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Awards and appointments, October 2006

By Gayla Marty

Allen Levine.
Allen Levine was named dean of the new College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences beginning Nov. 13, pending approval of the regents.

Oct. 25

The dean of the new College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences (CFANS), named this week, will be Allen Levine (right), professor and head, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, and director, Minnesota Obesity Center. His appointment follows an extensive national search and will begin Nov. 13 upon approval by the regents. Levine joined the faculty in 1981; holds joint appointments in the departments of surgery, psychiatry, and medicine; and was deputy associate chief of staff for research at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Minneapolis for more than 17 years. Read a Q&A in "Levine named dean of the new CFANS."

Oct. 20

The new associate vice president for research is Frances Lawrenz, professor of educational psychology. Lawrenz will play a leadership role in interdisciplinary research initiatives and U investment in research infrastructure. Primary responsibilities will include implementation of recommendations for research and scholarship offered by strategic positioning task forces. Lawrenz joined the faculty in 1986 and currently also serves as associate dean for research in the College of Education and Human Development. For more information, see "New associate VP for research" and Lawrenz's faculty bio.

The UMD College of Science and Engineering inducted five new members to its Academy of Science and Engineering in September: Edward Bersu, Howard Levine, Glenn B. Morey, Gerald Ostroski, and Charles Taylor. The inductees were honored for their outstanding work in the fields of biology, mathematics, geology, and engineering. The academy was established in 2002. For more information see "Five new members inducted" and the College of Science and Engineering.

UMM associate professor of French Sarah Buchanan was one of seven women chosen to participate on the jury for Salé, Morocco's Second International Film Festival last month. Buchanan was invited by the Moroccan National Film Library director, whom she met during a research trip to Morocco in 2005. For more information, see the news release and her faculty bio.

Helene Muller-Landau
Helene Muller-Landau won a Packard Fellowship for biodiversity research. Oct. 18, below.

Institute for Advanced Study staff member Jeanne Kilde has won the American Society of Church History Jane Dempsey-Douglass Prize for best essay published in 2005 in the area of women in the history of Christianity. "Material Expression and Maternalism in Mary Baker Eddy's Boston Churches: How Architecture and Gender Compromised Mind" appeared in the July 2005 issue of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief . For more information, see IAS staff.

Oct. 18

Ecology professor Helene Muller-Landau (above right), College of Biological Sciences (CBS), has been awarded a Packard Fellowship of $625,000 to study mechanisms that control biodiversity in tropical forests and how human impact, including global climate change, affects those mechanisms. She is one of 20 scientists and engineers in the nation to receive a 2006 award, which recognizes promising young faculty members; she is also the third CBS faculty member to receive a Packard award over the past few years. The fellowship was established in 1988 to strengthen university-based science and engineering programs. Muller-Landau joined the U faculty in 2004 and tests her theories on data collected by colleagues in Panama, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and other sites. For more information, see the news release.

Benedicta Chiwokwu Agusiobo
Benedicta Chiwokwu Agusiobo of Nigeria, winner of a 2006 Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals

Benedicta Chiwokwu Agusiobo (left), a Humphrey Fellow from Nigeria in 2001-02, returned to the University of Minnesota in September to accept a 2006 Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals. The award honors alumni, former students, and friends of the U who have distinguished themselves in their post-University work as leaders in their professional careers. Agusiobo is a strong advocate for early childhood care curriculum development and education in Nigeria; she has worked tireless to establish a government policy on school feeding. For more information, see Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals.

The new coordinator of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, is Jan Aamoth. RSVP, established in 1971 and one of the largest volunteer efforts in the nation, matches older U.S. volunteers to work on solving local problems. Aamoth brings experience with regional hospice and caregiver programs. For more information, see the news release.

Oct. 13

The University of Minnesota, Crookston, will confer its highest honor, the Torch and Shield Award, on four recipients Oct. 25. Each has provided leadership and aided the development of UMC, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center, or the U of M Extension Service on campus. Marv Bachmeier served as a long-time coach and then athletic director. Alan Dexter has served as an extension service sugarbeet and weed control specialist and researcher since 1969 in the Red River Valley. William Hunt, Natural Resources Conservation Service, developed a contribution agreement with UMC for Wetland Reserve Program monitoring at the Glacial Ridge Project, the largest prairie and wetland restoration project in U.S. history. Linda Kingery, executive director of the Northwest Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnership since 2000, has helped foster the development of agriculture, tourism, and natural resources in the Red River Basin. For more information, see the news release.

Glamour magazine has named Twin Cities campus honors student Rebecca Mitchell one of its top ten college women of the year. Mitchell is majoring in biology, society, and environment in the College of Liberal Arts and was named a 2006 Harry S. Truman Scholar last spring. The women were chosen based on campus and community involvement, excellence in their field of study, leadership experience, and unique, inspiring goals. They're featured in "Brilliant, brave and under 25!" in the October issue. Read more at "U student named top-10 college woman."

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell
Karlyn Kohrs Campell, professor of communication studies

Clothing design students from the Twin Cities campus swept the top the awards in the 2006 Safety Products Student Design Challenge sponsored by Industrial Fabrics Association International. First place went to "Smart Roofing Pants" designed by Stephanie Amann, Theresa Lostovich, and Angela Martin. Second place went to "K-9 Bullet-Resistant Vest" by Alyssa Cogan, Dan Roedler, and Lisa Venne. Third place went to "Rock Climbing Pants" by Laura Domholt, Chau Luong, and Jenny Olson. All the entries were designed in Functional Clothing Design, a course taught by Karen LaBat. For more information, see the Oct. 12 CDes Memo.

