Email information is followed by @css.edu unless otherwise noted.
Dr. Bret Amundson is the Director of Choral Activities and Director of General Education at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Saint John's University, MN, a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Saint Cloud State University, MN, and a Doctorate of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington.
At The College of St. Scholastica, Bret directs the Concert Choir, Bella Voce, and Women's Choir, teaches courses in music education and conducting, and is the Director of the College's Dignitas program. Bret is the Artistic Director of the Lake Superior Youth Chorus, the Artistic Director of the Twin Ports Choral Project, and the Choir Director at Pilgrim Congregational Church.
Previously, Bret served three years as Vocal Music Director at Cathedral High School/John XXIII Middle School in St. Cloud, MN where he conducted five curricular choirs, two co-curricular choirs, and taught individual voice lessons. In 2007, the Cathedral High School Concert Choir was invited to perform at the Minnesota Music Educator Association's Mid-Winter Clinic. That same year, Bret was awarded the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota's Outstanding Young Conductor Award. From 2005-2008, Bret was the Associate Artistic Director of The St. John's Boys Choir, where he conducted the Junior Varsity Choir and led the recorder and theory programs.
Bret currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Choral Director's Association of Minnesota where he is the editor of its Star of the North publication. He also sits on the Board of Directors for The St. John's Boys Choir and is a member-at-large for the NAfME Choral Education Council. Bret currently sings with the Twin Ports Choral Project, and has previously sung with the UW Chamber Singers, and the Twin-Cities based choral ensemble, Kantorei. He is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, The College Music Society, Chorus America, and the VoiceCare Network.
John earned his B.S. in Elementary Education from Moorhead State University. His M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction was earned at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. John taught elementary students in the towns of Wabasso, MN and Northfield, MN. He is currently working to complete his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through the University of St. Thomas. John teaches in the School of Education,the Dignitas program for First-Year students, and is the chair of the SOE Undergraduate Admissions Committee. His passions include his family, Faith, reading, and numerous outdoor activities.
Gary Boelhower is professor of theology and religious studies. He teaches courses in healthcare ethics, contemporary moral issues, death and dying, leadership and ethics, servant leadership, ministry and religions of the world. He has been involved in education for over 40 years as a high school teacher, college professor, chair of humanities, dean of lifelong learning, dean of graduate studies and vice president for academic affairs. He was co-founder and first executive director of the Center for Spirituality and Leadership at
Sarah Brokke Erickson grew up in Grand Forks, ND, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Pre-Graduate Studio Art with an emphasis in painting and a minor in Dance from the University of Minnesota Duluth. During her undergraduate work, she studied abroad in Birmingham, England and participated in an Art History Intensive in France. She received her Master of Fine Arts through a joint program between Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy and Bowling Green State in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Sarah Brokke Erickson has taught Modern Art History and Theory, Studio Art and Dignitas courses at CSS since the fall of 2005. She also teaches painting and drawing at the Duluth Art Institute. Sarah is a working visual artist, who paints with a focus on the figure and portraits. Thematically, her work explores gender roles and traditions, relationships, and identity. She exhibits her work locally, as well as nationally and internationally. Most recently she was a recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, exhibited a body of work entitled Portrait of an Artist, with a published accompanying book, titled Portrait of an Artist: Paintings by Sarah M. Brokke.
Elyse Carter Vosen, Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania) in Anthropology of Music teaches cultural anthropology, social and cultural theory, migration theory, postcolonial literature, and courses on music, dance, gender, and popular culture. She directs the Oreck-Alpern Interreligious Forum, a College-community partnership which promotes respect, understanding and peace among the diverse spiritual communities of the region through dialogue, service, and collaborative projects and events. She is also advisor to United for Africa, a student organization engaging with the politics, culture, and global impact of the African continent and diaspora. She has recently authored an article on Ojibwe Music for the New Grove Dictionary of American Music (2013), a chapter on four generations of North American indigenous protest music in The Routledge History of Social Protest in Popular Music (2013), and chapter in Music and Modernity among First Peoples of North America (forthcoming, 2015)
Dr. Sarah Cohen is Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Music Education at The College of St. Scholastica. She holds a BA in Vocal Music Education from the University of St. Thomas, MA in Music Education with a Choral Conducting concentration from the same institution, and DMA in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University.
