May 6, 2015
Next Issue: May 20, 2015
Submissions Due: noon, May 13, 2015
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Voice: 858-3298 - Fax: 858-4481

Graduates and alumnus to speak at commencement

Graduate student Emily Gordon, undergraduate student, Cameron McBeth and alumnus Nathan Conway will address the Class of 2015 at Minot State University’s commencement ceremony May 15.

MSU graduate students will participate in a hooding ceremony at 8 a.m. in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall. The commencement ceremony for graduate and undergraduate students begins at 10 a.m. in the Dome.

Gordon, a Dickinson native, is attaining a Master of Science degree in communication disorders (speech-language pathology) after completing a Bachelor of Science in communication disorders in 2013. She was involved with the National Student Speech, Language, and Hearing Association while an undergraduate student. She founded “Miles for Smiles,” a fundraising walk to benefit Operation Smile, an international organization that provides reconstructive surgeries to children with cleft lip and palate. Her efforts helped to raise approximately $9,000 and inspired the entire Department of Communication Disorders to raise money for more than 100 surgeries during the MSU Centennial Celebration. She is marrying Kyle Stephen, an alumnus, in August and becoming the new speech-language pathologist at Nedrose Public School in the fall.

McBeth, a Towner native, is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and finance. He has a 4.0 grade point average and is graduating with summa cum laude honors. Initially, he attended Dakota College at Bottineau, completing an associate degree in accounting. While at DCB, he was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and was elected its president in 2011. While at MSU, McBeth has been an exceedingly engaged student. He joined the Mu Sigma Tau Fraternity and served as a supplemental instructor for introductory accounting courses. He participated in the Voluntary Income Tax Assistant program and was the president of the Phi Beta Lambda business club. McBeth is also involved with his hometown as a Zion Lutheran Church council member and the Layton Township treasurer. He plans to take the certified public accounting exam after graduation and continue working at Accounting Solutions in the spring and on his family farm for the rest of the year.

Westhope native Conway is the chief executive officer of Fortis Energy Services, a Bloomfield Hills-based oil and gas service company with operations in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. Conway’s primary focus is on strategic acquisitions and organic growth. Prior to taking on this position, he was chief operations officer of Ward Williston Oil Co. A third-generation oilman, Conway grew up in the North Dakota oilfields and earned an accounting degree from Minot State University, followed by an MBA at the University of Michigan.

Terry Hjelmstad is representing the State Board of Higher Education, which he chairs. Appointed to the board in 2011, the retired Minot educator’s term expires June 30.

All members of the MSU community are strongly encouraged to celebrate the students’ achievements and the completion of their academic programs. Faculty members should arrive at the south end of the second floor of the Dome dressed in academic regalia by 9 a.m. All staff members are strongly encouraged to attend the ceremony. If student assistance is not available from 10 a.m. to noon, staff members may close their offices.

Employee Recognition and Retirement Event is May 13

All Minot State University faculty and staff members are invited and encouraged to attend the annual Employee Recognition and Retirement Event May 13 in Old Main. A social in McFarland Gallery at 2 p.m. will be followed by a recognition program in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall at 2:30 p.m. President Steven Shirley has advised supervisors to close offices where feasible to ensure the fullest attendance possible. Join colleagues as those marking five-year increments of service, those retiring and those receiving Faculty and Staff Achievement Awards will be honored.

Five at MSU earn achievement awards

Three faculty members, Erik Anderson, Tom Seymour and Narayan Thapa, and two staff members, Wesley Matthews and Steven Swenson, will receive MSU Board of Regents Achievement Awards May 13 during Minot State University’s annual Employee Recognition and Retirement event. The awards are as follows

Teaching — Erik Anderson, professor of music, joined the MSU faculty in 2003. As a cellist, bassist, conductor and teacher, Anderson’s charismatic personality and thoughtful approach to music appeals to audiences of all ages and musical tastes. Whether in concert lectures for the Minot Symphony Orchestra, chamber music presentations in classrooms or on stages from the Great Plains to Europe, he communicates a deep love and respect for the music he performs and a passion for education and exploration. Recent highlights include such diverse experiences as a series of lecture-performances on the six preludes to the Bach cello suites, chamber music for sax, cello and piano at the SaxArts festival in Faenza, Italy, conducting a philanthropic concert of rock tunes arranged for orchestra, and improvised live music/dance with Minneapolis’ James Sewell Ballet Company.

