Jan, 9, 2003
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January 23, 2003
1. U is hit by state budget challenges
2. Record number apply to U
3. UMM is a "best buy"
4. Three U professors receive national recognition
5. Leukemia could develop before birth
6. INFO-U offers services in several languages
7. RentWise empowers tenants
8. Another chance to beat the Badgers
9. U of M Happenings
U IN THE NEWS
U is hit by state budget challenges
As the state wrestles with a projected $356 million deficit for the remainder of this fiscal year and a projected $4.2 billion deficit for the biennium, the University is preparing to do its share, while maintaining academic excellence.
Last week, in what is likely to be the first round of budget cutting this legislative session, Governor Tim Pawlenty recommended a $50 million reduction for higher education to be split between the University and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
As he plans to implement the reduction, University President Robert Bruininks pledged to maintain the University's core academic mission.
"Minnesotans have set high expectations for the University and our job is to manage the budget in a way that ensures we continue to deliver the quality research and education that citizens demand," Bruininks said. "This is a substantial cut that will require painful and difficult decisions, but we're prepared to do our share."
At this week's annual legislative briefing, which was sponsored by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, Bruininks called on nearly 400 alumni and friends of the University to help articulate its value to the state.
"The University is an important asset to not only the state as it faces this budget shortfall, but also as it prepares for the future," he said. "The University attracts bright minds and educates Minnesota's doctors, business leaders, teachers, and engineers. Our faculty and researchers secure nearly $527 million each year in research funding and they create new technologies, medical treatments, and knowledge that fuel Minnesota businesses and make the state a great place to live. We need everyone to help carry that message forward."
Bruininks said the University is managing the cut just as any enterprise does when its revenues are down. "We'll be reducing expenditures, focusing strategically on our core mission, and improving efficiency and productivity."
As the University's seven-year fundraising effort Campaign Minnesota nears its successful completion in June, Bruininks stressed that private funds supplement but do not replace state funding and that, historically, donors designate specific uses for 99 percent of gifts. Furthermore, many gifts are endowments that will not produce support for many years.
"Our donors are very generous and they're committed to providing a sustained margin of excellence for the University," he said. "But we cannot expect them to assume the state's responsibility for providing the university's foundation as it has for the past 152 years."
The University's annual state appropriation is approximately $600 million and the Governor's proposed $25 million reduction is in addition to the nearly $25 million reduction for the University imposed in the 2002 legislative session. The legislature is expected to act on Pawlenty's proposal in the next few weeks.
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Record number apply to U
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus has received a record 16,000 applications to date for fall 2003 admission. Freshman applications are up 21 percent, or 2,800 applications, compared to the same time last year.
"The University's popularity is extremely gratifying, as it reflects our commitment to improving academic quality and the undergraduate experience," said President Robert Bruininks. "Increasingly, the most talented students are making the University a top choice because it offers a great education at a competitive price."
According to Wayne Sigler, director of admissions, a number of factors have contributed to the growing interest in the University, including the quality of the educational experience, cost, and its location in a major metropolitan area. As a result, the student profile has been steadily improving for the past decade.
"As more high-achieving students choose the University of Minnesota, competition for admission has increased," said Sigler.
The record number of applications to the University has implications for both the institution and its applicants. University officials believe that the overall strength of the entering class will improve graduation and retention rates, a high priority for the institution.
"We want students to be successful," said Sigler. "It benefits no one when students do not graduate in a timely manner. Our admission standards are designed to enhance retention and graduation rates by helping to ensure the students we admit succeed."
As applications from high-achieving students have increased and admission has become more competitive, Sigler advises applicants whose decisions have been deferred to continue to make alternate educational plans in the event that the University is unable to extend an offer of admission. Completed application forms postmarked after December 16, 2002 will be reviewed on a space-available basis.
"As long as Minnesota has been a state, the University has been committed to providing educational opportunities to its sons and daughters, and that has not changed," said Bruininks. "However, to provide a quality educational experience, we must keep new student enrollment reasonably in line with the resources available to serve them. The result for now is a highly competitive situation for freshman admission."
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UMM is a "best buy"
The University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM), is the only Minnesota college or university listed by Kiplinger's Personal Finance among the Top 100 best buys in U.S. public higher education.
"This recognition is an external confirmation of our unique mixture of academic quality and a commitment to financial access," says UMM Chancellor Sam Schuman. "UMM aims to be a campus for outstanding students, regardless of their income status--a 'best buy,' not just in that we are inexpensive, but that we provide a top quality undergraduate experience compared to any institution, regardless of price."
