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Home > People > Awards and appointments, April 2011

Awards and appointments, April 2011

Compiled by Adam Overland

Regents Professor Thomas Johnson 165
Regents Professor Thomas Johnson.

April 27

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

Regents Professor Johnson named fellow

Regents Professor Thomas Johnson has been named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. AGU is the largest geoscience association in the world, and Fellows are limited to 0.1% of the membership.

Johnson is a professor of geological sciences and founding director of the Large Lake Observatory, University of Minnesota Duluth. He is considered to be the world’s leading scientist studying the evolution of large lakes today.

Ahluwalia to join editorial board

Jasjit Ahluwalia, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Health Equity, and director of the Office of Interprofessional Career Development at CTSI, has joined the Editorial Board of the Journal of General Internal Medicine for a three-year term. The Society for General Internal Medicine is the parent organization for this top-tier Internal Medicine international journal.

NEH endowment

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a 2011 Summer Stipend to associate philosophy professor Michelle Mason for her book project, Valuing Persons: A Philosophical Inquiry into Love, Pride, Shame, and Contempt.

Libraries' Academic Innovators Award

Lisa Johnston, a research services librarian at the University of Minnesota, has been named the recipient of the first annual Academic Innovators Award, given by the Academic and Research Libraries Division (ARLD) of the Minnesota Library Association.

The award recognizes outstanding recent contributions to advance the mission of an academic library in Minnesota through an innovative project, program, or service.

Her project, a campus-wide data management program that grew out of her work with the Minnesota Geological Survey and the Universal Digital Conservancy, has become a model for other universities around the country. The workshops and consulting services developed by Johnston and her colleagues help researchers from a wide range of disciplines meet the National Science Foundation’s recent requirement that all grant proposals include a data-management plan. For more information, see U Libraries.

Family Physicians’ 2011 Researcher of the Year

Kola Okuyemi, associate professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, was named the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians’ 2011 Researcher of the Year.

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

Two St. Louis Park Teachers Offer Vision of 21st Century Classroom
Walking into a computer lab in St. Louis Park’s Susan Lindgren or Peter Hobart elementary schools, you’d be forgiven for thinking that kids from a couple of classrooms seem to be blogging about their schoolwork... According to Wasko, University of Minnesota researcher David Arendale called the afternoon he spent in the two teachers’ classrooms “the most remarkable education experience he’s had.” St. Louis Park Patch.

Cold, wet weather delays planting even more
Another week of cold and wet weather further pushed back the starting dates for spring fieldwork, and it’s shaping up to be the latest crop planting season in a decade in Minnesota and two decades or more in North Dakota... Jumping the gun can be worse than getting the crop in a little late, said Jeff Coulter, corn agronomist with the University of Minnesota. Grand Forks Herald.

Digging into urban farming at the University of Minnesota
Cities of the future may include widespread urban farming, beekeeping and a locally-grown fish industry, according to speakers at an April 19 forum on urban agriculture at the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus. Robert Jones, U of M professor of agronomy and plant genetics, led the discussion. TC Daily Planet.

‘U’ Sells Artisan Cheeses, Dairy Staples
During World War II, Minnesota was named the bleu cheese capitol of the world, in part because of the University of Minnesota’s dairy industry. Today, the University’s cheese making doesn’t reach as far, but many say the products at the Food Science and Nutrition Dairy Salesroom are better than what they find in grocery stores. WCCO-TV.

State of the Environment report on Earth Day
The director of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, Jon Foley, gives an Earth Day report card on the quality of our water, air and land. What are the biggest problems, and the biggest successes?… Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, discusses the topic. Minnesota Public Radio.

Pay tax by the mile, not gallon?
How about paying for roads and bridges by the miles you drive rather than the gasoline you burn?… "The gas tax is really becoming less viable as a source of revenue to fund the transportation system," said Lee Munnich, who has researched miles taxes for the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota. "Very shortly we're going to start running out of money." Star Tribune.

