Shop Talks

Fall 2013

Presenter: Ryan Bergstrom

Title: Embedded in Nature: Sustainability in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Time and Place: September 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) is a large, nearly intact ecosystem with significant protection that has often been considered an ideal location to examine coupled human-environment interactions due to the region’s complex mosaic of private and public lands, competing natural resource uses, and rapid population growth. A transition toward sustainability suggests that current societal and economic needs can be met while simultaneously maintaining the planet’s life support systems for future generations. To facilitate objectives toward a sustainability transition within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, it is imperative that the perceptions and experiences of local communities be documented, as well as the perceived challenges to achieving such a transition. This is particularly true where communities are dependent on the natural environment for economic vitality and quality of life, as is the case in Greater Yellowstone. The objective of this study was to determine how amenity-driven gateway communities surrounding Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks perceive and experience their transition toward sustainability, and the challenges inherent in that transition.

Presenter: Beatriz Torres

Title: Developing a pilot entertainment education program to address healthy eating and exercise among Somali, Latino and Hmong families in St Paul
Time and Place: October 4, 2013 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Minnesota (MN) continues to become more racially and ethnically diverse with Hispanic, Hmong, and Somali residents constituting a large percentage of the immigrant population. These populations experience higher rates of obesity and diabetes significantly affecting the health of younger children. This Community Based Participatory Research with members of these three immigrant communities (Somali, Latino & Hmong Partnership for Health) developed, produced and evaluated radio stories related to eating behaviors and physical activity. This presentation will focus on the process by which community co-researchers produced radio stories and evaluated the effectiveness of these radio stories through the use of intervention and control groups from each ethnic community.

Presenter: Anna Hulseberg and Michelle Twait

Title: Research Behaviors of Sophomore Students
Time and Place: October 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Many academic libraries have a robust program of working with first year students, often through a first year experience program or a course such as the First Term Seminar at Gustavus. After the first year, whether students take full advantage of library resources depends upon a number of factors, including what area of study they pursue, whether their courses include library components, the student’s own proclivities, and whether course instructors encourage them to engage in secondary research and consult with librarians. We conducted a survey and in-depth interviews to learn more about sophomore students’ research and library exposure during their first and second years at Gustavus, and whether they experienced a “sophomore slump” after receiving so much attention and support in their first year. We will discuss the results of our exploratory study and welcome a conversation about how librarians, course instructors, and advisors can work together to help students grow as researchers.

Presenter: Esther Wang

Title: Now there is music from which a man can learn something. (W. A. Mozart)
Time and Place: November 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Bach was a devoted teacher and spent a good deal of time writing pedagogical works, but there seems to be a permeating "teaching" quality in all of his works. This Shop Talk comprises a lecture demonstration of excerpts from Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, a Prelude and Fugue, and a few of the Four Duets. Bach was a gifted teacher. Come discover his teaching methods!

Presenter: Chuck Niederriter, Jeff Jeremiason, Colleen Jacks, and Jim Dontje

Title: Integrating Sustainability across the Science Curriculum of Gustavus Adolphus College
Time and Place: December 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


We live in an era when student interest in energy, sustainability, and the environment is increasing, as it becomes clear that our current production and consumption of energy negatively impacts the environment and raises a number of potentially significant challenges for the future. Gustavus has begun taking advantage of this trend by integrating renewable energy and sustainability experiences into introductory science classes in order to increase interest and enthusiasm for science. We have found that this is an excellent way to educate students about this important area while teaching quantitative skills. We will discuss some of the new laboratory experiences that we have developed including one on ground source geothermal heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal, fuel cells, wind turbines, and energy content of fuels. And we will solicit ideas for other labs that we should develop.

Spring 2014

Presenter: Lynnea Myers and Heidi Meyer

Title: Engaging Students in Research through an Innovative Summer Institute
Time and Place: February 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


The opportunity to engage in undergraduate research is one of the hallmark experiences of the liberal arts education. An article by Bennett and Bauer (2003) in the Journal of Higher Education described perceptions of alumni who had participated in undergraduate research regarding the value of their undergraduate education in comparison to their peers. Overall, alumni perceived the value of undergraduate research to include not only increased critical thinking and interpersonal skills, but also increased satisfaction with their education and likelihood to pursue graduate studies. Additionally, faculty who engage in undergraduate research are often able to engage in their own scholarly development through the research projects. This Faculty Shop Talk will highlight the use of an innovative Summer Institute of Nursing as a research venue for both Gustavus students and faculty. The presentation will provide an overview of the Summer Institute with a focus on how to integrate student research into the week-long Institute experience. Additionally, the talk will highlight an original faculty research project on the impact of the Institute in recruiting nursing students into an educational role.

Presenter: J. Blake Couey

Title: Responses to Empire in Isaiah 1–39
Time and Place: March 7, 2014 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


The biblical book of Isaiah, chapters 1–39, addresses the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and its threat to ancient Judah in the 8th–7th centuries B.C.E. Over the past thirty years, biblical scholars and Assyriologists have identified parallels between texts from Isaiah and ancient Assyrian propaganda, which subversively use Assyria’s own rhetoric to undercut its claims of supremacy. This talk will explore these parallels, identify some new ones that have not been previously discussed, and situate them in the broader context of Isaiah’s theological response to Assyrian hegemony. It will also consider future avenues for exploration of this topic in conversation with post-colonialist theory.

Presenter: Martin Lang

Title: White News, Indian Country, and the High Stakes for Democracy
Time and Place: March 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Over the past decade, state legislatures have put increasing pressure on American Indian gaming revenues by demanding higher payouts or competing directly through state-run gaming ventures. By rendering tribal interests largely invisible and silencing the voices of native stakeholders, local news outlets covering these developments risk shaping the public debate over Indian gaming in ways that threaten the welfare of American Indian peoples. This marginalization stems from what Heider calls “incognizant racism,” maintained not through personal bigotry but through an unreflexive adherence to standard news practices such as the objectivity norm, selective sourcing, and profit seeking. Indigenized and interpretive journalistic approaches offer a different path forward, however. This study will examine both mainstream “White” news and American Indian-produced news coverage of Minnesota’s gaming debates to bring into sharper relief the ways that everyday, institutionalized racism persists in contemporary media and how it might be countered.

Presenter: Glenn Kranking

Title: Island People: The Swedish Diaspora in Estonia, 1860-1944
Time and Place: April 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


For more than 800 years, a Swedish-speaking population lived in relative isolation along the islands and northwest coast of present-day Estonia. Beginning in the 1860s, contact with individuals and groups (and eventually the government) in Sweden initiated a cultural awakening. My research focuses on the development of an Estonian-Swedish identity and their evolving relationship with their ancient homeland, while the region passed though varied forms of government that each defined populations in different ways: absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy, post-Revolutionary provisional government, democratic parliament, authoritarian rule, Soviet communism, and Nazi fascism.

Presenter: Pamela Conners

Title: If This Were My Business: The Economies of School Board Deliberation
Time and Place: April 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


As important sites of local democracy, school boards must balance competing perspectives and values as they navigate federal and state mandates and the wishes of the local populace. Their responsibility to make policy decisions, sometimes very quickly, puts significant pressure on board members to deliberate efficiently as well as to publicly communicate rationales for those decisions simply and clearly to a broad constituency. The time and rhetorical constraints lead them to rely on analogies to explain, interpret, and evaluate policy proposals. A two-year analysis of school board meetings in three Wisconsin school districts found the corporate analogy invoked most frequently. This study examined the ways in which comparisons of public education a private business model shaped debates over local education policy and the implications of that choice.