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Vol. XLII No. 4; Feb. 1, 2012
Editor: Adam Overland,

Inside This Issue
--Video: Why a public research university matters.
--Academic Health Center external review committee appointed.
--Tune in to the U's Legislative Briefing on Feb. 1.
--Features: They know the drool; Three-pronged push for children; Profile of Saif Benjaafar, Distinguished McKnight University Professor; This Week @Minnesota.
--People: 2012 recipients of the McKnight Land-Grant Professorships are Yingling Fan, Joshua Feinberg, Melissa Gardner, Jason Hill, Daniel Keefe, and Dominique Tobbell; and more.

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


UMN VIDEO: WHY A PUBLIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITY IS IMPORTANT. The U of M is a place where people search for new knowledge, which creates businesses, lifts communities, and changes lives. Two-thirds of U students will stay in Minnesota when they graduate. They will become Minnesota's workforce for new and growing industries, its teachers, healers, artists, and engineers. And they will make Minnesota a vibrant place to live. Share this message widely and help to create awareness about the U's importance to the state. For more information, watch the video.

AN EXTERNAL REVIEW OF THE ACADEMIC HEALTH CENTER (AHC) will consider whether the AHC is structured to ensure excellence in all of the U's health science schools. President Kaler charged a small committee to conduct the external review in a letter to U faculty and staff on Jan. 30. This committee will be chaired by Ken Kaushansky, a member of the Institute on Medicine, dean of the School of Medicine, and senior vice president for the Health Sciences at Stony Brook University. For more information, see AHC external review.

THE U'S 2012 LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING TAKES PLACE FEB. 1. For online participation, visit U Legislative Briefing. The event begins at 6 p.m. Participants will learn about the U's 2012 legislative agenda and President Kaler's vision for the U. Attendees will also hear about new and interactive ways to advocate on behalf of the U. For more information, see Legislative Briefing.


FEATURE: It's a researcher's dream: a simple, noninvasive test to detect life-threatening cancer, heart disease, or other maladies while they're still treatable. A team of U researchers is in hot pursuit of that goal, using one of the simplest means imaginable: testing spit. They've discovered that conditions such as breast and oral cancer leak certain proteins into saliva, and if detected, such proteins can be "biomarkers" for the disease. For more information, read "They know the drool."

FEATURE: A new day is dawning for children who live in poverty or other circumstances that stymie their ability to excel in school. In December, the U of M and the state received three grants, totaling $88 million, from the U.S. Department of Education to give children at risk the kind of start in life they deserve. The support will put child development experts at the U on the ground with numerous partners. For more information, read "Three-pronged push for children."

FEATURE: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But what's the shortest distance between hundreds of points? Distinguished McKnight University Professor Saif Benjaafar draws on knowledge of engineering, economics, computing, and business to determine the most efficient way to manage complex supply chains. A mechanical engineering professor until recently, Benjaafar has spent the past decade getting the Industrial and Systems Engineering program off the ground. For more information, read a profile of Saif Benjaafar.

THIS WEEK @MINNESOTA: Jan. 23–27. This installment of the weekly video feature takes a look at a collaboration between the U of M and Mayo clinic, visits with a Carlson School graduate, and takes a peek at the winners of the U's "Driven to Discover" video contest. For more information, watch "This Week @Minnesota."

Awards, appointments, and other announcements

PEOPLE: 2012 recipients of the McKnight Land-Grant Professorships are Yingling Fan, Joshua Feinberg, Melissa Gardner, Jason Hill, Daniel Keefe, and Dominique Tobbell; the University of Minnesota Press book, Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music, has been selected as a finalist in the criticism category for a National Book Critics Circle Award; U in the News features U faculty and staff cited in the media. Read about these topics and more in People.



Administrative information

THE U'S CAPITAL REQUEST to the Minnesota State Legislature and how faculty and staff can advocate for the University during the 2012 legislative session was the topic at the most recent installment of "Campus Conversations." Jason Rohloff, new special assistant to the president for government relations, spoke at the event. A video recording of the presentation is available online.

THE U OF M WEB BROWSING SIGN-IN PAGE and its authentication platform will be upgraded Feb. 15, with changes taking effect immediately thereafter. The newly designed sign-in page offers significant improvements. It has been updated to meet U branding standards, to accommodate screen readers, and to display on mobile devices. For a visual demonstration of the changes, compare the current sign-in page with the new sign-in page. For more information, see the Office of Information Technology.

