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Vol. XLI No. 3; January 26, 2011
Editor: Adam Overland,

Inside This Issue
--State Relations update.
--Features: A mind of its own; U of M Moment.
--People: McKnight Land-Grant Professors for 2011–13; and more.

University News and Events
Top News | University-wide | Crookston | Duluth | Morris | Rochester | Twin Cities


STATE RELATIONS UPDATE: A late-January State Relations update provides an overview of the progress thus far on the 2012–13 biennial budget. Last week, the legislature proposed legislation that reduces the state's deficit by about $1 billion. The U's reduction would be $89.2 million. The Republican leadership has said that this is part one of a budget solution and that there will be another round of cuts. The update also includes highlights from the 2011 Legislative Briefing held Jan. 19, and more. For more information, see State Relations.

FEATURE: One by one, images of ordinary objects flashed on the computer screen. Each stayed up for only about 0.015 second. One psychologist couldn't even tell that any images were coming up, let alone name the objects. But a second rattled off their names without a hitch. The second, professor Stephen Engel, had a powerful advantage: He had trained himself to detect images that a "naïve" eye never could. Now he has discovered one of the brain's secrets for pulling off similar feats. For more information, read "A mind of its own."

U OF M MOMENT: Nearly half of sports fans leaving professional baseball and football games have consumed alcohol during those events, and eight percent of attendees are legally drunk when they leave, according to a new study from School of Public Health researcher Darin Erickson. For more information, listen to the U of M Moment.

Awards and appointments

PEOPLE: McKnight Land-Grant Professors for 2011–13 are Brian Aukema, CFANS; Aditya Bhan, CSE; Christopher Hogan, CSE; Chad Myers, CSE; Chengyan Yue, CFANS; Charles Baxter, Edelstein-Keller Professor of Creative Writing, had his most recent book reviewed by Joyce Carol Oates in the New York Times; Ron Huesman, associate director of the Office of Institutional Research, will serve as chair of the Association of American Universities Data Exchange Council; U in the News features U faculty cited in the media. Read about these topics and more in People.



Administrative information

OIP CHANGES NAME: The Office of International Programs is now the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (GPS Alliance). The new name was chosen to better reflect the scope of work and increasing responsibilities of the unit. The core mission of the GPS Alliance is to be the driving force for the University in globalizing teaching, learning, research, and engagement. For more information, see GPS Alliance.

AMPLATZ CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL ANNOUNCED A GIFT OF $11.2 MILLION toward the goal of $16.5 million to renovate the children’s and adolescent behavioral health units. The gift was made by the hospital’s lead donor, Caroline Amplatz, and sets in motion the initial renovation effort, which is scheduled for completion in 2014. For more information, see Amplatz gift.

THE ROI (RETURN ON INVESTMENT) OF WELLNESS PROGRAMS. Three out of every four employers that provide health insurance also provide a wellness program. The programs are designed to improve health and reduce overall health care costs. But do they work? Is there a return on investment? U researchers have evaluated the U's wellness program over the last few years. Professor Jean Abraham says that not only are the U's programs saving money, but they are also improving the health of employees. For more information, see healthy ROI.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN FOR THE 2011 QUALITY FAIR & FORUM. This year's theme is "Working Together, Learning from Each Other," with a keynote address by UMR chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle, as well as opportunities to network and learn from U colleagues, a snack buffet, and door prizes. Feb. 3, 8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Carlson School of Management. For more information, see Quality Fair 2011, or register online.


THE NEW CENTURY LEARNING CONSORTIUM has added UMC as its 10th member. The consortium is designed to assist universities in implementing high quality, large-scale online and blended learning programs. For more information, see learning consortium.

A FISHING TOURNAMENT IN MEMORY OF FORMER STUDENT JUSTIN KNEBEL will be held on Lake of the Woods at Zippel Bay Resort, Williams, MN. The tournament honors the memory of Knebel, who loved the Warroad area and outdoor sports in Minnesota. All proceeds support the Justin Knebel Memorial Scholarship Fund. Feb. 5. For more information, see fishing fundraiser.

MAKING THE MOST OF A FIELD DAY WORKSHOP, including best practices on how to maximize the field day experience. Feb. 10, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., Bede Ballroom. The $15 registration fee includes lunch. For more information, see field day.

RSVP OF THE RED RIVER VALLEY, sponsored by UMC, has received funding for 2011 from Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging. The funds will be used to start two pilot projects in Crookston, East Grand Forks, Red Lake Falls, and Thief River Falls. The $7,500 grant will help establish both the "RSVP Handyman Program" and "RSVP Groceries to Go Program" to help seniors remain safely and independently in their homes for as long as possible. For more information, see RSVP funding.


UMD MUSIC DEPARTMENT will present the opera Hansel and Gretel, composed by Engelbert Humperdinck and directed by UMD's Regina Zona. Performed in collaboration with the Minnesota Ballet and members of the Lake Superior Youth Chorus. Jan. 28 and 29, 7:30 p.m., and Jan. 30, 2 p.m., Marshall Performing Arts Center. For tickets, see Hansel and Gretel.

THE WORK OF UMD PROFESSOR AND RESEARCH SCIENTIST MATTHEW ANDREWS is featured in the upcoming PBS TV series "Nova Science Now." Andrews's work is featured in the episode "Human Hibernation: Can we Live Forever?" The program will air Jan. 26, 7 p.m. WDSE TV (channel 8) in the Twin Ports. For more information, see PBS TV.

