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Home > Brief > Brief (4-18-2012)  Print

Vol. XLII No. 15; April 18, 2012
Editor: Adam Overland,

Inside This Issue
--State Relations update.
--Features: The emperor's new close-up; Movement, pattern, shape: 2012–14 McKnight Land-Grant Professor Daniel Keefe; Robo boat; A-gardening-we-will-go; This Week @Minnesota.
--People: 2012 recipients of the Distinguished McKnight University Professorships; and more.

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


STATE RELATIONS UPDATE: In the coming days and weeks, legislators will consider several bills that would impact the University, including the higher education omnibus bill, the capital investment bill, a bill that would allow alcohol in TCF Bank Stadium, a Vikings stadium bill, and a bill funding an invasive species research center at the U. Meanwhile, President Kaler recently took part in a roundtable with Senator Al Franken, Governor Mark Dayton, Minnesota Officer of Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller, and students from private and public schools in Minnesota to discuss college affordability and student loan debt. For more information, see State Relations.


FEATURE: Three researchers at the U's Polar Geospatial Center, along with several international colleagues, have published the first census of emperor penguins based on satellite images. Among 46 breeding colonies, they counted some 595,000 birds, far more than the 170,000 to 350,000 they had expected. The census gives researchers a baseline for measuring the health of the species as it relates to changes in the physical environment or human activity. For more information, read "The emperor's new close-up."

FEATURE: Newly named 2012–14 McKnight Land-Grant Professor Daniel Keefe paints a picture that sheds new light on massive data sets, using modeling and computer visualization to interact with information in three dimensions. His insight on technical and visual modeling is in high demand by researchers who want to get more from their data. Keefe is collaborating with faculty from across the U—designing medical devices, understanding biomechanics data, designing tools to train surgeons, and building virtual reconstructions of ancient Greece, to name just a few projects. For more information, read "Movement, pattern, shape."

FEATURE: Computer scientist and College of Science and Engineering professor Volkan Isler is on a quest to bring advanced robotics to bear on the challenge of building a healthier planet. His research goal is to develop robotic systems that can operate on their own in large, complex, and dynamic settings. In the land of 10,000 lakes, Isler found the perfect evader for advancing his pursuit-evasion work: carp. For more information, read "Robo boat."

FEATURE: It has been an early spring, but that doesn't mean it's time to start transplanting seedlings to the garden. But those who haven't begun growing seedlings inside can and should get going. There's a frost-free season in Minnesota of about 140 days—give or take a few as one moves north or south—and whatever challenges Minnesotans encounter—through the heat, the bugs, and the chilly days—U of M Extension has the answer. For more information, read "A-gardening-we-will-go."

THIS WEEK @MINNESOTA: Apr. 9–13. In this episode of the weekly video feature, check out highlights from Mayor Rybak's visit to the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the U's participation in 60K Day, and learn about the U Lion's Eye Bank and its new partnership with Donate Life America. For more information, watch "This Week @Minnesota."

Awards, appointments, and other announcements

PEOPLE: The Office of the Vice President for Research has announced the 2012 recipients of the Distinguished McKnight University Professorships; Billie Wahlstrom, vice provost for distributed education and instructional technology, will retire May 1; U in the News features U faculty and staff cited in the media. Read about these topics and more in People.



Administrative information

PUBLIC MISSION, URBAN CHALLENGES: THE 21ST-CENTURY UNIVERSITY. President Kaler will host Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor for a discussion about the role of the 21st-century university in meeting urban challenges during a special Great Conversations Presidential Forum May 2, 4 p.m., Coffman Union Theater, and via live-streaming. The event is part of UMN Land Grant 150, a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1862. Free and open to the public, although registration is required. For more information, see Great Conversations.

THE FIRST 200 CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES who register for the StrengthsFinder assessment and follow-up presentation will receive free registration. The personal and professional development opportunity is offered by the Civil Service Consultative Committee. Registration ends May 7. For more information, see Civil Service.