AN ONLINE REGENTS CERTIFICATE PROGRAM IN CLINICAL RESEARCH has been created to meet the growing demand for health professionals skilled in clinical research. The 15-credit program is designed specifically for clinicians and other health professionals, and all courses are provided online through the School of Public Health. The program consists of six courses that can be completed in two years (taking one course per semester). Applications will be accepted until the program reaches capacity. For more information, see clinical research certificate, email Regents Certificate, or call 612-626-5665.

Funding awards and opportunities

PROPOSALS FOR THE SPRING 2012 MINI GRANTS COMPETITION sponsored by the Institute on the Environment are due by Mar. 9. IonE Mini Grants are intended to help spur new collaborative efforts by providing small amounts of funding (from $500 to $3,000, with average grants being $1,500), administrative support (including organizing and staffing meetings), and space (for meetings, small conferences, new courses, reading groups, etc.) to interdisciplinary groups of faculty, staff, and students from across the U system. The grants are meant to encourage collaboration across disciplines, units, and campuses. For more information, see Mini Grants.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

THE INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE, "Addressing Global Challenges through International Research," will feature presentations by more than 90 U faculty, researchers, and graduate students, as well as panel discussions on global policies, ethics, and partnerships. David Stonner, deputy director at the National Science Foundation Office of International Science and Engineering, will give the keynote address at the conference. Free and open to the U community, with lunch provided. Feb. 17, 8 a.m.–4 p.m., Coffman Union. For more information, see international research.


"FAMOUS DAVE" Anderson, founder of Famous Dave's Barbecue, will speak at a Thursday Commons event, Feb. 2, noon, Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. Sponsored by the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies, Anderson will tell his story about overcoming tremendous odds, adversity, and failure in order to create the successful restaurant company. For more information, see Famous Dave's.

THE SECOND ANNUAL JUSTIN KNEBEL MEMORIAL ICE FISHING TOURNAMENT will be held Feb. 4, Zippel Bay Resort, Williams, Minn. The entry fee is $25 in advance, $30 at the gate, and includes a road access fee. All proceeds go to UMC athletic scholarships and the Justin Knebel Endowed Scholarship. For more information, see Justin Knebel scholarship fundraiser.

THE 2012 U OF M LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING will be shown live in 116 Kiehle Building and online Feb. 1. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. with light hors d'oeuvres; the program begins at 6 p.m.


THE ROYAL D. ALWORTH JR. INSTITUTE AND BAEUMLER-KAPLAN HOLOCAUST COMMEMORATION will begin the UMD spring semester film series, "The Holocaust: Resistance and Survival," featuring the first Hollywood film to portray Nazi oppression, The Mortal Storm. The spring film series is scheduled at 3:30 p.m., 70 Montague, on five Thursdays: Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23, and Mar. 1. For the complete list of films and showings, see Holocaust commemoration.

THE ANNUAL "SPRING FEAST" hosted by the American Indian Learning Resource Center will take place Feb. 7, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., UMD Kirby Ballroom. The feast will include a discussion with artist Carl Gawboy and UMD professor and author Ronald Lee Morton about their new book, Ancient Earth and the First Ancestors: A Cultural and Geological Journey. Free and open to the public. For more information, see Spring Feast.

THE NATURAL RESOURCE RESEARCH INSTITUTE recently released a study that illustrates the potential for storing wind energy in abandoned mines. The pumped-hydro storage process would match consumer demand at peak usage, while storing excess power when the need for energy is lower. For more information, see storing wind energy.


IMAGINE FUND RECIPIENTS: Twelve UMM professors are among the recipients of the all-University 2012 Imagine Fund Awards. Supported by a grant from the McKnight Foundation, the Imagine Fund is a unique systemwide program that supports projects in the arts, humanities, and design at the U. For more information, see UMM Imagine Fund recipients.

THE SIXTH ANNUAL COMMUNITY OF SCHOLARS event will host approximately 200 students from across the country in competition for the Prairie Scholars Award and the Morris Scholars Award—the Morris campus's most prestigious competitive scholarships. For more information, see scholarship competition.


