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Home > People > Awards and appointments, May 2011

Awards and appointments, May 2011

By Adam Overland

Bic Ngo 165
Bic Ngo

May 18

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


Ngo receives William T. Grant Foundation award

Bic Ngo, an assistant professor of Culture and Teaching in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, is one of five exceptional early-career researchers recently selected as a William T. Grant Scholar. The Scholars Program supports promising early-career researchers from diverse disciplines, who have demonstrated success in conducting high-quality research and are seeking to further develop and broaden their expertise. Ngo will receive $350,000 distributed over a five-year period for her new research study, "Innovating Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Insights from Arts Programs Serving Immigrant Youth."

Dillon honored by Royal Philharmonic Society
School of Music professor James Dillon received a top classical music honor in London.

The Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) has honored University of Minnesota School of Music composition professor James Dillon by presenting him with the Large-Scale Composition Award for "Nine Rivers," which premiered in Glasgow last November by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (SSO).

With this award, Dillon becomes the most celebrated winner in RPS Music Awards history, having received four awards from the society. The annual Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK.

Presented at the RPS Music Awards at the Dorchester Hotel in London on May 10, the jury highlighted the work’s “sheer ambition and the consistency of creative thought sustaining it." The first ever staging of this marathon four-hour piece was an ambitious artistic collaboration between Glasgow Life and the BBC.

Dillon is considered one of Scotland’s most internationally acclaimed composers and one of the world’s leading modernists. Until the premiere of "Nine Rivers" in Glasgow, these nine pieces for orchestra, percussion group, voices and electronics had never before been presented as originally intended. The RPS jury remarked that, “This was an epic conceptual journey, two decades in the making, and an important personal voyage for its composer.”

Delaney named Women Industry Leader
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has named dean Connie Delaney as one of 25 Women Industry Leaders in the Twin Cities as part of their annual Women in Business Awards project. She was selected because of her professional achievements, leadership qualities, and drive, as well as being at the forefront of the nursing profession. Dean Delaney and her fellow honorees were recognized at the Women in Business awards luncheon May 12, 2011 and profiled in the Business Journal's Women In Business special publication on May 13, 2011.


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

Encouraging Numbers, at First Glance
When it comes to economic recovery, Minnesota is about as good as it gets... And at the University of Minnesota, Paul Timmins, director of career services for the college of liberal arts, said more employers showed up at a spring job fair for graduating seniors this year than last. New York Times.

Rolling Robot Transforms Into A Helicopter On Command, Decepticon-Style
Not sure whether to use a cylindrical crawler or a buzzing helicopter for your remote sensing needs? ... This robot was developed at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Distributed Robotics, where designers led by Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos built two separate transmissions for flight and rolling. Popular Science.

Two parting pleas for higher ed
If life were fair and Minnesota were still "the state that works," Robert Bruininks and James McCormick would be spending their last weeks at their respective academic helms collecting accolades... Both University of Minnesota President Bruininks and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Chancellor McCormick have had long, strong runs in tough jobs. Star Tribune.

How to grow 5 foolproof veggies
Whether you're new to vegetable gardening or a seasoned veteran, it never hurts to stack the deck with a few surefire performers. These veggies are simple to grow, and are almost guaranteed to give you mouthwatering results… University of Minnesota Extension Professor Terry Nennich contributed to this article. Rhonda Hayes is a Minneapolis-based garden writer. Star Tribune.

Rules for fools
In 1941 Franklin Roosevelt added two new items to America’s ancestral freedoms of speech and worship: freedom from fear and freedom from want… Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota calculates that licensing boosts the income of licensees by about 15%. The Economist.

U of M team wins 2011 Formula Sun Grand Prix
A team of University of Minnesota science and engineering students won first place over the weekend at a solar car race at the Brickyard track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. MinnPost.

Stanford Scientist Criticizes Fox Distortion Of His Climate Study
With what must be one of their more obtuse headlines, Fox Nation misrepresented a recent study on the impact of climate change on the world's crops, proclaiming that it showed "No Global Warming In North America."… According to University of Minnesota scientist Peter Reich, also contacted through CSRRT, Fox Nation is completely missing the important point of Lobell's study, saying via email that "if there is evidence that on average, around the world, agricultural output was already impacted by climate change, that is important, and a 'canary in the coal mine' kind of signal." Media Matters.

