Each year, we celebrate the exceptional and meaningful work of St. Kate’s faculty and staff with the Year-End Faculty and Staff awards. Although like last spring we are celebrating recipients virtually, please know we are deeply grateful to each and every one of our faculty and staff for their part in our University. Throughout this challenging year, their contributions have remained exceptional, distinguished by their adaptability, creativity, and grit. Please join us in recognizing our outstanding colleagues, friends, and teachers below.
Staff Excellence Awards
The Staff Excellence Awards honor staff members nominated by their colleagues for their exceptional work and outstanding contributions to the University. The winners are selected from a section of impressive staff who further St. Kate’s mission and values, demonstrate strong team collaboration, and show initiative and creativity in their role. The awards and recognition committee selected three awardees, who receive $1,000, and two honorees, who receive $125.
Stockroom Supervisor, Chemistry
Praise submitted in support for Sharon’s recognition by the community:
“For 15 years, Sharon’s commitment to the St. Kate’s mission has shone through her interactions with students, faculty, and student employees, demonstrating equal compassion and devotion to academic excellence. Her management of safety, supplies, and budget and coordination of course delivery during COVID are vital to our daily operation and long-term planning. Sharon's level-headedness, dedication, and thoughtfulness has helped guide our team through these challenging times.”
Assistant Teacher, Early Childhood Center
Praise submitted in support for Kadey’s recognition by the community:
“As an assistant teacher, Kadey goes beyond following policy and procedure – she looks for and offers ideas and tools to guide program improvement, shows us new communication and outreach methods, and is passionate about her work. Kadey’s highly developed sense of community and commitment to caring for others without distinction in the spirit of the CSJs makes our families and children feel embraced and nurtured. She is an exceptional ECC team member and student.”
Assistant Director, Multicultural and International Programs and Services
Praise submitted in support for Amal’s recognition by the community:
“In only a couple years, Amal has built countless relationships with students, faculty, and staff. She is a living example of inclusive excellence, an outspoken advocate for students in MIPS and elsewhere, and a fearless proponent of dignity and respect for people of all cultures and backgrounds. In every endeavor Amal reaches across cultural, professional, and disciplinary divides to achieve common goals, centering the student experience with imagination and creativity.”
Praise submitted in support for Gregg’s recognition by the community:
“Gregg goes the extra mile again and again to help create an environment that furthers the lives and work of everyone here. He was instrumental in our successful moving of the Minneapolis library to St. Paul, and his thoughtfulness and attentiveness was key to the transition staying organized. No matter how many heavy or messy tasks the library asks for them to help with, the dynamic duo of Gregg and Roy complete them ahead of schedule, and with attitudes and humor that never fail to lighten the mood. Gregg makes me grateful to work alongside incredible people at St. Kate's.”
Praise submitted in support for Roy’s recognition by the community:
“Roy’s ability to collaborate and communicate with facilities teammates and whomever he is helping exemplifies his care for all. He and Gregg have been indispensable around the Library and Archives, helping us weather many changes over the past couple of years so that we could continue serving our students. Roy regularly makes above-and-beyond contributions such as coming in on scheduled vacation days, and extra communication with faculty to make sure their classrooms are disinfected on fluctuating schedules. His incredible attention and commitment embody the St. Kate’s mission to care for all.”
- Krista Anderson, Director, Simulation Lab
- Kelly Barak, Compliance Supervisor, Clinical Education
- Kristin Chalberg, Director of Admissions, College for Adults and Graduate College
- Cindy Egeness, Registrar
- Kelly Fox, Administrative Assistant, Social Work
- Alyson Glass, Assistant Registrar
- Mary Graf, Information Specialist, Career Development
- Amy Kelly, Director, Health and Wellness Center
- Carley Kokal, Facilities Coordinator
- Joel Leake, Safety and Compliance Program Manager, Facilities
- Molly Orth, Art Director, Marketing and Communications
- Eric Rehnberg, Lead Engineer, Database Administration
- Sharon Rolenc, Project and Programming Specialist, Special Programs
- Eric Stacey, Director, Athletics
- Emma Steincross, Access Consultant, Disability Resources
- Cat Troche, Administrative Assistant, Henrietta Schmoll School of Health
Faculty Teaching and Advising Awards
The Faculty Teaching and Advising Award honors the highest quality of teaching, dedication to effective mentoring, and academic advising. The winners are selected from an impressive faculty that exemplifies the highest echelon of academic excellence and student focus. Each year, St. Kate’s community nominates faculty members for this award and celebrates colleagues who maintain high academic standards, go above and beyond in their teaching, and provide quality mentoring and advising.
