All posts by pjsotiri


New Chair of CEE Dr. Audra Morse

It was Michigan Tech’s “wonderful reputation” that first got the attention of Audra Morse. That reputation was enough to convince her to leave Texas Tech to lead Michigan Tech’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

On July 1, Audra Morse began her tenure as chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Morse comes to Michigan Tech from Texas Tech, where she had been the associate dean for undergraduate studies for more than 4 years.

Morse earned her bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees from Texas Tech and has been on the faculty there since 2003. She is a licensed professional engineer and a board-certified environmental engineer with the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Water Environment Federation, the American Water Works Association, American Society for Engineering Educators and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. However, she is most active with ASCE, serving at both the global and regional levels.

Morse says it was the “wonderful reputation” of Michigan Tech and the CEE Department that got her attention. “I met and worked with CEE alumni through my activities and service with ACSE on the state and global level, and I regard them as leaders in their field.” She says it was the experience working with staff from Tech’s Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department on the Transforming Engineering Culture to Advance Inclusion and Diversity (TECAID) project that allowed her to learn more about University’s culture. “I believe my values as a faculty member are in alignment with what I learned about Michigan Tech, and I could envision being a faculty member there,” she says.

Although she has come from a university with a student population roughly five times that of Michigan Tech, Morse says the similarities between the two schools are striking. “Upon first glance it may seem that the institutions must vary significantly, but the two Colleges of Engineering and the departments are very similar in size. The similar size of students, faculty and staff inspired me to apply to Michigan Tech,” Morse says.

She says that at Michigan Tech, engineering comprises a greater percentage of the overall student population, which is different from her previous experience. “I see this as an opportunity at Michigan Tech that I did not have (at Texas Tech). As such, I believe CEE students and graduates, as well as the CEE faculty and staff, can have a greater impact on the University’s successes as compared to larger institutions.”

Morse says as she prepared for her interview, she reviewed the University’s Strategic Plan, the CEE Department’s mission statement, vision statement and guiding principles. “The themes, ideas and goals present in these documents resonated with me,” she explains. “Additionally, the College of Engineering recently finished the College Strategic Plan, which outlines goals for members of the College to accomplish.” Morse says these documents set a baseline for what she would like the department to accomplish. “However, the true creativity exists in how the department meets the outlined goals.”

“The faculty, staff and students of the CEE have and will continue to accomplish great things …”Audra Morse

Michigan Tech’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is consistently ranked among the best of the nation. Morse hopes to build on that success.

“I believe the CEE Department has great potential to grow the graduate program while continuing to build industry funding sources, increase diversity of the undergraduate student population and advance the quality of our undergraduate education through more service learning and problem-based learning approaches, while also creating more inclusive classroom environments. The faculty, staff and students of the CEE have and will continue to accomplish great things, and I look forward to making others aware of their successes.”

University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jacqueline Huntoon says “Michigan Tech is fortunate to be able to attract talented individuals to leadership positions on our campus. Dr. Morse brings a great deal of experience to her new position, and I look forward to working with her in the future.”

Morse succeeds David Hand, who has been the CEE department chair since 2011 and returned to the classroom as of June, 30.

Reprinted from Tech Today, “From Lubbock to Houghton” by Mark Wilcox. July 19, 2017


Women Also Know Stuff

Women Also Know Stuff is the name of a website that provides a database of political science scholars working in politics, policy, and government in order to make women’s work more visible and accessible to others:

www.womenalsoknowstuff.com  and #womenalsoknowstuff

A summary article of the project appears in Inside Higher Education by Colleen Flaherty (July 6, 2017) with the tagline, “New paper explains effort to fight gender bias in political science, and, perhaps, in other disciplines as well.”

The board of Womenalsoknowstuff has published a paper documenting their project.

