Highlights Winter 2018

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

Student Highlights

In 2018, Concordia’s DCE Program placed 18 DCE students on their yearlong internships, serving congregations in 13 states and Canada. They serve congregations as large as 1500 members. These interns work on staff of these congregations helping to plan and implement their educational ministries, with children, youth, adults and families. 

Twenty-four students from Concordia’s cultural anthropology class, former student Delaney Doremus, Susan Mehl, Dr. Kathleen Wheeler and Dr. Kathy Miller volunteered as navigators at Project Homeless Connect at Pinnacle Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska on Oct 16th. They also collected coats and winter clothing on campus, and received two Thrivent action grants used to buy Domino’s pizza, bottled water and snack bars for volunteers and guests. Over 500 guests were served.

Nicole Affronti studied abroad for four weeks with AIFS in Rome, Italy during June-July 2018.

Emily Altman, Emma Brand, Payton DeMers-Sahling, Katerina Fuller, Kennedy Garner, Hannah Gillet, Emma Heidorn, Ashley Martin, Krista Stanford, and Hannah Sugita led two English language camps at Buena Vista Concordia International School in Shenzhen, China for 5 weeks in June-July 2018.

Kerrigan Anspauch spent a semester studying abroad through AIFS in Limerick, Ireland from January-May 2018. 

Zach Barz, Carrie Black, Hope Hoyer, Madison Pitsch, Michaela Twito, Katie Wrege, and Emma Wendorff led Christian education outreach activities in an area school in El Pepinal, Guatemala at the Lutheran mission in Amatitlan, Guatemala during May 2018.

Casey Berg, Chelsea Irwin, Grace Kohnke David Matthews, and Kacy Meyer served with members of Holy Savior Lutheran Church, Lincoln, leading an English and sports camp for middle school aged youth in Jawornik, Poland during July 2018.

Emma Brand and Aaron Nix, assistant professor of art, were awarded second runners up in the 2018 Omaha Film Festival 48 Hour Film Challenge for writing and directing the short film, Word of Mouth. 

Sonja Brandt, Victoria Cameron, Samantha Coomer, and Rebekah Freeman, along with alumni students Clyde Ericson, Caleb Wehling, and Ryan Gross joined members from St. John Lutheran Church, Seward, in serving in Ackichak, Alaska during June 2018.

Matt Chilman served his student teaching II placement at Concordia International School in Shanghai, China for eight weeks during March-April 2018.

Emma Dannehl, Brennan Deforest, William Helmer, Nolan Homp, Amanda McDowell, Annemarie Pico, Krista Stanford, Grace Stults, and Leah Werling participated in a study tour to Israel led by Professor Mark Meehl.

Casandra Eberth was a member of two different mission teams with CAN-DO Missions - one that taught English at Lutheran schools in Arba Minch, Ethiopia during May 2018 and the other that led VBS and Bible studies in Hooper Bay, Alaska during July 2018. 

Kristi Einspahr completed her capstone experience for World & Intercultural Studies by serving as a volunteer for 3 weeks in Bali, during July 2018.  

Olivia Hunt spent a semester studying Spanish while abroad through Veritas/ISA in Valparasio, Chile from July-November 2018. 

Hayden Rensner was selected to join an LC-MS Mercy Medical team that offered health clinics for villagers in Sierra Leone during May 2018. 

Kimberly Sleeper served with the mission organization CALMS on a disaster relief mission team following the volcano eruptions in Guatemala in July 2018.

Tiffany Smith and Krista Stanford helped with programs to help children through older adults in Jacmel, Haiti with the mission organization Ministry in Mission during May 2018. 

Kaitlyn Stradtmann spent a semester studying Spanish while abroad through API in Seville, Spain from January-May 2018.

Michael Sylvain, a Master of Business Administration student just received job at NASA. Michael is working on his MBA with a concentration in Nonprofit Management.

Austin Theriot received the Richard Hillert Student Award in Composition presented by the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians at the annual Lectures in Church Music conference held at Concordia University Chicago.

