|Oct. 11, 2001
** This site contains the corrected legislative network volunteer number. click
1. Yudof to discuss U trends with regents
2. Homecoming 2001 will feature lights, cameras, and action!
3. Regents to act on 2002 legislative request
4. U memorial fund honors Tom Burnett
5. U nursing student volunteers at Pentagon relief effort
6. Teaching in the midst of tragedy
7. Common native plant of great plains threatened by climate change
8. U of M Happenings
U IN THE NEWS
Yudof to discuss U trends with regents
At the Board of Regents meeting Friday (Oct. 12) President Mark Yudof will discuss key trends at the University that he says demonstrate "sustained and measurable momentum." Among the longitudinal measures he will present are student graduation, enrollment, and satisfaction rates and research, faculty, and technology transfer productivity.
|"I want to illustrate that this is not the University of 1970, 1980, or even 1990."
"I want to illustrate that this is not the University of 1970, 1980, or even 1990--virtually every key indicator of progress at the University has dramatically improved over the past couple of decades," Yudof explained. "Understanding how well we're doing helps us to better understand the challenges on the horizon that need to be addressed--and we certainly do have such challenges."
For more detail on his remarks, go to www.unews.umn.edu after mid-day Friday, Oct. 12.
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Homecoming 2001 will feature lights, cameras, and action!
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus 2001 homecoming will have a Hollywood feel as current students and returning alumni will be the stars of a "Hollywood Homecoming" during homecoming week, Oct. 15-22.
|Cameras will be plentiful on campus all weekend as alumni reunite at several University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) events.
Homecoming weekend events start at 7 p.m. Friday (Oct. 19) when the homecoming king and queen are crowned. A pepfest follows and a bonfire will light the sky above the St. Paul campus. The bonfire is behind the Student Center located at 2017 Buford.
Cameras will be plentiful on campus all weekend as alumni reunite at several University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) events and student filmmakers show off their cinematic skills at a Student Film Showcase on Friday evening.
On Saturday (Oct. 20), the UMAA will sponsor a pre-game pancake breakfast and parade event at the McNamara Alumni Center from 810 a.m. This event is family-friendly and features current and former Gopher athletes, new women's basketball coach Brenda Oldfield, and the longtime radio voice of the Gophers, Ray Christensen. There is a parade viewing area reserved for those attending the breakfast.
The homecoming parade starts at 9 a.m. at 10th St. and University Av. and goes down University to the Sports Pavilion. After the parade, a free shuttle is available to the Metrodome as the Gopher football team plays Michigan State.
Additional homecoming weekend activities follow.
Friday, Oct. 19:
Noon. Free U of M Marching Band concert on the steps of Northrop Auditorium. The band will play music from its new CD, "Are You Ready." CDs are available at the U of M Bookstores.
5-7 p.m. Homecoming Huddle, a cocktail party and networking opportunity for recent graduates, hosted by the UMAA at McNamara Alumni Center. $10 for UMAA members and $15 for non-members. Call (612) 625-9195 for more information.
Saturday, Oct. 20:
Approximately 2:30 p.m. (after the football game). Homecoming Chili Fest featuring free chili on the Knoll (corner of University and 15th Avenues).
8 p.m.-midnight. Homecoming Ball, McNamara Alumni Center. A public dance featuring music by the TC Jammers. Admission $12 in advance, $16 at the door.
For a complete list of events and ticket information go to www.umn.edu/cic/homecoming.
For homecoming events
for alumni go to http://www.umaa.umn.edu.
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Regents to act on 2002 legislative request
At its meeting Friday (Oct. 12), the University of Minnesota Board of Regents is expected to act on the 2002 legislative request. The proposed request includes funds for improvement, renovation, and construction on all four University campuses, totaling $239.8 million over the biennium; of that, the state would fund two-thirds, or $186.5 million. The Minnesota legislature convenes on Jan. 29, 2002. For more on the request go to, www.umn.edu/govrel. To join the legislative network, a volunteer network to support the University's request, call (612) 624-2323 or (800) 862-5867. (This is the corrected 800 number)
The largest portion of the request, and the University's highest priority, is $80 million for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR), which will support approximately 85 safety, building code, and renewal projects. Recently, the State Department of Finance scored the University's proposed HEAPR request above all other proposed 2002 capital requests.