Women Also Know Stuff: Meta-Level Mentoring to Battle Gender Bias in Political Science

Emily Beaulieu, University of Kentucky

Amber E. Boydstun, University of California, Davis

Nadia E. Brown, Purdue University

Kim Yi Dionne, Smith College

Andra Gillespie, Emory University

Samara Klar, University of Arizona

Yanna Krupnikov, Stony Brook University

Melissa R. Michelson, Menlo College

Kathleen Searles, Louisiana University

Christina Wolbrecht, University of Notre Dame

Abstract

Women know stuff. Yet, all too often, they are underrepresented in political science meetings, syllabi, and editorial boards. To counter the implicit bias that leads to women’s under-representation, to ensure that women’s expertise is included and shared, and to improve the visibility of women in political science, in February 2016 we launched the “Women Also Know Stuff” initiative, which features a crowd-sourced website and an active Twitter feed. In this article, we share the origins of our project, the effect we are already having on media utilization of women experts, and plans for how to expand that success within the discipline of political science. We also share our personal reflections on the project.

 


Michigan Tech Named a Top Online School for Women in STEM

by Jennifer Donovan, Tech Today, June 26, 2017

SR Education Group, an online education research publisher, has named Michigan Tech one of the 2017 Top Online Colleges for Women in STEM.

To develop this list, SR Education Group researched all accredited colleges offering at least 10 fully online STEM degrees, evaluating them on factors indicative of support for women students in STEM, including the proportion of female STEM graduates and available online resources for women in STEM. More than 280 schools were considered; 64 made the cut.

See the full SR Education Group announcement here.


Richelle Winkler Wins Distinguished Service Award

From Tech Today, June 1, 2017 by Mark Wilcox

Richelle Winkler’s efforts to better her community have been recognized by Michigan Tech.

Richelle Winkler, an associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences, is the recipient of the 2017 Faculty Distinguished Service Award.

The award is intended to complement the Distinguished Teaching and the Distinguished Research Awards already established at the University. It recognizes service to the University community that has significantly improved the quality of some aspect of campus life.

University Provost Jacqueline Huntoon says, “The faculty Distinguished Service Award Committee maintains very high standards and are only willing to make awards to individuals whose actions are particularly meritorious. Dr. Winkler exemplifies the characteristics that the award is intended to honor. She is an outstanding scholar whose efforts benefit the University and our community.”

Active in the Community

Winkler was recognized for her work with the Houghton Energy Efficiency Team (HEET), Main Street Calumet, the International Association for Society and Natural Resources, Copper Country Recycling Initiative, Keweenaw Land Trust and the new Keweenaw Climate Community. These activities have helped unify Michigan Tech and the local community as they work toward solutions to environmental sustainability problems.

A nominator for the award describes Winkler as “a catalyst in the community through her leadership and coordination of activities that connect members of the campus and local community in ways that also benefit her students.”

“I am thrilled and honored to receive this award.”Richelle Winkler

Over the past five years Winkler has partnered with Main Street Calumet on three projects with the aim of empowering community members to better understand opportunities and challenges for community development and to envision strategies for future improvement.

She was one of the founders of HEET and was on the organizing team that submitted Houghton County’s entry into the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition.

About receiving the faculty service award, Winkler says: “I am thrilled and honored to receive this award. Being recognized for supporting community-based efforts and building campus-community partnerships says a lot about Michigan Tech-s commitment to civic engagement in our local community and supporting sustainable community development. I have been only one of many partners on all of these projects. Dozens of community members, students, and other faculty and staff equally deserve recognition as they continue to energize our work.”

Winker will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and will be honored at a dinner this fall.

 


Beth Reed Named 2017 Distinguished Teacher

By Mike Meyers | Published May 24, 2017

Learning the names of all her students may not seem significant. But it is one of the factors students cite as what makes Beth Reed an outstanding educator.

Beth Reed, a senior lecturer in the Mathematical Sciences Department of Michigan Technological University, is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice category.

Reed, who is also assistant to the department chair, has been teaching mathematical sciences at Tech since 1985 and has been recognized at the departmental level multiple times for both her teaching and her service. This year she was named to the Deans’ Teaching Showcase.

Reed began her academic career in forestry, earning a master’s in forest biometrics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1982. She joined Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science in January of 1983 as a research associate working on four different research projects before moving to the Department of Mathematical Sciences in 1985.

Reed says the secret to her success lies, in part, in her effort to “personalize” her classroom. Though many of her classes have almost 60 students, she learns every student’s name. She say, “I expect and actually get interaction from almost everyone. It really helps that I can call on each person by name. and if they don’t know the answer, I can turn to their neighbor and ask them to help out.”

