'Making a Difference': Six staff and faculty to receive awards for outstanding achievements March 7

'Making a Difference': Six staff and faculty to receive awards for outstanding achievements March 7

"Making a Difference" is the theme of the annual University of St. Thomas Faculty and Staff Recognition Awards celebration, and the university will present some new awards to six staff and faculty doing just that.

The celebration begins at 3 p.m. Friday, March 7, in Brady Educational Center auditorium on the university's St. Paul campus, and everyone's invited. Invitations have been mailed to the homes of all faculty and staff.

The celebration honors everyone who works at St. Thomas, especially service award-winners– those celebrating hiring anniversaries. And, for the first time this year, new awards – the Distinguished Citizen Award and the Lifelong Learner Award for staff, and the John Ireland Award for Outstanding Achievement as Teacher-Scholar for faculty – will recognize outstanding achievements beneficial to the St. Thomas community.

The awards carry with them a professional development budget or paid leave time to engage in community activities. Committees reviews nominations each year. Commemorative plaques will be given to the winners, and eventually a "hall of fame" will recognize them, too.

Congratulations to the inaugural winners of these awards:

Mike Barrett

Distinguished Citizen Award recipient Michael Barrett is associate director and manager of investigations in the St. Thomas Public Safety Department.

The award honors a staff member whose contributions reflect the qualities of good citizenship, such as providing service to others and advancing the common good for the campus and broader communities. Barrett will receive a 40-hour, paid recognition leave to engage in community activities with a nonprofit organization of his choice.

Nominations for Barrett cited beyond-the-call-of-duty good citizenship on campus and in the community. At St. Thomas he has participated in efforts to prevent sexual violence, developing the "Silent Witness Program," serving as president of the Minnesota Chapter of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and helping to create a diversity training program for public safety officers at St. Thomas.   Nominations for Barrett also cited the many volunteer hours he has spent in service to others, whether helping hurricane victims in 2005 or serving for the past six years on the Washington County Dive Team. In his latter role, he helped divers in the search and recovery of victims of the I-35W bridge collapse last August.

"His work … typifies his attitude," one nominator wrote of Barrett. "If Mike sees someone in need of help or something that needs doing, he doesn't just talk about it. He actually pitches in and gets it done."

Barrett, a St. Paul native, is a 1995 St. Thomas alumnus who changed directions after a 10-year corporate career and decided to get into law enforcement. He rejoined the St. Thomas community as an on-call patrol officer in the summer of 2000.  He and his wife, Barb, live in Woodbury and have two children.

Dr. Thomas Carey

Lifelong Learner Award recipient Dr. Thomas Carey works part time as an international student adviser and immigration specialist in
St. Thomas' Office of International Student Services.

The award recognizes a staff member who has demonstrated a commitment to continuous learning, self-renewal and professional development that transcends the individual’s job responsibilities. Carey will receive $2,500 in professional development funds, which he may use to fund future professional development activities or donate to a St. Thomas scholarship fund.

Carey joined the St. Thomas staff in 2001 after he'd "retired" from a career spanning nearly 50 years in education – more than 30 of them as an adviser to international students at North Hennepin Community College. Colleagues cite has continual efforts to increase his knowledge and ability to advise international students, whether that entails keeping track of   changing immigration regulations or  sharing his understanding of cultures and traditions that he has learned through personal and professional experiences.

Appropriately, he has "Life Membership" in NAFSA: Association of International Educators. He has traveled in every U.S. state except Alaska and many countries, including China, Japan, England, France, Holland, Costa Rica, Brazil, New Zealand and Scotland. Carey was a Fulbright scholar in Germany in 1985 and moved his family to Australia for a seven-month teacher exchange in 1995. He's coached soccer in Italy and visited Ireland, too. Last fall he logged thousands more miles in Australia after being selected by the Australian government to attend a higher education seminar there.

In addition to learning "on the job" each day, Carey is active in his parish, St. Katherine Drexel in Ramsey, he has attended a men's spirituality group every week for the past 24 years, and is a facilitator for a group of separated, divorced and widowed people at St. Timothy parish in Blaine. He also participates in a variety of community organizations serving people in need through Loaves and Fishes, Sharing and Caring Hands, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly and more. He has interests in politics, sports and outdoor activities, Eastern religions, Native American spirituality and, of course, his beloved motorcycle.

"Tom is a highly motivated and energetic individual with a developed aptitude for intellectual discovery, practical skills and intercultural communication," one nominator wrote. Another called Carey "a man who loved his vocation, [who] … gets his energy from throwing himself into new challenges!"

Carey has four adult children and lives in Ramsey.

John Ireland Awards for Outstanding Achievement as Teacher-Scholar will be presented to Dr. Stephen Brookfield, Dr. Terence Nichols, Dr. Mary Reichardtand Dr. Thomas Sullivan. This award recognizes outstanding academic achievement in teaching, scholarship and service, reflecting the mission and values of the university. Each winner will receive $2,500 in professional development funds.

Dr. Stephen Brookfield

Dr. Stephen Brookfield was named a distinguished professor at St. Thomas in 1992 and t
eaches in the university's School of Education.

Since beginning his teaching career in 1970, Brookfield has worked in England, Canada, Australia, and the United States, teaching in a variety of college settings. He has written 10 books on adult learning, teaching, critical thinking, discussion methods and critical theory, four of which have won the Cyril O. Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education (in 1986, 1989, 1996 and 2005). He also won the 1986 Imogene Okes Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education. His work has been translated into German, Finnish and Chinese.

