Wayne State College

Faculty News 2019

Published Monday, March 4th, 2019

See what our faculty have accomplished within the last year! As published in the Winter 2019 edition of the alumni magazine.

Dr. Carolyn Albracht, assistant professor of art education, will have her article “Ecological Responsibility, Landscape Literacy, and the Aesthetic Awareness of Place” published in Great Plains Research in the spring 2019 issue. The article argues that cultivating ecological responsibility on the Great Plains begins with developing landscape literacy through aesthetic awareness of place. She also applied for and was accepted for an exhibit of her work in the Fred Simon Gallery in Omaha. This Nebraska Arts Council program selects artists through a competitive application process. The exhibit will open in April.

Dr. Randy Bertolas, professor of geography, was recognized with two awards at the National Conference for Geographic Education held in Quebec City, Quebec, from Aug. 6-10. The NCGE Distinguished Mentor Award honors college/university faculty who have been “exceptional at mentoring students of geography and geography education.” Dr. Bertolas has taught at Wayne State College for 24 years, advised more than 60 senior honors theses, and conducted geography education summer workshops throughout the state for hundreds of pre-service and in-service teachers. The NCGE Geographic Excellence in Media Award “recognizes all forms of media that exhibit outstanding geographic content or teaching methods” and was presented to Bertolas in recognition for his Student Atlas of Nebraska. The atlas was published in 2017 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Nebraska statehood. Selected by the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Commission and funded by private foundations, almost 30,000 copies of the atlas have been distributed free of charge for use in all Nebraska fourth grade classrooms. Learn more at http://ncge.org/awards.

Dr. Alan Bruflat, professor of Spanish, published “Buried Past, Uncertain Future in the Poetry of Alvaro García” in the European Studies Conference Select Proceedings (2017) (online). 

Dr. Donovan Conley, professor of exercise science, and Dr. Tammy Evetovich, dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences, were co-authors on a research paper presented by former graduate student Daniel Flahie at the national American College of Sports Medicine meeting held in Minneapolis from May 29 to June 2. The abstract for the paper, titled “Acute Caffeine Ingestion Enhances Upper and Lower Body Torque During Isometric and Isokinetic Muscle Actions,” was published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. In addition, Wayne State College was recognized as a Bronze-level “Exercise is Medicine” campus. This is a distinguished national recognition that provides excellent visibility for the campus as leaders in promoting the benefits of exercise and physical activity.

Dr. Barbara Engebretsen, professor of exercise science, spearheaded this effort, Daniel Flahie helped launch the program, and Paul McCawley, instructor of exercise science, has provided valuable assistance in coordinating this program housed in the Health, Human Performance, and Sport

As a 2018-19 Fulbright Global Scholar, Dr. Barbara Engebretsen visited Nepal and Ethiopia from May through July, leading a project titled “HEARTS Initiative: Engaging Student Health Clubs to Address Hypertension in Ethiopia, Nepal, and Nebraska.” (HEARTS stands for Hypertension Education And Resourcing Talented Students.) Engebretsen worked with partners at Children’s Hospital for Eyes, ENT, and Rehabilitative Services in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Bahir Dar University College of Medicine and Health Sciences in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The purpose was to address hypertension and non-communicable disease (NCD), training students how to screen for blood pressure and NCDs. Another 10-week trip is planned for May through July.

Dr. Engebretsen also served as a speaker at the Global Health Conference-Midwest at Creighton University in February 2018. 

Dr. Carol Erwin, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences, graduated from the University of South Dakota with a Doctorate in Education (Adult and Higher Education Administration) in May. Her dissertation was titled “Prioritizing Professional Development Needs of Nebraska Secondary Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers.” 

Erwin also received the Special Service Award by the Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers of Nebraska at the Nebraska Career Education Conference in June. 

Dr. Phillip Fox, assistant professor of history, published an article titled “The advantage of legal diversity for state formation: Bourbon reforms and Aragonese law in eighteenth-century Spain” in the peer-reviewed international journal European History Quarterly this year. He also presented a paper titled “The Challenge of Interpreting the Ultimate Meaning of the Past: A Butterfieldian Critique of Oliver O’Donovan’s Political Concepts” at the 31st Biennial Meeting of the Conference on Faith and History hosted by Calvin College in October.

