Recent News from Campuses

STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair returns August 21 with 3M as its presenting sponsor

St. Kate's Campus News - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 5:36pm
Fair-goers of all ages will enjoy hands-on STEM activities and interactive demonstrations. More »

Family Science Programs Receive Re-Accreditation from NCFR

Concordia University Campus News - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 10:31am

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) recently announced the re-accreditation of Concordia University, St. Paul’s Family Science undergraduate programs, meeting the standards and criteria required for the Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) designation.

Graduates of CSP’s program qualify to complete the CFLE Abbreviated Application Process, culminating in provisional certification as a Certified Family Life Educator. Concordia graduates complete specified courses under each of the ten family life content areas, plus a fieldwork internship.

Family Science Majors work in a variety of settings and bring comprehensive family training to a myriad of employment sectors and job classifications. The Family Science major may lead to careers in child and youth development, early childhood education, parent education, counseling, family and pediatric medicine, ministry, education, public health and community-based services.

Grad lands dream job at top hospital

St. Kate's Campus News - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 7:50am
Our third Friday Features highlights Aubrie Anderson ’14, who majored in respiratory care. More »

Hamline at the State Fair

Hamline University Campus News - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:00am
Those going to the Minnesota State Fair this year should be sure to stop by the Hamline University booth in the education building for great giveaways and new ways to connect with students, faculty, staff, alumni, prospective students, and the public.

Overcoming the Odds

Hamline University Campus News - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:00am
Discover the hidden stories of students who refuse to allow anything to get in the way of their dreams for a better future.

Play a band instrument? Join the Saint Mary’s University Concert Band

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 11:50am
WINONA, Minn. — Area musicians who love band music are invited to the Saint Mary’s University Concert Band’s first rehearsal of the season on Monday, Aug. 25, 6:45 to 8 p.m. CAPTION: Dr. Janet Heukeshoven, director, invites area musicians to play in the Saint Mary’s University Concert Band. The Saint Mary’s University Concert Band was founded [&hellip

International Finance and World Economies

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:32am

I was born and raised in Bulgaria, Eastern Europe. After completing my degree in engineering in Sofia, Bulgaria, I came to the United States on a full scholarship to study business. I earned an M.B.A. degree from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. degree in finance from the University of Arkansas. I have been teaching at the University of St. Thomas for the last five years.

Growing up in Bulgaria I witnessed the transition from planned to market economy. In the 1990s my country went through a transitional period from communist regime to capitalism. I watched the progression of the development of new institutions, economic development of the country and the integration and interdependence between my country and the rest of the economies around the world. I watched how the attitudes of people changed in response to general economic and political change and found it really fascinating to think about the link between the national culture and economic development in my country and partner countries around the world. I also thought that the new political environment, the new legislature and “rule of law” will definitely have a long term stimulating impact on the economy. It was my interest to discover the link between law and finance not only in the post-communist regimes but in other forms of social organizations around the world. Because I wanted to gain perspective and understanding of the global economy I decided to leave my country and pursue M.B.A. and consecutively a Ph.D. in the United States. My first research stream was based on corporate and international finance, the cross-section between law and finance and the role of culture and legal institutions on economic development.

I started developing my research ideas as a Ph.D. student. Initially, my research was motivated by a recent change in legislature at the time. In 2002, the U.S. Congress enacted in law the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in response to several high profile accounting standards. To achieve compliance with SOX, firms have to improve disclosure and accountability, hire independent auditors and assign to the CEO of the firm direct responsibility on the accuracy and reliability of financial reports. As a result U.S. firms faced higher disclosure and compliance requirements that led to higher legal and administrative fees.

Foreign firms that list their shares on U.S. exchanges were affected much more strongly by the new rules of SOX. In order to list shares in U.S. exchanges they had to fully comply with the requirements of SOX. For foreign firms that was more difficult than for U.S. firms because of the difference in legislature in the foreign country. For example firms from countries had to make significant changes in their organizations in order to meet the standards of SOX. For some firms this was too costly and led to subsequent delistings from U.S. capital markets.

