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Home > People > Awards and Appointments - June 2009

Awards and Appointments - June 2009

By Adam Overland

 Michael Sommers
Michael Sommers has received the 2009 Enduring Vision Award from the Bush Foundation.

June 24 

Michael Sommers, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, has been awarded the 2009 Enduring Vision Award from the Bush Foundation. The $100,000 prize is intended to propel the artistic investigations of mature artists. The Enduring Vision Award is the only award of this size and intent in the country. Up to three awards are given annually to artists in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota who have at least 25 years of experience as working artists. For the 2009 awards, nominations were received for artists working in the performing and literary arts. Professor Sommers has also recently won a $25,000 McKnight Fellowship and a $50,000 United States Artists Grant. For more information, see the PDF press release.

History professor Donna Gabaccia has been named to the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Public Humanities for the 2009-10 academic year. She will form and direct a small team of University-based researchers and community-based immigrant youth and archivists to create, collect, and analyze life writings by youth from Hmong, Mexican, and Somali refugee groups in the Twin Cities. The chair supports research in the humanities that reaches beyond the academy by engaging community partners in jointly planned projects and reaching wider audiences for humanities scholarship. For more information, see Fesler-Lampert Chair.

Irma McClaurin, associate vice president and executive director of the Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center, has been named to the Committee of Scholars for Ms. Magazine. As a scholarly associate, McClaurin advises the magazine on ways to translate academic scholarship for public audiences and is an active participant in the Ms. Writing Workshops, a national program to coach women’s studies scholars and other members of higher education on communicating more effectively to non-academic audiences. In May, McClaurin also completed a national Webinar for the National Association of Women's Studies on "Engaged Scholarship in Theory and Practice: Making the Case for Our Discipline in the Age of Accountability."

UMM associate professor of biology PZ Myers was recently awarded the title of Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Society. Past winners of the award include Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Pinker, Carl Sagan, Kurt Vonnegut, and others. Myers is author of the popular science blog, Pharyngula, which covers culture, politics, religion, and most notably, the evolution/intelligent design debate. He received the 2005 Koufax Award for Best Expert Blog, the 2006 Weblog Award for Best Science Blog, and was named the world's top science blogger by Nature magazine. For more information, see the announcement.

Steve Yussen, former dean of the College of Education and Human Development and professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Institute of Child Development, has been named editor of Educational Researcher, published by the American Educational Research Association. Two other professors from CEHD will join Yussen as associate editors: Deborah Dillon, Guy Bond Chair in Reading in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and educational psychology professor Michael Harwell.

Yussen brings more than 35 years of scholarly experience to this new endeavor. In the past he has served as associate editor of Child Development and the Journal of Educational Psychology, as a reviewer for numerous scholarly journals, and as an editorial advisory board member. His own research, which centers on cognitive development, instructional psychology, memory, learning, and reading comprehension in school-age children, has been widely published. For more information, see the news release.

The Carlson School received a Global Leadership award at the Lenovo Think Tank ’09 event at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on June 3. The award, one of only three given, was for the Carlson School’s innovation with international programs and with the organization and growth of the MBA and undergraduate laptop programs. The IT Student Services team will hang the award plaque in the Hanson Laptop Repair Center so students can note the award-winning service they are receiving. Those in IT Student Services include Corrie Bozung, Matt Maloney, Garreth McMaster, and Todd Norman, as well as a large group of talented student staff members.

Steven Case, CyberOptics founder and former U engineering professor, died in an airplane accident in Crystal. For more information, see the Star Tribune.


U in the News: A selection of U faculty in the news

Good Question: What's Causing Protests In Iran?
The images from Iran have dominated the headlines since the election more than ten days ago. "This is not a surprise to me and this has been building for some 30 years," said Iraj Bashiri, Ph.D., a native of Iran and a professor at the University of Minnesota. WCCO-TV.

Tots' hearts healed simply
Lori and Mark Haman may be the luckiest set of unlucky parents you’ll ever meet. That specialist was University of Minnesota pediatric cardiologist James Moller, who knew instantly--after listening to Josie’s heart--what the problem was. Mankato Free Press.

Billy Bye given U of M farewell
Billy Bye expressed one sentiment so frequently around his house that Jim Bye repeated it twice for effect Wednesday during his father's memorial service. "Billy would commonly say, and I quote: 'During my adult life, almost everything good that's happened to me can somehow be linked to my attending the University of Minnesota,'" Jim Bye said. Star Tribune.

Experts say re-timing traffic signals could reduce pollution, travel times
Love them and need them we may, but the fact remains our vehicles are polluting, energy consuming beasts. John Hourdos, University of Minnesota engineering professor and traffic expert, also said we are "over signalized." Minnesota Public Radio.

Owl survives again after being hit hard by SUV
This great horned owl is one lucky, or unlucky, bird--depending how you look at it. Julia Ponder works at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, where the bird has been treated both times. Associated Press.