Is how we treat heart disease good enough?
Each year, more than one million Americans experience the symptoms of coronary heart disease, the nation's No. 1 killer. But how well do we treat our country's most lethal health problem? Guests include Doris Taylor, Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Repair at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio.

April 20

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

Reich named fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Peter Reich 165Peter Reich has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.University of Minnesota professor Peter Reich has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Reich, who is a professor in the Department of Forest Resources, is also a Regents Professor and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, two of the university's highest honors for faculty. He currently holds the F.B. Hubachek Senior Chair in Forest Ecology and Tree Physiology.

He was elected because of his work advancing science and its applications in ways deemed scientifically and socially distinguished. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon academy members by their peers.

Reich's current research focuses on how global environmental change affects terrestrial ecosystems, in particular how the effects of climate change and land use affect health, biodiversity and sustainability of forests and grassland systems. He has been honored many times for his work, including receiving the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology in Madrid, Spain in 2010. He's been a member of the university faculty since 1991 and is part of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences as well as the university's Institute on the Environment.

The 212 new members of the academy will join some of the world's most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts. Its members have included influential Americans down through the ages in the arts, humanities and sciences. Among its members were George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century and Albert Einstein, Saul Bellow and Winston Churchill in the 20th century. Members of the prestigious honorary society contribute to academy studies of science and technology policy, global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities and education. The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 1, at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

NIH grant to study HIV treatment
Reuben Harris, professor in the University of Minnesota's College of Biological Sciences, has been awarded a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to direct a large-scale research effort to study a human antiviral protein with potential for treating HIV and other viral diseases.

The goal of the study will be to produce atomic resolution images of the protein (APOBEC3G) to better understand how it interacts with other proteins in human cells and with HIV to prevent the virus from attaching to and entering cells. This fundamental knowledge could lead to novel methods to alter this protein to make it more effective.

Harris will lead five teams with complementary skills in molecular virology, NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, biophysics and biochemistry. Matsuo Hiroshi, associate professor in the College of Biological Sciences, is also a project leader, and Joachim Mueller, associate professor in the College of Science and Engineering's Department of Physics, is a key interdepartmental collaborator. Other sites include the University of Massachusetts Medical School, University of Nebraska, and Hebrew University in Israel. Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the grant will support training opportunities for students while advancing research. About half of the projected full amount of the $10 million grant will remain at the University of Minnesota. For more information, see the news release.

2011 Guggenheim Fellowship
Ananya Chatterjea 165Ananya Chatterjea (Photo by Darin Back)Associate professor Ananya Chatterjea (dance) is one of 180 artists, scientists, and scholars to receive a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship. The winners were selected based on their prior achievements and promise for future success. Chatterjea's award is in the choreography category. She plans to use the award to launch a quartet of evening-length pieces exploring how women in global communities of color experience and resist violence.

Neurology lifetime achievement award
Professor David Anderson, former head of neurology, received the A.B. Baker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Neurologic Education at the National AAN meeting in Honolulu on Apr. 11.

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

Getting in the last word
Anatoly Liberman is a linguist, a lover of words. But numbers have become far more important as he labors on his masterwork, a multi-volume dictionary on the history of common English words… But Liberman, a professor of German, Scandinavian and Dutch at the University of Minnesota, remains upbeat that he will complete his magnum opus. Star Tribune.

Gauging the economy via the lipstick effect
When the recession hit, Eagan pharmacist Joelle Blasig made a trade-off. She would cut back on eating out but wouldn't give up her $65 hair treatments at the Progressions Salon at the Mall of America… Dave Hopkins, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, said men and women find ways to splurge. Star Tribune.

Pawlenty's Education Committee: Kindergarten Sharing Is "Socialist"
Tim Pawlenty's tenure as governor of Minnesota was largely devoid of the kind of polarizing episodes that give campaign managers migraines… Sara Evans and Lisa Norling, both history professors at the University of Minnesota, were dismayed by the process from the beginning. Mother Jones.