Dr. Karl Kolbeck, associate professor of music, was featured as a guest artist/clinician at the Palmetto Clarinet Festival in Newberry, S.C. The event included a guest artist recital and masterclass sessions.

Dr. Trish Kolterman, assistant professor of business, was awarded the Great Plains Region Chapter Advisor of the Year and the North Central Province Chapter Advisor of the Year by the International Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi. The awards coincided with the Chapter of Excellence Award given to the Wayne State College Delta Sigma Pi–Eta Pi Fraternity. Kolterman also gave an informative presentation at the Mountain-Plains Business Education Association in Omaha in June. The presentation, “Team Projects: Converting Anxiety to Sweet Success,” provided methods and assessments for creating successful student team projects. 

Dr. Brian Kufner, associate professor of business, presented “Finding Your Fit: The Importance of Incorporating Workplace Culture into Career Exploration” at the 2018 National Business Education Association Annual Convention in March in Baltimore and the 2018 Mountain-Plains Business Education Association Conference in June in Omaha. 

Dr. Michael Marek, professor of communication arts, has a book chapter in-press on “Creating a technology-rich English language learning environment.” In 2018, he had two peer-reviewed journal articles published, a meta-analysis of research in Mobile Assisted Language Learning, and an article about developing intercultural competence. 

Meghan O’Connor, associate professor of art, was juried into the following exhibitions: Benefit Art Auction at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha (her piece sold) and 2018 Pacific States Biennial North American Print Exhibition (juried by Helen Frederick) at the Campus Center Gallery, East Hawai’i Cultural Center, at the University of Hawaii in Hilo, Hawaii.

She also organized and exhibited a project with international participants called “(Un)Necessary Duplicates” at the Mid-America Print Conference in Laramie, Wyo. Five Art Club members from Wayne State College received funds from student allocations to attend the conference: Hannah Woods, Emily Heerman, Bibi Lueviano, Cassandra Lindgren, and Mackenzie Oliver. The exhibition included works from more than 20 WSC students and alumni.

Joshua Piersanti, associate professor of graphic design, and senior graphic design students designed the exterior sign for WSC’s new Criminal Justice Crime Scene Investigation Facility. 

Piersanti, O’Connor, and freshmen graphic design students also completed their work restoring historical photographs of the Blackbird Family for the Neihardt State Historic Site. 

Dr. Yasuko Taoka, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, published “Lectiones Memorabiles, Volume III: Selections from Caesar, Catullus, Horace, Livy, Ovid, and Vergil.” Written with co-author Marianthe Colakis, the book is an intermediate-advanced-level Latin reader that prepares students for the International Baccalaureate test in Latin. Taoka is also the author of “Lectiones Memorabiles, Volume II: Selections from Horace, Lucretius, Suetonius, and Tacitus.”

Dr. Chris Tee Weixelman, assistant professor of education, earned her Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Dakota in December. Her dissertation, titled “Science Vocabulary Instruction in Early Elementary Classrooms,” analyzed how early  elementary teachers are teaching science vocabulary to create a strong foundation for their students with the current emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics. 

Dr. Mike White, assistant professor of electronic media, premiered his short film “The Ghost in Her” in November at the Majestic Theater in Wayne with subsequent showings at the Sioux City Conservatory and Vanguard Arts. The narrative drama was the runner-up in the best of show category at the Iowa Independent Film Festival (in Muscatine) and is in contention in seven other festivals. White is also currently shooting a feature fi lm called “Ever Fallen.” 

In October, Dr. White was a guest panelist on the Independent Film Makers Panel at the Sioux City International Film Festival with Jan Miller Corran (Snapshots, AWOL) and John Behring (CSI, Gotham, Grimm).

Dr. Deborah Whitt, professor of communication arts, was recognized by the National Communication Association for her significant service to Lambda Pi Eta (communication honor society) and her exemplary dedication as a member of the National Faculty Advisory Board.