Regionally, Anderson performs frequently with the piano trio, Luminus, and in recital with his wife, Dianna, and has been featured as soloist with the symphonies of Minot, Grand Forks and Bismarck. He has been the director of Dakota Chamber Music, an annual weeklong chamber music festival for strings, winds and piano, since 2006. He is also active in the First-Year Experience program, teaching a course each year. He served as a committee member for five years, revising the general education program, including one year as chair, and he has worked to revise the music program content and pacing to better serve students. 

Service — Tom Seymour, professor of business information technology, has taught at Minot State since 1985 and was department chair from 2007 to 2009. Seymour is a past president of MSU Faculty Senate, the International Association of Computer Systems, and the North Dakota Council of College Faculties where he led a successful initiative to place a faculty advisor on the State Board of Higher Education. The Cavalier native is a peer reviewer and team chair for the Higher Learning Commission and has made over 50 team visits. Globally, he has given over 150 computer and e-commerce presentations and had more than 80 articles published. He is a SRT board member and a Minot alderman. Seymour was a North Dakota state senator from 2002 to 2010 and is a member of the Quentin Burdick Job Corps and Minot High School Business Advisory committees. He is also the editor of the International Journal of Management & Information Systems. This past year, Seymour chaired the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee.

Scholarship — Narayan Thapa, assistant professor of mathematics, teaches undergraduate and graduate mathematics classes and supervises students in undergraduate research projects. Thapa’s research focuses on integrating science, engineering, technology and mathematics through direct and inverse problems. Currently, his research centers on developing STEM-oriented inverse problems, facilitating students, staff and faculty across disciplines to work together for a common goal. Thapa’s publication and presentation record with students is extensive. He has supervised 31 undergraduate students in 21 research projects, which are often supported by grant funding. His students made approximately 63 oral presentations, including 14 at Joint Mathematics Meetings. Six students co-authored with him in four peer-reviewed papers. Currently, 14 of his students are working on Ebola-related problems that came from Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences. Thapa launched the first two North Dakota Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences in North Dakota history, for which he received a National Science Foundation grant. Currently, he is chief editor for the Journal of Scientific Research and Reports and an academic editor for the British Journal of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Wesley Matthews, director of human resources, has been a problem solver since he began his MSU career July 1, 2000. As part of the implementation team, he was a subject-matter expert during the transition from the legacy system to PeopleSoft human resource management system. From 2005 to 2014, Matthews chaired the Compensation Task Force, which advised the university president and his staff regarding salary administration. This effort brought significant wage increases to several employees to bring MSU’s salary structure closer to average market salaries. Consequently, MSU is more competitive when recruiting new staff and faculty.

In February 2014, Matthews was selected as the Title IX coordinator to lead the effort to develop a formal Title IX program. Title IX prohibits sexual discrimination in educational settings that receive federal funding. He organized a committee with student, faculty and staff members to access the situation and implement a plan. He selected deputy coordinators and investigators and secured training for his team.

Before joining MSU, Matthews completed a United States Air Force career and served as a pastor. From 2001 to 2005, he taught a speech class as an adjunct faculty member and participated in the Beaver Brass pop band. This semester, he is finishing his third year singing with the MSU Concert Choir.

Steven Swenson, an attorney, is in his third year as assistant athletic director-compliance and student life at Minot State University.  In that role, he advises student-athletes with their eligibility and assists coaches, staff and athletic supporters in maintaining compliance with all NCAA, conference, and MSU rules and regulations.  Swenson oversees several MSU teams and assists in all aspects of the Athletic Department, including serving as Student-Athlete Advisory Committee advisor and recently chairing the search committee for MSU's new head wrestling coach.

This past year, Swenson also served as MSU Staff Senate president. In that role, he led Staff Senate events and initiatives such as the Fall Kickoff and the Staff Senate Silent Auction, and served on the Presidential Inauguration Committee.  He is also the deputy Title IX coordinator for athletics and serves as a Title IX investigator on campus.  A native of Raymond, Minn., he serves on numerous MSU committees and acts as a liaison for the Athletic Department to several supporting offices across campus.

