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Home > People > Awards and appointments, March 2011

Awards and appointments, March 2011

By Adam Overland

Heidi Barajas 165
Heidi Lasley Barajas

March 30

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

Morse-Alumni Award recipients

Morse-Alumni Award recipients for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education are Christopher Cramer, Chemistry; Kirsten Fischer, History; Jeanne Higbee, Postsecondary Teaching and Learning; Gary Jahn, Slavic Language and Literatures; Soo-Yin Lim-Thompson, Early Childhood Education (UMC); Susan Mantell, Mechanical Engineering; Michelle Page, Secondary Education (UMM). An award ceremony will be held April 25, McNamara Alumni Center, UMTC.

Outstanding Contributions award recipients

Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education Award recipients are Melissa Avery, Child & Family Health Co-operative, School of Nursing; Janet Dubinsky, Neuroscience; Edward Goetz, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, Humphrey School; Ralph Holzenthal, Entomology; Anatoly Liberman; German, Scandinavian, and Dutch; Raymond Newman, Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology; Margaret Root Kustritz, Veterinary Clinical Sciences; Ann Van Heest, Orthopaedic Surgery. An award ceremony will be held April 25, McNamara Alumni Center, UMTC.

George named editor of Journal of Medicinal Chemistry

Gunda Georg (College of Pharmacy) has been named one of two new editors of Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and will assume leadership of the journal in January 2012. The role is currently filled by Distinguished Professor Philip Portoghese, who will retire from the journal at the end of the year after serving as its editor-in-chief for 40 years. The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry is the most-cited international journal for the publication of original medicinal chemistry research.

Heidi Lasley Barajas appointed executive director of UROC
Heidi Lasley Barajas has been appointed executive director of the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC).

She is the associate dean for engagement and faculty development in the College of Education and Human Development and an associate professor (and founding chair) of postsecondary teaching and learning. She has been co-leader of the interim executive team guiding UROC since its May 2010 grand opening in North Minneapolis as a hub for university-community research partnerships aimed at strengthening urban communities.

Tina Falkner receives service award
Tina Falkner, chief privacy officer for student data and a director in Academic Support Resources, was awarded the Thomas A. Bilger Citation for Service. This award is given annually at the conference of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Falkner was recognized for her outstanding contributions to AACRAO’s conferences and programs, special projects, task forces, and committee assignments.

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

Almost homebound, Darboy boy Charlie Knuth looks 'incredibly better'
Nearly 100 days removed from a potentially life-saving stem cell transplant designed to strengthen his delicate skin, it's almost time for Charlie Knuth, 5, to come home from Minneapolis… "His skin looks incredibly better," said Jakub Tolar, Charlie's physician at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. "Basically 90 to 95 percent of his body area was covered in sores. It's less than 5 percent now." Appleton Post Crescent.

Giancarlo Casale: Deeper cuts by state will cripple the U
As the legislative debate about state funding for the University of Minnesota begins in earnest, allow me to share an experience I had last week while representing the U at an academic conference in Washington, D.C… Let me simply say this: I was hired by the University of Minnesota in 2004. Since then, like many other members of the faculty, I have had multiple opportunities to take other jobs, including positions at some of the wealthiest private universities in the country. Star Tribune.

6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution
In the wake of the governor of Tokyo blaming the "egoism" of the Japanese people for the earthquake and tsunami, Bernard Levinson explains two of six other calamities that have been blamed on divine retribution. CNN Belief blog.

The madness of slamming midnight basketball
University of Minnesota sociologist Douglas Hartmann compacts the political timeline as follows: "Republicans actually started the program, Bill Clinton in his classic fashion claimed it, then Republicans turned on the program." The Herald.

Bill banning human cloning rankles researchers, bio-business leaders
Some stem cell researchers and bio-business leaders are urging lawmakers to kill a proposed bill that would ban human cloning in Minnesota… But John Wagner, a University of Minnesota researcher who uses human stem cells to treat a rare, fatal skin condition in children, fears the new cloning bill will make his colleagues' work illegal. Minnesota Public Radio.

Researcher looks at impact of file sharing on music industry
You may remember when the file-sharing website Napster and similar services first hit the scene about 10 years ago. Suddenly, anyone could download any song they wanted for free… But, that hasn't happened. At least, according to new research from the University of Minnesota. The research was conducted by economist Joel Waldfogel of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. The Canberra Times.

