Dr. Dennis Cooley, is the Director of the Northern Plains Ethics Institute and Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at North Dakota State University
Phone: (701) 231-7038
E-mail: dennis.cooley@ndsu.edu

Dennis Cooley received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester, with an emphasis on theoretical ethics. His research includes various issues in bioethics, agriculture, and business. Among his publications is Technology, Transgenics and a Practical Moral Code. He is working on two monographs on death and dying, as well as a co-edited anthology on the morality of passing.

Dr. Anne Blankenship is the Associate Director of the Northern Plains Ethics Institute. She is an Assistant Professor in North Dakota State University’s History, Philosophy, & Religious Studies Department.
E-mail: anne.blankenship@ndsu.edu

Anne Blankenship received her doctoral degree in American Religious History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.  Anne’s research investigates religious responses to injustice and relationships between national, racial, and religious identities.  Her first book, Christianity, Social Justice, and the World War II Japanese American Incarceration, reveals how the injustice transformed Asian American Christianity and challenged religious and racial boundaries in liberal American Christianity.  Her current project examines religion and immigration in America. Anne teaches a wide range of courses, including introductions to World Religions, Christianity, Islam, and New Religious Movements and seminars on Buddhism and Islam in America, Religion and Violence, American Religious History, Religion and Civil Rights, and Religion and Politics.
Outside of school, Anne spends her time traveling, reading, baking and fooling around in the garden.  She volunteers with Fargo Public Library’s Outreach program, selecting and delivering books to eldercare facilities.

R.R. Foresman, Executive Assistant, Website Manager
Phone: (308) 430-8182
E-mail: robert.foresman@ndsu.edu

R.R. Foresman received his BA with honors, majoring in History from Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska in 2011. Following that, Foresman attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney where he completed his MA in History in 2016. Foresman is currently a graduate PhD. student and Graduate Assistant in the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies at North Dakota State University  and his areas of concentration are Great Plains, Environmental, and Women and Gender Studies.

NPEI Advisory Board

Patty Corwin
Patty Corwin has been teaching sociology at North Dakota State University for over 40 years.  She has taught over 54,000 students and has won several teaching awards including The Odney Award, The Blue Key Doctor of Service Award and the Great Plains Sociological Association Excellence in Service Award. Patty created a graduate student teaching program for the Sociology and Anthropology Department and has trained over 250 student teachers. She was a pioneer in online teaching and helped develop the online major for the department as well.  Patty was one of the early instructors to encourage students to do volunteer service in the community which later became known as service learning. She created a campus wide and statewide initiative to encourage instructors in all colleges to incorporate service learning in their classrooms. Patty was a police detective with the Fargo Police Department and is a business consultant and motivational speaker. Patty is married to Lou Emerson and has two grown children- Katie Corwin Hasbargen(Matt) and Ben Corwin(Stephanie) and 3 grandchildren who live in Fargo.

Dave Gaboury 
Dave Gaboury was a computer software designer and developer for over 30 years, starting with Great Plains Software in 1981 when the company was a small startup in downtown Fargo, and continuing with the organization through the acquisition by Microsoft until retiring from software development in 2012. After leaving Microsoft, he spent two years on the board of directors at the Red River Regional Marksmanship Center, a shooting facility in West Fargo that caters to recreational shooters, competitive shooters, and firearms education. As a certified range safety officer, he works to promote the safe and responsible use of firearms. He is also a past member of the Cass County Sheriff’s Reserve. Dave received his BS in Computer Science from MN State University – Moorhead, with minors in both mathematics and philosophy. He lives in south Fargo with his wife Cathy and their family.

Dr. John Helgeland
John Helgeland is the board director and founding NPEI director. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and specializes in The Early Christian Church in the Roman Empire, History of Christianity, History of Culture, and the Philosophy of History. Dr. Helgeland was instrumental in the formation of the Northern Plains Ethics Institute (NPEI), as well as the Group Decision Center (GDC) an electronic consensus-forming laboratory at NDSU. His key area of interest is “Religion and Violence.”

Troy Kincer
Troy Kincer is a motivational operations leader who believes in empowering employees to achieve their highest level of personal and professional performance and satisfaction. A professional civil engineer for over 30 years, Troy adheres to a methodical and disciplined approach to problem solving and organizational behavior. He’s the Chief Operations Officer at Moore Engineering, with previous leadership experience at AECOM and Hayes, Seay, Mattern and Mattern. Troy is a proud graduate of Virginia Tech and has served on several public boards in Roanoke, Virginia, before moving to the Fargo area in 2014, including chair of the Roanoke County Parks, Recreation & Tourism Advisory Commission, engineering sector liaison and office campaign chair for the United Way, chair of the Roanoke County Education Foundation and chair of Leadership Roanoke Valley.

