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Home > People > Awards and appointments, March 2007

Awards and appointments, March 2007

By Gayla Marty

Group photo of 11 McKnight Land-Grant Professors for 2007-09 in the Board of Regents room with President Bruininks, Regent Baraga, and Dean Dubrow.
The Board of Regents meeting opened March 9 with recognition of 11 junior faculty recipients of McKnight Land-Grant Professorships for 2007-09. They were congratulated by Chair Baraga, President Bruininks, and Dean Dubrow. Read more about the recipients.

March 27

The U's inaugural class of postdoctoral fellows for 2007-08, announced today by the Graduate School, is Zenzele Isoke, Rutgers University, who will hold dual appointments in political science and in gender, women, and sexuality studies; Patina Mendez, University of California, Berkeley, in entomology; and Ludwin Molina, University of California, Los Angeles, for dual appointments in psychology and political science. The newly established fellowship is a University-wide initiative designed to attract promising scholars with potential to pursue faculty positions, advancing the University's intellectual agenda and enhancing cultural diversity. Read more about the fellows in the news release.

Seven projects will be funded by the President's Initiative on Children, Youth, and Families to address the topic, "Disparities: Unequal Opportunities, Unequal Outcomes." The projects and grantees are based at the Twin Cities campus except as noted:

  • parenting partnerships in north Minneapolis, Jessica Berge, family medicine and community health
  • expansion of "telemental" health services, James Boulger, Center for Rural Mental Health Studies, UMD
  • "Parents and Children Experiencing Science," Cynthia Cattell, physics and astronomy
  • U-community collaboration for Latino youth health and development, Carolyn Garcia, nursing
  • expansion of youth soccer to students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, Nicole LaVoi, Tucker Center on Girls and Sports
  • a college access summit, Kent Pekel, Consortium for Postsecondary Academic Success
  • a forum on research about child welfare issues in immigrant families, Esther Wattenberg, School of Social Work

Read more about the Educational Disparities initiative.

Roger Schroeder, professor of operations and management science at the Carlson School of Management, Twin Cities campus, has been elected as a 2007 Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) Fellow, the most prestigious lifetime honor awarded by the society. Schroeder is one of two POMS fellows this year, honored for his leadership and exceptional intellectual contributions to production and operations management through research and teaching. He will accept the award in May at the annual POMS meeting in Dallas. See the news release.

March 23

The new head coach for the Gopher men's basketball team is Orlando "Tubby" Smith, who served as head coach for the top-ranking University of Kentucky for ten seasons. Smith takes over for interim coach Jim Molinari, who has served since Dan Monson stepped down early this past season. Read the story in UMNnews.

Gwen Wagstrom Halaas
Gwen Wagstrom Halaas will head the AHC's new Center for Interprofessional Education. Photo courtesy of the AHC.

Gwen Wagstrom Halaas (right) has been named director for the Academic Health Center's new Center for Interprofessional Education. Halaas is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and director of the Rural Physician Associate Program. The new center aims to provide AHC with the structure and facilitation necessary for education across the health professional schools and to help students interact with other health professionals. See her bio and the news release.

Twin Cities campus senior Meghan Stafford has been named Public Relations Student of the Year by the trade journal PRWeek. Stafford, who is majoring in strategic communications at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was recognized at a March 7 ceremony in New York. The award honors undergraduate PR students who show outstanding ability in a range of core public relations skills. Stafford receives $5,000 and a paid internship at one of the world's largest public relations firms. See the news release.

March 21

The Distinguished McKnight University Professors for 2007, announced by the Office of the Provost and the Graduate School, are Gary Balas, aerospace engineering and mechanics; Bernardo Cockburn, mathematics; Uwe Kortshagen, mechanical engineering; Claudia Neuhauser, ecology, evolution, and behavior; Nikos Papanikolopoulos, computer science and engineering; and Eric Weitz, history. All are members of the faculty at the Twin Cities campus. The awards recognize outstanding mid-career faculty with $100,000 over five years and the title as long as they remain at the University. The Board of Regents will honor them in May. For more information, see the awards announcement.

Recipients of the John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising for 2007 are Pamela Holsinger-Fuchs, student services, Crookston; Mary Moga, College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities; Julie Johnson Westlund, career services, Duluth; and Gayle Woodruff, Learning Abroad Center, Twin Cities. They will be honored at a ceremony April 20, Radisson University Hotel, Minneapolis. See also the Tate Awards.

March 20

Four new regents were elected by the Minnesota State Legislature March 8 for six-year terms, beginning immediately. For the Fifth Congressional District: Venora Hung, Golden Valley; for two at-large seats: Linda Cohen, Minnetonka, and Dean Johnson, Willmar; for the student at-large seat: Maureen Cisneros, West St. Paul. Cisneros is a student in UMD's master's degree program in advocacy and political leadership, and Hung is a student in the Law School, UMTC. The four new regents take seats formerly held by Peter Bell, Frank Berman, Cynthia Lesher, and Lakeesha Ransom; Berman and Ransom did not seek reelection. Because the board does not meet in April, the first meetings of the full new board will be May 10-11. See Board of Regents. To read proceedings from the regents' election during the joint legislative session March 8, see the Journal of the House (scroll down to page 929).

Douglas Yee
Douglas Yee has been named director of the U Cancer Center. Photo courtesy of the Cancer Center.

The new director of the University Cancer Center is Douglas Yee, M.D., (left) a medical oncologist known nationally for his work in breast cancer research. Yee becomes the center's second director, succeeding John Kersey, M.D., who helped found the Cancer Center in 1991. Yee joined the faculty eight years ago. See the news release.