Battles lines drawn as advocates try to fend off GOP proposal for biggest higher-ed cuts ever
The battle is set: Legislative Republicans vs. Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota's two main higher-education systems… Dayton met with incoming University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler for the first time early Tuesday and answered questions about their exchange. The governor said Kaler is "very definitely" concerned about state aid to higher education — a trend that began with current President Bob Bruininks. MinnPost.

Bringing back the bees
When your garden is in full bloom, it's easy to think that plants can do it all by themselves: grow, flower, even produce fruit. But most plants need a little bit of help with their sex lives… According to Dr. Marla Spivak, a honeybee researcher at the University of Minnesota, bee colonies have suffered devastating losses every year for the past four years. Star Tribune.

‘U’ Professor Applauds Apple’s Decision To Remove App
Apple, Inc. has removed an app from its online store after a University of Minnesota sexuality professor Gary Remafedi said it was manipulating his research to support the idea that homosexuality can be changed. WCCO Radio.

Minnesota lawsuit alleges deception in Groupon business model
Since it launched in 2008, deal-a-day provider Groupon has attracted more than 70 million subscribers... "I mean, it looks like a new company that really didn't do its homework," said University of Minnesota Law Professor Prentiss Cox. Minnesota Public Radio.

March 23

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

Phil Esten named to "40 Under Forty" list
Phil Esten 165Phil EstenPhil Esten, president and chief executive officer of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, was recently named to Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” list—an annual list that honors some of the Twin Cities' top young business and civic leaders.

Since joining the Alumni Association in March 2010, the 38-year-old Esten has spearheaded the development of a new strategic plan for the organization, which represents more than 400,000 living alumni of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

Prior to joining the Alumni Association, Esten was a member of the University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for six years, serving as a point person for the construction of TCF Bank Stadium and managing the department’s strategic plan. Highly passionate about education and student development, Esten is also an adjunct professor in the University’s Department of Kinesiology and an active member of the Twin Cities’ Junior Achievement Project Advisory Board. For more information, see the news release and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal interview with Esten

Murray Warmath
Legendary Gopher Head Football Coach Murray Warmath passed away at age 98. Warmath led the Gophers to a national championship and back-to-back Rose Bowls. He was also an honorary co-chair in the effort to being Gopher Football back to campus. President Bruininks issued a statement about Warmath:

“Murray Warmath is one of the great coaches and leaders in the history of Gopher sports, and indeed, intercollegiate athletics. He persevered through losing seasons and harsh criticism to coach his team to a national championship and a Rose Bowl victory—but he should perhaps be best remembered for his efforts to recruit outstanding African-American student-athletes in the 1950s and ’60s, which helped to break down the color barrier at universities across the country. I had the privilege of getting to know him during the campaign to bring football back to campus with the construction of TCF Bank Stadium. Coach Warmath was revered by his players, respected by his peers, and will be deeply missed by Gopher fans and friends of the University everywhere.”

AgEcon Search Innovation Award
The University of Minnesota's AgEcon Search has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Science and Technology Section (STS) Innovation in Science and Technology Librarianship Award.

AgEcon Search is a free, open access repository of full-text scholarly literature in agricultural and applied economics, including working papers, conference papers and journal articles.

AgEcon Search is coordinated by Louise Letnes, librarian in the University of Minnesota Department of Applied Economics, and Julie Kelly, science librarian at Magrath Library. Letnes along with Patricia Rodkewich, who retired in 2002, started the project in 1994, and Kelly joined the effort in 2003. For more information, see AgEcon award.

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

U prof wants anti-gay smart-phone app removed from Apple online store
A University of Minnesota professor is demanding that Apple remove from its online store a smart-phone app that he says distorts his research on homosexuality to support the argument that homosexuality is a behavior that can be changed. Dr. Gary Remafedi, director of the Youth and AIDS Projects and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, sent a letter Monday to Apple founder Steven Jobs and its interim CEO, Tim Cook, about the Exodus International app. PC Mag.

California’s correctional crisis is now the status quo. But the status quo is unsustainable.
Nearly $27 billion in the red, the state simply can’t afford business as usual... The article is written by Joshua Page, an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. California Progress Report.