At St. Scholastica, Dr. Cohen directs the Concert, Women’s, and Men’s Choirs. She teaches courses in conducting, music education, freshman Dignitas common course, and supervises vocal music education student teachers. In the Duluth community, she is the Assistant Chorus Master of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Associate Artistic and Prelude Program Director of the Lake Superior Youth Chorus, and sings with the Twin Ports Choral Project.
Prior to her appointment at CSS, Dr. Cohen directed choral programs in the Twin Cities area and was Artistic Director of the St. Cloud State University Cantabile Girls’ Choir. Choirs under her direction have performed nationally at the Organization of American Kodály Educators conference, locally at the Minnesota Music Educators Association convention, in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, and Chicago’s Symphony Hall. She is an active member of ACDA, serving as the ACDA-MN R&R Chair for SSAA choirs, on the 20/20 @ 2020 Task Force, and collaboratively with her LSYC colleagues as the Youth Choir Coordinator and R&S Chair for the North-Central Division. She holds memberships in ACDA, NAfME, NCCO, and The VoiceCare Network and is an active clinician throughout the region.
Associate Professor of History and Politics
Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
M.A. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
B.A. The College of the Holy Cross
C. Neal Keye is an Associate Professor of History and Politics at the College of St. Scholastica. He is also Director of Women's and Gender Studies and Program Director of the Oreck-Alpern Grant for the Study of Religion and Culture after 9/11. Before coming to St. Scholastica in 2001, he taught at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Department of Religious Studies and for the Program in Social Theory and Cross-Cultural Studies. Professor Keye has held a fellowship in Public Ethics at the Institute of Arts & Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is currently Chair of the "Religion, Gender, and Sexuality" section for the Midwest region of The American Academy of Religion. Professor Keye's teaching and research interests include modern and contemporary discourses on religion, culture, and history; method and theory in the study of religion; western intellectual history; modern philosophy and aesthetics; feminist theory and gender studies; and the history and politics of colonialism, imperialism and globalization, with areas of specialization in modern Europe, India, and the Middle East. He is currently working on a revision of his doctoral dissertation for publication (Messengers of the Gods? Rethinking the Interpretive Turn in the Discourse of the Human Sciences after 9/11).
Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies
Department of Communication, Theatre, and Art
The College of St. Scholastica
Phone: 218 723 6719
Office: Tower Hall, Room 4407
Joelle McGovern, MEd, has been teaching for the Dignitas program since 2013. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and her master’s degree in education from The College of St. Scholastica. In Joelle’s 16 plus years of working with college students at CSS, she has gained experience in online instruction, strategic planning, project management, residential life and academic advising. Currently she serves as an adjunct instructor for the Computer Information Systems Department at The College of St. Scholastica.
Joelle's inspiration for designing Star Wars and Servant Leadership comes from various professional development training opportunities received while working as a student affairs professional along with Matt Stover's book adaptation for Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Joelle’s teaching style is influenced by the work of Geneva Gay's research on Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. Joelle agrees with Gay's theory that students need to experience a safe and inclusive learning community that offers students opportunities to connect new information to their own lived experiences. This includes providing students access to course materials through multiple forms of presentation and designing learning activities that allow students the freedom to demonstrate their knowledge and critical thinking through various mediums. Students can expect to feel comfortable, challenged, and receive prompt, yet formative feedback.
Joelle's goals for the students enrolled in her class are that they will apply key principles of servant leadership into their daily lives and begin to recognize moments of authentic joy.
Office Hours: by appointment
Dr. Morgan has taught Russian language and culture for many years. He's particularly interested in cross-cultural issues and has explored in a variety of ways the experience of American and Canadian Finns in Soviet Russia. He also co-authored an advanced grammar of English (in Russian) that was published in Russia in a second edition in 2001. (The first edition was published in 1997.)
Dr. Morgan founded and directed (with Russian colleagues) a series of summer language camps for college students. The camps are held in Russia for American students and at St. Scholastica for Russians in alternating years. The program marked its 26th year in 2015 and is now directed by Dr. Karen Rosenflanz.
