Monday, August 31, 2009

MinnPost founder to discuss newspaper industry Sept. 15 at Saint Mary’s

WINONA, Minn. — Joel Kramer, founder, editor and CEO of, will discuss the changes taking place in today’s newspaper industry on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at Saint Mary’s University.

Kramer founded an online newspaper seen by some observers as a model that might succeed while traditional print newspapers fall by the wayside. His presentation, “The collapsing business model for journalism: What's next?” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Figliulo Recital Hall, located in the SMU Performance Center.

Kramer served as the editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune from 1983 to 1991 and as publisher and president from 1992 to 1998. In summer 2007, Kramer launched, a nonprofit online newspaper with a mission “to provide high-quality journalism for news-intense people who care about Minnesota.” The site features high-quality video and audio, as well as written stories and commentary pieces.

As Matt Snyders of City Pages said in a March 2, 2009 article, “the ink-stained community went abuzz.” Snyders continued, “For an industry wracked by massive layoffs and plummeting ad revenue, any news not involving job loss was a good thing.”

MinnPost has garnered quite a bit of attention as both critics and supporters have questioned whether this type of nonprofit journalism — one that aims to eventually break even with the support of corporate sponsors, advertisers and donations from members — can thrive in today’s struggling newspaper climate.

In a report for the Nieman Journalism Lab, Kramer wrote, “A lot of pixels are being spilled these days reflecting on the future of newspapers, news, journalists, and journalism. I spent my career in newspapers, first as a journalist and later as a publisher, and I left when the business was financially near its peak. With the for-profit model now shriveling, I’ve spent the past 16 months trying to build one example of what might be coming next—a not-for-profit enterprise providing high-quality regional journalism on the web.”

A question-and-answer period will follow Kramer’s presentation. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Steve Schild, at (507) 457-1753 or

Friday, August 28, 2009

Area schools invited to Page Series matinees

WINONA, Minn. — Schools are invited to bring student groups to matinees of Saint Mary’s University Page Series performances — featuring a full season of music, dance, theatre and even giant puppets.

Admission is $2 per person, including both students and chaperones, and payment is due upon arrival. Schools are asked to limit chaperones to one adult per 10 students when possible.

Two matinee shows are available this fall. Buckets and Tap Shoes, a lively performance that features tap dance with European and African influences, will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 2. In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre will perform Beneath the Surface, which explores water issues through performance, music and video, at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 23.

Teachers or school administrators can contact Jennifer Fanello at (507) 457-1716 to make reservations for their school groups.

The Page Series matinee programming is supported in part by Target. The visit of In the Heart of the Beast is supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board grant “Arts Across Minnesota.”

More information about all the events is available online at Click “School Matinee” on the left side to find the complete list of matinee performances and their descriptions, as well as links to artists’ websites and study guides.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Saint Mary’s hosts fiddling poet Ken Waldman Sept. 8

WINONA, Minn. — In a unique fusion of music and verse, Ken Waldman, “Alaska’s Fiddling Poet,” will perform 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, at Saint Mary’s University.

This event, free and open to the public, will be held in the President’s Room, located in the Toner Student Center.

Waldman combines old-time Appalachian-style fiddling, original poetry, and Alaska-set storytelling for a performance uniquely his own. Waldman has published six full-length poetry collections, a memoir about his life as a touring artist (“Are You Famous?”), and seven CDs. Since 1994, he’s worked full-time as “Alaska’s Fiddling Poet,” performing at some of the nation’s leading universities, festivals, art centers and clubs — including Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Event sponsors include Saint Mary’s Academic Affairs and Student Activities Offices, and the English Department.

For more information, contact Dr. Carolyn Ayers at or (507) 457-1523.

Season tickets for Saint Mary’s Page Series on sale until Sept. 18

WINONA, Minn. — Individual tickets for the 2009-2010 Saint Mary’s University Page Series — now in its 23rd season — are now on sale. A full season of performing arts from around the world begins Oct. 2.

New this year: you may still purchase season tickets for the Page Series through Sept. 18 online, by phone, or in person. Purchase tickets for just three events and receive 10 percent off your total ticket cost. Returning subscribers are eligible for a 25 percent discount.

Whether you enjoy classical ballet, Irish music, family-friendly theatre, tap, swing or Canadian folk, the Page Series delivers again this year. Order online at, by phone at (507) 457-1715, or at the box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saint Mary’s listed in U.S. News ‘Best National Universities’ category

WINONA, Minn. — U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 edition of America’s Best Colleges has ranked Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in its “Best National Universities” survey for 2010. The annual listing of more than 1,400 schools is available online at Rankings were announced today, Aug. 20.

