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Vol. XLI No. 11; March 23, 2011
Editor: Adam Overland,

Inside This Issue
--State Relations update.
--Legislative Network call to action.
--Features: He connects with kids; Marc Hillmyer: Distinguished McKnight University Professor; U of M Moment; This week @Minnesota.
--People: Alumni Association CEO Phil Esten named one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s "40 Under 40"; and more.

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


STATE RELATIONS UPDATE: On Mar. 17, the House released its omnibus higher education bill. The bill would reduce the U's state funding by 17.8 percent, which represents a $229.2 million reduction over the 2012–13 biennium. The U's annual general fund appropriation for fiscal year 2012 totals $527.5 million, which is now less than 1998 appropriations. The reductions for the U vary between the operations and maintenance budget and the state specials. The legislature did not mandate a tuition cap, but did include an "expectation" that tuition revenue should not increase by more than $76 million. Late on the afternoon of Mar. 22, the Senate bill entered committee. State Relations will have an update as the information becomes available. For more information, see state relations.

LEGISLATION TITLED THE "HUMAN CLONING PROHIBITION ACT OF 2011" was considered and has been passed by several legislative committees. The legislation purports to ban human reproductive cloning, but in fact bans all methods of cellular cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer). Many of these practices are believed by the scientific community to hold the promise of treatments and cures for many fatal and debilitating diseases. The U opposes this legislation and has issued a call to contact legislators through the U's Legislative Network, a grassroots coalition of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. For more information, join the network and take action.

BRIEF ON FACEBOOK: Brief is now on the social networking site, Facebook. Faculty and staff are invited to join in the conversation. Content will very often highlight faculty and staff at the U, as well as timely events and information. The page will not be a substitute for the official University of Minnesota faculty and staff weekly news digest. For more information, see Brief on Facebook.


FEATURE: Tex Ostvig has brought more than 10,000 schoolchildren to the U as part of the Kids on Campus program, putting a college education on their horizon. Ostvig coordinates the U program, which is designed to bring Minnesota youth to campus and expose them to the possibilities of a college education. For more information, read "He connects with kids."

FEATURE: Marc Hillmyer's office is a spare, bright green island on the second floor of Smith Hall. This is where the future of plastics is taking shape in the transition from petroleum to renewable sources. With more than 300 pounds of synthetic polymers produced per person per year in the United States—almost all from oil and only a fraction recycled—a lot is at stake. Because of his creative leadership in bridging organic chemistry and engineering for such a critical area, Hillmyer was named a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in 2010. For more information, read a profile of Hillmyer.

U OF M MOMENT: Communities in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota are preparing for spring floods once again after record-setting winter snow totals. Geography professor Scott St. George says that while weather plays a role, the region's unique geology is the underlying cause of such severe flooding. He says it makes flooding in the area like pouring water on a table. For more information, listen to the U of M Moment.

THIS WEEK @MINNESOTA: Mar. 14–18. This installment of the new weekly video roundup from the U's News Service features the Medical School's Match Day and newly licensed technology that collects sediment from storm water runoff to prevent pollution. For more information, watch "This Week @Minnesota."

Awards and appointments

PEOPLE: Alumni Association CEO Phil Esten has been named one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s "40 Under 40"; legendary Gopher football head coach Murray Warmath passed away at age 98; U Libraries' "AgEcon Search" won an Innovation in Science and Technology Librarianship Award; U in the News features U faculty cited in the media. Read about these topics and more in People.



THE AD HOC COMMITTEE appointed by regents chair Clyde Allen will meet to discuss and determine whether a conflict of interest exists for newly appointed regent Steve Sviggum. The committee met Mar. 22 to receive preliminary materials. A previously scheduled Mar. 24 meeting has been cancelled. Instead, the committee will meet Mar. 30, 3 p.m., West Committee Room, McNamara Alumni Center, to receive any additional materials and to discuss and determine whether a conflict exists. The full board will then meet to consider the recommendation of the ad hoc group on Mar. 31, noon, Boardroom, McNamara Alumni Center. For more information, see the news release.

A SEARCH COMMITTEE FOR THE NEXT SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AND PROVOST has been appointed by president-designate Eric W. Kaler. The search committee will be led by vice president for research Tim Mulcahy, with broad representation from the University community. For more information including the full committee, see the news release.

FOUR FINALISTS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED FOR DEAN OF THE HUMPHREY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS. The new dean will lead the country's third-oldest public affairs program, which currently ranks 14th among more than 280 schools of public affairs and administration across the United States, and sixth among all public universities. All candidates’ public presentations will take place at the Humphrey School's Cowles Auditorium. The new dean is expected to start by fall semester 2011. For more information, see Humphrey finalists.

PUBLIC HEALTH MOMENT: Caring for an aging parent. A few years ago, Robert Kane, a professor and expert on aging, was suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver for his mother. The problems he encountered with our nation’s long-term care system prompted him to write a book, It Shouldn't Be This Way: The Failure of Long-Term Care. Now, Kane has written a second book, The Good Caregiver. Kane describes it as a survival guide for caregivers—to help them and to make their lives a little easier. For more information, see Public Health Moment.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events


A MINI-GRANT FROM THE INSTITUTE ON THE ENVIRONMENT will help fund a series of bi-weekly, "sustainability supper seminars" designed to educate the campus and local community on sustainability applications. In the first seminar, Dan Svedarsky, professor and director of the Center for Sustainability, will address "The broad brush of sustainability, global and local." Systems design consultant Scott Johnson will also outline the application of the systems approach to complex campus-community sustainability initiatives. Mar. 24, 5 p.m., Bede Ballroom. For more information, including upcoming sessions, see sustainability supper.

