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Home > People > Awards and appointments, November 2007

Awards and appointments, November 2007

By Gayla Marty

Irma McClaurin.
Irma McClaurin has been named associate vice president for system academic administration and executive director of the U's first Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC).

Nov. 27

Ford Foundation program officer Irma McClaurin has been named associate vice president for system academic administration and executive director of the University's first Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC) in north Minneapolis, effective Dec. 3. McClaurin's responsibilities will include developing funding opportunities for the University's urban agenda and coordination of the University Northside Partnership, a collaboration among the U, Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, and several north Minneapolis organizations and constituent groups. McClaurin has served as a tenured professor at the University of Florida and as deputy provost at Fisk University and has published widely. She received her B.A. in American studies at Grinnell College and her graduate degrees at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst--an M.F.A. in English/creative writing and master's and doctoral degrees in anthropology. See the announcement.

The new chancellor for academic affairs and dean, U of M-Morris, is Cheryl Contant, pending approval by the regents Dec. 14. Contant is professor and director of the city and regional planning program in the Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Architecture. She served as an American Council of Education Fellow at Macalester College in 2006-07. Contant was selected through a national search and will assume responsibilities next summer. See the news release.

Former Moroccan ambassador to the United States Mohamed Benaissa will receive the University's honorary doctor of laws degree Dec. 4, 3:30 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Center, Twin Cities campus. Benaissa is a U alumnus who earned his B.S. in communications in 1963 and went on to a career in the United Nations and its Food and Agriculture Organization, then in Morocco's press, parliament, and ministries of culture and foreign affairs. At the ceremony, he will speak on "Moroccan-American Relations in the Context of Key Global Issues." See the news release and the U.S. State Department story.

Twin Cities campus assistant professor of anthropology David Valentine has won the Ruth Benedict Prize for outstanding scholarship on a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender topic, awarded by the Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists (SOLGA) of the American Anthropological Association. Valentine is the author of Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category (Duke University Press, 2007). See his faculty bio and the Ruth Benedict Prize.

Nov. 21

Twin Cities campus alumnus and hockey great Lou Nanne, '63, received the Outstanding Achievement Award, the University's highest award for alumni, presented Nov. 16 at Mariucci Arena. Nanne played for the Gophers and later for the Minnesota North Stars. He currently serves at Voyageurs Asset Management and is an active volunteer, mentor, and philanthropist. Read more in the news release.

Professor of applied economics Donald Liu was one of six regional recipients of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Agriculture Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award for 2007. The award was presented at the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges in New York Nov. 11. It recognizes professors who excel at teaching, make a positive impact on student learning, and influence other teachers by example. See the award information and Liu's faculty bio.

Sam Kezar, adjunct professor of arboriculture at the U of M-Crookston, was awarded full certification as a tree care safety professional at the annual conference of the Tree Care Industry Association in Hartford, Conn. See the news release.

The Crookston campus 2007 Collegiate Crops Judging Team, coached by agronomy professor Chuck Habstritt, placed second at both the Chicago and Kansas City, Mo., Collegiate Crops Judging Contest this month, just behind Kansas State University. See the news release.

Four Crookston campus students were part of a horticulture team that placed second in the Mid-America Collegiate Horticulture Society (MACHS) competition Nov 8-11 in River Falls, Wisc. See the news release.

Nov. 13

President Robert Bruininks assumed the chairmanship of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) at the group's 120th annual meeting, Nov. 12, in New York. Bruininks will lead the board--25 leaders of public universities across the country plus NASULGC president M. Peter McPherson--through an aggressive agenda, including the rollout of the Voluntary System of Accountability, which received unanimous support from the NASULGC board on Nov. 11. Other issues for the coming year include measuring and communicating the value and economic impact of public universities, improving access and success of diverse students, and expanding the land-grant mission in urban areas and abroad. Read more about the NASULGC annual meeting.

Christine Mueller and Linda Olson Keller
Nursing faculty members Christine Mueller (left) and Linda Olson Keller were inducted into the American Academy of Nursing at ceremonies in Washington, D.C.

School of Nursing faculty members Christine Mueller and Linda Olson-Keller (left photo) were inducted into the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) at its annual conference in Washington, D.C., Nov. 10. Mueller is recognized as a national leader in gerontological nursing, and Olson-Keller has been a state leader in developing a model for public health nursing practice now used around the world. Their induction brings the number of U of M nursing faculty members in the AAN to 13. The AAN includes the nation's top nursing executives, policy makers, scholars, researchers, and practitioners. See the news release, AAN, and faculty bios for Mueller and Olson-Keller.

Arvonne Fraser.
Humphrey Institute senior fellow emerita and CLA alumna Arvonne Fraser was awarded the U's Outstanding Achievement Award Nov. 6. Photo detail from the cover of Fraser's memoir, She's No Lady: Politics, Family, and International Feminism (Nodin Press, 2007), courtesy of the Humphrey Institute.

Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs senior fellow emerita and College of Liberal Arts alumna Arvonne Fraser (right) received the University's Outstanding Achievement Award Nov. 6. During her time at the Humphrey Institute, 1981-94, Fraser cofounded and directed the Center on Women and Public Policy, organized and codirected International Women's Rights Action Watch, and served as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. Fraser was also a partner in the work of her husband, Don Fraser, former Minneapolis mayor and congressman. On Oct. 30, Humphrey Institute alumnus and mentor program volunteer Don Brauer received the U's Alumni Service Award. Brauer's career has included work as a civil engineer, environmental planner, and consultant, and he recently served as director of the Freshwater Society. See the Humphrey Institute's news release.

Nov. 9

Assistant professor of nursing Bonnie Westra has been elected to the board of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), which advances health information technology in clinical care, personal health management, public health, and research. See the AMIA and her faculty bio.

Luisa Badaracco joined the news service in University Relations, Twin Cities campus, last month as a public relations representative. She's a native of Boston and a graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in broadcast journalism. She works with the colleges of continuing education; design; education and human development; food, agricultural, and natural resource sciences; the Graduate School; the Institute on the Environment; and the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment. See the news service.

Robert Kvavik accepts a larged framed object from Øystein Braathen at a podium.
Associate vice president and professor Robert Kvavik, right, was appointed First Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit in Oslo in September. He was also recognized by the Norwegian consul before the Board of Regents Nov. 9.

Nov. 5

His Majesty King Harald V of Norway has appointed U professor Robert Kvavik First Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for his research on Norway and for promoting university collaboration and student and faculty exchange between the United States, particularly the University of Minnesota, and Norway. Kvavik has also worked to develop Scandinavian studies in North America as president of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. The order was instituted Sept. 11 at the office of the U.S.-Norway Fulbright Foundation for Educational Exchange in Oslo by chief of chancellery Øystein Braathen (photo right). Kvavik joined the Twin Cities campus political science faculty in 1968 and has served in various administrative roles for more than 20 years, currently as associate vice president for planning. He will be recognized by the Board of Regents Nov. 9. Read the announcement.

Sam Myers
The chair of the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice, Sam Myers, has been elected to the National Academy of Public Administration. Photo courtesy of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Humphrey Institute professor Sam Myers (left) has been elected to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). Myers chairs the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice and specializes in the impacts of social policies on the poor. He pioneered the use of applied econometric techniques to examine racial disparities in crime, detect illegal discrimination in credit markets, assess the impact of welfare on family stability, and evaluate the effectiveness of government transfers in reducing poverty. New NAPA fellows will be introduced to the academy during its fall meeting, Nov. 14-16, in Washington, D.C. See his faculty bio and NAPA.

The University named five new McKnight Presidential Fellows, recently tenured faculty members who will receive support for ongoing research and scholarship in recognition of accomplishment. They are Marco Peloso, physics and astronomy; J. Michael Oakes, epidemiology and community health; Chris Leighton, chemical engineering and materials science; Wilma Koutstaal, psychology; and Andrew Scheil, English. Candidates are considered for these awards at the end of the regular promotion-and-tenure review process each year. See the McKnight Presidential Fellows.

The new head of the Division of Health Policy and Management in the School of Public Health will be Fran?ois Sainfort. He comes from Georgia Tech, where he has served as senior associate dean for interdisciplinary research in the College of Engineering and been a professor on the faculties of medicine, industrial and systems engineering, and management. He also directs the Health Systems Institute, a collaborative of George Tech and Emory University. He formerly taught preventative medicine and biomedical engineering at the U of Wisconsin-Madison. Sainfort holds a doctorate in industrial engineering and management from the École Centrale in Paris. Read the news release.

The new head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Medical School is bone cancer specialist Denis Clohisy, effective Nov. 1. Clohisy earned his M.D. at Northwestern University and served his residency at the U of M-Twin Cities. After postdoctoral work at Washington University and a fellowship at Harvard University, he joined the U faculty in 1991 and holds an endowed chair in musculoskeletal oncology. Read the news release.

College of Design dean Thomas Fisher and Department of Landscape Architecture head John Koepke cochaired the international conference of administrators and heads of schools of architecture and landscape architecture in Minneapolis Nov. 1-3. The conference, "Preparing for the Inconvenient Truth," focused on how academic leaders can prepare future design professionals to meet the challenge of global climate change and create a more sustainable future. Keynote speakers includes polar explorer Will Steger and Fresh Energy science policy director and climate scientist J. Drake Hamilton. Read more in the news release and see the program.

Nov. 1

Joanne Eicher stands among mannequins dressed in colorful clothing.
Regents professor Joanne Eicher, College of Design, will give the fall 2007 Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Lecture on Nov. 13. Photo courtesy of the Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel.

Joanne Bubolz Eicher (right), Regents Professor Emerita of Design, Housing, and Apparel in the College of Design, has been selected to deliver the fall 2007 Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Lecture, Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Center, Twin Cities campus. Eicher is an internationally renowned faculty member and researcher on the cultural aspects of dress and fashion with a special interest and expertise in Africa and Asia. She is the author of numerous books, including Mother, Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood and The Visible Self: Global Perspectives on Dress, Culture, and Society, and editor-in-chief of an upcoming ten-volume encyclopedia of dress and fashion. The twice-yearly lectureship is administered through the Office of University Women. See Eicher's faculty profile.

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 the Scholars Walk and U Awards & Honors.