Highlights Winter 2016

Concordia University, Nebraska was blessed with many successes throughout 2016. The following list includes some of the many accomplishments achieved by our students, faculty and staff. 

Student Highlights

April Bayer, Taylor Brockhaus, Cynthia Campbell, Mark Esser, Molly Goltl, Tara Larsen, Kelli Mack, Madeline Osborne, Daniel Spaulding, Angela Steinbacher, Kari Stirtz, and Micah Symmank were nominated by Education Department faculty to attend “Grow a Teacher” at the Lutheran Education Association Convocation (LEA) on October 13-15 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. These candidates joined their peers from other Concordia Universities in special programming designed specifically for Lutheran pre-service teachers. LEA hosted these candidates by funding registration and housing costs.

Fourteen CUNE students are joining faculty member Vicki Anderson and adjunct instructor Jon Anderson in Shenzhen, China, this June and July to run ESL summer camps at Buena Vista Concordia International School, an American-style school for Chinese students run in part by the Lutheran Church-Hong Kong Synod.  This is the fourth year that CUNE has sent students to act as teachers at these camps. Concordia teachers in Camp Imagination Station (an arts camp) were Kara Blase, Sarah Johnson, Ashlyn Sebesta, Emily Sievert, and Katherine Vogel.  Concordia student participants in Camp Crazy about Science! (a science camp) and Camp Inventor's Workshop (a robotics camp) were Jonathon Anderson, Devin Bettmann, Rachel Keseman, Madison Pitsch, Hannah Rose, Sophie Simonsen, Kelly Snader, Ray Villegas, and Marti Vlasin.

Master of Public Health students Christy Burrows, Senge Ngalame, Lisa Hokanson, Kourtney Griffin and Laura Mischnick participated in a mission trip to Nicaragua in November with Living Water International. The group helped a village build a well and taught hygiene classes.

Men’s basketball standout Chandler Folkerts garnered the GPAC’s nomination for the NAIA’s prestigious Emil S. Liston Award.

Sarah Johnson won first place in watercolor (adult division) for her work entitled Memories at the 2016 Iowa Sate Fair. Sarah is a junior studio art major from Carlisle, Iowa.

Justin Lawrie was awarded a full-tuition scholarship and assistantship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is working toward earning his doctorate in medical research.

Hannah Miller’s drawing won Best of Show in the 2016 Morton Pumpkin Festival Art Show in Morton, Illinois.

Master of Public Health students Laura Mischnick, Lisa Hokanson, Grace Cook, John Harris, Andrea Eden-Shingleton, Kourtney Griffin, Tamara Nelson, Katelyn Travis, Morgan Bennett, Corrinna Lenort, and Nicole Vogel, along with faculty leaders Dr. Kelly Wheeler and Dr. Jen Janousek participated in a mission trip to Port Au Prince, Haiti in February 2016. The team worked in three different children’s homes improving the physical environment and teaching the orphan children about different health topics including hygiene, dental care, pregnancy prevention and positive potential.

ASL minor Toria Turner taught American Sign Language as part of an after school program at St. John that is conducted in partnership with the department; Corrianne CainBethany Schilling, and Julia Trempala are teaching a Spanish class as part of the same after school program.

Marcelino Varona was awarded a full-tuition scholarship and assistantship to Iowa State graduate school, where he will be working on his doctorate in medical research.

Faculty Highlights

Dr. Vicki Anderson, director of the TESOL graduate program and associate professor of education, served as the conference program organizer for MIDTESOL 2016 in Kansas City. MIDTESOL (MidAmerica TESOL) is a four-state consortium of ESL professionals from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Dr. Anderson will also serve as head conference organizer for MIDTESOL 2017.

Dr. Vicki Anderson led two groups of undergraduates on a trip to Shenzhen, China, where the students taught English camp to K-6th grade Chinese students at the Buena Vista Concordia International School (BCIS).  Jon Anderson, adjunct instructor of statistics, also conducted a robotics camp at BCIS for middle school students.

Dr. Jeffery Blersch, professor of music, was elected to serve as a director at large on the governing board of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.

