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Vol. XLI No. 23; July 27, 2011
Editor: Adam Overland,

Brief publication calendar: Brief summer publication dates will be July 27; Aug. 10 and 24; and Sept. 7. The weekly schedule returns Sept. 14. The deadline for submissions is noon on the Friday before publication.

Inside This Issue
--State Relations update.
--Features: Research at the crossroads; Chance favors the concentration of wealth; Full moon fears may be well founded; U of M Moment.
--People: Elizabeth Bye is the new head of the Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel; and more.

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


STATE RELATIONS UPDATE: On July 20, Governor Dayton signed 12 budget bills, including the higher education bill. The bill sets the University's funding for each year of the biennium at $545.3 million. As part of the agreement, Dayton required the legislature to pass a capital investment bill, which included $88.8 million for three U projects: higher education asset preservation and restoration (HEAPR), $25 million; physics and nanotechnology building, $51.3 million; and Central Corridor transit way laboratory mitigation, $12.5 million. Two additional U requests, the Itasca facilities improvements and the American Indian Learning Resource Center at UMD, were not included in that bill. For more information, see state relations update.


FEATURE: McKnight Land-Grant Professor in marketing Vlad Griskevicius's work integrates psychology, evolutionary biology, and business science—disciplines that may sound like they don't typically overlap, because, well, they don't. But for Griskevicius, the connections he's made have led to some compelling discoveries, from the evolutionary underpinnings of aggressive behavior to a rather simple method of getting people to conserve energy. For more information, read "Research at the crossroads."

FEATURE: Most of the wealth in our society is invested in businesses or other ventures that may or may not pan out. Thus, chance plays a role in where the wealth of a society will end up. But does chance favor the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, or does it level the playing field? Three U researchers have built a model that isolates the effects of chance; their results have implications for economic growth. For more information, read "Concentration of wealth."

FEATURE: From werewolves to wackiness, folklore abounds with tales of peril associated with the full moon. Pure lunacy? Maybe not. A team of U ecologists has found that lion attacks on people in rural Tanzania vary with the lunar cycle, a discovery that may be the first scientific underpinning for full-moon legends. But there's a twist: The night of the full moon is actually the safest night, says lead researcher Craig Packer. For more information, read "Full moon fears may be well founded."

U OF M MOMENT: With healthcare reform set to roll out in the next several years, having scientifically sound data for health policy is more important than ever. But the dramatic increase in cell-phone-only households is posing a challenge for researchers who use phone surveys to get an accurate picture of healthcare coverage, says School of Public Health researcher Kathleen Call. For more information, listen to the U of M Moment.

Awards, appointments, and other announcements

PEOPLE: Elizabeth Bye is the new head of the Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel; Melissa Gardner has been selected as a 2011 Pew Scholar in the biomedical sciences; Amy Hewitt has been selected as director of the Research and Training Center on Community Living in the Institute on Community Integration; funding for a new project studying the incidence of autism within the Somali community in Minneapolis has been awarded to the U by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U in the News features U faculty and staff cited in the media. Read about these topics and more in People.



Administrative information

DISABILITY SERVICES AND THE COMPUTER ACCOMMODATIONS PROGRAM have created a resource with information on nearly 200 applications in 25 categories for mobile devices. The applications are opening up a world for individuals with disabilities. The apps included cover a wide range of functions and purposes from productivity and reference, to entertainment and adaptive technology. Most are fully VoiceOver accessible. For more information, see

THE PRESIDENT'S EMERGING LEADERS (PEL) PROGRAM graduated its 2010–11 cohort and welcomed a new group of developing University leaders into the program. On June 22, the 25 members of the outgoing 2010–11 PEL cohort were honored during a ceremony at the Mayo Auditorium. The 2011–12 PEL group, consisting of 25 members, was selected in May. Now in its 10th year, the PEL program provides leadership development opportunities for high potential academic professional and administrative (P&A), civil service, and bargaining unit staff. For more information, see PEL program.

Funding awards

IREE AWARDS $4.2 MILLION FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY R&D. More affordable solar photovoltaics, better batteries, improved household energy conservation, renewable jet fuel, and power-producing bacteria are among the renewable-energy innovations that will be advanced by $4.2 million in grants announced by the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE). For more information, see IREE awards.


A SPECIAL CENSUS OF A THREATENED PRAIRIE WILDFLOWER being conducted in July by volunteers on the Minnesota prairie is giving researchers important data necessary for the protection of the prairie fringed orchid and its habitat. The orchid has been on the U.S. List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants since 1989. For more information, see orchid census.

THE MARY TYRRELL HEALTH WALK FOR SCHOLARSHIPS will be held Aug. 11, with registration at 5:30 p.m. Cost: $25 per person, which includes a t-shirt and light meal. Proceeds from the walk will benefit the Bill and Mary Tyrrell Athletic Scholarships at UMC. For more information, see health walk.

