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Vol. XLII No. 19; May 16, 2012
Editor: Adam Overland,

Brief publication calendar: This is the last regular issue of Brief for the academic term. Summer publication dates will be June 6 and 20, July 11 and 25, Aug. 8 and 22, and Sept. 5. The weekly schedule returns Sept. 12.

Inside This Issue
--State Relations update
--Board of Regents May meeting summary.
--Features: Voice(s) of comedy; U budget eases burden on students; This Week @Minnesota.
--People: Charles Baxter has won the 2011 Rea Award for the Short Story; and more.

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


STATE RELATIONS UPDATE: Governor Dayton signed the state bonding bill into law on May 11. The legislation includes $64.1 million in state funding for University projects, including HEAPR ($50 million), the Itasca Biological Station ($4.1 million), and the UMTC Combined Heat and Power Plant ($10 million). The U projects are expected to create nearly 1,300 jobs. For more information, see State Relations.

BOARD OF REGENTS MAY MEETING SUMMARY: At the May Board of Regents meeting, the board reviewed President Kaler's proposed FY13 operating budget. For students, the budget holds tuition increases to 3.5 percent for Minnesota undergraduates, the lowest increase in more than a decade. The budget also includes modest pay increases for faculty and staff. The board also reviewed the 2013 Annual Capital Improvement Budget, approved Norwood Teague as the new director of Gopher Athletics, and passed a motion for President Kaler to sign a Letter of Intent to open TCF Bank Stadium for use by the Minnesota Vikings. In addition, the board recognized numerous faculty and staff award winners. For more information, see Board of Regents.


FEATURE: U alum Maria Bamford has gained fame as a comic, voice actress, and quirky commercial character. Best of all, Bamford is a delight to speak with—a Minnesotan-turned-Californian who's unpretentious and reflective, she spoke about her time at the U, her struggles with mental health, life in California, and an interesting career trajectory in a daunting profession. For more information, read "Voice(s) of comedy."

FEATURE: Next year's tuition increase will be the smallest in more than a decade at the U, and students with the greatest need will receive additional assistance. The budget will hold tuition increases to 3.5 percent for Minnesota undergraduates, following 11 years of increases ranging from 4.5 to 16 percent. For more information, read "U budget eases burden on students."

THIS WEEK @MINNESOTA: Highlights of the 2011–12 academic year. This Week @Minnesota features the top 10 viewed videos of 2011–12, highlighting 30 campus events during the academic year. For more information, watch "This Week @Minnesota."

Awards, appointments, and other announcements

PEOPLE: Charles Baxter has won the 2011 Rea Award for the Short Story; Kathryn Sikkink will receive the Robert F. Kennedy Book 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 CIVIL SERVICE SENATE will meet May 17, 2:30–4 p.m., 1-451 Moos Tower. Topics include a discussion with President Kaler, an update on the Job Family Classification Project, and a discussion about professional development opportunities for civil service employees. The meeting is open to the public. For more information and coordinate campus ITV locations, see the agenda.

2012 UPLAN HEALTH PLAN ELIGIBILITY: The University is partnering with Mercer, a consulting firm, to conduct a full verification of dependent eligibility for 2012 UPlan health plan elections. Employees with covered dependents will receive a packet from Mercer with the instructions for completing the online self-verification process to confirm that their dependents are eligible for coverage. For more on the dependent eligibility verification program, see dependent coverage.

Sustainability at the U

SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTIONS SUMMIT 2012, FEATURING KEYNOTE SPEAKER PAUL HAWKEN, will provide sustainability leaders from academia, industry, government, and nonprofits with an opportunity to share insights and define future research directions. Reduced ticket rates are available for faculty, staff, and students. May 22, 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center. For more information, see Solutions Summit.

Awards and funding opportunities

THE HEALTHY FOODS, HEALTHY LIVES INSTITUTE (HFHL) has released its spring request for proposals for University Research and Graduate Student Research grants. Proposal applications are due July 9. HFHL is entering its fifth year of promoting and supporting interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach related to food, agriculture, and health at the University and in the community. For more information, see grant programs.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

AUGUST TEACHING ENRICHMENT SERIES: Faculty, teaching staff, and teaching assistants are invited to attend the August Teaching Enrichment Series Aug. 28–29, with workshops each day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning, workshop topics include The Impact of Active Learning Classrooms; Writing Instruction in Five-Minute Increments; Teaching Critical Thinking; Incorporating Universal Design Principles in the Development, Delivery, and Assessment of Your Instruction; and more. Many sessions will available live via UM Connect. For more information, see teaching enrichment.