Professor of Art James Bockelman was one of ten artists in the state of Nebraska to receive a 2016 Independent Artist Fellowship in Visual Arts from the Nebraska Arts Council. Based upon artwork entries and exhibition record, this award was granted after submissions were reviewed by a jury of out-of-state peer professionals, selected from across the country. The Nebraska Arts Council board, at their March 8th quarterly meeting, approved the IAF jurors’ recommendation for this honor. 

James Bockelman exhibited twenty–five recent paintings on paper in a one person show held at the Circuitous Succession Gallery in Memphis, Tennessee in May 2016. In October, Bockelman participated in a group exhibit at Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha, Nebraska where he presented new paintings on canvas.  And in June of 2017, Bockelman's art will be part of a group exhibition at the Inga Kondeyne Gallery in Berlin, Germany. 

James Bockelman made two design presentations/proposals to the Nebraska Arts Council committee in May and June as a finalist for the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Research Center Tower Commission in Omaha, Nebraska.

James Bockelman organized a group exhibition in summer 2016 titled “Drawing Performance” after three years of development and four trips to Berlin. This exhibit is comprised of abstract drawings by artists living in Berlin, Germany, matched with artists living within the United States. The exhibit was presented in two different venues during 2016: Concordia University, Nebraska and The TugBoat Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska. Bockelman curated the exhibition in an attempt to broaden the definition of drawing—one of the most basic forms of human communication.  

James Bockelman was one of ten artists in the state of Nebraska to receive a 2016 Independent Artist Fellowship in Visual Arts award from the Nebraska Arts Council. The award is based upon art work entries and exhibition record and is reviewed by a jury of peer professionals from across the country.

Dr. Alisha Bollinger, M.Ed. in Special Education adjunct instructor, completed her doctorate in fall of 2016.

Rev. Dr. David Coe, assistant professor of theology, philosophy and biblical languages, published a review of H.V. Martin’s “Kierkegaard: The Melancholy Dane” in Volume 18, Tome III of “Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception and Resources.”

Dr. Amanda Geidel, assistant professor of education, sent 40 students from the Psychology of Exceptionality class to serve as buddies to campers with disabilities at Camp Luther. An additional 15 volunteer students from the class went to the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk in Lincoln, Nebraska in October.

Dr. Amanda Geidel is working together with Region V in Seward to establish a social hour experience each week for her students to get to know and spend time with adults from our community who live with developmental disabilities.

Dr. Amanda Geidel wrote a chapter of “The Pedagogy of Faith: Essays on Lutheran Education” edited by Dr. Bernard Bull titled “Reaching Exceptional and Diverse Learners: Their Faith Matters Too!”

The following Education Department faculty members presented at the Lutheran Education Association Convocation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Oct. 13-15: Dr. Amanda Geidel, “Getting Started: Pre-referral Intervention Plans”; Shanna Opfer and Beth Pester, “Survival Skills for First-Year(s) Teachers”; Beth Pester, “Crash Course on Young Adolescents – Developmental Norms for Young Adolescents”; Dr. Lorinda Sankey and Dr. Deborah Carter (Concordia College, New York), “New Teachers, New Paradigms” about the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA); Dr. Lorinda Sankey, “Math Language Counts”; Dr. Bernie Tonjes, “Meet the Cognitive Miser: Thinking and Teaching.”

Dr. Gabriel Haley, assistant professor of English, published an article, “A Story about Song: Narrative Ethics versus Lyric Isolation in Charles d’Orléans’s English Lyrics,” in Essays in Medieval Studies (Fall 2016, vol. 31). Haley also presented a paper, “Secularized Contemplation: Chaucer’s Lyrics in the Fifteenth Century,” at the International Congress of the New Chaucer Society,” held at Queens’ College in London, England, in July 2016. While in England, Haley researched medieval poetry manuscripts at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and at the British Library in London. Haley also gave a talk, “Meaningful Designs: Learning about Purpose in the Greek Classics,” to the parents of students at Trinity Classical Academy in Omaha, Nebraska, in October 2016.

