2017 Excellence in Teaching Award – Dr. Glen Richgels

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Dr. Glen Richgels, BSU’s 2017 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award is a veteran professor known for his ability to recognize the successful learner in every student. He also can see the potential teacher in every learner. Not only has he helped a generation of students achieve successful careers in STEM fields, he is beloved for his generous guidance to teachers around the Bemidji region and respected for his service in state and national teaching organizations. He also has been a tireless advocate for constructivist pedagogies through conceptual understanding and careful scaffolding of instruction.

Said a colleague, “His mentoring of incoming mathematics education faculty at Bemidji State has assured that the math program will continue to be a lighthouse in Minnesota for excellence in mathematics education.”

2017 Distinguished Service Award – Dr. Sandra Kranz

Professor of Accounting Dr. Sandra Kranz, recipient of BSU’s 2017 Distinguished Service Award, is a professor who, after 30 years at BSU, remains active and energetic in all her teaching and learning activities. Both colleagues and students recognize her passion for helping students.

Even during her Spring 2017 sabbatical, she has continued to actively participate in important departmental events and decisions and provide online advising to her students. As a longtime former chair of the Department of Accountancy, she deserves significant credit for the fact that BSU’s online accounting program has been a leader in growth and quality, earning a No. 7 nationwide ranking.

Said a colleague, “Sandy has worked tirelessly to make students number one while maintaining a high-quality academic program.”

2017 Spirit of BSU Award (individual) – Diane Renken

Ms. Diane Renken, administrative and technical specialist in the Office of Admissions, is a staff member whose predictable response to a challenging request on short notice is, “Let me see what I can do,” followed shortly by, “Yes, we can.” Her dedication and expertise are equally beneficial to colleagues, prospective students and groups of young visitors to BSU. In her work coordinating campus tours, and in all her many other duties, she appreciates the importance of making a positive first impression.

Said a colleague, “If I have a last-minute request to admit concurrent enrollment students, she will do everything she can to help out. If I need a table cover for recruiting events, she will track one down. And she does it all because she believes in BSU.”

Bob Strand (pictured) accepted the award for Diane.

2017 Spirit of BSU Award (team) – Student Achievement Conference Committee

Members of the Student Achievement Conference planning committee came together this winter to raise the bar on one of the university’s most important academic events. Guiding students to synthesize their study, research and creative abilities and then share those to an audience is never easy. Likewise, the logistics of pulling together a major academic conference and present a polished program are far from simple.

This group of faculty, staff and students significantly raised the bar in all areas with the 2017 Student Achievement Conference, held April 5.

Said a nominator, “This event perhaps is the premier academic and creative showcase for this community of scholars and represents the best of what we achieve every day.”

Team recipients of the Spirit of BSU Award are:

Dr. Mahmoud Al-Odeh, who provided leadership as a first-time director of the Student Achievement Conference,

and the following committee members:

  • Ms. Sabrina Erickson
  • Dr. Vivian Delgado
  • Dr. Jessica Durgan
  • Dr. Angelia Fournier
  • Dr. Christel Kippenhan
  • Dr. Dwight Fultz
  • Dr. Julie Larson
  • Dr. Gary Rees
  • Dr. Elizabeth Rave
  • Dr. Travis Ricks
  • graduate student Rebecca Florke
  • graduate student Kesiena Uz-Ikelegbe

2017 Outstanding Contribution Award – Bill Blackwell, Jr.

The 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award, Bill Blackwell, Jr., executive director of the American Indian Resource Center, is still only in his second year at Bemidji State University.

This cabinet-level administrator has quickly gained a reputation for his tireless work and dedication on behalf of students.

His focus has been on developing pathways of opportunity for underserved students and forging partnerships to strengthen those pathways and further BSU’s service to the region and beyond. Whether organizing campus and community events, visiting two-year colleges, improving the building where he works or even preparing meals for students, he brings fierce enthusiasm to every endeavor.

Said a colleague, “I work with a lot of great people at BSU who are dedicated to what they do, and Bill is on the top of this list.”