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Home > Brief > Brief (May 8, 2013)  Print

Vol. XLIII No. 18; May 8, 2013
Editor: Adam Overland,

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

Brief publication calendar: The last regular issue of Brief for the academic term will be May 22, after which 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 meet May 9–10.
--Features: Working in the achievement gap; Nanomedicine: a new frontier; Stars of the Big Ten.
--People: William Donohue has been named the University's next general counsel, effective May 22; and more.

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


THE BOARD OF REGENTS will meet May 9–10. Regents will review and act on an agreement to enhance the working relationship among the University of Minnesota, Fairview Health Services, and University of Minnesota Physicians. Regents will also review the U's six-year capital improvement plan and the 2014 annual capital improvement budget. For more information, see Board of Regents.


FEATURE: A new endowed chair in CEHD will lead the U's efforts to close Minnesota's achievement gap. Michael Rodriguez, associate professor of educational psychology, is leading an audit of activities already in progress aimed at closing the gap, beginning with CEHD and then branching out across the campus and beyond. Work on five key topics will be highlighted in a series of policy breakfasts beginning this spring. For more information, read "Working in the achievement gap."

FEATURE: Everything our bodies do depends on interactions that happen on a nanoscale—the realm of atoms and small molecules. At the University of Minnesota, nanomedicine researchers are pushing forward with projects like new drug-delivery technologies and better screening of potential drugs. For more information, read "Nanomedicine: a new frontier."

FEATURE: The Big Ten Network has produced videos starring four U of M researchers. The latest features robotics expert Nikos Papanikolopoulos. His Scout robots can perform reconnaissance in risky military, hostage, or rescue situations. For more information, see "Stars of the Big 10."

Awards, appointments, and other announcements

PEOPLE: William Donohue has been named the University's next general counsel, effective May 22; UMM associate professor Barbara Burke has received a Fulbright Scholar award; the Institute on the Environment has selected 12 interdisciplinary initiatives for funding in the latest round of awards for its Mini Grant program; the Office for Public Engagement has announced the 2013 recipients of the University of Minnesota Outstanding Community Service Award; 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

TEMPLATES FOR GOOGLE SITES are now available for faculty and staff. Google sites, part of the U's Google Apps package, can be used to construct websites without coding knowledge. Any Google site made to communicate official University business must use an official Google sites template. For more information and guidelines, see Google Apps Templates and Guidelines.

Awards and funding opportunities

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The Minnesota Obesity Center seeks applications for research grants. The Pilot and Feasibility Program provides seed money to attract new investigators, junior or established, into the study of obesity. Selected applications will be funded up to $25,000 per year for one year, with an option for a second year. For more information, see obesity research proposals.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM AUXILIARY PLANT SALE has been changed to May 18–19, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. The sale offers an opportunity to shop for unique plants, hard-to-find varieties, and U of M introductions. National Public Gardens Day will take place at the Arboretum on May 10. For more information, see plant sale.


COMMENCEMENT for the class of 2013 will take place May 11, 2 p.m., Lysaker Gymnasium, Sports Center. Nearly 200 students are expected to take part. Kevin Kopischke, '72, current president of Alexandria Technical and Community College, will give the commencement address. For more information, see commencement.

AN OPEN HOUSE AND RECEPTION FOR ONLINE GRADUATES will be held May 10, 2:30–4:30 p.m., NWSA Alseth Business Boardroom. Approximately 25 to 30 online students are expected. For more information, see online graduates.

THE FACULTY AND STAFF AWARDS DAY LUNCH AND CELEBRATION will take place May 14, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Bede Ballroom. The theme for this year is, "It's a little known fact that...." For more information, see awards day.


REGENTS PROFESSOR TOM JOHNSON and colleagues have determined that the Toba volcanic eruption in Sumatra 75,000 years ago did not cause a volcanic winter or the dramatic drop in human population in Africa. This comes after examining drilling samples of ancient sediment extracted from the bottom of Lake Malawi in East Africa by Johnson and Large Lakes Observatory researchers in 2005. For more information, see Toba Eruption.

DIABETES AND STRESS: Assistant Professor Melissa Walls and Professor Mustafa al'Absi, both with the Duluth Medical Research Institute at UMD, are collaborating on a study that examines the ties between stress and type 2 diabetes among American Indians in five midwestern communities. The longitudinal study will follow 250 people for four years. For more information, see Diabetes and Stress.

