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Home > People > Awards and appointments, February 2011

Awards and appointments, February 2011

By Adam Overland

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President Bruininks

February 23

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


University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks was honored last week by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) with their “Champion for Children” award. The award is given in recognition of outstanding leadership in support of children and education. Past recipients include: U.S. Senators Paul Wellstone and Mark Dayton, U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad and Elmer Koch.

Bruininks’s academic career has centered on child and adolescent development and policy research, and strategic improvement in the fields of pre-kindergarten to grade 12 and higher education. A professor of educational psychology, he has authored or coauthored nearly 90 journal articles and more than 70 book chapters, as well as training materials and several standardized tests. He was named the 15th president of the University of Minnesota in 2002 and has served at the U for more than 40 years, previously as a professor, dean and provost. Bruininks leaves the presidency in June of 2011 and will return to the faculty, at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

MESPA is the professional association of Minnesota’s elementary and middle-level principals. With the vision to “be the premiere resource for preparing today’s principals for tomorrow and a strong leading voice for public education” and a statewide membership over 950 principals, MESPA has represented Minnesota’s principals since 1950. MESPA is affiliated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and its 29,500 members nationwide. For more information, see the news release.


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

Showing the Snow Who’s Boss
People in other parts of the country still sound rational when discussing snow and ice… Before doing anything, though, call your insurance company, said Mr. Huelman of the University of Minnesota. “Some insurers will cover the removal of ice dams,” he said. “Others will only touch it if water comes in.” New York Times.

Ancient Water Discovery In Depths Of Iron Range Mine
Scientists in Minnesota have discovered a place like nowhere else on earth right here in Minnesota… “It’s also a journey back in time,” said Robert Elde, Dean of the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences. “A journey back maybe as old as the rock itself found deep in that mine 2.7 billion years old.” WCCO-TV.

Scientists coax a bit of stretch into artificial blood vessels
The artificial vessels created by Humacyte do not perfectly mimic nature's recipe. They lack a major component of natural vessels: the protein elastin… Robert Tranquillo, a biomedical engineer at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, estimates that he gets 1% to 10% in his own artificial grafts. Los Angeles Times.

U of M, conservation groups using crop database to boost food production
The University of Minnesota is teaming up with agribusiness and conservation groups to use a massive database to boost food production while reducing harm to the environment. Minnesota Public Radio.


February 16

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


Davis-Blake named dean of U of Michigan's school of business
Carlson School of Management dean Alison Davis-Blake has been named as the new dean of the Allison Davis-Blake 165 Alison Davis-Blake University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

Davis-Blake led the Carlson School's historic undergraduate expansion effort, an increase in both their international footprint and private fundraising, and many other things. Provost Sullivan issued a statement of congratulation.

Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship
Lawrence Edwards 165R. Lawrence Edwards The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has selected University of Minnesota professor R. Lawrence Edwards to receive the prestigious Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship honoring his scientific contributions to the study of the physics of the Earth. Edwards, a geology and geophysics professor in the U's College of Science and Engineering, is only the 14th recipient of the Day Prize since its inception in 1972 and the first from the University of Minnesota.

Edwards is best known for his development of extremely precise methods for measuring the ages of rocks. For more information about his research, see the news release.

Edwards will be honored for his research and receive the $20,000 Day Prize at a ceremony on May 1, during the National Academy of Sciences’ 148th annual meeting.

Will Craig named fellow of UCGIS
Will Craig, associate director of the U's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), has been named a fellow of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), a consortium of more than 70 U.S. universities that focus on research and education related to geographic information systems (GIS). Craig was honored along with six other newly named fellows in a ceremony held on Feb. 4 in Washington, D.C., as part of the UCGIS annual winter meeting. Learn more about Craig's award.


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

Prof. Says New Cyberweapon Could Take Down the Internet
Not everyone can bring the Internet to its knees by turning off the switch, a la Hosni Mubarak. But now a University of Minnesota professor says that he and his colleagues have discovered a technique that would, essentially, paralyze the Internet. "Routers under extreme computational load tend to do funny things," says Max Schuchard, who explained his Internet doomsday weapon to New Scientist magazine. New Scientist.

No Argument: Thomas Keeps 5-Year Silence
A week from Tuesday, when the Supreme Court returns from its midwinter break and hears arguments in two criminal cases, it will have been five years since Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during a court argument… In the past 40 years, no other justice has gone an entire term, much less five, without speaking at least once during arguments, according to Timothy Johnson, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. The New York Times.

