CHADRON – Dr. Shaunda French-Collins has been named Chadron State College’s Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and the School of Business, Math, and Science, Vice President Jim Powell announced Tuesday. French-Collins replaces Dr. Wendy Waugh, who will be the Dean of Graduate Studies at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

“Dr French-Collins has distinguished herself in the classroom and possesses strong leadership qualities. She is currently participating in the Emerging Leaders Program sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and she’ll be able to translate that experience into her role as the Interim Dean,” Powell said.

French-Collins is a familiar face at Chadron State College. Since beginning her teaching career in 2011 at CSC, she has sponsored several successful events that brought the campus and community together, including The Big Event. Most recently, French-Collins was a Professor of Communication Arts and Department Chair, as well as Chadron State College’s Teaching Excellence Award winner in 2021.

“I am excited to serve as the Interim Dean this academic year,” French-Collins said. “I look forward to continuing to support students, faculty and staff across campus.”

French-Collins received her bachelor’s in public relations from Northwest Missouri State University in 2006. In 2009 she earned her master’s in speech communication from the University of Central Missouri and attained her Doctorate of Philosophy in communication studies from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2015.

Powell said a national search for the Dean position will begin later this fall.

Ten join the CSC faculty

CHADRON – Ten new faculty members will join Chadron State College this fall. They are Dr. Janet Anthony, Dr. Jami Clifford, Dr. Nathan Favaloro, Jeremiah Downes, Jeremy Quick, Dr. Haesong Kwon, Danielle Covolo, Dr. Gabriella M. Pruitt Santos and Matthew Bower. Finally, Dr. Bryan Dorrel will be an Associate Professor in the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Department.

In addition to the new faculty, two current Business Academy faculty earned their doctorate degrees this summer. They are Dr. Caitlin Redden and Dr. Daphne Bishop.

Additional and current employees with new titles are listed on the 2022-08-29 All-Campus handout.

Education, Counseling, Psychological Sciences, and Social Work

Anthony is an Associate Professor who will teach 400-level courses in Elementary, Secondary, and Middle School Classroom Management, Human Relations and Secondary/Middle School Assessment. She will also instruct two sections of Intro to Teaching (EDUC 131).

Anthony said she was attracted to Chadron State College by the opportunity to work her dream job as a professor to pre-service teachers.

“Upon visiting Chadron, the first thing I noticed was the size of the campus. It instantly reminded me of my first two years as an undergrad student. The population was small and I made memorable relationships and long-lasting friendships. After meeting and speaking with the Education faculty, I knew I would be working amongst a group of passionate, yet friendly and relatable individuals who love the profession as much as I do,” Anthony said.

She earned a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Capella University, a master’s in Reading and Language Arts with an endorsement for Reading Specialist, and a specialist degree in Administration Leadership from Oakland University. Anthony has a bachelor’s in Community Health Education from Western Michigan University and has conducted special research on the Impact of the Switch from Traditional to Online Learning at Mott Community College.

Clifford is a Lecturer who will remotely teach Introduction to the Exceptional Learner (SPED 230), Microteaching in Early Childhood Education/Elementary/Middle School/Secondary Special Education (SPED 317), Behavior Modification and Management (SPED 331), and Research and Design and Data Analysis (EDCI 631).

She was an adjunct last year and enjoyed working with CSC students.

“Everyone was very helpful and willing to answer any questions I had. The opportunity to work as a remote lecturer was a perfect fit for me," Clifford said.

She earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Wyoming, a master’s in Special Education from Northern Arizona University, and a bachelor’s in Elementary and Special Education from Minot State University.

Favaloro is an Assistant Professor teaching Practicum-School Counseling (COUN 602), School Counseling (COUN 635), and Advanced Human Development (COUN 637).             

“My biggest attractions to CSC include the work environment and the kindness of faculty members," Favaloro said.

Favaloro earned a doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision and a master’s in School Counseling from the University of Holy Cross. He earned a bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of New Orleans.