In 1991, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University System of New Hampshire for his contributions to understanding adult learning. In 2001, he received the Leadership Award from the Association for Continuing Higher Education for "extraordinary contributions to the general field of continuing education on a national and international level." He currently serves on the editorial boards of educational journals in Britain, Canada and Australia, as well as in the United States. During 2002, he was a visiting professor at Harvard University. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Concordia University ( St. Paul). He came to St. Thomas after 10 years as a professor of higher and adult education at Columbia University.

Brookfield and his wife, Kim Miller, and their two children live in St. Paul.

Dr. Terence Nichols

Dr. Terence Nichols joined the St. Thomas theology faculty in 1988, just after receiving his Ph.D. in theology from Marquette University.

Theology is Nichols' second career: Before entering graduate school, he owned and operated a commercial roofing and waterproofing company in the Twin Cities for 12 years. In 1982, at the advice of his wife, Mabel, he moved on to "a related field," theology. He now teaches courses in Death and Afterlife, Science and Christian Theology, Christianity and World Religions, as well as other required theology courses. He was chair of the Theology Department in UST College of Arts and Sciences from 2002 to 2006.

Nichols is the author of two books: That All May be One: Hierarchy and Participation in the Church (Liturgical Press, 1997) and The Sacred Cosmos, (Brazos Press, 2003), as well as a number of articles in academic journals. His article, "This is my Body: How to Understand Transubstantiation," was included in The Best Catholic Writing: 2007 (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2007).

With Dr. Adil Ozdemir, Nichols is co-founder and director of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center of the College of Arts and Sciences at St. Thomas. From 2002 to 2006 he was a member of the Core Curriculum Task Force, and was a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee from 1997 to 2001, serving as chair in his last year.   For eight years, he represented the U.S. bishops at the national Faith and Order Commission, an academic group working toward ecumenical agreement among Christians. With Dr. Michael Naughton and Dr. William Cavanaugh, he founded Casa Guadalupana (1999), a house of hospitality in St. Paul for homeless women and children.

Dr. Mary Reichardt

Dr. Mary Reichardt  joined the St. Thomas faculty in 1988 and taught in the English Department for 15 years before moving to the Catholic Studies Department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Reichardt, who lives in St. Paul, earned a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In Catholic Studies she teaches literature on both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and she was the founding director of the Master of Arts in Catholic Studies program. She is currently the faculty director for the Lilly Grant program, Beyond Career to Calling, and is co-editor of the Catholic Studies magazine, Perspectives. 

Reichardt has published seven scholarly books, four on American literature and three on Catholic literature, and she currently has a new book, Essays in Contemporary Catholic Literature,  under review. As a scholar Reichardt has a solid reputation in North America, Europe and Australia as an authority on Catholic writers, particularly women writers. Her Catholic Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook (Greenwood Press, 2001) was acclaimed a “milestone” in publishing on women and Catholicism. Ignatius Press named Reichardt editor of its new critical editions series on American literature.

In 1999 she was awarded a University Scholar's Grant for her research; she also received grants from the Aquinas Foundation (1998) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (1990).  She has served on numerous department and universitywide committees, including the Academic Council, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Affairs Committee and the University Senate. 

Dr. Thomas Sullivan

Dr. Thomas Sullivan, holder of the Aquinas Chair in Philosophy and Theology in St. Thomas' College of Arts and Sciences since 1990, has been teaching in the Philosophy Department at St. Thomas since 1966.

A five-time Teacher of the Year and 1984-85 Professor of the Year at St. Thomas, Sullivan also has received national teaching awards, including, among others, the Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award.

His most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Sandra Menssen, is The Agnostic Inquirer: Revelation from a Philosophical Standpoint (Eerdmans, 2007). Called "original" and "groundbreaking," the book is now in its second printing.   Author of more than 50 articles in journals and anthologies, Sullivan has written the philosophy of logic, metaphysics, Aquinas, and ethics.  His “Active and Passive Euthanasia,” published initially in 1978 in the Human Life Review, has been reprinted in nearly 20 anthologies, including five from Oxford University Press.

Sullivan has been active on the boards of several national organizations, including the American Catholic Philosophical Association and the Society of Christian Philosophers.  He has served on many UST faculty committees, including the Academic Council and the Curriculum Review Task Force.  And he has initiated or assisted with the initiation of programs such as Catholic Studies, the Parents’ Program, the Summer Seeds Reading Program, the Renaissance Program and national summer institutes focused on the interconnections between Thomistic and modern analytic philosophy.
Sullivan calls St. Thomas Aquinas his "in
tellectual and spiritual model," striving to accomplish in his own teaching and writing "some small measure of what John Paul II attributed to the great saint: 'reconciliation between the secularity of the world and the radicality of the Gospel.'"    

Sullivan and his wife, Ginny, have been married 45 years and have six children. 

Selection committees: The Staff Recognition Awards Selection Committee includes: Barbara Dunker, Administrative Services; Nora Fitzpatrick, School of Law; Karen Lange, Student Affairs; and Dan Vevang, College of Applied Professional Studies.

Edna Comedy, associate vice president for human resources, acknowledges assistance from the Exempt Staff Focus Group in developing the new awards:

Ann Burke, Information Resources and Technologies; Lisa Burke, Opus College of Business; Lisa Dalsin, School of Social Work; Ann Hubbard, International Education; Steve Maurer, Student Affairs; Joanna Nute, Opus College of Business; Sarah Spencer, International Education; Richelle Wesley, Registrar's Office; and Rachel Wobschall, Alumni and Constituent Relations.

The Faculty Recognition Awards Committee included Dr. Angeline Barretta-Herman, Academic Affairs; Dr. Joseph Kreitzer, Academic Affairs; Dr. Tom Mengler, School of Law; and Dr. Christopher Puto, Opus College of Business. In subsequent years, prior award winners will join the selection committee.