shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Archived Announcements

Page address: http://ed.mnsu.edu/announcements2.html

Dr. Ginger Zierdt Awarded the 2014 Claire E. Faust Public Service Award

On Monday, May 12, 2014, Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport presented Dr. Ginger Zierdt with the 2014 Claire E. Faust Public Service Award at the annual Employee Appreciation Breakfast.

The Claire E. Faust Public Service Award was developed to recognize a Minnesota State University, Mankato employee for outstanding service to the university, community, state and nation. It was named after Claire E. Faust, former Vice President of Administrative Affairs at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Go to, http://www.mnsu.edu/hr/erc/awards/clairefaust/ to view past recipients of the award. The Employee Recognition Committee coordinates the nominating process for the award. The president makes the final decision on the annual award recipient. Recipients receive a distinguished plaque and are also recognized on a permanent plaque displayed within the university.

Dr. John Seymour reappointed to the Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy

On April 15, 2014, Governor Mark Dayton announced the reappointment of two Board members to the Board of Marriage & Family Therapy. Dr. Herb Grant, Minneapolis, and Dr. John Seymour, Mankato, were each appointed to a third term on the Board effective April 20, 2014 - January 1, 2018. We congratulate Dr. Grant and Dr. Seymour on their appointment and thank them their service to the Board.

Dr. Marsha Traynor Nominated as a University Honors Program Favorite Professor

The Department of Elementary & Early Childhood (EEC) would like to congratulate Dr. Marsha Traynor on her nomination as an “Honors Student Favorite Professor” for 2014-15. Minnesota State University, Mankato Honors Director, Dr. Christopher Corley, noted that Dr. Traynor, fellow faculty nominees, and Honors program students, will be recognized at the April 10th Honors Program Convocation and luncheon. The nomination of Dr. Traynor was accompanied by the following testimony of her impact and influence on teacher candidate development within the discipline of science education.

“I have never met a professor who cares about her students’ success as much as Dr. Traynor does. She emits enthusiasm for learning, and makes every effort to be a happy model of best practices in teaching. She makes each class both enjoyable (with her witty sarcasm and hands-on experiments) and worthwhile (with relevant information presented in an understandable way). I leave every class with a more complete understanding of teaching and science than when I walked in, and with the knowledge that someone is both rooting for my success, and pushing me toward it. Thank you, Dr. Traynor!”

St. Peter High is AVID Certified Site

ST. PETER — After three years of hard work and lots of progress, St. Peter High School officially became an AVID Certified Site Monday.

“AVID's had a great start in St. Peter. District-wide, we're really committed to it,” said Principal Paul Peterson about the Advanced Via Individual Determination program. “AVID is all about leveraging high-yield instruction strategies; it's all about targeting instruction that's going to increase student learning as best as possible.”

AVID is a college-readiness system developed in 1980 that, according to the organization's website, now impacts 700,000 students in 4,900 schools and 28 post-secondary institutions.

It is adopted by schools to increase school-wide learning and performance. The system is designed to accelerate student learning and uses research-based methods of "effective instruction."

In 2011, AVID began as a pilot program in the district for ninth grade. The main goal is to target the “academic middle” to help them set and meet goals and get them on track for college readiness.

The acceleration program is voluntary and involves taking an AVID class. The students also have access to the most rigorous courses in high school, which can be new experiences for the middle-achieving students.

The AVID class follows the five pillars of the program: writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading. Students might write essays or do academic research during certain sessions. And on tutorial days, students tutor one another and help with homework problems.

Peterson said last year that what motivates students to apply is being in a school environment with people who believe in their potential and who motivate them to achieve more than they thought possible.

“It's been just a wonderful addition to our program,” Peterson said.

With or without AVID, all middle-performing students likely will graduate high school. But AVID is meant to drill into them the idea of attending and completing college.

Students are meant to follow the AVID system throughout their high school careers, which is why participating grades have been added over the past couple of years at St. Peter High.

“Starting in years 2 and 3 you have certain benchmarks you need to meet and exceed (with the AVID program). Certification is kind of something that we've always had as our initial goal,” Peterson said.

Peterson said the school is considering taking the next step and becoming a demonstration school site, which serves as an example to other schools of the benefits of the AVID system.

“We're just such strong believers in AVID I can see us (doing that),” Peterson said.

The AVID program now serves grades 9-11. By next year the program will be available for grades 9-12.

Dr. Peg Ballard Awarded 2014 Innovative Pedagogical Innovation Award

The College of University Extended Education and the University Extended Education Sub-Meet and Confer held the second Innovative Pedagogical Innovation Award ceremony on February 18th, with award recipients being recognized by Dean of the College of University Extended Education, Dr. Scott Fee.

