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Awards, appointments, and other announcements

By Adam Overland

Jerry Rinehart 165
Jerry Rinehart

August 22

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor. For more information, see award & appointment submission guidelines.

Jerry Rinehart to retire

Vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students, Jerry Rinehart, has announced that he will retire on April 1, 2013.

Rinehart joined the Provost's Office in 2003 as associate vice provost for Student Affairs and was promoted to vice provost in 2005. This year, he was given the additional title of dean of students to reflect his responsibilities related to student wellbeing and developmental success. In this role, he has coordinated the work of 16 units that provide support services and developmental opportunities for all students on the Twin Cities campus. Working with faculty and staff, he led the adoption of the University's Student Development Outcomes and the StrengthFinder initiative.

His administrative career at the University includes 20 years as assistant dean and director of Undergraduate Programs in the Carlson School of Management, where he led the school's conversion from an upper division program to a freshman admitting college.

Rinehart has been recognized with the University's John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising and the Aurora Center’s Larry Anderson Partnership Award. In 2010 he was named the regional Outstanding Student Affairs Officer by NASPA—the professional organization for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

He has also taught communications and leadership courses in the U.S. and abroad, participating in site visits to campuses in Japan, Great Britain, and Australia. Recently, he led the development of a student services staff exchange program with Australian National University.

A celebration of Rinehart's long career at the University will be held this spring. A search for his successor will be launched this fall. For more information, see Rinehart to retire.

Metropolitan Research Grant Program awards

The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and the University Metropolitan Consortium (UMC) are pleased to announce the recipients of this year's Metropolitan Research Grant Program awards:

  • Brad Hokanson (Design, Housing, and Apparel) and William Bart (Educational Psychology) for "Creativity and Achievement: Running Backwards."
  • Lee Munnich (Humphrey School of Public Affairs), Yingling Fan (Humphrey School), Nebiyou Tilahun (University of Illinois–Chicago), and Matt Schmit (Humphrey School) for "Minneapolis–St. Paul Regional Cluster Competitiveness Study."
  • Priscilla A. Gibson, Wendy Haight, and Misa Kayama (School of Social Work) for "Reducing Out-of-School Suspensions of African American and African Immigrant Students: Building a Well-Educated Minnesota Workforce for the 21st Century."

For more information, see Metropolitan Research Grant Program awards.

Maria Hanratty wins H-UP Grant

The Hennepin-University Partnership (H-UP) has announced that the project “The Risk of Family Homelessness over the Recession: The Role of Earnings History” has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Hennepin-University Collaborative Grant. Maria Hanratty, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, submitted a joint proposal with Lisa Thornquist, Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness. The project seeks to assess the impact of the recent recession on shelter entry of families in Hennepin County. For more information, see H-UP Partnership

U in the News: A selection of U faculty and staff in the news as appearing daily in Today’s News.

Drought brings questions over supremacy of corn
In a few hours, the Agriculture Department is going to give us new estimates for this fall's harvest, and the expectation is: it won't be pretty. Corn prices hit a new record high yesterday, because of fears that the drought could shrink supply by 15 percent. Corn is America's biggest crop, though some experts are questioning whether that should still be the case. Jon Foley directs the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. American Public Media.

Good Question: Are Minn. lakes getting warmer?
It’s an amoeba not normally found in Minnesota lakes. It’s more common in the south, where it’s warmer. But it’s blamed by Minnesota health investigators for the death of a 9-year-old boy, who went swimming in a Stillwater lake. Are Minnesota lakes getting warmer, and what does that mean to our lake lifestyle? “We definitely know they are getting warmer,” said biology professor Dr. Jim Cotner. Cotner’s lab at the University of Minnesota specializes in the microbiology of underwater ecosystems. WCCO-TV.

Popcorn's butter flavoring may trigger Alzheimer's disease
If you're a fan of butter-flavored microwave popcorn, a new study finds a flavoring used in the product may trigger Alzheimer's disease. University of Minnesota drug-design expert Robert Vince, PhD, and colleagues found that diacetyl causes brain proteins to misfold into the Alzheimer's-linked form called beta amyloid. New York Daily News.

