At North Hennepin Community College (NHCC), our faculty share a special presentation on the first Friday of the month. Please join NHCC faculty as they present special monthly topics. Generally, discussions will be held at noon in the Center for Liberal Arts (CLA), room 120. These events are free and open for everyone to attend.

November 3, 2017

Approaching the End of the Great Barrier Reef and Others? Causes, Effects, Potential Solutions and How the North Hennepin Community Can Make a Difference. Bring Your Checkbook!!!

Megan Jones, Geology

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Megan JonesCoral reef ecosystems are the tropical rain forests of the sea, making up one percent of the sea floor while providing habitat for 25% of all marine species. In addition, coral reefs protect over 200 million people living in coastal areas of 81 countries and provide a significant food source for over a billion people worldwide and most people have never even seen one in real life. The alarming rate at which coral reefs are undergoing damage and destruction over the past 40 years is unprecedented. Pollution, storms, disease, climate change and sediment influx from coastal runoff are the most common causes. Over the past 15-20 years scientists, volunteer laypeople and scuba divers have been working in the lab on developing, and implementing in the field a variety of strategies to ensure that the world’s reefs do not completely succumb to these threats. However, it may be a race against time and those working today may not live to see the fruits of their labor which are destined for future generations. What can we as individuals or as a college do to aid in these efforts? Come and find out…

Megan Jones has been the Geology department here at North Hennepin for the past 20 years. She has a broad background in oceanography, marine, sedimentary and field geology. Her experience in geoscience education and paleoceanography led to her contributions to the textbook, Reconstructing Earth Climate History: Inquiry-based Exercises for Lab and Class. Megan is presently mentoring several faculty from Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) as part of an ongoing NSF-funded program called MSI-REaCH Advanced Professional Development Program. She has served on numerous college committees and in many roles in professional societies. Megan holds B.S. in geological oceanography from Florida Institute of Technology, an M.S. in geology from Old Dominion University and Ph.D. in geology from Louisiana State University.

March 2, 2018

The 10,000 Year Design Problem

Joel Jensen, Philosophy

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Joel JensenThe U.S. Department of Energy anticipates that radioactive byproducts of nuclear power generation will remain dangerous, and will need to remain free from human intrusion, for at least 10,000 years. Meanwhile, the EPA officially anticipates that toxic landscapes left behind by abandoned mines will remain toxic “in perpetuity”. The dilemma is far more than an engineering problem. Indefinite containment of hazardous waste requires that we design a message system able to successfully communicate with humans 10,000 years from now. How should such a system be constructed? What language would it rely upon? What would such a message say? And how will we maintain a message system, so far into the future that it eclipses in length the entirety of human history? Ancient Egyptians labored to keep robbers away from their tombs; how will we keep our descendants away from our waste?

Joel Jensen has an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Colorado Denver. He teaches courses in logic, ethics, the environment, and peace. He is the author of There Exists an X, X is a Sandwich.

April 6, 2018

Memoir Excerpts: Health, Healing, and . . . Horses?

Lisa Whalen, English

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Lisa WhalenLisa Whalen will discuss and read excerpts from her memoir, tentatively titled Grazing Lessons: How Horses Healed Me. She will discuss how learning to ride horses improved her mental health, enhanced her classroom teaching, and clarified her writing process.

Lisa Whalen has an M.A. in creative and critical writing from Hamline University and a Ph.D. in postsecondary and adult education from Capella University. Her published creative writing includes essays on being an introvert in an extroverts’ world, deciding not to have children, and gaining insights from animals. Her published academic writing includes book reviews as well as essays on teaching and directing writing centers.

Prior Lectures

Variations in Sound: A Poetry Reading

Brian Baumgart, English—Delivered January 14, 2011

Brian Baumgart will read selections of his recent poetry, some published and some unpublished, and will talk a bit about what has gone into the writing of this poetry. Likely, he will also talk about why he writes poetry the way he does.

Brian Baumgart holds an M.F.A. in creative writing (English) from Minnesota State University, Mankato. His graduate thesis was a collection of short stories titled A Thousand Voices.

The Problem of Evil

Bruce Lebus, Philosophy—Delivered February 4, 2011

In the Western history of philosophy and theology, one of the more pressing issues has been the problem of evil. In short, if there is a perfect God, then how does one account for so much imperfection/evil in the world? There have been many attempts to answer this conundrum but the most important is the freewill defense: imperfection comes into the world because of freedom. In this lecture, Mr. Lebus will explore if the freewill defense really works and also survey some of the other attempts to account for evil in a God-created reality. Philosophically, whether we believe in God or not, it is valuable to define and understand evil. Perhaps this very exercise can help reduce evil.

Bruce Lebus earned his master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching at North Hennepin Community College, he has taught at Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota. His areas of specialty are philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and ethics. He also has published many poems and considers himself well-informed about Lake Superior agates.

Perspectives on American Culture

Karen Johnson, Geography & Julien Phillips, Speech/Theater, Film, & Television—Delivered March 4, 2011

How do we think about ourselves as Americans? Why do we have so much difficulty identifying ourselves as a culture? Julien Phillips and Karen Johnson will explore this thing we call “culture” and what it means to be American through the perspective of Geography and Intercultural Communications.

Karen Johnson holds a master’s degree in geography from St. Cloud State University. Her specialties include environmental issues, resources development, indigenous peoples and South America. Ms. Johnson is also the Director of a non-profit that preserves cultural and natural resources in the Napo River Basin of Peru: Heart of the Earth Sanctuary.

Julien Phillips earned a master’s degree in speech and theatre from the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana and a Ph.D. in theatre arts from the University of Minnesota. Her areas of specialty include public speaking practices, intercultural communication, theater history, directing, and design.

Who Was William Shakespeare? Controversies and Discoveries in Shakespeare Biography

Nancy Shih-Knodel, English—Delivered April 1, 2011

After nearly four hundred years, the plays of William Shakespeare are still performed around the world, and his poetry is still read and studied. But the man remains a mystery. Recent historical scholarship, uncovering unexplored archival evidence, has shed new light on the man, in relation to the turbulent political and religious controversies of his time, as well as to his literary works. This lecture will reveal some of these new discoveries, and explain some more of what we have come to know about this enigmatic genius of English drama.

Nancy Shih-Knodel has a Ph.D in English literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in British Literature of the 16th century. Her dissertation topic was on Book V of Spenser’s Faerie Queene.

An Introduction to and Exploration of the Japanese Martial Art – Aikido

Mark Larson, Interdisciplinary Studies—Delivered September 2, 2011

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Mark LarsonJoin in an introduction to and exploration of the Japanese Martial Art – Aikido. Discover how Aikido’s unique history, philosophy, and technique can be integrated into education and everyday living with the purpose of strengthening mind and body, appreciating nature, respecting others, building positive relations, and contributing to society.

Presented by NHCC ESOL Instructor Mark Larson, M.A., Sensei, 5th Dan of Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo ( Larson Sensei has trained, performed, demonstrated, and taught Aikido worldwide for the past twenty years. For ten of those years, he lived and studied intensively at the art’s birthplace, Iwama, Ibaraki, Japan, where he continues to visit annually. He currently teaches Aikido in the community and one course at NHCC through Interdisciplinary Studies titled: INTD 1210 The History, Philosophy, and Practice of Traditional Aikido.

