Content | Navigation |


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

Dr. Dennis Cooley is Professor of Philosophy and Ethics and Director of the Northern Plains Ethics Institute at NDSU. Cooley received Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester in 1995. His teaching and research interests include theoretical and applied ethics with a focus on pragmatism, bioethics, business ethics, personhood, and death and dying.  He is the author or editor of five books, including Technology, Transgenics, and a Practical Moral Code (Springer, 2009), Death’s Values and Obligations: A Pragmatic Framework (Springer, 2015), and co-edited Passing/Out: Identity Veiled and Revealed (Ashgate, 2012), and a number of professional ethics articles. Cooley is editor of Springer’s International Library of Bioethics, the NPEI’s Northern Plains Ethics Journal, and former Associate Editor of Elsevier France’s Ethics, Medicine and Public Health. His service to the profession also includes executive board membership on both the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) and Humanities ND, as well as serving as co-chair of APPE’s Program Committee.  Cooley is the former Secretary General of the International Academy of Medical Ethics and Public Health.

Cooley’s 26-year career in education, his profession, as NDSU philosophy program coordinator, and through collaborative, interdisciplinary outreach has taught him how to organize and manage large projects with many different stakeholders. Among former and current activities, Dr. Cooley, the NPEI, and its partner, the YWCA Cass Clay, are completing the Learning the Language of Diversity and Meaningful Inclusion: Moving from Hedgehog Thinking to Fox Engagement project, supported by internal and external grant funding. The project is successfully achieving its three components of a permanent race exhibit open to the public, a speaker series on racisms and the lived experience of marginalized populations, and a set of workshops training university and community members how to facilitate difficult conversations.


Leann Wolf is the Associate Director of the Northern Plains Ethics Institute.

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.


NPEI Advisory Board

Jace Beehler

Jace Beehler is Chief of Staff for Governor Burgum. Previously, Beehler was Policy Director in the Governor’s Office, having previously worked on the governor’s 2016 primary campaign as manager of advance and field operations. Prior to that, Beehler worked for the White House as an advance associate and volunteer in its Office of Scheduling and Advance. “Jace has been a highly effective advocate for several of this administration’s priorities, including the Main Street Initiative, higher education, transportation, commerce, UAS and the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum,” Burgum said. “With his capable leadership, collaborative approach and deep knowledge of our administration’s strategic initiatives, we look forward to advancing our policy agenda for the benefit of all North Dakotans.” Beehler earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2017. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from North Dakota State University in 2013 and taught one year in the May-Port CG School District as director of the music department.


Kara Careaga

Kara Sauvageau Careaga grew up in Fargo, ND; attended Shanley High School and graduated from Minnesota State University, Moorhead with a BS in art education, minoring in French.  She has been employed with the federal government since 1995 and is a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security. Having worked most of her career in Los Angeles, CA, Kara has worked narcotics interdiction, intellectual property rights (IPR) violations, border security and internal affairs. Kara specializes in investigations involving money laundering, asset forfeiture and financial and immigration benefit fraud out of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office in Fargo North Dakota.



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 has two grown children- Katie Corwin Hasbargen(Matt) and Ben Corwin(Stephanie) and 3 grandchildren who live in Fargo.


Tim Flakoll

We are extremely pleased to announce that Tim Flakoll has agreed to become the NPEI's Advisory Board chair! Tim Flakoll serves as Provost for Tri-College University, the partnership between NDSU, MSUM, Concordia College, North Dakota State College of Science and M State. The five campuses have a combined enrollment of approximately 35,000 students. He is also the Director of Operations for NDSU Downtown. Tim is an alumnus of NDSU, the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education and the University of Oxford Executive Education program. Tim served in the North Dakota Senate for 18 years. There he chaired the Education and Agriculture committees for 14 years. He was also selected President Pro Tempore of the Senate. In the Senate, he authored a constitutional amendment to require statements of fiscal impact on initiated measures to improve transparency. He also authored transparency legislation to identify legislators who make open records. He was chief author of legislation to provide funding for all day kindergarten, funding for early childhood education, laws for humane treatment of animals and legacy legislation for new funding formulas for K-12 and higher education.

His work has been recognized in a number of ways including with the NDSU Doctor of Service Award, COVS ND Volunteer of the Year Award, Student Advocate of the Year Award from the ND Student’s Association, Children’s Champion Award from the ND Assoc. for Education of Young Children, 2x NDSU Outstanding Organization Advisor of the Year and 3x Preferred Professor Award. Flakoll served as VP and General Manager of the FM RedHawks and during his tenure they were named “Team of the Decade” by Baseball America.