U of M researchers dig into mystery of what makes the best green roof.
Color has always been an issue in this country... One thing you could count on is the idea of a green roof. Put some plants on the roof, save water and energy, and be proud of yourself. Green roofs are growing in popularity, and Minnesota has a lot of them, with more on the drawing board. The problem is, the best green roofs for our local climate aren't really all that green. University of Minnesota researchers have discovered that, for our roofs, green is actually more silver in color... A few years ago, John Erwin, a professor in the department of Horticultural Science, was asked to examine a green roof on the recreation center at the Lebanon Valley Nature Preserve in Dakota County. MinnPost.

'Senior moments' not just for seniors
Jimmy Sioris grabbed his phone last week and dialed a number. Then he started to read an e-mail, "and within about 5 seconds I forgot who I called or why I called them," he said. "The phone is still ringing, and I have no idea who is going to pick up."… "Everybody's done that -- walked out of the house and forgotten something," said Susan McPherson, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota. "I guarantee you did it when you were younger. When we age, we just do these things more frequently." Star Tribune.

Researchers, biomedical industry fear 'hidden agenda' of human cloning bill
Checking her e-mail one evening earlier this month, University of Minnesota stem cell researcher Meri Firpo received four messages of concern within an hour. MinnPost.

"Rochester Connects" Tonight
If you have a case of cabin fever or are itching for something to do this spring....we have something just for you... It's called "Rochester Connects," and it's going on Tuesday night downtown at the University of Minnesota Rochester... ABC 6 News anchor James Wilcox talked with Sarah Kelling from UMR. KAAL – TV.

March 16

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

Nursing awards
Linda Bearinger 165Linda BearingerLinda Bearinger, School of Nursing Professor and director of the Center for Adolescent Nursing, and Renee Sieving, School of Nursing associate professor, were inducted as fellows into the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. SAHM selects fellows for their commitment to adolescent health at the international, national, or state level through improving the health and well-being of adolescents.

Connie Delaney, dean of the School of Nursing, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. AACN is the national voice for America's baccalaureate- and higher-degree nursing education programs. The association works to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate education, research, and practice in nursing - the nation's largest health care profession.

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

Photos: Bear research in northwestern Minnesota
Minnesota black bears are on the move in northwest Minnesota. Bears are expanding their range out of forested areas, into farmland. U of M researchers, including Paul Iaizzo, are trying to learn more about how and why these bears are adapting to a new habitat where bears traditionally did not live. Minnesota Public Radio.

Minnesota prof. uses Xbox Kinect for research
Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos admits laughing at the idea of purchasing an Xbox Kinect for his $4 million research experiment... The University of Minnesota computer science professor has saved more than $100,000 by using the Kinect as an integral part of his research — employing it not as a toy but as a medical tool that could one day streamline the diagnoses of mental disorders in children. WCCO.

For engineers, lessons in a deadly quake
Minnesota civil engineering experts like Carol Shield are paying close attention to the most powerful earthquake in Japan's history. Shield, a professor in the University of Minnesota's Department of Civil Engineering, is among those involved in seismic testing and the never-ending study of earthquakes. Finance and Commerce.

Ruben Rosario: Minnesota need not fret 'The Big One'
Given what happened in Japan, I called up Justin Revenaugh over at the University of Minnesota. I asked him what a seismologist is doing in Minnesota rather than at some earthquake hot spot. Pioneer Press.

Patching the Perennial Pothole Problem: A Permanent Fix?
Every driver knows the pain of hitting a pothole, but now there may be a permanent solution to the problem. The University of Minnesota Duluth is testing a new patching material in the Twin Cities made with taconite from the Iron Range. KSAX.

With less money for roads, experts say pothole season could be worst yet
The war on potholes in Minnesota includes a search for ways to prevent them... University of Minnesota civil engineering professor David Levinson has a long-term suggestion for addressing the pothole problem. Minnesota Public Radio.

Inside the Mad Science of 7 Renegade Researchers
If you can’t beat the diseases and pests that are killing bees, build a better bee. That’s the notion behind the work of Marla Spivak, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota. She bred a strain of pollinating bee that fights varroa, a parasite linked to widespread bee deaths. Wired Magazine.

A fascinating U news roundup—and its inclusion of academic debate
In addition to fielding reporters’ questions, requests for experts and such, the University of Minnesota’s News Service compiles headlines of interest to the university community and sends them out late each morning via e-mail to anyone who cares to subscribe. Minn Post.