Other projects in the request include $18.7 million to complete new plant growth facilities on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul that were partially funded in the 2000 legislative session. $33 million is also requested for a new lab science building in Duluth for which UMD has already raised $7.5 million. Renovation projects on the Twin Cities campus include $24 million for 110-year-old Nicholson Hall to create a freshman teaching and advising center, and $18.4 million to renovate the landmark Mineral Resources Research Center (MMRC), where the taconite process was first developed. Once completed, the MRRC will house the College of Education and Human Development's literacy, learning, and child development programs.
Yudof explains that the proposed request supports the University's vision and priorities for preserving its historic buildings, making investments in the life sciences and technology, and focusing on strengthening undergraduate education.
Maureen Reed, chair of the Board of Regents, said, "This proposal supports the academic priorities of the board while maintaining historic buildings that give our campuses character and charm."
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U memorial fund honors Tom Burnett
Tom Burnett, Jr., a passenger on hijacked United Flight 93 who is believed to have helped thwart the hijackers' plan, is being honored for his heroics with a memorial fund in his name at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota. The Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., Memorial Fund will be used to benefit University of Minnesota students and promote the type of character and leadership exemplified by Burnett.
Burnett, 38, a 1986 graduate of the Carlson School of Management and member of Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity, is believed to have been among the passengers who kept the hijackers from crashing the plane into a national landmark, which would likely have resulted in many more deaths on the ground. Instead, the plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field. Burnett lived with his wife and three daughters in San Ramon, Calif., where he was senior vice president of Thoratec Corp., a medical research and development company.
"The University of Minnesota is proud to call Tom Burnett, Jr., one of its own," said President Mark Yudof. "This fund is a fitting memorial to a man who cared deeply about his fellow human beings and who, by his actions, has earned the nation's everlasting gratitude. History will rightly number him among the heroes who had greatness thrust upon them."
Persons wishing to make a gift to the memorial fund should contact the University of Minnesota Foundation at (612) 624-3333 or (800) 775-2187 or visit the foundation Web site at www.foundation.umn.edu. Donors can make a gift by mail, phone, or online, designating it to the Burnett Memorial Fund. The mailing address is University of Minnesota Foundation, Suite 500, McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455-2010.
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U nursing student volunteers at Pentagon relief effort
A doctoral student in nursing at the University of Minnesota, Carolyn Porta Garcia got a first-hand look at the devastation of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Last month, Porta Garcia was assigned to the American Red Cross disaster relief operation serving the victims of the Pentagon disaster where she served as the leader of one of the teams that responded to the needs of hospitalized survivors and their families. Most survivors suffered from extensive burn injuries. She also made consolation visits to those who have lost family members in the disaster.
|"I am honored to help bring relief to people responding to this tragedy."
"I am honored to help bring relief to people responding to this tragedy," Porta Garcia said. "It's a great feeling to be part of the Red Cross effort to help the Pentagon community in this time of need. It is intensive and incomparable to what is occurring in New York, and yet, pain and sorrow are universal regardless of location, and the recovery efforts and stages of healing follow parallel processes."
As a doctoral student at the U, Porta Garcia is teaching an undergraduate course in nursing. When she was in Washington, D.C., her colleagues and professors chipped in to cover her class. Porta Garcia is grateful for the support she has received.
"It has been so great knowing I left at a moment's notice with colleagues willing to step in and go to bat for me," she said. "I know it is because many of you, if given the opportunity, would have done what I have."
The work at the Pentagon is Porta Garcia's third national disaster relief operation. She served in disaster health service in 1994 in the aftermath of a tornado in Wisconsin, went to Rwanda in 1995 under the auspices of the American Refugee Committee, and worked in Puerto Rico to help flood victims in 1996.
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Teaching in the midst of tragedy
Eric Sheppard teaches a 1000-level human geography class to 150 students, about a third of them freshmen. The course introduces students to the relationship between humans and the environment and how the principles of geography apply to worldwide politics, culture and economics. His class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays and had met twice before September 11. Link follows to read an interview with Sheppard about teaching in the midst of tragedy.
|"I was not psychologically capable of teaching under those conditions, and the students clearly wanted to talk. And the profound feeling then was really the shock of the events."
Q: How did your class change on September 11?
