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Home > People > Awards and appointments, November 2008

Awards and appointments, November 2008

By Adam Overland


Holly Zimmerman LeVoir (left), Spanish Ambassador Jorge Dezcallar, and Carla Rahn Phillips.

November 26

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor .


University of Minnesota professor Carla Rahn Phillips and Learning Abroad Center director Holly Zimmerman-LeVoir were knighted into Spain's Order of Isabella the Catholic in a special ceremony Nov. 24. The honor, which comes from Spain's King Don Juan Carlos I, was bestowed upon the pair in a special ceremony by Spanish ambassador Jorge Dezcaller at his official residence in Washington, D.C. The "Cross of the Order Queen Isabella the Catholic," conferred upon the pair is one of the highest civil honors granted by the Spanish Royal House. It can only be awarded by invitation of the King of Spain and is the only noble honor open to foreigners. Phillips, a professor of history, has devoted her career to research and teaching about the history of Spain and its overseas connections. Her books have won several awards from scholarly organizations in the United States, and she was elected to the Royal Academy of History in Spain in 2005. Zimmerman-LeVoir, program director in the Learning Abroad Center, was knighted for her "outstanding contributions to the dissemination of Spanish Culture within The United States of America." LeVoir has worked for 25 years to develop and implement an international program in Toledo, Spain, as well as coordinate the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain's Ministry of Culture and American universities nationwide. For more information, see the news release.

Four Institute of Technology professors have been named to three-year appointments as Taylor Distinguished Professors to work as a team of key advisors on matters related to improving undergraduate education within the college. The professors are Lorraine Francis (chemical engineering and materials science), James Kakalios (physics), James Leger (electrical and computer engineering), and Kenneth Leopold (chemistry). They will work together with the Institute of Technology associate dean for undergraduate programs to form the Taylor Committee. The first charge of the Taylor Committee will be to explore the benefits of establishing a required freshman experience for Institute of Technology students with the primary goal of increasing student retention and graduation rates. For more information, see Taylor Committee.

A 1992 paper co-authored by Andrew Van de Ven, the Vernon H. Heath Chair of Organizational Innovation and Change, was recently honored when it received the Strategic Management Society's Dan and Mary Lou Schendel Best Paper Prize for 2008. The award honors those papers that have impacted the field of strategic management as demonstrated by the number of citations and the influence of the paper on teaching, research, and practice over five or more years. Van de Ven's paper, "Structuring Cooperative Relationships Between Organizations," was written with Professor Peter Smith Ring of the College of Business Administration at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The paper was originally published in the Strategic Management Journal in 1992 as an outgrowth of findings discovered by the Minnesota Innovation Research Program. 

Sharon Danes, professor and family economist, and Heather Haberman, teaching specialist at department of Family Social Science, are recipients of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education Outstanding Research Journal Article of the Year for their article "Teen Financial Knowledge, Self-efficacy, and Behavior: A Gendered View." A social constructionist perspective was taken to investigate gender differences in financial knowledge, self-efficacy and behavior of 5,329 high school students after studying a financial planning curriculum. Male teens tended to reinforce their existing knowledge, whereas female teens learned significantly more about finances in areas in which they were unfamiliar prior to the curriculum study.

A 1982 University of Minnesota graduate is among "50 Best Brains in Science" according to the latest edition of Discover magazine. "We conferred with leading academics and unleashed a team of crack researchers to seek out the best of the best" reports the cover story of the December 2008 issue, which named Bill Hilton Jr. as one of "the individuals making the most important contributions to American science." Hilton graduated in 1982 from the University of Minnesota with an M.S. in Ecology & Behavioral Biology. He spent his first full summer at the U immersing himself in field courses at Lake Itasca Biological Station and then did a four-year intensive study of the "Behavioral Ecology of Blue Jays, Cyanocitta cristata" at Cedar Creek Natural History Area. The late Bud Tordoff was Hilton's graduate adviser.

Longtime College of Biological Sciences (CBS) faculty member Douglas Pratt died November 6. He was 77.
Longtime College of Biological Sciences (CBS) faculty member Douglas Pratt died November 6. He was 77.