These events led my thinking to a much bigger question – I wanted to investigate the link between law and finance around the world. Differences in legal regulations impact economic behavior of market participants. In the Anglo-American common law legal system, decisions of the court are made based on precedence, whereas in the civil law legal system decisions are made based on strictly adhering to rules, some of which were created more than 200 years ago. As a result, in the common law system there is lower standard of proof in legal suites and broader scope of managerial decisions subject to judicial review. Capital markets in common law countries are better developed, provide stronger investor protection and, in general, greater returns on invested capital.

I have several publications on this topic. In our article “Alternative Paths of Convergence Toward U.S. Market and Legal Regulations: Cross-listing vs. Merging with U.S. Bidders” (with Tomas Jandik) we study the factors that determine the path a firm is going to take in order to benefit from converging its operations to the U.S. common law legal system. Firms can do this by cross-listing on U.S. exchanges or by becoming an attractive partner for U.S. acquirers. We found that when faced with these two choices, firms from civil law countries are more likely to cross-list (rather than be acquired). This is likely explained by the need for synchronization of accounting practices between the two legal systems. After SOX we observed the opposite results.

As I was investigating the link between law and finance I observed that national culture also impacts financial transactions differently in countries around the world. This led to the development of the second stream of my research in which I study the role of country culture on propensity of firms to enter cross-border contracts with firms from countries with similar or different cultural characteristics. In my joint work with Mary Daugherty, “Foreign Cultures, Sarbanes–Oxley Act and Cross-delisting,” we show that the national culture of the country of domicile impacts the propensity of foreign firms to delist shares from U.S. exchanges. Pre-SOX, the propensity to delist was lower for firms from countries with cultural similarities to the U.S. and higher for firms from individualistic societies. These trends reversed.

With my research I show that the informal institutions of a country – comprised of national culture, language and religion – as well as the general business environment impact the propensity of foreign firms to enter cross-border joint ventures and cross-border mergers. The findings are published in my co-written paper “The Impact of Laws, Regulations, and Culture on Cross-border Joint Ventures,” with Tomas Jandik and Wayne Lee. Unlike the general expectations, my results show that U.S. firms are more likely to form joint ventures with firms from countries characterized with higher cultural, language, and religious disparity from the United States. It seemed that U.S. firms and foreign firms from countries that were vastly different in their cultural norms would cooperate better and have a higher propensity for joint ventures.

In terms of legal regulations our findings were similar – we show that U.S. firms are more likely to establish cross-border cooperation with firms from civil law countries and countries with overall weaker business environments. In contrast, U.S. firms are more likely to form mergers with firms from countries with stronger investor protection and legal regulation and small cultural differences from the United States. This suggests that the form of cross-border contract (joint venture or merger) may be determined by the legal and cultural differences or similarities.

I also have a research stream based on U.S. corporations in which I investigate several corporate governance issues. I study the role of macro-level liquidity in the United States in choosing the method of acquisitions, comparing the determinants and outcome of acquisitions through a merger versus tender offer. I also study the role of economic profit plans in evaluating managerial performance.

The results of my international stream of research could be used by policy makers and other researchers. Legal regulations impact financial transaction, and it is important for legislators to understand and anticipate the financial consequences of their decisions. Ultimately, my research shows that both formal institutions (legal, regulatory) and informal institutions (culture, language religion) impact the outcome of financial transactions; furthermore, my findings are useful by other researchers who will further expand this field and build on my research.

The results of my research related to the performance and evaluation of U.S. corporations could be used as a guide for practitioners and managers. In my paper “Adoptions and Eliminations of Economic Profit Plans and Internal Capital Markets Efficiency,” co-written with Tomas Jandik and Anil Makhija, we study the effectiveness of the adoption of a specific measure for valuing the performance – Economic Value Added. The use of this measure as a managerial evaluation technique can lead to minimizing the use of debt and at the same time maximizing profit generation, which has been effectively applied to number of businesses so far.