As Congress Slashes EPA Budget, Research Least Harmed
Science and technology at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be sliced 3.9%, to $815 million, under the new budget for FY 2011. That's a deeper cut than at other agencies, but far less than EPA as a whole: The $10 billion agency will have to cut 16% of its budget… Deborah Swackhamer, chair of EPA's Science Advisory Board and Director of Water REsources at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, says EPA may be able to gain some efficiencies by accelerating a reorganization of its research, in which 16 categories in its national program are being realigned into six. Science Mag.

Dental school provides care to underserved across Minnesota
Part of the mission of the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry is to improve access to dental care for underserved populations and rural areas, Dr. Paul Schulz, a clinical associate professor in the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota said. Duluth News Tribune.

Guest Post: Jim Kakalios on the Quantum Mechanics of Source Code
Jim Kakalios of the University of Minnesota has achieved internet demi-fame — he has a YouTube video with over a million and a half views. Discover Magazine.

April 13

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

2011 Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award
Lesa Covington Clarkson 165 Lesa Covington ClarksonLesa Covington Clarkson, associate professor of mathematics education, is the faculty/staff recipient of the 2011 Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award. The award recognizes individuals who are passionately engaged in social justice, human rights, equity, and diversity, and through their principles and practices, exemplify Dr. Johnson's standard of excellence in creating respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environments.

Outstanding Faculty Award winners
The Council of Graduate Students (COGS) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2011 COGS Outstanding Faculty Award. Established in 2010 this award is the only award where graduate students nominate the faculty members and select the winners. These awards recognize faculty who have gone above and beyond, making an important difference to the lives of graduate students. The winners will be celebrated at the annual COGS awards ceremony on April 25.


Brewer, Daniel (CLA)
Goldberg, Brian (CLA)
Klee, Carol (CLA)
Wolfe, Thomas (CLA)
Miller, Kristine (Design
Carlin, Bradley (SPH)
Olson, Debra (SPH)
McGee, Corey (AHC)
Garrett, Paul (CSE)
Fisher, Colleen (CEHD)
Harwell, Michael (CEHD)
Bloomberg, Laura (Humphrey)
Sandfort, Jodi (Humphrey)

Thomas Proehl, program director in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, passed away.

Proehl took over as the producing director last August after working at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Although he was only with the department a short time, he had a tremendous impact on the faculty, staff, and students. As a mentor, educator, and friend, Proehl brought an energy and passion to the Theatre Arts and Dance community that will be carried on through those he inspired.

According to Department Chair Carl Flink, "I've been talking to staff and students, and I can't tell you how in the short time he's been here the impact he had. He saw this position as a way to synthesize all of his experiences and use the university as an engine to influence the arts community. It's a substantial blow to our department, to lose the drive and energy he had."

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

Gas prices drive new habits
Ann Freeman (U director of internal communications) was filling up her Pontiac Vibe, watching the numbers on the pump spin so fast they blurred, when she noticed something she'd never seen before… "The empirical evidence shows that escalating gas prices prompt people to cut back on driving and travel, work more from home and combine trips," said Professor Akshay Rao, a marketing expert at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. "We are seeing a lot more sensitivity to energy consumption. Star Tribune.

The rising tide of human rights

A thread to the Middle East uprisings is a desire for better human rights. Millions of ordinary people have revolted against their governments. Could all this turmoil make human rights the heart of global governance and policy-making?… David Wippman, dean of the University of Minnesota Law School and an expert on human rights law, comments on the topic. Minnesota Public Radio.

Dayton offers initiatives to spur new jobs for blacks
Gov. Mark Dayton announced Friday that state government will take several steps to generate jobs for minorities, with a special focus on helping economically depressed north Minneapolis… Myron Orfield, a former DFL legislator from Minneapolis and director of the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota, said every proposal Dayton made was good, "but I don't think it addresses the core issues of racial and social segregation and how they relate to economic and educational opportunity." Star Tribune.

