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Vol. XL No. 40; December 15, 2010
Editor: Adam Overland,

Brief publication calendar: Brief will not be published Dec. 22, Dec. 29, and Jan. 5. Publication will resume Jan. 12. All submissions for the Jan. 12 issue are due no later than noon, Jan. 7.

Inside This Issue
--Board of Regents meeting summary.
--Features: Written in stone; Facing a difficult condition; Profile of Dylan Millet, McKnight Land-Grant Professor; U of M Moment.
--Brief top six of 2010.
--People: U in the News features U faculty cited in the media; and more.

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


THE BOARD OF REGENTS heard the annual report on University research at its December meeting, including progress on key research performance metrics and technology commercialization results. State economist Tom Stinson provided an update on Minnesota’s economy. The board also heard the U's annual financial report from CFO Richard Pfutzenreuter. For more information, see Board of Regents.

FEATURE: Thanks to Lawrence Edwards's work in dating rocks, scientists can read the history of climate change, human migrations, and other signal events over the past half-million years. For more information, read "Written in stone."

FEATURE: U researchers in Al Yonas’s lab are working to raise awareness and better treat a condition known as face blindness. Those afflicted—up to 2 percent of the population—are unable to recognize one face from another. For more information, read "Facing a difficult condition."

FEATURE: Profile of Dylan Millet, McKnight Land-Grant Professor. Above the snowy fields, a clear Teflon tube threads up a radio tower to capture a steady stream of cold air. Inside the little cement building below, a machine the size of a dishwasher measures the contents of the incoming air. The landscape looks bucolic. But to Dylan Millet and his team studying atmospheric chemistry, it’s a frontier that is anything but calm. Millet aims to improve computer models used in climate research. For more information, read the profile.

U OF M MOMENT: The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan impact more than just those deployed—they also affect their families. Department of Family Social Science professor Abigail Gewirtz recently received a $3.2 million grant to develop a web-based training program that will help the families of troops better adjust to life back home. Gewirtz says the training program will target the families of National Guard members. For more information, listen to the U of M Moment.

BRIEF TOP SIX OF 2010: Over the past year Brief has published more than 70 feature stories on topics ranging from administration to meditation, mushing to mapping pain. The top six features appearing in Brief during 2010, as measured by readership numbers, were "Meet Eric and Karen Kaler," "Attachment: The gift that keeps on giving," "It's not glamorous work, but it saves," "Life imitates art," "Stopping time," and "A map of a different color."

Awards and appointments

PEOPLE: U in the News features U faculty cited in the media. Read about these topics and more in People.



Nominations, award, and funding opportunities

NOMINATIONS FOR DISTINGUISHED McKNIGHT UNIVERSITY PROFESSORSHIPS are invited by the Office of the Vice President for Research. The awards support the U's most outstanding mid-career faculty members who have recently achieved full-professor status. Deadline is Feb. 1. For more information and nomination instructions, see McKnight nominations PDF.

THE PRESIDENT'S AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE is accepting nominations, due by March 4. The award was established in 1997 to honor active or retired faculty or staff members who have gone well beyond their regular duties and have demonstrated an unusual commitment to the University community. For more information, see award and nomination requirements. For further information, call the University Senate Office at 612-625-9369.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) research and creative collaboratives for 2011–12. Each year, IAS supports a limited number of research/creative collaboratives to promote synergistic interdisciplinary activity difficult within departmental structures. Collaborative activities vary: some meet regularly for works-in-progress discussions or public workshops and other programs. IAS seeks participation from all colleges and schools. Collaboratives may be convened by faculty, staff, or students, but should show evidence of faculty participation. Proposals are due Feb. 4. For more information, see the full instructions.

Administrative information

NEW AND REVISED ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT. Appointments to Graduate Examination Committees, the first of the new graduate education policies, focuses on eligibility requirements for serving on graduate examination committees as well as collegiate responsibilities for approval of committee appointments. Revisions to the Hospitality, Alcoholic Beverages, and Other Special Payments policy address hospitality expenses incurred while in travel status, selling or serving alcohol on U property, and the applicability of the policy to student groups who raise funds for outreach or charity. An easy-to-use single Expense Allowability Grid replaces four previous appendices. Revisions to Campus and Building Closings expands the policy to cover closing of individual or multiple buildings, in addition to a full campus closing. Related information, such as employee compensation during a closing, has been revised and reorganized. All three policies are available for 30-day review at Policy Library.

REMINDER: UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA CAMPUSES WILL BE CLOSED during the winter break. UMTC will be closed Dec. 24–Jan. 2. Closure dates vary slightly for coordinate campuses. During this time, University services and business offices will be closed. Only essential services will be open. For more information, see University Winter Closure.


THE UMC COLLEGIATE CROPS JUDGING TEAM had two second place finishes at the national crops judging contests. The contests integrate a student's knowledge of agronomy into three categories: seed analysis, grain grading, and crop and weed identification. For more information, see crop judging.

A UMC FACULTY ASSEMBLY is scheduled for Dec. 17, 10 a.m., 207 Dowell Hall. For more information, see faculty assembly.

THE UMC ALUMNI ASSOCIATION will hold its annual meeting Jan. 5, 6 p.m., 116 Kiehle. Agenda items will include year-end committee reports, approval of new board members, election of officers, and upcoming events.