Adjunct, Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
Jeanne Bailey, PhD, has taught MAOL courses in leadership and ethics at St. Kate’s since 2015. An authentic leader and active listener, Jeanne skillfully balances high standards for her students with the vital support they need to achieve that quality. She is beloved by her students for her passion for critical thinking and learning and her openness to ideas and conversations.
Associate Professor, Master of Library and Information Science
Sarah Park Dahlen, PhD, has taught in the MLIS program since 2009, specializing in children’s and young adult literature with a special research focus on diversity in these genres, for which she is known nationally. She is committed to ingraining anti-racist and social justice approaches in the library profession.
Professor and Coordinator of Graduate Program, Theology
Bill McDonough, PhD, has been teaching at St. Kate’s for 18 years. Bill’s teaching approach is student-centered, interdisciplinary, and collaborative, and he brings his dedication and perspective as an ethicist to all his work.
Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Award for Faculty Excellence
The Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Award for Faculty Excellence recognizes outstanding accomplishments in teaching and scholarship that bring external visibility to the University, both regionally and nationally. The Kelly Award winner receives a $10,000 prize.
Associate Professor, Business Administration
Sarah Rand, PhD, is an exceptional instructor who is committed to bringing forward women in leadership and the University’s role in preparing women leaders. She has played a key role in developing the Katie Leadership Impact program, which will, thanks to her work, have great impact on the School of Business’ ability to engage and develop students, faculty, staff, and corporate partners.
Patricia O’Connor Myser Award
The Patricia O’Connor Myser Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring honors St.Catherine University faculty members who are exceptional mentors to undergraduate students engaged in research and scholarly work. The winner receives a $5,000 award, plus $2,500 to invest in professional development.
Associate Professor, Physics
Erick Agrimson, MS, is a generous and expert mentor, involving teams of undergraduate students in high altitude ballooning research and regularly presenting this research regionally and nationally. His dedication and enthusiasm are legend, and he inspires his students to continue on in STEM fields. “I have never met anyone more dedicated to the pursuit of collaborative research and learning than Professor Agrimson,” said one student nominator. “I cannot count the ways that Professor Agrimson has had a positive effect on my life.”
Denny Prize for Distinction in Writing
The Denny Prize for Distinction in Writing is an opportunity to recognize the caliber of writing our faculty and staff bring to the classroom and to St. Catherine University. The Denny family established an endowment 26 years ago to create this annual award in honor of their mother, Eleanor McCahill Denny.
Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Judges awarded the prize to Margret McCue-Enser, PhD, for her essay “Land as Indigenous Analytic.” McCue-Enser has taught at St. Kate’s for 10 years, with her courses, research, and writing often focusing on Indigenous rights and issues.
Carol Easley Denny Award
The Carol Easley Denny Award, which recognizes excellence in teaching, research, and community service, is named for the late Carol Easley Denny, wife of the late Charles M. Denny, Jr., trustee emeritus and former chair of St. Catherine University’s Board of Trustees. The Denny Award is considered one of St. Catherine University's most prestigious faculty development awards.
Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy
For her project titled “A Seat for Every Child: Ensuring Safe and Dignified Mealtimes for Children with Disabilities,” Paula Rabaey ’92, PhD, OTR/L receives the 2021 Denny Award. This project will collaborate with the SPOON Foundation to test the feasibility, usability, and acceptability of an innovative, low-cost feeding chair for children with disabilities in low resource settings, to be tested in Uganda. Paula has taught at St. Kate’s for 14 years.
