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Vol. XLIII No. 9; March 6, 2013
Editor: Adam Overland,

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

Inside This Issue
--Board of Regents meet Mar. 7–8.
--State of the U highlights.
--Federal Relations Update.
--State Relations Update.
--Features: Mending the Minnesota; Occupying a place in U history; Bridging the robotics divide.
--People: 2012–13 recipients of the John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising; and more.

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


THE BOARD OF REGENTS WILL MEET Mar. 7–8. On Mar. 7, regents will spend time with the College of Liberal Arts to gain insights into the strengths and challenges in teaching and research at the U's largest college. On Mar. 8, President Kaler will update the board on the U's Operational Excellence initiative, including a final draft of the progress report on administrative cost analysis requested by the Legislature. Regents will also review preliminary results from an external review of the management structure of the U's central administration. For more information, see the news release.

PRESIDENT KALER DELIVERED HIS SECOND STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY ADDRESS on Feb. 28, detailing academic, research, and cost reduction successes during the past year and outlining future plans. Recognizing the demands on public higher education to demonstrate value and reduce costs, Kaler said that the U must embrace new ideas, but cautioned against quick fixes and knee-jerk reactions. Learn more about his priorities via the news release or the full text of the speech online.

FEDERAL RELATIONS REPORT: Federal budget cuts from the sequestration went into effect Mar. 1. Federal agencies have been slow to reveal their plans for the cuts, but the U's Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) is posting information from research agencies as it becomes available. Those who may be affected should check SPA's site and contact them if you receive any clear directions regarding a grant or contract. For more information, see Federal Relations.

STATE RELATIONS UPDATE: Minnesota Management & Budget has released its February economic forecast, projecting a budget shortfall of $627 million for fiscal year 2014–15—an improvement of $463 million over the previous forecast. While this news is positive, it does little to change current legislative budget talks, as spending and revenue levels still leave structural deficits for future years. For more information, see State Relations.


FEATURE: U researchers have been studying the Minnesota River for years, seeking ways to stem the erosion that degrades water quality and robs the region of priceless farmland. In September the U received a $4.3 million grant to study how climate, water, and human land use interact in the watershed, and to develop tools to study similar situations nationwide. For more information, read "Mending the Minnesota."

FEATURE: Alum Horace Huntley, who helped blaze a trail for African Americans and expand the U's curriculum, reflects on his time at the University and the importance of U engagement with the greater community. For more information, read "Occupying a place in U history."

FEATURE: Mechanical engineering professor Will Durfee is developing wearable robots that augment human motion, carving out a new world of possibilities across many industries. And that's just the beginning. For more information, read "Bridging the robotics divide."

Awards, appointments, and other announcements

PEOPLE: 2012–13 recipients of the John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising; 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

THE BENEFITS ADVISORY COMMITTEE IS REQUESTING COMMENTS about your experiences with UPlan medical and wellness plans since January 2012. Comment by Mar. 8. Anonymous summaries of comments are used in performance reviews of UPlan health plans. Enter comments at BAC 2012–13 UPlan Comments.

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT (FSA) CLAIMS DEADLINE IS MARCH 31. Employees with funds remaining in a 2012 health care or dependent daycare FSA must incur eligible expenses by Mar. 15, and claims must be postmarked or in campus mail by Mar. 31. Per IRS regulations, funds remaining after Mar. 31 will be forfeited. Call 612-624-UOHR (612-624-8647) or 800-756-2363 to reach Employee Benefits.

SUSTAINABILITY SYMPOSIUM: CALL FOR ABSTRACTS, DUE MAR. 15. The symposium invites work from all grad, professional, and undergrad students in a range of disciplines. The symposium will take place Apr. 5. For more information, see sustainability.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

U OF M LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM MEMBERSHIP DISCOUNTS are available to U faculty and staff. To join, call 952-443-1440 or apply in person at the arboretum's Oswald Visitor Center. For more information, see Arboretum membership or email


A VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE AND TAX COUNSELING SITE FOR THE ELDERLY has been established on campus by the UMC Accounting Society and Ken Bulie, lecturer in accounting. The site will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through Apr. 15, 10 a.m.–1:50 p.m., 110M Sahlstrom Conference Center. For more information, see tax assistance, email Ken Bulie, or call 218-281-8194.

THE BUSINESS DEPARTMENT has received approval from the U of M Board of Regents to offer a certificate in taxation. The certificate is designed to prepare students for tax preparation, including individual, farm, business, trusts, payroll, and estate taxes. In addition, it will prepare students for the registered tax return preparer competency test. For more information, see certificate in taxation.

MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL EXECUTIVE Tyler Tumminia will be speaking Mar. 12, 2 p.m., Youngquist Auditorium, Northwest Research and Outreach Center. Tumminia is senior vice president with the Goldklang Group, a minor league baseball ownership consortium that currently owns/manages five ball clubs in various markets throughout the U.S. For more information, see baseball.


KJELL R. KNUDSEN, dean of the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE), has announced that he will retire after 34 years with UMD. Under his leadership, LSBE achieved accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, built a state-of-the-art Gold LEED certified building, and launched numerous innovative programs. For more information, see Knudsen.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JULIA WILLIAMS, Department of Education, has received the 2013 Minnesota Excellence in Education Award. The award acknowledges her expertise in assessment and evaluation. For more information, see Williams.

