Bemidji State University recognized 62 employees with 930 combined years of service, 19 retiring staff members, seven faculty members who have been granted emeriti status and the winners of the university’s Awards of Excellence at its annual Employee Recognition Celebration on April 28.
“Just as we are about to celebrate the success of our students at commencement next week, it is equally important to celebrate the accomplishments of our faculty and staff who contribute so much to this great institution,” Bemidji State President Faith. C. Hensrud said.
BSU’s Awards of Excellence include the Spirit of BSU Awards, Outstanding Contribution Award, Excellence in Teaching Award, Shard Fundamental Values Award and Distinguished Service Award.
“The excellence we recognize today ties directly back to such touchstones as our Mission, Vision and Shared Fundamental Values,” Hensrud said.. “Employees who excel also advance our strategic goals – to more actively engage students, to better connect with and serve our surrounding communities, to recruit and graduate a more diverse student body.”
Spirit of BSU Award
2022 individual recipient: Lori Deering, office and administrative specialist, Departments of Accountancy and Business Administration.
2022 individual recipient: Dr. Amber Fryklund, assistant professor of human performance, sport and health.
2022 individual recipient: Bridget Tews, transfer enrollment adviser.
2022 team recipient: Gillett Recreation and Outdoor Program Centers.
2022 team recipient: Public Safety.
The Spirit of BSU Award recognizes individuals and teams whose positive attitude and infectious enthusiasm embody the Spirit of BSU through their active support of students, student-athletes, co-workers and/or community members.
Lori Deering, office and administrative specialist for the departments of accountancy and business administration, was called an “incredible colleague” by her departments and described by a nominator as the ideal teammate. She also was praised for her work to recruit, hire, train the department’s many student employees.
Similarly, Dr. Amber Fryklund, assistant professor of human performance, sport and health, was recognized for her commitment to Bemidji State which spans two decades. After her career as a record-breaking student-athlete who is a member of BSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Fryklund entered the coaching ranks and after earning her doctorate, joined the BSU faculty. Fryklund was also lauded for developing the Howe-Welle Golf Tournament which has raised thousands of dollars to support BSU women’s athletics.
Bridget Tews, transfer enrollment adviser, has a deep family history with the university that started with her father, who was a professor in the professional education department. She was described as “BSU’s cheerleader” and was commended for her enthusiasm and passion while recruiting at community colleges across the state and region.
In addition, Bemidji State’s campus recreation and public safety teams earned Spirit of BSU Awards for their accomplishments and support throughout the pandemic.
Spirit of BSU Teams
- Gillett Recreation and Outdoor Program Centers – Holly Bannor, administrative assistant; Duane Biehn, associate director; Kierstin Hoven, director; Kim Huschle, general maintenance worker; Mark Morrissey, assistant director.
- Public Safety – Aaron Ebbighausen, campus security supervisor; Casey McCarthy, director; Erin Morrill, security coordinator; Scott Pula, campus security officer; Jeffrey Sillerud, campus security officer.
Outstanding Contribution Award
2022 individual recipient: Bev Hodgson, assistant registrar.
2022 team recipient: Housing and Residential Life
The Outstanding Contribution Award is given to an individual or team that has gone above and beyond expectations to contribute in areas of student success, civic engagement, diversity, sustainability and/or public service.
Involved in front-end service to the BSU community as well as behind-the-scenes work developing academic programs and troubleshooting BSU’s records system, Bev Hodgson, assistant registrar “gives the best of herself to BSU every single day,” a nominator said. Hodgson has also been closely involved in planning Bemidji State’s Commencement ceremonies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hodgson’s patience and dedication to getting it right in the name of student success and service clearly distinguishes her outstanding contributions to BSU,” a nominating colleague said.
Meanwhile, the staff in BSU’s Department of Housing and Residential Life was recognized for their work closing residence halls and moving more than 1,000 students off campus at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
In addition, the team quickly arranged for essential student workers, international students and students who were experiencing food and housing insecurities to safely relocate to Linden Hall and University Heights.
Throughout the pandemic, the housing and residential life team has continued to safely house BSU’s residential students — an effort which has required significant time and energy while staying informed of best practices and continually evolving system office, state and federal guidance related to COVID-19 mitigation.