Travel Light: Poems from a Trip to France

Kate Green, English—Delivered October 7, 2011

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Kate GreenKate Green will read from her manuscript Travel Light: Poems from a Trip to France. She wrote over one hundred poems on this trip in three weeks and promises not to read all of them. She will also discuss her creative process.

Kate Green has published four novels, eight children’s books, and several books of poetry. She has been awarded the Bush Foundation Fellowship for Writing and a McKnight Foundation poetry grant. She is currently at work on a children’s book, illustrated by her son, an NHCC Graphic Arts graduate and writing poems for a new collection (in between grading papers). This is her eleventh year teaching in the English Department at North Hennepin.

Psychotherapy 101: Finding Congruence

Debra Matchinsky, Psychology—Delivered November 4, 2011

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Debra MatchinskyThis lecture explains Carl Rogers’s Self Theory and the therapy he developed based on his theory called Person Centered Therapy. Through completing a personality assessment and examining what Rogers would say about your self concept, you will learn about yourself while learning about the therapy. The result will be an understanding of a practical technique that you can use to improve the mental health of your loved ones.

Debra Matchinsky (NHCC graduate) holds a M.S. in clinical psychology from Emporia State University, a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri - Kansas City and is a licensed psychologist. Her areas of specialty are psychotherapy, neuropsychology, assessment, research and the teaching of psychology. Dr. Matchinsky volunteers regularly as a therapist at the Walk-In Counseling Center in south Minneapolis.

Living a Purposeful Life in the Performing Arts

Mike Ricci, Theater, Film, and Television—Delivered December 2, 2011

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Mike RicciThis discussion will focus on pursuit of a dream, the obstacles encountered, and the manner in which they are overcome. Specific details about a life in the performing arts, and the difficulties that resulted, will be shared, as well as how to create opportunities where none exist. In addition, the relative meaning of success, the inevitability of personal growth, and the importance of community engagement will also be highlighted.

Mike Ricci, currently Director of Theater at North Hennepin Community College, received his M.F.A. in directing from Florida State University, and has directed over one hundred plays in his career, including over a dozen world premieres. He has taught and directed in a wide variety of colleges, university, professional and community theaters around the country for the past twenty years. His teaching work includes posts at Penn State University, Florida State University, University of Louisville, Winthrop University, Hibbing Community College and others. He has also served as Artistic Director of three theatre companies, written several plays that have been produced, and started a children’s theatre company.

Visual Literature: An Introduction to Graphic Novels

Steven Matuszak, English—Delivered January 13, 2012

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Steve MatuszakVisual Literature: An Introduction to Graphic Novels offers an overview of graphic novels, tracing their history, figuring out what they are, and sorting through the variety of books available. Since it is a visual form of literature, plenty of examples from the works discussed will be shared.

Steve Matuszak holds a master’s in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, specializing in modern drama and theories of performance and the performativity of identity. In addition to teaching in the English department at NHCC, he works as a dramaturge with Frank Theatre and practices Zen Buddhism with Steve Hagen in Minneapolis. Like John Updike, he is a frustrated cartoonist.

A Classical Interlude: Performances by NHCC Music Faculty

NHCC Music Faculty—Delivered February 3, 2012

Featuring the talents of Kristian Anderson, Judy Bender, David Mantini, Heather MacLaughlin, and Karla Miller, NHCC Music Faculty present performances on piano, voice, guitar, and trumpet.

  • Kristian Anderson (b. 1974) is an accomplished concert guitarist having performed in Europe and across North America. Critics have hailed his performances, describing his talents as “showstopping” ( and encompassing “prodigious virtuosity” (Soundboard). After winning First Prize at several U.S. solo guitar competitions, he turned his attention to his doctoral studies at Florida State University and founded the acclaimed guitar ensemble Tantalus Quartet. Since he received his doctorate in 2008, Tantalus has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Guitar Foundation of America Festival, the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium, the New York Guitar Seminar, Brownsville Guitar Festival, and for many other music series and festivals around the globe. The quartet has commissioned and premiered several new works from today’s leading composers, including Grammy-nominated Apostolos Paraskevas, whose concerto “The Feast” was premiered by Tantalus with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Anderson has received an array of teaching assistantships and scholarships awarded by Florida State University (DM), Arizona State University (MM), and the University of North Texas (BM). His primary teachers include esteemed pedagogues Bruce Holzman, Frank Koonce, Thomas Johnson, and Alan Johnston. He has also studied under guitar luminaries Oscar Ghiglia, Leo Brouwer, Roland Dyens, Odair Assad, among many more. An experienced educator, Anderson has taught at Florida State University and Arizona State University, and has held adjunct professorships at the University of North Texas and Thomas University. He regularly gives master classes, adjudicates competitions, and is invited to lecture at schools and festivals on the art of practicing. As a composer, he has written and arranged several pieces for solo guitar, guitar duo, and guitar quartet. Most recently, his solo piece “Improvisation” was published in Soundboard magazine. Anderson currently lives with his wife in Minneapolis, where, in addition to his prolific classical guitar life, he enjoys a thriving career as a theater musician, performing approximately 400 shows a year. He currently heads guitar studies at North Hennepin Community College, teaches at MacPhail Center for Music, and is on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Guitar Society.
  • Judy Bender presently teaches applied voice and class voice at NHCC. She has a master of fine arts degree in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor of science degree in music education from Saint Cloud State University. She has taught music in the public schools, twelve years of youth choir ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, several years as a professor of music at Anoka Ramsey Community College teaching voice, choir and related music classes until coming to NHCC. As a professional singer she has sung with the Minnesota Chorale as well as the Minnesota Opera Company. She has performed the roles of Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Marie in The Bartered Bride, Katisha in The Mikado and Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. She has also soloed with other professional organizations such as Thursday Musical, Anoka Opera Company, Choral groups and many a church function. She has a private studio of voice students ranging from middle school and high school through professional singers.
  • David Mantini is a member of the music faculty at North Hennepin Community College where he directs the Jazz Ensemble and teaches music theory and private instrumental lessons. Mantini is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, IA, where he earned a bachelor of arts in trumpet performance and anthropology. He attended the University of North Texas and received a master’s of music education with concentrations in jazz studies and music history. While in Texas, Mantini was a clinician in various schools, and performed as a guest artist with the Dallas Brass. He spent six months touring professionally with the popular Christian band, Truth. After returning to Minnesota, he taught K–8 general music and 5–12 band in various schools, and performed with several bands. Mantini is very active in his church, serving as chairman for the Administrative Council and past chairman of both Fun and Funding and the Stewardship committees. He is also a past board member of the Twin Cities Youth Chorale. Currently, Mantini performs with the Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra and the Elk River German Band and directs the Brooklyn United Methodist Big Band. In addition, he freelances across the Twin Cities and teaches instrumental lessons. He lives in Brooklyn Park with his wife and two sons.
  • Heather MacLaughlin is one of the Twin Cities’ leading chamber music pianists, appearing regularly with members of both the Minnesota Orchestra and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. She has collaborated with, among others, Pinchas Zukerman, Cynthia Phelps (principal violist for the New York Philharmonic), and baritone David Malis. MacLaughlin has been heard on both Minnesota and National Public Radio as soloist and chamber musician. In 1998, MacLaughlin and her husband, classical guitarist Alan Johnston, represented Minnesota on the Millennium concert series at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. As a member of the Shank-MacLaughlin Duo with violinist Leslie Shank, MacLaughlin was the recipient of a 1996 grant from the General Mills, Dayton Hudson and Jerome Foundations for travel to Hungary to study and perform the Bartók Sonatas for violin and piano. In 1997, the Shank-MacLaughlin Duo was a winner of the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians. Their CD of the Bartók sonatas for violin and piano was released in 1999 on the Centaur label. MacLaughlin completed a doctor of musical arts degree at the University of Minnesota in piano accompanying/coaching, as a student of Margo Garrett. She received bachelor and master of music degrees from Indiana University, where she studied with Enrica Cavallo-Gulli. A Suzuki piano instructor since 1985, MacLaughlin has taught at Suzuki institutes and workshops in Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota, and Lima, Peru. She has taught at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, and is currently a full time member of the music faculty at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, MN.
  • Karla J. Miller is a full time Music Instructor at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota where she conducts three choral ensembles, teaches music theory, music appreciation, piano and voice. She has taught at NHCC for twenty-eight years. She also directs a performing chorus for retired senior citizens called the Northwest Singing Seniors. Karla has been involved in church music most of her life either as pianist, organist or choir director. She is currently serving Brooklyn United Methodist in Brooklyn Park as organist/accompanist. Karla received her bachelor of music degree in piano performance and vocal music education from Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Her master of music degree is from St. Cloud State University in choral conducting and choral literature. Professional memberships include the American Choral Directors Association, Minnesota Music Educators Association, American Guild of Organists and the Minnesota State College Faculty Association. Miller has served on the board of ACDA of Minnesota and currently serves as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Two Year Colleges. She is the President of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Two Year College Fine Arts Council and has served North Hennepin Community College as chair of the Academic Advising and Standards Committee. In addition to her music and teaching profession, she is the proud mother of three sons and a daughter in law, Ben and Emily, Jacob and Nathan.

