February 9, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS, February 9, 2007 — Capella University (, an accredited, fully online university, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2006 Harold Abel Distinguished Faculty Awards. The awards are presented to outstanding faculty members from each of the online university’s five schools.  The 2006 School of Education winner is Dr. Sonja Irlbeck, core faculty in the instructional design for online learning specialization. Irlbeck has been with Capella as a core faculty member since 2003, and as an adjunct prior to that. Irlbeck serves on 32 dissertation committees, supervising more than 20 mentees in their dissertation work. In the summer of 2006, she assisted in the Academic Program Review (APR) for the instructional design for online learning specialization. She has also served as faculty chair for the training and performance improvement specialization, and as the chair of the Academic Standards Committee in theSchool of

 Capella’s School of Business and Technology core faculty member Cheryl Bann, who has been with the university since 2004, also received the award. Bann teaches courses primarily in the MBA marketing specializations at Capella. She has effectively and consistently performed as a course instructor, mentor and faculty coach, and has significantly contributed to the MBA marketing specialization through her innovative ideas and development of course curriculum.   

Two faculty members from the School of Human Services received the award: Dr. Ann Meyers and Dr. Curtis Brant. In January 2006, Meyers and Brant took over the new comprehensive program in theSchool of
Human Services, which was later adopted by the entire university. 

Meyers has been with Capella since 2001. She is a core faculty member in theSchool of
Human Services’ general program. Meyers specializes in qualitative studies in spirituality and alternative energy medicine practices and currently serves on the university’s comprehensive and dissertation committee. 

Brant is a core faculty member and has been with Capella for three years. His areas of expertise lie in research, program development and assessment. Most recently, he co-directed an international study examining how people coped with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  The award for the faculty member from the Harold Abel School of Psychology (HASOP) was presented to Dr. Brian Austin, the founding dean of HASOP and currently a senior faculty member in the educational psychology specialization. He is the faculty chair of the school’s Academic Standards committee, and he has served as Lead Instructor of the HASOP dissertation courses from 2002 to 2006.  

Capella’s School of Undergraduate Studies recognized Dr. Mike Lavelle, who has taught business courses at Capella for four years. Lavelle is the vice president of operations for Steinwall Inc., a thermoplastic injection molding company in
 Each winner received a $2,000 award. Dr. Meyers and Dr. Brant shared a $3,000 award.  

UniversityFounded in 1993, Capella University is an accredited* online university that offers graduate degree programs in business, information technology, education, human services, and psychology, and bachelor’s degree programs in business and information technology. Within those areas, Capella offers 76 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 16 certificate programs. The online university currently serves 16,300 students from all 50 states and 63 countries. It is committed to providing high-caliber academic excellence and pursuing balanced business growth.
University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company, headquartered in
Minneapolis. For more information, please visit or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).

University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, located at

30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL

, (312) 263-0456, # # #  

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