Thursday, November 8, 2007

USA Today makes NSSE results public; SMU ranks above national average

A different kind of college assessment survey shows that Saint Mary's University students are engaged with, and learn more from, their college experience.

Saint Mary's is one of 610 colleges and universities who participated this year in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The NSSE, conducted through Indiana University, looks at how actively involved students are with their studies, professors and the campus community. Research shows that the more engaged students are, the more likely they are to learn. NSSE is becoming increasingly recognized as a more authentic indicator of college quality than traditional rankings.

USA Today has partnered with NSSE to publish a guide in print and online to show how NSSE can enhance the college search. Of the 1,000 schools recently surveyed by NSSE, only 257 — including Saint Mary’s — agreed to make their results public. Go online to for NSSE survey stories and college data; go to for Saint Mary's results and the NSSE college guide.

“The NSSE allows colleges to understand what they do especially well, and what they can improve upon, based on comparison with data from other colleges,” said Dr. Thomas Mans, vice president for academic affairs.

Mans said NSSE results show that Saint Mary’s provides a distinctive and superior college experience compared with institutions nationally and even with other small, liberal arts colleges in the Midwest. In many important categories, SMU students’ responses were much more favorable than the comparison groups.

Freshman and senior students were asked last spring to answer 85 questions. Their responses were combined to form summary benchmark scores in the areas of academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, supportive campus environment, enriching educational experiences, and active/collaborative learning.

For freshmen, the average Saint Mary's score on four out of the five benchmarks was significantly higher than the national average. (In the category of enriching educational experiences, Saint Mary's scored slightly below the average.) For seniors, the scores on all five benchmark areas were higher than the national sample.

“The scores show that our students are engaged in activities that aid learning, by faculty with whom they interact well, in a setting that supports them,” according to Dr. Patrick Barlow, SMU director of college assessment.

Barlow noted that “while the results paint a good picture of the quality of the learning experience at Saint Mary’s, the survey also indicated some areas for further growth — specifically in the areas of freshman appreciation of and experience with diversity. The college community is looking at ways to improve this aspect of our students' learning experience.”

SMU Concert Band to present instrumental showcase

The Saint Mary’s University Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Chamber Ensembles will present an instrumental showcase at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18.

The concert, performed under the direction of Dr. Janet Heukeshoven, will be held at Cotter High School’s Saint Cecilia Theatre.

The concert band — including the talents of various small ensembles including a brass quintet, clarinet choir, flute choir, wind ensemble, and percussion ensemble — will entertain audiences with a varied selection of music with an international flavor.
Highlights include the Irish tune “Molly on the Shore” by Grainger; “Rondeau” by Jean-Joseph Mouret; and “Madrigals for Six Flutes,” inspired by familiar folk melodies from Japan and Israel, by Samuel Adler. As the weather turns colder, audiences can warm up with the Latin rhythms of “Carnaval De Caribe” by Moses Mark Howden or enjoy the whimsical new piece, “Firefly,” By David J. Gordon, which captures the essence of dancing fireflies.

All faculty and staff may receive one free ticket by contacting the SMU Box Office.

Tickets are $6 for the general public, $4 for students and seniors and are available online at or the Performance Center box office, Ext. 1715, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Tickets will also be available at the door one hour prior to the performance. For additional details, contact director Janet Heukehsoven at or Ext. 1675.

SMU Page Series presents Koresh Dance Company Nov. 17

The Saint Mary’s University Page Series will host the unique and exciting Koresh Dance Company, featuring “Looking Back: Music of the ’40s & ’50s” on Saturday, Nov. 17.

The program will feature original dance pieces that break through boundaries of traditional choreography. “Looking Back: Music of the ’40s & ’50s” evokes all the romance and rebellion of the era, complete with lively jazz and swing choreography, along with a delightful cast of characters and stories. Koresh will showcase a dance experience that will excite audiences of all ages beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the SMU Performance Center’s Page Theatre.

The dancers will perform to such well-known artists as Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and many more.

Make it dinner and a show. Pre-show dinners are provided by Chartwells Catering. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Toner Student Center, located next to the Performance Center. Adult dinners cost $20 and include chicken, beef, and vegetarian options, along with beverages and dessert. Bottles of wine may be purchased for an extra fee. Children’s dinners cost $12 and include mac-n-cheese or chicken fingers with sides, beverages, and dessert. Orders will be accepted up to three days prior to the event; order online or by phone.

