UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

UND hosts inaugural Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works Celebration

Event celebrates more than 1,100 achievements by UND faculty — ‘the world’s eye, the world’s heart’ — in 2023

crown of UND faculty
UND faculty members take in displays of research and creative works. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

Editor’s noteIn the UND LEADS Strategic Plan, the Affinity core value calls on the University to both ‘acknowledge the valuable contributions of UND team members,’ and ‘enhance programs for all faculty and staff that will cultivate a sense of belonging at the University of North Dakota.’

The inaugural Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works Celebration, which was held on April 23 and is described below, is one of a number of new efforts by the University to achieve those goals. The story was first published in UND Today on April 25.


What is the sum of academic and artistic achievement that has been accomplished by UND scholars in an academic year? It took some time to quantify, but it certainly fills more than the Fishbowl.

And that’s “the Fishbowl,” not “a fishbowl” of the sort that sits on a desk.

On Tuesday, April 23, dozens of UND administrators and faculty members from departments and colleges campuswide gathered in the reading room of the Chester Fritz Library, colloquially known as “the Fishbowl,” to celebrate the faculty’s many scholastic accomplishments from 2023. The inaugural Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works Celebration honored all UND faculty members for their achievements of the previous year.

The event featured table after table of UND-catered food for attendees, plus displays that were set up to celebrate UND faculty members’ art, books, chapters of books, grants, patents and articles in peer-reviewed journals and The Conversation, among other achievements.

singing group
From left, Emily Cherry Oliver, chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, Justin Montigne, assistant professor of Voice, Emily Wirkus, assistant professor of theatre and Anne Christopherson, associate professor of Voice, perform “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway show “Wicked,” to warm up the audience at Tuesday’s celebratory event. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

“Very fancy, very fancy,” said UND Provost Eric Link, when he entered the area, before he began, like others, to peruse the displays.

Among the items featured was the book “Campus Building,” edited by Teaching Assistant Professor of English Shilo Previti and doctoral students Sam Amendolar and Grant McMillan. The book celebrates the history of Merrifield Hall and looks forward to the building’s future through essays, interviews, poetry and more.

Also on display was the book “Beyond the Deck, Critical Essays on Magic: The Gathering and Its Influence,” in which Matt Knutson, assistant professor of Education, Health & Behavior, has written a chapter.

Additionally, attendees may have chanced upon a video recording of Associate Professor of Music Nariaki Sugiura playing Christopher Gable’s “Nocturn in Winter,” or a display for Lisa Bost-Sandburg, teaching assistant professor of Music, who was honored as the North Dakota Music Teachers Association 2023 Commissioned Composer.  

In her introductory remarks, Rebecca Bichel, dean of Libraries, thanked staff members from libraries across campus for assisting in putting together the celebration, and for their efforts to compile a year’s worth of UND scholastic achievement.

Then she thanked the University’s scholars themselves: “The first and most important thing I want to say to all our guests is thank you so much for honoring us with your presence this evening,” said Bichel. “I and my colleagues have spent months looking at your scholarship, your creativity … and we have seen so many examples of that extraordinary scholarship and creativity from our faculty. The library is just honored to be the space this evening where we are showcasing this.”

Eric Link
Provost Eric Link speaks at the Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works Celebration on Tuesday. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

Indeed, there was a lot to showcase, said Provost Link when he took the stage following Bichel.

In total, 14 books, 25 chapters of books, 527 academic articles, 11 articles in independent media outlet The Conversation (with more to come!), 505 grants and four patents were secured by UND academics in 2023, in addition to artistic accomplishments such as performances and displays.

Link invoked Ralph Waldo Emerson, the essayist, who wrote in his 1837 work “The American Scholar” of the aspiration to be a “man thinking” (Link noted the gendered language of the time) instead of a “mere thinker.” The essay was a call to intellectual arms, he said, of what is possible for scholars in the nation to accomplish.

Quoting Emerson, Link said “‘The Office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances. He has defined consolation in exercising the highest functions of human nature. He is one who raises himself from private considerations and breathes and lives on public and illustrious thoughts. He is the world’s eye; he is the world’s heart.’”

“Those lines just occurred to me this morning, as I was thinking about this, about the way in which what we are celebrating here tonight, do constitute our eye on the world and the beating heart of the University, the scholarly work that we do, creative in all of its ways,” Link said.

By this time, glasses of champagne appeared in the hands of many attendees — just in time for UND President Andy Armacost, who left the stage and walked into the crowd, to give a celebratory toast for the event.

“Here’s to the tireless pursuit of truth, the unwavering commitment to innovation and the enduring passion that fuels your endeavors,” Armacost said.

“Your collective efforts not only advance fields of study, but also nurture a deeper appreciation for the mysteries of our universe. May your accomplishments continue to inspire future generations, fostering a sense of wonder and instilling a profound love of discovery in all who follow in your footsteps. Cheers, to each of you, and to the impact of your work on our world.”

library arrangement
Aimee Galloway, with the Chester Fritz Library, arranges books authored by UND scholars, at the Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works Celebration. Photo by Adam Kurtz/UND Today.

When the applause died down, Armacost thanked those responsible for the event’s conception and arrangement, before Randi Tanglen, vice provost for Faculty Affairs, gave closing remarks.

Tanglen said the faculty members being honored at the event make the case for public universities by sharing expertise, knowledge and passion, in service to the global community.  Those achievements, she noted, would not be possible without a vibrant and publicly engaged University library.

“Thank you to Dean Bichel and your team for all that you do to support faculty, as UND serves the public good through scholarly and creative activity,” she said. “Thank you especially for making the Chester Fritz Library an open-access library in all ways by cultivating such a welcoming, inclusive environment through this event.”

She then invited attendees to “eat, drink, research and be merry.” So they did. And they were.

>> QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS about the UND LEADS Strategic Plan? Your thoughts are welcome! Please contact Angie Carpenter, UND’s director of Special Student Populations, and/or Ryan Zerr, associate vice president for Strategy & Implementation, the co-chairs of the UND LEADS Implementation Committee.

You also may offer your thoughts by visiting the UND LEADS Strategic Plan home page and clicking on the “Provide your feedback” link that you’ll find there.

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