Saint Mary’s is ranked in the third tier of the 262-school U.S. News “National Universities” category. Last year, U.S. News listed Saint Mary’s in the fourth tier of this category. The third tier includes schools ranked 134 through 190 and is not ranked numerically. A sampling of other universities in the third tier includes De Paul University, George Mason University, Seton Hall University, the University of St. Thomas and St. John’s University in New York.

Taking top honors in the “National Universities” category are Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University and the California Institute of Technology. Saint Mary’s, St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota are the only Minnesota schools represented in this category.

The “National Universities” category includes 164 public and 98 private institutions from across the U.S. that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees.

U.S. News & World Report ranks “National Universities” in a top tier, third tier and fourth tier. Its other institutional categories include: “Liberal Arts Colleges,” “Universities-Master’s” and “Baccalaureate Colleges.”

In 2006, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching reclassified SMU from a master’s comprehensive to a doctoral institution. This change in Carnegie basic classification for SMU placed it in the “National Universities” category for the U.S. News & World Report starting with the 2008 report. In 2007, SMU was in the first tier of U.S. News’ “Midwestern Colleges and Universities with Master Degree Programs” category.

The method that U.S. News uses to rank colleges and universities consists of three basic steps. The schools are categorized primarily by mission and region, and data is gathered from each institution on indicators of academic excellence. The indicators used to measure academic excellence fall into seven categories: assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and (for national universities and liberal arts colleges) graduation rate performance. The indicators include input measures that reflect a school’s student body, its faculty, and its financial resources, along with outcome measures that signal how well the institution does its job of educating students.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Area musicians invited to join Saint Mary’s Concert Band

Community member Eric Johnsrud rehearses with the SMU Concert Band. Area musicians are invited to the first rehearsal Wednesday, Aug. 26. Brass players are especially needed.

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Concert Band, founded in 1990 as a college-community partnership ensemble, will hold its first rehearsal of the 2009-10 season from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26. Dr. Janet Heukeshoven, associate professor of music, directs both the Concert Band and the select Wind Ensemble.

The rehearsal will be held in Room 158 of Saint Yon’s Hall. All interested musicians are welcome to attend the first sight-reading informational rehearsal of the season. Advanced-level high school students and adult community musicians are welcome to join the SMU collegiate musicians to perform a wide variety of wind band music.

Auditions will be individually scheduled shortly after the first rehearsal; audition music will be provided to all players on Aug. 26. If you are interested in the ensemble but are not able to attend the first info-rehearsal, please contact Dr. Heukeshoven to make other arrangements. The Concert Band rehearses 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and 6:45 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays. The Wind Ensemble rehearses 8 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays.

The band’s first performance this year will be for Family Weekend, Sept. 26. The second planned concert will be a traditional Christmas concert with small ensembles performing for the lobby party on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 6.

Detailed information regarding band membership auditions (held Aug. 28-Sept. 2) will be available at the first rehearsal. There are openings in most sections; brass players are especially needed this fall!

Contact Dr. Heukeshoven at (507) 457-1675 or for additional information. Please call or e-mail if you plan to attend the Aug. 26 informational rehearsal so music folders and audition materials will be available for everyone.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts offers tuition-free youth choir

Kate Dulak and Alexa Akre participated last year in WAYS (the Winona Area Youth Singers) — a tuition-free youth choir for students in grades four through eight, offered by the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts.

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is beginning its 2009-2010 season of WAYS (Winona Area Youth Singers), a new youth choir for students in grades four through eight.

In response to the current economic climate, MCA is waiving WAYS tuition for any and all students who desire to participate this year. This tuition waiver is made possible by a grant from the Saint Mary’s University Friends of the School of the Arts.

Now in its second year, WAYS provides quality, artistic, and educational programs for all young people. WAYS seeks to nurture the talent of students who have been introduced to choir/music in their elementary, middle, or junior high schools and who seek additional educational and performance opportunities in vocal music. The repertoire and focus of WAYS will be more intensive by nature, as it is meant to complement a student’s training in their school choirs. WAYS members will participate in two concerts per year, a winter concert on Dec. 6 and a spring concert yet to be announced. Additionally, WAYS members will also participate in a special mentorship program with SMU choirs, and will perform at nursing homes, malls, and charitable events, as well as go holiday caroling.

WAYS is directed by Lindsy O’Shea, who holds a Masters of Arts in Instruction and a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music Performance from Saint Mary’s University. She has been involved with choral music — as a singer or director — for more than 15 years. O’Shea previously taught choral and general music in the Rochester and Faribault Public Schools. She is currently adjunct faculty with SMU, where she directs the women’s choir and teaches private voice lessons. She also sings with the La Crosse Chamber Chorale.

“After 36 years of offering quality dance education and performance opportunities to Winona area youth, we are thrilled to be moving forward with our music curriculum through the WAYS program,” said Christine Martin, MCA managing director. “Integrating various performing arts genres has always been a goal for MCA. Now with our summer theatre camps, year-long dance programming, and the Winona Area Youth Singers, we are excited about the full spectrum of the performing arts at MCA.”