Longtime College of Biological Sciences (CBS) faculty member Douglas Pratt died November 6. He was 77. A CBS scholarship and lectureship have been established in Pratt's honor. Pratt, who spent 30 years as a member of the college's faculty, pioneered groundbreaking research on the use of wetland vegetation as a renewable biomass crop. He was also an award-winning teacher admired by his students. He played a leading role in the development of the university's environmental sciences curricula. 

John Haarstad died November 17 after a long struggle with lung cancer. He was 62. John had been affiliated with the University since 1975. Most recently he had served as Cedar Creek's resident naturalist. A nature trail at Cedar Creek was recently named the "Dr. John A. Haarstad Interpretive Trail" in Haarstad's honor. This 2.5-mile trail around Fish Lake was one of his favorite hikes. The trail will become a focal point of the field station's expanding education and outreach program. Haarstad's family and close friends will hold a private memorial at Cedar Creek.

November 19

University of Minnesota School of Nursing faculty members Melissa Avery, Margaret Moss, Carol O'Boyle, and Cheryl Robertson, were formally inducted as fellows into the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) on November 8. Fellows are selected for their significant contributions to nursing and health care at a national or international level and their potential for continued contributions in the future. The School of Nursing's latest inductees bring its total number of fellows to 17.

A summary of each inductee can be viewed below:


Melissa Avery, the current vice president of the American College of Nurse Midwives, is a recognized national and international leader in nurse-midwifery. During her 30-year career, she has contributed to the development of accreditation standards for nurse-midwifery education programs and the creation of benchmarks for nurse-midwifery practice. She was also an early pioneer in the development and implementation of Web-based methods of delivering online graduate nursing education. She has made major contributions to evidence-based practice in prenatal care. Her seminal research on vaginal birth after a cesarean section and exercise treatment for gestational diabetes is cited in national practice bulletins distributed by the American College of Nurse Midwives and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Margaret Moss, an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota, is the first and only American Indian in the country to hold doctorates in nursing and law. She focuses on improving the health of Indian elders while honoring traditional tribal ways and practices. Moss is known for her innovative thinking and application of new tools like Geographical Information Systems, which she has used to examine nursing issues in American Indian health and migration. Moss has been invited to speak to the American Public Health Association, the Gerontological Society of America, the National Institute on Aging, and the World Congress on Aging. She serves on the Minnesota Board of Aging and has participated in the White Conference on Aging. She is also serving as one of seven Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows for 2008-09.

Carol O'Boyle played a key role in defining the discipline of infection prevention and control in the early 1980s. She has continued to be a national and international leader in research, practice consultation, public health advocacy, and nursing education. During her career, O'Boyle has co-authored many publications that contributed to improved nursing practice in areas such as avoiding exposure to HIV and other pathogens, hand hygiene, and bioterrorism response. From 2000 to 2002, she served as principal investigator of a taskforce of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Task force recommendations were adopted by the Joint Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2004, O'Boyle received the Advanced Infection Control Professional Award from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Cheryl Robertson focuses on the health and well-being of victims of war. Her work has redefined the outcomes of war as a public health issue. She has provided sustained leadership to global health organizations including the American Refugee Committee, Minnesota International Health Volunteers, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, and Human Trafficking International. Robertson has testified before the United Nations about documented torture and human rights violations, helped develop training for military health personnel deployed to complex humanitarian emergency zones, and created a program to support nursing education in conflict-affected regions. Her many honors include a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship, the Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights Volunteer of the Year Award, and the Twin Cities International Citizen of the Year Award.


University of Minnesota Medical School Associate Professor Jordan Dunitz was awarded the 2008 Medical Staff Recognition Award for Excellence in Clinical Care.
University of Minnesota Medical School Associate Professor Jordan Dunitz was awarded the 2008 Medical Staff Recognition Award for Excellence in Clinical Care.

University of Minnesota Medical School Associate Professor Jordan Dunitz was awarded the 2008 Medical Staff Recognition Award for Excellence in Clinical Care. Dunitz, who also directs the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview was nominated and selected for this annual award by his University of Minnesota health science colleagues. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects approximately 30,000 individuals in the U.S. The University of Minnesota Cystic Fibrosis Center is one of the oldest and largest CF centers in the U.S. and has median patient survival rates among the best in the nation.

