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Vol. XLIII No. 20; May 22, 2013
Editor: Adam Overland,

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

Brief publication calendar: This is the last regular issue of Brief for the academic term. After today, Brief moves to an approximately every-other-week schedule. Summer publication dates will be June 5 and 19, July 10 and 24, and Aug. 7 and 21. The weekly schedule returns Sept. 11.

Inside This Issue
--Board of Regents public forum.
--State Relations update.
--Features: A truly global course; Toba eruption; Banking on wellness.
--People: Danita Brown named vice provost for student affairs and dean of students; and more.

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


THE BOARD OF REGENTS WILL HOLD A PUBLIC FORUM June 5, 12:30–1:30 p.m., Boardroom, McNamara Alumni Center. The forum is open to individuals who wish to address the board regarding the U's FY 2014 budget and related issues. Information about the proposed budget will be available on the Regents website May 31. To speak, call the Board Office at 612-625-6300 or email (subject line: Public Forum) by May 28, 3 p.m. Include: name, email, phone number, group representing (if any), relationship to the University, and presentation topic. Speakers wishing to provide the board with written information must submit the materials by June 3. For more information, see Regents.

STATE RELATIONS UPDATE: On May 17, the Minnesota legislature passed the higher education omnibus bill. The bill includes appropriations for the University, increased investment in the state grant program, the Path to Prosperity Act (also called the Dream Act), and other higher education programs. The bill is currently waiting to be signed by the governor. If passed, this would mark the first funding increase for the University since FY2008. The capital investment bill, which included various University projects, did not pass. For more information, see State Relations.


FEATURE: Sixteen years ago, Jason Hill stood before some 30 students in one of his first classes as a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota. This June, more than 14,000 students will log on to take his course, Sustainability of Food Systems: A Global Life Cycle Perspective. For more information, read "A truly global course."

FEATURE: Tom Johnson, a University of Minnesota Duluth Regents Professor and Institute on the Environment resident fellow, knew his work on Lake Malawi in East Africa during 2005 would yield significant scientific discoveries. Now, eight years later, he and his colleagues have announced research that impacts our knowledge of the near extinction of the human race. For more information, see Toba eruption.

FEATURE: As a self-insured employer with about 18,000 plan participants and 39,000 total members, healthcare costs are a significant part of the U's overall expenditures. But while healthcare costs continue to rise nationwide, the U's wellness program is slowing the tide here. Investment in the program has saved $1.63 for every $1 invested—more than $10 million over the past five years. Participation in the program can save employees $300 for individuals and $400 for families—about $12 to $15 per paycheck. For more information, read "Banking on wellness."

Awards, appointments, and other announcements

PEOPLE: Danita Brown named vice provost for student affairs and dean of students; Provost Hanson has convened a search committee for the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts—Raymond "Bud" Duvall will serve as interim dean of the college; five new and four existing interdisciplinary graduate groups were awarded funding in this year's Interdisciplinary Graduate Groups competition; professor of English Andrew Elfenbein has been awarded an ACLS Fellowship for 2013–14; the University of Minnesota Retirees Association has announced recipients of its inaugural awards for service; Larry Yore will receive the U's Outstanding Achievement Award, one of the highest honors bestowed on alumni; 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

SUMMER TECHNOLOGY TRAINING is available through the Office of Information Technology, with in-person and online training opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. Courses range from training in Google, Moodle,, and more. For more information, see technology training.

NEW ROOM SCHEDULING SOFTWARE IS LIVE FOR ALL CAMPUSES. A quick-start guide is available, and includes instructions on how to request a classroom for an event using the new system, Astra Schedule. Office of Classroom Management (OCM) staff will conduct demonstrations on the UMTC campus to explain the software on May 22, 2:30–3:30 p.m., 10 Blegen Hall; and May 23, 9–10 a.m., 155 Nicholson, or live via UM Connect. For more information, see OCM news.


A NEW MAJOR IN FINANCE was approved by the Board of Regents at their May meeting. The finance major is available on campus and online through the Business Department. A minor is also available. In addition, a minor in humanities offered through the Liberal Arts and Education Department was also approved, bringing UMC academic offerings to 28 majors, 20 minors, and 11 majors offered online.

CAROLA THORSON has been hired to serve as director of admissions and enrollment management. Thorson comes to UMC after serving as director of undergraduate admissions at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. She begins June 17.

FACULTY AND STAFF RECOGNIZED at Faculty and Staff Awards Day include Rachel McCoppin, associate professor, Liberal Arts and Education Department—Distinguished Teaching Award; Michelle Christopherson, director, Center for Adult Learning—Distinguished Professional and Administrative Award; and Linda Wilkens, copy center operator, UMC Printing and Design—Distinguished Civil Service and Bargaining Unit Award.

A PHOTO GALLERY of the commencement for the Class of 2013 is available online.


DANIEL HARTMAN has been named interim director of Glensheen Historic Estate. Hartman, a Duluth city councilor, previously served as program director and curator of Veterans' Memorial Hall. For more information, see Daniel Hartman.