Commentary about sediment was unfair to researcher
As head of the Department of Soil, Water and Climate at the University of Minnesota, I strongly take exception to "Polluting the research pool" (May 6) by Lawrence Landherr and Willis Mattison… written by Carl Rosen, head of the Department of Soil, Water and Climate at the University of Minnesota. Star Tribune.

Wet houses offer some hope for all
Anywhere from 700,000 to 2 million people in America are homeless each night, and 66 percent of the homeless have problems with alcohol, drug abuse or mental illness, estimates say… "The reason to support St. Anthony is not the money saved but the kindness extended to the residents," said Steven Miles, professor of medicine and bioethics at the University of Minnesota. Deseret News.

Family social science experts featured in the Star Tribune
Professors Paul Rosenblatt and William Doherty, both renowned researchers on family issues, were noted for their expertise in the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently. Rosenblatt, who is retiring after more than 42 years of teaching and research in the Department of Family Social Science, is the subject of a column by Gail Rosenblum titled "'Retired' hardly describes U prof who's charting his next chapter." Doherty is quoted extensively in a front-page story on the decline in number of married couples in the Twin Cities area. Star Tribune.

At the U, some buildings are going away
The University of Minnesota plans to demolish or mothball 10 buildings totaling 220,000 square feet in the coming year. Officials say tearing down the costly, obsolete halls and houses will save $974,000 in annual operating costs. Star Tribune.


May 11

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


2011 Dwight Waldo Award
John Bryson 165John Bryson was awarded the 2011 Dwight Waldo Award from the American Society for Public Administration.John Bryson, McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, was awarded the 2011 Dwight Waldo Award from the American Society for Public Administration. The award honors persons who have made “outstanding contributions to the professional literature of public administration over an extended scholarly career of at least 25 years.”

2011 President's Award for Outstanding Service
The President's Award for Outstanding Service is presented each year in the spring and recognizes exceptional service to the University, its schools, colleges, departments, and service units by any active or retired faculty or staff member. Recipients of this award have gone well beyond their regular duties and have demonstrated an unusual commitment to the University community.

J. Brian Atwood, former dean and professor (on leave), Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Jean W. Bauer, professor, Department of Family Social Science, College of ducation and Human Development

Stephen Benson, executive director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, College of Continuing Education

Victor Bloomfield, professor, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Medical School and the College of Biological Sciences

William Durfee, professor and director of design education, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering

Elizabeth “Beth” Isensee, undergraduate student services coordinator, International Student and Scholar Services Office

Mary Koskan, director, One Stop Student Services, Academic Support Resources

Susan Balow Miller, program associate, Department of Legal Writing and Oral Advocacy, Law School

Jerry Rude, landscape maintenance supervisor (retired), Facilities Management Department, Crookston

Thomas M. Scott, professor emeritus, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and director emeritus, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), System Academic Administration

Yared Tadesse, senior building and grounds worker, Facilities Management, East Bank District

Martha L.Thurlow, director, National Center on Educational Outcomes, Institute on Community Integration, College of Education and Human Development

Marshall Sklare Memorial Award
Riv-Ellen Prell, professor of American Studies and the Center for Judaic Studies, has been selected for the 2011 Marshall Sklare Memorial Award, which recognizes a distinguished senior scholar in the field of the Social Scientific Study of Jewry. She will deliver the annual Sklare lecture at the Association for Jewish Studies.

Interactive Research Program grants
Moin Syed (Department of Psychology) and Steven Yussen (Institute of Child Development) are the recipients of this year’s Faculty Interactive Research Program grants from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA). See CURA for more information about the awards.

U.S. Department of State displays artwork by U professor
Sally Mansfield, curator with the United States Department of State’s ART in Embassies Program, has chosen an artwork by David Feinberg, University of Minnesota Department of Art associate professor, for display at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The artwork, "Life is Struggle," was made through Feinberg’s "Voice to Vision" collaborative studio project and will be displayed as part of the Kinshasa Embassy exhibition Voices. The exhibition addresses the voices and voicelessness of victims of genocide, rape, AIDS, homelessness, poverty and discrimination. It will be displayed for the tenure of U.S. Ambassador James Entwhistle, from spring 2011 to fall 2013. For more information, see the news release.

Dentistry dean departs
School of Dentistry Dean Patrick Lloyd has been named dean of the College of Dentistry at Ohio State University. For more information, see the news release.