Her students echo the value of this individual attention. As one student puts it, “She learns everyone’s names and calls on them in class. She tries to include everyone and ask everyone questions. She also has a friendly environment, is easily approachable and easy to listen to.”

Students applaud the structure and the organization of Reed’s classes. One student writes, “She sends an email every Friday laying out the schedule for the next week, which allows preparation.” Reed states she likes to let her students know what to expect, which enables them to focus on “concentrating on the problems rather than worrying about taking notes.”

“Beth is simply an excellent teacher …”Mark Gockenbach

Reed finds ways to give plenty of feedback both in and outside of class, using “worksheet days” that are dedicated to students working on statistical problems in small groups individually. “I am there to answer questions as they come up,” she explains. “We meet at the end of class and go over the entire worksheet so that all students have a corrected version as they leave class. The act of doing statistics rather than listening and/or talking about it has served them well.”

Again, her students confirm the value of this frequent and specific feedback, writing “Professor Reed gives great feedback, in class, on homework assignments and on exams.  I am never left confused about why I was marked down on an assignment, and I can always find an answer or clarification to problems.”

Mark Gockenbach, chair of mathematical sciences, echoes the organized, caring and constantly improving nature of Reed’s teaching. “Beth is simply an excellent teacher—clear, organized, intentional and reflective. She cares about her students and makes an effort to establish a personal connection with each of them, while still holding them to a high standard. Students respond to her enthusiastic and caring style, and I admire the fact that she is still trying to improve her courses even though she has taught them many times before.”

Perhaps the biggest reason for Reed’s success is her desire to motivate as many students as possible to be successful. One student quote summarizes this. “She makes me want to learn. She makes me feel welcome and comfortable. She has respect for all of her students, and we all have respect for her.”

Reed will receive a $2,500 monetary award and a plaque at an awards dinner sponsored by University President Glenn Mroz in the fall. Scott Miers, an associate professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics, received the Distinguished Teaching Award in the Associate Professor/Professor category this year.

 


Susan Liebau Wins 2017 Diversity Award

Posted by Mark Wilcox, Tech Today, May 11, 2017

Established in 2014, Michigan Technological University’s Diversity Award recognizes the accomplishments of a Michigan Tech faculty or staff member who contributes to diversity and inclusion through exemplary leadership and actions.

Susan Liebau, director of the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Michigan Tech Diversity Award.

To qualify for the award, individuals must be nominated by fellow employees, students, alumni, University groups, employee networks and community organizations or other University partners. The award is intended to honor those who have gone above and beyond to further and foster diversity and inclusion at Michigan Tech.

In one of three nomination letters on Liebau’s behalf, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Bonnie Gorman stated, “It’s always gratifying when a student comes and asks for your support because they want to submit a nomination for an award. That’s what happened in this case for Susan.”

Gorman wrote that Liebau, for years the advisor for the Society of African America Men, was approached by members of that organization when the previous advisor left and the group was about to fold. Gorman notes Liebau is an active supporter of the Society of Intellectual Sisters Bra Show and oversees the training of the Orientation Team Leaders and the Wahtera Center coaches which involves nearly 100 students annually.

In another nomination letter, Heather Simpson, assistant director of the Wahtera Center, wrote, “As director of the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, Susan places an emphasis on diversity and inclusion in all areas she supervises. She actively recruits and encourages underrepresented students to work for the Wahtera Center, in a variety of positions, include key student leadership roles.” Simpson writes that she knows of “no one more deserving” of the Diversity Award than Liebau.

“I feel honored and humbled.”Susan Liebau

“The 120 Wahtera Center staff connects with every first-year student and hundreds more each year,” wrote Ryan Bennett, assistant director of orientation programs. “To say their ability to relate to students is essential would be an understatement. … The stories that result from their efforts provide extremely compelling evidence of Susan’s commitment to promote a diverse and inclusive campus culture.”

Bennett writes Liebau “works determinedly to cultivate and change the norm from the ground up, through the development of meaningful individual relationships and dialogue.”

Kellie Raffaelli, director for the Center of Diversity and Inclusion is chair of the award selection committee, a subset of the University’s Diversity Council, says Liebau is a worthy recipient of the award.

“Susan has been a consistent champion of increasing students understanding of diversity and inclusion throughout campus as well as continually working toward underrepresented students having a stronger sense of belonging here at Tech.”