My research provides answers to few strategic questions. My international stream provides the link between law, finance and culture in international contracts. It bridges a gap in my field, connects these three areas and can be used as a foundation for future researchers and policy makers. My research about tender offers can be used by practitioners and merger negotiators as it provides analysis of the outcomes of using different forms of acquisitions. Finally, my research about performance and valuation of corporations can be used by corporate managers in evaluating the performance of each division in a company and choosing the most efficient form of operation.

When we teach finance in the classroom of the modern world, in turn we teach international finance. The world economies are so closely integrated that almost every topic in finance has an international component or perspective in it. I often bring up examples from my own findings as well as findings of other leading researchers in the field.

My research on the applications and effectiveness of Economic Value Added is useful in the evaluation of corporate performance. I have developed my own case study of comparing large U.S. retail companies – Target, Walmart and Costco – based on the metric (Economic Value Added) that I thoroughly studied in my research paper. The use of this case study in the class has led to various interactive exercises that were very beneficial and engaged the students in active learning and therefore greatly enhanced my pedagogy in the classroom.

Throughout my career I have attended several regional, national and international conferences. I am impressed by the degree of cooperation between researchers in my field, both domestically and internationally. Faculty and researchers from different continents often exchange research ideas and help each other improve their research by providing comments and suggestions, and thereby moving the research forward. In fact, it is the international collaboration between academicians that significantly contributed to the development of the current state of cross-border research.

Dobrina Georgieva is assistant professor of finance in the Opus College of Business.

From Exemplars, a publication of the Grants and Research Office.

Kathy Lund Dean Named Erskine Fellow for Spring 2015

Gustavus Campus News - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 2:51pm

Dr. Kathy Lund Dean

Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees Distinguished Chair in Leadership and Ethics Professor Kathy Lund Dean has been awarded a Visiting Erskine Programme Fellowship for the 2015 spring semester by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her second Erskine award, Lund Dean will partner with faculty at the University of Canterbury’s School of Business & Economics to determine best practices in embedding experiential learning within large, traditionally lecture-based courses.

The Erskine Fellowship Programme ranks among the most prestigious educational awards in New Zealand and is made possible by a visionary bequest from Canterbury alumnus John Angus Erskine. Erskine, along with fellow Canterbury alumnus Ernest Rutherford, performed pioneering work in magnetic screening in the late 1800s. The Fellowship Programme was designed to bring renowned scholars from all over the world to Christchurch, enriching the University’s ability to serve its students and scholarly community.

Lund Dean utilized her first Erskine award in 2009 by teaching a wholly experiential management course in Canterbury’s executive MBA program.

“While experiential learning techniques such as class discussion, role-play, and community fieldwork are well integrated into American business courses, the New Zealand educational system has held to a tradition of lecturing,” Lund Dean observed. “It took a class session or two for the students to feel comfortable interacting with me and with each other.”

For most students, even on a graduate level, it was the first time they had ever participated in an experientially-based course, and the results were transformative—so much so that the University of Canterbury’s School of Business & Economics is deliberately building experiential learning capacity and expertise.

“I was so proud of the students’ willingness to take risks. They had never even had classroom discussion before, and there they were, doing role-plays in front of their peers. It was one of the most humbling teaching experiences I have ever had,” Lund Dean noted.

Lund Dean works with three students in a Beck Hall classroom.

The School of Business & Economics’ commitment to building experiential learning expertise in its faculty led to Canterbury lecturer Sarah Wright’s professional development goal of learning American techniques in experiential teaching. Wright, with whom Lund Dean worked during her 2009 Erskine stay in Christchurch, became determined to hone experiential learning expertise after observing significantly improved MBA student learning outcomes.

In 2010, Wright and Lund Dean participated in the OBTC Teaching Conference for Management Educators, run by the most innovative management education experiential learning society in North America. Additionally, Wright earned a 2011 Erskine visit to Lund Dean’s U.S. institution at the time, Idaho State University, to team-teach a summer course.