Birthing a Language: The Path to Multilingualism

Jan McFall, English for Speakers of Other Languages—Delivered March 2, 2012

This lecture will explore perceptions and realities surrounding language acquisition. The three main areas of discussion will be the art and science of becoming multilingual, the common misconceptions about the path to language fluency, and ways to nurture multilingualism. Hopefully, by the end of this lecture, participants will be even more passionate about language acquisition as well as having deepened their empathy for those who are currently on that journey!

Jan McFall began her higher education academic journey at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Florida where she earned an A.A. She went on to earn a B.A. in English education at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. After more than eight years of living abroad and earning a Brevet d’Etudes Françaises in Tours, France, she came to the Twin Cities and completed an M.A. in ESL from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in educational psychology at Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Additionally, Jan holds two teaching Minnesota licenses for grades k-12. Her teaching journey has included elementary, middle school, and high school in addition to teaching for the past seven years in higher education. She has taught English and French both in the USA and abroad.

The Social and Emotional Benefits of Reading Narratives

Lisa Whalen, English—Delivered April 6, 2012

What do novels and flight simulators have in common? More than you might think. Lisa Whalen will explain how reading narratives can improve our ability to learn, sharpen our social skills, increase our emotional well-being, and even impact how we feel pain.

Lisa Whalen has an M.A. in creative and critical writing from Hamline University and a Ph.D. in postsecondary and adult education from Capella University. Her published work includes articles on teaching writing, directing writing centers, and examining correlations between empathy and reading narratives. Whalen’s creative nonfiction essays have been published in peer reviewed journals, and her short fiction has been accepted for presentation at the National Creative Writing Conference.

A Sabbatical with the Newberys

Bridget Murphy, English—Delivered September 7, 2012

This talk will trace the history of the Newbery award beginning with a short introduction of its founder, John Newbery, then a quick tour through the highs and lows from its inception in 1922 up to the most recent winner in 2012. The Newbery award, given annually to an author writing for children up to 14, can reveal interesting trends about literature, history, and the state of children and librarians over the century.

Bridget Murphy received a master’s in English with an emphasis on the teaching of writing from Georgetown University. She has taught for Metropolitan State University, University of St. Francis (Joliet, IL), and North Hennepin Community College. She is especially fond of Irish and children’s literature.

Knights, Castles, and the Making of the Middle Ages

Deanna Forsman, History—Delivered October 5, 2012

Everyone knows that knights and castles go together, and that they both belong in the Middle Ages. However, few people realize that our fairy-tale image of knights and castles belongs to the modern period, rather than the Middle Ages. This talk will explore the evolution of knights, castles, tournaments, and chivalry, through the medieval period. Knights and castles were far less civilized—and far more interesting—than the fairy-tale image most of us hold!

Deanna Forsman has a Ph.D. in Medieval History from UCLA, with an emphasis on society and culture in the Early Middle Ages. She currently serves as Co-Editor In-Chief of The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe. Her research interests focus on identity, with an emphasis on individuals described as “out-group,” in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. She has been teaching in the history department at NHCC since 2002.

Aggregating Our Votes through the Electoral College

Andra Samuels, Political Science—Delivered November 2, 2012

The Electoral College is one of the least understood institutions of American Government. This presentation examines why the Framers drafted this unique institution into our Constitution, how the popular vote is aggregated through the electoral vote to elect the president and vice president, and the resulting L-strategy for winning the Electoral College.

Andra Samuels holds a master’s in political science from the University of Colorado-Denver. She has been teaching courses on American Government, state and local politics, and international relations at North Hennepin Community College since 2003. Her research interests include international security, democratic theory, American political development, and federalism.

12/21/2012: What Will (and Will Not) Happen at the End of the Mayan Cycle 13

Jessica Warren, Physics—Delivered December 7, 2012 

The public has been inundated with “information” as to what will happen on December 21, 2012. Will the planets fall into a line? Will earth line up with the galactic center? Will the magnetic poles of the earth or the sun suddenly flip? As we reach the end of Mayan cycle 13 (the “Great Cycle”), Jessica Warren (physics) will discuss what will and will not happen on that day.

Jessica Warren earned a bachelor’s of science in astronomy and astrophysics from Villanova University in 2003, along with minors in theology and physics. She earned her master’s degree in astronomy from San Diego State University in 2006. She has been teaching at North Hennepin Community College since 2007.

Simulation—Bridging the Talk to the Walk

Mary Sladek, Nursing—Delivered January 18, 2013

This lecture will explain the use of simulation as a viable teaching tool for nursing students. Four main areas of discussion will include the history of simulation, the pedagogy behind it, how the nursing department is utilizing it at NHCC, and evaluation methods.

Mary Sladek has been with the NHCC Nursing Department since 2006. She has held a variety of positions including Lab Coordinator, Faculty Instructor and most recently Director of Simulation. She holds a master’s in nursing from the University of Minnesota and has had clinical experience in Medical-Surgical, Hematology/Oncology, research, Imaging and Breast Care Coordinator.

