Faculty and Staff | Post-baccalaureate Nursing Track

Email information is followed by @css.edu unless otherwise noted.

Position: Asst Professor, NSG
Department: Postbaccalaureate Nursing
E-Mail: calajoki@css.edu

My MSN specialized in Nursing Education and my teaching interests include the adult learner and creative teaching strategies such as the online learning environment. My nursing experience includes medical/surgical, emergency nursing, obstetrics - including labor and delivery, newborn care, and postpartum care - and occupational health and wellness nursing. I remain connected to obstetrics through teaching a childbirth and breastfeeding education class to expectant mothers.

I am raising my family in a rural community and have a passion for quality rural health care that meets the needs of all community members. I am a hockey mom who loves spending time with my husband and children on our boat and camping - we try to laugh with each other every single day.

Statement of Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is based on the concept that learning needs to be centered on each individual student while encouraging them to be self-motivated to maximize their learning opportunities. My role as a learner-centered instructor is to foster a positive learning environment that facilitates student learning through the use of multiple types of teaching exercises and activities (Blumberg, 2009). Active participation in learning encourages students to become critical thinkers which is an essential part of the nursing process that cannot be learned by instructors telling students what they need to know, rather this skill is built through student interaction in classroom activities that builds on students knowledge (Billings Halstead, 2009).

I believe personal interaction with all students and open communication that includes student-teacher dialogue creates opportunities for learning that cannot be reached through basic lecture format. Not only will I encourage open communication within the classroom setting, I will also put forth communication that is clear and concise so all students are aware of what they can expect from me as their instructor as well as what I will expect from them as the learner. I plan to incorporate a humanistic approach to my teaching style and will expect students to do the same while they are learning as this type of education encourages honesty, integrity, respect, caring, and accepting responsibility (Billings & Halstead, 2009). Using a learner-centered model with a humanistic approach encourages students of all diversities to be actively involved in classroom discussions through the use of personal stories and experiences - all of which encourage me as the instructor to be an ongoing learner. As an equal partner in the learning process, I will maintain a strong work ethic and high professional standards while remaining passionate about the field of nursing and understanding of my students individual needs and desires.


Billings, D. M., & Halstead, J. A. (2009). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty (3rd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.

Blumberg, P. (2009). Developing learner-centered teaching. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Position: Asst Professor, NSG
Department: Postbaccalaureate Nursing
Phone: (218) 723-6279
E-Mail: SBarlass@css.edu
Position: Asst Professor, NSG
Department: Postbaccalaureate Nursing
Phone: (218) 723-6103
E-Mail: CBrown2@css.edu

Cynthia Brown’s clinical focus is in public health, nutrition, evidence based practice, and chemical dependency. Her professional Interests  include Community/Public Health, working with underserved & vulnerable populations, nutrition, evidence-based practice & chemical dependency/addiction, and the harm reduction model. Some of her personal interests include walking, reading, scrapbooking and cooking.

Position: Assoc Professor, NSG
Department: Postbaccalaureate Nursing
Phone: (218) 625-2784
E-Mail: ckemnitz@css.edu
Position: Assoc Professor, NSG
Department: Postbaccalaureate Nursing
Phone: (218) 723-6623
E-Mail: ckemnitz@css.edu
Position: Asst Professor, NSG
Department: Postbaccalaureate Nursing
Phone: (218) 723-5946
E-Mail: LLindgre@css.edu
Ms. Lindgren’s areas of specialty include holistic nursing practices, public health care, and obstetrical care. She is a certified Family Nurse Practitioner, and is also certified in Healing Touch. Lori has over 20 years of experience serving people who are low income and homeless. For the past 5 years she has taught primarily the theory content for maternal child, integral health, evidence based practice, public health clinical and nutrition. She has taught the sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduate nursing students, as well as the postbaccalaureate nursing students.
The philosophy of holistic and integral care has been a cornerstone for the care that I provide to patients as a nurse and nurse practitioner and I continue to embrace this philosophy as a teacher. Students are more than just students. They bring a unique set of experiences to the classroom. They are individuals with specific needs and gifts. I incorporate their unique experiences into the classroom by asking questions about life experiences and about how to apply other aspects of their education to the current classroom. My teaching philosophy reflects aspects of the integrative model for the School of Nursing and the Benedictine values here at St. Scholastica. The School of Nursing model incorporates the mind, body, and spirit of the person with a focus on an integrative approach to health promotion, a healing journey with illness, and a global perspective with population based health. The skills that are utilized include competence, caring, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. The Benedictine values include community, hospitality, respect, stewardship (social justice) and love of learning. Having students learn about the art and science of nursing, themselves, asking pertinent questions, and paying attention to prevention are ways to reflect this model and these values as it pertains to my teaching philosophy.
Primary Goals in Teaching:
To have students learn the art and science of nursing.
We learn from evidence based practice the ways to provide the most effective care, and yet there is the human element of caring that adds a dimension that is not easily researched. I believe the element of caring is critical to the art and science of nursing, and to my teaching. It is the art of nursing. One way I will demonstrate this in my classroom is by role playing a patient and having students ask me questions and provide teaching/counseling. They soon realize that no two circumstances will be the same. The art of care is the dynamic interplay between two people in the classroom or between nurse and patient.
To have students learn about themselves and embrace their unique nature and gifts.
The holistic, integral philosophy allows me to consider the diverse backgrounds of students and understand their unique gifts to the classroom and to nursing. Diversity is more than the ethnic or cultural origins of a person. For me, diversity is the complex individual experiences, interests, and beliefs of the students. Incorporating these factors into my classroom adds a unique richness to the content being discussed.
To have students learn the art of asking pertinent questions.
Learning the art of asking a question not only incorporates what question to ask and when, but why that question is relevant and most importantly how to ask the question with respectful curiosity. Learning the art of asking pertinent questions will aid the student in self-reflection and self-awareness, which brings us back to the first goal. To know ones limitations and strengths is an important attribute in nursing for many reasons, but primarily to provide safe and appropriate nursing care. Also, learning the art of asking pertinent questions will aid the student in life-long learning. 
To have students learn to pay attention to aspects of prevention as it pertains to health care.
Culturally, our health care system is based on a response to people with illness/disease when it occurs. This response-based approach needs to be reformed. One of the ways that is discussed at various conferences and through literature is to focus on prevention interventions. Nursing texts are primarily written in a way that is a response to the illness. What I attempt to do in the classroom is have students pay attention to what interventions could be applied to prevent the disease/illness for patients. The focus on prevention alerts the students to health care disparities and social issues of a more complex nature instead of only learning how to respond to a person with a health issue. Both prevention and response are important to provide optimal health care to people.
Position: Admin Asst, Undergrad NSG
Department: Traditional Undergraduate Nursing
Phone: (218) 723-6025
E-Mail: AMcQuear@css.edu
Position: Asst Professor, NSG
Department: Postbaccalaureate Nursing
Phone: (218) 723-7038
E-Mail: PNielsen@css.edu