Lin Nelson-Mayson, director of the Goldstein Museum of Design, was elected president of the Association of Midwest Museums' (AMM) board in October at the organization's annual conference in Kansas City. Founded in 1927, AMM is a non-profit membership organization that provides resources to museums and cultural institutions and services to museum professionals in an eight-state region in the Midwest. During her two-year term, Nelson-Mayson will preside over the organization's board, represent the region in Washington, D.C. at the American Association of Museums' Council of Regional Associations, and assist in organizing AMM's 2009 conference, to be held at the Saint Paul RiverCentre September 27-30.

Recipients of the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Florence Hall Award, 2008, include Jodi Dworkin, Family Social Science (FSOS) faculty; Chris Gonzalez, FSOS graduate student; and Colleen Gengler and Kathleen Olson, Extension Educators, Family Relations. The group won for their evaluation of a fact sheet series for parents of 7th and 8th graders - "Teen Talk: A survival guide for parents of teens." The National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Florence Hall Award is presented for an outstanding program conducted by one or more NEAFCS members who have been alert in recognizing new concerns and interests of families and have involved people in planning and implementing programs that benefit families.

U of M Alumnus Joan Velasquez won the highest annual award from the National Peace Corps Association. A distinguished panel of past recipients selected Velasquez to receive the 2008 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service. Velasquez and her husband co-founded Mano a Mano, a non-profit organization that has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Bolivians. The award was presented on October 3rd in San Francisco. For more information, see Velasquez.

November 12

Richard Johnson has been appointed director of the University's Biomedical Research Facilities Program. Johnson was selected from a highly qualified pool of candidates after a national search. In his role as director, Johnson will lead the planning, design, and construction of the four new biomedical research buildings approved by the Minnesota State Legislature in 2008. He is also responsible for the parking, transportation, and infrastructure improvements planned for the East Gateway District. Johnson's 21 years of public sector planning and project management experience includes an extensive background in planning and managing large, complex development projects in multi-jurisdictional environments. He worked most recently as Hennepin County's coordinator of the new Twins ballpark, and previously managed the new Central Library project and Convention Center expansion project for the City of Minneapolis. Johnson completed post-graduate studies in Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota and Engineering at the University of Wisconsin.

Carol Klee, professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, has been named assistant vice president for international scholarship, effective January 1, 2009. This is a two-year rotating position in the Office of International Programs charged with advancing the University's international scholarly and academic agenda. Primary responsibilities include the coordination of an international advisory committee and the awards process for international scholarship and research. Klee, who replaces Regents Professor Allen Isaacman, brings to the position a history of international scholarship, activity, and collaboration.

Eleanor Hannah, Carol Leitschuh, Jodi Malmgren, and Samuel Myers Jr. have been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to perform lectures and/or conduct research at institutions around the world during the 2008-09 academic year. Since 1988 more than 100 U of M faculty and administrators have received Fulbright Awards. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The university's Fulbright scholars are part of approximately 1,100 faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

University of Minnesota Fulbright Scholar grant recipients and their work:

Carol Leitschuh, a research associate in the School of Kinesiology, will deliver lectures in child development movement at Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic.

Jodi Malmgren, associate director of the Learning Abroad Center, will conduct seminars for United States-Japan International Education Administrators at various institutions throughout Japan.

Samuel Myers Jr., professor at the Humphrey Institute, will perform research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, China on remedies to racial and ethic economic inequality.

Eleanor Hannah, adjunct assistant professor of at U of M Duluth, will lecture on "Improving Capacity in Teaching the History of U.S. Political Thought" at the University of the Andes, Merida, Venezuela.

Michael Osterholm has been appointed to the Pandemics Global Agenda Council
Michael Osterholm has been appointed to the Pandemics Global Agenda Council

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) and professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, has been appointed to the Pandemics Global Agenda Council, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. The Pandemics Global Agenda Council was created to address preparedness for the next pandemic on a global level. Osterholm joins 13 international pandemic preparedness experts from academia, business, and government sectors who will collaborate to create a central, global authority on the issue. Osterholm is director CIDRAP, director of the National Institutes Health-supported Minnesota Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance within CIDRAP, a professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, University of Minnesota. The Pandemics Global Agenda Council will meet four times throughout the next year, including its first large group meeting at the Dubai Summit on the Global Agenda in November 2008.

