Highlights Winter 2020

Student Highlights

BUS 422 Auditing class students raised $4,250 for their bi-annual class grant. The grant is awarded every two years to an LCMS Nebraska District elementary, middle, or high school based on the merits of applications received. The class selected a winner from twelve applicants. This year's winner was Lincoln Lutheran, which will use the grant to make significant upgrades to its business department education and technology resources. An event was held on November 19th to commemorate the occasion and celebrate with the grant recipient.

BUS 422 Auditing class students conducted a Benchmark Ratio Analysis: A Learning Project for Not-For-Profit Auditing during the fall semester. Their work culminated in a paper titled, "Closure of Concordia Portland Further Analyzed." The paper was submitted to The Sower and included quotes and research from Jacob Glines, Morgan James, Jack Kitson, Nicholas Little, Thomas Otte, Cally Rogers, Carter Thorman and Amos Utech.

David Carrasco was accepted into the Master of Science program at University of San Francisco in Environmental Management and Ecology in the Geospatial Analysis Lab, obtaining a GIS certificate.

EDUC 330 early childhood students created videos to demonstrate dramatic play spaces that could be set up at home using materials found at home. These playful dramatic play experiences supported social and emotional development, science, social studies, and math exploration and literacy development. These tips were shared with alumni and current educators through the Concordia website, Concordia Education Facebook page and Dr. O Wants to Know Facebook page.

EDUC 430 families, schools and communities students created a series of parenting tips by sending home a Message in a Backpack. The topics include Worshipping with your Child, Discipline and Guidance, Learning at Home and Outdoor Play and have been developed for families of children ages birth through eight.

EDUC 452 early childhood program administration students planned week long activities to celebrate the Week of the Young Child. Their posters were shared with the Nebraska Association of the Education of Young Children, alumni and current educators through the Concordia Nebraska Education Facebook page and Dr. O Wants to Know Facebook page. 

Kassidy Grosserode, junior, had artwork selected for the juried virtual art exhibition “Size Matters” at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Anna Headlee was accepted into the master’s program in Urban, Community, and Regional Planning at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently serves as an intern in the State of Nebraska Office of Rural Health.

Aaron Jackson, a church music student, is building a new organ for Mighty Fortress Lutheran Church

Thomas Johnson, senior music education and music composition student won the Richard Hillert Award in Student Composition from the Center for Church Music at Concordia University Chicago.

Nathan Patron, biology major, was accepted to Optometry School at the Oklahoma College of Optometry at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Ann Spilker was accepted into the Master of Applied Science program at the School of Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln program in Environmental Education.

Faculty and Staff Highlights

Dr. Annette (Oliver) Anschutz, associate professor of education and director of the early childhood education program, presented a recorded virtual session “Image of the Child” for the Florida District Early Childhood Conference in September 2020 and Eastern District All Workers Conference in October 2020.

Dr. Annette Anschutz presented a synchronous virtual session “Image of the Child” for the Missouri District Professional Church Workers Virtual Conference in October 2020.

Dr. Annette Anschutz assumed program director responsibility for the Concordia University, Nebraska Graduate Early Childhood Special Education Program in Summer 2020. 

Dr. Lisa Ashby, professor of English, served as the co-lead of the Mass Care Unit of the State of Nebraska Emergency Operations Center, which oversees food, water, and shelter for state emergencies. In this role, she co-led the Nebraska Food Security Task Force and worked closely with the CEOs of Food Bank for the Heartland, Food Bank of Lincoln, the Center for People in Need and the Nebraska National Guard in ensuring emergency food supplies were provided without shortfalls or interruption in the state. She also served on the Nebraska Homeless System Response Team for COVID-19, which monitored safety plans and implementation statewide.