Wolf Pact
Federal biologists deem the gray wolf recovered. Yet instead of being a success story, its status is mired in controversy… “It really worries me,” says Daniel MacNulty, a University of Minnesota wildlife ecologist who studies Yellowstone’s wolves. Audubon Magazine.

Pregnant with cancer, women struggle to heal for two
With a black tweed hat on her bald head and a purple blouse stretched over her big belly, Lisa Peterson Bender leans forward in the clinic chair, the better to see the ultrasound images of her unborn daughter… Changes in their bodies caused by pregnancy can mask the symptoms of cancer, said Dr. Douglas Yee, director of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. “Delay in diagnosis among pregnant women is a problem,” he says. MSNBC.

March 9

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

Phenix 165Amy PhenixAmy Phenix has been named U chief of staff. Phenix is currently director of communications and public relations at Macalester College. Phenix was also director of news and public information at the University of Minnesota from 1999-2004. She will rejoin the University in mid-April and will work on transition issues to prepare for Kaler's assumption of the presidency on July 1. The appointment is subject to approval by the Board of Regents. For more information, see the news release

The Institute for Advance Study (IAS) has announced Faculty Fellows for 2011–12.

Faculty Fellows Fall 2011:

Jill Doerfler American Indian Studies, CLA, Duluth

Amy Kaminsky Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, CLA, Twin Cities

Christine Marran Asian Languages and Literatures, CLA, Twin Cities

J. B. Mayo Curriculum & Instruction, CEHD, Twin Cities

Rachel Schurman Sociology and IGS, CLA, Twin Cities

Joseph Staats Political Science, CLA, Duluth

Faculty Fellows Spring 2012:

Cawo Abdi Sociology, CLA, Twin Cities

Tracey Deutsch History, CLA, Twin Cities

Gregory Donofrio Architecture, Design, Twin Cities

Jessica Larson Studio Art, Humanities Division, Morris

Jennifer Rothchild Sociology, Social Sciences Division, Morris

David Samuels Political Science, CLA, Twin Cities 

Forrest Moore 165Professor Emeritus Forrest Moore, who was instrumental in developing the field of international education at the University of Minnesota, died Feb. 28, in Phoenix, AZ, at the age of 95.

Moore received his Masters and PhD in Education from the University of Minnesota. He became the first Director of the Office of International Education at the University of Minnesota and held that position for 30 years. Dr. Moore was a strong advocate for global education and international understanding and was one of the founders of the Association of International Educators (NAFSA). He served as NAFSA President from 1958 to 1959. While serving at the University, he was a co-founder of the Minnesota International Center, which continues to promote international understanding across the state of Minnesota.

A memorial service will be held March 11, 3 p.m., Centennial United Methodist Church, Roseville, Minnesota.

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

The One That Got Away
Thad Cook had been working as a biologist on the Illinois River, a few hours south of Chicago, for nearly a decade when his boat began to fall apart. The depth finder busted first, followed by the radio, the generator, and finally the fuel tank… That wouldn’t surprise Peter Sorensen either. The University of Minnesota scientist has studied carp of all kinds for about six years. “These are the only Asian carp legally in Minnesota,” he says wryly as we peer into giant, well-sealed tanks in a St. Paul building he’d prefer I not identify. Minnesota Monthly.

A Hybrid Path to Feeding 9 Billion on a Still-Green Planet
Improvements in crop genetics and wasteful, inefficient farming and food management provide the biggest gains in a plan to triple agricultural production on today’s global farm acreage, with the potential shifts displayed above… Clay’s work builds in part on the research of Jon Foley, the director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Minnesota. The New York Times.

Study: Minn.'s public workers earn less than private workers
A new study concludes that Minnesota's government employees are getting paid an average of nearly 8 percent less than their private-sector counterparts, in terms of total compensation… "Specific economists might quibble about individual control variables, but this is exactly the approach that everyone would take," said John Budd, an economist and professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. Minnesota Public Radio.