UMM was ranked just ninth in the average debt -- $9,208 -- that its graduates accumulate before graduation. With regard to quality, Kiplinger's ranked UMM 27th for its low student-faculty ratio of 14:1. In the past, Kiplinger's cited UMM as one of only 11 schools "where everyone knows your kid." In addition, survey data for UMM's four- and six-year graduation rates places it near the top of the listing.
The top 100 colleges were gathered from a list of the nation's 200 most selective universities, then narrowed based on a variety of quality measures, including graduation rates, returning freshmen, student-faculty ratios, and the amount each college spends per student on instruction and library resources. Tuition costs, affordability, and the average debt of each institutions' graduates are also factors in determining educational value. For more information see, www.kiplinger.com/php/college/2002/public.html.
UMM's mission as an academically rigorous, public undergraduate liberal arts college is distinctive. It was declared "a model liberal arts college" by The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in its recent reaccreditation report.
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Three U professors receive national recognition
Three University faculty members are among the most cited ecologists and environmental scientists in the world, according to recent rankings by the Institute for Scientific Information.
The faculty members are John Pastor, senior research associate at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI), and professor in the Department of Biology, University of Minnesota, Duluth; David Tilman, Regents Professor, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, and director of Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, Twin Cities campus; and Peter Reich, professor and F.B. Hubachek, Sr. Chair in Forestry, Department of Forest Resources, Twin Cities campus.
Overall, ISI includes 245 "most cited" researchers in its Ecology/Environment list. The list is valuable in that often-cited research is one measure of researchers' influence in their fields of expertise. ISI will release the Ecology/Environment Highly Cited list on January 24. For more information, see www.ISIHighlyCited.com.
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Leukemia could develop before birth
Findings from a University of Minnesota Cancer Center study show that the development of leukemia is most often a sequential, multiple-step process beginning before birth.
The study was carried out in mice with a form of leukemia identical to the most frequent type of leukemia found in humans. University of Minnesota Cancer Center researchers introduced the leukemia-causing MLL gene, then compared fetal liver and bone marrow cells early after birth and later in adult mice, tracking the evolution of the disease from its prenatal beginnings.
"Our results are the first to outline a method of characterizing prenatal and postnatal abnormalities that result from early introduction of a MLL fusion gene," says lead researcher John Kersey, M.D., director of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center. "They illustrate that distinct genetic events occur at each stage of leukemia development. Further research will enhance our understanding of this progression and should assist in improved in-utero prevention or early treatment strategies for human MLL leukemia.
The study will be published in the spring issue of the American Society of Hematology journal Blood. To view the research paper online, see www.bloodjournal.org.
The University of Minnesota Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The center conducts cancer research and engages in community outreach and public education efforts. To learn more, see www.cancer.umn.edu. For cancer-related questions, call the center's information line at 1-888-CANCER MN (1-888-226-2376) or 612-624-2620 in the metro area.
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INFO-U offers services in several languages
What started out as Debby Newman's master's degree thesis four years ago has blossomed into a popular multi-language service for the University Extension Service's INFO-U program.
INFO-U is a popular, prerecorded, 24-hour, free phone service through which consumers can get answers to questions about topics ranging from gardening to nutrition and housing to childcare. The Extension Service saw a need to have INFO-U in Spanish to serve the rapidly growing Latino population in Minnesota.
"We had received requests from some of our field staff to put nutrition, food safety, money management, and parent information into Spanish," said Newman, now the INFO-U coordinator. "We felt a need to connect with previously underserved audiences."
Working with the Extension Service, Newman recruited a group of community leaders who helped her understand the education needs of the Latino community and develop culturally appropriate documents. She translated the documents into Spanish and held focus groups with participants ranging from young, new immigrants to second generation senior citizens to ensure the documents were useful and clear.
Promotion of INFO-U en Español began in late 2000, and it quickly became a hit. "Over 3,000 people have requested phone information and thousands more have visited the Spanish language web site," Newman said. "Issues about migrant workers, drivers' licenses, English as a second language (ESL), eating when pregnant, food safety and nutrition, and bugs in the home are the most popular topics."
The success of INFO-U en Español prompted the Extension Service to provide a similar service for two other growing ethnic communities--Somali and Hmong. Following Newman's model, University graduate student Hodan Farah set up INFO-U Somali in July and Jamal Abdulahi, a University undergraduate student, promoted to the Somali community. So far, the service has received 366 calls with the most popular topics being childcare, ESL, and food nutrition and safety.
Newman recently hired Ong Xiong, a University graduate, to work on the Hmong program. The first meeting of community agencies will be held in February and the goals is to have the Hmong service up by this June.
To access INFO-U, call (612) 624-2200 or 1-800-525-8636. For U-INFO online, see www.extension.umn.edu/info-u. For the online version of U-INFO en Español, see www.extension.umn.edu/titles.html?areaid=2&categoryID=19.