Stem cells, cloning and the GOP
U professor John Wagner had a commentary piece in today's Star Tribune about the state legislation that would criminalize forms of stem cell research. Star Tribune. Take action to support the U's research.

Bruininks: Get word out about education's value
Minnesotans have a vested interest in public education and how it will be supported, and they can't just give in to the belief that private economic concerns should be societal priorities during tough times… "I think our better days are ahead of us but we've got to duke it out in the meantime," said Bob Bruininks, "or we can lose the marvelous gains we've made in the University of Minnesota system." Star Tribune.

The secret of viral-ocity
A 13-year-old girl named Rebecca Black makes a so-lame-it's-cool music video called "Friday." It gets more than 13 million hits on YouTube, becomes the worldwide No. 1 trending topic on Twitter and snags a "Tonight Show" appearance for its previously unknown star… Ed Schiappa, who chairs Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota, says it's no accident that the Rebecca Black video took off at a time when really bad news dominates the headlines, because people use media to gratify needs. Star Tribune.

Super-homes: the wired and the wonderful
Priceless artworks and indoor swimming pools were once hallmarks of a millionaire's mansion, but owners of today's super-homes are now demanding digitised wardrobes, Jedi-powered curtains and batcaves for the family Bentley… According to Lucy Dunne, director of the Wearable Technology Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, it's still a way off. The Sydney Morning Herald.

Worries grow over monarch butterflies
North America’s beloved monarch butterfly may be sliding into a long-term decline… That trend in winter populations may be statistically significant, says monarch researcher Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, but she and other researchers are now working on a broader analysis of monarchs and the challenges the insects face throughout the year to get a better handle on whether the population is declining and, if so, why. Discovery News.

The problem with 'Puff' the dog
A puppy named "Puff" underwent a life-saving medical procedure at the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Medical Clinic. It's a one of kind surgery and it's happening in Minnesota. KARE-11.

April 6

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

2011 Distinguished McKnight University Professors
Saif Benjaafar 165Saif BenjaafarDistinguished McKnight University Professors for 2011 are Saif Benjaafar, Mark Distefano, Marc Hirschmann, and Deniz Ones. The honorees will hold the title of Distinguished McKnight University Professor for the duration of their career at the University. The award aims to honor and reward the University of Minnesota’s highest-achieving faculty who have recently attained full professor status. The recipients will be recognized by the Board of Regents at its May meeting.

The Distinguished McKnight University Professors recognizes and rewards outstanding mid-career faculty. For complete descriptions, see Distinguished McKnight 2011.

2011 Distinguished McKnight Professors

Saif Benjaafar, Mechanical Engineering
Professor Benjaafar is an internationally renowned leader in the field of supply chain management. He has published groundbreaking research that investigates how complex and global supply chains should be designed and managed. Under professor Benjaafar’s leadership, the Industrial Engineering program now touts a national ranking, is led by several highly regarded faculty members, and has seen an increase in student enrollment and research funding.

Mark Distefano, Chemistry
Mark Distefano 165Mark DistefanoProfessor Distefano is a world leader in the chemistry of proteins. He has used organic chemistry to solve biological problems, like the study of enzymes that have key applications in cancer research and protein therapeutics. Distefano was the recipient of an American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award as well as an NSF CAREER Award. His dedication to teaching and mentoring students earned him the George Taylor Award for Distinguished Teaching and a Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award.

Marc Hirschmann, Geology and GeophysicsMarc Hirschmann 165Marc Hirschmann
Professor Hirschmann’s research has had a profound and lasting impact on the study of planetary sciences, and the understanding of the interiors of the Earth and other planets. Hirschmann studies mantle melting that leads to planetary volcanism, its relationship to tectonic processes that create and destroy planetary crusts, and the study of deep Earth volatile cycles. He has been awarded an NSF CAREER Award as well as a University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professorship. As a result of his collaborative research and reputation, the Department of Geology and Geophysics has experienced an increase in enrollment of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Deniz Ones, Psychology
Deniz Ones 165Deniz OnesProfessor Ones is an internationally acclaimed expert in work psychology. Her research focuses on identifying personality and ability-based traits to match individuals to jobs and organizations. Her research has been instrumental in promoting the use of personality tests for employee selection. She has earned the Best Dissertation and the Early Career awards from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, as well as the Early Career award from the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology. Ones has inspired dozens of students to pursue an advanced degree in industrial/organizational psychology.   