Registration for WAYS will be accepted at the MCA registration open house, Wednesday, Sept. 9, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the ValĂ©ncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th St. WAYS will meet weekly on Mondays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. throughout the MCA first semester (Sept. 14 – Dec. 7). Placement auditions will be held on the first Monday session on Sept. 14.

For more information about WAYS or MCA’s other performing arts programming, visit:, e-mail, or call (507) 453-5500.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saint Mary’s University names two new trustees

WINONA, Minn. —Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has announced two new members of its board of trustees.

Bill Herzog ’70 of Apple Valley, Minn., is a founder and managing partner of Course Charters, LLC. Course Charters provides a variety of management consulting services to small and mid-sized organizations. He is past president of the SMU Alumni Board and served on the most recent presidential search committee.

Linda Kuczma ’78, J.D., of Park Ridge, Ill., has more than 25 years experience in the practice of intellectual property law. She practices in the Chicago offices of Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.

Additionally Mary Ann Remick of Rochester was appointed to an additional five-year term. Remick has served on the board since 2004, and chaired the most recent presidential search committee.

Brother Michael Collins ’59, FSC, Saint Paul; Lyle Delwiche, Minneapolis; and Oscar Straub ’52, St. Louis, completed 20 years of service on the board. Delwiche and Straub were named Trustees Emeriti by the board in recognition of their service. John Ehlert ’67, Wayzata, completed his 10-year term on the board, and Timothy Horan ’70, Plymouth, completed his five-year term on the Board.

Saint Mary’s awarded grant for women in mathematics series

WINONA, Minn. — The National Science Foundation has awarded Saint Mary’s University a $10,890 grant for a Women in Mathematics Colloquium Series, to be held over the next two years.

The support from this grant provides the funds for the Saint Mary’s Mathematics and Statistics Department to continue an annual colloquium highlighting successful women mathematicians and to support undergraduate travel to national conferences.

Organizers hope that through these events, high school and college-aged students will become engaged and inspired by the opportunities and challenges presented to women in the ever-progressing field of mathematics.

“This series encourages the recent upward trend of women in mathematics at Saint Mary’s and introduces undergraduate and high school women to role models who are not only successful in their mathematical profession, but also in their lives,” said Kevin Dennis, department chair of the Mathematics and Statistics Department. “This project intends to keep inspiring women to pursue terminal degrees in mathematics and also to enhance the SMU mathematics community.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saint Mary’s listed on Forbes list of ‘America’s Best Colleges’

WINONA, Minn. —’s 2009 list of “America’s Best Colleges” ranks Saint Mary’s University as No. 230 out of 600 of “the best public and private colleges and universities —from the student's point of view.”

The second-annual ranking of “America's Best Colleges,” compiled by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, ranks 600 undergraduate institutions based on the quality of the education they provide, the experience of the students and how much they achieve.
• They based 25 percent of the rankings on 4 million student evaluations of courses and instructors, as recorded on the website
• Another 25 percent is based on post-graduate success, equally determined by enrollment-adjusted entries in “Who’s Who in America,” and by a new metric, the average salaries of graduates reported by
• An additional 20 percent is based on the estimated average student debt after four years.
• One-sixth of the rankings are based on four-year college graduation rates — half of that is the actual graduation rate, the other half the gap between the average rate and a predicted rate based on characteristics of the school.
• The last component is based on the number of students or faculty, adjusted for enrollment, who have won nationally competitive awards like Rhodes Scholarships or Nobel Prizes. states, “To our way of thinking, a good college is one that meets student needs. While some college rankings are based partly on school reputation as evaluated by college administrators and on the amount of money spent, we focus on things which directly concern incoming students: Will my courses be interesting and rewarding? Will I get a good job after I graduate? Is it likely I will graduate in four years? Will I incur a ton of debt getting my degree?”

Dr. Tom Mans, vice president for academic affairs, said he is pleased that Saint Mary’s is on the Forbes list. “It shows that our students are happy with the experience they receive here, and that they graduate to have successful careers and be productive members of their communities,” Dr. Mans said. “The Forbes listing reinforces positive reports from other student satisfaction surveys, such as the National Survey of Student Engagement.”

The list, which can be found at, includes several Minnesota Colleges including: Carleton College (No. 23), Macalester College (No. 82), St. Olaf College (No. 139), Gustavus Adolphus College

(No. 194), Bethel University (No. 229), Hamline University (No. 255), Northwestern College (No. 291), St. John’s University (No. 442), the University of Minnesota, Morris (No. 448), Concordia College Moorhead (No. 450), College of St. Benedict (No. 512), University of St. Thomas (No. 523), University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (No. 543), St. Catherine University (No. 563), Minnesota State University, Mankato, (No. 595) and St. Cloud State University (No. 599).