Dr. Lisa Ashby was a presenter at the Great Plains Disaster Behavioral Health Virtual Conference in July 2020, speaking on the role of behavioral health, spiritual care, and voluntary organizations in long-term flood recovery. The DBH Conference is sponsored by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Dr. Jeffrey Blersch, professor of music, had four new books and pieces released by Concordia Publishing House in May 2020: “Triumphant Gladness: Five Organ Preludes on Easter Hymns,” “Introductions, Harmonizations, Accompaniments, Interpretations, volume 9,” “O Savior of Our Fallen Race” and “Welcome (SATB, keyboard).” In addition, he was commissioned to compose choral and organ settings of “What Hope, An Eden Prophesied” to be included in the “Advent 2020 Preaching Resources,” setting of “May God Bestow on Us His Grace” for “Proclaim: Organ Settings of Hymns of the Day” and settings of “How Majestic Is Your Name” and “Isaiah, Mighty Seer” for the “Piano Hymn Prelude Library.” Finally, four of his tunes were included in the new hymnal “One and All Rejoice,” released in June: “Ride On, Ride On in Majesty,” “O Triune God, What Love You Show,” “Though All Our Life is Like A Scroll” and “A Blessed Feast.”

James Bockelman, professor of art, had drawings published in a catalogue titled, “The Touch of Density” as part of the exhibition series “The Body of Drawing.”

James Bockelman was one of several artists in Nebraska invited to talk about his studio space and work practice. The online series, called “Curated Conversations,” was hosted by the Museum of Nebraska Art in response to the pandemic and closure of museums throughout the nation.

James Bockelman consigned a painting to the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in support of their 2020 charitable auction in Omaha, Nebraska.

Kurth Brashear, vice president for institutional advancement, completed his term as president of the Rotary Club of Seward in June 2020.

Ryan Burger, adjunct professor in the business department, was elected as Chairman of the Nebraska Society of CPAs.

Rev. Dr. David Coe, assistant professor of theology, had two books published in 2020. “Kierkegaard and Luther,” published in July by Fortress Academic Press, opens the Luther sermons nineteenth-century Danish Lutheran philosopher Søren Kierkegaard read, reveals what Kierkegaard lauded, lanced, missed and misjudged of Luther, and spotlights the concord they actually share, namely, the negative yet necessary role Christian suffering (Anfechtung) plays in Christian life. “Provoking Proverbs: Wisdom and the Ten Commandments,” published in October by Concordia Publishing House, categorizes the Book of Proverbs according to the Ten Commandments so that students can easily personalize and memorize their favorite Proverb for each Commandment, provoking them to fear, love and trust in God above all things because God forgives, loves, and treasures them, first (1 John 4:19).

Rev. Dr. David Coe had his article, “The Bird, the Christian, and the Pagan: Preaching Tips from Søren Kierkegaard,” published in Taking Kierkegaard Personally: First Person Responses.

Jennifer Furr, senior director of alumni & university relations, serves as a Commissioner for the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities’ Alumni Affairs Directors Group.

Dr. Elizabeth Grimpo, professor of music, published two piano settings (beginner and intermediate level) of Matins and Divine Service 3, and 10 hymns for piano – each with four graded settings from beginner w/teacher duet to late intermediate for the St. Paul’s Conservatory in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Dr. Elizabeth Grimpo composed a piano hymn prelude on the hymn “Lobt Gott den Herren, ihr” for the Concordia Publishing House Piano prelude collection.

Dr. Joel Helmer, professor of geography and chair of the Department of History, Geography, Intercultural Studies and Modern Language, published a book titled “Nebraska’s Bucks and Bulls,” which tells the stories and shares the photographs of the greatest whitetail, mule deer and elk shot in Nebraska.

Dr. Joseph Herl, professor music, presented “Introducing the LSB Hymnal Companion” at the Hymn Society of U.S. and Canada this past summer. In addition, he translated an entire German website into English for the International Society for Hymnological Research. Dr. Herl also wrote an article titled “Nicolas Temperley: A Personal Recollection” for the journal “The Hymn.”

Sarah Jurchen, interlibrary loan/periodicals/e-resources coordinator, had her article, “Open Access and the Serials Crisis: The Role of Academic Libraries,” published in the journal Technical Services Quarterly in March 2020.

Dr. Keith Kerschen, assistant professor of Education, co-authored the article, “Investigating Teachers’ Understanding of Mathematical Practices and Mathematics Teaching Practices using a Vignette Activity Sequence in a Professional Development Setting” which was accepted for publication in the journal School-University Partnerships on April 30, 2020.

Dr. Keith Kerschen co-authored the article, “The Examination of a Vignette Activity Sequence in a Secondary Mathematics Course” which was accepted for publication in the journal School Science and Mathematics Journal on May 5, 2020.