Tickets are $22, $16 for seniors, $14 for students and are available by calling the SMU Box Office, Ext. 1715, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

This Page Series event is co-sponsored by the Kaplan Forum on the Jewish Experience.

‘Yerma’ staged by SMU theatre students Nov. 9-12

A young woman’s painful yearning to be a mother leads to the gradual untangling of her mind in the Department of Theatre Arts production of “Yerma” Nov. 9-12.

The dark tragedy, “Yerma,” by Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, centers on a childless young woman, trapped in a bitter and loveless marriage. Trapped too by social attitudes and conventions, Yerma is prevented from loving another man. Her internal conflict and mental instability seal her fate in a tragic climax befitting her tragic life.

The basic themes of this compelling tale — directed by Judy Myers — resemble the themes in every woman’s life: love, passion, desperation, sexuality and marriage.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday, Nov. 9, 10 and 12. A matinee performance is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11.

Tickets for the show are $8, $6 for students and seniors and are available at the Performance Center Box office, Ext. 1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays or online at

Next Kabara Institute panel is Nov. 15

The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies will host its second event for 2007-08 on Thursday, Nov. 15, with an alumni panel from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Salvi Lecture Hall, Saint Mary's Hall Room 332. The theme of the presentation is “I Didn't Major in Business, But I Run a Business.”

Three alumni will participate and share their stories and experiences as entrepreneurs including: Brandon Darling ’01, Orbis Technology; Laurel Feddema ’83, Steppingstone Consulting, Inc.; and Donald Aleksy ’80, True Vision Enterprise. The event is open to all faculty, staff and students.

Sign up to help with SMU Gifts for Winona

Go to to volunteer for Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona. This annual program assists approximately 1,500 individuals have happier holidays.The community-wide gift-giving program is a great way to get in the holiday spirit by helping those less fortunate. Volunteers are needed to help with picking up gifts from the various trees, located throughout town and bringing them to the distribution site. Volunteers are also needed to help with shopping and wrapping, as well as distribution. Check your calendars. Every person’s contribution helps to make this program a success.

Food drive scheduled for Nov. 12-15

Members of the Global Issues class will conduct a food drive Nov. 12-15. Boxes will be located in Mary's Hall and the Toner Student Center entrance. Everyone is invited to bring canned and boxed items for the Winona Food Shelf.

Employee changes announced

• Faith Seim, Nov. 12, Twin Cities Campus —Recruiter
• Janet Dunn, Nov. 1, Twin Cities Campus — Program Director, Management and Human Resource Management
• Teresa Stephens, Oct. 29, Twin Cities Campus — Receptionist
• Barbara Jean Hall, Oct. 29, Twin Cities Campus — Alumni Relations & Events Coordinator
• Richard Germundsen, Oct. 29, Twin Cities Campus — Associate Director, Ed.D.
• Mark Nichols, Oct. 22, Twin Cities Campus — Security Guard (half-time)

Junior Experience Conference promises interesting topics

The Junior Experience Conference will be held 4 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, in the Toner Student Center. The event includes giveaways, food and beverages. Several informational sessions are planned including “Body as a Barometer,” “Healthy Credit,” “Can Myspace/Facebook Hurt MyFuture?” “Asleep on the Job,” “Balancing Work and Your Values” and “Internships: Tips form Past Interns.” No pre-registration is needed. The event in sponsored by Student Development, Career Services, and Internships. The keynote presentation, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the President’s Room, is titled “Body, Mind & Spirit.”

Willing to share your Thanksgiving dinner with an international student?

The International Student Center staff and students would like to solicit your generosity in hosting an international student for Thanksgiving dinner.

This will be the first Thanksgiving for many of SMU’s international students, and this is a wonderful opportunity to share an American holiday and your family traditions with them.

If you are interested in hosting an international student for dinner, contact Tessy Neves Dias at Ext. 1450 or

Senior Class Silent Auction in need of items

The Senior Class is hosting the annual Silent Auction on Nov. 29 and 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Toner Center Game Room. The auction is a means for the Senior Class to fund the activities held throughout the year, specifically Senior Week.