AS PART OF ITS OVATION GUEST ARTIST CONCERT SERIES, Carl Allen, swing artist and drummer, will perform Mar. 8, 7:30 p.m., Weber Music Hall. Allen has taught music and toured internationally since 1982. He is the artistic director of jazz studies at The Juilliard School in New York City. For more information, see Ovation.

UMD FOODNEWS BLOG offers readers up-to-date information on nutrition, food sensitivity-friendly food options, food allergen information, and healthy food choices available around campus. During the growing season, the blog shares where fresh vegetables from UMD's Sustainable Agriculture Project farm are being served. The blog highlights workshops, lectures, and events year round. For more information, see FoodNews.


"ASKING THE BIG QUESTIONS" will address the topic of reality television and its effects on American culture, with Barbara Burke, associate professor of communication, media, and rhetoric. Mar. 12, 7 p.m., McGinnis Room, Rodney Briggs Library. For more information, see Asking the Big Questions.

THE MORRIS FEMINISTS STUDENT ORGANIZATION will host The F-Word Conference: What Role Do You Play in Redefining Gender and Culture, Mar. 8–9. The intent of the conference is to allow the campus and larger community to engage in open discourse and education on the definition of feminism. For more information, see Morris Feminists.

PROFESSOR CYRUS BINA'S latest book was released last month by Palgrave Macmillan. Praised by top scholars like John Weeks, professor emeritus of economics at the University of London, the book is a "groundbreaking volume of theory and strategy on political economy and polity of the twenty-first century." For more information, see Cyrus Bina.


UMR CONNECTS will explore books and literature on Tuesdays during the month of March. The free weekly lecture series connects the Rochester community and visitors to speakers and panels on a variety of engaging topics. For more information, see UMR CONNECTS.


Administrative information

U LIBRARIES OFFERS A VARIETY OF SERVICES to help in researching and writing papers, including course-specific article databases through its Library Course Pages, one-on-one help via the Peer Research Consultant program, 24/7 chat with a librarian, and more. For more information, see the "Course Resources" tab.

THE U OF M AMPLATZ CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL is gathering stories during the month of March about real life superheroes at Amplatz. The hospital is highlighting stories that recognize an exceptional doctor, nurse, staff member, parent, or patient at the hospital by telling why he or she is your superhero. Share your story at Amplatz Superheroes.

Award and funding opportunities

SUPERVISORS OF STUDENTS are invited to nominate student staff for the Outstanding Student Employee Award. The award recognizes top undergraduate student employees on the UMTC campus. Supervisors are encouraged to nominate students who demonstrate skills and commitment that go above and beyond expectations. Nominations are due Mar. 25. For more information, see the nomination.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

A PHILLIPS NEIGHBORHOOD CLINIC (PNC) SILENT AUCTION will raise funds to help PNC cover its operating expenses. PNC is a free health clinic operated by health professional students at the University. Mar. 7, 6–9 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center. For tickets and more information, see PNC silent auction.

CONGRESSMAN KEITH ELLISON will share experiences and photos from his recent humanitarian trip to Somalia and Kenya during a presentation Mar. 11, 4:30–5:30 p.m., 130 Humphrey School. Rep. Ellison is the first member of Congress to visit Somalia since the U.S. recognized the Somali government earlier this year. RSVP to

THE URBAN RESEARCH AND OUTREACH-ENGAGEMENT CENTER (UROC) will begin a new "Critical Conversations" public discussion series with scholars, historians, artists, and community leaders on urban issues and ideas. The first event tackles how communities can help law enforcement and the legal system end juvenile sex trafficking in Minnesota. Mar. 14, 7 p.m., UROC. For registration and more information, see Critical Conversations.

MFA ALUMNAE OF THE CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM will read from their recently published first books and discuss the path to publication. Mar. 14, 7 p.m., Weisman Art Museum. For more information, see First Books.

REGISTRATION FOR THE FIRST PUBLIC INTEREST DESIGN WEEK, Mar. 19–24, is free for U faculty, staff, and students. The event will feature people and groups from around the world working in conversations and workshops on topics ranging from media and storytelling skills, to affordable housing and community development. Enter UMNFaculty, UMNStaff, or UMNStudent at the registration site to receive the free offer. For more information, see Public Interest Design.

USDA UNDER SECRETARY KEVIN CONCANNON will present "Today's Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Programs: Reducing the Effect of Poverty for Low-income Families and Promoting Healthy Eating for all Americans," Mar. 25, 3 p.m., Campus Club, Coffman Union. Concannon will draw from his dual responsibilities for USDA's Food and Nutrition Service programs and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. For more information, see food and nutrition.

MORE EVENTS include The Rise and Fall of the Postwar A-Frame Church—Presentation by Gretchen Buggeln, Valparaiso University (Mar. 7); Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Information Session (Mar. 7); Allen Downs Life and Work: Winter Quarter in Mexico (Mar. 8); Lila Downs Concert (Mar. 10); Vicious Visibility: Peculiar Politics of Whiteness in the 2012 Election—a Talk with Catherine Squires (Mar. 11); Catalyst 2013: Barry Kudrowitz—The Importance of Play and Humor in Creative Design (Mar. 13); Ensia Live: Futurist Jamais Cascio (Mar. 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.

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