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Next Saint Mary’s art show titled ‘A History of the Plains’

WINONA, Minn. — St. Cloud artist David Sebberson will exhibit a portion of his on-going series, “A History of the Plains,” Aug. 17 through Sept. 27 at Saint Mary’s University’s Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries.

Sebberson began his series after visiting what was left of his family farm and noticing that the farm buildings that once dotted the landscape were “burned, bulldozed and buried beneath high-yield fields whose ever increasing economic productivity has been erasing the immigrant culture I grew up in, a harvest of forgetfulness at 150 bushels per acre.”

He describes the subject of his paintings as “loci where personal history and histories of art and rhetoric, immigrant history, and economic and cultural history intersect.”

Sebberson currently chairs the St. Cloud State University Department of Art.

A reception for the artist will be held 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at the galleries, located in the Toner Student Center.

Admission is free and open to the public, and gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more information, call (507) 457-1652.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Saint Mary’s dean named chair of Minnesota State Arts Board

WINONA, Minn. — Michael J. Charron of Winona has been named chair of the Minnesota State Arts Board. Charron is the dean of Saint Mary’s University’s School of the Arts. A graduate of Lourdes High School in Rochester, he holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater, English and secondary education from Saint Mary’s University. Charron served as a member of the city council in Woodbury, and was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2004, serving until 2006. He was appointed to the state arts board by Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2008.

“This is an especially important year for the State Arts Board and our Regional Arts Councils,” said Charron. “The arts is a billion-dollar industry in our state. We are talking about an industry that not only enriches lives, but is also vital to our state’s economy. With the recent passage of the constitutional amendment to support our natural resources and cultural heritage here in Minnesota, I feel a great responsibility to make sure that those tax dollars are spent in the most efficient and effective way possible for the good of all Minnesotans throughout our state.”

The Minnesota State Arts Board attempts to enrich the quality of life in Minnesota by making the arts accessible to all citizens, nurturing creative activities, encouraging the development of innovative forms of artistic expression and preserving the state’s diverse artistic heritage. The board provides grants and services to individual artists, arts organizations, schools, colleges and universities, communities and other organizations that sponsor arts activities. The board is made up of 11 members appointed by the governor. One member is selected from each of the state’s eight congressional districts; three members represent the state at large. Members serve four-year terms.

SMU’s Highland receives Tegrity President’s Award

WINONA, Minn. — During a summer user conference, Tegrity, provider of the leading class capture web service for higher education, announced that Dr. Jeffrey Highland of Saint Mary’s University was one of the winners of the Tegrity Innovation Awards Program. This program recognizes outstanding achievements in higher education technology on campuses throughout the United States.

Honorees were chosen from a broad spectrum of colleges and universities and were honored at a special awards luncheon in San Francisco. Awards were presented to both individuals and institutions, recognizing performance milestones achieved during the 2008-2009 academic year.

Dr. Highland, who retired this summer as SMU’s provost, received the President’s Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership and advancement of the student-centered vision of Saint Mary’s, which reported 6,307 new faculty recordings during the past year, close to 40,000 student views and more than 10,000 student-viewing hours.

Other winners of the 2008 Tegrity Innovation Awards include:

• Dr. Sadie Gregory of Coppin State University, Provost Award, for her contributions in advocating Tegrity lecture capture adoption campus-wide at an institution that has demonstrated exceptional usage during the 2008-2009 academic year.

• Mike Gibson of Athens State University, Customer Champion Award, for consistently presenting the “voice of the customer” throughout the previous year, contributing his time and expertise to influence and enhance the quality of Tegrity offerings.

• Dallas Community College District (DCCD), Shared Vision Award, presented annually to the institution achieving the widest expansion during the previous academic year, deploying across seven campuses.

• University of Louisville, Rapid Response Award, awarded annually to the customer that has implemented Tegrity, trained their faculty and made them fully operational in the shortest period of time during the previous academic year.

• University of Central Florida, logging 76,323 hours of student viewing hours, the Student Achievement Award, presented annually to the Tegrity client that demonstrates outstanding success by recording the highest total volume of student views during the previous year.

• University of Alabama, the Outcomes Assessment Award, for demonstrating through firsthand research Tegrity’s quantified impact on student outcomes during the previous academic year, with 84 percent of students surveyed reporting that Tegrity positively impacted their learning and 61 percent of students reporting grade improvement.

• Fordham University Law School, the Innovator’s Award, which recognizes an institution that has been a catalyst for positive change on campus by finding innovative new uses for Tegrity on campus.

Tegrity Campus 2.0 makes class time available all the time by automatically capturing, storing and indexing every class on campus for replay by every student. With patented Tegrity “search anything” technology, students instantly recall key class moments for replay online, or on iPods and mobile devices.