer, Bylaws Committee chair, Election Committee member and representative to Faculty Senate. During the flood, Teets sandbagged, evacuated family members and MSU faculty and staff members and housed relatives. She also volunteered many hours to assist with the Red Cross' utilization of Swain Hall and manned telephones during "Bring Back the Magic," the Minot Recovery Fund telethon.

Troftgruben, NDCPD's Money Follows the Person project director, strives to move persons with disabilities and the elderly into affordable housing in their home communities. She has testified before the Minot City Council Planning Committee and the full council, promoting affordable housing options for Minot and surrounding areas. She has presented at several state conferences and community meetings. As MSU Staff Senate president, Troftgruben led the senate in many initiatives that benefit all North Dakota citizens; the Staff Senate Legislative Committee worked with state legislators to sponsor tax-rebate legislation during the November 2011 special session. Although the bill did not pass, the economic impact of flooding across the state was brought to light, and work continues to bring the proposal to the regular legislative session. Currently, the Legislative Committee is developing a presentation to highlight the detrimental effects of oil-industry activity and the flood on Minot's cost of living. Staff Senate also distributed holiday treat trays to MSU flood-impacted families. Troftgruben sandbagged, helped MSU faculty and staff evacuate and helped Red Cross workers move into Swain Hall. She served as MSU Graduate Council student representative and on boards for the Domestic Violence and Crisis Center and Affordable Housing Developers, Inc.

Wahlund, assistant professor of accounting, gives selfless service to MSU, his students, his family, his church, his professional relationships and his community. In the College of Business "SOS: Students suppOrting studentS" leadership pilot program, completion of a group project "for the common good" was required. Wahlund voluntarily led one of the student projects. His group raised funds for flood-impacted MSU students, because they felt students were overlooked in the flood-relief efforts. During the flood, he sandbagged. He is faculty advisor for the Campus Crusade for Christ and Collegiate DECA and an APEX faculty mentor; he belongs to the Athletics Policies and Admissions Exemption Committees. The Minot native is an elder for Trinity Church, president of the Minot Housing Authority board of commissioners and a member of the Minot Area Schools Federal Credit Union and its Budget Committee. He also coaches 6th-7th grade basketball in the fall and 5th-6th grade basketball in the spring for the YMCA basketball league.

Warmoth, CEL dean, keeps MSU's presence visible in Bismarck and at Minot Air Force Base. She continually looks for options to expand MSU offerings and reach more students; she works with the college deans to package degree programs to online and distance students. Through CEL, Warmoth is often the point person who makes collaborative efforts with other campuses happen. Although a flood evacuee, she kept CEL summer sessions on track - she and her staff moved several classes off campus and assisted numerous faculty members in converting their courses to online delivery. She volunteered at the Humane Society's temporary shelter. Throughout the year, she also participated in a number of campus-led efforts to help in the community.

Wentz, executive assistant to the president, demonstrates daily her devoted support of Vision 2013 and engagement for the common good. She fully coordinates Move-in Day and is on the Employee Appreciation Luncheon Committee. She participates in activities such as Campus Cleanup Day and National Day of Service. Before the MSU ombudsman was hired, she fielded calls from faculty and staff needing special assistance and coordinated lists of people in need. Wentz sheltered family members who were flooded for months during the flood recovery. She willingly organized efforts in support of sandbagging and other needs, served on committees and helped during the flood emergency, in spite of personal challenges.

Yale, database manager, worked with other university employees in the sandbagging efforts and moving of faculty and staff, while assisting her two flood-impacted daughters. Her daughters were forced to move with their families into Yale's home; at times, 10 people lived with her. After the flood, she helped muck out houses. She volunteers every year for the MSU service activity and assists with community projects. In the absence of an alumni director, Yale coordinated the 2011 MSU Homecoming Reunion. She is treasurer for her church council and plans the church's Easter Sunday breakfast. She has led the Berthold Booster Club for several years and coordinated activities when Berthold went to the state boys' basketball tournament.

Ziegler, assistant history professor, is a remarkable example of how one can weave community engagement service goals into all facets of her life. She advises History Club, whose members participated in MSU at the Mall and contributed to the research, community education tours and upkeep of First Lutheran Cemetery. She was recently named First-Year Experience Advocate for her enthusiasm and dedication to teaching in a freshman learning community. In the flood emergency, she relocated a colleague's belongings to her garage, while she took another colleague's family into her home. She helped other faculty and community members evacuate and furiously sandbagged to save Little Flower Catholic Church. She organized monthly movie and game nights to restore "normalcy" for students and continued her broad range of service work all year.

The selection committee, made up of four vice presidents and the athletic director, reviewed more than 30 nominations. Supervisors nominated employees based on criteria directly related to MSU's Vision 2013.