Joseph Ferrara and Selmer Moen, retired faculty members, will receive Distinguished Lifetime Educator Awards.

Service awards presented

Fifty-seven Minot State University employees will be saluted for service at the annual recognition event May 13. Employees to be recognized for five-year increments of service include:

45 Years — Donna Just, Gordon B. Olson Library. 

35 Years — Teresa Loftesnes, marketing; Robin Wagner, Business Office.

30 Years — Julianne Eklund, business information technology; Joan Houston, accounting and finance; Sharon Reynolds, business information technology.

25 Years — Linda Haider, nursing; Evelyn Klimpel, disability services; Jane laPlante, library; Frank McCahill, humanities; William Mosser, facilities management; Kathy Nelson, financial aid; Terry Wald, facilities management; Lorraine Willoughby, business information technology and Graduate School.

20 Years — DeVera Bowles, music; Lisa Haman, Information Technology Central; Scott Muhle, facilities management; Cheryl Nilsen, mathematics and computer science; James Ondracek, business administration; Jon Rumney, music.

15 Years — Wojciech Cebulak, criminal justice; Terry Eckmann, teacher education and human performance; Guy Hanley, science; Stephen Hayton, mathematics and computer science; Patricia Hunt, library; Cheryl Kremer, music; Wesley Matthews, human resources; Deborah Olson, addiction studies, psychology and social work; Ernst Pijning, history; Heidi Super, biology.

10 Years — Abbie Baklenko, nursing; Dianne Bossert, North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities; Dean Frantsvog, accounting and finance; Debra Jensen, teacher education and human performance; Paul Lepp, biology; Thomas Lipsey, facilities management; Stuart Melby, athletics; Jolene Nechiporenko, library; Debra Wentz, President’s Office; Naomi Winburn, science.

5 Years — Sarah Aleshire, humanities; Stephen Banister, library; Tonya Critz, financial aid; Brian Foisy, administration and finance; Tiffany Fylling, POWER Center; Sherri Giessinger, information center; Richard Heit, marketing; Jynette Larshus Thompson, sociology; Michael Linnell, athletics; Jeanne MacDonald, business administration; Heather Martin, Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning; Daniel Ngugi, economics; Elizabeth Odahlen, CETL; Emily Rodacker, NDCPD; Tyler Schmaltz, ITC; Jessica Smestad, CETL; Jason Spain, athletics.

Retirees to be honored

Minot State University employees, who recently retired or will retire at the end of this semester, will be honored May 13 at the Employee Recognition and Retirement Event. This year’s retirees include Caren Barnett, Student Health Center; Brad Brentrup, facilities management; Carmen Fricke, mathematics and computer science; Larry Goodman, mathematics and computer science; Diann Hanson, business administration; Dick Jenkins, vice president for student affairs; Kathy Nelson, financial aid; Neil Nordquist, College of Education and Health Sciences; Ronald Royer, science; Richard Seklecki, criminal justice; Michael Wilz, Gordon B. Olson Library. More may still be added to the list. For questions, contact Wes Matthews, director of human resources, at 858-4610 or wes.matthews@minotstateu.edu.

Powwow honors Class of 2015

The Native American Spring Honor Dance and Powwow Celebration, sponsored by the Native American Cultural Awareness Club and Minot State University, honored all 2015 graduates. The event also promoted understanding and appreciation of Native peoples.

Democracy Café to look ‘Beyond Oil’

For the semester’s last Democracy Café on Thursday (May7), Emily Guerin and Leigh Paterson, "Inside Energy" correspondents, will lead discussion on “Beyond Oil: Impact of the Bakken Boom on North Dakota.” Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the U.S. and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. With the closure of Beaver Brew Café, the event is at Broadway Bean and Bagel from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.

Democracy Cafés, which are free and open to the public, foster nonpartisan discussion on important civic issues. This Democracy Café is funded by Minot State University’s College of Arts and Sciences and the North Dakota Humanities Council. For questions, contact Jynette Larshus, assistant professor of sociology, at 858-4324 or Jynette.larshus@minostateu.edu.

