Awards Presented at 2023’s State of the College

Photo l-r: Cassandra Glynn, Anne Mocko, President Irvine, Tess Varner, and Brenda Jarolimek

Five faculty and staff members were honored for their excellence in and out of the classroom. The awards were presented at the State of the College event in August.

The inaugural Alwin C. Carus and M. Elisabeth Carus Distinguished Professorship Award was presented to Dr. Tess Varner, associate professor of philosophy and director of the women’s and gender studies program. Varner joined the college in 2016 and is an outstanding classroom teacher. Her students respond well to her compassionate, engaging, and inquisitive style. Since her arrival, she has introduced several courses that investigate critical topics, such as the Philosophy of Race, Life in a Time of Climate Change, the Philosophy of Disability, Seeking Justice in an Unjust World, and several others. In addition to her teaching, Varner is an active scholar, and her ambitious research agenda has led to multiple publications and conference presentations.

Sunet Rubalcava was presented with the Ole and Lucy Flaat Inclusive Excellence Award. Rubalcava joined the college in 2018 as an admission representative and coordinator of multicultural recruitment, later serving as an academic counselor in the Center of Student Success. In 2022, she moved into her role as diversity support coordinator. Rubalcava’s dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment makes her a valuable resource across the campus. Rubalcava’s collaboration on various scholarships has provided countless opportunities for underrepresented students. She is deeply trusted among students, forming meaningful relationships with their families, and supporting students throughout their college journey. Rubalcava’s leadership and mentorship inspires hope and courage in students, encouraging them to thrive.

Dr. Anne Mocko was presented with the Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Teaching Award. Mocko joined Concordia College in 2012 and currently serves as an associate professor of religion. Since her arrival at Concordia, Mocko has worked to develop courses that deeply challenge her students’ abilities and assumptions, while simultaneously providing them with a safe environment to ask and answer life’s most difficult questions. Her students describe her teaching style as “creative, fun, philosophical, diverse, and in-depth” and compliment her for “constantly pushing her students to see life and its meaning through the lens of another.” Her colleagues commend her dedication to the craft of teaching and careful course design.

Brenda Jarolimek, project specialist for Facilities Management, was presented with the Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Service Award. She joined the college in 1999 and, during her 23 years at Concordia, she has exhibited exceptional dedication, professionalism, and knowledge in managing campus facilities that are critical to the seamless operation of the college. Her meticulous record-keeping of classroom furnishings, facilities updates, and technology upgrades has proven to be an essential resource for academic space management. Demonstrating a kind, respectful, gracious, and humble nature, along with exceptional listening and implementation skills, Jarolimek is a cherished colleague and a trusted resource for many.

Dr. Cassandra Glynn was presented with the Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Scholarship Award. She joined the college in 2012 and currently serves as an associate professor of education and director of the Master of Education programs. Glynn is a leading scholar in diversity, equity, and inclusion in world language instruction and, as noted by a colleague, “her work has been instrumental in changing the landscape of how world languages are taught.” Through her multiple articles, books, conference presentations, invited keynote addresses, and workshop leadership, Glynn has clearly established her place as an exceptional scholar and contributor to her field. One of her co-authored books is widely recognized as a critical resource for world language teachers around the globe and her research informs best practices in teaching but is also a model for her graduate and undergraduate students on how to fully engage in research in their field.

The Flaat awards, conferred by Concordia’s Board of Regents, were endowed by Ole and Lucy Flaat, lifelong farmers in the Red River Valley. The Carus award will be given biennially to a faculty member who is a superior classroom teacher and has demonstrated excellence in academic scholarship in the philosophy, natural sciences, or religion.