Dr. Keith Kerschen served as an English conversation partner with a Romanian pastor through the LCMS Short Term Mission Office from September 2020 to October 2020.

Dr. Keith Kerschen was lead author on conference proceedings accepted into publication for the School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA) Conventional Proceedings on October 9th, 2020. The Proceedings were titled, “The Impact of a Summer Mathematics Academy on Early Number: A Two-Year Case Study.” 

Dr. Keith Kerschen presented a session at the School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA) Virtual Conference on November 6, 2020. The presentations was titled, “The Impact of a Summer Mathematics Academy on Early Number: A Two-Year Case Study.” 

David Kumm, executive vice president/CFO/COO, completed his fifth year of service on the Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership board of directors in December 2020. The university holds one of seven permanent seats on the 15-person board.

The Concordia University, Nebraska Marketing Department won first place in the Rue 6 trivia contest on August 20, 2020.

Bryan Moore, professor of communication and theatre arts and director of theatre, was recently named one of two winners of the 2020 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Affiliate Intellectual Freedom Awards, after being nominated by the Nebraska English Language Arts Council (NELAC). 

Bryan Moore has begun his two-year term as President of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), an international organization serving theatre members in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and beyond.

Dr. Shanna Opfer, director of elementary education, successfully defended her dissertation titled “Pedagogical, Attitudinal, and Environmental Influences on Student-Center Technology Practices of Elementary Teachers” and earned her Ph.D. in Education from Walden University in August 2020.

Dr. Jerrald Pfabe, archivist and emeritus professor, published “Divorce in Seward County, Nebraska, 1969-1906 and 1919-49:  A Comparative Study” in the Winter 2021 issue of “Nebraska History Magazine.”

Dr. Jerrald Pfabe published an article titled, “Seward County Women Go to Court, 1869-1888:  Women Plaintiffs in Civil Cases in the Seward County District Court” in the Summer 2020 issue of Nebraska History Magazine.

Dr. Ben Stellwagen, director of dual credit & school partnerships, led a sectional on “Mission-Minded, Data-Backed Decisions” for the LCMS Missouri District Professional Church Workers’ Conference in October.

Scott Seevers, senior director of development & engagement, has been appointed to the City of Seward’s Planning Commission.

Dr. Ben Stellwagen, along with Scott Ernstmeyer, executive director at Lincoln Lutheran, is leading a year-long leadership development workshop for Future Administrator Candidate Training (FACT) through the Association of Lutheran Secondary Schools (ALSS).

Dylan Teut, director of the Plum Creek Literacy Festival, was awarded the Reading Spotlight Award through Read Aloud Nebraska organization on July 14, 2020. The award was given to Dylan for his work providing resources and innovative ideas for literacy instruction and access to educators and librarians during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dylan Teut served as a consultant for the Language Arts Department of the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) in the month of August. Through video calls and listening sessions, Dylan provided The New Teacher Project (TNTP) with feedback, support, and ideas for year two of the Nebraska Reading Improvement Act (NRIA) implementation. The information gathered by TNTP will be shared with the NDE Language Arts Department, who will make recommendations to the state legislature for the second year of the NRIA.

Dylan Teut completed the requirements and was awarded a Master of Philosophy in Education from Walden University on September 1, 2020. He has achieved Ph.D. Candidate Status and continues work on his dissertation through Walden University. 

Dylan Teut had two peer-reviewed panels accepted for International Literacy Conference in Columbus, Ohio in October 2020, which has now been cancelled due to COVID-19. The sessions were: “For What It’s Worth: The Power of Picture Books in Social Emotional Learning” and “Whatever It Takes: Unconventional Formats of Books to Ignite and Excite Readers.”

Dylan Teut had two peer-reviewed panels accepted for the National Council of Teachers of English in Denver, Colorado in November 2020, which has now been cancelled due to COVID-19. The sessions were: “The Bridge of Stories, The Flow of the Classroom” and “My Song, My Story, My Light; Our Legacy."

Dylan Teut's term on the selection committee for the Mathical Book Award prize committee, as a representative of the National Council of Teachers of English has been renewed for an additional two years. The award is given through the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Children's Book Council.