In years prior, the Senior Silent Auction has been one of the most successful fundraisers for the senior class. The auction needs the help of SMU faculty and staff to truly make the auction a success.
In the past, donated items have included: gift certificates, gift baskets, electronics, and homemade items. Other ideas could target your talent, like guitar lessons, scrapbooking, photo shoots, poetry or other written works, personal CDs, artwork, cooking lessons, dinners, adventure sports activities, and more.

Please submit your donations to Jason Richter in Toner 8A by Friday, Nov. 16.

For more information, contact Anna Skonieczny ( or (815) 541-6457) or Lindsay Dickson (, (763) 232-1558).

More opportunities to help with local flood cleanups

Two more flood cleanups are scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. today, Nov. 9, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. Call Katie LaPlant, Ext. 6936 if you are able to help someone locally clean up or rebuild from the August flood. Our neighbors still need our help.

Burchill recognized locally, nationally for philanthropy work

The late Tim Burchill, longtime administrator and director of the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership, will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Philanthropy Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. A celebration of National Philanthropy Day — at which awards will be presented — will be held Nov. 15 at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront in Saint Paul.

Tim also will be honored by the local Upper Mississippi Valley chapter of AFP, which he co-founded. The chapter named Tim the first outstanding professional fundraiser more than 15 years ago. He will be recognized on Nov. 14, at La Crosse Center ballroom.

The Winona Community Foundation will present Tim with the Founders Award on Nov. 13 during the Thanks for Giving event. As part of the award, Tim’s family will receive a $5,000 grant. The Burchills have asked that the grant be used for the SMU Philanthropy and Development program, which Tim co-founded.

Mutter to give next 'Last Lecture'

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 8 p.m. in Hillside, Dr. Jay Mutter, professor of psychology, will unveil a fresh look at an old adventure, volunteering, in an evening devoted to “Change Matters.”

This is part of the “Last Lecture” series, in which faculty, chosen by students, were asked to deliver what would be their “last lecture ever.”

Whether it is important to you to solve a community problem, advance a worthy cause or to develop as a person, volunteering offers a grassroots opportunity for change. Volunteers are regular people who donate their time to help individuals, organizations and causes by personal choice. Volunteering can help you make important networking contacts, learn and develop skills, enhance your résumé, gain valuable work experience make a difference in someone’s life.

At the core of volunteering, lies an expression of concern about someone or something other than you. It’s about going the distance and putting your values and beliefs into action. Volunteering can help you to explore interests, meet new people and see lands you’ve never dreamed possible.

Knit Nights to begin again

On Thursday, Nov. 16, the popular series of Knit Nights will continue in the Common Room. Space is limited to 25 participants. Beginner lessons will start at 7:30 p.m., with intermediate and advanced knitters invited to join the group at 8 p.m. Women students, faculty, and staff are invited to join others for conversation, knitting instructions and light refreshments. The event will continue until 9:30 p.m. The cost is $5 to cover beginning materials. The next Knit Night will be Thursday, Nov. 30. To sign up, call Ext. 1773 or e-mail or

Saint Mary’s Chemistry Night awards announced

The Saint Mary’s University Chemistry Department has announced the award winners for the Chemistry Night events, held on Thursday, Oct. 25, and Thursday, Nov. 1. Area high school students participated in chemistry activities involving departmental instrumentation and wet chemistry under the guidance of Saint Mary’s chemistry majors.

Based on the National Chemistry Week theme of “The Many Faces of Chemistry,” the high school students were able to simulate many roles of a chemist.
They worked as environmental chemists, food chemists, nanotechnologists, film critics and artistic chemists. The high-school student teams were evaluated on their use and interpretation of experimental results. Based on those evaluations, the following awards were made:

First-place winners: Joe McMartin, Matt Schultz and Emily Kronebusch of Lewiston-Altura High School; and Luke Ward, Robert Kim and Christine Pulido of Lourdes High School in Rochester.

Second-place winners: Hannah Flatten, Joel Hanson and Tia Thompson of Winona Senior High School; and Amy Yin and Sharon Christopher of Onalaska High School.

Third-place winners: Mark Lower, Emily Monk and Mark Painter of Lourdes High School; and Maja Kanebley and Leah Wooden of LaCrescent High School.

The SMU Chemistry Department would like to congratulate these students and thank the 50 students — and their dedicated teachers — who participated in Chemistry Nights.

