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Vol. XLI No. 39; Dec. 7, 2011
Editor: Adam Overland,

Brief publication calendar: Brief will not be published Dec. 28 and Jan. 4. Publication will resume Jan. 11. All submissions for the Jan. 11 issue are due no later than noon, Jan. 6.

Inside This Issue
--The Board of Regents will meet Dec. 8–9.
--State Relations Update.
--Features: A real voice for the U; Accessibility requires action; This Week @Minnesota; U of M Moment.
--People: Jason Rohloff has been named special assistant to the president for government relations; and more.

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


BOARD OF REGENTS: The Board of Regents will meet Dec. 8–9. The Board's agenda includes an update on the state of the Minnesota economy from state economist and U professor Tom Stinson; a report on undergraduate retention and graduation rates; a tuition surcharge proposal within the Carlson School of Management; an update from the Office of the Vice President for Research on the status of University research, and other topics. For more information, see the news release and the Board of Regents docket materials.

STATE RELATIONS UPDATE: Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released the state's budget forecast Dec. 1, projecting an $876 million surplus for the 2012–13 biennium. State law requires that the surplus be added to the state's cash flow account and budget reserves. The surplus is also good news for the U in that it marks the first time in years that the University may not face additional budget cuts in the current biennium; however, there remains a projected $1.3 billion deficit for 2014–15 biennium. For more information, see state relations.


FEATURE: For more than 20 years, Donna Peterson has been the head of government relations for the University of Minnesota. As she prepares to step aside in January, it's not without some nostalgia. But she's hopeful for the future, too. The body of U advocates—anyone willing, as she says, to speak positively on behalf of the U—is growing. And as the U makes an ever more positive impact in the lives of its students and people everywhere, all those advocates pushing together will be a powerful force. For more information, read "A real voice for the U."

FEATURE: U faculty members have a critical role to play in making sure the University is accessible to all students. To ensure students with print disabilities get their course materials in advance of the start of classes, it's critical for UMTC instructors to submit materials to the U's Disability Services weeks in advance. For more information, read "Accessibility requires action."

THIS WEEK @MINNESOTA: For the week of Nov. 28–Dec. 2, Google chairman Eric Schmidt visits campus to talk about technology, business, and higher education; entrepreneurship students pitch business ideas in 90 seconds; and students sing "Deck the Halls" in a flash mob at the Carlson School of Management. For more information, watch "This Week @Minnesota."

U OF M MOMENT: Over the past eight years, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences professor Nevin Young led a distinguished international team of scientists in deciphering an important piece of the genetic history of legumes. Young says that in the wake of the disaster that killed the dinosaurs 60 million years ago, most ancestors of today's crop plants reinvented themselves by doubling their chromosomes. Young says the findings may help researchers genetically develop legumes to do a better job of meeting the world's rising demand for nitrogen. For more information, listen to the U of M Moment.

Awards, appointments, and other announcements

PEOPLE: Jason Rohloff has been named special assistant to the president for government relations; the Institute on the Environment has selected 13 interdisciplinary initiatives for funding in the second round of awards for its Mini Grant program; assistant professor Abi Gewirtz has received the Professional of the Year Award for 2011 from the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota; economics professor Tom Holmes has been elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society; sociology department chair and professor Chris Uggen is the recipient of the 2011 Equal Justice Award in Research from the Council on Crime and Justice; the U has finalized an agreement with Dow Chemical Company that will result in the University receiving nearly $17 million over the next five years; U in the News features U faculty and staff cited in the media. Read about these topics and more in People.



Funding awards and opportunities

MULTICULTURAL RESEARCH AWARDS APPLICATIONS are invited by the Institute for Diversity, Equity and Advocacy (IDEA) and the Office for Equity and Diversity. Research proposals should be tied to enhancing the visibility and advancing the productivity of an interdisciplinary group of faculty and community scholars whose expertise in equity, diversity, and underrepresented populations will lead to innovative scholarship. Proposal applications are due Jan. 13, 4:30 p.m. For an application and more information, see Multicultural Research Awards.


SOYBEAN PRODUCERS AND AGRICULTURE PROFESSIONALS interested in practical and in-depth management information to help maximize profits in soybean production are encouraged to participate in UMC's Soybean College, an interactive combination of hands-on lab experiences and lectures. Dec. 20, 8:30 a.m.–3:10 p.m. Registration is $40 before Dec. 12, or $50 at the door. For more information, see Soybean College.

THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY FACULTY AND STAFF HOLIDAY GET-TOGETHER will take place Dec. 15, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., Bede Ballroom. Faculty and staff from across the campus community—the UMC, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center, the Northwest Area Health Education Center, and the Crookston Regional Extension Center—are encouraged to attend. For more information, see holiday party.


ANDREA SCHOKKER has been appointed UMD's executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. Since 2008, Schokker has been professor and founding head of the UMD Department of Civil Engineering. She will begin in January 2012. For more information, see Andrea Schokker.

THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION video series Science Nation is featuring research conducted by Mary Hermes while she worked as an associate professor at UMD. Hermes's documentation of the Chippewa language and the training of indigenous scholars has become a highly regarded resource for a growing Ojibwe language revitalization effort. For more information, watch the video.

THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SPECIAL, "DRAIN THE GREAT LAKES," features data and research from UMD's Large Lakes Observatory faculty member Nigel Wattrus and UMD research associate Doug Ricketts. The program aired Dec. 1. For more information, see "Drain the Great Lakes."


AMERICAN INDIANS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING SOCIETY MEMBERS Melissa Carnicle '12 and Alexandra Myhal '14 were recognized at the society's national conference. Carnicle received first place for a presentation on the hydrological effects of attempts to prevent flash floods after a major wildfire. Myhal received second place for a presentation on the molecular basis of spinal muscular atrophy. Joe Alia, associate professor of chemistry, serves as adviser. For more information, see science and engineering awards.

THROUGH THE CENTER FOR SMALL TOWNS' Students in Service AmeriCorps program, Seth Elsen '12 is researching current energy use and options for future renewable energy combinations for the Upper Sioux Community. The community is seeking to lessen its environmental footprint, and their location near Granite Falls holds exceptional opportunities to utilize wind and solar energy. For more information, see renewable energy research.

U OF M SCHOLARLY EXCELLENCE IN EQUITY AND DIVERSITY AWARDS (SEED) honored UMM students Luciana Ranelli '13 and Ashleigh Thompson '13. Ranelli is planning the Equity, Diversity, and Intercultural Connections Retreat. Thompson served as a community adviser for the Morris Wind, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program and as chair of the Circle of Nations Indigenous Association 2011 Powwow. For more information, see UMM SEED award recipients.


UMR CONNECTS will feature a stress management reduction theme during the month of December. Upcoming events include "Stresssss-lesss Resolutions," with Sonja Hallworth; and "Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practices for Stress Management and Health Promotion," with Deah Kinion. Connect events are held each Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. on the fourth floor of University Square, and are free and open to the public. For more information, see UMR Connects.


Administrative information

THE OFFICE OF CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT (OCM) IS REQUESTING FEEDBACK from those who teach in general purpose classrooms. On Dec. 6, OCM emailed survey invitations to instructors who taught in a general purpose classroom during the fall semester. OCM encourages those who received the survey invitation to complete it by Dec. 23. 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.

UMPD IS A TOYS FOR TOTS DROP SITE. The University of Minnesota Police Department is collecting new, unwrapped toys to be distributed during the holidays to those less fortunate in the community. The age groups most in need include 0- to 2-year-olds and 15- to 17-year-olds. Bring toys to the lobby of the Transportation and Safety Building, 511 Washington Avenue, S.E. The last day to drop off toys is Dec. 19, 2 p.m. For more information, see Toys for Tots.

MOODLE 1.9 VS. MOODLE 2.0: What's the Difference? To help you quickly learn about what has changed, the Office of Information Technology has prepared a series of short videos. For more information, see technology training.

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 Google chairman Eric Schmidt's visit and talk at the Humphrey School. Previews include an Anderson Library exhibit celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, Jim Brandenburg's "Chased By The Light" photo exhibit opening at the Bell Museum, and more. For more information, see Preview/Review.

BE DAZZLED SHOPPING EVENT: WEISMAN ART MUSEUM (WAM). WAM members and U faculty, staff, and students receive 20 percent off WAM's selection of holiday gifts Dec. 7, 4–8 p.m., Weisman Art Museum. Be Dazzled Discount Days continue Dec. 8–11, during which U faculty, staff, and students receive 10 percent off. For more information, see WAM discount shopping.

WINTER LIGHT SHOW AND 5K RUN: The College of Science and Engineering will host a light show designed by students, and preceded by a 5K run. The entire Civil Engineering Building Plaza will be covered in more than 75,000 LED lights and 400 individual controllable lights for an immersive 3D outdoor experience set to music. Shows take place Dec. 9 at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 p.m. Each show will last 15–20 minutes. Free and open to the public. For more information, see light show.

ROBOT SHOW: A robotic cheese slicer, a T-shirt folder, and a Texas Hold 'em card dealer will be among nearly 250 machines on display at the U Robot Show, the largest robot show in the Twin Cities. All robots are designed by College of Science and Engineering students in the Introduction to Engineering class. Free, open to the public, and suitable for all ages. Dec. 12, 2:30–4:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center. For more information, see robot show.

MORE EVENTS include Collaboration for Environmental Protection: Knowledge, Communication & Process (Dec. 7); Beyond Marriage (Dec. 8); "A Market-Based Study of the Cost of Default" with guest Sergei Davydenko (Dec. 9); a discussion with acclaimed author Larry Watson (Dec. 12); SHIFT—An Exhibition Fundraiser for UMN Art Scholarships (Dec. 14). 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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