Patricia Nielsen, known to all of us as "PZ" is celebrating her thirty-fifth year in nursing.  She has a Bachelor's Degree in psychology from Eisenhower College, an Associates Degree in Nursing from the State University of New York - Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, New York, a Master's of Science Degree from Yale University, where she became a Cardiovascular Clinical Nurse Specialist.   After several years of practice PZ completed the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Regis University in Denver.  PZ started out as a staff nurse in the VA system working on a medical-neurological unit and after a few months, moved into intensive care nursing.  Upon completing her master's degree, PZ held several positions in nursing education and nursing administration.  Her highest level of achievement in that area was as Acting Vice President for Nursing Practice at a private 300 bed hospital in California.  Other parts of her eclectic career that she recalls with great joy include working at a destination ski area in Colorado, providing primary care at a large HMO in the Denver area and now being a faculty member of the Nursing team at the College of St. Scholastica. PZ has received three Bush grants to develop online courses using a WebCT platform and was hired by the Minnesota Partnerships for training to develop an online WebCT based graduate research class. Recently she and a group of post baccalaureate nursing students spent two weeks in Belize providing health care to impoverished indigenous peoples. When asked what she has liked the best, PZ responds, "the patients and the students."

Position: Asst Professor, NSG
Department: Postbaccalaureate Nursing
Phone: (218) 723-6296
E-Mail: KRengo@css.edu

My area of specialty is mental health. I enjoy the mental health area because of the unique experiences it has to offer. The mentally ill are one of the most underserved populations in the country and the number of mentally ill continues to grow. From an academic perspective, I would like to bring more focus to mental health issues of adults and better educate nursing students to deal with them in a clinical setting. Current trends show that many patients in the hospital have a psychiatric illness that coincides with their medical problems and makes it more difficult to provide effective care for them.  Students need to be able to identify these patients and develop nursing interventions specific to their medical and mental health needs to ensure optimal healing.  

In addition to mental health, I also have an interest in the field of nursing informatics.  Nursing informatics is a relatively new discipline of nursing that integrates nursing science with information science and computer science to manage and communicate data and information in patient care. Nurse informaticists are an integral part of the patient care arena helping to build computer systems that accurately represent the nursing care being provided.  I believe that all of our nursing students need to have a basic level of informatics knowledge as they go into practice because they will be working with electronic medical records, healthcare apps, and other new patient care technologies on a daily basis.

Through my teaching experiences I have developed a philosophy is that no student will be left behind. I strive to teach my subject matter in a way that students will understand and find interesting. I believe that if I can present my material so students can see how it benefits them I can make them remember the material and use it in the future. If I see students struggling I find ways to help them grasp concepts and remember the information in a way that suits them. I believe everyone can be successful!

Position: Assoc Professor, NSG
Department: Postbaccalaureate Nursing
Phone: (218) 723-6390
E-Mail: SSandahl@css.edu

Chair of the Post-baccalaureate nursing program since 2007.  I am a Certified Nurse Practitioner in pediatrics with over twenty years of pediatric experience.  Teaching interests include adult learners, curriculum development and evaluation, and active, collaborative teaching strategies. Research interests, including doctoral work, include collaborative testing as a learning strategy in nursing education and socialization behaviors of nursing students. Enjoys sewing, reading, and hiking in the north woods with her husband and three dogs.