“We are honored to host Kathy in 2015,” Wright said. “She brings a wealth of knowledge in experiential learning, and injects enthusiasm and energy into our classrooms here at UC. Her willingness to mentor faculty in experiential learning is extraordinary, as is her dedication to help others engage in professional development opportunities. We look forward to welcoming her back in 2015!” Lund Dean and her family will be in Christchurch from mid-February to the end of April.

At Gustavus, Lund Dean is the inaugural holder of the Board of Trustees Distinguished Chair in Leadership & Ethics. She teaches courses in the College’s Department of Economics and Management, is responsible for internal and external stakeholder engagement in order to grow College programs, and is also charged with creating new experiential learning opportunities for Gustavus students. In addition, the Chair supports Lund Dean’s long-term leadership positions in the Academy of Management, OBTS Teaching Society for Management Educators, and the Journal of Management Education to enhance Gustavus’ international scope and reputation.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas
mthomas@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

St. Kate's returns to the Great Minnesota Get-Together

St. Kate's Campus News - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 1:13pm
This year's booth includes a Katie Lounge featuring faculty and staff experts. More »

Dave Durenberger to present McCarthy Lecture Sept. 8

Former Minnesota senator Dave Durenberger, a 1955 SJU graduate, will speak at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, at the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU. The event is free and open to the public, although tickets are required for admission.

<i>Free Press</i> Features Gustavus Senior Daniel Venn

Gustavus Campus News - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 11:17am

Daniel Venn

Gustavus Adolphus College senior elementary education major Daniel Venn has had a rewarding last 15 months. Venn decided to push back his anticipated graduation date from Gustavus by a year in order teach English to students in South America. Venn’s experiences were chronicled on the Gustavus website in October of 2013.

Venn was recently featured by the Mankato Free Press and reporter Jessica Bies after being named one of the most influential college students in the United States by the website degreesource.com. Here is an excerpt from Bies’ story:

A Gustavus Adolphus College student was recently named one of the top 11 most influential college students in the U.S., singled out for volunteer work undertaken during what would have been his final year as a Gustie.

Daniel Venn, from Cannon Falls, spent the summer of 2013 working in an elementary school in Riobamba, Ecuador, teaching students as well as planning and implementing an English-intensive summer camp for young children.

Instead of returning to college in the fall, he moved to the Galapagos Islands, recognizing a need for the students there to learn English, especially if they wanted to become a part of the islands’ tourism-driven economy.

Venn spent the fall semester on San Cristobal Island, teaching in a local high school during the day and offering free English lessons for adults at night. In January, he moved to Peru, where he joined with a group of Gustavus students working to provide both health care and education to citizens of the impoverished community of Chimbote.

You can read the entire article on the Mankato Free Press website.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas
mthomas@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

Take a look at Saint Mary’s!

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 8:00am
Winona is a great place to call home. First it’s a prime location: our scenic Mississippi River Valley is just a couple hours from the Twin Cities and a couple more from Chicago. Winona means business too. Many of our students get work experience through internships with international corporations, world-leading healthcare organizations, or smaller start-ups. [&hellip

Research Project Takes Students and Professor to France

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 4:52pm

Senior Amy Christiansen, junior Alexa Peterson and Associate Professor of Chemistry Amanda Nienow.

Story by Erin Luhmann ’08

Intensive lab work by day, culinary explorations by night – this sums up the week Alexa Peterson ‘16 and Amy Christiansen ‘15 spent in France to assist Associate Professor of Chemistry Amanda Nienow in a foreign lab.

The trio recently traversed the Atlantic to collaborate with their French counterparts on an herbicide photochemistry research project that cuts across borders. Professor Nienow secured funding through the National Science Foundation in 2012 and elected to bring both Christiansen and Peterson abroad this summer from June 15 to 22. While the research is ongoing, this leg of the collaborative experience yielded some unique opportunities for professional and personal development.

“Going to work in another lab, especially one abroad, is a unique and eye-opening opportunity for students,” said Professor Nienow. “They have the chance to connect with other scientists, see how science is done in other labs, and to explore slightly different research questions. This exploration can have a profound impact on a student discerning their career aspirations and short-term goals.”