PRESIDENT BRUININKS WILL ADDRESS UMC GRADUATES during commencement on May 7, 2 p.m., Lysaker Gymnasium. The ceremony will recognize the 103rd graduating class on the campus. For more information, see commencement.

DORIS COOPER has been hired as a grants and contracts coordinator. Cooper will research, identify, and communicate potential sources of funding to support research projects and program development opportunities, coordinate sources of funding for future grants and contracts, and assist faculty members with grant writing and coordination of resources. She begins April 4.


A NEW MASTER'S DEGREE IN TRIBAL ADMINISTRATION AND GOVERNANCE will begin fall 2011. Tadd Johnson, UMD American Indian Studies department head, will direct the graduate program. The deadline for applications is April 1. For more information, see new degree.

THE MODERN DRAMA COLDER THAN HERE, written by Laura Wade and directed by Kelly Grussendorf, will be presented Mar. 24–26, 29, and Apr. 2, 7 p.m.; and Mar. 27, 2 p.m., Dudley Experimental Theatre, Marshall Performing Arts Center. The play portrays a woman battling cancer and her family's struggle through the process of accepting the death of a loved one. For tickets, see Colder Than Here.


THE ANNUAL JURIED STUDENT ART EXHIBITION will feature works by both art and non-art majors. Juror Ben Heywood, executive director of The Soap Factory, selected 52 pieces by 35 students. An opening reception will be held Mar. 24, 7–9 p.m., Humanities Fine Arts Gallery. For more information, see student art exhibit opening.

WORLD TOUCH CULTURAL HERITAGE WEEK will be held March 26–31. "Unweaving the Journey of Our Ancestors" will be a series of events celebrating diversity on campus and throughout the country. Nearly all events are free and open to the public. For more information, see cultural heritage week.

MORRIS WILL HOST THE FIRST INTERCOLLEGIATE GROUND QUIDDITCH TOURNAMENT IN MINNESOTA Apr. 16–17, Big Cat Stadium. The game is a combination of rugby, basketball, soccer, and dodgeball popularized in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. Teams expected to vie for the "Prairie Cup" include UMM, UMTC, UMD, and St. Olaf College. For more information, see Quidditch.


CHANCELLOR STEPHEN LEHMKUHLE toured construction of the University of Minnesota-Rochester building, a 25,000-square-foot facility, which will open this fall, offering courses specializing in medical technology and health care. For more information, see MPR.


Administrative information

THE PROVOST OFFICE'S "ACHIEVING EXCELLENCE REPORT" chronicles the academic progress of the Twin Cities campus since the start of strategic positioning in 2004. Some highlights of the report: undergraduate applications have more than doubled from 18,500 to 39,000; total financial aid to Twin Cities undergraduate students increased from $208 million in 2004–05 to $311 million in 2009–10; the U had 13 doctoral programs rank within the top 5, 19 programs within the top 10, and 45 programs within the top 25 in the country, according to a 2010 National Research Council assessment; total R & D expenditures grew 41 percent, the third largest growth rate among the top 20 universities in the country. For more information, download the full report.

OUTSTANDING STUDENT EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION AWARDS honor the top 10 percent of undergraduate student employees on the UMTC campus. Faculty and staff who supervise undergraduate student employees may nominate a student and learn more about the award at student employee recognition. Award nominations are due Mar. 31. For more information, email Robin Stubblefield or call 612-624-3088.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

DURING NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK (NPHW) APRIL 4–8, the School of Public Health (SPH) will host two free events: SPH Research Day, Apr. 4, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., Great Hall, Coffman Union; and the NPHW Film Festival, Apr. 4–8, 5:30 p.m. Free food and beverages will be provided each evening. For more information, see research day and film festival.

LECTURE: "SUNgas: A Vision for Renewable Fuels." Mechanical engineering professor and world-renowned solar researcher Jane Davidson will present her research team's efforts to solve one of the world’s most pressing challenges—the need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously meeting an exploding global demand for energy. Free and open to the public, but registration is required. Apr. 5, 7 p.m., Tate Laboratory of Physics, Van Vleck Auditorium. For registration and more information, see renewable fuels lecture.

THE U'S WOMEN'S FACULTY CABINET will present Women, Work, and Reproduction: Conversations with Martha West. West will discuss sex-based employment discrimination and the accommodation of discrimination through delaying childbearing. The workshop consists of an Apr. 5 lecture, noon–1:15 p.m., Auerbach Commons, Law School; and an armchair discussion and cocktail reception, 5:30–7 p.m., William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul. RSVP to Raya Hegeman-Davis. For more information, see Women, Work, and Reproduction.

MORE EVENTS include Frontiers in the Environment lecture: "Managing Complex Dilemmas: Global Food Safety and Security" (Mar. 23); The Origin of Image Making: Behavioral Ecology of Cephalopods and Art (Mar. 24); "Unlucky Lucky Bodies" (Mar. 25); Eastern Mediterranean Influences on Opera and Music Theater in Europe (Mar. 28); 2011 Minnesota Cup Launch (Mar. 28). 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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