Free open source textbooks growing in popularity in college classes
Though paying for tuition and housing eat up more money, textbook costs are among the most groan-inducing expenses incurred by college students. ...To address this need for quality control, the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development has set up an Open Textbook Catalog. Time Magazine.

Gay marriage landmark? Minnesota pastor who conducted 1971 ceremony thinks so
In the fall of 1971, two young men were planning their wedding in Minneapolis. At the last minute, the minister backed out. "So they asked me if I'd do it," said Roger Lynn, who at the time was a 33-year-old Methodist pastor who knew the couple from his work. "I said, 'Sure, why not?' You know, I didn't even think about it, had no idea of the impact." ...But "the legacy of their case hangs over the marriage amendment controversy," said Dale Carpenter, constitutional law professor at the University of Minnesota law school. Pioneer Press.

U pursues avenue for less costly textbooks
The University of Minnesota hopes to lighten the load for students by finding textbooks that are less expensive or -- better yet -- free. "We were looking for options to make higher education more affordable and course materials just seem to be a sweet spot," said Dave Ernst, director of academic and information technology in the College of Education and Human Development. Star Tribune.

Charlie Knuth making big strides while recovering from transplant in Minnesota
A few weeks back, Trisha Knuth had to see her son go to a place, no six-year-old should ever get to. "Charlie thought he was going to die, as a 6-year-old," Trisha recalls, "I would be trying to comfort him and he would just say out of the blue, mama you're going to be so sad." ...Sometimes it got so bad, Trisha herself wasn't so sure what was going to happen to Charlie, who suffers from Epidermolysis bullosa, an extremely rare and terminal skin disease. ...Charlie's first stem cell transplant was back in 2010 as a part of the clinical trial started by Dr. Jakub Tolar at the University of Minnesota Amplatz children's hospital. WFRV-TV.

Good Question: Are We More Violent Than Before?
From the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. to Sunday’s temple attack outside Milwaukee, Wis. — two mass shootings in two weeks have raised a lot of Good Questions. Like, are we more violent than we’ve ever been before? We found how easily perception can play tricks on reality. For nearly 20 years, Chris Uggen has studied crime and its effects on society as a professor at the University of Minnesota. “I think it’s important to point out both the long-term trend and the shorter-term trend is very positive,” Uggen said. WCCO.

Maturi transitions from AD to adviser, liaison and educator
When he was Minnesota’s athletics director, Joel Maturi rarely found time to himself in his old office at the Bierman Field Athletic Building. Now, up in his third-floor office of the 1901 University Avenue SE building, sometimes time alone is all he has. “It’s much quieter up here,” Maturi said. “Like last Friday, I think I was the only one on this floor.” Maturi, who was the Gophers’ AD for 10 years, is transitioning to his new role as adviser, donor liaison and educator. Minnesota Daily.

Supreme Court overturns $1M award against University of Minnesota and coach Tubby Smith
The Minnesota Supreme Court has overturned a $1 million award against the University of Minnesota and men's basketball coach Tubby Smith over the hiring of an assistant coach. Jimmy Williams quit his job as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State in 2007 because he believed Smith had hiring authority when he offered him an assistant coaching job. Minnesota later withdrew the offer because Williams had NCAA rules violations during a previous stint as an assistant for the Golden Gophers more than 20 years ago. Star Tribune.

Father Of 3 Needs Kidney To Live, Battle Genetic Disease
A Minnesota father of three, suffering from a rare genetic disease, is praying someone will help save his life. In just a matter of months, 33-year-old Bryan Weiss of Coon Rapids went from being healthy and active to struggling with kidney failure. “It’s quite a rare condition. Its prevalence in the U.S. is estimated to be 1 in 50,000 people,” according to Dr. Raja Kandaswamy from the University of Minnesota transplant team. WCCO.

August 8

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor. For more information, see award & appointment submission guidelines.