Tim has been active in public service and has held more than 40 offices with various community, regional or national organizations. He recently served as the Chair of Fargo’s Downtown Community Partnership and Chair of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, a 12 state partnership with more than 4.2 million students. He recently chaired the Council of State Governments MLC representing 11 states, four Canadian Provinces and 82 million people. Flakoll currently is Chair of the FMWF Chamber’s Public Policy Committee. He served as a Missionary to the Country of Slovakia to help rebuild a church school.



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.


Rick Gion

Rick Gion has worked in the media industry for nearly 20 years, spending time in both advertising and news. He also has extensive experience with federal, state and local public policy, working for U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan’s office and with numerous federal, state and local campaigns. Rick has a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in music from NDSU.


Dr. John Helgeland

It is with heavy heart that we announce that Professor John Helgeland will be stepping down as the NPEI's Advisory Board chair.

John is the 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. John was instrumental in the formation of the Northern Plains Ethics Institute at NDSU as well as the Group Decision Center (GDC), an electronic consensus-forming laboratory at NDSU.

John will remain on the board, of which we are grateful.


Jay Christian Krabbenhoft Jr.

For over 35 years, Jay has been part of the retail financial services business in downtown Fargo.

Long-time Fargo resident and married to his wife Shari for 37 years, the Krabbenhoft’s are active community volunteers.  Jay attended NDSU.  Both Shari and Jay are active on their campus and support the International Student and Study Abroad Services Department.  A believer in the benefits of higher education and that learning makes for positive life-long strategy, Jay continues his education on the NDSU campus by taking college courses, with the emphasis in Emergency Management.

Jay is a servant leader, with past and present leadership roles in non-profit educational organizations and in the arts.  He currently is serving on the City of Fargo Parking Commission.

At Gate City Bank, Jay is the Senior Vice President of Administration.  His official role at the Bank includes leadership to three corporate departments: Office Services, Appraisal & Evaluation and Property Management & Lending Solutions.  His long-time experience with facility management assists the Office Services Department to care for the Bank’s facilities, security, purchasing and maintaining all Bank properties to provide an optimal customer experience.  This includes the most important job of making sure that every visitor to the Bank has a freshly baked cookie!


Veronica Michael

Veronica Michael is a diversity/equity/inclusion thought leader, community and business strategist, fundraiser, and entrepreneur with expertise in business development and directing clients and staff towards successful goal completion through strategic planning, management and targeted mentorship. She has over 15 years experience in higher education, non-profit, people management, and entrepreneurship. Specifically, she has developed multi-dimensional training programs on unconscious bias, identity, and other cultural awareness. Her adult learners include college students in college-to-career transition, senior faculty at multiple universities, and executives. She is the CEO of Prairie Products, Hemp Cold Ethanol Extraction Experts, in Fargo, North Dakota.


Charles C. Okigbo

Charles Okigbo, PhD (Journalism), PhD (Ed. Leadership), is heading up activities in research, training, community service, and strategic communication at the NPEI, where he assists the Director and collaborates with the Advisory Board in planning and implementing programs in strategic planning, grant writing, and the broad areas of effective communication strategies. He has been professor of strategic communication in the Department of Communication at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in advertising, health communication, journalism, media research, public relations, and strategic communication research. He championed action research and programming on Native American Media Relations Training, Fundraising and Capital Campaigns, and Distributed Leadership Executive Education. His other academic interests are in mixed methods applications in studying social problems, explorations of framing in crisis reporting, and the wider applications of communication in national development. He was previously the Registrar of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), the Executive Coordinator of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) Nairobi, Kenya, Temporary Advisor to the United Nations AIDS Control Agency (UNAIDS), and Vice President of ORBICOM, The Network of UNESCO Professors/Chairs of Communication (at Universite du Quebec, Montreal, Canada). 


Melvin Whitney, Jr.

Melvin Whitney Jr. is a native of Chicago, Illinois.  Melvin is a graduate of NDSU (BS), and also obtained his 2 year degree from Northland Community and Technical College (AAS). Melvin has resided in the Fargo-Moorhead area for over 20 years.  He has served as President of the Fargo West Rotary Club, been a member of the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, and is the current Head Football Coach at Oak Grove Lutheran High School Currently he is the Director of Advancement and Development at M State Community and Technical College, serving the Detroit Lakes, Moorhead and Wadena Campuses.


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.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

Follow NDSU
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Google Maps

Provide footer content in Storage > FOOTER1

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 8:43:49 AM
Privacy Statement