Years of Service Awards
We are celebrating 103 employees who have reached service anniversaries with the University. This year 87 people are reaching 5, 10, 15, and 20 years. We’d especially like to recognize those celebrating milestones of 25, 30, and 40 years of service. Please join us in honoring these distinguished colleagues with comments provided by their supervisors:
Mike Baxter, custodian in the Facilities Management department, has held several different positions throughout his career. Mike loves interacting with students, faculty, and administrative staff and has developed rich interpersonal relationships over the years. He has also been active in furthering his education, graduating from St. Kate’s with a bachelor’s degree in English and currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. Mike has developed a keen understanding of the University’s social justice mission, not only as a student but as an employee, to help bring to light and solve these societal issues. He is very passionate about music, and you may have attended his holiday performances with Dave Sengstock. Mike’s dedication to the University and its success is also reflected in his annual contributions to Give to St. Kate’s Day. Mike looks forward to the return of all faculty, staff, and students as we navigate the pandemic.
Jane Carroll, professor of history and international studies, is a wonderful colleague and valued member of our faculty and of the wider St. Catherine community. During her 25-year career at St. Kate’s, Jane has been a perfect exemplar of the University mission principles — Catholic, liberal arts, and women — all of which she has worked tirelessly to uphold and advance as both a teacher and a scholar. She is an outstanding teacher who cares deeply about the success of our students. Jane teaches a wide variety of courses, including U.S. history, European history, and women’s history. She has taught in the CORE, led study abroad courses, and served in a variety of leadership roles that include department chair, faculty coordinator for the Antonian Scholars Honors Program, and president of the Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. She has also served on numerous committees, including UFEPT and SHAS SCAC. From 2017-2020, Jane was the Sister Mona Riley Endowed Professor in the Humanities. She is an established scholar and writer whose many gifts were recently illustrated in the recent publication of her book Daybreak Woman: An Anglo-Dakota Life.
Kristin Chalberg, director of admissions in the College for Adults and Graduate College, has consistently demonstrated her commitment to helping our students lead, influence, and thrive. In her long-standing role in graduate admissions, Kristin has played a critical role advancing the growth of graduate programs from a few students in a small number of programs to the thriving graduate student body we now have today. She has helped build systems, policies, practices, and teams to advance the growth of the Graduate College and College for Adults. All the while, she has shown a consistent commitment to lifting up and serving students and advancing the University's mission. She has provided service above and beyond her position description, volunteering to serve students in clubs and organizations, and provided constructive counsel to her fellow employees so that we can advance the mission together. She has helped to maintain a strong culture at St. Kate's by being a trusted friend and colleague to many staff and faculty across the University.
Michael Chovanec, professor of social work, has lived out his steadfast dedication to social work education and practice throughout his long history in our department. He played a pivotal role in the development of the St. Kate’s MSW program during the challenging dissolution from St. Thomas and transition to independent status. He recently completed his second elected term on UFEPT, has been active in the University faculty mentoring program, and served six years on the University Institutional Review Board. He is a beloved faculty member and conscientious teacher, student advisor, mentor, and role model. His expertise in clinical social work practice, as well as his service to the University and local practice communities, will be sorely missed. The University extends our gratitude and wishes for good health to Michael in his retirement.
Donna Hauer, director of Multicultural and International Services and Programs, has led this office through 25 years of stellar service to the University, establishing the MIPS office’s reputation as a warm and welcoming environment for all visitors. With the St. Kate’s mission and the charism and values of the Sisters of St. Joseph at the center of her work, Donna has built a team and space in MIPS which prioritizes the stories, experiences, joys, and difficulties of students navigating college. Outside of the MIPS office, we have all likely benefited from Donna’s service to the University community, as she has led committees and initiatives and taught countless TRW and GSJ courses. In 2015, Donna received the Sr. Anne Joachim Moore Award and presented her talk “The Complexity and Simplicity of Authentic Relationship.” All one needs to do is pass the MIPS office to witness the easy laughter in the MIPS “living room.” Donna’s work has shown the secret to community-building is keeping personal relationships at the center of the work. Students know, and have felt, the importance of connection and relationship as a lived value of the MIPS office as a result of Donna’s vision and leadership.