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RentWise empowers tenants
"I got kicked out of my apartment. Don't ask me why, 'cause I don't know myself." These sentiments illustrate the daunting task that finding and keeping affordable housing in Minnesota can be for many people, especially young adults, people with disabilities, and low-income families. Rentwise, a University education and training program, was created to respond to these concerns.
Developed by Marilyn Bruin, a College of Human Ecology professor and housing specialist, RentWise, is offered through the University of Minnesota Extension Service.
There are many barriers to building stable housing situations and self-sufficient tenants, according to Bruins. People may have poor credit, bad rental histories, mental illness, chemical dependency, criminal histories, or be victims of domestic abuse. RentWise helps tenants develop strategies to overcome these barriers and understand the consequences of poor decision-making. The program also works with housing advocates, service providers, landlords, and property managers to improve access to and retention of affordable housing for renters.
Improving housing stability helps both renters and landlords; individuals and families can better focus on issues such as employment and parenting, and stable tenants reduce business expenses for landlords.
RentWise initially offered a pilot workshop program for renters that reached 175 people. To reach even more renters, the program currently offers workshops for staff members from service agencies, education institutions, faith communities, and other groups who work with families and individuals on housing issues.
The workshops provide participants with a curriculum-based program that can be used by agencies serving renters statewide. The curriculum provides renter-education on money management, finding and applying for rental housing, tenant rights and responsibilities, home maintenance, neighborhood relationships, building positive credit and rental histories, communication skills, and conflict resolution. People who successfully complete the program receive a certificate.
To date, RentWise has reached more than 200 housing advocates and professionals across Minnesota. The training workshops are being offered across the state by Regional Extension Educators. To request a brochure and registration materials for this program, call Katie Dupay at 612-624-7726.
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Another chance to beat the Badgers
Recent University of Minnesota grads now have another chance to beat Wisconsin--and other Big Ten schools as well.
The Big Ten Challenge is an effort among all schools in the conference to win support from their graduates of the past 10 years. The level of alumni support is increasingly regarded as an important yardstick in comparing institutions, said Jennifer Eggers, director of annual giving at the University of Minnesota Foundation. From that perspective, its never too soon to develop an annual giving practice.
"All colleges are concerned about developing that group of younger grads from the past 10 years," says Eggers. The Big Ten Challenge (www.bigtenchallenge.org) is the result of an effort to add a dash of competitive zeal to alumni giving. The organizations Web site reports levels of participation among younger grads for each class at every school, and provides an avenue for online giving.
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U OF M HAPPENINGS
"M" coming to your mailbox
The winter issue of "M" will be sent to all U alumni the first week in February. Stories include the return of Coffman Union, U's new Rhodes scholar, value of a liberal arts education, University's budget challenges, and latest U research. "M" can also be found online at www.umn.edu/urelate/m.
Art, Activism, and the African American Experience
Renowned visual artist Faith Ringgold will discuss "Art, Activism, and the African American Experience" at a public lecture on Thursday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m., in the Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center, and will participate in a forum on Friday, Jan. 31, 12:30 p.m., in the Shepard Room, Weisman Art Museum. Both events, which are co-sponsored by the Department of Art and the Weisman Art Museum, are on the Twin Cities campus and are free and open to the public.. For more information, see http://artdept.umn.edu/vap.
National Theatre of the Deaf to perform at UMM
The Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf will present Oh Figaro as part of the Performing Arts Series at the University of Minnesota, Morris. The performance is on Friday, Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m., in the Edson Auditorium on the UMM campus. For tickets or more information call 320-589-6080 or see www.mrs.umn.edu/stuorgs/CAC/Arts.
Ragamala Music and Dance Theatre to perform
The School of Music will present Ragamala Music and Dance Theatre in a special two-piece performance: "Aavya" (meeting), which pairs classical Indian dance with contemporary percussive music performed by legendary pipa artist Gao Hong, and "The Transposed Heads," in which dancer Ranee Ramaswamy and deaf actress Nicole Zapko communicate without spoken language. The performance will be held on Friday, Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m., in the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the Twin Cities campus. For ticket information, call 612-624-2345.
Ag-Arama will bring winter fun to Crookston
The 28th annual Ag-Arama, a competitive and fun event that focuses on agriculture and natural resources, will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, in the University of Minnesota, Crookston, Teaching and Outreach Center (UTOC). A related alumni social is set for 5:30-7 p.m. at the Crookston VFW, followed by a campus dance at the Crookston Armory from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. For more information, see http://webhome.crk.umn.edu/clubs/agarama.
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