UMR CONNECTS WILL FOCUS ON PATENTS AND INNOVATIVE RESEARCH during the month of February. The next event, Feb. 7, will discuss why nanotechnology is projected to be a $1 trillion industry by the end of this year. UMR Connects is a weekly series, held Tuesdays, connecting the community and visitors to speakers, authors, panels, and more on a variety of engaging topics. For more information, see UMR Connects.


Administrative information

GOOGLE+ AND GOOGLE SITES TRAINING is now being offered by the Office of Information Technology. Learn how to use Google+ to easily share information and conduct impromptu web meetings, or how to easily create websites using Google Sites. Training is also available for using Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. For more information, see technology training.

LIBRARY COURSE PAGES are available in Moodle and on the Libraries homepage ("Course Resources" tab). Faculty and staff are asked to encourage students to explore the pages, which bring together databases for finding articles, 24/7 "Chat with a Librarian," course reserve readings, and more. Resources may be added to a course page by contacting the librarian listed on the page. For more information, see an example of a Library Course Page.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

THE GRAMMY AWARD WINNING PARKER QUARTET will perform works by Mendelssohn, Kirchner, and Dvoƙák at a concert Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m., Ted Mann Concert Hall. This event is part of the School of Music's Creative Instructional Residency Initiative program. Free and open to the public. For more information, see Parker Quartet.

THERE IS STILL TIME TO REGISTER FOR MINI MEDICAL SCHOOL'S winter session, "It's All in Your Head: The Latest in Brain Science and Treatment." Participants will discover how world-renowned experts at the U are making major advances in the field of brain science. Mondays, Feb. 6–Mar. 5, 6–8:30 p.m., 2-650 Moos Tower. For registration and more information, see Mini-Medical School or call 612-624-4604.

THE PHYSICS FORCE PUBLIC SHOW is a unique mix of large-scale physics demonstrations and humor for adults and children of all ages. The event is an outreach program —performing for more than 20,000 school-age kids annually—of the College of Science and Engineering, and includes high school teachers and U physics professors. The group's goal is to show that difficult subjects like physics and math can be fun and interesting. Feb. 9, 7–8:30 p.m., Minneapolis Convention Center. Free. For more information, see Physics Force.

PHYSICS AND COOKING: Discover intriguing facts about the science of innovative approaches to the preparation and presentation of foods. Harvard professor David Weitz will present lessons based on an introductory science course, Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter, offered at Harvard by Weitz and a team of top international chefs. Feb. 9, 7-8:30 p.m., 150 Tate Laboratory of Physics. For more information, see cooking physics.

WHY UNIVERSITIES SHOULD OFFER MORE INTERDISCIPLINARY EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES will be the topic of an Institute for Advanced Study panel discussion. "Questions Without Borders: Why Future Research and Teaching Will Be Interdisciplinary," will feature remarks by Myron Gutmann, assistant director at the National Science Foundation. It will be moderated by U provost Karen Hanson, with U faculty panel participation. Feb. 13, 3:30–5 p.m., Coffman Union. For more information, see interdisciplinary discussion.

NORTHROP DANCE will present the Jin Xing Dance Theatre Shanghai Minnesota Debut, Feb. 18, 8 p.m., Orpheum Theatre. China's most celebrated dancer, Jin Xing, and her company showcase a retrospective of 10 of her best works over the last 25 years, featuring lavish onstage environments and a feast for the senses. U of M discounts apply. A public interview with Jin Xing will also take place Feb. 16, 4 p.m., 125 Nolte, as part of the Institute for Advanced Study's Thursdays at Four Series (free). For tickets and more information, see Northrop Dance.

THE SPRING 2012 GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION ASSEMBLY, "From First Course to First Job: Developing and Rewarding Excellence in Graduate Student Advising," will be held Apr. 12, 1:30–4 p.m., Mississippi Room, Coffman Union. The quality of advising is a key factor in graduate students' successful completion of their degree programs, and also can be a primary reason students leave. Join others in facilitated discussions on how to achieve excellence in advising. Open to U faculty, staff, postdocs, and students interested in the future of graduate and professional education at the U. For registration and more information, see assembly.

MORE EVENTS include 2012 Legislative Briefing (Feb. 1); Grant Funding—Search Tools and Resources (Feb. 2); BIG Thursday Night at the Bell (Feb. 2); Call It Character: A Selection of Stars from Archives and Special Collections (Feb. 3); Copyright in the Classroom (and Online) (Feb. 6); Mendeley: Get Organized (Feb. 7). 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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