Opportunities like this start from a place of passion. For Professor Nienow, her focus has always been on environmental chemistry issues. At Gustavus, she has concentrated on the degradation of imidazolinone herbicides, which are commonly used in U.S. farming. Initially, her research centered on how various herbicides degrade in water when introduced to sunlight or lamps in the lab. Now, she has scaled-up her research project to explore the photodegradation of imazethapyr on soy and corn waxes.

“Our projects provide a more realistic picture of the fate of herbicides in the environment by examining their chemistry when sorbed to cuticular waxes and plant foliage,” she explained. “The research has implications for environmental modeling and pesticide regulation and our methods can be extended to other environmentally relevant organic molecules and surfaces.”

Christiansen and Peterson

Beyond the research, Professor Nienow holds a strong appreciation for her two lab assistants. Through the course of their partnership – more than a year – she has come to know both students well, and recognized their potential for growth through an international lab collaboration experience.

Peterson, a biology major who plans to pursue a career in medicine and health care, said the invitation to travel abroad to study the photoproducts and the photodegradation mechanism of these herbicides in France seemed like a “no brainer.”

“Personally, I think it gave me a lot more confidence in the lab – being able to know that I can conduct myself in a professional way,” she said.

She was impressed with the English language skills of their French colleagues and was energized from engaging in a week of cross-cultural communication and collaboration. This experience has left her eager to pack her suitcase again.

“I think health care work or medical work abroad would be an amazing experience,” she said. “It’s something that I’m looking forward to.”

Christiansen, an environmental studies and chemistry double major, also saw it as an asset to her future ambitions – to pursue a PhD in chemistry, followed by a career in industrial research and development.

“I think being able to collaborate with people in different countries and having that experience will set me apart from other students applying for graduate school, or in my career, because I’ll have that experience of being able to deal with other researchers in a professional way,” she said.

From a cross-cultural standpoint, both students were intrigued by the fact that their counterparts used similar lab equipment at the University of Blaise-Pascal, but followed different procedures when it came to conducting research. For instance, they logged roughly 10-hour days.

Peterson, Nienow, Christiansen and Claire Richard.

“I think their actual work ethic and practices are pretty similar to us. The timing was just very different,” said Christiansen.

Everyone put in long days – jet lagged or not – but they still found time to enjoy the local sites and culture. Professor Nienow enjoyed dining at a couple of French homes and exploring the countryside surrounding Clermont-Ferrand, where she hiked among a chain of 80 active volcanoes.

For all three Gusties, learning to communicate in an environment where English isn’t the default language posed a welcome challenge.

“It was interesting to experience a new culture and to have that language barrier and have to work through that,” said Christiansen.

Language issues aside, this research team – comprised of partners at Gustavus, in France and others in Minnesota – has collected high-quality data that’s being used to write a co-authored paper. This paper will be sent out for peer review in the fall of 2014.

“We learned many lab techniques, saw how other researchers are approaching similar research questions, and were inspired by the intense periods of work,” said Professor Nienow. “We returned home with a long list of research ideas and things to do!”

About the Author

Erin Luhmann graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2008 with a major in English and a minor in peace studies. She then taught English in Kyrgyzstan as a Peace Corps Volunteer (’08-’10) and completed a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. As a graduate student, she won a New York Times contest to travel and report alongside columnist Nicholas Kristof in West Africa. She now works as a freelance reporter in Minnesota.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas
mthomas@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

Inaugural DBA cohort paving the way

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 3:43pm
It’s not often that a student is able to be part of a new and innovative program. So for Terry Danielson, studying with the very first group to pursue the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) through Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota was a welcomed adventure. “As a new program and a new cohort, we’re defining [&hellip