Protestantism, American Exceptionalism, and Edith Wharton’s Call to Arms in World War I

Michael McGehee, English—Delivered February 1, 2013

World War I had been underway for almost two years when Edith Wharton, one of the United States’ most celebrated authors, began writing her novel Summer in 1916 while living in France. The horrors of the war proved novel, as poison gas, flame throwers, and machine guns left an unprecedented number of soldiers dead on the sides of the Allies as well as the Central Powers. The war hit France, Wharton’s adopted country, spectacularly hard. The first five months of battle consumed the lives 300,000 French soldiers, averaging to 2,000 deaths per day. Amidst the rising piles of the dead, the United States remained neutral and refused to join the Allies in the conflict. Wharton remarked in a letter to an American friend: “The ‘atrocities’ one hears of are true… Spread it abroad as much as you can. It should be known that it is to America’s interest to help stem this hideous flood of savagery by opinion if it may not be by action. No civilized race can remain neutral in feeling now.” Wharton, who loved France as much as she loved her home country, believed that the United States needed to enter the war to fight Germany and the rest of the Central Powers. While most literary scholars have supposed Wharton’s Summer to be detached from the war, I suggest that the novel contains political messages that promote the entry of the United States into what is famously called “The Great War.” An examination of the intersection of art and politics, my presentation will explain in detail how Wharton uses her novel to beat the drum of war.

Michael McGehee teaches in the English Department at NHCC. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Poe Studies, Nabokov Studies, and American Literary Realism. He received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Delaware.

Holy Wells and Culture Change

Silas Mallery, Anthropology—Delivered March 1, 2013

This lecture will discuss the Holy Wells of Ireland—and of Europe more broadly—considering what they can tell us about the phenomenon of culture change.

Silas Mallery earned his B.A. at the University of Vermont with majors in both anthropology and religion. After working on the University’s archaeology crew for a couple of years, Silas attended the University of York, UK, where he received his master’s in archaeological research. After a couple more years of archaeology in Vermont, Silas and his new bride Marty moved to Minneapolis, where he entered the University of Minnesota’s Ph.D. program in anthropology. Silas began working as an adjunct at NHCC eight years ago, and began as permanent faculty in 2011. He and Marty have three young children and still live in South Minneapolis.

A Brief History of the Primitive Hut, Or Why This Building is Not Real

Joel Jensen, Philosophy & Silas Mallery, Anthropology—Delivered April 5, 2013

At least since Vitruvius, architectural theorists have been concerned with how to establish structures’ ontological status. This concern became particularly explicit during architecture’s modern movement, when distinctions were frequently been drawn between those buildings seeming derivative or phony, and those assuredly “real”. A common theme of this dialogue is a desire that architecture return to its primitive origins. In this lecture, Jensen and Mallery will discuss some of the history of architecture’s preoccupation with the primitive, while giving special attention to teepees, bicycle sheds and chicken huts.

Joel Jensen has an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Colorado, Denver. Silas Mallery earned his B.A. at the University of Vermont with majors in both anthropology and religion, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

A Report from the Front: The Battle of Words between the New Atheists and Religionists

Bruce Lebus, Philosophy—Delivered October 11, 2013

In this talk, I will try to say where this battle of ideas stands and what importance it has, if any, on the wider culture. Have we just grown tired of the debate? Has one side won? Is there anything new to say on the topics of God and religion? Finally, is there a secular spirituality available for those who are not interested in the traditional faiths? Or should non-affiliated people just be happy to be secular?

Bruce Lebus earned his master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching at North Hennepin Community College, he has taught at Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota. His areas of specialty are philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and ethics. He also has published many poems and considers himself well-informed about Lake Superior agates.

Monetary Policy and Fiscal Policy

Desta Gelgelu, Economics—Delivered November 8, 2013

This lecture will provide an overview of how monetary and fiscal policies influence the economy, as well as examining the behavior of players in the economy.

Desta Gelgelu has an undergraduate degree from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and completed his graduate studies at Pune University in India with a Ph.D. in economics. His area of specialty is the role of banks in the economy. He currently teaches economics at North Hennepin Community College and Metropolitan State University.

Sabbath: Creating Separate Time

Patricia Diamond, Philosophy—Delivered December 13, 2013

From ancient times comes the understanding that there is ordinary time—when we work, produce, and take care of important tasks—and also some sort of special time, when we move beyond the mundane and devote ourselves to spiritual experience, rest, or just simply being instead of doing. Learn more about the foundations of this understanding of time. In the face of so many distractions and external pressures, providing separate time can be a very functional way to restore life balance.

Patricia Diamond studied at Carelton College and earned a B.A. in philosophy. After several years living in Israel and some rabbinical studies, she returned to the U.S. and ventured into the “family attractions” business (for example, helping to develop and manage the LEGO Imagination Center). She holds an M.B.A. from the University of St Thomas Graduate School of Business. She teaches a variety of courses in philosophy in the MnSCU system and at St. Catherine’s, mostly in the area of ethics. She recently returned to Metro State University and completed a master’s level equivalency in philosophy with an emphasis on Jewish ethics.

The Role of Contextualized Learning in Developmental Education

Shirley Johnson, Academic Development—Delivered January 17, 2014

This presentation will focus on the strategies currently utilized by the Academic Development Faculty concerning the use of authentic text to assist students in learning the reading and study strategies that will assist them in making the transition to college. More specifically it will relate our strategies to the characteristics of adults as readers.

Shirley Johnson is a member of the Academic Development Faculty. She holds a M.A. in reading education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has completed her doctoral coursework and examinations for a Ph.D. in adult education at the University of Minnesota. Her specific areas of interest include reading education for adult populations, reading in the workplace, instructional design, and developmental education. Prior to teaching at NHCC, Ms. Johnson held positions as a training manager and instructional designer within private industry. She also ran and taught reading and study skills courses at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and Normandale Community College.

The Body’s Microbial Zoo—The Human Microbiome Project and the Creatures that Live in (and on) Us

Paul Melchior, Biology—Delivered March 7, 2014

The human body is anything but one’s personal space. In fact, we play host to a menagerie of thousands of other species. Bacteria, archaeans, protists, fungi and even other animals live in and on our bodies every day of our lives. The Human Microbiome Project has set out to describe this community, and has discovered some amazing features. Your personal microbial ecosystem may explain in part your weight, susceptibility to diseases, and even influence your personality.

Paul Melchior is professor of biology at North Hennepin Community College (NHCC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he has taught since the early 1990’s. In 2006 he began a joint appointment with Minnesota State University - Moorhead (MSUM), which offers a baccalaureate degree in biochemistry on the NHCC campus. Paul teaches Principles of Biology I and II to freshmen, medical microbiology and general microbiology to upper division students, and a capstone research course to seniors in the MSUM program. He is coordinator of NHCC’s Irish study abroad program for biology majors.

Paul’s research interests include the meta-genomics and ecology of bacterial populations associated with northern bog plants such as Sarracenia purpurea, and other communities. He earned his baccalaureate and graduate degrees in biology and microbiology from St. John’s University and the University of Minnesota, respectively. Paul enjoys baseball, woodworking, and good beer. He lives in Minneapolis with his wonderful wife and two above average teenage sons.

Going to College—ESOL Students’ Views

Susan Nyhus, English for Speakers of Other Languages—Delivered April 11, 2014

This lecture will be a panel discussion providing ESOL students at NHCC the opportunity to share their views about attending college. The panel will be mediated by Susan Nyhus, an NHCC ESOL Faculty.

Susan Nyhus received a master’s in ESL and a master’s in education from the University of Minnesota. Prior to teaching in the ESOL Program at NHCC, she taught at the University of Minnesota.

Anatomia Italiana: A Historical and Cultural Perspective of Human Anatomy

Peggy LePage, Biology—Delivered September 12, 2014

During her lecture, Peggy will share her grand adventure exploring historical anatomy museums and traditional cultural sites in Rome, Florence, Bologna, and Padua, Italy. During her lecture you will learn about the history of anatomy and the fascinating connection between anatomical studies and Renaissance art. She will share with the audience a photographic travelogue of her journey that will include the surreal and sublime. Italian treats will be served!