2010 Award for Global Engagement
Recipients of the 2010 Award for Global Engagement were honored at a ceremony Mar. 24. The all-University award is given to faculty and staff members—active or retired—in recognition of outstanding contributions to global education and international programs at the University or in their field or discipline. The 2010 recipients are:

Harouna Maiga, associate professor, Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Crookston
Dr. Maiga is an enthusiastic supporter of internationalization on the Crookston campus and has opened the door to international opportunities for students and faculty. Maiga has retained relationships and remained active in his home country of Mali through training, education, teaching, and research. He has improved the standard of living in Mali and expanded the international dimension of the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

James Neaton, professor, School of Public Health, UMTC
Dr. Neaton is a distinguished scholar recognized internationally for his significant discoveries in the treatment and prevention of disease and building capacity worldwide for conducting large-scale health research. Throughout the past 20 years, Dr. Neaton has directed the world’s largest HIV/AIDS clinical trials. His work has had a substantial impact on HIV/AIDS, cutting the death rate by one-tenth and helping people with very advanced stages of the disease.

Claudia Parliament, professor, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, UMTC
Dr. Parliament is a remarkable leader in international education, institution building, and global outreach programs in economic education. She has provided extensive professional development and mentoring of teachers and trainers in countries undergoing economic transition and her work has enhanced the understanding of students and faculty and contributed greatly to the internationalization of the University of Minnesota.

Director of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery
The U has named Howard Oransky its new director of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery in the Department of Art. Oransky was director of continuing studies at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design from 2008 until this month. Previously, he was director of planning at the Walker Art Center from 1994-2008. Oransky is a co-founder of Form + Content Gallery, which has just completed its fourth year of operation in downtown Minneapolis. He has served on the boards of the Midwest Art Conservation Center and the Center for Arts Criticism, the Hennepin County Library Exhibition Review Committee, and is currently serving as a panelist for the Minnesota State Arts Board. For more information, see the news release.

2011 SIAM Fellow
Zhi-Quan (Tom) Luo has been named a 2011 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Fellow. The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) named 34 academics and professionals to its 2011 Class of Fellows for their outstanding contributions to applied mathematics and computational science through research in the field and service to the larger community. Tom Luo, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is being conferred this fellowship for the development of novel applied mathematics ideas and methods for signal processing and digital communication. For more information, see SIAM names 2011 Fellows.

AHC gains in U.S. News & World Report rankings
Five schools within the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center have demonstrated significant gains in the latest national rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

The Medical School ranks 13th overall among public institutions and climbed four spots among all schools nationally. The College of Pharmacy remains ranked 3rd nationally. The School of Public Health ranks 4th among public institutions, and climbed two spots to 8th among all national schools. The College of Veterinary Medicine climbed one spot to 9th nationally. The School of Nursing is ranked among the top 25 schools in the country. For more information, see the report.

John Fraser Hart Day
Governor of South Dakota Dennis Daugaard, and Mayor Tom Reed of Brookings, SD, named March 25, 2011, as John Fraser Hart Day in celebration of Professor Hart's contributions to Geography.

Udall Scholarship
Siri Simons, a junior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, has been awarded a 2011 Morris K. and Stuart L. Udall Scholarship in recognition of her commitment to the environment. A graduate of Forest Lake Senior High School, Simons is enrolled in the University Honors Program and is pursuing a bachelor of science in environmental sciences, policy and management through the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. She intends to work in the field of sustainable agriculture. Simons hopes eventually to direct an environmental nonprofit organization that fosters collaborative relationships with farmers, consumers and government officials to achieve support for organic farming and soil and water conservation through policy change. Udall Scholars receive a scholarship of up to $5,000 and participate in Udall Foundation activities. For more information, see the news release.