Jordyne Vanselow was featured in two art exhibitions. A drawing titled DANGER: Do Not Stand or Sit was selected for exhibition in the University of North Carolina Asheville’s 9th Annual International Contemporary Drawing Exhibition. Vanselow also presented a solo exhibition featuring large-scale mixed-media drawing focusing on the spinal column at Primary Colors Gallery in Independence, Missouri.

Faculty and Staff Highlights

Dr. Catherine Amitrano, adjunct professor for the master of healthcare administration program, attended the American Society for Health Care Risk Management annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Dr. Vicki Anderson, associate professor of education, completed her term as President of MIDTESOL (MidAmerica Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) with a kick-off of MIDTESOL’s 40th anniversary in September; she will now serve in an “board officer support” role as MIDTESOL Past President for 2019, as well as the Higher Education/Teacher Training member-at-large for the new MIDTESOL interest section for Program Administrators.

At the beginning of Fall 1 2018, Ralston Public Schools launched an ESL Endorsement program for its teachers with 10 teachers participating. Dr. Vicki Anderson is working with Ralston ESL teachers who want to serve as instructors in this new program.

Dr. Vicki Anderson prepared and mentored students who led summer English camps for five weeks at Buena Vista Concordia International School in Shenzhen, China during June-July 2018.

Dr. Jeffrey Blersch, professor of music published the fourth volume of his collection, “A Thousand Voices:  Hymn Preludes For Organ” and his arrangement of “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It” for SATB choir, flute and congregation with Concordia Publishing House.

Dr. Benjamin Boche and Dr. Jacob Hollatz, adjunct professors in the College of Graduate Studies and Adult Education, published Faithfully Connected: Integrating Biblical Principles in a Digital World. ​​St. Louis, Missouri: Concordia Publishing House in May 2018.

James Bockelman, professor of art, was included in Plumes, Prism and Prunes, a group exhibition that highlighted abstract images held at the Pavilion Milchhof in Berlin Germany. Bockelman also exhibited a body of new oil paintings titled A Grounded Light, presented in August at Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha, Nebraska. In September at Project Project Art Space in South Omaha, he and Lincoln artist Michael Ian Larsen created Cleft, a site-specific installation juxtaposing a full restroom with two video projections and a ceramic goat hoof.

Dr. Anna Boriack, Assistant Professor of Education, Director of Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and Instructional Innovation Specialist; Dr. Angie Fedon, Director of Classroom Innovation & Online Education; Dr. Joanne Garrison, Core Faculty, Director of Master of Education Core Courses, and Director of Master of Education Special Education; Dr. Linley Synder-Rivas, Core Faculty and Angie Walston MS, CFLE, Core Faculty presented Online Faculty Learning Communities: Creating a Collaborative, Engaging Community of Inquiry at the Focus on Teaching and Technology Conference at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, in September, 2018. 

Dr. James Childers, adjunct professor in the master of healthcare administration program, attended the HR Southwest Conference, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Joel Christiansen, adjunct professor in the master of business administration program, has led ten classes for the Organizational Development Clinic in the Master of Business Administration including: the CUNE Liturgical Art Center, Camp Luther, The Second Closet, Lippy’s BBQ, Anne Ecklund Designs, KZUM Radio, Adam Johnson Insurance, Camp-A-Nation, Butterfly Bakery, and Rejuvenate Studios. These classes help entrepreneurs in the Lincoln/Seward area thrive and allow for students to use their business skills to assist/consult real-life clients. The Org Development Clinic is always looking for new businesses to work with across the country. If there is interest email the MBA Program Director: Shannon.Leinen@cune.edu.

Rev. Dr. David Coe, assistant professor of theology, led a workshop on “Discipleship” for LCMS U Region 5’s annual college retreat in Salina, KS (April 2018).

Rev. Dr. David Coe presented his paper, “The Bird, the Christian, and the Pagan: Preaching Tips from Søren Kierkegaard,” at the Eighth International Kierkegaard Conference (St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, June 2018).