Madge Makowske, associate director of athletics, has played an integral role in the building and development of St. Kate’s athletic department. Her hard work and tireless commitment to our student-athletes has helped the Wildcats achieve record-setting heights. Madge started at St. Kate’s as the softball coach and has over the years moved into vital administrative roles, now serving as the associate director of athletics. In this role she oversees all MIAC and NCAA rules compliance, operates the department’s corporate sponsorship structure, intramurals, and numerous other important administrative duties. Without Madge, St. Kate’s athletics would not be anywhere close to where we are today. She is always willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that our student-athletes have the best experience possible. Her teammates and students value her thoughtful and fair advice, and she is an essential part of the department.
Gina Mancini-Samuelson, professor of chemistry, has consistently earned the respect and admiration of all who have worked with her throughout her time at St. Kate’s. She is recognized for the high quality of her teaching materials, the varied pedagogies she employs, her high standards, and her strong commitment to student learning and success as a professor, mentor, and advisor. She has been responsible for a number of significant improvements in the chemistry curriculum. In recognition of her outstanding teaching, Gina received the Myser Family Foundation’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2008. She also received an NSF grant to develop new laboratories in her upper division courses and has been active in the AAC&U’s Project Kaleidoscope. A recognized faculty leader both in the chemistry department and throughout the University, Gina has served as chemistry department chair and on a wide range of elected faculty committees. She is known for her calm and thoughtful manner, attention to detail, logical approach to problem solving, positive attitude, excellent collegial skills, and amazing laugh.
Steven Rufsholm, lead maintenance engineer, has played an integral role in the maintenance team over the course of his 25 years at St. Kate’s. As the new foreman, he often assists others when problems arise and enjoys training new employees when they arrive. Steve has honed his leadership and communication skills over the years, providing much-needed information on necessary campus equipment and repairs and sharing his extensive knowledge of all the trades. Steve’s teammates and colleagues — both within the maintenance department and across the University — appreciate his friendly manner and positive attitude, enjoying his smile and the pride he takes in his work. Steve’s years of efficient, thorough work is not only ubiquitous, but essential to both the University’s daily operations and its assurance of a successful future.
Linda Blazovich, professor of nursing, is a well-respected leader of simulation coordination for the College for Women nursing program. An expert in healthcare simulation with certification as a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE), Linda has served as a tenured professor and chaired many faculty committees. She has been critical in scholarship and research to contribute to the literature and best practices in the use of healthcare simulation methodology. Most recently, she has served as the chair of the nursing subgroup on the HSSH Simulation and Lab Restructure Taskforce. Linda has been a mentor to many faculty to support their development, use, and facilitation of simulation to enhance student learning outcomes. Her generosity, passion for her work, and tireless dedication to the pursuit of excellence make her an invaluable team member and mentor. The University extends our gratitude and wishes for good health to Linda in her retirement.
Patricia Connors, professor of music and choir director, recently served a lengthy term as department chair. The Women's Choir and Choral Society are especially near and dear to her heart; the latter she founded and brings singers from St. Kate's together with singers from the community. Patty believes in supporting women composers and features a local composer in nearly all of her productions. She often serves as guest conductor and clinician for choral festivals. Her research involves 18th century Venetian composers, with a particular interest in the music of the ospedali (convent/orphanage/music schools). With an infectious enthusiasm for the performing arts and a deep-seated commitment to St. Kate’s, Patty is dedicated to bringing the beauty of voice to our community, through the formal choirs but also through events like Singing Valentines. She was married to the late Russ Connors, St. Kate’s professor of theology and she is very proud of their children, who attend St. Thomas and St. Kate's.
MarySue Ingman, associate professor, is a long-time faculty member of both the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs. She is well-respected in these programs, across the University, and throughout the broader physical therapy and health and wellness communities. MarySue has served with excellence in numerous roles, including as the DPT assistant director of clinical education, nationally-revered researcher in health and wellness, graduate research advisor, and member of elected faculty committees throughout her academic career. She has also been a faithful advocate for social justice in the physical therapy profession, having served many years as a preceptor at the Minneapolis Indian Health Board, as well as faculty mentor in Community Work and Learning immersion experiences for both DPT and PTA students. MarySue continues to seek life-long learning experiences and is a tremendous role model in this capacity for her students and colleagues alike. She extends care and compassion to all her students at the same time as she provides the unwavering support they need to meet her expectations and make their unique mark on this world.