Raffaelli says Liebau embodies what it means to be an ally and most certainly has “gone above and beyond to create an inclusive campus community.”

Liebau says she looks to ensure students feel welcome, valued and part of a community that will support and encourage them.

“I feel honored and humbled that others recognized how much this means to me and took the time to nominate me for this award,” she says.

“It isn’t always simple or easy, but creating an inclusive and supportive campus is something we should all strive for as a campus community.”

Liebau will receive a $2,500 award and will be recognized during the Faculty Awards Dinner in September. In addition to Liebau, Allison Carter, director of admissions and Josh Olson, chief information officer, were also nominated for the award.


Stephanie Carpenter winner of 2017 Press 53 Award

Humanities Professor Wins Fiction Award

Stephanie Carpenter (HU) has been named winner of the 2017 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction for her short story collection “Missing Persons.”

Besides publication by Press 53 in October, Carpenter will receive a $1,000 advance and a quarter-page color ad in Poets & Writers magazine. The judge for the competition was Kevin Morgan Watson, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Press 53.

Of the winning manuscript, Watson says, “These stories are diverse in voice, setting, conflict and style. Ms. Carpenter’s skills shine in this collection, as does her ability to step into the shoes of a wide range of people while peeling back the complex layers of their lives. For a group of stories to rise above 230 other manuscripts competing for my attention, every story has to deliver an interesting, satisfying and powerful experience, and ‘Missing Persons’ did just that. I’m looking forward to sharing this collection of stories with readers everywhere.”

Carpenter’s prose has appeared in prestigious journals and magazines such as Witness, Nimrod, The Cossack Review, Big Fiction, The Crab Orchard Review and others. She teaches creative writing and literature at Tech. “Missing Persons” is her first book-length publication.

A limited number of advanced reading copies of “Missing Persons” will be available for review. If interested, contact Press 53 at 336-770-5353 or email editor@press53.com.


Gupta and Langston Broadcasting Award

[From Tech Today, “Notables,” March 14, 2017]

A radio interview featuring Latika Gupta (SBE) and Nancy Langston (SS) won the Michigan Association of Broadcasting Award for Best Feature Programming. The Copper Country Today Segment discussed the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy and initially aired on Dec. 18, 2016.

Gupta had provided her expertise as an energy economist and Langston had focused on sovereignty and environmental justice issues. The entire interview can be found on the Copper Country Today website.


Julie Seppala Named Vice President for Finance

Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz has appointed Julie Seppala as vice president for finance. Her appointment was effective on Dec. 18.

Previously, Seppala was appointed treasurer of the Board of Trustees, the executive director of financial services and operations and treasurer of the Michigan Tech Fund Board of Directors. She will keep those duties in her new position.

Seppala is responsible for all financial functions of the University and the Michigan Tech Fund, including financial reporting, investment and treasury management and overseeing all accounting functions.

In making the announcement, Mroz says “Julie is a remarkable, no-nonsense leader and we are looking to her to continue to make significant strides to organize our ever-increasing financing reporting responsibilities using Lean principles.”

Mroz says Seppala has been advancing the visibility of Michigan Tech through the National Association of Research Administrators and her highly-respected work with the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP).

“She’s been leading efforts to combine the reporting of finances of the University and the Michigan Tech Fund and has brought us through clean audits for both organizations for several years now.”

Seppala says “I am honored and humbled that President Mroz has given me this opportunity to take on a new role as vice president for finance. I’m looking forward to working with the University community to support the strategic initiatives of the University.”

Seppala has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and has completed Lean Facilitator training. She has facilitated numerous campus process improvement events since 2008.

Through her work with FDP, a cooperative initiative of 10 federal agencies and 155 research universities, she seeks to reduce the administrative burdens associated with research grants and contracts.

“Michigan Tech was one of three FDP universities to participate in a national pilot on documenting time and effort charged to federal grants and contracts,” Seppala says.

She led the four-year Project Payroll Certification Pilot and the two-year federal audit of the project.

Seppala is a member of the National Association of Business Officers and the National Association of Research Administrators.

She participates in the Council on Governmental Relations and the Michigan Association of State Universities State Business Affairs Officers Committee.