Planners, Speakers and Moderators

Symposium Planning Committee

Jane Bradley, Hawkeye CC; Bruce Clark, CV Character Counts; Katherine Cota-Uyar, UNI JPEC; Dale Cyphert, UNI Management; Francis Degnin, UNI Philosophy; Jerry Durham, Allen College; Anita Gordon, UNI RSP; Katie Hillyer, UNI CBA; Nancy Justis, CV Character Counts; Gerri Perrault, UNI Communication Studies & CV Character Counts; Bart Schmitz, UNI JPEC; Laura Terlip; UNI Communication Studies; Craig VanSandt, UNI Business Ethics Chair

Session I Keynote

  President William Ruud, University of Northern Iowa





Session II Panel Presentation

Michele TemeyerMichele Temeyer, Director of BH County Extension and Outreach (Moderator)
Prior to her current position, Michelle served as Director of Community Education for the Waterloo Community Schools from 1994-2010.  Her primary responsibilities were the Partners in Education program, mentoring, volunteers, and after-school programs.  She also served as Associate City Planner  and Deputy Clerk of Auditor for 13 years.

She's a graduate of Luther College with a bachelor's in Political Science and Business Administration.  She has been awarded Citizen of Character by Character Counts in Iowa, received the Salute Award by Women in Communications, and was named Outstanding Public Servant of the Year by the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, among other honors.

Renee ChristofferRenee Christoffer, Senior VP for Administration, Veridian Credit Union

Renee is a graduate of Upper Iowa University with a degree in Business and minor in Human Resources.  She has been engaged in the financial industry for over 19 years.  As an employee of Veridian Credit Union, she has held roles such as Vice President of Branches, Regional Manager and Branch Supervisor.  She currently is Senior Vice President of Administration, which includes the areas of Human Resources, Facilities, Training and Information Systems.  She holds a SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) certification from the Society for Human Resources and is a graduate from CUNA (Credit Union National Association) Management School in Madison, Wis.
Veridian Credit Union employees are encouraged to volunteer their time to give back to the communities served.  Renee loves doing so through her role as Chair of the Community United Child Care Center Board, and serves on the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Veridian Credit Union takes great pride in being a financial institution that members trust.  This relationship has had a large impact on the success of Veridian.  Renee is proud to have spent her career working for this organization and being part of the rich service to its members.

Eric KooyEric Kooy, General Manager, Target Distribution Center

Eric has been with Target for over six years and has held various positions in distribution and human resources.  Prior to moving to Cedar Falls, he was a Group Human Resources Manager at Target's headquarters in Minneapolis. 

Over the years, Target has been recognized by numerous organizations for their corporate citizenship. In 2013, Target received the following recognition:

  • 100 percent Corporate Equality Index by The Human Rights Campaign
  • No. 22 on the Fortune World's Most Admired Companies
  • No. 20 on Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversifyInc
  • Etisphere Institute named Target one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies"
  • No. 9 by The Chronicle of Philanthropy list of most generous companies
  • One of the Top 50 Companies for Executive Women for 2013 by The National Association for Female Executives

Rich Johnson, Director, Global Business Conduct Strategy, John Deere

Mark WitmerMark Witmer, Executive Director, North Star Community Services
Mark has been the Executive Director of North Star for over 20 years.  He is responsible for ensuring that the organization and staff members provide services in the most honest, ethical and transparent way possible.  He has developed a significant code of ethical conduct that not only guides staff members, but the organization and board of directors.  Annual training about the code is provided to all staff and board members, explaining the importance of ethics but also the necessity to report allegations of suspected violations of the code.  There is a strict whistleblower protection policy to safeguard staff members and others who might be anxious about reporting.
In addition to the code of ethical conduct, a strong Corporate Compliance policy and procedure has been developed.  This policy is primarily in place to prevent Medicaid waste, fraud and abuse.

Session III Discussion

Craig VanSandtCraig Van Sandt, UNI Associate Professor of Management, and David W. Wilson Chair in Business Ethics
Craig arrived at UNI just this fall.  Prior to his appointment at UNI, he was an associate professor in the Department of Business Administration at Augustana College and was visiting professor in the Department of Command, Leadership and Management at the US Army War College.  His teaching interests include strategy, leadership, international management, business ethics, social issues in management and social entrepreneurship.  He has spoken and written extensively on those topics.  Craig received his doctorate in Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, his master's in Business Administration from North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his bachelor's in accounting from Texas Christian.