The Department of Elementary & Early Childhood (EEC) would like to congratulate Dr. Peg Ballard on receiving a 2014 Pedagogical Innovation Award on behalf of the iPad Tutoring project engaged between the Elementary Education Block 3 students and Grade 3-4 students of the Sibley East Public Schools. This is the second year-in-a-row that EEC faculty have been recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions within the arena of Pedagogical Innovation. In 2013 Ms. Karen Colum and Ms. Kelly Killorn were recognized for their efforts in curriculum redesign with Co-teaching instructional delivery, using Telepresence, between Block 2 students at the Mankato and Edina campuses.

Dr. Ballard’s iPad Tutorial Project successfully demonstrates the following as indicators of pedagogical innovation:

  • Enhancement of teaching at Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Fostering of new instructional approaches that represent advances over existing approaches
  • Activities can be adaptable in other instructional settings
  • Fosters collaboration among faculty from different departments, units, and campuses (including K-12) on the development of innovative approaches to teaching
  • Creates significant curricular improvements

New Special Education Program

Mankato, Minn. – A new undergraduate special education program at Minnesota State University, Mankato will qualify graduates for an “Academic and Behavioral Strategist” (ABS) license that will enable new special education teachers to better serve kindergarten through 12th-grade special education students.

The new program, offered through the Department of Special Education in Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Education, is the first approved undergraduate program in Minnesota that will prepare students to apply for an ABS license.

Teachers with an ABS license will be prepared to immediately serve students in more than one disability area, to include those with mild to moderate needs in the following areas: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Disabilities, Emotional or Behavioral Disabilities, Learning Disabilities and Other Health Disabilities.

The Minnesota Board of Teaching approved Minnesota State Mankato’s curriculum for the ABS license at its May 11 board meeting. The board’s report stated that “it is far more common for teachers to serve students across categorical areas throughout the course of the day or year, and teachers holding an ABS license will be equipped with understanding of multiple disabilities and the necessary assessment tools and instructional strategies for each.”

“The new ABS license will be helpful to school districts, students and teachers in Minnesota since it is a cross-categorical license,” said Teri Wallace, associate professor and chair of the Department of Special Education at Minnesota State Mankato. “Districts will have well-prepared teachers, students will have teachers ready to meet their needs and teachers will be more marketable within the job market – ready to serve students with different types of disabilities right away.”

Karen Letcher, a teacher on special assignment for Mankato Area Public School’s special education services, said the new degree “is a plus because it aligns the pre-service training to what actually goes on in the field.”

Coursework for Minnesota State Mankato’s program started this spring. The first cohort of students will complete the five-semester program and be eligible to apply for ABS licenses in the spring of 2014.

The field experience component of the program begins earlier and lasts longer, ensuring teacher candidates benefit from opportunities to apply their learning and model effective teachers. Field experience will begin in the first semester, giving students opportunities to observe the various settings in which students with disabilities are served – general education inclusive classrooms, resource rooms and self-contained classrooms.

Previously, a Minnesota State Mankato student graduating with a bachelor’s degree in special education was able to apply for a Minnesota K-12 teaching licensure in the area of Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD). A teacher with this license served students with mild to severe needs.

With the addition of the new ABS license available to Minnesota State Mankato undergraduates, the DCD license will now be offered within the school’s graduate program.

Minnesota State Mankato’s special education graduate programs are offered at two different sites – on the main campus in Mankato and at 7700 France Avenue South in Edina, Minn.

For more information, contact Teri Wallace, associate professor and chair of the Department of Special Education at Minnesota State Mankato, at 507-389-5381 or at teresa.wallace@mnsu.edu.


Dr. Jean Haar Named COE Dean

Dr. Jean HaarDr. Scott R. Olson, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, announced the appointment of Dr. Jean Haar as dean of the College of Education, effective July 1, 2012.

Haar received her B.A. in English and her M.A. in educational administration from South Dakota State University, Brookings; and her Ph.D. in administration, curriculum and instruction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In 2002, Haar began her tenure in Mankato as a professor in educational leadership. She was the founding director of the college’s Center for Engaged Leadership and served in that position for four years. And since 2010, she has led the College of Education as interim dean.

As interim dean, Haar worked with faculty to facilitate several new initiatives such as: revising and improving field experiences for teacher candidates; developing diverse and international placements at various stages of teacher preparation; implementing courses and programs using technological tools and online learning techniques; as well as designing and employing processes to improve college efficiency. These initiatives highlight and reflect the progressive attitude of the College of Education, which continues to make a positive impact on the field of education.

Haar expressed enthusiasm about the status and the continued forward momentum of the college. “I am excited and prepared to lead the College of Education in our mission—prepare professionals who embrace big ideas and real-world thinking to ensure student success,” she said. “We have designed the tools and teams, and we are engaged in remarkable collaboration—not just within the college but also with partners across the University and across Minnesota. We have built a coalition of internal and external partners to communicate better, plan better, dream better, and work together to realize those dreams.”

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Jean Haar on her new appointment as dean of the College of Education.