Communication, Music, Art, and Theatre 

Downes is an Instructor teaching Principles of Acting (TH 134), Acting for Musical Theatre (TH 355), Voice Lessons for Musical Theatre, Stage Direction, Beginning Directing (TH 237), Acting Methods (TH255), and Acting Periods and Styles (TH434).

He was struck by how robust the Theatre and Music programs are at CSC.

“It was clear to me that there exists a great passion for the arts both in the college infrastructure and the region at large. I also truly appreciate the community feel at CSC, the potential for cross-curricular collaboration, and the impact I'm able to have on our students, on stage and off," Downes said.

He earned his bachelor’s from the University of the Arts and his Master of Music from Oklahoma City University. He completed additional acting training at Circle in the Square, in New York City. He has more than 15 years of experience as a professional equity actor and musician in New York City and Philadelphia.

Quick is an Instructor who will teach Guitar Ensemble (MUS 111), Music Pathways (MUS 141), Guitar Class (MUS 216), Recording Techniques (MUS 335), (MUS 235) Music Appreciation, and private guitar and bass lessons.

Quick said he was drawn to CSC by the opportunity to teach guitar and bass, as well as the emphasis on student-focused academic practices.

He earned a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado and a bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from Montana State University.

Justice Studies, Social Sciences, and English

Kwon is an Assistant Professor who will teach Rhetoric and Writing (ENG 135) and Advanced Topics in Creative Writing (ENG 498).

He said his English colleagues impressed him as dedicated teachers and researchers.

“I find Chadron to be small, but also beautiful. I imagine CSC students to be earnest learners,” Kwon said.

He earned a doctorate at Oklahoma State University, master’s degrees from both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Iliff School of Theology. His bachelor’s is from Clark University.

Covolo is an Instructor teaching Multicultural Issues in Criminal Justice (CJ 336) and two sections of The Academic Life (EDUC 121).

"As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to study abroad with the CSC Justice Studies Department. I spent three weeks abroad in the United Kingdom studying Comparative Criminal Justice. Dr. Nobiling and Dr. Wada were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and creative; they made the experience unforgettable. Their class inspired me to study abroad for two years in Russia and pursue a Ph.D.,” Covolo said. “Teaching at CSC was my academic career aspiration since the college serves rural students and first-generation students."

She is pursuing a doctorate in Administration Leadership and Service from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She was a 2020 Graduate Fellowship Recipient. She earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from New Mexico State University, and a bachelor’s from the University of Wyoming.

She completed Russian Language courses at Privet Language School in Kaliningrad, Russia, in 2013-14.

Pruitt Santos is an Instructor teaching Introduction to Political Science (PS 101), US Politics and Civic Engagement (PS 110), Politics and Economics (PS 210), US Politics and Government (PS 321), Global Politics (PS 332), Political Inquiry (PS 410), and Democracy: US and the World (PS 439/PS 539).

Pruitt Santos said the welcoming community and small class sizes at CSC made Chadron a clear choice for her.

“I want to contribute to my students' academic and professional development,” she said.

She earned a doctorate in Global Studies from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University, and a bachelor’s in Political Science from California State University, San Marcos.

Bower is an Instructor teaching Principles of Management (MGMT 230), Project Management (BIS 430),

Statistics for Business and Economics (BA 336), and System Analysis and Design (BIS 431).

Bower said he had some great, unique experiences in the Air Force and as a business owner, and is honored to become a member of the CSC community.

He earned two masters’ degrees, one in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and another in Religion from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He also has a bachelor’s in Applied Studies from the University of Minnesota. He earned an Associate of Science in Airway Science from the Community College of the Air Force.

Retired CSC educator collaborating with Alaska school district

CHADRON – Chadron State College’s presence in Alaska is expanding. In addition to a well-established graduate program in Anchorage, an undergraduate cohort from the Palmer/Wasilla area will enroll this fall.

Nearly 50 individuals have graduated through CSC’s grow-your-own school administrator partnership with the Anchorage School District, according to Dr. Don King, a retired CSC Education Professor and recruiter for Education Outreach Programs. The fifth cohort will enroll in January 2023.