Chad AbbasChad Abbas, Tax Partner, Bergan Paulsen
Chad is a tax partner who has had many years of experience working with clients on tax issues.  He works primarily in the manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, auto dealership and real estate industries.  He specializes in corporate and partnership taxation, 1031 exchanges and LIFO.  An Iowa native, Chad grew up in Hampton.  He attended UNI where he received his bachelor's in Accounting.  He devotes his time volunteering for the Cedar Heights Presbyterian Church and the Memorial & Endowment Committee.  He enjoys watching and participating in sports in his free time as well as spending time with family and friends.


Session IV Panel Presentation

Vicki RobinsonVictoria Robinson, Dept Head and Professor, Educ Leadership & Postsecondary Education, UNI (Moderator)
Victoria's specialties lie in teacher work samples, character education, leadership and fellowship skills, teacher testing/assessment talking points, teacher recruitment and retention, effective teachers, and teacher evaluation.  Her research topics have included teacher and administrator preparation, performance assessment for teachers and pre-service teachers, character education, women in school administration, the Middle East, rural education and teacher work sample methodology.  She has given presentations for educators to achieve success in the classroom and in professional development.


Francis DegninFrancis Degnin, Associate Professor, Philosophy & World Religions, UNI
Francis is an associate professor in the department of Philosophy and World Religions.  He's been at UNI for about 10 years.  His primary teaching focus is bioethics, death and dying, medical humanities, continental philosophy and existentialism.  He teaches, consults and works on policies for Covenant, Sartori and Mercy Hospitals in ethics.  He chairs the Ethics Planning Committee for the Northeast Iowa Medical Ethics Conference.  He helps educate medical residents, physicians, nurses and other care givers in terms of medical ethics.  He also serves as ethicist for two state committees -- the State Advisory Committee on Inherited and Congenital Disorders and a legislative committee on Post Natal Tissue Banks.


Denise PralleDenise Pralle, Associate Professor, Nursing, Allen College
Denise has practiced nursing for 30 years, the last 12 as a nursing professor at Allen College.  Her passion is community health nursing, but she also teaches undergraduate Leadership, Senior Internship and Nursing Ethics courses, as well as Leadership courses in the Allen graduate program.  She is a self-professed life-long learner, most recently graduating this past May from UNI with an Ed.D in Community Health Education.



Judy RuudJudy Ruud, Adjunct Instructor, Communication Studies, UNI

Judy Ruud received her undergraduate degree (B.S.) from California State University-Long Beach, her M.S. degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Toledo College of Law.  She practiced law with some of the country’s leading law firms, focusing on family wealth transition, business planning and philanthropy. She also worked with U.S. Bank as a vice-president of compliance.  Judy is well published in the fields of law, business and ethics. She is also a frequent speaker to professional and nonprofessional groups.  Most recently, Judy taught business law and ethics at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, where she also volunteered as a student mentor and tutor, and was actively involved in student and external public relations activities, to include fundraising. 

Judy has always been an active member of her local community.  She has served as a board member and volunteer for many professional and charitable organizations. While in Boise, Idaho, she founded and chaired the Women’s Philanthropic Healthcare Fund for a local hospital and chaired the Idaho Leave-A-Legacy Program.  She continues to serve as an editor of some professional journals, and as a peer-reviewer for professional journal articles and books.  She is licensed to practice law in California and Ohio (currently inactive status), and Idaho (active status), and is an active member of the Idaho Bar Association.  Having moved to Iowa in May 2013 with her husband, Bill Ruud, President of University of Northern Iowa, she plans to join the Iowa Bar Association this fall, along with other professional and charitable organizations in the community and state.

Laura TerlipLaura Terlip, Associate Professor, Communication Studies, UNI
Laura's teaching interests include organizational communication.  She teaches courses in organizational communication theory, organizational cultures and communication training and consulting.  Her most recent research interests include corporate and governmental use of new information technologies, diversity and building multicultural organizations, and symbolic aspects of organizational cultures.  She also focuses on management communication styles and helps audiences to learn to identify their style of communication and its impact on their organization; addresses skills needed by managers and employees in the 21st Century; and discusses the types of symbols that may be used to more effectively manage organizations and/or facilitate change.