The new director of the UMD Center for Freshwater Research and Policy is Randall Hicks, professor and head, Department of Biology. An environmental microbiologist, Hicks studies the diversity and productivity of aquatic microbial communities. His current research focuses on the North American Great Lakes and watersheds in northern Minnesota. He succeeds Timothy Holst, who headed up the Center from its inception in 1998. For more information see the news release and his faculty bio.

UMD Student Employee of the Year Derric Johnson has been named Student Employee of the Year for the State of Minnesota. Johnson is a senior in the College of Science and Engineering majoring in physics and science education. He was cited for his outstanding work with the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium, helping to raise its attendance to the highest in 10 years. Johnson's nomination will be submitted to regional competition. UMD has participated in the Student Employee of the Year Program since 1997, and several students have gone on to win state, regional, and national titles. See the news release.

Sarah Buchanan, UMM associate professor of French, has received the 2007 University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association Teaching Award. With support of the UMM Alumni Association, the Morris campus recognizes outstanding professors through this annual award, created by alumni in 1994. The award honors individual UMM faculty members for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. See her faculty bio and the award information.

David Roberts, UMM associate professor of mathematics, has received the UMM Faculty Distinguished Research Award, founded in 2000 to recognize sustained excellence in research and/or artistic achievement among UMM faculty. See his faculty bio and the award roster.

Eva von Dassow, assistant professor, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Twin Cities, was awarded a Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship to support her research project, "Freedom and Rights in the Ancient Near East." The award of $66,500 supports two semesters of research leave and for research and travel. This year, only 12 of 184 eligible applications were awarded. She will spend part of year's leave doing research abroad, principally in England and Germany, and possibly in Turkey. See her faculty bio and the Ryskamp Research Fellowship. Associate professor Bernard Levinson, Berman Family Chair in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible, has been appointed a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Berlin Institute of Advanced Study) for academic year 2007-08. The institute seeks to create an intellectual community of scholars in all fields of academic research, including the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and pure sciences. Levinson was one of two scholars chosen in the field of academic religious studies. See his faculty bio and the institute site.

Susan Brorson, head of the Business Department and a 30-year employee at the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) was one of ten nominees for the 2007 Regional ATHENA Award presented annually by the Chamber Grand Forks/East Grand Forks for business accomplishments, community service, and dedication to promoting leadership opportunities for women. See the news release.

UMC water resource and agronomy senior Daniel Pazdernik recently received the Soil and Water Conservation Society, Minnesota Chapter, scholarship award. See the news release.

Members of the UMC Golden Eagle women's Equestrian Western Equitation and Hunt Seat Equitation teams won titles at regional competition earlier this month. Danika Kent took first place in the intermediate division and won the championship, while Lindy Hausauer won second place, reserve champion. See the IHSA Team site

March 7


The University's 2007 outstanding teaching awards have been announced. Appointments are at the Twin Cities campus except as noted. Recipients of the Morse-Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education are Praveen Aggarwal, marketing, UMD; Jay Bell, soil, water, and climate; Thomas Hoye, chemistry; Patricia James, postsecondary teaching and learning; Ned Mohan, electrical and computer engineering; Paula O'Loughlin, political science, UMM; and Joel Samaha, sociology. Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education Award recipients are Maria Damon, English; John Day, neurology and pediatrics; Ruth Lindquist, adult and gerontological health; Thomas Molitor, veterinary population medicine; and Bruce Wollenberg, electrical and computer engineering. They will be honored at a ceremony April 23 at the McNamara Alumni Center, Twin Cities campus, following a conference on teaching. Register now to attend the reception. See Distinguished Teaching Awards.

March 5

The U of M at Crookston has appointed Alvin Killough assistant professor in the Department of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Killough is a social behavioral health scientist with ten years of teaching experience. He is a consultant for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and most recently worked as a visiting research associate professor at North Carolina Central University. Killough is developing a proposal for an applied psychology degree at UMC and is teaching both developmental and general psychology courses. See the news release.

March 2

Graham Candler
Graham Candler will receive the prestigious 2007 Thermophysics Awards. Photo courtesy of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics.

Graham Candler (right), professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, will receive the 2007 Thermophysics Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The award recognizes leaders in the field of thermophysics--the study of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. Candler has taught at the U since 1992 and is the principal investigator for the National Center for Hypersonics Research. The award will be presented on June 26 at the AIAA Thermophysics Conference in Miami. See the news release.

March 1

Physics professor Marvin Marshak has been named faculty director of undergraduate research at the Twin Cities campus. Marshak has taught at the U for 36 years and served terms as head of the School of Physics and Astronomy and as senior vice president for academic affairs. He will work with colleges to develop new opportunities for students to participate in research and to make current research opportunities more accessible. The new Office for Undergraduate Research will include the current Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and connect with undergraduate research programs across the campus. See the news release.

The new e-communications manager at the U of M-Crookston is Amber Bailey, effective March 19. Bailey has worked in the UMC Math, Science, and Technology Department for two years. She holds a B.S. in graphic communications, multimedia, and Web design and previously worked as a freelance graphic and Web developer. See the news release.

A team of three students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), Twin Cities, has advanced to the International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals in Tokyo, March 12-16. Alex Dean, Zi Lin, and Erik Shimshock are Team Dijkstra, to be accompanied by faculty coach Carl Sturtivant. They will compete with 87 other regional teams from around the world to solve 10 difficult computer programming challenges in five hours. See the CSE homepage.

Crookston Golden Eagle Bryce Cummings finished his freshman basketball season second in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) in free-throw percentage (.885), eighth in scoring (15.3), and tenth in three pointers (2.22). Cummings was named NSIC Player of the Week Jan. 22 after averaging 25.5 points in the weekend's NSIC games against Upper Iowa and top-ranked Winona State. See UMC Men's Basketball News.

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.