Awards and funding opportunities

THE METROPOLITAN RESEARCH GRANT PROGRAM, offered through the University Metropolitan Consortium, is accepting proposals from U researchers or teams of researchers for projects related to urban and metropolitan dynamics. Two or three proposals will be funded in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 each. Proposals are due by Apr. 24. For more information, see research grant.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

THE U LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM'S BUD BREAK 5K RUN/WALK is open for registration. The certified 5K course winds through the scenic landscapes of the Arboretum just as the spring blooms are peaking. The run/walk is open to people of all ages and experience levels. May 6, 9 a.m. For registration and more information, see Bud Break 5K.


JIM FARRELL, a professor of history at St. Olaf College, will highlight Earth Week at UMC with "The Nature of Our Lives: How College Culture Degrades Nature and How it Might be Different." Apr. 19, 12:15 p.m., Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. Free and open to the public. For more information, see Earth Week.

"FIESTA IN THE SPIRIT OF CINCO DE MAYO," a cultural celebration with something for everyone, is filled with activities for the whole family and celebrates the rich tradition of the Mexican people. This year's fiesta also recognizes the "Month of the Young Child" with many activities focusing on children and families. Apr. 21. For more information, see Cinco de Mayo.

COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER and UMC alumna Jean Fischer Whalen will talk about her life-changing experience working under a short-term contract for the United Nations as an official court reporter at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. May 5, 2 p.m., Lysaker Gymnasium. Commencement will also mark the final graduation celebration for Charles H. Casey as UMC's chancellor. For more information, see commencement.


THE UMD SUSTAINABILITY FAIR runs through Apr. 20 with a variety of presentations, events, and campus-wide initiatives—from land management solutions to theatrics and sustainability education in western Africa. Free and open to the public. For more information, see sustainability.

THE UMD EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM HAS BEEN AWARDED the American Heart Association's 2012 Platinum Award for Fit Friendly Company. For more information, see wellness program award.

LACROSSE CAMP FOR AMERICAN INDIAN YOUTH: A memorandum of agreement providing support for a summer lacrosse camp for youth was signed Apr. 13 by Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Chairwoman Karen Diver, UMD Chancellor Lendley C. Black, and other representatives of the University of Minnesota. The signing event was held at the Fond du Lac Tribal Government Offices in Cloquet, MN. For more information, see Lacrosse Camp.


JOHN ABRAHAM, associate professor of engineering in thermal and fluid sciences at the University of St. Thomas, and Don Shelby, award-winning former television news anchor, will visit UMM with the Alexandria Citizens Climate Lobby for a conversation about climate change. Free and open to the public. Apr. 19, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., Student Center. For more information, see climate change conversation.

THE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM, coordinated by Gordon McIntosh, professor of physics, provides a venue for students to present a variety of independent research, creative work, and arts performances for an audience of peers, faculty, family, and community members. Apr. 21. For more information, see symposium.

THE THEATRE DISCIPLINE'S CHILDREN'S SHOW, Sophie and the Adventures of Ice Island, will play on Pioneer Public Television in Appleton as well as KSMQ in Austin, Apr. 22, 4 p.m., in recognition of Earth Day. Sophie was recorded live on campus, directed by associate professor of theatre Siobhan Bremer, and edited by senior media resources producer, Mike Cihak, and director of media services, Roger Boleman. For more information, see children's show.

NAOMI WENTE '13, Dodge Center, has received a 2012 Udall Scholarship. The Udall Foundation, an independent federal agency established by Congress in 1992, provides federally funded scholarships of up to $5,000 to college students pursuing careers related to the environment, and to American Indian students pursuing careers in tribal public policy or health care. An environmental studies and political science major, Wente's interests center around food systems including food justice, local foods, and food production. For more information, see scholarship.


THE UMR IT WEB AND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT GROUP recently presented a poster at an Academic Technology Showcase at Coffman Union on the UMTC campus. For more information and to view part of the presentation, see UMR in the News.


Administrative information

COPYRIGHT PERMISSION REQUESTS FOR SUMMER 2012 course materials should be submitted to the Copyright Permissions Center as soon as possible. Source information may be dropped off at any Printing Services location, faxed to 612-626-9810, mailed to 102 Printing Services Building, or submitted online. For more information, email Dale Mossestad or call 612-626-9416.

A STRENGTHS AT LUNCH series will offer an opportunity for faculty and staff to discuss their work with StrengthsFinder, the online assessment that identifies an individual's top five talents and provides resources for setting goals that put those talents into meaningful action. Attendees are invited to talk with fellow colleagues from across campus about their use of Strengths in their work, to share stories and ideas, and to network with other colleagues interested in Strengths approaches. Apr. 27, noon–1 p.m., 140 Nolte. For more information, see Strengths at Lunch.

PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION'S FREE NIGHT AND SUNDAY PARKING programs (previously available at 21st Avenue, Gortner Avenue, and 4th Street Ramps) have been eliminated as each ramp goes automated. The last location in that group to be upgraded, the 4th Street Ramp, will convert the week of Apr. 23. For more information, see Parking Technology Upgrade.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

TECH TRADE-IN: Recycle unwanted, outdated, and even slightly damaged tech products into U of M Bookstore gift cards. Trade in equipment during the Bookstore's Earth Day Trade-in Sale Event and receive an additional 10 percent of the trade-in value on a gift card. The Bookstore will also recycle no-value tech products for free. Apr. 18–23, U Bookstore, Coffman Union. For more information, including the value of equipment, see Tech Trade-in.

UNIVERSITY OPERA THEATRE'S upcoming production of Robert Aldridge's Parables will run Apr. 19–22, Ted Mann Concert Hall. Two-for-one tickets are available for U faculty, staff, students, alumni, and retirees. For tickets and more information, see Parables.

"STRENGTHENING THE U OF M AS AN ENGAGED UNIVERSITY: COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVES" will feature panelists representing a broad range of community-based organizations on the factors that they believe contribute to building successful partnerships with the U. Sponsored by the Office for Public Engagement, the event will be moderated by Heidi Barajas, executive director of the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center and associate dean for engagement and faculty development in the College of Education and Human Development. Apr. 24, 9 a.m.–noon, McNamara Alumni Center. For registration and more information, see engaged.

LIVING WITH A LOVED ONE WITH MEMORY LOSS, a workshop by Pauline Boss, professor emerita and author of the widely acclaimed book Loving Someone who has Dementia, will take place Apr. 24, 1:30–2:30 p.m., ABC room, Campus Club. Free. Sponsored by the U of M Retirees Association.

DIGITAL PRIVACY, a lecture by Latanya Sweeney, director and founder of the Digital Privacy Lab at Harvard University, will take place Apr. 26, 4–5 p.m., followed by a reception, University Hall, McNamara Alumni Center. Sweeney, a distinguished "computational policy" computer scientist, focuses on protecting patient privacy in the electronic world. For more information call 612-626-3348, email, or see digital privacy.

THE OBESITY PREVENTION CENTER will host a symposium to discuss research in the area of home-based parenting interventions for child health outcomes. Specific attention will be given to interventions that address parenting skills around healthy eating, physical activity, and screen time, and how these interventions affect changes in the home environment and child behavior outcomes. May 14, 9:30–11 a.m., Cowles Auditorium. Registration is available online.

NATIONAL CHILDREN'S STUDY SPEAKERS SERIES: Ann Settgast, U of M assistant professor of Medicine and internist at HealthPartners Center for International Health, will present "Achieving Universal Health Care for Kids (& Adults): The Minnesota Health Plan," May 16, 3–4:30 p.m., Wilder Center, St. Paul. For registration and more information, see Children's Study.

NEURO-ONCOLOGY SYMPOSIUM: "Basic Discovery Accelerating Groundbreaking Tumor Therapy" will highlight recent advances in understanding the pathogenesis and novel treatments of brain tumors. May 17–19. For registration and more information, see symposium.

THEATER LATTE DA presents Spring Awakening in partnership with the U's Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Banned when the play first premiered in 1891, Spring Awakening is a dynamic rock adaptation of Frank Wedekind's expressionist play about a group of teenagers coming of age in an uncomprehending world. Ongoing, through May 6, Stoll Thrust Rarig Center. For more information, see Spring Awakening.

MORE EVENTS include Frontiers In the Environment: "Can We Feed the World, and Sustain the Planet?" (Apr. 18); German Play: DADA STRIKES BACK: A Cabaret (Apr. 19); Cyber Security Awareness (Apr. 19); CURA Housing Forum—Redevelopment, Refinancing and Renovation of Riverside Plaza, Minnesota's Largest Housing Development (Apr. 20); The Economics of Sustainability (Apr. 21); The Vagina Monologues (Apr. 22). 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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