Risk and Reward in Utero
The two mothers-to-be felt the same urgency. Told that their babies had potentially crippling spina bifida, both women hoped to receive an ambitious surgery that closes the hole in the spine while babies are in the womb… But with prenatal surgery, that isn’t possible, said Jeffrey Kahn, director of the University of Minnesota’s bioethics center. “Some people are accepting risk for the benefit of those who will come after them.” The New York Times.

Background checks are latest gun rights battleground
Bill's Gun Shop in Robbinsdale is as good a place as any to begin a conversation about guns in Minnesota… In both Minnesota and Wisconsin - a state without a permit to carry law -- crime has been falling for 20 years, said Ross MacMillan, a criminologist at the University of Minnesota, but when MacMillan compared what's happened to violent crime and other felonies in the two states since Minnesota's permit law went into effect in 2005, he noticed an appreciable decline in Minnesota relative to Wisconsin after 2005. Minnesota Public Radio.

Minn. Prof. Writes Press Handbook for Diplomats
U.S. diplomats around the world will soon by using a handbook written by a University of Minnesota professor to explain the responsibilities of a free press to members of foreign governments and the media… The U.S. State Department commissioned Jane Kirtley, a U professor of media ethics and law, to write the "Media Law Handbook." KSTP-TV.


February 9

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


VP Rosenstone named chancellor of MnSCU
Vice President Steven Rosenstone has been named the next chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. President Bruininks commented to inquiring press on behalf of the University.

Lou Bellamy to retire
Bellamy 300 Lou Bellamy The U will host a Feb. 22 event to honor Bellamy's contributions as a scholar, professor, and artistic visionary. The University of Minnesota will present a tribute to honor the legacy of Lou Bellamy, founder and artistic director of Penumbra Theatre and associate professor of theatre at the University of Minnesota. Bellamy is retiring from the University of Minnesota this spring. He has worked at the university since 1979 and in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance as an associate professor since 1994. An event to honor his contributions to theater as a scholar, professor and artistic visionary will be held Feb. 22, 5-7 p.m., Elmer L. Andersen Library.

For 32 years, Bellamy has taught courses at the University of Minnesota to both undergraduate and graduate students. He is most recognized for revitalizing and teaching "The African American in American Theatre: 1820 to 1960" and "Contemporary Black Theatre: 1960 to Present" courses, and for teaching numerous courses in the practice of theater including acting, directing and oral communication. He was the key advisor for the August Wilson Fellowship, which includes two components—a fellowship cash stipend and a 25 percent placement at Penumbra Theatre as a dramaturge for professional productions.

Bellamy is highly regarded by students, faculty and theatre professionals for his willingness and commitment to link students with professional development opportunities before and upon graduation. His students routinely become working directors, actors and technicians at theaters across the country.

Under Bellamy’s leadership, Penumbra Theatre has produced 23 world premieres, including August Wilson's first professional production, and is proud to have produced more of Wilson’s plays than any theater in the world. Bellamy is an OBIE Award-winning director, an accomplished actor and sought-after scholar. He is a member of several professional organizations, including Black Theatre Network, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. He is active in community service, including participation in the Governor’s Task Force on Economic Vitality in the Arts and the City of Saint Paul Community Education Planning Committee.

He has received numerous honors and awards including the W. Harry Davis Foundation Award for Leadership in Afro Centric Education, NAACP Arts and Drama Award, Doctor of Arts at Hamline University, 2006 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, Lucille Lortel Award for Best Off-Broadway Revival of 2006 and the Lloyd Richards Directing Award for 2007.

SOM clarinet professor Alexander Fiterstein was recently named in The League of American Orchestra’s Symphony magazine’s 2011 annual listing of emerging artists. Symphony magazine’s annual listing of emerging soloists and conductors is inspired by the breadth and sheer volume of young classical talent. The New York Times has praised Fiterstein’s playing for possessing a “beautiful liquid clarity.”



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

What makes some people get sick while on boats? Scientist explores 'sea legs'
Wobble across the deck of a rocking boat and somebody is sure say it: Stare at the horizon to get your sea legs… Turns out, there might be science behind that ancient mariner's advice. It all has to do with the motion of bodies, concludes a University of Minnesota researcher. After years studying how and why people rock back and forth in different situations, kinesiology professor Thomas Stoffregen wanted to see how the rocking changed when people were on a surface that, essentially, did the rocking for them. The Post and Courier.