Cheryl Haun, M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education adjunct instructor, serves as the current author for Time Out for Directors, the LCMS School Ministry Newsletter. She also continues as Educational Consultant for Central American Lutheran Mission Society and was an EC Training the Trainers Workshop Presenter in Belize in July 2016.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek, Master of Public Health Program Director, was invited to work on a committee with a variety of public health professionals from across the state to identify areas of health improvement for the State Health Improvement Plan with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek began work with Four Corners Health Department on their local public health system assessment. Specifically, she is working with them to assess workforce development, the quality of public health services and research opportunities.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek co-directed a program on behalf of Concordia in partnership with the Public Health Association of Nebraska and Four Corners Health Department where the first part of a 5-part documentary, “Raising of America,” was screened. The documentary explores how a strong start for all our kids can lead to a healthier, safer, better education and more prosperous and equitable America.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek judged poster presentations at the Public Health Association of Nebraska conference.

Tamara Kenning, Master of Human Services program director, completed her last clinical consultation to become certified in adoption competency and partnered with Right Turn/Lutheran Family Services/Nebraska Children’s Home. She also completed training to become certified in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.

Tamara Kenning was appointed to serve on the drug court board and the board of mental health for York and Seward counties.

Tamara Kenning attended the Nebraska Counseling Association fall conference in October 2016.

Tamara Kenning received a grant which she will use to implement psychoeducational groups, with an emphasis on domestic violence, parenting and addiction/criminal behaviors. She is also working with the Cancer Research Center to build and implement a Community Cancer Support Group Program for rural Nebraska.

Shannon Leinen, MBA program director, was asked to speak at the Institute of Faith and the Academy at Faulkner University in May 2016. She also has a paper pending publication on transmedia in the Middle East titled “Transmedia: Using Indirect Communication to Spread the Good News in Places of injustice,” as well as a publication for National Social Science Association released in March 2016 “I’ll Drink to That and Post it On Twitter: A Case Study of Small Business Utlizing Product Placement in Social Media.”

Shannon Leinen presented two conference papers in November at the National Communication Association and Religious Communication Association Conference in Philadelphia.

Shannon Leinen and Dr. Curt Beck, associate professor of business administration, are working to help build a partnership with CAPAX World to allow future graduate students to be able to travel to Cambodia. Leinen is also planning a mission trip to Ecuador in summer 2017.

Dr. Torri Ortiz Lienemann, director of the graduate special education program, was asked to consult on an educational module for Strategy Instruction and Written Expression for the IRIS Center, Peabody College and Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Torri Ortiz Lienemann represented Concordia at a panel discussion at Lincoln Public Schools regarding student teacher supervision and educational programming.

Dr. Torri Ortiz Lienemann was asked by Arizona State University to review online offerings for SRSD Writing to Learn. This is a professional development tool to improve teachers’ ability to teach writing. This collaboration will afford select undergraduate students to receive free professional development.

Dr. Torri Ortiz Lienemann served with her husband Trevor as the host family for the 2016 Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska. $804,000 was raised and gifted to The Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Research Center. $89,000 was gifted in local grants, and Concordia received $5,000 to support health care mission trips.

Dr. Michelle Manganaro, College of Graduate Studies adjunct instructor of education, published an article, “Values-Based Leadership Model: Antecedents to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education,” with the Association of Leadership Educators.

Dr. Matt McNiff, Master of Education adjunct instructor in special education, earned his Ph.D.

Dr. Kevin Miller, College of Graduate Studies adjunct instructor of special education, spent the fall 2016 semester in Armenia, delivering lectures to the Faculty of Special Education of Armenian State Pedagogical University as part of the Fulbright Program.

Aaron Nix, video producer/multimedia developer and adjunct faculty, recently wrote and directed “Not About Me,” a narrative short film that premiered at the South Dakota Film Festival in September.

Dr. Kristen Nugent, Assistant Professor of Education, successfully completed her dissertation in April 2016 titled “From Articulation to Action:  French Teachers’ Experience of Exploring Intercultural Communicative Competence through Critical Participatory Action Research.”  She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education.  

Dr. Kristen Nugent presented “Intercultural Learning and Collaborative Professional Development for Foreign Language Teachers” at the Nebraska International Language Association’s annual conference for foreign language teachers on Oct. 8, 2016. Dr. Nugent also presented “Exploring the Programmatic Effects of Collaborative Professional Development on Foreign Language Teaching” at the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in March 2016.

Dr. Kristen Nugent presented at Buena Vista Concordia International School presenting on “Differentiated Instruction" at a two day teachers’ conference in November. She also toured the Lutheran Church - Hong Kong Synod Schools.