Researchers developing disease-resistant American elms
Minnesota could lose millions of ash trees to the emerald ash borer. But University of Minnesota Associate Professor of Horticultural Science Jeff Gillman believes it's better to develop trees that are native to the harsh Midwestern climate. Minnesota Public Radio.


June 10

Martha JohnsonMartha Johnson has been selected as the director of the Learning Abroad Center

Martha Johnson has been selected as the director of the Learning Abroad Center, after an extensive national search. Johnson is the current interim director of the center. She has worked in education abroad since 1991 and has served in numerous leadership positions and task forces of international education organizations. Johnson has worked in education abroad since 1991, including on-site in Ireland, four years based in England, and institutional relations management for several program providers. She has been at the University of Minnesota since 2001. She holds a B.A. from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota with a double major in Literature and Theatre Arts and an M.A. in Literature from the University of St. Thomas with an emphasis in multicultural and travel literature, and post-colonial theory. She has served in numerous leadership positions and national task forces on ethics for both NAFSA and the Forum On Education Abroad. For more information, see learning abroad.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation recently selected Christy Haynes, a member of University of Minnesota's Chemistry Department, as a 2009 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. The $75,000 unrestricted award will support Dr. Haynes' research program. Since its inception in 1970, the Teacher-Scholar program has awarded over $30,000,000 in funding. The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is a leading non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of the chemical sciences. It was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor, and businessman Camille Dreyfus in honor of his brother Henry, with the direction that the Foundation's purpose be “to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances around the world.” For more information, see the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action recently announced the winners of the 2009 Lillian H. Williams Award. Juan Moreno, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist in the University of Minnesota Extension Service, and the staff of the Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC), a division of the Academic Health Center, were presented with the Williams Awards at the annual EOAA Liaisons Conference held on Mary 14. For more information, see Lillian H. Williams Award.

Mark Paller will serve in the role of executive vice dean for the University of Minnesota Medical School beginning July 1. During his 27 years with the University of Minnesota, Paller has a history of leadership within the Medical School and Academic Health Center. He has provided vision and developed programs to encourage faculty and associate deans to expand research productivity and portfolios throughout the health sciences in his role as the AHC’s assistant vice president for research, a position he has held since 1999. The selection of an executive vice dean is part of an overall restructuring effort within the AHC and Medical School. Paller’s leadership experience includes serving as the University lead on the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a collaboration between the state of Minnesota, the University, and Mayo Clinic. Paller has directed the peer review process for distributing approximately $60 million in the past five years to nearly 30 shared research projects through the partnership. In addition, Paller provides leadership for the Academic Health Center’s Academy for Excellence in Health Research, the highest recognition in AHC research that has contributed to the prominence of leading-edge research in the health sciences.

Paller earned his M.D. from Northwestern University and completed his residency in internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University and his clinical and research fellowship in nephrology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He also received his master’s degree in administrative medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 1997.

The University of Minnesota Law School has chosen Jean Sazevich as the director of advancement after an extensive nationwide search. She will assume her duties on June 30. Ms. Sazevich brings to the Law School a large portfolio of experience in philanthropy, including executive, program management and advisory positions within private foundations, family offices and corporations. As director of advancement, she will lead the Law School’s development and alumni relations office in cultivating the institutional resources to fulfill the Law School’s aspirations to be a leading center for innovative teaching and research.

The Humphrey Institute has named Deborah Swackhamer the Charles M. Denny, Jr. Chair for Science, Technology, and Public Policy beginning July 1. Professor Swackhamer joins the Humphrey Institute after a long and highly respected academic career at the University of Minnesota, where she served on the faculty at the School of Public Health, as interim director of the University’s Institute on the Environment, and as part of the University’s Water Resource Center. She serves as chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She also serves advisory roles to the International Joint Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Undersea Research Program, Environmental Science and Technology Journal, Journal of Environmental Monitoring, and the Minnesota Clean Water Council. As Denny Chair, Swackhamer will serve as the senior faculty member for the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Humphrey Institute, teaching and advising graduate students in the Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (MS-STEP) program. Swackhamer also will play an active role in engaging professionals and policymakers in developing frameworks and innovative approaches to science and technology policy formulation and analysis.

The University of Minnesota’s Medical Alumni Society board has chosen five exceptional physicians to receive two of its awards: the Harold S. Diehl Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award. The awards will be formally presented on Sept. 11, 2009, as part of the Medical School’s Alumni Reunion Weekend.

The Harold S. Diehl Award is the Medical Alumni Society’s most prestigious award for lifetime achievement. It is granted to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Medical School, the University of Minnesota and the community. It was established in honor of the Medical School’s fifth dean, Harold Sheely Diehl, M.D.

This year’s recipients are:

Forrest Adams

A member of the Medical School Class of 1943, Adams made several pioneering contributions to the field of pediatric cardiology. His studies on the early diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart disease in infants, fetal heart and lung function and use of lung surfactant to treat premature infant respiratory distress syndrome have improved the lives of countless children. In the five years he spent on the University of Minnesota’s faculty, he helped to develop the Variety Club Children’s Heart Hospital. He later established a division of pediatric cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he also oversaw the design and implementation of a new medical curriculum.