Jay Christian Krabbenhoft Jr.
Jay Krabbenhoft is a long-time Fargo resident with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. Currently serves as Senior Vice President at Gate City Bank. His role at the Bank is security officer and facility manager. He offices at the Bank’s headquarters in Downtown Fargo.  Jay and his wife of 30 years, Shari, live in north Fargo. They actively volunteer on the NDSU campus.

Barry Nelson
Barry Nelson, graduate of North Dakota State University in Sociology/Psychology.  A career in social services/social work with county, state and private social service agencies.  A lifelong activist, particularly interested in human rights, social justice and changing public policy to protect the human rights and environment for all. Currently, Nelson is director of the Head Start/Early Head Start Program at Southeastern North Dakota Community Action Agency and the Fargo Human Relations Commission. He is board member with RiverKeepers, and is active with his district political party. He was one of the charter members of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition.

Mike Palmer 
Mike Palmer was born and raised in North Dakota. He graduated from Lisbon High School in 1957. He is twice retired. Mike retired from the United States Navy in 1978 after 22 ½ years of service.  After retiring from the Navy, Mike and his wife Gail moved back to North Dakota. Mike worked at Northwestern Bell for 5 years as a trouble analysis technician.  He went to work for NDSU in 1984 as an IT person taking care of the computers, software and networking for the College of Engineering and Architecture.  Mike retired from in NDSU in 2000 and have been traveling and enjoying his hobbies since that time. Mike has been working on his family genealogy for the past 20 years. Mike enjoys photography and most of all spending time with his 7 grandchildren.  Mike has been married to the same wonderful woman for 55 years.  Mike volunteers at his church about 10 to 15 hours a week taking care of computer and software problems, maintaining the A/V system and just about anything else that needs attention.  He is also a member of the church’s library committee.

Arlette Preston
Arlette Preston is the owner of Home Instead Senior Care which has been in existence since 2003. She has a B.S. in Nursing from MN State Univeristy – Moorhead and a M.S. in Community Health Nursing from Texas Women’s University. Prior to her current business, she was employed at MeritCare Health Systems for 21 years. She has been active in the community, serving on non-profit boards, as well as serving on the Fargo City Commission (1992 – 2000) and on the Fargo Board of Education (2002 – 2006). She and her husband live in Fargo, with a daughter living in Denver, CO.

Melissa Sobolik
Melissa Sobolik is a North Dakota native, growing up on a farm near Courtenay, ND. She earned her BA in political science from Concordia College, with double minors in sociology and philosophy. She currently serves as the Director of the Center for Hunger Free Communities, a new initiative of the Great Plains Food Bank, looking at the root causes of hunger. Previously, she served 8 years at the Food Bank as the Director of Agency & Client Services. Melissa is also in her third year as a Fargo City Commissioner where she created the city’s first youth commission and art & culture commission. She, her husband Jeremy and their golden retriever, Petra proudly make their home in downtown Fargo.

Leann Wolff
Leann Wolff founded Great Outcomes Consulting with Mike Slette in 2010. Having experienced first-hand the difference between a job and great work, Leann and Mike are passionate helping clients achieve better results by balancing purpose and people with profitability. Whether it’s clarifying what a business is really all about, establishing a vision for the future or creating a growth plan that engages employees and satisfies customers, Great Outcomes Consulting helps their clients achieve business success—and in way that builds their competitive advantage for the long-term. By taking a personalized approach to every interaction with clients, Leann tailors services to the unique needs of each organization. The focus is to ensure that each person connects with the business in a powerful, meaningful way.

Leann graduated from Concordia College, in Moorhead, Minn., and earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minn.  Leann has spent more than 20 years working with some of today’s best-known companies and gathering proven, best practices from highly successful individuals. Throughout her career, she has built many high-functioning teams and facilitated hundreds of training, brainstorming and decision-making sessions with teams ranging in size from three to 100.

Jack Zaleski 

Jack is a Native of New Britain, Conn. He was educated in New Britain public schools and at University of Conn. During college, Jack served at a VISTA volunteer on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa reservation in North Dakota. He is the former editorial page editor of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Jack is married to former Sandra Davidson of Sentinel Butte, N.D. Jack has two children and three grandchildren. His specials interests include reading historical novels, gardening, sailing, putting up firewood for winter, and watching old classic movies.

James Rohrer

A native of Ohio, Rohrer attended Kent State University, where he graduated with Honors in History. He holds an MA and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in History. He also earned the M.Div. degree from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa. Rohrer specialized in early American history and American religious history at OSU and has numerous publications in these fields. From 1993-1998 he taught History in Taiwan, and he has since added World Christianity to his area of teaching and research. Currently, Dr. Rohrer is Professor of Colonial & Revolutionary America & American Religious History at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Although he now roosts in Nebraska, he continues to cheer for the Cleveland Indians and the Cleveland Cavaliers.