A: We had a discussion on Tuesday morning in class. I was not psychologically capable of teaching under those conditions, and the students clearly wanted to talk. And the profound feeling then was really the shock of the events. I dont think anybody was far enough away from the events to even ask the question: What lies behind this?
There was simply a sharing of information from people who had been watching television at various points in the morning or listening to the news.
Then I had a class two days later, on Thursday, when people really didnt want to talk about it anymore. They were concerned, and remain concerned, about succeeding in the class itself. So we really went back to the business of the class. Because the students, at that point, were like, yes, this happened, but how can I intersect this with my daily life? And the struggle really was trying to get daily life going again.
Q: What have your classes been like since the tragedy?
A: This week, I think students are starting to get a distance from [the events] and starting to ask questions about the kinds of information we are receiving. About what lies behind these things. So they are starting to be reflective.
But I think students are still very much trying to process information and process what this means for them. I think that will be going on in a series of stages.
Q: Do you think that the students are experiencing these events differently from faculty and staff?
A: It is a process we are all going through. It is not something that is just unique to the studentsthe immediate shock, your world is all of a sudden turned inside out, something has happened that you just didnt conceive of happening in reality, even though, in some ways, the images are familiar from the movies. I dont think there are probably very many differences between students trying to deal with this and faculty and staff at the University [trying to deal with this].
Q: Do you find students are more thoughtful now about their future and the future of the world than they were before the attack?
A: I would say that, certainly, at the moment, they are a little more fearful. [They are imagining] it couldve happened to me, it couldve happened among my relatives. Theyre asking, is it going to happen again? And what are the consequencesof whatever we decide to dofor my life? It has reduced their sense of security. That is certainly going on. I dont yet know what else is going on beyond that. I dont think I know for myself, and I dont think my students really know for themselves.
Q: What challenges do you face as a teacher right now?
A: For myself, I can try to construct a bigger picture through which I can rationalize where these kinds of things come from and see them not simply as isolated acts. Nevertheless, to engage that with the emotional side of me, I still find very hard. I find myself thinking on these two very different levelsthinking very emotionally about the loss and the cost and the risk and how is this going to change American society and so on. And then very rationally about how I can explain to students why this sort of thing happens and why it is not as unexplainable as it seemed to all of us at first.
Q: You teach the geography and political geography of the region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Were your students less interested in this region before September 11?
A: Well, yes. Both in this place per se but also, really, in making connections [between geography and human actions and decisions]. One thing I have always tried to do with this class (in the four years that Ive taught it) is to convince students that geography really helps you make sense of the complex problems that face us: global change, globalization, all of these kinds of things.
I think it takes something like this to happen for students to feel how what they learn in school connects with their everyday life. All of a sudden you become more aware of what your everyday life is like, because all of a sudden things have changed. When you just go along day to day, there is no critical distance. Its certainly my hope that this [event] will give a different sense of meaning to that connection than the one students had before.
Q: What do you think you will be doing differently for the rest of the semester?
A: One of the things that I will be doing during the class is using these events, while they are still fresh in the students' minds, to illustrate some of the more general things that we talk about in class. From the teach-ins, we know that students are starting to ask the deeper questions like, What lies behind this? What information is right or wrong? What can I trust and not trust? And how do I even make those judgments?
I also think that, as instructors, we cant really look at this as if it was a terrible event that happened and then just set it aside and go on with life. Because, at one level, life does go on; but at another level it is going on in a very different context, and we cant pretend that thats not happening.
I think it will be very important throughout the semester to continue to help students think through these issues and create space to talk about them. I hope they will think of themselves as students of this phenomenon, not just as collectors of information, and try to study it and think critically about it. I think students, in exceptional situations like this, learn in a different way, and we need to try to figure out what that way is and judge whatever they are doing with respect for that context.
We are all trying to deal with our everyday lives at the same time that we are trying to manage this [new teaching challenge]. The University could draw on the expertise they have in their teaching centers to have people think of how to deal with this. I think were all sort of flying by the seat of our pants.
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Common native plant of great plains threatened by climate change
A common Great Plains prairie plant, the partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), could face severe reduction in numbers if climate conditions in the Midwest change to the extremes predicted for the next 25 to 35 years, according to a study published in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Science. If the partridge pea is threatened by changing conditions, other common native species may be threatened as well.
|"The partridge pea's evolutionary response for adaptation to hotter and drier conditions is unlikely to be fast enough to ensure its survival," Julie R. Etterson.
