AVP introduces new faces, programs


By Barbara Gayle

Vice President for Academic Affairs


    It is my privilege to welcome new and returning students to the 2013/2014 academic year. Whether you are a traditional daytime student, an adult evening student, or a weekend graduate student, I hope you are prepared for a terrific new academic year! 

     I know Viterbo faculty members are ready and willing to help you make progress toward your degree. I would like to take this opportunity to share a bit about the new faculty you will see on campus and to tell you about three new programs.

     Our Community Engagement Coordinator, Denis Lorenz, teamed up with Dean Tom Knothe of the Dahl School of Business to apply for a grant that will provide paid internships this year. 

     The Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation funded our Career Ready Internship Initiative grant that will add 59 additional paid internship opportunities for our students and will allow us to implement several professional development activities for students and interns. 

     This fall we admitted our first six students into our new Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree program. We have taken a huge step as a university offering a doctorate to those who seek the highest level of educational training and to provide evidence-based care to meet regional health care needs.

     Students will also be hearing more about Starfish, a new computer software system that helps faculty recognize hard work in the classroom, mission moments on campus, and ensure student success and persistence.  

     As soon as Starfish is completely operational any faculty recommendation for continued progress in a specific class can be communicated directly to a student. We hope this new program helps students obtain the needed resources before they are in any danger of failing a course.

     Each of our schools and the Center for Adult Learning are welcoming new faculty. The Dahl School of Business greets Timothy Szmanda to the finance and accounting area.  Tim is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Management Accountant, a Certified Internal Accountant and a Certified Financial Manager.

     Jerry Kember joins the School of Education as the new Interim Dean. Jerry is best known for his impact on our educational community as the former Superintendent of the School District of La Crosse. Last semester Jerry taught speech for Viterbo students who report he is an awesome professor. 

     Melinda Langeberg also joins the School of Education as an assistant professor. Melinda brings a wealth of experience in education having taught high school English and reading for the Onalaska School District.

     Two faculty members join the School of Fine Arts. Diana Cataldi in the music department has a Doctor of Musical Arts from Ohio State University and has participated in a number of musical performances such Fiddler on the Roof, The Gifts of the Magi, etc. 

     Our new Artist in Residence in the Musical Theater area is Shane Rhoades.  Shane’s debut on Broadway found him dancing and singing for The Boy From Oz or in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

     Three undergraduate faculty members are welcomed in the School of Letters and Sciences. 

     Christopher Mooney joins our math department this year after successfully defending his dissertation at the University of Iowa and having participated in the Heartland Mathematics Partnership. Michael Parker earned his Ph.D. in Social Psychology and Quantitative Methods from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and enjoys doing statistical analysis for fun! 

     Another professor joining our psychology department is Stephanie  Thorson-Olesen, Ph.D.  who is an outstanding community volunteer. She was presented a Ronald McDonald House Gold Medal Volunteer award as well as a Wisconsin State and a National Volunteer Service Award.

     The School of Nursing is greeting several new faculty members.  Susan Cieslick joins the School of Nursing after earning a masters’ degree from Nebraska Methodist College where she was also presented the “Spirit of Caring” award. Susan spent several days this week accompanying Viterbo nursing students to a conference. 

     Julie Meyers, alumna of Viterbo and former faculty member, joins the School of Nursing as a registered Adult Nurse Practitioner. Julie was the clinic manager in Black River Falls. 

     Megan Smith rejoins the nursing school after completing her master’s degree practicum with us as a student at the University of New Mexico. Most recently Megan was a staff nurse at Gundersen Health Systems. 

     Another alumna, Michelle Wolf, a pediatric nurse, is joining the nursing faculty. Shelley, as she likes to be called, comes to us from Gundersen Health Systems.

     The Center for Adult Learning welcomes Annette Roter, Ph.D., who will coordinate the Health Management Major and teach in the MBA’s Health Care Emphasis area.  Annette comes to us after working as an Enterprise Director of Leadership Education at the Mayo Clinic.

     Several new faculty members join the Graduate Studies area. Nina Albanese-Kotar is our new addition to the Masters of Mental Health Counseling program. Nina earned her first Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of New Hampshire and her second Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

   Jeanette Armstrong joins the School of Education as the Wisconsin Cross-categorical and Reading Program Specialist. Jeanette has experience teaching about integrating iPads into the classroom and using technology to differentiate instruction. 

     Val  Krage also joins the School of Education and graduate studies as a part time Wisconsin Post Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure Coordinator. Val comes to Viterbo after having served numerous years in the La Cresent-Hokah Public Schools as a Licensed Public Educator and Program Coordinator. 

     Another alumna, Becky Perz, joins the School of Nursing as a graduate clinical faculty member. Becky comes to us most recently from Tomah Memorial Hospital and as an adjunct faculty member for Graceland University.

     Finally, Taylor Lewis joins the Global Education Office as our new Study Abroad Coordinator. Taylor’s own study abroad has led her to Costa Rica for an internship, to Derry, Northern Ireland to study at the University of Ulster of Magee and to Peru to complete an intensive Spanish language program. 

     Doug Wilkin joins the Fine Arts Center as the Event Operations Coordinator/Audio Specialist. See Doug for all your sound needs, even how to sound like an expert when using a microphone.

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