Alison (Schuerman) Evans was a creative partner of The Paper Ballet, an art project combining dance, paper fashion and photography. The Paper Ballet was held in Lincoln, Nebraska on October 14. 

Dr. Angie Fedon, director of classroom innovation & online education, in collabo­ration with Angie Walston, Drs. Anna Boriack, Joanne Garrison, and Linley Snyder-Rivas, presented Master Course Design: Maintaining a Balance Between Quality and Flexibility at the September 27-28, 2018 Focus on Teaching and Technology Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

Jennifer Fruend, assistant professor of biology, rescued and triaged more than 75 raptors with Raptor Recovery in the last two years, including an osprey and several bald eagles.

Jennifer Fruend promoted Concordia biology, wildlife and pre-vet students, study tours and outreach as part of the Concordia Zoo Day event. She also presented “STEM Literacy and Literacy with STEM: An Essential and Natural Partnership” at the Plum Creek Literacy Conference. 

Dr. Amanda Geidel, associate professor of education and special education program director, presented “How Student Teaching Influences Student Teacher Perceptions toward Inclusion” on March 1, at AACTE in Baltimore. 

Dr. Amanda Geidel and Dr. Vicki Anderson presented “Including those with Disabilities in the Church” as Children’s Ministry Workshop co-leaders on March 24 at Calvary Lutheran Church, Lincoln. 

Dr. Amanda Geidel and Dr. Vicki Anderson traveled to Mill Neck School for the Deaf, May 17-19, on Long Island, New York, to fulfill Concordia’s High Impact Grant. The purpose of the grant is to seek opportunities for students to use Mill Neck as a student teaching placement and for Special Education American Sign Language students to visit Mill Neck as an enrichment opportunity during spring breaks in the future. 

Dr. Amanda Geidel was the writer for CAEP Standard 1 “Content and Pedagogical Knowledge” and assisting with the collection and completion of other data needs for CAEP and NDE Accreditation for both graduate and undergraduate early childhood programs.

Justin Groth, assistant professor of art, participated and exhibited artwork in the Southern Mississippi Ceramics National 2018 as well as at the Clay Center of New Orleans in their show, Sculpted and Small, during the month of October. 

Dr. Gabriel Haley, associate professor of English, published an essay, “The Re-Enchantment of Education: C. S. Lewis’s Idea of the Holy,” in The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning (August 2018). This essay initiated a special section in the journal that included four responses from other scholars. Haley also presented a paper, “Contemplative Ductus as Lyric Aesthetic,” at the 21st Biennial Congress of the New Chaucer Society, in Toronto, Ontario (July 2018).

Dr. Gabriel Haley advanced in rank to associate professor in January 2018.

Philip Hendrickson, director of library services, co-led a panel presentation titled “SCUL(ling) Toward the Future: Small College and University Librarians Pulling Together,” examining the history of peer communities of practice among Nebraska libraries, at the Nebraska Library Association Fall Conference in October 2018. 

Julie Johnston Hermann, Director of Global Opportunities, served as the mission team leader for Concordia students serving in Amatitlan and El Pepinal, Guatemala during May 2018. 

Dr. Keith Kerschen, assistant professor of education, successfully defended his dissertation titled, Secondary Mathematics Teacher Retention: A Narrative Case Study of Experienced Teachers on June 18, 2018, and graduated with a PhD in Curriculum and Teaching from Baylor University on August 11, 2018. 

Dr. Keith Kerschen is lead author on a journal article published in the Journal of Research in Childhood Education titled, “The Impact of a Summer Mathematics Academy on Rising Kindergartners’ Understanding of Early Number Concepts” on September 10, 2018. 

Dr. Keith Kerschen is co-author on an article published on September 13, 2018, in the journal, Action in Teacher Education, titled, “Preservice Teachers’ Critical Connections to Effective Mathematical Teaching Practices: An Instructional Approach Using Vignettes.”