Outstanding Contribution Team
- Housing and Residential Life – Terry Ausk, general maintenance worker; Travis Bartels, general maintenance worker; Adam Berg, area director; Kelsey Christofferson, office and administrative specialist; Seth Duncan, general maintenance worker; Joscelin Eischens, area director; Justin Enfield, general maintenance worker; Mark Geiger, general maintenance worker; Jim Hansen, facilitie, building and maintenance supervisor; Art Kern, general maintenance worker; Loralynn Kuechle, associate director; Randy Ludeman, interim dean of students; Kenyon Miller, general maintenance worker; Nikki Nebosis, assistant director; Shelly Spears, general maintenance worker; Sean VanEvery, area director; Mark Wilander, general maintenance worker.
Excellence in Teaching Award
2022 recipient: Dr. Brian Hiller, professor of biology.
2022 recipient: Dr. Kjerstin Owens, associate professor of biology.
The Excellence in Teaching Award is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated teaching excellence through evidence of exceptional learning outcomes and quality student advising.
Dr. Brian Hiller, professor of biology, was recognized for his student-centered approach to teaching, which includes combinations of classroom technology that simulates real-world situations with extensive, hands-on work in the field.
“Hiller’s teaching pedagogies, research activities and service to the community are all designed to best benefit the students,” a nominating colleague said.
Hiller was also praised for his work developing partnerships with groups such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, The Wildlife Society, Voyageurs National Park and others. A nominating colleague also noted how Hiller has played a key role in expanding BSU’s wildlife biology program.
Similarly, Dr. Kjerstin Owens, associate professor of biology, was recognized for implementing new teaching pedagogies into her curriculum, most notably her efforts to explore new models of assessment, including student self-assessment. She was noted for helping the biology department revamp its anatomy and physiology series and for the relationship she has developed with the nursing department. Owens was also noted for her efforts to create culturally responsive learning environments.
“She has integrated exercises into some of her courses that challenge students to confront the racial and LGBTQ+ disparities within the healthcare system and to recognize the different outcomes many of these patients will experience,” a nominating colleague said.
Distinguished Service Award
2022 recipient: Diane Backer, executive assistant to the president.
2022 recipient: Dr. Joann Fredrickson, professor of business administration.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a faculty or staff member who has been at BSU for at least five years with an ongoing record of superlative performance and professional excellence combined with significant personal impact in the areas of student success, civic engagement, diversity, sustainability and/or public service.
Diane Backer, executive assistant to the president, has worked in a number of different areas during her time at BSU, including Hagg-Sauer Hall, the Center for Research and Innovation and, prior to her current role, as assistant to the provost. Her colleagues described her as adaptable, respectful and the consummate professional. One nominator commented on her willingness to go above and beyond to accomplish tasks and her willingness to work extra hours to meet deadlines.
Described by one colleague as “an inspiring instructor and supportive colleague,” Dr. Joann Fredrickson, professor of business administration, was nominated for her tireless support of BSU’s students, her academic department and the university as a whole. Several nominators commented on the value of her work supporting accreditation efforts for both the department and university. She has also authored the department’s self-study reports and participated in department and university site visits.
Shared Fundamental Values
Community Engagement 2022 recipient: Ashley Charwood, assistant professor of social work.
The Community Engagement Award recipient will have contributed in an unusually positive way to advancing the university’s collaborative engagement beyond the campus for the betterment of Bemidji and the broader community.
Since joining BSU’s faculty, Ashley Charwood, assistant professor of social work, has been working throughout the community to develop programs and training related to diversity, equity and inclusion including the 2021 Labor Day conference which featured the Vice President of the Minnesota NAACP; presentations at Overcoming Racism conferences in 2019, 2020 and 2021; moderating and participating in panels at BSU’s Black History Month activities, and serving as a peer reviewer for the Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota Journal. Charwood also received numerous grants to support these activities and others.
Charwood also has coordinated a number of guest speakers on topics such as harm reduction, Bemidji’s Oshki manidoo center and former social work faculty members. In addition, she provided written testimony for the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2022.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 2022 recipient: Dr. Ye “Solar” Hong, director of diversity, equity and inclusion.
The recipient of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award demonstrates sustained support for diversity and/or served as a catalyst for change in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Dr. Ye “Solar” Hong, director of diversity, equity and inclusion, was noted for her engagement in various committee work — including committees at both BSU and Northwest Technical College and on hiring committees — and for implementing more than 100 programs during her time at BSU and NTC. Hong has also advised student clubs and provided both BSU and NTC with diversity, equity and inclusion-centered training. She has also trained members of the Bemidji and Minnesota State communities and has supported faculty in their collaborative efforts to provide educational opportunities to students outside of the classroom related to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility work.