Dr. Morgan has a strong interest in the international aspects of peace and justice issues. He was involved in the development of the Duluth International Peace Center, a citizens' group that functioned for many years in the 1990s to foster international cooperation and peacemaking at the grass roots level. And he was a charter member of the Duluth City Cities Commission. He currently is involved in helping to develop a relationship with citizens in a city in northern Iraq and is currently president of Duluth Sister Cities International.
Courses that he regularly teaches include Rusian literature classes, honors courses with a peace and justice theme, philosophy and a course on peaceful resolution of international conflict.
Dr. Morgan is the director of the Alworth Center for the Study of Peace & Justice, which regularly brings nationally known speakers to campus. Topics that the Center has addressed in the past few years include issues connected with food, energy, the environment, wealth & poverty, war & peace, democracy and the media. Dr. Morgan also coordinates a new major in Peace & Justice Studies.
Favorite free-time activities include biking, tennis and dog walking.
Kelly holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin - Superior, and a Masters Degree in Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. Over the last 20 years, she has directed theatre productions at UW-Superior, Renegade, The Duluth Playhouse, Marshall and Denfeld High Schools, Tugboat Children's Theatre, The Underground, Twin Ports Stage, and most recently, The College of St. Scholastica. Additionally she coached the high school speech team at Marshall. Kelly has also been very involved in the local community through Mentor Duluth, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation (Young Leaders Fund), PAVSA, and formerly co-chaired the Board of Directors for the Women's Community Development Organization. Her passions include advocacy and service, particularly related to issues of gender and violence in our community.
Ph.D. University of Notre Dame
M.A. University of Notre Dame
A.B. Cornell University
Randall A. Poole is Professor of History at the College of St. Scholastica. Before coming to St. Scholastica in 2004, he taught at the University of Notre Dame (1997-1999) and at Boston University (1999-2004). He has held research fellowships at New York University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Stanford University, Columbia University, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, and the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow (where he was a Fulbright scholar). He has also been a research associate of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at Notre Dame, a faculty fellow of the International History Institute at Boston University, and an associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Since 2008 he has been an affiliate member of the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Spring 2012 he was Visiting Professor of Russian Intellectual History at the University of Toronto.
Professor Poole's research and writing focus on Russian and European intellectual history, the history of ideas, and the history of philosophical and religious thought. Since 1990, he has delivered more than fifty scholarly papers and lectures at academic conferences and universities in the United States and abroad. He teaches courses in world, European, and Russian history.
A History of Russian Philosophy, 1830-1930: Faith, Reason, and the Defense of Human Dignity, co-edited with G. M. Hamburg. Cambridge University Press, 2010, 424 pp. Paperback edition, 2013.
Problems of Idealism: Essays in Russian Social Philosophy. Translated, edited, and introduced. Foreword by Caryl Emerson. Yale University Press, 2003. xxiv, 468 pp. Monographic introduction (pp. 1-78), extensive annotations, and contributor biographies.
"Kant and the Kingdom of Ends in Russian Religious Thought (Vladimir Solov'ëv)," book chapter, Thinking Orthodox in Modern Russia: Culture, History, Context, ed. Patrick Lally Michelson and Judith Deutsch Kornblatt. University of Wisconsin Press, 2014, pp. 215-234.
"Russian Political Theology in an Age of Revolution," book chapter, Landmarks Revisited: The Vekhi Symposium 100 Years On, ed. Robin Aizlewood and Ruth Coates. Academic Studies Press, 2013, pp. 146-169.
"Gustav Shpet: Russian Philosopher of the Human Level of Being (A Review Essay)," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 14, no. 2 (Spring 2013), pp. 395-410.
"Religious Toleration, Freedom of Conscience, and Russian Liberalism," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 13, no. 3 (Summer 2012), pp. 611-634.
"‘Russia’s First Modern Man’: Tolstoy, Kant, and Russian Religious Thought (A Review Essay)," Tolstoy Studies Journal, vol. 22 (2010), pp. 99-117.
"Vladimir Solov'ëv’s Philosophical Anthropology: Autonomy, Dignity, Perfectibility," book chapter, A History of Russian Philosophy, 1830-1930: Faith, Reason, and the Defense of Human Dignity, ed. G. M. Hamburg and Randall A. Poole. Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 131-149.