How the Earth Works

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 10:32am

I grew up in south Minneapolis. From the beginning I was outdoors as much as possible exploring the world. I spent my time collecting bugs, climbing trees and observing both the large and small details of the natural world that existed in the urban environment. My father always has had a great love of the western United States, and my two younger brothers and I got to explore many spectacular landscapes and geological marvels on long summer road trips to the national parks of southern Utah and Arizona, the Canadian Rockies and the ruins of cliff-dwelling Native Americans. With this background, I arrived at Carleton College with the intention of majoring in a natural science. Although I started off with several courses in biology, my experience in an introductory geology course during my sophomore year was life-changing. Like many, I was inspired by a great teacher, the late Dr. Shelby Boardman, who got our class outdoors doing science for nearly every lab session. When I expressed interest, Dr. Boardman helped me find an internship opportunity with the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver, where I spent parts of three summers mapping some spectacular geology and doing an independent research project on the Montana-Idaho border. These field summers firmed up my growing interest in understanding how the Earth works.

A second significant experience came in a job as a teaching assistant for an off-campus interdisciplinary science course at Biosphere 2 Center in southern Arizona. Here, I worked for a small team of faculty who were linking desert geology, ecology and science policy in their instruction – much of which was based in the desert landscapes around us. During the year I spent with this program I met and observed top researchers who were using the unique enclosed environment of “the bubble,” as Biosphere 2 was known, to better understand the effects that rising levels of greenhouse gases were having on different natural processes such as plant growth in rainforests and coral reef development in the ocean. I realized that I wanted to contribute, in some way, to our understanding of global change. I was fortunate to be able to combine my interests in geology and global change in my Ph.D. research at Stanford University. There I used geological and chemical methods to explore ancient episodes of climate and ecological change in South America and Antarctica.

Throughout my career, I have used sediment cores from lakes as a way of exploring past change. I have closely studied cores from places as distant and remote as Tierra del Fuego and as local and accessible as the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. An important insight that has come from this research is the sometimes-abrupt nature of climate and ecological change that is recorded in these cores. For example, I examined a 25,000-year-long core record from Lake Titicaca, a large lake on the Bolivian-Peruvian border, which showed ancient evidence for a series of extreme changes in lake level (fluctuations of 10-60 meters water depth) in as short as 50 to 75 years. These changes were driven by a series of naturally occurring solar cycles that influence the Earth’s climate, sometimes resulting in pronounced droughts or wet periods. As more records of past climate and ecological change are reconstructed around the world, we have found that these abrupt changes are more common than previously had been thought, and that they have previously affected areas with fast growing populations such as the American southwest. This line of research has been important because it has led to the understanding that these abrupt climate changes contributed to the collapse of ancient societies, such as the Mayan empire, and that such changes still hold the potential for significant disruption to society, particularly in the desert or near-desert regions of the planet.

Since joining the Geology Department at UST in 2003, my research has increasingly focused on examining records of the last 200 to 300 years from Minnesota lakes. This time period spans the “Anthropocene,” a term coined by scientist and Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen for our most recent slice of geologic time. Crutzen feels – and I agree – that this is a period clearly distinguished by a significant human mark, if not domination, of the natural world. In nearly all of the core records my students and I examine from this time frame, large and abrupt changes are easy to see. These changes show up as significant jumps in erosion rates and in the supply of nutrients and contaminants reaching the lakes over the last 100 to 150 years during which population growth, industrialization and countless other human-related activities have accelerated. As I tell my students, lakes are environmental “beakers,” and our collective activities often have become apparent in greener, less healthy waters. People care about their lakes and natural spaces, and if they are given good information I think that they support efforts to protect them. This research is important because we can show the public what conditions were like prior to intensive human development and provide lake managers the information they need to better protect these important natural resources.

In my nearly 10 years at St. Thomas, students have been instrumental in all areas of my research, from field work to laboratory analysis to data interpretation and presentation of our findings at regional and national-level scientific meetings. I have been fortunate to have worked with a number of excellent students who are motivated by the same curiosity I have about global climate and ecological change and also by the desire to take steps towards addressing these challenges. I have long been interested in student attitudes about global climate change and I explored this through interviews, surveys and student work as part of a sabbatical research project. The good news is that a clear majority of students recognize the impact that we collectively have on the natural world, and many of them profess their strong desire to do something about it.

Kevin Theissen is professor of geology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

From Exemplars, a publication of the Grants and Research Office.

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