Retiring Faculty and Staff
Bemidji State’s 19 retiring staff members have a combined 428 years of service to the university, including four who have been with the university for more than 30 years and nine who have been with the university for more than 20 years.
- Janice Anderson, medical technologist; 26 years.
- Dr. Mark Christiansen, professor of English; 32 years.
- Cheryl Davis, general maintenance worker; 16 years.
- Tracy Dill, director of athletics; 37 in Minnesota State, nine of which were spent at BSU.
- Margie Giauque, director of career services; 27 years.
- Dr. Colleen Greer, professor of sociology and communication studies; 23 years.
- Faith C. Hensrud, president; six years.
- Mark Johnson, painter; 25 years.
- Janai Lampert, account clerk; 20 years
- Lesa Lawrence, director of Financial Aid; 32 years.
- Marlene Lindstrom, office and administrative specialist; nine years.
- Dr. Co Livingston, professor of mathematics and computer science; 27 years.
- Dr. Jeanine McDermott, associate professor of nursing; 10 years.
- Randall Nessler, plumber; five years.
- Dr. Debra Peterson, professor of sociology and communication studies; 23 years.
- Tammy Rogers, accounting technician; 21 years.
- Michael Schmitt, electrician; 20 years.
- Randy Tisdell, general maintenance worker; 37 years.
- Dr. Marty Wolf, professor of mathematics and computer science; 32 years.
Christiansen, Lawrence, Giauque, Greer, Livingston, Peterson and Wolf were also granted emeritus status and were recognized at the celebration.
Years of Service awards
- 45 Years — Roger Paskvan, professor of integrated media.
- 40 Years — Jean Lanners, office and administrative specialist.
- 35 Years — Richard Moen, building maintenance supervisor.
- 30 Years — Kierstin Hoven, director of campus recreation; Dr. Pat Donnay, professor of political science.
- 25 Years — Lori Deering, office and administrative specialist; Dr. Eric Forsyth, professor of human performance, sport and health; Stephanie Hendricks, office and administrative specialist; Deb Hovland, accounting technician; Mike Smith, network manager.
- 20 Years — Andy Bartlett, executive director of communications and marketing; Dr. Tim Brockman, professor of technology, art and design; Crystal Cleven, associate professor of TRiO; Kris Engesather, senior software development, integration programming lead; Dr. Todd Frauenholtz, professor of mathematics and computer science; Dr. Debbie Guelda, professor of biology; Chris Haley, office services supervisor; Nancy Haugen, associate director of career services; Lynn Johnson, director of distance learning; Dr. Mark Lawrence, professor of geography; Dr. Keith Marek, professor and chair of chemistry; Sharon Olson, third party accounts receivable clerk; Debbie Slough, administrative assistant; Troy Solo, central services administrative specialist; Andrew Wilkinson, desktop support; Kristopher Williams, assistant director, Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence.
- 15 Years — James Bronczyk, plant maintenance engineer; Dr. Stephen Carlson, professor of music; Dr, Maureen Gibbon, professor of English; Kari Kantack-Miller, director of annual giving; Michael Kruse, electronics technician; Dr. David Massaglia, associate professor of accountancy; Deedee Narum, cataloging and government documents librarian; Kelli Steggall, director of TRiO; Shane Veenker, assistant women’s hockey coach; Dr. Jim White, interim dean of the College of Individual and Community Health.
- 10 Years — Brett Bahr, director of alumni relations; Dr. Valica Boudry, professor of integrated media; Beverly Dahlgren, administrative assistant; Maria Eastman, library technician; Dr. Amber Fryklund, associate professor of human performance, sport and health; Monte Hegg, grants officer; Arthur Kern, general maintenance worker; Teresa LaFriniere, director of academic staff; Jeremy Leffelman, executive director, Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence; Dr. Michael Murray, professor of economics; Dr. Francois Neville, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science; Scott Pula, campus security officer; Linda Wolf, tutoring coordinator.
- 5 Years — Jennifer Baumann, account clerk; Kimberly Carver-Smith, registration clerk and course scheduler; Dr. Season Ellison, associate professor of humanities; Brent Gitz, athletic equipment manager; Dr. Wendy Grosskopf, assistant professor of English; Ashleigh Haugen, assistant director of human resources; Dr. Dwight Jilek, associate professor of music; Dr. Angie Kovarik, associate professor of business administration; Amanda Longie, assistant professor of social work; Dr. Robert Quandt, professor of chemistry; Dr. Ryan Sayer, associate professor of physics; Kevin Ulmer, head volleyball coach; Dr. Miriam Webber, assistant professor of music.