UMD FACULTY AND STAFF WERE PRESENTED WITH "WOMEN OF DISTINCTION" AWARDS by the Duluth YWCA. Award recipients were Sharon Witherspoon, supervisor of the Student Assistance Center, Office of Financial Aid and Registrar; Jane Maddy, professor emeritus, UMD Department of Education; and Shannon Miller, head coach, UMD Women's Hockey.

UMD MARSHALL ALWORTH PLANETARIUM will present the special program, "The Star of Bethlehem," Dec. 17 and 22, 7 p.m. Around the time of the birth of Jesus, several rare astronomical events occurred over a period of many months and may have been interpreted to foreshadow the birth of the Messiah. Join the discussion of these events and view a dark-sky presentation. Great for ages seven and up. Free and open to the public. For more information, see Star of Bethlehem.

UMD GLENSHEEN MANSION HOLIDAY BRUNCHES continue on Dec. 18 and 19. Brunches begin with a festive tour of Glensheen followed by a sumptuous holiday brunch, complete with a whimsical wassail toast. Cost: $26.95 for adults, $15.95 for children 6–12, and free for those younger than five. For more information, email Glensheen or see holiday brunch.

AN ADVANCED TELESCOPE nicknamed "Robodome" is probing the skies from the roof of the Marshall W. Alworth Building. The instrument, which features state-of-the-art software, can view celestial objects and locate millions of astronomical features. For more information, see telescope.

KJELL KNUDSEN, DEAN OF THE LABOVITZ SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, has been appointed by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) to its blue ribbon Committee on Accreditation Quality. The global committee of business and business school experts will evaluate the state of readiness of AACSB accreditation standards and processes to ensure the alignment of business practice and management education. For more information, see business.


BIOLOGY PROFESSOR CHRIS COLE will serve as visiting scholar at the Umea Plant Science Center (UPSC) in Sweden from June until December 2011. UPSC, a premier institution for research in plant genomics, molecular ecology, and bioenergy production, draws researchers from 35 countries. Much of the research focuses on aspen trees. Cole has linked genetics and ecology of North American aspens to large-scale changes in climate and carbon dioxide.

THE MORRIS STUDENT IMPROV GROUP, The Unusual Suspects, won first place in the regional division of the Chicago Improv Festival. The troupe competes at nationals in February 2011 in Chicago. For more information, see Unusual Suspects.

THE RECENTLY RENOVATED "GREEN" WELCOME CENTER received the 2011 Minnesota Construction Association's (MCA) Special Recognition Award. The MCA annually recognizes a project that was completed as a result of "resourceful blending of construction techniques and professionals." For more information, see construction award.


STUDENTS IN SERVICE (SIS), a new program open to all UMR students, is a part-time AmeriCorps program that offers $1,100 scholarships to students who participate in 300 hours of community service over the course of one year. SIS members make a difference in their communities and gain valuable civic and workforce skills. Those interested in participating must attend one of the required informational sessions. RSVP to Jenny Hegland to attend. For more information, see Students in Service.


Administrative information

THE OFFICE OF CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT (OCM) IS REQUESTING FEEDBACK from those who teach in general purpose classrooms. OCM emailed a General Purpose Classroom Satisfaction & Planning Survey on Dec. 6 to faculty and staff who taught in a general purpose classroom during fall semester. The survey provides OCM with valuable input on the needs, expectations, and experiences of those who teach in these classrooms. Feedback is requested by Dec. 23. For more information, see the Office of Classroom Management.

THE LIBRARIES RECENTLY completed a planning process to ensure that resources are aligned to meet the changing needs of its users. The evolution of digital content, new forms of information access, and tools for communication and exchange are changing rapidly. As this digital context changes how faculty and students discover and manage their research resources, create new knowledge, and share their work, the Libraries are challenged to support them. For more information see strategic priorities or download the full report.

BOYNTON HEALTH SERVICE WILL BE OPEN WITH LIMITED SERVICES during the University winter closure, Dec. 28–30, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Walk-in services (urgent care and quick, clinic-type conditions) will be open. Pharmacy, Primary Care, Dental Clinic, and the Mental Health Clinic will be open. The Eye Clinic, Gopher Quick Clinic, and Women’s Clinic will be closed (no eye-glasses or contact-lens pick-up.) Students paying the Student Services Fee may be seen in Primary Care for quick, clinic-type services. For more information, see Boynton Health.

Specials and events

THE CAMPUS CLUB will hold end-of-semester and winter happy hours every weekday beginning Dec. 13, 3–6 p.m., through Jan. 14. All faculty and staff are invited and club membership is not required. Food and beverage specials will be offered. For more information, see Campus Club.

SHOP AND SAVE at the Student Unions & Activities Information Desks, now offering Minnesota Wild tickets for select games. Save up to $60 at the Information Desks. For more information, see information desks.

MORE EVENTS include Neurology Grand Rounds: Winning the Battle but Losing the War (Dec. 16; Surface Design Open House and Studio Sale (Dec. 17); Hot Chocolate Walk (Dec. 18). SEE THESE AND MORE TWIN CITIES CAMPUS EVENTS.

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

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

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. All Twin Cities event submissions are handled through the events calendar at

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