"The Humanist Tradition in Russian Philosophy," with G. M. Hamburg, introduction to A History of Russian Philosophy, 1830-1930: Faith, Reason, and the Defense of Human Dignity, pp. 1-23.
"Kantian Foundations of Russian Liberal Theory: Human Dignity, Justice, and the Rule of Law," The Weimar Moment: Liberalism, Political Theology, and Law, Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin Law School, 2008, 16,500 words. (Web-posted and printed conference materials.)
"The Greatness of Vladimir Solov'ëv: A Review Essay," Canadian Slavonic Papers/Revue canadienne des slavistes, vol. 50, nos. 1-2 (March-June 2008), pp. 201-223.
"Human Dignity and the Kingdom of God: A Russian Theological Perspective (Vladimir Solov'ëv)," Listening/Journal of Religion and Culture, vol. 42, no. 3 (Fall 2007), pp. 33-54; reprinted in Here Comes Everybody: Catholic Studies in American Higher Education, ed. William C. Graham. University Press of America, 2008, pp. 99-119.
"Religion, War, and Revolution: E. N. Trubetskoi’s Liberal Construction of Russian National Identity, 1912-1920," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 7, no. 2 (Spring 2006), pp. 195-240.
"Sergei Kotliarevskii and the Rule of Law in Russian Liberal Theory," Dialogue and Universalism (Institute of Philosophy, Warsaw University), vol. 16, no. 1-2 (2006), pp. 81-104. Festschrift issue for Professor Andrzej Walicki.
"William James in the Moscow Psychological Society: Pragmatism, Pluralism, Personalism," book chapter, William James in Russian Culture, ed. Joan Delaney Grossman and Ruth S. Rischin. Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield, 2003, pp. 131-158.
Six entries on Russian philosophy for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2002 online edition): Sergei Askol'dov, Aleksei Kozlov, Lev Lopatin, Moscow Psychological Society, Sergei Trubetskoi, and Vladimir Vernadskii. 2000 words each, with bibliographies.
"The Apophatic Bakhtin," book chapter, Bakhtin and Religion: A Feeling for Faith, ed. Susan M. Felch and Paul J. Contino. Northwestern University Press, 2001, pp. 151-175.
"Utopianism, Idealism, Liberalism: Russian Confrontations with Vladimir Solov'ëv," Modern Greek Studies Yearbook: Mediterranean, Slavic, and Eastern Orthodox Studies (University of Minnesota), vols. 16/17 (2000/2001), pp. 43-87.
"The Neo-Idealist Reception of Kant in the Moscow Psychological Society," Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 60, no. 2 (April 1999), pp. 319-343.
"The Russian Dialectic between Neo-Idealism and Utopianism," published in Russian translation in Voprosy filosofii (Questions of Philosophy), no. 1, 1995, pp. 70-94.
Peter Spooner teaches studio art and education courses for The College of St. Scholastica, Lake Superior College and University of Minnesota Duluth, in addition to working as a freelance curator, writer, and appraiser. He earned a BS in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin Stout, and MS and MFA degrees in painting and drawing from Illinois State University. He has held positions as an educator, museum educator, museum curator, non-profit gallery director, and self-employed art appraiser. Spooner has served as an exhibition juror and grant review panelist for numerous institutions, including the Illinois Arts Council, the Jerome Foundation, the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Current and recent community involvement includes board service for the Duluth Arts Commission, Duluth Public Library, Chester Bowl Improvement Club and The Artists Fund, a non-profit serving regional artists with emergency funding. In curatorial positions at Illinois State University (1988-92) and the Tweed Museum of Art (1994-2012), he organized scores of exhibitions on contemporary art, including solo exhibitions on Frank Big Bear, Wanda Gag, Frances Myers, Dennis Oppenheim, Philip Pearlstein, Rudy Autio and Truman Lowe. He has developed exhibitions and publications rediscovering 19th century American artists, among them Gilbert Munger, David Ericson, and Knute Heldner, and has organized the travel of the Tweed Museum’s French Barbizon and American collections to Japan and Italy. In 2014, Spooner guest curated the exhibition Sister Mary Charles: Engagement and Transcendence for the Tweed Museum of Art, and a co-authored the book Saved By Beauty: Sister Mary Charles McGough for St. Scholastica Monastery.