Annette Oliver, program director for Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, Terri Bauder, adjunct instructor, Rebecca Bimler, St. john Child Development Center Director, and Lauren Sommerer, teacher, toured Boulder Journey School in Boulder, Colorado over Spring Break, to explore a model for future partnership between Concordia University, Nebraska and the St. John CDC.

Annette Oliver presented at a National Association for the Education of Young Children conference, as well as serving as the keynote presenter at Iowa District West conference, presenting at the Illinois District Teacher Conference and serving as the “Strand” presenter at the Lutheran Educators’ Conference-Pacific Southwest District.

Shanna Opfer, Assistant Professor of Education, presented "Start Where They Are: Differentiating for Student Readiness" at the Plum Creek Literacy Festival. 

Beth Pester, Assistant Professor of Education, presented “Cognitive Development in Young Adolescents” and “Crash Course on Young Adolescents – Developmental Norms for Young Adolescents” at the Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin District Teachers Conference in Rockford, IL in August.

Beth Pester served on the Nebraska Department of Education committee in the development of a new middle level certification curriculum for the state of Nebraska.  This model was approved and took effect this fall.

Beth Pester and Annette Oliver served as ambassadors of CALMS (Central American Lutheran Mission Society) and representatives of Concordia University in presenting workshops for educators in the country of Belize.  These workshops for educators assist in the reform effort of the Belizean education system with both presentation of information, and modeling of effective presentation/workshop training style for the attendees.  

Professor Emeritus of History and Spanish, Dr. Jerry Pfabe, published an article titled “Divorce in Seward County, 1869-1906” in the Fall 2016 issue of “Nebraska History.”

Dr. Jerry Pfabe presented at the Seward Memorial Library on “Crime in Nebraska and Early Seward County” in October.

Dr. Lorinda Sankey, Associate Dean of Education, wrote a chapter in the book “Pedagogy of Faith: Essays on Lutheran Education” titled “Teaching Christian Habits in the Classroom.”

Dr. Lorinda Sankey and Dr. John Mehl, Director of Church Relations, along with leaders from other Concordia Universities, were hosted by Concordia International School in Hanoi, and Concordia International School in Shanghai. The group met with leadership and faculty at all three international school campuses with the goals of developing and strengthening relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships between the international schools and the universities. The highlight of the visits was the dedication of the new school at Concordia International, Hanoi, on Sept.15, 2016.

Bill Schranz, Director of Education and Synodical Careers, is currently serving a two-year term (2016-2018) as Chair of the Concordia University System Placement Directors.

Lynn Soloway, professor emeritus of art, illustrated the book cover for “Journey from Invisibility: A Guide for Women 60 and Beyond,” published by Amazon Publishing.

Dr. Bernie Tonjes, Associate Professor of Education, presented “A Cognitive Approach to Faith Integration” and “Child Abuse and Domestic Violence: Implications for Policy and Practice” at the Northern Illinois/South Wisconsin Teachers Conference in Rockford, Ill. in August.

Dr. Bernie Tonjes, Dr. Kristen Nugent, and Beth Pester hosted the Heartland Summit for approximately 30 Lutheran high school administrators on Oct. 23-25.  The theme was “Sufficiently Religious: Faithfulness to Scripture and Doctrine in Challenging Times” with emphasis on First Amendment Issues.  Presenters for this year’s Heartland Summit were: Dr. Russ MouldsMr. Kirby Klappenback, and Mr. Mark Fahleson.  Mr. Klappenback and Mr. Fahleson are lawyers with extensive experience in ministry and First Amendment issues.

Peter Trzop, MBA adjunct instructor, received the 2016 Outstanding Civil Education Leadership Award from Kentucky’s Secretary of State, Alison Grimes.

Dr. Kathleen Wheeler, director of the Master of Education in Literacy program, served a member of the Alaska Mission Team to Akiachack, Alaska in June to conduct Bible and basketball camps.

Dr. Kathleen Wheeler attended the Nebraska Middle Level Academy conference, the Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival, and the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation conference.

Dr. Kathleen Wheeler continues to volunteer with food distribution at St. John Lutheran Church.

Dr. Kelly Wheeler, adjunct Master of Public Health professor, along with a group of Concordia University, Nebraska Graduate School alumni and current students, participated in a mission trip to Nicaragua in November with Living Water International. The group helped a village build a well and taught hygiene classes.