Peggy LePage began her higher education academic career as a nontraditional student at Anoka Ramsey Community College where she spent two years completing remedial and prerequisite classes before transferring to the University of Minnesota. There she completed her B.S. in science and public health. After graduation, Peggy entered the U of M Baccalaureate Nursing Program. While taking an elective course, Cell Biology, she had an epiphany…she wanted to pursue cancer cell research and teaching. To accomplish her goal she entered a doctorate program in anatomy at the University of Minnesota where she spent several years teaching medical school gross anatomy labs and conducting research into the growth and differentiation of embryonal carcinoma cells in culture. Peggy received her doctorate degree in anatomy from the University of Minnesota in 1990. Upon the completion of her degree, she returned to her community college roots to teach Anatomy and Physiology and Biology of Women initially at Anoka Ramsey Community College and, for the last 21 years, here at North Hennepin Community College.

How Theater Games Can Teach Life Lessons

Mike Ricci, Theater, Film, and Television—Delivered October 10, 2014

Theater games and exercises are regularly used in acting classes to lay the groundwork for improvisation, acting techniques, and opening up students to their own potential. However, these games can also be used in other classroom applications, and even personal exploration. This workshop will explore how to use these games in classroom settings to open up students to each other, to think outside the box in problem solving, and to develop cooperative teamwork. Those attending who wish to participate should wear clothing that is easy to move in.

Mike Ricci, currently Director of Theater at North Hennepin Community College, received his MFA in Directing from Florida State University, and has directed over one hundred plays in his career, including over a dozen world premieres. He has taught and directed in a wide variety of colleges, university, professional and community theaters around the country for the past twenty years. His teaching work includes posts at Penn State University, Florida State University, University of Louisville, Winthrop University, Hibbing Community College and others. He has also served as Artistic Director of three theatre companies, written several plays that have been produced, and started a children’s theatre company.

A World History of the Great Lakes Fur Trade

Paul Jentz, History—Delivered November 14, 2014

The fur trade evolved as part of a credit economy that linked indigenous people in the Great Lakes region with merchants in Europe’s port cities. Indeed, La Rochelle and Amsterdam profited not only from fur importation, they also exported beaver pelts to inland markets. Beaver hats helped fuel a consumer revolution; they circulated within Europe and found eager markets back across the Atlantic in regions throughout the Americas. Furthermore, Spanish and Portuguese merchants traded beaver hats for slaves in Africa. A study of seventeenth and eighteenth-century exchange processes, together with the fur trade’s multiplier effect on trans-Atlantic economies lends itself to a world historical approach: connections between economies and cultures in regions throughout the world are at heart of fur trade history.

Paul Jentz has an M.A. in English, an M.A. in history, and he is currently working on his Ph.D. in global history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He taught English at St. Cloud State University for six years before joining the history faculty at North Hennepin Community College in 2003. In 2007 he founded the Midwest World History Association, which recently held its fifth annual conference at Governors State University in Chicago. He served a three-year term on the Executive Council of the World History Association. As Chair of the Conferences Committee of the WHA, he organized the 22nd Annual Conference of the WHA last year at NHCC and the 2014 conference at the University of Costa Rica. He is currently working on next year’s conference in Savannah, Georgia and the 2016 conference at Ghent University in Belgium.

Ebola—The Virus and the Disease

Louise Millis, Biology—Delivered January 23, 2015

Ebola, a virus that lives in the shadows; that is until a human crosses its path. Come and learn a little history about this deadly virus, what we know presently, and what the future holds.

Louise Millis is a member of the Biology Department at North Hennepin Community College (NHCC) and Saint Cloud State University (SCSU). She has a master’s in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh and bachelor’s in medical laboratory science from Western Connecticut State University. She has industry experience working with fermentation, genetically engineered microorganisms, and medical laboratory testing. She is currently one of the four-year partners at NHCC, acting as Program Director for Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) for SCSU. The MLS program at NHCC began with an idea from Jane Reinke and Dr. David DeGroote, the past Dean of Science and Engineering at SCSU and provides an educational pathway for Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLT) from NHCC and other two-year campuses to complete their bachelor’s degree. Louise has collaborated with biology faculty at NHCC on research projects connected to Hamline and Yale University and is beginning a joint project with NHCC, SCSU, and the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District in St. Paul MN.

The Aleutian Solution: Tales from WWII on the Aleutian Islands

Steven Matuszak, English—Delivered February 13, 2015

While stories about World War II proliferate, the skirmishes between America and Japan in the Aleutian Islands, stretching west of Alaska for 1,200 miles, are relatively unknown. Centering on Japan’s occupation of the westernmost islands of Kiska and Attu—the only U.S. territory occupied by a foreign power since the War of 1812—the Aleutian Islands Campaign proved to be an almost insurmountable challenge for both sides, leading to some of the most unusual battles of the Pacific War. English faculty member Steve Matuszak will relate incidents and tales from the campaign that inspired him to write a play attempting to dramatize them.

Steve Matuszak is a faculty member of the English Department at North Hennepin Community College, where he teaches first year writing and literature courses, including Graphic Novels and Reading Plays. He is A.B.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, where he had the brief privilege to study with pioneering theater director and theoretician Herbert Blau. In addition to teaching, he has, for the past eight years, worked as dramaturg for Minneapolis’s critically acclaimed Frank Theatre, where he also serves as chair of the Artist Advisory Board. He writes reviews of theatrical performances, graphic novels, movies, and non-traditional literature for his blog, Crooked Eclipses, as well as for The Cream City Review, Theater Journal, and Rain Taxi Review of Books.

De-Stress for Life

Olamide Coker, Samantha Schendzielos, and Sue Smith, Counseling—Delivered April 10, 2015

Stress is something that we commonly talk about in our society. However, we rarely take time to define stress. What is stress? What causes stress? How do we experience stress? Most importantly, what can we do to manage our stress? Stress is a fairly universal experience for all of us. Regardless of how our personalities vary in terms of intensity, at one time or another, we will all be confronted with a situation that we find stressful. This Faculty Lecture will focus on practical tools and strategies that are needed to achieve balance, fulfillment, and success.

  • Olamide Coker: I am committed to the educational mission of North Hennepin Community College by supporting the diverse and changing needs of its students in a safe, enriching and engaging environment that would contribute to their academic, emotional and mental well-being. As they achieve success in their academic, personal, and professional goals, my role is to serve as a resource to the students and I hope to increase the students’ self-awareness through the counseling process. I believe in treating each individual with sincerity, encouragement, kindness, respect, empathy, and dignity in a non-judgmental atmosphere. Minnesota State University Mankato, B.S., Clinical Psychology; Minnesota State University Mankato, M.S., Counseling Student Personnel with an emphasis in Mental Health Counseling
  • Samantha Schendzielos: Counseling is a journey of self-exploration by the student, meant to increase his/her level of self-understanding and self-awareness. As a counselor I act as the guide or facilitator of this journey to help enable change. I do not act as the expert on the student’s life. My goal is to create a safe place in which students can explore what is getting in the way of their success and/or happiness. I approach each student with respect, authenticity, genuineness, empathy, acceptance, and unconditional positive regard. St. Cloud State University, B.S., Business; St. Cloud State University, M.S., College Counseling & Student Development.
  • Sue Smith: I believe in helping students make their own best decisions based on their current circumstances and future aspirations. My job is to help students to develop as individuals and make the most of the resources at NHCC to move from where they are now closer to where they want to be, which is a life-long journey. I feel privileged to share part of this adventure. I want to be a person at NHCC where students can learn skills or find resources to overcome obstacles in their personal or career life. Lakewood Community College, A.A.; University of Minnesota, B.S.; St. Mary’s University, M.A., Human Development and Education, Emphasis in Counseling and Psychological Services; Certificate-Marriage and Family Therapy

Dancing with DNA: Personal DNA Testing and a Journey of Discovery

Pele Rich, Biology—Delivered September 11, 2015

Direct-to-consumer personal DNA testing has become big business, competitive, and very affordable for many people. What types of tests are available? What do results look like and how can they be used to learn about ourselves and our families? How might DNA testing be used in the future? Pele will describe the surprising revelations in her journey to learn about herself at the DNA level and how the experience has changed her identity of self and that of her family.

