Mom, this is the best day of my life, ever!

In the ‘90’s I served as a Girl Scout cadet troop leader. My position as a Public Health Nurse focused on prevention programming and engagement of youth, which introduced me to motivated and challenged youth who sought to make it through the next year, month, day, hour or moment. Girls where especially challenged with bullying, lack of confidence, and dream-crushing life circumstances. The girls that overcame those life trials all had a positive female role model. Sometimes this supportive adult was a relative, sometimes not related, always reminding the girl of her potential, working through day to day issues, and reinforcing the ability to attain a future of her dreams.

When I was asked to be the “non-mom” leader for the group I asked questions like “who will my co-leader be” (yikes! this was all new to me) and “how we could make a difference for these girls”? After agreeing to the new challenge in my life, I met with my co-leader and the troop. We set out to stretch the limits of “planned” risk taking activity to build confidence, expand dreams, while creating opportunities to trust and rely on each other. We learned how to build a dog sled team and run a course, each girl learned and then lead. There were opportunities for camping, volunteering and rock climbing… on an actual rock – no climate control climbing for us! 🙂

On our trip we learned how to care for and organize the work involved with racing dogs. Full wrap-around care, if you want to race dogs, you feed them, care for them, find shelter (when needed) and you identify a leader and followers in the line-up. Our expert was outstanding and the girls fully engaged in the process. When it was time to go out and run the team, the expert demonstrated leadership on the way out and the girl was to lead on the return trip. The excitement was palpable as the teams went out and as the girls returned the level of confidence was clear, they could do it and they knew what it took to achieve success.

One girl returned and called her mother as she pulsated with excitement she exclaimed “Mom, this is the best day of my life, ever!”

That is the moment when you know life is really great!

I am supporting the Girls Scouts River Valley to raise money for the local camp in Rochester. This is one place where girls have an opportunity to explore experiences in STEM, healthy living, financial education, leadership, community service, environmental education, and so much more!!! Your support will provide more opportunities for girls to overcome the stats and grow into confident leaders! Join the exceptional team from WSU-Rochester and donate at

Thank you!

Jeanine Gangeness

Programs – something to consider

Over the past several months I have had a chance to visit with community members, staff, faculty and students on “what makes a good program”?

There are a lot of answers to that question… To be honest student success is the primary focus regardless of the topic of the program.

Beyond that, as a public health professional, I evaluate programs on availability, accessibility, and acceptability. Is the program available— does WSU offer the program that a student desires. That is a yes or no response…. and if the answer is no and many students are interested then we need to visit about development of a new program.

Next accessibility… Is the available program offered in a way that students can or choose to access the program? The desire by students, especially adult learners, is to have flexible delivery of courses. The time of day the class is offered or the number of days during the week, month or semester, can impact accessibility for students. Reduced seat time is generally the desire for adults, occasionally that means online, usually it means a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning environments. Each program determines what works best for the content and learning styles. The options are endless… Be creative. 🙂

And finally acceptability. What are the quality measures? Do students have a chance to provide feedback and is the feedback utilized to improve the program? Is the program updated with the recent research and current practices? Is there an advisory group which shares feedback about what the community and employers value in the program graduates? How do faculty, facilities and staff stay current in the content area?

This is how I think about programs – how do you think about programs?

Opportunities for partnering

Over the last 10 days I have been reflecting on the great work that faculty and staff champion in the Rochester community. To say we are blessed – is an understatement! At the WSU-Rochester Advisory Group Dean McBreen shared a list of partnering institutions in Rochester. These are organizations (2 pages BTW) that host nursing, social work, and health exercise and rehabilitative sciences students. These are stories that we want to collect and share so the Rochester community better understand the integration of our programs and students. Great work!!

We will be hosting our third WSU-Rochester Advisory Group meeting on April 28th and hearing about the College of Education partnerships. Everyone is welcome (Brenda Phillips can connect you with the information I am looking forward to the extensive partnerships between the College of Education and the Rochester community resources. Members are below:

Name Affiliation Contact information
“Aaron Benike, President
Alvin E. Benike, Inc.” Co-owner, Benike Construction (both wife and mother alums of WSU); GRAUC member “P 507-288-6575
C 507-261—0828
D 507-424-4458 ”
“Ryan Lais attending for Julie Brock
Rochester Chamber of Commerce ” Workforce Development and Education Director, Rochester Chamber of Commerce “P 507-424-55687
220 S. Broadway Suite 100
Rochester 55904

“John C. Doyle
President, Merchants Bank” “Business
Supporter of WSU/R; Daughter ” “P 507-535-1523
C 507-421-4102
F 507-535-1540
3586 55th Street NW
Rochester 55901”
“Miriam Goodson
Olmsted County, Family Service Rochester” “Juntos Coordinator, Alliance of Chicanos, Hispanics and Latin Americans
Education Advocate and cultural broker ” ” ”
“Omar Nur
Somalia Rebuild Organization” Business Alum, business owner, organizer of Somali business owners in Rochester “P 507-990-5289
101 North Broadway
Rochester 55906

“Gayle Olsen
Emeriti Nursing Faculty” Engaged community member and elder “P 507-269-2650
3041 Stonehedge Dr NE (?)
Rochester 55906 ”
“Regina Seabrook
Rochester Public Schools” “Education
Safe Program / diversity and inclusion” “P 507-328-4269
Edison Building

“Randy Staver
Technology Services, Mayo” Business Alum, President of Rochester City Council “P 507-288-9034
2707 Century Lane NE
Rochester 55906 “

In the beginning, update

Today I decided it was time to establish a blog and share the great happenings in Rochester. We are preparing for a celebration, finalizing a lease, updating a facilities agreement and completing a search process.Well, there is a lot more happening… this is just a start 🙂

Winona State University staff and administration are beginning to plan for the centennial (2017). The foundation staff and VP for development will be collaborating to consider how to best celebrate 100 years of service to Rochester. Very exciting!!

This morning I met with our facilities expert, Jim Kelly and Adam Ferrari with 9-square. We are moving forward with the design phase of the downtown space. MnSCU facilities will be presenting the lease for the 3rd floor of 400 S. Broadway at the April MnSCU board of trustees meeting. Deans, directors, and administration will begin the broad visioning processes and then engage with a broader constituency. We are off and running!

Speaking of property – over the past several months IT, facilities, and student services have been reviewing and considering an equitable update of the RCTC facilities agreement. We continue to value our long term partnerships through student focused program articulations, quality programming, and collaborative community outreach.

This week we hosted the final candidate for Liberal Arts Dean. I was honored to co-chair the search committee. We were very fortunate to have a strong pool. The College of Liberal Arts is a central to our mission and work at WSU and it is clear the faculty will continue the strong academics into the future. Exceptional search committee members to work with over the past several months.

Have an outstanding weekend.