THE MEDICAL INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE at the Carlson School of Management will host the fourth Biennial Conference of the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon) June 10–13. This conference has become the premier health economics conference in the U.S. For registration and more information, see ASHEcon.


NORTHWEST MINNESOTA FOUNDATION REGIONAL SUMMIT, an opportunity to hear from experts about the future of education and how to prepare for it, will take place May 17, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. For more information, see Regional Summit.

THE UMC BUSINESS DEPARTMENT has implemented several new articulation agreements with Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, and Saint Paul College, a community and technical college in St. Paul. The agreements allow students with specific associate degrees in business an option to transfer to the Crookston campus to complete a baccalaureate degree. For more information, see agreements.

THE ANNUAL FACULTY AND STAFF DAY PROGRAM was held May 8, in Bede Ballroom. Kenneth Johnson, an instructor in the Business Department, was presented with the Distinguished Teaching Award; Donna Larson, an accountant in the Business Affairs Office, received the Distinguished Civil Service/Bargaining Unit Award; and Melissa Dingmann, director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Kenneth Bulie, lecturer in the Business Department, received the Distinguished Professional and Administrative Award. For more information, see awards program.


U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT RANKS UMD's Master of Social Work program 79th nationally in its graduate school "Health" category. In addition, the UMD Speech-Language Pathology program ranked 131st. For more information, see rankings.

2012 UMD COMMENCEMENT CEREMONIES celebrated nearly 2,085 undergraduate degrees, 225 graduate degrees, and five doctoral degrees. The first cohort of the civil engineering undergraduate and master's program commenced with 39 undergraduates, as well as 12 graduate degrees. For more information, see commencement.

UMD BIKE/WALK TO WORK DAY is May 18, with registration at the bike and pedestrian station of the UMD Kirby Bus Hub. Pedal or walk in for the morning commute, enjoy a smoothie made with a Bike Blender, and enter a drawing. Last year, faculty and staff participants prevented 80.2 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions during the day. For more information including a full list of events, see bike/walk to work.

BEST-SELLING AUTHOR BRIAN FREEMAN will speak at the 24th annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards May 17, Kirby Ballroom. Free and open to the public. For more information, see book awards.


THE OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT celebrated outstanding service and commitment to enriching the Morris community throughout the 2011–12 school year with awards presented to those who demonstrated an effect on the broader community, commitment to social justice and/or service, and concern for the "big picture" of work beyond themselves. For more information, see community engagement.

DEON HAIDER '14, Northfield, has been working with the Land Stewardship Project on the touring production of Look Who's Knocking, a play that articulates the organization's goal of changing policy to make it easier for older farmers to pass their farms to younger farmers. For more information, see Land Stewardship Project.

THE ANNUAL FACULTY AND STAFF RECOGNITION DINNER hosted by Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson was an opportunity to congratulate award recipients and thank faculty and staff retirees for their service to the Morris campus. Among the honors were recognition of 15 retirees, several faculty awards, the Mary Martell award, Outstanding Staff awards, and the Academic Staff award. For more information, see recognition dinner.


UMR IS OFFERING FOUR SUMMER YOUTH CAMPS THIS JULY: Web Dezign Gizmozz for Technokidzz (Grades 6–9); There's an App for That! (Grades 9–12); Young Writers' Studio I (Grades 7–9); and Young Writers' Studio II (Grades 10–12). For registration and more information, see youth summer camps.


Administrative information

THE SUMMER TECHNOLOGY TRAINING SCHEDULE is now available featuring tech training short courses from the Office of Information Technology (OIT), available at no charge to faculty, staff, and students. For more information, see the list of courses.

Awards and funding opportunities

APPLICATIONS FOR THE ANNUAL TONY DIGGS EXCELLENCE AWARDS recognizing student group achievements during 2012 are now available. The awards are open to all Campus Life Programs and Registered Student Organizations, which include registered student groups who serve undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. For more information, see Tony Diggs Awards.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

THE 2012 SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL AT NORTHROP (SFMN) schedule is now available. SMFN is a free, outdoor summer concert series featuring local and U of M bands. Curated for students by an energetic Student Advisory Committee and Northrop Concerts and Lectures, the series brings an eclectic sampling of some of the best Twin Cities musicians to campus. For a complete schedule and more information, see music festival.

MORE EVENTS include Achieving Universal Health Care for Kids (& Adults): The Minnesota Health Plan (May 16); Youth Guitarathon (May 20); 2012 Mary McEvoy Lecture Series (May 22); Landscape of the Mind (May 22); Momentum 2012: Environmental Theologian Martin Palmer (May 23). 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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