Benefit for Pickford planned for Nov. 19

A fundraising event will be held Monday, Nov. 19, for SMU senior Christy Pickford. The event, organized by the PR/Business Club, will feature a silent auction, live acoustic music and refreshments.

All proceeds will go to the Pickford family. On July 28, Christy was struck by a train in Winona. She remained in a coma for a month and is currently being treated at a rehabilitation center in the Twin Cities area.

Some of the items to be auctioned off include two pairs of tickets to a Minnesota Wild hockey game, gifts from Nola’s Flowers and SMU apparel. The event will be held 7 to 9 p.m. in the President’s Room. Admission is $5. The auction will conclude with the senior auction Nov. 29-30.

Upcoming events for internships, study abroad

The study abroad deadline for Aimores, Brazil, is scheduled for Nov. 12. For more information, call Ext. 6695.

Cochran facilitates workshops, displays art at Blue Heron

Last Friday (Nov. 2) Michelle Cochran, Art and Design, K-12 Reading Teacher Program, facilitated two workshops at the 2007 Fall Art Educators of Minnesota Conference, held at the Earl Brown Center in Minneapolis. The title of her presentation was “Supporting Literacy Development within the art room: with special attention to struggling readers and writers.”

The presentation included ideas she has found while doing research for Masters of Literacy Education and teaching art.

Cochran’s art is on display at the Blue Heron on Second Street. She is showcasing a series of color pencil drawings of plants native to Minnesota and Wisconsin until Dec. 31. The display is free and open to the public.

Heukeshoven publishes article in Music Education Journal

Dr. Janet Heukeshoven, Department of Music, has an article published in the fall issue of “Interval,” the journal of the Minnesota Music Educator’s Association,, titled “Shift Happens” in Music Too. Heukeshoven discusses the importance of non-traditional school music ensembles, such as SMU’s Batucada Nossa Senhora ethnic percussion ensemble, directed by Denny McGuire.

Cochran to speak at Brown Bag series

Today, Friday, Nov. 9, Dr. Phil Cochran, Biology Department, will give a presentation titled “Lampreys, Beer Kegs, and Diminishing Returns” for the Science and Math Brown Bag series. This event will be held in Hoffman 301 at 12:30 p.m.

Jazz event calendar

The John Paulson Trio performs 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, at Michael’s Restaurant, Rochester, Minn.

The John Paulson Quartet performs 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Starlight Lounge, La Crosse, Wis.

Volunteer Services is going to Biloxi over Thanksgiving break

Students will be helping families continue to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina during Thanksgiving break Nov. 16-26.

Students present, win awards at research symposium

Several SMU students gave oral presentations at the Seven Rivers Undergraduate Research Symposium in La Crosse, Wis., last Friday including:

Anna T. Skonieczny — The Effects of Demethylating and Methylating Chemicals on Mitotic Activity of Vicia faba in Different Stages of the Cell Cycle

Emily Zentgraf — Testing the Chemical Used in Teflon©, Perfluorooctanoic Acid and Mutagenicity as Determined by Using the Ames Test

Bridget M. Emmett — Response of Fish Predators to Tadpole Madtoms (Noturus gyrinus)

Stephen J. Schmitt — Use of Rock Ledge Habitat by Six-lined Racerunners on Southeast Minnesota Bluffs

Sarah J. Schroeder — Examination of the Diet of the Freshwater Drum, Aplodinotus grunniens, for Zebra Mussels, Dreissena polymorpha from the Mississippi River.

Zentgraf and Emmett were each awarded second place awards in their respective sessions. (There was a total of 17 oral presentations in two concurrent sessions.) Skonieczny and Zentgraf worked with Dr. Dick Kowles, and the others worked with Dr. Phil Cochran.

Reminder: Next week is last ‘Campus Notes’ before break

Reminder: Get your notices in by Wednesday, Nov. 14, to get them into the next “Campus Notes” on Friday Nov. 16. Because of break, there will be no ‘Campus Notes’ on Nov. 23. The next edition will be Friday, Nov. 30. Look ahead on your calendars.

Sympathy to Erdmann family

Edward “Eddie” Erdmann, husband to Laurie Hale-Erdmann (Student Services), father to Autumn Warden ’99 and brother to Linda Steinfeldt (Maintenance), died Friday, Nov. 2, 2007, of cancer at his home. The Saint Mary’s community extends its sympathy to the Erdmann family.