The Unranter
If anybody prides himself on objectivity, it is University of Minnesota horticulture professor Jeff Gillman. Yet, here at GR headquarters, where passion trumps proof every time, we nonetheless persist in the fantasy that Jeff Gillman is a kindred spirit. Garden Rant.

Shining light on darkness: U of M opens think tank on Islamic law and human rights
At the opening ceremonies for the University of Minnesota's new think tank on Islamic law and Human Rights, Congressmember Keith Ellison described a time when he was a young boy afraid of what lurked underneath his bed when the lights were off… Professor David Wippman, Dean of the University of Minnesota Law School, said the Islamic Law and Human Rights program will look at questions of the compatibility of Islamic law and human rights, and examine topics such as property rights, the position of women, and crime. Twin Cities Daily Planet.

Professor Predicts Democracy for Egypt
Professor Ragui Assaad, with the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute, spoke with FOX 9 News about the conflict in Cairo. KMSP-TV.

U of M joins handful of schools with Islamic law program
Since news of the University of Minnesota's new Islamic Law and Human Rights progrom went public a few weeks ago, Kristi Rudelius-Palmer has gotten a few e-mails. Minnesota Public Radio.

Kids secretly like having family meals
The thought of family dinners, where parents and kids gather around the table each night for home-cooked meals, might seem old-fashioned in these days of technology, overscheduled children and overworked adults… "They really value their family connections, and the family table is where they experience it the most," said University of Minnesota professor William Doherty, whom Barilla commissioned to work on the study. "Kids get a lot of parent time but not a lot of whole family time." SC Now.

Dorm sweet dorm: U plans $38M student housing project
Hoping to meet a growing need for student housing, the University of Minnesota is laying the groundwork for a new $38 million residential hall and dining building on the Minneapolis campus… The university planning director, Orlyn Miller, said the request is for pre-design work. Finance & Commerce.


February 2

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


VP Rosenstone named chancellor of MnSCU
Vice President Steven Rosenstone has been named the next chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. 


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

How Egyptian Protests Could Impact Minn.
Should the situation in Egypt take a turn for the worse, Minnesotans could experience everything from rising gas prices to a new U.S. military commitment… Ragui Assaad, a professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, discusses these and other possibilities, but says he's optimistic the climate in Egypt will improve rather than worsen. KARE-11.

Low-income families could struggle with salt guidelines
A Minnesota researcher says new dietary recommendations from the federal government could be hard for some low-income families to follow… Mary Story, a dietician at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, said those foods can be expensive—and hard to find in some low-income areas. "We have to as a country really look at the food that we're marketing, the food that's available, especially in lower-income communities where they don't have access to the healthier food products," Story said. "People can't eat it if it's not available. Even if it's available, if it's priced too high, people aren't going to buy it." Minnesota Public Radio.

Future engineers try thinking outside the sandbox
For four hours Friday evening, a group of about 70 Purdue University students and their teachers gathered at the school's Discovery Learning Research Center… University of Minnesota professor Barry Kudrowitz, a toy designer whose master's work—and subsequent classes he taught—were funded by toy giant Hasbro at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Journal and Courier Online.

Replacing Body Parts
Scientists are learning how to grow custom-made body parts so they can be ready when you—and your vital organs—start falling apart. At the University of Minnesota, Doris Taylor and her colleagues strip organs of their cells, reseed the organ "skeletons" with living cells, and watch as the organs start working right in front of their eyes. PBS Nova.

Economic development: a team sport
Pat Riley, regarded as one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, knows a thing or two about team sports, and about winning… Recognizing an opportunity to better contribute to Minnesota’s own team effort, the University of Minnesota has stepped up its historically strong performance. Since 2004 research expenditures at the U have increased 42 percent, the third-largest growth rate among all universities in the country. MinnPost.

Next steps in renewable energy may be dreamt of right here at home
The call to arms from President Obama for renewable energy is a call being answered at the University of Minnesota… Heeding that call is Professor of Chemical Engineering, Lanny Schmidt… "Creating this very thin film but its absorption of lots of light and when it absorbs that it can create electricity," Assistant Professor Russell Holmes explained of his work in producing a film that acts as a solar panel… Another way to do it is with a liquid that might be painted on a structure. That research is being led by Eray Aydil. KARE-11.

Moving to a different beat
Getting physically and emotionally fit can be challenging, but something as simple as music can help… Music's healing properties have been lauded since the days of Aristotle, when physicians were often also trained as musicians, said assistant University of Minnesota music therapy professor Annie Heiderscheit. Star Tribune.