"The partridge pea's ability to adapt to rapidly changing climate conditions is likely to be much slower than the rate of climate change predicted for its native habitat throughout the Midwest," said the study's principal investigator, Julie R. Etterson, a former doctoral student at the University of Minnesota who conducted the study, and is now a postdoctoral research associate in biology at the University of Virginia. According to the climate model used by Etterson for her study, Minnesota's climate in 25 to 35 years is predicted to be similar to today's climate in Kansas, which is drier and warmer than Minnesota's. Under extreme conditions in a worst-case scenario, Minnesota's climate could become more current-day Oklahoma -- much drier and warmer. Etterson's study indicates that native prairie plants could be seriously threatened if these predictions hold true.
"The partridge pea's evolutionary response for adaptation to hotter and drier conditions is unlikely to be fast enough to ensure its survival," Etterson said.
"The various genes that contribute to drought tolerance tend not to occur together in individual plants," said study coauthor Ruth Shaw, a professor of ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Minnesota. "Our comparison indicates that the rates of evolutionary change of these traits will not match the rate at which climate changes toward increasing drought."
Etterson planted seeds from Minnesota partridge peas in Kansas and Oklahoma. She also planted Kansas partridge peas in Oklahoma. She found that seed production of Minnesota plants dropped 84 percent when grown in Kansas and 94 percent when grown in the hotter and drier conditions of
Oklahoma. The Kansas partridge pea plants dropped 42 percent when grown in Oklahoma. She also studied leaf number and leaf thickness, traits that are important indicators of drought tolerance, and found the transplants were less adapted than local plants of the same species grown in the same plots.
"Native plants in the Midwest are facing two problems that may negatively affect their future survival," Etterson said. "One, the predicted rate of climate change is much more rapid than has occurred previously; and two, the habitat of native plants is fragmented to isolated islands between farms and cities, making it difficult for plants to slowly migrate to areas with more favorable conditions. This means plants will have to rely more on their evolutionary response to changing conditions. The partridge pea is unlikely to adapt to changing conditions quickly enough."
Etterson emphasizes that her findings are specific to the species she studied, the partridge pea.
"The species could possibly develop some incremental adaptive responses to climate change during the next 25 to 35 years, but the responses are unlikely to be rapid enough. Our findings suggest that we should not assume that plant populations will evolve fast enough to keep pace with climate change. We may need to think about alternative management strategies for native species if the climate predictions prove to be accurate."
U of M HAPPENINGS
Scholars and activists from the University of Minnesota Wilkins Center on Social Justice who attended the recent U.N. World Conference Against Racism will hold a community forum tonight, Thursday, Oct. 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Center, 301 19th Av. S., Minneapolis. The purpose of the forum is to engage community members and discuss local aspects and implications of the conference, and to declare a plan of action. The forum is free and open to the public. For more information, or if you are unable to attend but would like an audio tape of the forum, call (612) 625-9821.
UMC family weekend is October 13-14. For a schedule of events, go to http://www.crk.umn.edu/campusinfo/calendars/octcal01.htm#13
U.S. Senator John McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and foreign policy expert, will speak on his vision for America and how a new kind of politics can shape its future at 11:30 a.m., Monday, October 15 at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center. The luncheon is presented by Minnesota Meeting in partnership with the University's Humphrey Insititute Policy Forum. Reservations are $25 per seat. For more information, go to, www.mnmeeting.com.
The Humphrey Institute's Conflict and Change Center is hosting a weekly colloquium to discuss the causes, effects, and policy consequences of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The first session begins Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 12:45 p.m. at the Humphrey Center. For more information, e-mail Tom Fiutak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President Mark Yudof will present the annual State of the University address Thursday, Oct. 18 at 3 p.m. in 25 Mondale Hall, 229 19th Av. S. Minneapolis. For more information, call (612) 624-4160.
See the "Oddities and Curiosities of Nature" exhibit, Saturday and Sunday October 20-21 at the Bell Museum of Natural History. The exhibit is based on the TV series "Beakman's World" and includes fun for the whole family. For more information, call (612) 624-9050.
Susan Marshall and Company will be performing their unique expressions of dance on Friday, October 26, at 8 p.m. at Northrop Auditorium. Tickets are between $20.50 and $29.50. For more information, go to http://www.northrop.umn.edu/index.html
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