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Vol. XLIII No. 1; January 9, 2013
Editor: Adam Overland,

For additional news and information, see the Faculty and Staff views of the U homepage.

Inside This Issue
--Features: A new way of caring; Want to join a map quest?; Shaping biological compounds: Claudia Schmidt-Dannert.
--People: Science magazine has named a gene-modification technique developed by researcher Daniel Voytas and colleagues as one of 2012's top scientific breakthroughs; and more.

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



FEATURE: As U.S. health systems undergo a period of great change, transforming health care has become about transforming higher education. The U of M is nationally recognized for developing new models of interprofessional development programs, essentially setting the course for educating our nation's health professionals. Now, the Health Resources and Services Administration has selected the U's Academic Health Center to lead a new coordinating center that will promote interprofessional education and collaborative practice in health care. For more information, read "A new way of caring."

FEATURE: Today's technology may be smart, but when it comes to recognizing subtle patterns, the human brain has the advantage over computers. That's why nonscientists around the globe are signing up in droves to help scientists identify animals of Africa's remote Serengeti Plain and star clusters in the even more remote Andromeda Galaxy. Called Snapshot Serengeti and Project Andromeda, both web-based projects are spearheaded by U researchers. For more information, read "Want to join a map quest?"

FEATURE: Could the answers to humanity's greatest ails grow just beneath our feet, lying dormant in the cells of biological organisms? Distinguished McKnight Professor Claudia Schmidt-Dannert is an expert in the field of metabolic pathways and natural product biosynthesis, and is experimenting with cutting and pasting genes from unrelated organisms to produce novel pathways never before seen in nature. For more information, read "Shaping biological compounds."

Awards, appointments, and other announcements

PEOPLE: Science magazine has named a gene-modification technique developed by researcher Daniel Voytas and colleagues as one of 2012's top scientific breakthroughs; Rosemary White Shield, director of evaluation in the Office for Equity and Diversity, was recently selected as president-elect of the Minnesota Evaluation Association; Todd Sorensen has been named the Peters Chair in Pharmacy Practice Innovation; memorial gathering will remember Anne Thorsen Truax; U in the news includes highlights of Today's News, which features U faculty and staff cited in the media daily. Read about these topics and more in People.



Administrative information

U OF M PERSONAL WEB SPACE will continue to be available. The service was set to be decommissioned Dec. 31; however, based on feedback from the U community, the collaboration and web content team will continue to offer the service until further notice. Additional questions or comments may be sent to

AN ALTERNATIVE TO CONDUCTING BUSINESS USING PAPER FORMS, called Workflow Processing (WorkflowGen), is now available to U faculty and staff. The WorkflowGen environment will enable units to quickly generate web-based forms with defined business-process pathways, and to monitor the progress of submitted forms. Advantages include easy, convenient data entry and automation of routing for processing and approval, reduced intimidation and confusion about the process, increased customer satisfaction, reduced customer and staff time spent manually entering data, and improved tracking and accountability. For more information, see WorkflowGen.

MILEAGE RATE CHANGE: The IRS announced changes in the standard business mileage rates for calendar year 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, the standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use on approved University business will increase from 55.5 cents to 56.5 cents per mile. The rate for moving expenses will increase from 23 cents to 24 cents per mile. Business mileage incurred in 2012 but reimbursed in 2013 should be reimbursed using the 2012 mileage rates. The Employee Expense Worksheet (UM1612) and the Moving/Relocation Expense Documentation Form (UM 1357) have been updated to reflect the changes to the mileage rates. For more information, see Traveling on University Business.

THE U OF M FISCAL YEAR 2012 ANNUAL REPORT is now available online (PDF). The annual report includes the independent auditors' report, financial statements, footnotes, and management's discussion and analysis. These components of the report are an integral part of the annual reporting process, and contribute to the U's ability to obtain a clean audit opinion. Email Terri Carlson or call 612-626-1235 with questions regarding the report.

Awards and funding opportunities

THE MN LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) program is seeking applicants for fellowships in the 2013–14 academic year. MN LEND accepts pre- and post-doctoral students and community fellows for a yearlong interdisciplinary and leadership training program focusing on neurodevelopmental disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other related conditions. Applications can be completed online and will be accepted until Apr. 16. For more information, see MN LEND.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

THE FRONTIERS IN THE ENVIRONMENT speaker series spring schedule is now online. Weekly talks begin Feb. 13 and include speakers from around the U of M and elsewhere on topics such as fracking, global health, University-community collaborations, and more. Join the Institute on the Environment (IonE) each Wednesday at noon for a presentation and Q&A, followed by a casual get-together. R380 IonE seminar room, Learning and Environmental Sciences Bldg., St. Paul. The lectures also air live online via UMConnect. For more information, see frontier lectures.


FACULTY WORKSHOP: "Reducing and Detecting Scholastic Dishonesty" will take place Jan. 9, 10 a.m., 116 Kiehle. The event is part of a series of workshops hosted by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology on the Crookston campus. For more information, see faculty workshop.

THE FIRST DAY OF CLASSES at UMC for the spring semester is Monday, Jan. 14.

THE FIRST AREA-WIDE MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. celebration, co-sponsored by UMC, will take place in Grand Forks, N.D., Jan. 21. Activities begin at 11 a.m. with a Unity Walk from Central High School to the Empire Arts Center, where a program begins at noon with Chancellor Fred Wood bringing greetings on behalf of UMC. The celebration is hosted by the Era Bell Thompson Multicultural Center at the University of North Dakota (UND), in partnership with the UMC Office of Diversity Programs, the Grand Forks Air Force Base, UND's Black Student Association, the UMC Black Student Association, and others.