UMC AND U OF M EXTENSION PARTNERED WITH THE WHITE EARTH NATION to design and deliver a culturally based natural resource program that demonstrates ways that math and science are part of everyday life. The White Earth Academy of Math and Science recently wrapped up its 2011 program, which engaged UMC faculty and staff including John Loegering, Tom Feiro, and Laura Bell, in delivering natural resource topics. In addition, UMC hosted more than 40 youth from the White Earth Nation during a campus visit on June 27. For more information, see White Earth.


THE UMD EXPERTS LIST HAS BEEN REVITALIZED with a new database that features search capabilities based on the name, topic, and/or departmental affiliation. The experts list showcases faculty and staff who are available to speak to the media and the community based on their expertise. For more information, see UMD experts.

A TEACHING PROGRAM INCORPORATING SPECIAL EDUCATION through the Integrated Elementary and Special Education curriculum is designed to teach college students how to incorporate special needs students into the classroom setting. Candidates who successfully complete the bachelor of applied science degree are qualified to apply for state licensure to teach K-6 elementary education and K-12 special education. For more information, see special education curriculum.

STUDENTS OF COLOR OPPORTUNITIES FOR POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION (SCOPE) is a program that introduces the idea of college to students who might not consider college as an option. SCOPE also connects future teachers with high school students who come from historically underserved backgrounds. For more information, see SCOPE.


UMM WILL SERVE AS HOST for the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) "Celebrating Sustainability" event on Aug. 2. The occasion will feature RSDP place-based projects, sustainable development work conducted by community and University partners, and homegrown food and music. For more information, see sustainability.

JULIA DABBS, associate professor of art history, is examining the work of 18th-century German portraitist Anna Dorothea Therbusch in her research on how visual images communicate aspects of gender and aging. Her work will be included in her upcoming book, Sibyls of Sight: Women Artists and Old Age. For more information, see Julia Dabbs.

A NEW GRAPHIC IDENTITY FOR COUGAR ATHLETICS has been created through a partnership between Intercollegiate Athletics, the Office of Student Affairs, and University Relations. The logo features a formidable cougar in gold and maroon with modern, stylized text fonts. Pounce, the Cougar mascot, is also expected to sport a new look during the fall sports season. For more information, see new cougar.


SAVE THE DATE: The grand opening and a ribbon cutting for 318 Commons will take place Aug. 25, 4:30 p.m., 318 First Ave SW. Tours of the new building will follow. The facility is a new housing community for UMR students and Mayo Clinic health professionals. A variety of floor plans can be seen online. For more information, see 318 Commons.


Administrative information

COPYRIGHT PERMISSION REQUESTS FOR FALL 2011 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 PUBLIC MEETING ON THE ST. ANTHONY FALLS LABORATORY RENOVATION PROJECT will be held Aug. 2, 6:30–8:30 p.m., St. Anthony Falls Laboratory Auditorium. With federal assistance from the National Science Foundation, the proposal would renovate the laboratory, which comprises a main building and the Outdoor Stream Laboratory located in the adjacent waterway. The renovation will make possible significant advances in key research areas of energy and the environment. For more information, see St. Anthony Falls Lab.

VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED TO MEET AND GREET RETURNING STUDENTS (OFF-CAMPUS). Faculty and staff are encouraged to meet and greet student renters in surrounding neighborhoods Aug. 31–Sept. 1, between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., for two-hour shifts. Volunteers will distribute welcome bags with resource information and will be paired with other volunteers. For more information, email Tichelle Henderson or call 612-624-1559 by Aug. 19.

CENTRAL CORRIDOR WORK WILL CLOSE THE INTERSECTION OF WASHINGTON AVE. AND HARVARD ST. ON AUG. 3. The intersection will close for approximately three weeks to accommodate utility work related to the Central Corridor project. During the closure, Walnut St. will be opened to help move north/south traffic, and signage will help drivers navigate the detour. A north/south pedestrian crossing will remain open across Washington Ave during the project. The work is scheduled to be completed Aug. 22. For complete information on Central Corridor construction, see

Lectures, exhibits, and other events

WORKSHOP: DEVELOPING MESSAGES FOR ADVOCACY AND POLICY will focus on how people respond to learning about health disparities and social determinants of health; the latest research on ways to engage the public on health disparities and social determinants of health; and talking effectively with nonprofessionals about health disparities, particularly those based on class, race, ethnicity, and social influences. Drew Westen, a clinical, personality, and political psychologist and neuroscientist, and professor at Emory University, will present. July 29, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center. Cost: $50. Open to the public. Register online. For more information, email

THE CAMPUS CLUB TERRACE HAS REOPENED for the season. Happy Hour continues to be popular with food and beverage specials. Nonmembers are welcome every weekday beginning at 2 p.m. until Sept. 2. For more information, see Campus Club.

MORE EVENTS include Charanga Tropical (July 27); From Pig's Eye to Preservation District: The History of St. Paul Architecture (Aug. 1); Blood Drive: The Need for Blood Never Takes a Vacation (Aug. 1); From Long Johns to Lingerie: An Intimate Look at Intimates (Aug. 2); Explore the Universe in the ExploraDome (Aug. 2); University of Minnesota Farmers Market (Aug. 3). 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. All Twin Cities event submissions are handled through the events calendar at

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