A PIRATES OF THE CARROT BEAN promotional DVD will be part of a presentation to First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" executive team in Washington DC, Jan. 26. The presentation will highlight community engagement projects that address childhood obesity. The DVD was produced by UMD School of Fine Arts' Fine Arts Academy and performed by UMD Voyageurs. Since its inception in 2008, UMD Voyageurs have performed the musical-theatre production for more than 15,000 school children, bringing messages to address the national problem of childhood obesity.


PRAIRIE GATE PREVIEWS, A SERIES OF FIVE FREE PUBLIC PROGRAMS, will introduce the public to each of the five writers who will be featured at the first annual Prairie Gate Literary Festival. The first program of the series will introduce Tom Hennen, a poet with family ties to the region, and who ran the Prairie Gate Press on campus for many years. Jan. 29, 11 a.m., Morris Public Library. The literary festival will be held March 25–26 on the Morris campus and will feature readings by the five previewed writers as well as workshops in writing drama, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. For more information, see public programs.

A NEW BOOK BY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH BROOK MILLER, America and the British Imaginary in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Literature, has been released by Palgrave Macmillan. A reception for Miller will be held Jan. 27, 4:30–6:30 p.m., LaFave House, 305 College Avenue. At 5:15 p.m., Miller will give a brief talk about writing and publishing the book. For more information, see new book reception.

THE UMM CONCERT CHOIR has been invited to perform during Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion," which will be broadcast live from Morris on Feb. 19. Tickets are available through the Northrop ticketing system. For more information, see Concert Choir.


THE 8TH ANNUAL ROCHESTER ON TOUR AT THE CAPITOL, Rochester’s largest advocacy and networking event of the year, will take place Feb. 2, 9 a.m., Minnesota State Capitol. With a new governor and state legislature, the stakes are higher than ever to make UMR's voice heard. Take advantage of this day to rally, promote Rochester, meet legislators, and enjoy a day full of networking. For more information, see tour the capitol.


Administrative information

APPLICATIONS FOR THE FIFTH ANNUAL TONY DIGGS EXCELLENCE AWARDS: Celebrating University Student Group Contributions are being accepted by Student Unions & Activities through March 2, by 5 p.m. Groups must be registered with Student Unions & Activities to be eligible. For more information on the nomination process, see Tony Diggs, email Student Unions & Activities, or call 612-626-6919.

RECYCLE AND REPURPOSE AT THE ST. PAUL STUDENT CENTER during Green Week, Jan. 31–Feb. 4. The St. Paul Information Desk will be accepting eyeglasses and sunglasses (given to the Boynton Eye Center for those in need), cell phones (given to the Aurora Center for charities), batteries, and small electronics (iPods, chargers, cameras, etc.). For more information, see the Student Unions events calendar.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

PREVIEW/REVIEW: UNIVERSITY EVENTS AND LECTURES is a periodic column highlighting events and lectures recently past and soon to come on the TC campus. This issue features a review of a talk by Wendell Potter about his book, Deadly Spin—an exposé of the health care insurance industry and his own involvement in what he calls an effort to mislead the American public. Previews include an author event with the U's own Charles Baxter, a classical singing competition, Hidden Gems of the Wine World, "A Sip of Science," and more. Faculty and staff are invited to contribute to the column. For more information, see Preview/Review.

"ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE: ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES ON PRICING ENVIRONMENTAL RISK," will mark the premiere event of the new Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute (HHEI). The premiere features two prominent alumni, Robert Litterman and Richard Sandor. Feb. 9, 5:30–7 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center. Launched in late 2010, HHEI is a global initiative created by the Department of Economics to inform and influence public policy by supporting and promoting frontier economic research and by communicating its findings to leading academics, policymakers, and business executives around the world. Free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information, see the news release.

3M SEMINAR ON TECHNOLOGY COMMERCIALIZATION, the second 3M seminar of academic year 2010–11, will feature Massoud Amin of the College of Science & Engineering, along with industry practitioners and Carlson School entrepreneurship instructors. The seminar will focus on technology commercialization opportunities via the smart grid. Sponsored by 3M and organized by the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. Feb. 5, 8 a.m.–noon, 1-109 Hanson Hall. For more information, see 3M seminar.

THE JOHN S. NAJARIAN LECTURE IN TRANSPLANTATION, "Anatomy of an Error," will be presented by Thomas Starzel, professor of surgery, University of Pittsburgh. Feb. 22, 8 a.m., Mayo Auditorium.

MOMENTUM 2011, IonE's new event series featuring leading environmental visionaries, will launch March 10 with eco-entrepreneur Majora Carter. Tickets are on sale now. Upcoming speakers also include international health guru Hans Rosling (Apr. 26) and oceanographer Sylvia Earle (May 12). For more information, see Momentum 2011.

"DESIGNING AND CONDUCTING FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEWS" will provide practical approaches for using focus group studies, as well as information on design options, developing questions, recruiting participants, moderating skills, and analyzing results. The workshop will be taught by Richard Krueger, U professor emeritus. March 16–17, 8:15 a.m.–4 p.m., University Office Plaza. For more information, see focus groups.

MORE EVENTS include Teaching Writing in Large Lectures (Jan. 27); The New Kingdom: When Egypt Ruled the East (Jan. 31); "Poetry and Funky Rap in Ghana: A Fieldwork Report" (Feb. 1). SEE THESE AND MORE TWIN CITIES CAMPUS EVENTS.

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

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Brief is the official University of Minnesota staff and faculty weekly news digest, featuring human resource, employee benefit, administrative, legislative, budgetary, event, and other pertinent information.

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