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Home > People > Awards and appointments, February 2007

Awards and appointments, February 2007

By Gayla Marty

Jim Thorp
Jim Thorp is the new communications officer for the Office of the President. See Feb. 26, below.

Feb. 27

The Institute for Advanced Study is pleased to announce its 2007-08 Residential Faculty Fellows. Fellows are released from teaching obligations during their fellowships and engage in sustained conversations with one another. Fellows named below are faculty on the Twin Cities campus unless otherwise noted. The fall 2007 cohort is Stuart Albert, strategic management and organization, Carlson School of Management; Kenneth Mark Anderson, Asian languages and Literatures, College of Liberal Arts (CLA); Dan Burk, Law School; David Chang, history, CLA; Michael Eble, studio art, humanities, U of M-Morris; Michael Gaudio, art history, CLA; Tamara Giles-Vernick, history, CLA; Susan Jones, ecology, evolution, and behavior, College of Biological Sciences, and history of science and technology, Institute of Technology; Ellen Messer-Davidow, English, CLA; Joachim Savelsberg, sociology, CLA; and J. B. Shank, history, CLA. The spring 2008 cohort is Elizabeth Beaumont, political science, CLA; Leo Chen, cultural studies and comparative literature, CLA; Maria Damon, English, CLA; Jigna Desai, gender, women, and sexuality studies, CLA; Sumanth Gopinath, music, CLA; Erin Kelly, sociology, CLA; Phyllis Moen, sociology, CLA; Marynel Ryan, history, social sciences, U of M-Morris; Arun Saldanha, geography, CLA; Hoon Song, anthropology, CLA; and Steve Vanderheiden, philosophy and political science, College of Liberal Arts, U of M-Duluth. See their topics at Fellowship Recipients, 2007-08.

Feb. 26

The Office of the President's new communications officer is Jim Thorp, who has served as a strategic writer in University Relations for six months. Thorp received his B.A. in anthropology from Yale University and has previously worked in communications at organizations including Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, and Hanley Wood Marketing in Minneapolis. His duties will include speechwriting for President Bruininks. Thorp succeeds Dan Gilchrist, who joined the University's federal relations team in January.

Robert McMaster, professor and chair, Department of Geography, Twin Cities campus, is the new president-elect of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS). The UCGIS is a consortium of 60 research universities that serve as a unified voice for the geographic science community, and promote the informed and responsible use of geographic information. See the UCGIS and his faculty bio.

David Wyrick, professor and head of the UMD Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, has been elected director of the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) for the North Central Region. Wyrick's work focuses on transportation asset management, process improvement, and effective management of technology. He is recognized for his work on integrating study abroad programs into the engineering curriculum. For more information, see the news release.

John Romano and Clare Porac
Department of Educational Psychology chair John Romano accepted the innovative practices award from Clare Porac, APA Board of Educational Affairs, Feb. 17.

Feb. 20

The Department of Educational Psychology has received the Innovative Practices in Graduate Education in Psychology Award. The American Psychological Association (APA) Board of Educational Affairs granted the award based on the department's statistics education program, coordinated by professor Joan Garfield. It was presented at the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology in Long Beach, California, Feb. 17 (see photo, right). To learn more, see the Department of Educational Psychology and Garfield's faculty bio.

Feb. 16

Cougar offensive and defensive coordinator and Morris native Todd Hickman has been named head football coach at the Morris campus after a national search. Hickman played football at Morris High School and, in the early 1980s, at UMM. He completed his bachelor's degree at St. Cloud State University and his master's degree at the University of Nebraska, Kearney. For more information, see the news release.

Karen Diver
UMD alumnaKaren Diver is the new chair of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Photo by Brett Groehler.

Duluth campus alumna Karen Diver, '87 (left), has been elected chair of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. In her new position, Diver heads a tribal government that employs 1,600-1,800 people and holds assets totaling over $300 million. Diver earned a degree in economics from UMD's College of Liberal Arts. She is Fond du Lac's first woman chair. Read more.

Twin Cities campus senior Rebecca Mitchell is one of 20 students nationwide named to the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. The team honors full-time undergraduates who excel in scholarship as well as extending their intellectual abilities beyond the classroom. Mitchell was also a Truman Scholar and one of Glamour magazine's Top Ten College Women in 2006. For more information, see the news release (Feb. 15) and a feature story (Oct. 10, 2006).