Oct. 12

Communications studies professor Karlyn Kohrs Campbell (above right) will deliver the Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Fall Lecture, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m., at the Humphrey Center, Twin Cities campus. Kohrs Campbell is an award-winning scholar of feminist rhetoric. Her topic will highlight the life and speeches of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902). For more information, see the news release.

Craig Taylor
Craig Taylor, director of the Office of Business and Community Economic Development

Oct. 9

Craig Taylor (right), Office for Business and Community Economic Development, received the Corporate Star Award from the Minnesota Minority Supplier Development Council. Taylor was recognized for his innovative approaches to business and community economic development, particularly in working to develop capabilities and strengthen programs in the Carlson School of Management that reach out to businesses owned by women, minorities, and people with disabilities. The council is the leading minority business advocate organization in Minnesota. For more information, see the news release.

Judson Sheridan and Odd Jarle Skjelhaugen
Co-chairs Judson Sheridan and Odd Jarle Skjelhaugen

Judson Sheridan, professor of genetics, cell biology, and development, College of Biological Sciences (left), and Odd Jarle Skjelhaugen, professor of environmental engineering and director of research for the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (right), have been named to share the Norwegian Centennial Interdisciplinary Chair, a partnership between the University of Minnesota and Norway. The two will oversee an international research collaboration involving trans-Atlantic teams of faculty and graduate students working on bioenergy and food safety. For more information, see the news release and read the stories, "Norway gives University endowed chair" (Oct. 20, 2005) and "U delegation to Norway advances research teamwork on renewable energy and food safety" (June 14, 2006).

Oct. 5

Claudia Parliament
Claudia Parliament, professor of applied economics

Applied economics professor and extension economist Claudia Parliament (right) has been named one of Minnesota's six economic development visionaries. Parliament won a Vision Award at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) annual conference Oct. 4. Since 1992, she has served as executive director of the Minnesota Council on Economic Education, an organization dedicated to teaching teachers who, in turn, teach hundreds of students each year. Parliament was instrumental in bringing a Minnesota-grown student program to national prominence when the National Council on Economic Education adopted the Economics Challenge, a quiz bowl student contest. She has trained economics teachers nationally and abroad. For more information, see the DEED news release.

Oct. 3

Mark Seeley
U climatologist and meteorologist Mark Seeley

The University of Minnesota Extension Service has awarded climatologist and meteorologist Mark Seeley (left) its top award, citing excellence in extension education. Seeley joined the U faculty in 1978 and is well known for his Friday morning weather commentaries on Minnesota Public Radio. The award was presented at the Extension Service's statewide fall gathering and fall program conference. For more information, see the news release.

UMD professor of theater Tom Isbell's new play, a musical for ages 9 and up, is opening in Washington, D.C., Oct. 13-Nov. 2. Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of Ursa Major is the Kennedy Center's first co-production with the White House Historical Association. The adventure is set in 1905, when the three Roosevelt children find a real-life treasure map hidden in the White House library's copy of Treasure Island. Isbell collaborated with political humorist Mark Russell, who wrote the songs for the play. For more information, see the UMD Department of Theatre and the Kennedy Center's promotion.

Melissa Gardner, a graduate student in biomedical engineering, won the Paper of the Year award from the editors of Molecular Biology of the Cell. Her paper described an integrated computer modeling and experimental investigation of how chromosomes move during cell division. Gardner found that, in budding yeast cell division, mechanical stretching of replicated chromosomes controls their proper positioning immediately before separation. Gardner will speak at the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting in San Diego in December. Associate professor David Odde is Gardner's adviser. For more information, see the ASCB Awards Information and the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Oct. 2

The dean of the new College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), Darlyne Bailey, arrived on campus Oct. 2. Bailey was formerly vice president of academic affairs and dean of Teachers College at Columbia University. She holds advanced degrees in psychiatric social work and organizational behavior and has published on topics related to education and human resources. General College, School of Social Work, and Department of Family Social Science became part of CEHD on July 1. Read the feature story about Bailey from the fall issue of M, "Rising star."

Professor emerita of psychology Gloria Leon was recognized for ten years of outstanding service, 1996-2006, by the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. Leon mentored 13 students in the summer undergraduate research program for minority and disadvantaged students. For more information, see her faculty bio and a recent story about the program, "McNair Scholars flying high after 15 years."

The Minnesota Medical Foundation (MMF) Web site received a Standard of Excellence Award last month from the national Web Marketing Association. Since the site was redesigned in 2005, the number of online gifts to the foundation has increased more than 50 percent, and more than 90 units in the Academic Health Center have linked to the site. The MMF Web team was led by former director of electronic communications Lynsey Struthers and included Catherine Henry, Nicole Endres, Jerry Paugh, and Chris Gottshall. For more information, see the MMF Web site.

Awards, appointments, and other items of note about faculty, staff, and outstanding students and alumni of the University of Minnesota campuses are published here as reported and summarized in Brief, the internal news digest of the U. Submit items to Gayla Marty at

See also U Awards & Honors. Most awards listed on this page post names of recipients.