Roby Thompson Jr.

Described as a superior administrator and careful listener, Thompson led the University of Minnesota’s clinical faculty to form a unified faculty practice plan known as University of Minnesota Physicians (UMPhysicians), where he currently serves as CEO. He performed a key role in establishing the partnership between UMPhysicians, the University’s hospitals and Fairview Health Services. Additionally, in the 21 years Thompson served as head of the Medical School’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, the department became the top-ranked public institution in funding for orthopaedic surgery research and training, and its residency program became the national leader in training female orthopaedic surgeons. He’s now vice dean for clinical affairs for the Medical School.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes University of Minnesota Medical School alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their local, regional or national community through medical practice, teaching, research or other humanitarian activities.

This year, three physicians will receive this honor:

Louis Ling

A 1980 graduate of the Medical School, Ling has led several national emergency medicine organizations. He also started the journal Academic Emergency Medicine, which is now the second-largest journal in the specialty. Ling has been an emergency medicine physician at Hennepin County Medical Center for the past 25 years, serving as associate medical director for medical education there since 1992. He also was medical director for the Hennepin Regional Poison Center, covering Minnesota and the Dakotas, until 2004. Described as a man of high moral standards and integrity, Ling is associate dean for graduate medical education at the Medical School.

Patricia Wolff

A member of the Class of 1972, Wolff founded in 2004 the nonprofit Meds and Food for Kids, which supplies a nutrition supplement rich in protein, vitamins and minerals to malnourished children in Haiti. Wolff, who has been a clinical faculty member in pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine for 32 years, now splits her time equally between Haiti and her group practice in St. Louis. Known by colleagues for her compassion and tireless work ethic, Wolff also has been named one of the “Best Doctors in America” by U.S. News & World Report in eight of the past 12 years.

James Woolliscroft

A 1976 graduate of the Medical School, Woolliscroft now serves as dean of the University of Michigan Medical School, one of the country’s top 10 medical schools. His research has been aimed at improving medical education through developing standardized and systematic ways to assess clinical competence, finding better ways to operationalize medical cognition and solve problems and translating these advances into clinical practice. Despite his many administrative demands, Woolliscroft remains an active general internist and enjoys mentoring young researchers. Described as an altruistic and visionary leader, he also has become a strong voice for global health and disease prevention.

Six undergraduates and five graduate students from the U of M-Twin Cities have been awarded Critical Language Scholarships for language study abroad during the summer of 2009. The Department of State's Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) for Intensive Summer Institutes Program was launched in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study eleven critical-need languages overseas. The designated languages include eight that are taught at the U of M-Twin Cities: Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu. The 2009 CLS Program received over 5,400 applications from students at colleges and universities throughout the U.S, and has awarded more than 500 scholarships. The scholarship recipients will spend seven to ten weeks in intensive language institutes this summer in countries where the target languages are spoken. Along with intensive language study, they will participate in cultural immersion through a variety of integrated activities organized as part of the language institutes. The CLS Program, which is fully funded by the Department of State, is part of a wider U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need languages. Participants in the CLS Program are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

The University’s undergraduate CLS recipients are:

Dustin Chacon, ’10, Linguistics major (for Bengali)

Evan Jones, ’10, Linguistics major (for Russian)

Meredith Knaak, ’11, Neuroscience and Global Studies majors (for Korean)

Sydney Lefevre, ’12, Anthropology major (for Turkish)

Rowan Morbey, ’09, History major (for Russian)

Jamie Robertson, ’11, Linguistics major (for Arabic)

The graduate recipients are:

Ann Beuch, ’10, Masters in Public Policy, Masters in Social Work (for Korean)

Renata Blumberg, ’11, PhD student in Geography (for Russian)

Basit Qureshi, ’13, PhD student in History (for Arabic)

Julie Warner, ’09, Masters in Public Affairs (for Hindi)

Grete Willis, ’10, Masters in Public Policy (for Chinese)

Paul Cartwright, forever a Gopher and beloved professor, died at age 93. To read more about Cartwright, see the Star Tribune.


U in the News: A selection of U faculty in the news

Funding a brighter future: Paying for the smart grid
We can rebuild it. We have the technology. Several studies have indicated that a sustained annual investment of $10 billion would be necessary for the existing technology to evolve, but research and development investment is at an all-time low and utility companies have little incentive to invest long term, said Massoud Amin, director of the Center for the Development of Technological Leadership at the University of Minnesota. Medill.

New Arboretum exhibit is all wet
What's on tap at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum this summer?. "The Cutting Edge," featuring demonstration plots of new, water-efficient lawn grasses, including University of Minnesota research grasses. Star Tribune.

Farming out the back yard
Some busy people rely on personal chefs and personal shoppers. "It strikes me as bizarre," said Paula Pentel, urban studies professor at the University of Minnesota. Star Tribune.