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) has named School of Public Health professor and associate dean William Riley interim executive director. PHAB is a non-profit consortium of heads of local public health agencies whose mission is to develop, promote and oversee quality standards for public health agencies at the municipal, state, and federal levels. Riley, a noted national expert on quality improvement in health care settings and public health agencies, has served on PHAB's board of directors since July 2007. Riley will continue to fulfill his teaching and research duties as a SPH faculty member. He will also advise SPH Dean John Finnegan on partnership development strategies in his role as associate dean.

Susan Weller has been named the Bell museum's director
Susan Weller has been named the Bell museum's director

Susan Weller, professor of entomology and interim director of the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, has been named the museum's director. Weller, the first female director in the museum's 136-year history, assumes the post as the university enters its second year of seeking bonding approval for a new Bell Museum facility in St. Paul. Weller is internationally recognized for her research on the evolution of butterflies and moths and will be one of only three women researchers leading U.S. university-based natural history museums. A passionate advocate of engaging both university students and everyday citizens in real research opportunities, Weller may be most familiar to Minnesotans as the leader of the Bell Museum's annual "Minnesota BioBlitz" event in which professional biologists work shoulder-to-shoulder with citizen volunteers to document and count an area's plant and animal life within a 24-hour time frame.

The University's 2008 Award for Global Engagement recipients are Phillip Peterson and Paul Quie, co-directors of the International Medical Education and Research (IMER) Program; John Vreyens, director of International Programs in Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; and Mahmood Zaidi, professor emeritus of human resources and founding director emeritus of international programs, Carlson School of Management. The Global Engagement Award honors active or retired faculty and staff members for outstanding contributions to global education and international programs in their field or to the University. Peterson and Quie established a legacy of globalization in health care for the Medical School and founded its International Medical Education Program; as scientists, both have contributed greatly to health care worldwide. Vreyens has devoted much of his life to making the world a more equitable and better place, from his time in the Peace Corps to his work with international agricultural education and research. Zaidi founded the Carlson School's international programs and is a renowned scholar in the field of international human resource development. The recipients will receive their awards at a ceremony Nov. 19 during International Education Week. For more information, see the Office of International Programs.

Diana Murphy has received a Regents Award. Murphy has been a University of Minnesota Foundation Trustee since 1990, serving as Treasurer for six years, Vice Chair for one year, and Chair from 2003-2005. As the first (and still only) female Federal Appeals Court Judge for the 8th District, she is known for her exceptional intelligence, respect for diverse opinions, commitment to fairness, and common sense, qualities notable in her work on behalf of the University as well as in her judicial career. A CLA and Law School alumna, Murphy has a keen understanding of the needs of this University and a passionate belief in the importance of its role in the larger culture. As a result, she has long been an eloquent and effective advocate for the U of M and for higher education. The Regents Award is an honor conferred upon individuals who have contributed to the building and development of the University of Minnesota through significant benefactions, or who have given exceptionally valuable and noteworthy service to the University.

William Pedersen will receive the University of Minnesota's highest alumni honor--the Outstanding Achievement Award on November 19 at the McNamara Alumni Center. The University confers this award on graduates or former students of the U who have attained unusual distinction in their chosen fields or professions and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national, or international level. Pedersen has been a major influence on the evolution of tall office buildings, including the 2008 World Financial Center in Shanghai, which soars to a height of 1,614 feet and includes 101 above-ground floors, making it the tallest mixed-use urban development project in the world. He is also the lead designer for the University of Minnesota's new Science Teaching and Student Services building, planned for completion in 2010. Pedersen's work is featured on the University's Wall of Discovery and he currently serves on the U of M Foundation Board of Trustees.

November 5

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association honored 18 of the top volunteers, groups and events of the past year at a ceremony during Homecoming Week. Detailed information about the award recipients can be seen at Alumni Service Award Recipients. Among the winners: Mary Endorf, College of Education and Human Development
Neal Gault, Medical School
Arnold Hill, School of Dentistry
James Jernberg, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Julie Johnson, College of Pharmacy
Juanita Luis, College of Liberal Arts
Scott Manwarren, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Eugene Ollila, Medical School
Dennis Schulstad, University of Minnesota Alumni Association
Margot Siegel, College of Design
Ellen Sorenson, School of Music