Metropolitan State teachers recognized for excellence

During a ceremony on Oct. 3, three teachers were awarded for excellence in teaching for the 2014-2015 academic year. The award recipients were nominated by students from 925 resident and community faculty and chosen by an awards committee.

Ruth Staus, associate professor in the university’s School of Nursing (SON) in the College of Health, Community and Professional Studies, received the Outstanding Teacher Award for her exceptional classroom performance. The teaching awards committee noted that Staus previously earned the university’s Excellence in Teaching Award and has received high marks from her students for years.

Staus joined Metropolitan State’s resident faculty in 2005 after spending one year as a SON community faculty member. She teaches courses in geriatric nursing and team-teaches several other classes, most of them focusing on geriatrics and advanced clinical practice.

“This award is meaningful because the nominations come from my students and provides validation for the effectiveness of the problem-based pedagogy that I utilize in my classroom,” says Staus, a long-time nurse practitioner and registered nurse.

She is a founding member of the Edgerton Wellness Center on Saint Paul’s East Side and the Love Grows Here Wellness Center, which is housed in the First Lutheran church across the street from the university’s Saint Paul campus. She practices nursing at least eight hours weekly at the centers, both of which serve diverse populations.

Staus has given more than 60 national and regional presentations, primarily on geriatric nursing topics, and is occasionally the featured speaker. Staus has published journal articles on geriatric nursing and on educating nursing students.

She received her bachelor’s of nursing from Metropolitan State and was selected as the SON’s outstanding student as an undergraduate. Staus earned her master of science in nursing from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. She was among the first four Metropolitan State students to receive the university’s doctorate of nursing practice.

Rose McKinney, a College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) community faculty member, received the Excellence in Teaching Award.

“Rose McKinney is a highly respected, award-winning public relations professional who has served in a number of executive roles in the industry for many years,” says Nancy Nentl, marketing professor and MBA program director. “She has committed herself to fully bringing the world of public relations to students in a very real way, and the value she brings to the classroom is greatly appreciated.”

“It’s my privilege to work with the dedicated, adult learners at Metropolitan State who bring real-world perspective to our courses,” McKinney says. “I enjoy sharing my career insights and appreciate that they bring classroom content to the workplace the next morning. In addition, I’m proud of our PR graduates and their many career successes.”

McKinney is founder and CEO of Pineapple RM, a Minneapolis strategic communications firm focused on reputation management, including public relations. She was recently inducted into the Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows, an honor bestowed on an elite group of senior-level practitioners who have significantly contributed to the public relations profession. Locally, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Business Journal recognized McKinney as a “Woman to Watch.”

A 28-year public-relations professional, McKinney was previously president of Risdall-McKinney Public Relations, New Brighton. Before that, she was vice president of Karwoski and Courage, a division of Martin Williams Advertising, Minneapolis.

McKinney has taught as a CAS community faculty member for 11 years. Her courses include public relations principles and advanced public relations. McKinney has also taught special seminars on communications topics, including brand messaging, and has been a featured speaker on personal branding and job-search strategies for Metropolitan State’s mentoring program. She often invites leading industry professionals to classes, in part to facilitate students’ networking opportunities.

She frequently develops community-based assignments so students obtain real-world industry experience. McKinney is a six-time recipient of Metropolitan State’s President’s Circle of Engagement, an award given by the university’s president to faculty who develop community-based curriculum with hands-on learning opportunities.

McKinney earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication with an emphasis on public relations from Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

John Schneider, associate professor in the university’s Natural Sciences Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the Excellence in Teaching Award.

He was a university community faculty member for four years. He has been a natural sciences resident faculty member since 2001. In addition to teaching general biology, genetics, cell biology and histology, cancer biology, and developmental biology, he instructs a summer course that includes hands-on student research on a northern Minnesota lake.

“To have both students and faculty colleagues recognize my efforts in making the classroom a comfortable, engaging and yet ultra-challenging place is an honor,” Schneider says. “Many of the university’s science students go to graduate and professional schools in the sciences and health care, and to have them suggest that I had a role in their success is very fulfilling.”

Schneider says the professor’s job is to foster and guide a never-ending cycle of student learning.

“It’s impossible to learn too much,” he says. “I learned little sitting quietly, so my teaching style gets everyone engaged and thinking.”

Schneider’s concern for Minnesota’s waterways and fish populations extends to off-campus activities. From 1990 to 1999, he was the director of Minnesota’s Sport Fishing Congress and Foundation. From 1992 to 2013, he was a member and chair of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fisheries unit.

Schneider co-chairs the advisory board for the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota.

He holds a BS in biology and chemistry from the University of Saint Thomas. Schneider has a PhD in molecular oncovirology from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.