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

Has your smartphone gotten way too smart?
Your mobile phone can double as a GPS, a restaurant finder, a video game system or a social media hub… William McGeveran, a University of Minnesota law professor specializing in the Internet and privacy, said the Apple incident is a wake-up call for people who didn't know what was happening. Star Tribune.

The 'dirty little secret' of hoarding fills their father's house to rafters
Karin Knudsen and her brother Gar Johnson walked the long, dirt drive leading to their childhood home in Little Canada one day in early March… "It's not like if you opened a hoarding clinic, you'd say, 'This is a typical hoarder,'" said Dr. Thomas Mackenzie, a psychiatrist on faculty at the University of Minnesota. Pioneer Press.

Today, spiritual values trump organized religion. Why is that?
The word "religious" is as popular today as a snow storm in July. It seems no one wants to be identified as religious. Identifying yourself as religious conjures ritual, dogma, rules, church membership, scrupulosity, piety and hypocrisy… "Network primetime is a response to a trend," says Peggy Edgell, sociology professor at the University of Minnesota. Argus Leader.

A Wine to Call Our Own
Among the great wineries of the 20th century, my grandfather’s basement in the Bronx never got much respect... I sought encouragement from Peter Hemstad, 51, a research viticulturist at the University of Minnesota. “It only takes about a half-dozen vines to make a five-gallon carboy of wine each year,” he said. The New York Times.

Do We Unconsciously Design Buildings So That They Encourage Certain Types of Thinking?
Written by Joan Meyers-Levy, the Holden-Werlich Professor of Marketing at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Science and Religion Today.

U president: Rochester campus 5 years ahead of expectations
Soon-to-retire University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks said Wednesday that he's amazed at the progress of the University of Minnesota Rochester since it was started in 2008. Rochester Post Bulletin.

‘U’ Researchers To Map The Arctic
A team of University of Minnesota researchers who are admired in academic circles for their work mapping Antarctica, are now expanding their work to include the Arctic… Led by Paul Morin in the university’s College of Science and Engineering, the Polar Geospatial Center will now provide support and training for other researchers studying the Earth’s poles. WCCO-TV.

Teaching "The United States Since September 11"
U of M professors on the impact of bin Laden's death for college-age Americans. News release.


May 4

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


Edwards elected to National Academy of Sciences
Lawrence Edwards 165R. Lawrence EdwardsUniversity of Minnesota geology and geophysics professor R. Lawrence Edwards in the College of Science and Engineering was elected today as a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for his excellence in original scientific research. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States.

“This is the honor of a career, and an honor for Minnesota as well,” Edwards said. “It recognizes the research carried out at the University of Minnesota, as I have spent my entire professional career here."

Edwards is known worldwide for his development of extremely precise methods for measuring the ages of rocks and how that relates to climate change. To determine the age of rocks, he uses the "uranium-thorium" (also called the "thorium-230") dating method, in which he must detect incredibly small amounts of the elements uranium and thorium. He uses these methods to date rocks found in caves in China to document climate change patterns in history.

By also measuring the proportions of different forms of oxygen, he can tell how much rain fell at the time the rock was deposited. He and his research team have tracked the monsoons with great accuracy back 400,000 years, when Homo erectus, not Homo sapiens, inhabited the region.

In more recent research, Edwards and his colleagues published research on a rock found in 2007 in a Chinese cave that contained what was determined to be a 100,000-year-old jawbone. In dating the rock with the jawbone, Edwards raised profound questions of whether modern humans could have made it across the vast expanse of Asia far earlier than suspected. Because the remains also bore characteristics of more primitive humans who were already in the area, it is possible that the two groups could have coexisted for some time the way moderns and Neanderthals did in Europe.

Edwards is one of only 72 researchers nationwide to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences this year. He will be inducted into the Academy next April during its 149th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Among the Academy’s renowned members are Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Alexander Graham Bell. More than 180 living Academy members have won Nobel Prizes. For more information, see Edwards.

2011–2012 Fesler-Lampert Chair
Ann Masten, Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the Institute of Child Development, has been named the 2011–2012 Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs. The resources provided by her appointment will allow Masten and her colleagues to initiate a new phase of community-based collaborative work focused on promoting school readiness and success among homeless and highly mobile children through interventions to build executive function skills, which are increasingly recognized as critical to educational success. For more information, see Ann Masten.