Dr. Keith Kerschen presented two sessions at the School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA) Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas on October 18, 2018. Presentations were titled, “Planning for Action: Professional Development to Support Teaching Practices” and “Narratives from the Classroom: Exploring Mathematics Teacher Retention.”

Dr. Shannon Leinen, master of business administration program director, participated in the annual National Communication Association conference in November 2019, in Salt Lake City. A presentation on women in fictional media and a presentation on using gaming in the classroom to expand learning were presented. Leinen also completed a third masters by graduating with the Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with Instructional Technology from CUNE in May 2018.

Danielle Luebbe, writer and social media producer, and Aaron Nix, video producer and assistant professor of art, traveled to Shenzhen, China with a group of student teachers to document their experience as they led an English as a Second Language summer camp. 

Dr. Kevin Miller, Adjunct Professor in the College of Graduate Studies and Adult Education, published two articles: "An American Professor in Armenia: Reflections on special education, speech-language pathology, and university teaching" in Communication Disorders Quarterly and "Reflections on special education administration: A case study" in the Journal of Special Education Leadership.  ​In October 2018, Miller gave guest lectures to speech-language pathology majors at Cyprus University of Technology in Limassol, Cyprus. He discussed cochlear implants. 

Dr. Annette Oliver was advanced in rank to Associate Professor of Education in January 2018.

Dr. Annette Oliver was the writer for CAEP Standard 3 “Candidate Quality, Recruitment, and Selectivity” and assisted with the collection and completion of other data needs for CAEP and NDE Accreditation for both graduate and undergraduate early childhood programs in Summer 2018.

Dr. Annette Oliver presented, “Family and School Partnerships,” Designing Indoor and Outdoor Spaces,” and “ Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead” for the Fall 2018 Missouri District Educators’ Conference in Lake of the Ozarks. 

Dr. Annette Oliver has partnered with the NE District-LCMS for the 2019 Summer Early Childhood Childhood Conference hosted on the CUNE Campus.  This year’s event will feature the addition of a half-day pre-conference, “Pampering the Professional” June 9th and 10th.

Dr. Beth Pester, director of middle level education and student teaching and assistant professor of education, successfully defended her dissertation, earning her Doctorate of Philosophy in Education. Her dissertation was titled: Traditional and Block Scheduling: A Comparison of College Academic Performance Levels of First-Year College Students Who Report Different High School Academic Scheduling Plans. 

Dr. C. Matthew Phillips, professor of history, presented a paper entitled, “Bearing the Cross of Love: An Exegetical Theme in Monastic and Crusade Sermons,” at the Fourth International Symposium on the Crusades at Saint Louis University in June 2018. 

Dr. C. Matthew Philips published an article entitled “The Typology of the Cross and Crusade Preaching” in Crusading in Art, Thought and Will. 

Dylan Teut, Executive Director of the Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival, was named to the Mazza National Advisory Board of Visitors through the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio. The Mazza Museum houses most diverse collection of original art from picture books in the world.

Dylan Teut was named to the Mathical Book Prize Selection committee by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and in coordination with the Children’s Book Council (CBC). He will meet with the committee once a year in New York to award the prizes as a representative of the NCTE.

Dylan Teut presented two workshops at the Iowa District West and Iowa District East LCMS Teacher’s Conference on October 23 in Des Moines, Iowa. The topics were, “Reading and Writing to Change the World,” and “All Around: Disciplinary Literacy Strategies for Every Content Area.” 

Dylan Teut facilitated a full day workshop at the International Literacy Association’s Children’s Literature Day in Austin, Texas on July 23, where he provided over 200 educators with tips and strategies for using biographies in the primary classroom curriculum, as part of the ILA’s “Putting Books to Work” program. 

Dylan Teut moderated a panel for the National Council of Teachers of English at their annual convention in Houston, Texas in November 2018. The panel is titled, “The Dirty Truth about Nonfiction,” and features four award-winning non-fiction authors and illustrators.

Dr. Tirizia York, healthcare administration program director, attended the American Medical and Billing and Coding conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.