Minnesota State Educators Recognized with Awards for Excellence

Posted: April 17, 2019

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@MinnState.edu, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 17, 2019 – The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities today recognized seven individuals with Awards for Excellence. These awards are conferred annually to college and university teaching faculty and university administrative service faculty to acknowledge and provide systemwide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.  


The 2019 Board of Trustees Professional Excellence in University Service Award

This award is an honor bestowed upon university service faculty to acknowledge and reward exceptional individual professional accomplishment, and to encourage ongoing excellence in the key roles that service faculty fulfill at our seven state universities. These roles include advising and counseling students; the recruitment, retention, and placement of students; residential life programming; and facilitation of student groups and student leadership.

This year, the Professional Excellence in University Service Award was presented to:

Photo of Kari Peterson
Kari Peterson, Recreation and Wellness Director
Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM)

“Kari’s positive attitude and unshakeable determination have led to the creation of many new and innovative programs and services,” said Anne Blackhurst, president of Minnesota State University Moorhead. “I am particularly impressed by the opportunity extended to students of Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) to participate in MSUM club sports. She is a dynamic force that gets things done, always remembering that serving our students is why we are here.  Kari is a caring leader whose compassion and commitment inspire others to follow. There is no doubt that she fulfills MSUM’s purpose of transforming the world by transforming lives.” 


The 2019 Board of Trustees Awards for Excellence in Teaching

These awards are bestowed upon faculty to acknowledge and reward exceptional professional accomplishment, and to encourage ongoing excellence in teaching. The award proclaims, on behalf of the entire Minnesota State system, the Board of Trustees’ pride in the dedication and accomplishment of its faculty who provide instruction that prepares Minnesota college and university students for their professional, scholarly, and civic lives.

This year, the Awards for Excellence in Teaching were presented to:

Photo of Keven Haglin
Kevin Haglin, Physics and Astronomy
St. Cloud State University

“Active engagement and outreach to students is a foundational principle in Dr. Haglin’s teaching philosophy and is evident in his practice,” said Dr. Robbyn Wacker, president of St. Cloud State University. “Dr. Haglin’s achievements in the field of physics are impressive, but equally so is his commitment to including students in both undergraduate and graduate research. He supports their active engagement in research by bringing in an impressive amount of grant funding for student projects and by supervising students each year in projects that are presented through our Huskie’s Showcase research colloquium.”


Photo of Kimberly Hansen
Kimberly Hansen, Accounting
Riverland Community College

“Ms. Hansen has served Riverland for 32 years as an unlimited full-time accounting faculty member,” said Adenuga Atewologun, president of Riverland Community College. “She is a dynamic, creative, and collaborative instructor. Ms. Hansen demonstrates an esteemed commitment to life-long learning and the teaching profession. Her investment in students reflects the needs and purpose of all students, emphasizing ‘learning by discovery’ and use of current technologies that ensures student success. I am extremely proud of the positive connections she has made with her students. Kim’s approach to teaching and assessment reflects the needs and style of the student. She is committed to every student’s success; her dedication ensures that they will not only learn but excel.”


Photo of Tanya Mrazek HotingTanya Hoting Mrazek, American Sign Language
Central Lakes College

“While subject-matter expertise is a clear expectation of all faculty, Tanya’s includes both the fields of ASL and Deaf culture,” said Hara Charlier, president of Central Lakes College. Her experiences as a voice interpreter, a performance interpreter, and extensive connections have earned her the respect of the Deaf community. This work has transformed our region, making Brainerd a place known as a community that engages and values people who are Deaf. This work has also transformed Central Lakes College. CLC’s Brainerd campus is now a place where seeing people sign in the hallways is common, and every commencement ceremony is interpreted to ensure accessibility by the Deaf community. I feel very fortunate to work with Tanya. Her level of commitment to her college and her students inspires all of us to reach higher, do more, and change more lives.”


Photo of Megan Jones
Megan Jones, Earth and Environmental Science
North Hennepin Community College

“We are very fortunate to have Megan as a member of our faculty because she embodies all that we hope for in our educators,” said Barbara McDonald, president of North Hennepin Community College. “Dr. Jones brings outstanding professional expertise, compassion for our learners, and the drive to see our students persist and succeed. She lives our mission: engaging students, changing lives.”



Photo of Jacqueline Semaan
Jacqueline Semaan, Nursing
Lake Superior College

“Jacqueline has been a nursing faculty member at Lake Superior College for nine years, and an integral part of the nursing faculty,” said Pat Johns, president of Lake Superior College. “I am greatly impressed with Jacqueline’s creative and innovative development of nursing curriculum that has transformed nursing theory, laboratory skills, and clinical instruction. In particular, Jacqueline has led the nursing faculty team in developing realistic and state-of-the-art clinical simulations, based on current evidence-based practices.  Jacqueline is an excellent teacher, who is dedicated to student success.”


Photo of John Sinko
John Sinko, Physics and Astronomy
St. Cloud State University

“An amalgamation of content expert, coach, guide, and academic advocate describe the foundation of Dr. Sinko’s teaching here at St Cloud State University,” said Dr. Robbyn Wacker, president of St. Cloud State University. “He views teaching as a serious endeavor and prepares for it accordingly by participating in numerous professional development opportunities on our campus. A key example of Dr. Sinko’s teaching excellence is his approach to supporting underprepared students by creating activities to help students rebuff their preconceptions of physics.”



About Minnesota State

Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 375,000 students. It is the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.