Pele Rich earned her bachelor’s of science in botany from Weber State University in 1994, with minors in chemistry and microbiology. She earned her Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of California Riverside in 2001. Her educational career was a family affair, involving her husband and four children. She began teaching at the college level in 1999, and has been teaching at NHCC since 2008. In her discretionary time, she conducts genealogy research, gardens and volunteers, bakes sourdough breads, and spends time with her family and extended family.

Americans and Hoarders: The Blurry Line

Eve Willadsen-Jensen, Psychology—Delivered October 9, 2015

Consumerism is a main driver of the American economy and shopping is presented as a pleasurable symbol of power. At the same time, consumers are expected to not waste nor hoard resources. Americans are expected to engage in the consumer economy while maintaining discipline over their things and their living space. For individuals suffering from hoarding disorder, it is reasonable to hypothesize that these socio-cultural attitudes serve as both mediators and rationalizations of self-destructive patterns. Furthermore, socio-cultural attitudes towards hoarding behavior tend towards negative, stigmatizing stereotypes that can impede individuals from seeking help or treatment.

Eve Willadsen-Jensen teaches psychology at NHCC. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Colorado, Boulder and focused on social psychology with a specialization in stereotyping, prejudice, and neuroscience. Her most recent article, "The effect of context on responses to racially ambiguous faces: changes in perception and evaluation," was published this year in the journal, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. Her current line of research focuses on stereotyping, stigma, and cultural attitudes towards hoarding behavior.

PINTURA: PALABRA, a project in ekphrasis

Vanessa Ramos, English—Delivered November 13, 2015

PINTURA: PALABRA is a national multi-year initiative encouraging discourse between Latino poets and Latino artists. Join English faculty Vanessa Ramos as she shares her ekphrastic poetry describing Latino art.

Vanessa Ramos currently teaches English at North Hennepin Community College. She earned a bachelor of science from University of Wisconsin, River Falls, and her M.F.A. from Hamline University. Her poems and stories have been published in Miel, Necessary Fiction, and BorderSenses. She describes herself as “Landscape with Leaves and Figure” and currently lives “Between Two Seas.”

"In and Of the Community": North Hennepin as Community College

Deanna Forsman, History—Delivered December 10, 2015

Watch lecture on YouTube

When North Hennepin opened its doors to students in the Fall of 1966, it did so as North Hennepin State Junior College (NHSJC) and its primary goal was to provide the first two years of college education for students to transfer to four-year institutions. Today, North Hennepin is a Community College, and our primary mission is to serve the needs of the community. Based primarily on the research of North Hennepin’s history students, this lecture will trace the journey of North Hennepin to become "a community institution. It is in and of the community" (President John Helling, 1968).

Deanna Forsman has a Ph.D. in Medieval History from UCLA. She currently serves as Co-Editor In-Chief of The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe and Webmaster for the American Society for Irish Medieval Studies (ASIMS). She has been teaching in the history department at NHCC since 2002, and has been guiding NHCC students in original research on the history of North Hennepin since 2007.

There Exists an X, X is a Sandwich

Joel Jensen, Philosophy—Delivered January 22, 2016

Can anything be so common as a sandwich? Two slices of bread and a filling. Everyone knows what a sandwich is when they see one. But what of quesadillas, hot dogs, pizza and birthday cake? Are these sandwiches too? Applying deductive logic, we’ll interrogate the lunch counter. We’ll find that the more rigorously sandwiches are examined, the slipperier the subject becomes, with broad implications for the ways we apply language to everyday concepts. Socratic Method demands nominological consistency, but we’ll see that this is exceedingly difficult to apply even in mundane cases. And if we have difficulty with sandwiches, what hope is there for consistency in defining justice, truth, or beauty? What do we see in a gas station cracker? Something familiar, something illustrative, something meaningful?

Joel Jensen has an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Colorado, Denver. His academic interests include Logic, Ethics, and the Environment. His most recent publication is titled "Sandwiches That Tremble As if They Are Mad: New Directions in Sandwich Taxonomy." He is currently at work on a book about the nature of proof.

Baron Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier: His Series, Napoleon, and the Rosetta Stone

Joe May, Mathematics—Delivered February 12, 2016

On December 21, 1807 the mathematician Joseph Fourier’s memoir On the Propagation of Heat in Solid Bodies was read to the Paris Institute. This was an epoch-making event in the history of mathematics and modern physics for in this memoir Fourier made use of his trigonometric series. Now known as Fourier Series, he claimed these series could represent any function over an interval such as [0, L]. Mathematicians on the committee which reviewed his memoir, notably Lagrange, had reservations as to the legitimacy of his claim. In this talk I will give an example of Fourier Series and also discuss Fourier’s other roles as a government official and an Egyptologist.

Joe May has been a fulltime member of NHCC’s Mathematics Department since the Fall of 1987. Upon completing both a bachelor of science degree and a master of arts degree in mathematics from then Mankato State University, he held one-year teaching positions at the University of Minnesota, Morris and St. Cloud State University before joining NHCC. Joe will reunite with his master’s degree advisor Dr. Chia-Chi Tung at MSUM during the spring of 2016 while on sabbatical leave studying the history of mathematics. Joe and his wife have three children and three grandchildren. In his spare time he enjoys strength training, and is a fan of MN Wild hockey, track and field, and MMA.

Another Classical Interlude: Performances by NHCC Music Faculty

NHCC Music Faculty—Delivered March 18, 2016

Kevin Hobbs, pianist, earned his B.M. and M.M. from the University of Cincinnati, CCM, where he studied with Elisabeth Pridonoff and was the recipient of the CCM Honors Scholarship, the Reeves, Shockett, and McElroy prizes, and the first William Black Memorial Prize. He earned his D.M.A. from the University of Minnesota, where he was a student of Lydia Artymiw, and also holds a B.A from Johns Hopkins University. His awards include top prizes in the Venetia Hall Piano Competition, the Wyoming Music Club Competition, the Brevard Festival Piano Competition, and the International Young Artists Piano Competition. He has performed at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. as well as internationally in Barcelona, Spain and the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Currently, Kevin is on the faculty of North Hennepin Community College, the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Mount Calvary Academy of Music. He has also previously served on the faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College, and his students have been accepted to music programs at the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Northwestern University (IL), Berklee School of Music (MA), and the University of Cincinnati, CCM. In addition, he is the pianist at Diamond Lake Lutheran Church and plays keyboard for the New Frontier Lutheran Radio Hour.