UMD HAS LAUNCHED TWO NEW MAJORS: the bachelor of business administration in marketing and graphic design, and the bachelor of fine arts in graphic design and marketing. The majors will enable graduates to work effectively in industry-standard creative teams and are offered on a collaborative basis between the UMD Labovitz School of Business and Economics and the UMD School of Fine Arts. For more information, see marketing and graphic design.

THE LARGE LAKES OBSERVATORY (LLO) recently deployed three meteorological buoys at different points around Lake Superior. The buoys provide real-time data for scientists, meteorologists, and the public. The National Weather Service is using the data to improve their coastal forecasting. For more information, see LLO buoys.

GLENSHEEN HISTORIC ESTATE is celebrating 34 years as a house museum. To mark the anniversary, the estate is offering free standard house tours on Community Day, May 24. Arrive early, as tickets are limited. For more information, see Glensheen.


UMM WILL HOST YOUTH CAMPS AND RENEWABLE ENERGY TOURS again this summer. Throughout July and August, Green Summer staff have scheduled hands-on experiences designed to help people of all ages develop a deeper understanding of renewable energy technologies and sustainability practices. Because spaces are limited, pre-registration is encouraged. For more information, see Green Summer Opportunities.

MICHAEL EBLE, associate professor of studio art, will be the featured artist at the Presentation College Wein Gallery beginning June 1. Eble's exhibit, "Honfluer Reflections," features a series of impressionistic paintings inspired by a research trip to France, where he studied French Impressionistic landmarks like the port city of Honfluer. For more information, see Wein Gallery.

RAY SCHULTZ, associate professor of theatre arts, performed Steve Lawson's Blanche and Beyond: The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams on May 10 at the U of M Rarig Center's Xperimental Theatre. The performance was sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study, where Schultz was a residential faculty fellow this spring. For more information, see Schultz.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS GATHERED TO CELEBRATE the accomplishments of 350 graduates during 2013 Commencement, May 11. This historic ceremony, UMM's 50th, was the culminating event in a series of celebrations. Photos and video from the ceremony, honors and awards, and the American Indian Honoring Ceremony are available. For more information, see commencement.


UMR's FOUNDING CLASS graduated May 18. In the fall of 2009, 57 students began their first classes at UMR. Hailed as trailblazers and risk takers, they gave up the traditional college experience at an established university for a chance to create their own. For more information, see UMR Founding Class Graduates.


Administrative information

CARPOOL PARKING LOT CHANGES: As of May 20, Victory Lot near TCF Bank Stadium is this summer's designated carpool parking location with the discounted rate of $2.50/day before 9 a.m. Lot 94 on the West Bank and Lot 101 in St. Paul will no longer serve as carpool locations. For more information, see Parking and Transportation Services.

REDUCED CAMPUS SHUTTLE SERVICE: Campus Connector buses will run from May 20–June 14, 7 a.m.–6 p.m., every 15 minutes. There will be no service May 27, Memorial Day. For more information about the Connectors and Circulators, see campus shuttle services.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

THE IPRIME ANNUAL MEETING will take place May 28–30 on the U's east bank campus. IPrime is a University/industry partnership providing two-way knowledge transfer within eight research programs. Driven by more than 50 U of M faculty and membership companies, the collaboration creates a productive environment for engaging in pre-competitive and non-proprietary fundamental materials research. For more information, see IPrime meeting.

THE COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE will host an Education Day, May 31, 8 a.m.–1:30 p.m. The free half-day program includes poster presentations, speakers on MOOCs, technology-enhanced learning, and grade inflation, and a plenary talk on "Learning Styles: Research and Practical Implications." For more information, see Education Day. RSVP at registration.

NORTHROP HAS ANNOUNCED FREE OUTDOOR CONCERTS on Northrop Plaza beginning June 7, as part of its 59th Annual Northrop Summer Music Festival. Concerts are held on selected Wednesdays at noon and Fridays at 7 p.m. during June and July. Free food and beverages will be featured throughout the series from various local vendors. For more information and the full schedule, see Northrop summer concerts.

A U LIBRARIES EXHIBIT gives a behind the scenes look at the Twin Cities performing arts and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Guthrie Theater. The exhibit offers an opportunity to pore through the extensive Guthrie Archives and view materials from the Minnesota Orchestra, the James Sewell Ballet, Theatre de Jeune Lune, the St. Paul Philharmonic, and the Penumbra Theatre. On display through June 28, Andersen Library. For more information, see TC performing arts exhibit.

MORE EVENTS include 11th Annual Beer Test at the Campus Club (May 23); Energy and U public show (May 23); Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Information Session (May 24); From Space to Place (May 28); OED Certificate Workshop 1: Being an Ally in the Work of Equity and Diversity (May 29); Negotiating Boundaries: Developing the Next Generation of Engaged Scholars (May 30); Desire Lines Tour with Common Room (June 5); 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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