Dr. Merry Renn Vaughan is the director of the CSS Theatre program and the CTA department chair. She has a BFA in Theatre with an emphasis on directing and producing, a self-designed MA in Theatre Arts, and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (her dissertation is titled There's More to Seuss Than Meets the Eye: The Social and Political Vision of an American Icon). Dr. Vaughan teaches Human Communication, Acting for the Stage, Introduction to Theatre and directs a production each year for the CSS Theatre. She is also active in the CSS First-year Program, Dignitas, serving on the Advisory Board and teaching in the program.
Melissa serves as the Director of the Center for Equal Access and Dignitas instructor. Melissa has over 27 years of experience in working in higher education, over eleven years at St. Scholastica. Melissa started out working in Academic Support Services coordinating the First Year Development Program (FYDP) and serving as an academic advisor. Melissa currently works with students with disabilities and chronic medical conditions to ensure they have opportunities of equal access in their learning and living environments. She assists in the education and promotion of the social model of disability throughout the institution. Melissa collaborates with disability service providers at the local colleges and universities as well as the local school districts to ensure a seamless transition to college for high school graduates. She has served on the Minnesota Department of Education Community of Practice for Special Education, Interagency Coordinating Council of Duluth, and the Northern Lights Interagency Council. She has presented at a number of conferences including The Collaboration for Teaching and Learning, the Northeast Cooperative on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Association for Higher Education and Disability national conference, and the University of Minnesota Diversity Summit.
Melissa's goal for first year students in her Dignitas class is for them to become critical thinkers and successful and willing participants in lifelong learning.
Dr. Weaver spent ten years in education and mental health before teaching in the psychology department at CSS. She practiced mental health in residential treatment settings including facilities for chemical dependency, eating disorders, and trauma recovery. As a school counselor, she worked with middle and high school students and coached tennis and basketball. (She has researched alternative treatments for addiction disorders, and completed her dissertation on the potential for nature-based therapy. (Dr. Weaver currently directs a nonprofit mental health counseling center called DeepRock Ecotherapy and Wellness.(She has published in the Journal of Sustainability Education, and co-authored a book chapter in an upcoming Oxford University textbook. Presentations and publications can be accessed on the DeepRock website.
Julie Zaruba Fountaine is the Wellness Coordinator and Dignitas Faculty member at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. Julie’s leadership philosophy is to be known for being data driven, deliberately collaborative, and strategically results oriented so that she can deliver superior health and wellness initiatives that result in improved morale, well being, and a positive financial outcome.
As the Wellness Coordinator for the College of St. Scholastica Julie manages the operations of a multiple wellness initiatives serving approximately 500 employees and 4,000 students. She works collaboratively with others on campus and in the community to provide health outreach to students, faculty and staff. She strives to utilize data to inform and educate others from all cultural and international backgrounds with regard to personal health development and its relationship to the functioning of the larger community.
As a Dignitas faculty member at the College of St. Scholastica Julie is able to develop health and wellness curriculum supported by theory, research, and real life experience.
Julie is also active in the Duluth community and nationally. Locally, she is a member of multiple community organizations such as Leadership Duluth, Tri Campus and Community Coalition and the Community Coordinated Response Team. Nationally, Julie is a member of the American College Health Association, WELCOA, Health Promotion Advocates, and the American Council on Exercise. Through her activity in the local and national organizations Julie has been able to present at national and local conferences on the topics of health, wellness and health promotion.
She received her Master’s Degree in Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Science from North Dakota State in Fargo, North Dakota. Julie has furthered her professional development by attaining WELCOA faculty status, being named one of WELCOA's Top 100 health promotion professionals, receiving her personal training certification through the American Council on Exercise , attending Tobacco Cessation Specialist Training at the Mayo Clinic and attending the Professional Development Institute in Boston, MA. This enables her to promote well being, prevent disease, and provide education as a faculty member and Wellness Coordinator through strategically implementing data driven wellness initiatives.