MSU students present Hope for the Hungry proceeds to Salvation Army

Thursday (May 7), Minot State University students from an Honors 391 class, “Community Problem Solving,” will present a check for more than $2,000 from the Hope for the Hungry Community Banquet to the Minot Salvation Army’s food pantry. The event will be in the Honors Room (Model 208) at 10 a.m.

“We researched community problems and learned how to coordinate a fundraising event from beginning to end,” said Lindsey Eliasen, MSU student in HON 391. “Most importantly though, this class taught us how to bring meaning to our lives and become better people, through serving others.”

This student-planned fundraiser included a silent auction, catered dinner and live music. To wrap up their semester of work, students will also give a reflection on their learning experience. Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.

The class researched community issues and worked to find a solution. Despite a thriving economy, they found that many families in the Minot area still struggle to put food on the table. The goal was to make a long-term positive impact toward this problem. In addition to organizing the Hope for the Hungry Community Banquet, students also compiled fliers of resources, such as food banks and soup kitchens, to distribute to those in need. 

For questions, contact Johannah Mayhew, MSU student, at johannah.miller@my.minotstateu.edu or Jessica Smestad, advisor, at jessica.smestad@minotstateu.edu.

Spring 2015 Nursing Scholarship Day

Everyone is invited to attend the spring 2015 Nursing Scholarship Day Friday (May 8) at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall from 8:30 to 11 a.m. The schedule includes:

  • 8:30-9 a.m. — Semester 2 Theory and Research presentation: “Time Management as it Contributes to the Sense of Well-being among College Students.”
  • 9-9:30 a.m. — Semester 1 (Geriatric Care Plan) and Semester 2 (Sentinel Events) poster presentations with cake/coffee/lemonade served in honor of National Nurses Week
  • 9:30-10:30 a.m. — Semester 4 Public Health Nursing presentation: “Program Planning: Development of 5 screening events for Target Population of >55 years of age and/or Disabled.”
  • 10:30-11 a.m. — Semester 5 Leadership and Management Change project: “Reducing the number of health care associated infections, specifically Clostridium difficile, by 50 percent within one year.”

Any questions may be directed Nikki Medalen, nursing assistant professor, to 858-4476 or Nicole.medalen@minotstateu.edu.

New faculty and staff aboard

Minot State University welcomes new employee, Jon Whalen. Whalen is a custodian in Dakota Hall. Previously, he worked at Minot’s Taco John’s. He enjoys sports, especially hockey. He and his wife, Magan, have a son and two daughters.

In the galleries

May 6-7 — Minot State University Juried Art Show with Greg Walter, Dickinson, as the juror. 

June 1-26 — “eems-Say inda-Kay amiliar-Fay,” joint senior capstone exhibition by Danielle Bolinske and Tara Thiel, Gordon B. Olson Library Gallery. The public opening reception for “eems-Say inda-Kay amiliar-Fay” is June 4 in the Library Gallery, 6:30-8 p.m.

Faculty and staff achievements

The Office of Public Information proudly shares the many accomplishments of faculty and staff with the campus community in every issue.

Warren Gamas, Deb Jensen, Erik Kana, Timothy Morris, Cheryl Nilsen and Jan Repnow represented MSU at the Spring 2015 Council for the Accreditation of Educator Programs conference in Denver on April 9-10. CAEP is replacing the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education as the accrediting body for teacher education. Attendees learned details regarding the evidence needed to verify compliance with the five CAEP standards.

Stephen Hayton
, associate professor of computer science, and Timothy Morris, instructor in mathematics, presented at the joint North Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics and North Dakota Science Teachers Association 2015 ND STEAM Conference at Bismarck’s Century High School on March 20-21. They presented sessions titled "Exploring the Minot State University STEM Project Website," "STATS - Statistics that Amaze the Students" for grades K - 6 and "STATS - Statistics that Amaze the Students" for grades 6 - 12.

Kathy Hintz, associate professor of education, presented a session, "Using Children’s Literature to Teach Social Studies," April 24 at the North Dakota Reading Association Annual Conference in Minot.

Narayan Thapa, assistant professor of mathematics, was selected as the recipient of a 2015 Faculty Mentoring Award from the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research. This award honors faculty for their outstanding work in mentoring undergraduate students in research. 

Minot State University mission
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.