MW starts new school year
WORTHINGTON — The hallways of Minnesota West Community and Technical College are full today as students and faculty return to class.
Over 1,700 students registered for classes at Minnesota West and many of those students will be attending the Worthington campus, said Campus Dean Dawn Gordon.
“It’s down a little bit,” she said of enrollment, attributing the decline to the number of people who have returned to the workforce recently.
“Worthington, like many areas, was affected by the economic downturn, but we’re at where we were or higher than we were before the economic downturn,” she said. “Education will continue to cycle, and when people don’t have jobs, they turn to education. We maintained an overall steady incline in enrollment.”
To welcome the new students, Minnesota West will once again be hosting Getting Connected Day. The event gives students who are new to the arena a chance to learn about local businesses and opportunities for employment and community involvement.
“We invite area businesses to come onto campus. They can meet the students and show them their resources,” Gordon explained. “They come to campus that day to promote their business, and the students like it because they get to know the local community resources.”
Included in the event are area restaurants, banks, faith based organizations and community resources such as mental health and pregnancy services.
Minnesota West student services and activities are also included during Getting Connected Day.
“We showcase student life organizations that they can be a part of — ag groups, theater and art groups — and we showcase our programs too. Some might come to college and not know what they want to study,” Gordon said.
New faculty and staff
In addition to welcoming new students this fall, seven new faculty and staff members will also be joining the Minnesota West team in Worthington.
Ann Mills was hired as a biology instructor. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Minnesota, Morris, a master’s degree in biology from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Minnesota State University Mankato.
Previously, Mills was an adjunct instructor at Minnesota West and taught biology and chemistry courses at Ridgewater College.
Bryan Maurer was hired as an interim music instructor. He has a bachelor’s degree in music composition and a master’s degree in music education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. Most recently, Maurer taught at Old Dominion University.
John Gossom was hired as a college lab assistant. He has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, a master’s degree in comparative studies in the humanities and a master’s degree in agricultural, environmental and development economics from Ohio State University. Previously, Gossom taught macroeconomics and business finance at Globe University.
Kip Thorson was hired as the distance learning librarian. He has a master’s degree in information science from the University of Tennessee. Previously, he was a librarian/materials manager of instructional materials at the University of Tennessee.
Tricia Cowan was hired as a nursing instructor. She has a practical nursing diploma and an associate’s degree of nursing from Minnesota West Community and Technical College, a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in nursing education from Western Governors University. She most recently worked as an adjunct faculty at Minnesota West.
Terry DeNeui was hired as an automotive mechanic instructor at the Center for Career Education in Worthington. Terry has worked with automotives and owned an automotive mechanic shop in Rushmore for many years.
Stefanie Sanden was hired as a nursing instructor. She has a practical nursing diploma from Alexandria Technical College, an associate’s degree in nursing from Fergus Falls Community College, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Minnesota State University Moorhead, a master’s degree in nursing from University of Phoenix and a doctorate in nursing practice from the University of Minnesota. Most recently, Sanden worked as a patient care coordinator at Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.