“It's been very successful. As a result, other school districts in Alaska have caught wind of it and reached out,” King said.

As a result of increasing interest, King has helped to initiate a new program at the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) school district aimed at high school graduates earning their bachelor’s degrees in education. The district, about the size of West Virginia, includes nine high schools in Palmer and Wasilla, according to King.

Like other districts in Alaska, Mat-Su is facing a challenge to retain teachers. It costs about $2,400 to advertise in the lower 48 to recruit one teacher, King said.

“When teachers from the contiguous lower 48 states move to Alaska, they are excited, initially. Then winter kicks in. It's very long. It's very dark. It's very cold. Ultimately and unfortunately, a lot of teachers end up leaving which causes a lack of education continuity,” King said.

During a 2021 trip to Alaska, King reached out to Mat-Su school district superintendent Dr. Randy Trani to share information about CSC’s para-teacher program, in addition to the Education Administration graduate program at Anchorage.

“A week later, Dr. Trani got back in touch with me and asked if there was any flexibility in CSC’s programming. I said, ‘Well, it depends. What do you have in mind?’ So, I drove back up to Palmer and met with him in person. In about two hours, we hammered out a potential grow-your-own teacher program specifically for high school graduates,” King said.

The Mat-Su graduates will enroll with Chadron State as freshmen and, simultaneously, the district will hire them for 20 hours a week as para-professionals in one of their schools.

The students will complete their education degree coursework via distance learning. In addition to CSC faculty, qualified Mat-Su teachers and administrators will serve as adjuncts, providing content in their courses related to issues in Alaskan education and the Mat-Su Valley.

King says this is a win-win arrangement for Mat-Su and CSC.

“The students will be employed by their alma mater and receive teacher training while on the job. CSC coursework pairs nicely with their on-the-job experience,” King said. “The beauty of what Mat-Su is doing also includes a financial incentive. They are literally paying back every one of these students’ college debt. The first year a CSC graduate from Mat-Su teaches in the district, they get 10 percent of their college loan debt forgiven. The next year, 30 percent, and so on, until in the fifth year when they are debt-free, which is amazing.”

This year, seven Mat-Su high school students are enrolled as incoming freshman students with CSC, and Mat-Su has room for 25.

“They hope the program will grow,” King said. “The district is providing an avenue for a professional career for these young people; one they can build upon. It also saves money on recruiting and in the long run, it's going to pay off in big dividends because the population the district is targeting already has family ties there. This is their home.”

King believes the unique program is one of the first in the nation.

“I think you're going to see a lot more like it,” he said. “We are just tickled to be partnering with the Mat-Su district on the innovative venture. It's exciting.”

Library renovations include new game rooms, collaborative spaces

CHADRON – Many new and improved study and recreation spaces were added to the King Library during the summer, according to Chantel Merchen, director of the Office of Academic Success.

An open house to celebrate the additions Tuesday brought 267 patrons into the building.

“We were able to give multiple library tours, help new freshmen learn about how to search the Library’s databases, and help students with textbook reserves. If anyone on campus would like a tour, we are able to offer those any time we are open, if requested,” Merchen said.

To make room on the main floor for 10 collaborative workstations, the fiction book collection has been moved to the third floor. Each workstation includes a whiteboard table, screen and streaming casting capabilities, and power outlets.

The library’s Oculus Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, monitors, and bicycle have been moved from the main floor to the basement in Room 107.5, adjacent to the Richard's Media Lab in Room 107.

“All of our fun media is now in the basement of the library, if you want to do some fun VR,” Merchen said.

Additional options in Room 105 include several gaming systems with three TVs and an arcade game with more than 100 titles. The gaming space can be reserved by students. In between reservations, those who have a library card can use the equipment in the room.

 “We have all the older games that millennials enjoyed playing as kids, and the updated systems, as well. We also have a full game library where patrons can use and check out games,” Merchen said. Elsewhere in the lower level, the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) space is open and furnished.

“It's going to be available whenever the library is open for anybody to go in and work with others. It is a great space for idea-making, collaborating, or just having discussions or relaxing,” Merchen said.