David Mantini is a graduate of Luther College, where he earned a bachelor of arts in trumpet performance and anthropology. He attended the University of North Texas and received a master’s of music education with concentrations in jazz studies and music history. While in Texas, Mantini was a clinician in various schools, and performed as a guest artist with the Dallas Brass. He also toured with the Dove Award-winning Christian band, Truth. After returning to Minnesota, he earned his Orff Certification and taught kindergarten through high school levels in both general music and band. Mantini is a current member of the music faculty at North Hennepin Community College where he directs the Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, and teaches music theory and private instrumental lessons. Mantini is also the director of the Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble at Augsburg College. Mantini served on the Two Year College Music and Arts Festival Board and was the Festival’s instrumental coordinator. He serves as treasurer of the Champlin Park High School Band Association, and is a past board member of the Twin Cities Youth Chorale. He has performed with many local bands and orchestras including the Wolverines and the Kenwood Symphony. Currently, Mantini performs with the Elk River German Band and directs the Brooklyn United Methodist Big Band. In addition, he freelances across the metro area. He lives in Brooklyn Park with his wife and two sons.

Matthew J Olson serves as Artistic Director of Oratory Bach Ensemble—a professional period instrument orchestra and chamber choir, Instructor of Music at North Hennepin Community College, and Director of Choirs at Westwood Lutheran Church. Previously, he held teaching positions at Aquinas College, UW-Superior, and the University of Minnesota. He was national winner of the Houghton College Choral Competition and has published works forthcoming with Santa Barbara Music and Colla Voce. As a chorister, he has performed with The St. Olaf Choir, The Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus, The Singers, Magnum Chorum, The Minnesota Orchestra, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He made his singer/songwriter debut at The Fitzgerald Theater as part of Minnesota Public Radio’s highly acclaimed Works for Words series. He studied conducting at St. Olaf College, The Oregon Bach Festival, Michigan State University, The University of Minnesota, and The Canford Orchestral Conducting School (U.K.).

Karla Miller is in her 23rd year as full-time Music Instructor/Director of Choral Activities at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Prior to her full-time position she was employed as an adjunct instructor for eleven years as Choral Director and Piano Instructor. She now directs three choral ensembles at NHCC: the College Choir, the Chamber Singers and the Community Choir which draws many of its members from surrounding suburbs. In addition to her choral responsibilities she teaches a broad spectrum of courses including Fundamentals of Music, Music in World Cultures, Music Appreciation and History of Rock and Roll. From 1979–1982 she taught Vocal Music at Minnetonka East Junior High. Karla has been actively involved in professional music organizations as a music teacher and as a choral director. Participating in the activities of ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) has been an integral part of her professional life. She has served as Repertoire and Standards chair for Two-Year Colleges at both the state and regional levels. She has also served as Metro-West District Chair and has been an accompanist and coordinator for many ACDA conferences and events. For six years she has served as president of the statewide Two-Year Colleges Fine Arts Council for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and has organized multiple statewide Fine Arts Music Festivals. Karla received a bachelor of music degree in piano performance with vocal music (K-12) certification from Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Her master of music degree in choral conducting and choral music literature is from St. Cloud State University. She is currently a member of ACDA, MMEA, MSCF, MEA/NEA and AGO.

Celebrating "Cinco de Mayo" in the U.S. Its Significance and Origins

Carlos Baez, Spanish—Delivered April 8, 2016

The Mexican holiday known as "Cinco de Mayo" is widely celebrated throughout the United States by Latino and Non Latino people. However, in recent decades the actual significance of this celebration has been misconstrued due to its excessive commercialization. This lecture will clarify some misconceptions around the cultural significance of this celebration and will review the historical origins and changes that "Cinco de Mayo" has endured.

Carlos Baez has an undergraduate degree from University of Puebla in Mexico, and completed his graduate studies at the University of Minnesota with a Ph.D. in Latin American literature and culture. His area of specialty is Mexican contemporary literature. He currently teaches Spanish language and Hispanic culture at North Hennepin Community College.

Observance: Character and Close Reading in David Treuer’s Novel Little

Leanne Zainer, English—Delivered September 2, 2016

Let’s talk about “close reading”: strategies, analogies, examples, and tips to help students carefully and skillfully work with language—and to encourage them to employ that critical thinking skill as they move through their worlds. I’ll share some gratifying experiences I’ve had using David Treuer’s exceptional novel of the Leach Lake Reservation, Little, for practicing this skill. Packed with vivid images and intricately nuanced passages, the novel usefully provides characters who serve as close reading guides. They demonstrate how to be sensitively attend to the people and places dearest to us—and expose the risks of failing to read another person or another culture adeptly.

Leanne Zainer earned her Ph.D. in post-colonial literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation examines the power of literature to sensitize audiences to violence. In addition to instructing in the English Department at NHCC, she teaches experiential learning at Blackfeet Community College, taking students on horseback Riding and Writing adventures.

Twelve-Step Program for Losing Your Mind, or How to Write a Novel

Brian Baumgart, English—Delivered October 7, 2016

Faculty Lecture Series Brian BaumgartAt one time or another, most of think, “Hey, I’m going to write a book,” but we get engulfed with that big slab of debris we call life, and the book goes unfinished. In this presentation, fiction writer and poet Brian Baumgart will talk about taking on an ambitious writing project, as well as his methods, successes, and failures. During the presentation, he will read selections of his we-hope-it-is-almost-complete novel, tentatively titled Fruit Songs (or something else, since that’s part of the process, too).

Brian Baumgart coordinates the Creative Writing A.F.A. program at North Hennepin Community College, where he also teaches in the department of English and curates the Meet the Authors Reading Series. He has an M.F.A. in creative writing from Minnesota State University-Mankato. A chapbook of his poetry is forthcoming from Sweet Press (2016). His poetry, fiction, and essays have been published in various print and online journals, including RuminateSweet, and Cleaver Magazine.

Poetry in the Face of ______________: A Poetry Reading and Discussion

Paula Cisewski, Haley Lasche, and Katharine Rauk, English—Delivered November 4, 2016

Faculty Lecture Series Paula CisewskiA main theme Cisewski’s new collection, The Threatened Everything, is daily living in an era of heightened anxiety about environmental crises and violence. But what about just having the energy to pick up a couple groceries after work? In the face of busy day-to-day details and uncertain futures, how do any of us nurture a creative writing practice, let alone stay engaged with the complicated world? The author has invited poets Haley Lasche and Katharine Rauk to join her in reading selections from their newly released collections and discussing the balance of their writing processes and their real lives. It will be funnier than it sounds.

Paula Cisewski’s third full-length collection of poetry, The Threatened Everything, is forthcoming from Burnside Review Books in the fall of 2016. Her work has received support through The Jerome Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, and her second collection, Ghost Fargo, was selected by Franz Wright for the Nightboat Poetry Prize. She teaches privately and through NHCC, The University of St. Thomas, and The Loft Literary Center. Visit her website for more information.

Haley Lasche teaches writing at North Hennepin Community College and Hamline University. Her poems have appeared in many lit mags, anthologies and websites such as Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books, Hartskill Review and Dossier Journal. Her chapbook Where it Leads is forthcoming from Red Bird Chapbooks.

Katharine Rauk is the author of Buried Choirs (Tinderbox Editions) and the chapbook Basil (Black Lawrence Press). Her poems have appeared in PleiadesHarvard ReviewDIAGRAMBest of the Net 2012, and elsewhere. She reviews books for SCOUT.

