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Parent Email–December 16, 2011

  • Change to Liberal Education Requirements 
  • Gopher Sports Tickets
  • U Card Update
  • Credit for Internships
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Learning Abroad Scholarships
  • Miscellaneous

Exams have begun. Students are staking out the chairs, sofas, and tables in study spaces around campus and intently reviewing their notes. The Bookstore is buying back textbooks and taking returns on rental books. Some of the money students collect on their textbook buyback is quickly being spent on gifts for family and friends. The only thing missing from the December scene is snow. As the Northrop webcam shows, the sidewalks are clear just now, and that's fine. We can wait for the white stuff. Finals week is stressful enough for students without having to slog through snow and ice. (Students appreciate cards, care packages, cookies, and words of encouragement during finals!)

Worth another mention: If you're coming to pick up your student from campus, or if you're in the Twin Cities area tonight, tomorrow night, or next Thursday or Friday, set aside some time to watch the College of Science and Engineering's student-designed Aurora Digitalis light show: 75,000 lights plus music, the product of hours and hours of student work/fun. It's on the plaza of the Civil Engineering Building with shows at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., weather and audience permitting.

Change to Liberal Education Theme Requirements

Next week, students will receive a message from the Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, announcing that the number of themes students must fulfill to satisfy their Liberal Education (LE) Theme requirements has been reduced from five to four. This means that students who began at the University in Fall 2010 or later will meet their LE theme requirements once they have successfully completed courses in any four of the five themes. The five themes are Civil Life and Ethics, Diversity and Social Justice in the U.S., Technology and Society, The Environment, and Global Perspectives.

Theme courses are intended to challenge students to think critically and independently about moral, legal, and ethical issues from a variety of perspectives. The University believes students will adequately develop these skills by completing four themes of their choosing because of the richness of the theme course content. The change is a small step toward supporting the University's graduation and retention goals by providing students with flexibility as they plan out their course schedules. Students can direct any questions about the change in requirements to their academic adviser.

Gopher Sports Tickets

The Athletics Department has sent us some ticket offers to pass along to parents and family members. Package prices, single game tickets, and even Gopher gear and gifts are available at marked down rates. One special bears special attention: you can attend nine Gopher events in a single weekend for $50. The Gopher SuperFan package includes Men's and Women's basketball, Men's and Women's Hockey, Men's and Women's Gymnastics, and Men's Wrestling, all between January 19-22. If you have questions, please call the Gopher Ticket Office at 612-624-8080 (Metro Area) or 1-800-U-GOPHER (1-800-846-7437) toll-free.

U Card Update

Recently, the U Card Office teamed up with One Stop Student Services to offer new options for Parent/Guest Access; now your student can invite you to have access to view Meal Plan, FlexDine, and Gopher GOLD account balances. In addition to viewing your student's balances, access allows you to add funds to your student's account balance. To find out more about the steps your student can take to allow you to view these accounts, visit and click on the “Parent/guest access” link.

Credit for Internships

Students who are starting internships this spring and who are interested in receiving academic credit in conjunction with their internship can sign up for a Spring Semester course, ID 3208 –“Internship Reflection: Making Meaning of Your Experience.”

This one-credit course, which is conducted online, is for students who want to get the most out of their internship through course activities that will help them:

  • Tie their internships to personal and career goals
  • Learn what it means to be a “professional” working in a professional environment
  • Evaluate their internship performance and accomplishments and get feedback from others
  • Develop a stronger resume and interviewing skills that incorporate the lessons learned in their internship.

The class is open to U of M sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have secured an internship that will begin in January 2012. The internship must be at least 120 hours during the semester.

Course activities will begin during the second week of Spring Semester. Interested students should send an email to or for more information. The instructor will need to verify the internship with a site supervisor before granting permission for the student to register.

Undergraduate Research

The University of Minnesota, as a research institution, offers unique opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research projects under the guidance of a professor. When students work directly on research projects, they are able to explore an academic field more deeply, enhance their academic experience as well as their resume, or possibly apply their research to a capstone project or honors thesis.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides a structure for students seeking research experience. What’s more, students who are accepted into the program receive a stipend for their work. Students who submit and receive approval for a proposal are paid $1400 to carry out their research. UROP also provides absolutely necessary expenses of up to $300.

The application process takes time and effort. Applications will be accepted during Spring Semester for research projects that will be conducted during Summer and Fall terms 2012. Winter break is a good time for students to start developing a proposal in advance of the spring deadline, February 27. For information, please refer your student to the UROP website.

Learning Abroad Scholarships

Students planning to study abroad can apply for scholarships, grants, and fee reductions to help with the cost of international study. They are encouraged to investigate financial opportunities early and start working on applications well before the deadlines. The Learning Abroad Center provides guidance on starting the process.


Please take a minute to respond to our December Question of the Month. While you're looking at the University Parent website, please do some digging into our webpages. You will find a wealth of information for U of M parents.

Wishing you and your student a wonderful winter break.