Kathleen Kalb, associate professor of nursing, has served the nursing department faithfully as an exemplar of excellence in nursing education. What sets her apart is her servant heart and keen sense of compassion, justice, and care for the dear neighbor which is grounded in her strong Catholic faith. She has provided light in the darkness, hope, and calm in her service to the department, colleagues, students, and innumerable others during her tenure at St. Catherine University. Kathleen exudes the mission, vision, and values of the University in all of her work, a strong advocate for students and a patient mentor for faculty, and was awarded the 2010 Carol Easley Denny Award for her curriculum model, “Nursing for Social Justice.” Her breadth of wisdom is interwoven into the fibers of the nursing department, who extends full-hearted gratitude to her for so successfully preparing the Department of Nursing to effectively meet the myriad of opportunities and challenges ahead. The University extends our gratitude and wishes for good health to Kathleen in her retirement.
Cindy Norton, professor of biology, is a welcoming and supportive teacher, scholar, and leader, responding patiently to questions and embracing new energy and ideas. Cindy has been an outstanding leader at the University, dedicated to mentoring new tenure-track faculty and committed to promoting greater equity and opportunities for students of color. As director of the Collaborative Research Program, she has fostered scholarly links between faculty and students through the Summer Scholars Program. She also is a strong and relentless advocate for faculty agency within the University structure; she is a role model for asking serious, difficult questions on issues related to curriculum, faculty welfare, faculty development, and governance. When not raising her voice as an activist, she is raising her voice in song, leading the rest of us in wacky biology songs at our TriBeta biology honors society initiation. Outgoing and social, Cindy is a loyal and beloved colleague and friend. We immensely value her as a community builder, mentor, and proponent of scholarship for both faculty and students.
Vicki Schug, professor of nursing, is deeply beloved and respected for her integrity and unwavering commitment to her students, colleagues, and nursing education excellence. During her 30-year career in the Department of Nursing, Vicki has simultaneously served as nursing program director for three programs — the baccalaureate program in the College for Women, the RN-BS program, and what is now the post-baccalaureate Program — and made numerous contributions to program development and professional scholarship. Her leadership as program director has been widely admired for her steady wisdom and generous support of students and faculty. Current and former colleagues often comment on the long-lasting positive impact of her mentorship and guidance on their development as nurses and educators. Vicki’s contributions to departmental leadership and governance and her content expertise in nursing education have been invaluable in supporting continued nursing excellence at St. Kate’s. The University extends our gratitude and wishes for good health to Vicki in her retirement.
Paul Haugen, academic advisor, was instrumental throughout his career in shaping the Minneapolis campus, teaching anatomy and physiology labs, human ecology, and a course in the holistic health program. He created an advising model that supported students and faculty, and he trained a multitude of faculty and staff in these pro-active advising practices. Paul embodies the history of place, and serves to remind those around him of the significance of their work with students. As important as these are, his humor, wit, and good-natured approach are among his most meaningful contributions — an oft-spoken phrase of Paul’s: “That reminds me of a joke.” We are truly fortunate to share his passion for his students who join us permanently now on the St. Paul campus. Paul puts students at the center of his work and shows humanity and care in all he does.
Sue Martinson, associate professor of nursing, has shared her teaching expertise in a variety of settings that include classroom, lab, and on-site clinical instruction in medically complex in-patient hospital settings. This type of clinical environment requires nursing faculty to be highly skilled in both nursing care and education to successfully mentor and teach students — in which Susan excels. Her years of clinical teaching and dedication to students make her an excellent fit for these teaching responsibilities, and students find her to be both knowledgeable and competent in her role. She is gracious, non-judgmental, and above all a shining example of compassion and kindness towards her students, faculty colleagues, and patients. Her calm and steady insight is an indispensable part of our collaborative teaching and governance committee work in the Department of Nursing.