Politics and the US Supreme Court

Bev Wolfe, Political Science—Delivered December 2, 2016

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Bev WolfeThis is a Presidential election year with an unexpected opening on the Court. The opening leaves an even split between the conservatives and the liberals on the Court, and this opening is being used for political purposes by both parties. The continuing vacancy is affecting the Court’s ability to issue decisions in several major pending decisions, including voting rights, affirmative action, abortion and labor rights. We will also discuss how the politics of appointment and confirmation of justices is resulting in the selection of less pragmatic and more partisan justices to both the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts.

Beverly Wolfe has her B.A. in political science and criminal justice from the University of Minnesota and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. She serves as an Assistant County Attorney for Hennepin County and formerly worked for the U.S. Justice Department – Drug Enforcement Administration. Her practice has focused on Civil Rights law, Criminal Law and Juvenile Justice. She has taught Constitutional Law for the Political Science department at North Hennepin since 1997. Her publications focus on legal education related to a variety of topics, including Constitutional Law, appellate procedure, forfeiture, controlled substance offenses, and arson prosecution.

The Landscape of the Body: My Journey with Breast Cancer

Nancy Shih-Knodel, English—Delivered January 20, 2017

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Nancy Shih-KnodelIn this talk, Nancy Shih-Knodel will share her experiences with breast cancer via the medium of poetry.

Nancy Shih-Knodel has been teaching at NHCC since 2007. She graduated from Oberlin College and received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in 16th-century British literature. She is also a poet, and her poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, The Examined Life Journal, and Yellowjacket Review, and her chapbook The Landscape of the Body was recently published by Red Bird Chapbooks.

The Mathematics of Changing your Mind: Bayes’ Theorem for Fun and Profit

Matt Foss, Mathematics—Delivered March 3, 2017

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Matt FossWe make decisions based on experience. New experiences may lead to different decisions. Bayes’ Theorem drives the mathematics behind updating old information with new information to make better decisions. Bayes’ Theorem has applications to statistical inference, health care, business, engineering, computer science, robotics, artificial intelligence, cooking, poker, insurance, politics, chemistry, sex (made you look!), and many other things. This talk will be an exceedingly gentle introduction to a powerful decision-making tool.

Matt Foss was born at a very early age. He has taught college math for over thirty years, after a brief experience as a college student himself.

Stories of Addiction

Jill Everett, Health—Delivered April 7, 2017

Faculty Lecture Series Jill EverettAddiction touches many of our lives. Life can become very difficult for addicts—and families and friends of addicts.  Addiction is often misunderstood, as are drug addicts, and this can contribute to lifelong struggles. This lecture will discuss the challenges faced by addicts, addiction research, and new treatment methods that can provide hope for understanding and recovery.

Jill Everett has been at North Hennepin for 28 years. She has taught various courses in Exercise Science and Health. She continues to educate herself through research, coursework, and attending conferences. Her research focuses on the effects of addiction on both individual and public health.

The Impenetrable Body: Ancient Greek Bronzes, Armor, and the Male Nude

Marina Haworth, Art—Delivered September 1, 2017

Faculty Lecture Series Marina HaworthAncient Greek armor is dated stylistically, based on its correspondence to the sculptural type of the day. Yet, the interplay of the nudity of Greek warrior statues, shown explicitly without armor, and the modeling of actual armor to appear as a nude male chest (the anatomical cuirass) has not been examined in depth. I will explore the implications of this intersection, and how it relates to Greek masculine ideals of gender and sexuality.

Recently, interest in this implicit connection between flesh and armor has resurfaced in popular culture, most notably in the graphic novel and film 300, which depict ancient warriors as virtually unclothed, their skin simonized to a reflective shine. There is also a new trend in body art, in which armor is literally tattooed onto the body. This lecture will attempt to raise questions about our own feelings about masculinity today, and the extent to which these depictions suggest anxiety or celebration.

Marina Haworth has taught Art History and Art Appreciation at North Hennepin since 2013. She has a master’s in art history from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a master's in classical archaeology from Harvard University. Her ongoing doctoral thesis (Classical Archaeology, HU) is on images of athletes on early classical Greek pottery.

She has a new publication out this year: "Art and Architecture," in Themes in Greek Society and Culture: An Introduction to Ancient Greece (Glazebrook & Vester, eds.), Oxford University Press, 2017, and an article will be published in another year: "The Wolfish Lover: The Dog as a Comic Metaphor in Homoerotic Symposium Pottery," Archimède. Archéologie et histoire ancienne, Strasbourg, Fall 2018 (forthcoming).

ChemFoundations: Integrating Extra-Curricular Learning Sessions into a General Chemistry Course

Lisa Smith, Chemistry—October 6, 2017

NHCC Faculty Lecture Series Lisa Smith Now more than ever, it is important to invest in the idea of life-long learning and civic responsibility through scientific literacy and give students a rare opportunity for not only a faculty member, but an institution and a community to stand beside them and not only say, but show them, “we believe in you.” The lack of diverse populations attaining the same achievement in education, especially in STEM fields, has plagued us since the creation of these institutions. North Hennepin’s mission is “engaging students, changing lives” and we are developing a demonstrated way to live these words. This session will discuss the structure of an extra-curricular program offered in the Chemistry department as well as show significant results from our pilot year.

Lisa Smith has been with the NHCC Chemistry Department since 2008. She has participated in a variety of committees and initiatives including First Year Experience, Closing the Achievement Gap: Excellence in Education with Equity, ChemFoundations, and most recently joined the Learner Outcomes Assessment team. She holds a master’s in inorganic chemistry from the University of Minnesota, has completed three graduate-level education courses in Course Design, Assessment and Instructional Strategies, as well as participated in a year-long NSF funded program to learn about the inner workings of Chemical Educational Research. Her research interests include the utilization of predictive measures for student success and the investigation and development of meta-cognitive skills of introductory and general chemistry students.

Reflections on a Mirror: Divination, Shamanism, and Mirrors in the Ancient World

Silas Mallery, Anthropology—December 1, 2017

Faculty Lecture Series Silas MalleryIn this paper, Dr. Mallery will share a project he worked on during his recent sabbatical, in which he explored the possible esoteric uses of mirrors in the ancient world, with special attention to the famous Desborough mirror from Britain, which he got to see first-hand in Edinburgh last year. This talk will include discussion of ancient artifacts, religions, and divination practices, as well as of the pitfalls of stay-at-home sabbaticals.

Silas Mallery has taught at NHCC for twelve years. He has a B.A. with majors in anthropology and religion from the University of Vermont, an M.A. in archaeological research from the University of York, England, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Minnesota. Silas teaches large introductory courses in Physical Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology, which together cover a wide swath of material from the beginning of life to current events, as well as smaller survey classes in the Anthropology of Religion, and the Archaeology of Ancient Europe. Silas lives in Minneapolis with his wife of 19 years, their three adolescent Malleries, and two cats.

Music to Chase the Cold Winter Away

Karla Miller, Heather MacLaughlin, David Mantini, Kevin Hobbs, Grace Choi, Judy Blomgren and Krista Costin, Music Department - February 2, 2018

In this special "Music Department Faculty Recital" the selections presented were:

  • Jamaican Rumba by Arthur Benjamin
  • Summertime by George Gershwin
  • You Are My Sunshine
  • And many more!