UMD ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING STUDENTS will serve as mentors to high school students in the 2013 Minnesota High School FIRST Robotics Competition. FIRST's mission is to inspire young people to be leaders by engaging them in exciting, mentor-based programs that build STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills. For more information, see FIRST Robotics.

UMD GRADUATE JESSICA LIND PETERSON chased her dream of acting and writing from Duluth to New York City. Jessica and her husband, Jason Peterson, also a UMD graduate, were successful in finding work as actors in the city that never sleeps, but they still longed for a more secure, nurturing environment as artists. They've now established Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo, MN. For more information, see Yellow Tree.


UMM HAS BEEN NAMED TO KIPLINGER'S PERSONAL FINANCE list of the 100 best values in public colleges for 2012–13. The low average student debt, financial aid availability, and overall value of UMM distinguished it for inclusion on this year's list. Institutions were selected from a pool of nearly 600 public, four-year colleges and universities. The list appears in Kiplinger's February 2013 issue, on newsstands now. For more information, see Kiplinger's.

MICHAEL LACKEY, associate professor of English, recently secured a contract for a book titled Truthful Fictions: Conversations with American Biographical Novelists. It is the first book of interviews in which authors define their objectives as biographical novelists. After contacting contemporary writers in an effort to understand the proliferation of these works, Lackey began recording and transcribing his interviews so as to depict writers' motives and processes from their own perspectives. For more information, see Michael Lackey.


CHANCELLOR LEHMKUHLE recently unveiled a new branding campaign for the University of Minnesota Rochester. One of biology's most universally recognized structures—the DNA strand—is at the heart of the campaign, which will be implemented over the next six months. For more information, see UMR: "Recoding the DNA of Learning."

BICB SYMPOSIUM: The Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology (BICB) graduate program will host a January Symposium: Keeping Our Curriculum Current, Jan. 18, 10:15 a.m.–4 p.m., 417 University Square. The event will feature a keynote address by Gianrico Farrugia, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, and short presentations from BICB students and BICB industry partners. For registration and more information, see BICB Symposium.


Administrative information

TRAVEL FAIR: Travel Services will host a Travel Fair with U-wide vendors Jan. 15, 9 a.m.–noon, at The Commons Hotel (former Radisson on Washington Ave.) for travelers, travel arrangers, and anyone who makes travel reservations. Vendors will talk about their contracts and answer questions. Attendees will be eligible for door prizes. For more information and to RSVP, see Travel Services.

WRITE WINNING GRANTS, a seminar presented by the Grant Writers' Seminars and Workshops LLC, will address practical and conceptual aspects important to the proposal-writing process geared towards NIH, but applicable to other national funding agencies. The workshop is designed for faculty members, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and community members who conduct clinical and translational or health equity research. Jan. 16, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center. Registration fee: $75. For registration and more information, see Write Winning Grants.

VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED FOR THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS Poly Hockey State Tournament Feb. 2–3 at Hastings High School. The University Retirees Volunteer Center is seeking volunteers for a variety of service roles, from officiating jobs for those with hockey experience, to event setup, lunch service, and more. The event is an opportunity to support and assist athletes with intellectual disabilities. Email the Retirees Volunteer Center or call 612-625-8016 to request registration information and a schedule of volunteer activities. For more information, see MN Special Olympics.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

THE NEXT HEADLINERS LECTURE WILL FEATURE U PRESIDENT ERIC KALER in "What's Next?: Envisioning the U's Future," Jan. 10, 7 p.m., Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul. Kaler will discuss how a 21st-century academic leader balances both the books and the competing priorities of today's land-grant universities, such as the rising cost of a college degree and tuition control amidst dwindling public financial support. Tickets are $15. For registration and more information, see Headliners.

PHYSICS CIRCUS: The University's Physics Force will present "Physics Circus," its largest show of the year featuring a unique mix of physics demonstrations and slapstick humor suitable for adults and children of all ages. Each year the show brings large-scale stunts and physics lessons to more than 20,000 school-age kids. The show is free, but registration is recommended. Jan. 10, 7–8:30 p.m., Minneapolis Convention Center. For more information, see Physics Circus.

A MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. TRIBUTE will take place Jan. 20, 4–6 p.m., Ted Mann Concert Hall. This year's event will feature renowned vocalist Oleta Adams as well as performances by local artist Ahmad Lewis and students from Walker West Music Academy. For more information, see MLK Jr. Tribute.

"SLOUCHING TOWARD HEALTH REFORM: THE FUTURE OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT." In this, the 10th Annual Deinard Memorial Lecture on Law & Medicine, Sara Rosenbaum, named one of the nation's 500 most influential health policy makers, will explore the array of challenges that lie ahead as full implementation of the Affordable Care Act moves toward Jan. 1, 2014. Rosenbaum is the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy at George Washington University. Jan. 31, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., Coffman Union Theater. Free and open to the public, but registration is suggested. For registration and more information, see Deinard Memorial Lecture.

NATIONAL CHILDREN'S STUDY SPEAKERS' SERIES presents "What does the Affordable Care Act mean for the Health of Women, Children, and Families?" Jan. 23, 3–4:30 p.m., Wilder Center, St. Paul. For more information, see Affordable Care Act.

MORE EVENTS include Hidden (Jan. 9); Minnesota Funk (Jan. 10); Winter Gourmet Dinner (Jan. 11); Introduction to Citation Managers (Jan. 14); Café Scientifique: "Alternative Landscapes: How Biofuels Production is Changing the Planet" (Jan. 15); SEE THESE AND MORE TWIN CITIES CAMPUS EVENTS.

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

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.

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. Submission guidelines are available online.

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