Cornercopia Student Organic Farm group of two students, three faculty and staff members, and a community member
Cornercopia Student Organic Farm participants received the St. Paul Garden Club Award. Left to right: Clare Lane, senior, history; Paul Porter, professor, agronomy and plant genetics; Ellie Bruner, St. Paul Garden Club; Courtney Tchida, student program coordinator, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture; Bud Markhart, professor, horticultural science; and Megan Mathey, freshman, environmental horticulture.

The Twin Cities campus Cornercopia Student Organic Farm (right) won the St. Paul Garden Club Award for outstanding achievement in community vegetable gardening this month. The Minnesota State Horticultural Society dedicates the award to a group that is instrumental in developing sustainable vegetable gardens that provide opportunities for community members to grow fresh produce. The Student Organic Farm, founded in 2004, is part of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, and is currently working to meet USDA Organic Certification for its site on the St. Paul campus. The students' progress can be followed at the Student Organic Farm Web site.

Feb. 12

Former state senator Steve Kelley was appointed a senior fellow in the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs' Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy. Kelley will focus his efforts on science and math education policies and issues related to telecommunications and information technology. Kelley served in the state house for District 44A, 1993-96, and in the senate for District 44 (St. Louis Park and Hopkins), 1997-2006. For more information, see the news release.

Julia Ponder
Julie Ponder is the new Raptor Center director. Photo courtesy of CVM.

The College of Veterinary Medicine has named Julia Ponder, D.V.M. (left), executive director of the Raptor Center. Ponder first joined the center as a volunteer, became staff veterinarian in 2002, and was named interim associate director in 2005. As executive director, she will be responsible for implementing the strategic plan and providing organizational leadership with emphasis on growth through educational sponsorships, research grants, and endowments. The Raptor Center treats about 800 birds each year. To learn more, see the news release.

University of Minnesota Extension dean Beverly Durgan received the Research and Tech Transfer Committee Award from the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council in January. Durgan was cited for her integral role in the council's research programs over several years and in construction of a biocontainment facility. For more information, see the news release (Jan. 17) on the Minnesota Soybean site.

Feb. 9

Distinguished alumnus Sir Bent Skovmand, director of the Nordic Gene Bank in Alnarp, Sweden, and a tireless advocate for conservation and use of plant genetic resources of cultivated species and their wild relatives, died Feb. 6. Skovmand came to the U in 1966 in the Minnesota Agricultural Student Trainee (MAST) program and then earned degrees in plant pathology, culminating with a Ph.D. in 1976. A Danish citizen, he was knighted in 2003 for scientific achievements in wheat research and for conservation of wheat genetic resources. For more information, see the Nordic Gene Bank.

"Minnesota Moment" producer Jeff Falk left the University News Service Feb. 8 to become communications director for Minnesota state auditor Rebecca Otto. A new position in University Relations is now posted; see requisition #146153 on the U employment site. For more information about Falk's appointment, see Office of the State Auditor.

Feb. 5

David Chapman
David Chapman won a Fulbright New Century Scholars Award. Photo courtesy of CEHD.

Professor of educational policy and administration David Chapman (right) has been awarded a Fulbright New Century Scholars (NCS) grant for the 2007-08 academic year. He is one of 36 international scholars chosen for the honor. Their task will be to examine the topic, "Higher Education in the 21st Century: Access and Equity," and produce a body of multidisciplinary research and analysis that might serve as the basis for innovative approaches to policy issues of universal concern. For more information, see NCS Scholars and Chapman's faculty bio.

Stan Deno, professor of educational psychology, is the recipient of the American Educational Research Association's Distinguished Researcher Award in Special Education. Deno won the award for his research in curriculum-based measurement (CBM) with learning-disabled children. He will be honored in April at the Annual AERA Conference in Chicago. For more information, see his faculty bio and the AERA.

Four members of Morris campus's Symphonic Winds have been nominated to the 2007 Intercollegiate Honor Band of the College Band Directors National Association: Thomas Henchal, Jessica Henry, Brian Hotila, and Lisa Musielewicz. They will attend a three-day program to rehearse and then perform in Minneapolis Feb. 15-17. For more information, see the news release.

Crookston campus athletic director Stephanie Helgeson will be one of four featured panelists in the University of North Dakota (UND) College of Business and Public Administration's annual Hultberg Lectureship Series, an event recognizing women in business and their professional savvy in handling work and life, Feb. 8. The series theme this year is "Hey, I Did It! So Can You!" Helgeson is a 1995 alumna of UND. For more information, see the Hultberg Lecture Series.

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 for this page to

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