2011 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars
Four University of Minnesota-Twin Cities undergraduates have been named 2011 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors in mathematics, science, and engineering who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in those fields. The scholarships provide up to $7,500 per year for up to two years of undergraduate study. All four Goldwater Scholars are enrolled in the University Honors Program.

Sean Bowman, a junior majoring in computer engineering in the College of Science and Engineering, plans to pursue a doctorate in computer science with specializations in robotics and computer vision.

Zijun (Jimmy) Chen, a junior majoring in mathematics and physics in the College of Science and Engineering, plans to pursue a doctorate in condensed matter physics.

Benjamin Hinton, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering in the College of Science and Engineering, intends to earn a doctorate in biomedical engineering specializing in large-scale and injury biomechanics.

Jacob Inda, a junior majoring in biochemistry in the College of Biological Sciences, plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in molecular biology focusing on the development of clinical treatments for biochemical and genetic anomalies. For more information, see the news release.

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

Measurements That Mislead
In the early 1980s, Paul Sackett, a psychologist at the University of Minnesota, began measuring the speed of cashiers at supermarkets. Workers were told to scan a few dozen items as quickly as possible while a scientist timed them. Not surprisingly, some cashiers were much faster than others. The Wall Street Journal

U researchers contribute to bid for more renewable energy
President Obama made his pitch for more forms of renewable energy to lessen America's dependence on foreign oil this week. His goal is to cut oil imports by a third by the year 2025… One form of renewable petroleum fuel is a step closer to becoming a reality. In a study published in the most recent Journal of Biological Chemistry, University of Minnesota researchers took fatty acids created from two different types of bacteria, and converted those fatty acids into fuel. Minnesota Public Radio

DNR says budget cuts mean 'mothballing' 10 state parks
Just days after that points-for-chutzpah award-winning proposal to log black walnut trees in state parks to pay bills, the latest blow to Mother Nature comes in the form of flat-out budget cutting… In other budget-slashing plans, you gotta love the way they threw in the bit about not using public funds for human cloning. The Strib’s Bob Von Sternberg writes: “Despite pleas from officials with the University of Minnesota and the state's college system, the two chambers passed deep cuts in spending that majority Republicans say are needed to whittle the state's massive budget deficit. MinnPost

Governor holds a 'long overdue' talk with blacks
More than 400 people jammed a hall in north Minneapolis on Wednesday for something not seen in 24 years: a Minnesota governor in the heart of the city's black community listening to their concerns… Wednesday's meeting at the University of Minnesota Research and Outreach Center at 2001 Plymouth Av. had seating for only about 200 people. Star Tribune

Grant gives U bee prof big buzz
You could call Marla Spivak the queen bee. But she would hate that… Sure, the University of Minnesota professor is one of the top bee researchers in the country. She was awarded a prestigious $500,000 MacArthur "genius" grant in September for that work. Since then, she's been sought as a speaker, interviewed by journalists across the country and featured in Wired magazine. Star Tribune

U.S. News ranks Mayo Clinic No. 2 in nation; U of M best in Twin Cities
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester has been ranked the second-best hospital in the country by U.S. News and World Report… For the first time in 21 years, U.S. News also ranked hospitals by metro area, with the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis topping the list of 38 hospitals in the state. The university's hospital was ranked highly in six specialties. Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal

Another bumper year for farmers?
With planting just around the corner, Minnesota farmers are feeling particularly optimistic… Between 1900 and 1999, the country experienced 15 "short crops," meaning that yields were more than 10 percent below the trendline yield, said Ed Usset, a grain marketing specialist at the University of Minnesota. The last U.S. short crop occurred in 1988, though 1995 was a close call, he said. Star Tribune.