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Vol. XXXIX No. 41; December 16, 2009
Editor: Adam Overland,

Brief publication calendar: Brief will not be published on Dec. 30 and Jan. 6. Publication will resume on Jan. 13. All submissions for the Jan. 13 issue are due no later than noon, Jan. 8.

For additional news, information, and resources about U faculty and staff, visit the Faculty and Staff Web site. Follow us on Twitter at UFacultyStaff.

Inside This Issue
--Board of Regents December meeting highlights.
--Features: Power ranger; Calendar politics.
--People: The Alumni Association will honor CEO Margaret Sughrue Carlson for 25 years of service; and more.

Campus Announcements and Events
University-wide | Crookston | Duluth | Morris | Rochester | Twin Cities

BOARD OF REGENTS DECEMBER MEETING HIGHLIGHTS. The Board of Regents heard updates on a number of key issues at the December meeting, including the state of University research funding, UMore Park, and initiatives to improve graduation rates for undergraduate students. State economist Tom Stinson and state demographer Tom Gillaspy gave an update on Minnesota's recently released economic forecast, which projected a deficit of $1.2 billion for the current biennium and $5.4 billion in 2012-13. For more information, see Board of Regents.

FEATURE: U of M electrical and computer engineering professor Massoud Amin wants to transform our country's energy system. A "smart" electric grid supplied by renewable sources would power everything from household appliances to cars. For more information, read "Power ranger."

FEATURE: For most of us, the holidays we celebrate derive from our religious traditions, national history, or a specific connection to our culture or ethnicity. Rarely do we think of holidays as being a response to mainstream culture. Kwanzaa, the seven-day celebration of "First Fruits," is just such a holiday. Professor Keith Mayes of the Department of African American and African Studies has published the first scholarly book connecting Kwanzaa and the Black Power movement. For more information, read "Calendar politics."

PEOPLE: The University of Minnesota Alumni Association will honor CEO Margaret Sughrue Carlson for her 25 years of service; the Republic of Austria awarded Professor Gary Cohen its Medal of Honor for Science and Art, First Class; U in the News features U faculty cited in the media. Read about these topics and more in People.



CELL PHONE AND PDA BUSINESS EXPENSES: ANNUAL REVIEW REQUIRED for supplemental compensation. Employees receiving supplemental compensation must confirm their eligibility annually. All billings and documentation used to determine qualification should be retained for audit and compliance purposes. For those who qualify, this policy authorizes $65 monthly (or $30 per pay period) in supplemental taxable compensation for cell phones or $130 per month (or $60 per pay period) in supplemental compensation for cellular PDAs. Departments are responsible for ensuring that compensation amounts are correct. For more information, see the policy statement.

THE IRS ANNOUNCED CHANGES IN STANDARD BUSINESS MILEAGE RATES FOR 2010. Beginning Jan. 1, the standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use (on approved University business) decreases from 55 to 50 cents per mile. The standard mileage rate for moving expenses decreases from 24 to 16.5 cents per mile. Business mileage incurred in 2009 but reimbursed in 2010 should be reimbursed using the 2009 mileage rate. The Employee Expense Worksheet (UM 1612) accommodates these changes. For more information, see the rates section of Traveling on University Business.

TWO POLICY DRAFTS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE FOR COMMENT: The new "Wireless Technology Infrastructure" policy draft states that individuals and units who wish to connect to the University's campus network must use wireless network devices that are owned and centrally managed by the U to ensure integrity and security. In addition, the "Withholding Degrees from Students with Financial Obligations" policy has been amended to reference withholding "official transcripts and diplomas" instead of "degrees." Its scope has also expanded to include students with other types of obligations (e.g., student conduct code) to satisfy. For more information, see policy changes.

GOPHERMAIL 2.0 IS NOW AVAILABLE, and replaces Gophermail 1, which will be decommissioned Jan. 6. After Jan. 6, e-mail can be accessed only through Gophermail 2.0 or a U of M Gmail account. To find out if you are eligible for Gmail, see Google Apps. Gophermail 2.0 includes faster response time, the ability to view and forward HTML and attachments, and the ability to save message drafts. Clients may begin using Gophermail 2.0 immediately. For more information, see Gophermail 2.0. Questions and comments should be directed to 1-HELP at 612-301-4357 or via Live Online Help.

FORMER DALE CARNEGIE CEO WILL HEADLINE THE FOURTH ANNUAL QUALITY FAIR. This year's Quality Fair theme is "Leadership at Every Level." This event is designed to benefit all U employees and will offer professional development techniques to save time and improve leadership capacity. Dozens of exhibits featuring outstanding improvement ideas from around the U, from the State of Minnesota, and from other institutions will be on hand. Stuart Levine, former CEO of Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc., and author of Cut to the Chase and The Six Fundamentals of Success, will give the keynote address. Feb. 4, 2010, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., TCF Bank Stadium. For registration and more information, see Quality Fair 2010.

NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR THE PRESIDENT'S AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE. The award was established in 1997 to recognize faculty and staff who have provided exceptional service to the U. It is presented each year in the spring and honors active or retired faculty or staff members who have gone beyond their regular duties and have demonstrated an unusual commitment to the U. Nominations are due by March 5. Nominators must be current faculty or staff or alumni of the University. For more information, see outstanding service.

U OF M MOMENT: Protecting Woodward and Bernstein. Health care reform isn't the only bone of contention in Washington, D.C., this year. Another is known as the federal shield law and it would more strongly protect journalists from the obligation to reveal their anonymous sources. Media ethics and law professor Jane Kirtley says it opens up a debate about freedom of the press, when you consider high profile or national security issues. For more information, listen to the feature.


THE ANNUAL HOLIDAY FACULTY AND STAFF GET-TOGETHER will be held Dec. 17, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Bede Ballroom. The theme is "Dashing through the Decades." All faculty and staff are invited, including those from UMC, the Crookston Regional Extension Office, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center, and the Area Health Education Center. For more information, see holiday get-together.

FEATURE: In August, hundreds of rooted poinsettia cuttings arrived in anticipation of the holiday season. Under the skill and coaxing of six students involved in UMC's commercial floriculture class, the cuttings have developed into a beautiful poinsettia crop. For more information, read horticulture.


UMD HEAD FOOTBALL COACH BOB NIELSON IS A FINALIST in the Liberty Mutual NCAA Division II Coach of the Year contest. The winning coach receives $50,000 for the charities of his choice, and the Alumni Association will receive $20,000. Voting takes place Dec. 15-29. For more information, see coach contest.

THE UMD TWEED MUSEUM OF ART presents the UMD Faculty Exposition through Jan. 10. The show features work by Alison Aune, Steve Bardolph, David Bowen, Gloria DeFilipps Brush, Marian Colman, Jen Dietrich, Jennifer Gordon, Elizabeth James, Holly Anderson Jorde, James Klueg, Janice Kmetz, Vicky Lehman, Ryuta Nakajima, Robert Repenski, Eun-Kyung Suh, and Rob Wittig. Free and open to the public. For more information, call 218-726-8222 or see Tweed Museum.

HOLIDAY LIVING LITERATURE OF GLENSHEEN: O. HENRY'S "THE GIFT OF THE MAGI" will be performed Dec. 18 and 19, 7 p.m., Glensheen Historic Estate. Glensheen's spectacular Christmas decorations will adorn the festive mansion. The event includes a tour and refreshments. Tickets: $32; $27 for Friends of Glensheen. For more information, call 218-726-8921 or see Glensheen.


UMM PROFESSORS Chris Cole and Jon Anderson have coauthored research on the effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide on tree growth. The paper--also coauthored with University of Wisconsin, Madison, researchers--was published in the journal Global Change Biology on Dec. 4.

THE NATION's ANNUAL STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST has named Jeanette Blalock-Davis ’11 a finalist. For more information, read the essay, "The New Okies: Brain Drain in Class of ’09." 


REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR THE UPCOMING BICB RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM. The Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology Program will bring together teams of scientists, administrators, and students from the UMTC, UMR, the Hormel Institute, the Mayo Clinic, and IBM, as well as other researchers working in the field of biomedical informatics and computational biology. The goal of this event is to facilitate further collaborations in the area of biomedical informatics and computational biology. Jan. 15, UMR. For more information, see BICB symposium.

Twin Cities:

THE OFFICE OF CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT (OCM) IS REQUESTING FEEDBACK from those who teach in general purpose classrooms. OCM e-mailed survey invitations Dec. 8 to faculty and staff who taught in a general-purpose classroom during fall semester. OCM encourages those who received the invitation to complete it by Dec. 28. The survey provides OCM with valuable input on the needs, expectations, and experiences of those who teach in these classrooms. For more information, contact the Office of Classroom Management.

WIRELESS NETWORK ENHANCEMENT. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is in the process of enhancing the wireless network on the Twin Cities campus, with a goal of providing broader, more reliable wireless coverage. Since OIT created a single wireless network, wireless traffic has doubled at the U in one year. Continued exponential wireless network traffic growth is expected. For more information, see wireless network.

MORE EVENTS include Mentoring Interdisciplinary Scholars and Researchers (Dec. 16); Pride @ Work: Out After Work (Dec. 17); CURA Housing Forum (Dec. 18); TEMS Reading Group: Walter Benjamin's "The Origin of German Tragic Drama" (Dec. 18); Nothing Unattempted: The Voyages of Captain James Cook (through Dec. 31). SEE THESE AND MORE TWIN CITIES CAMPUS EVENTS.

UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS: Golden Gophers | UMD Bulldogs | UMM Cougars | UMC Golden Eagles

Published by Internal Communications in the Office of University Relations at the University of Minnesota. Please send comments, questions, or submissions to the editor at The deadline for submissions is noon on the Friday before publication. All Twin Cities event submissions are handled through the events calendar at

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