UMD LaBOUNTY ENTREPRENEUR COMPETITION encourages student participants to research, forecast, and analyze their business ideas through a feasibility study. Winners of the judged competition receive funds to put toward their businesses. For more information, see LaBounty Competition.


KALI CORDES '13, Glenwood, is one of two recipients of the 2013 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award. The award, which is given to only two student athletes from UMAC member institutions, recognizes graduating seniors who demonstrate a healthy balance by achieving excellence in academics, leadership, and service while participating in intercollegiate athletics. For more information, see Cordes.

THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION HAS AWARDED JAMES COTTER, professor of geology, a research grant to help fund the UMM Research Experience for Undergraduates. The goal of the program is to develop time-constrained models for two proposed paleo-ice streams while nurturing the development of 16 Native American women geology majors over two summers. For more information, see Morris REU.

STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND FRIENDS gathered on May 3 to celebrate the final chemistry class taught by Jim Togeas, professor of chemistry. Togeas retires from the chemistry discipline this spring after 51 years of teaching. In that time, he is estimated to have given more than 7,000 lectures. He plans to continue teaching honors courses. For more information, see Togeas.

STUDENTS OF MICHAEL EBLE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF STUDIO ART, have worked with the Morris Wetland Management District to collaboratively produce a series of paintings depicting the Minnesota prairie. These full-scale illustrations of prairie grasses and root systems will ultimately serve as an educational tool. For more information, see Students Collaborate with Wetlands District.


CAPSTONE AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGER Jenny Hegland has received the Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents' Civic Engagement Steward Award. Hegland has worked tirelessly to develop relationships with the community in order to facilitate UMR students' community engagement. She is leading the development of capstones and the Community Collaboratory.

UMR RESEARCH AND EDUCATION SYMPOSIUM invites community members to join UMR students, staff, and faculty for the annual symposium May 6. The goal of the symposium is to prepare students to communicate professionally and contribute to the health science discourse. For more information, see Symposium.


Administrative information

OCCUPY THE LIBRARIES is under way with Walter and Biomed (East Bank) open 24 hours a day May 3–18, and Wilson (West Bank) from May 10–18. Magrath Library (St. Paul) also has extended hours. Libraries will also host study breaks with treats, games, therapy dogs, plants, and more. For more information, see Libraries 24/7.

HOMECOMING 2013 STYLE GUIDE: To assist with collaboration, a style guide has been created that includes the official Homecoming logo, email headers, and more, which are available for download. For consistency and convenience of partnering, please reference the style guide for Homecoming communications. For more information, see Homecoming 2013 Style Guide.

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

"WHAT THE UNIVERSITY MUST DO: Challenges from a Friend" will feature Minnesota state senator and chair of the higher education committee Terri Bonoff. May 9, 8–9 a.m., Humphrey School. Bonoff will discuss challenges and opportunities facing the U of M and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. For more information, see U must do.

PUBLIC LECTURE BY RETIRING PROFESSOR LARY MAY: "Unraveling the Culture of War: Global Hollywood and American Politics in the Age of 9/11." May 9, 6 p.m., Weisman Art Museum. Film clips and illustrations detailing the changing face of movie making from World War II to the present will accompany the lecture. For more information, see Culture of War.

WELL-BEING LECTURE: "The Power of Habit" with award-winning New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg will take place May 14, 3–4:30 p.m., Great Hall, Coffman Union. Cost ranges from $10 to $20. The lecture explores the scientific basis of habit formation and brings to life a new understanding of human nature and the potential for transformation. For more information, see well-being.

GME GRAND ROUNDS: The Graduate Medical Education (GME) Administration will host its quarterly gathering of the local GME community June 4, 4–6:30 p.m., Mayo Memorial Auditorium. Theodorus J. (Olle) ten Cate, professor of medical education and director of the Center for Research and Development of Education at the University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands, will present "Working with EPAs in Competency-based Medical Training." For more information, see grand rounds.

MORE EVENTS include WAM Shop Spring Sale (May 7–10); Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries Annual Dinner, featuring Louise Erdrich (May 8); Book release party of Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence featuring co-editor Nancy Manahan (May 9); Looking for start-up capital? (May 13); Crowdsourcing: A Conversation Among Crafts (May 14); Third Annual Summit for Women's Equity Leaders (May 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.

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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