CIO Steve Cawley to leave U
Vice president and CIO Steve Cawley has accepted the position of vice president for information technology and CIO for the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., effective June 1. Ann Hill Duin will assume leadership responsibility for OIT as interim vice president and CIO. Cawley started out as assistant director of telecommunications services in 1987. He has served as the University's chief information officer since 1998, first as interim associate vice president and since fall 2006 as vice president.

American Geophysical Union fellows
Marc Hirschmann, geology and geophysics, Robert Lysak, physics and astronomy, and William Seyfried, geology and geophysics, have been named fellows of the American Geophysical Union. AGU is the largest geoscience association in the world, and Fellows are limited to 0.1% of the membership. Last week, Brief announced that Regents Professor Thomas Johnson had also been named a fellow of AGU.


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

Biotech executives call 'anti-cloning' bills anti-business
Doug Kohrs, CEO of a globe-spanning joint-implant company that employs 800 people, has a problem with the so-called "anti-cloning" bills that are being advanced in the Minnesota Legislature by the Republican majority… Last week, Dr. Aaron Friedman, dean of the U's medical school, and Dr. Robert Rizza, head of research at the Mayo Clinic, joined several prominent researchers and business people in opposing the pending legislation, saying it goes well beyond any concern for human cloning. Star Tribune.

Supervised Teen Drinking Leads to Alcohol Problems Later in Life
There may be parents who believe that allowing their children to consume small amounts of alcohol, under their supervision, will teach them to drink responsibly later on. The results of a new study, however, does not support this belief… Barbara McMorris of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, who was lead researcher for the study, said the following in a journal news release, shared in a feature on Bloomberg BusinessWeek: “Kids need parents to be parents and not drinking buddies… Adults need to be clear about what messages they are sending.” TIME Magazine.

Tornadoes, other disasters ‘drive the codes’
The deadly tornadoes that trampled the South this week and the March earthquake in Japan are sure to capture the attention of building experts, including a delegation of researchers who will gather in Minneapolis this June for an international masonry conference… And the 1994 earthquake in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge changed people’s thoughts about how structures behave, Carol Shield, a professor in the University of Minnesota’s Civil Engineering Department, told Finance & Commerce in March. Finance & Commerce.

Ice Ages, Climate Change and Carbon Dioxide
The complicated relationship between ice ages and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels has just become a little clearer thanks to the work of Larry Edwards and a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota. Canada Postmedia.

Saving creeks and lakes, one lawn at a time
Michele Tibodeau has a new front yard, courtesy of her watershed district in Maplewood… "It's not just the lawn that is the problem," said Sarah Hobbie, a University of Minnesota professor who studies urban ecology. "It's a bigger issue of the way we constructed our urban system to get water off our paved surfaces as quickly as possible." Star Tribune.

Democrats seem to be the losers in Minnesota's redistricting plan
The four corners of Minnesota would lose seats in the Legislature while the outer-ring Twin Cities suburbs would gain representation under the first redistricting map made public Monday night by House Republicans… But the map is pretty clearly drawn to protect Republicans, said Larry Jacobs, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. Pioneer Press.

For a Coveted Resin, the Scent of Rarity Takes Hold
The designer Tom Ford can take credit for bringing the intense, earthy smell of oud, or agarwood, to the Western mass market, but his Oud Wood perfume simply tapped into a traditional scent used in the Middle East and Asia for thousands of years… But the so-called liquid gold does not strike in all trees—of 100 trees, just a handful will develop oud, said Robert Blanchette, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Minnesota who has done extensive research on the resinous wood. New York Times.

Experts: Time right for electric cars
For electric cars, the planets are lining up… "The time seems to be good with respect to the price of gas and the advances in battery technology," said University of Minnesota Extension professor Douglas Tiffany, who spoke at a forum on electric cars Tuesday at the Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center in Rochester. Post Bulletin.

What leads gay, straight teens to attempt suicide?
Suicide attempts by gay teens—and even straight kids—are more common in politically conservative areas where schools don't have programs supporting gay rights, a study involving nearly 32,000 high school students found… Michael Resnick, a professor of adolescent mental health at the University of Minnesota's medical school, said the study "certainly affirms what we've come to understand about children and youth in general. Fosters.

Good Question: Could The President Lower Gas Prices?
With gasoline prices pushing $4 a gallon in the Twin Cities, there’s enough blame to go around. Donald Trump said that a president should be able to get things under control, saying, “it would be very easy to get gasoline prices down.”… “In the short term, no,” said associate professor Elizabeth Wilson, an energy policy expert at the Humphrey School for Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. WCCO-TV.