New Reports: Americans Drove 3 Trillion Miles in 2010; Fix-It-First Means Smart Road Spending
America’s roadways may be getting older, but they’re still as active as ever… Matthew Kahn of U.C.L.A. and David Levinson of the University of Minnesota offer exactly that in a new report by the Hamilton Project called “Fix It First, Expand It Second, Reward It Third.” The Infrastructurist

It Takes a Village
Ever since states in the 1980s raised the drinking age to 21, a huge focus of college health experts has been to prevent illegal drinking by freshmen and sophomores, most of whom, at residential colleges, are under the legal drinking age… With certain approaches, drinking is framed as a problem that affects not just campus residents, but everyone in the community, said Toben Nelson, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “I suspect a shift in attention to those who are of legal age has more to do with reframing the issue, taking it on more as a public health issue,” he said, while noting that this was the major contribution of the CAS, which he helped create. Inside Higher Ed.

How old is old?
There are the familiar clichés: “Age is just a number.” “You’re only as old as you feel.”… A geriatrician recently advised Lisa Edstrom, an associate director at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, to curtail her hobby of bike racing. Most days, though, what constitutes “old” is “a moving target,” Edstrom said… “Some days I’m in a situation or a context where I feel like I’m older, and some days I’m in a situation or context where I don’t feel old at all,” she said. Star Tribune.

The real threat to union-busting: The constitution
The Democratic state senators who are hiding out across state lines in Illinois are a major problem for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his effort to push a bill stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights through the state Legislature… David Schultz is a Hamline University professor in the School of Business and a professor of law at the University of Minnesota. Salon.

March 2

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

Ahluwalia named to National Advisory Council on Minority Health
Jasjit Ahluwalia 165Professor Jasjit Ahluwalia, executive director of the Center for Health Equity, has been appointed by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to serve on the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a three-year term. The council advises and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the director of NIH, and the director of the newly created National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Vet Med awards
At the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association annual meeting Feb. 10–12, professor emeritus Dale Sorensen was presented with the Veterinarian of the Year Award, professor Robert Hardy received the President's Award, and associate professor Sheila Torres was presented with the Outstanding Faculty Award.

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

New U professor: toys 'R' him
Barry Kudrowitz, a new assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, hasn't finished unpacking at his St. Paul campus office, but you can tell it won't be the book-lined lair of a typical academic. Pioneer Press.

Sex Is Cheap
We keep hearing that young men are failing to adapt to contemporary life. Their financial prospects are impaired—earnings for 25- to 34-year-old men have fallen by 20 percent since 1971… To better understand what's going on, it's worth a crash course in "sexual economics," an approach best articulated by social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota. Slate.

Sticker shock at the grocery store
In nearly every supermarket aisle, food prices are starting to rise… "The fact is, all commodities are going up," said Edward Usset, a grain-marketing specialist at the University of Minnesota. "Fiber, fuel, metals, just across the board, everything is going up." Pioneer Press.

Embryo Mix-Up: Grieving a Baby Who Didn't Die
Within four days of finding out she was pregnant, Carolyn Savage went from the high of anticipating the child she had tried so hard to conceive to the unfathomable low of knowing the baby was not hers to keep… "It's a loss that has no closure," said Pauline Boss, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, who described the ambiguity in her book, "Ambiguous Loss." ABC News.

The real story about tax breaks? Someone else must pay for them
Minnesota has a special tax break on its books for Tom Petters… The governor and Legislature extensively review the direct spending they approve every two years. They should apply the same scrutiny to tax breaks, said Jay Kiedrowski, a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and former state finance commissioner. Pioneer Press.

Osterholm: Food safety improvements overblown
A Minnesota infectious disease expert says the nation hasn't made any significant progress on food safety in a decade, despite what Americans may have heard in recent months. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said many media outlets got the story wrong when they reported this winter that foodborne disease cases are down substantially from the late 1990s. Minnesota Public Radio.

Is There A Link Between Social Networking And Depression?
Facebook, MySpace and Twitter — most of us are on at least one… “I think it’s human nature to compare yourself to a rival or a good friend or an ex-boyfriend,” said Shayla Thiel-Stern. Thiel-Stern has been studying social media for years. She teaches classes about social networking at the University of Minnesota and even encourages her students to Tweet during class. WCCO-TV.

Study shows cell phone use affects brain activity
New research shows just 50 minutes spent talking on a cell phone can significantly alter brain activity… Dr. Thomas Henry of University of Minnesota Physicans uses similar scans to monitor brain activity in those with epilepsy. He said, "This study shows us that a cell phone that's not actually transmitting any sound just by being turned on and being next to the skull of a person can actually influence the neurons in our brains." KARE-11.