Christine Tschida named director of Northrop

Christine Tschida has been named director of Northrop at the University of Minnesota by Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Karen Hanson. Tschida will begin her new job Aug. 15.

Northrop is in the midst of a major revitalization project. The new position of director of Northrop was created to address the desire to expand programming in Northrop, better connect Northrop to the full range of the intellectual life of the University, and better engage students.

For the past 10 years, Tschida has been director of Theatre Projects for Rena Shagan Associates, New York, N.Y., serving as an artist representative for distinguished dance and theater companies and working with more than 600 presenting organizations in the Upper Midwest and Western regions.

Before that, she spent 12 years as producer of “A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor” for Minnesota Public Radio, managing a creative team responsible for weekly broadcasts of public radio's most successful variety show. During this time, she also served as executive director of the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. She has also worked in various performing arts management roles for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Pace University in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Early in her career, she spent six years as outreach program director for the Guthrie Theater, responsible for touring programs, educational activities, and special events. She earned her B.A. degree in Theater and Humanities from Macalester College and has taken business coursework at the University of St. Thomas.

Tschida was selected from a field of four finalists identified by a search committee led by co-chairs Kathy O’Brien, the former vice president for University Services, and Robert McMaster, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Education. Tschida will report to the provost, in consultation with the vice provost for undergraduate education.

Tenants are scheduled to move into the “new” Northrop in fall 2013, and a grand opening is anticipated the following spring once the performance hall is completed. The building will be home to the department of Concerts and Lectures, which will fill a completely new and up-to-date 2,800-seat hall with an innovative performing arts program. The renovated Northrop also will house important academic programs, including the University Honors Program and the Institute for Advanced Study, as well as public study and meeting spaces to promote collaborative activities. For more information, see the news release.

2012 Award for Global Engagement Recipients

The University of Minnesota’s Global Programs and Strategy Alliance is pleased to announce the 2012 recipients of the Award for Global Engagement:

Kevin Dostal Dauer, coordinator of residential life in the Department of Housing and Residential Life, is honored for his strong commitment to creating intercultural learning opportunities for students such as through the creation of the Students Crossing Borders Living-Learning Community, engaging in intercultural teaching and learning, and promoting cultural understanding among his colleagues.

Paul Glewwe, professor of applied economics in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, is honored for his role in building the department’s internationally renowned research and teaching program in micro-economic development and his life-changing research on poverty, inequality, health, nutrition, and education in developing countries.

Michael Houston, associate dean of global initiatives and Ecolab-Pierson M. Grieve Chair in International Marketing at the Carlson School of Management, is honored for his exceptional leadership of the school’s increasing global engagement, innovation in international education, institutional development, and teaching and research.

Recipients will be honored at an award ceremony during International Education Week in November 2012. The all-University Award for Global Engagement 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 award is sponsored by the Office for Academic Administration, University of Minnesota System, and administered by the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.

Katie Eichele named director of Aurora Center

Katie Eichele has been selected as director for the Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education. The Aurora Center is a unit within the Office for Student Affairs, which provides support services for those who have experienced and/or are concerned about sexual and relationship violence in the University community.

Katie began working as the assistant director of the Aurora Center in 2011, and has served as the interim director for the past year. Prior to her work at Aurora, Katie served as a residence hall director and coordinator for judicial affairs in Housing and Residential Life at the University. She earned her BS and MS degrees from North Dakota State University.

Professor Emeritus Glenn Morey has died

Professor Emeritus Glenn B. Morey passed away Aug. 2. GB or Morey, as he was called by family and friends, was born in Duluth, MN Oct. 17, 1935. He was preceded in death by his parents and infant daughter, Brenda. He is survived by loving wife Judy, daughter Pam, son Daryl and wife Kelli, and five grandchildren, Alex, Randy, Charlie, Erik, and Autumn.

Professor Morey retired as the associate director and chief geologist of the Minnesota Geological Survey in 2001. He remained active in retirement and was working on a biography of Newton Horace Winchell, first director of the Minnesota Geological Survey, and a history of the Survey. Morey had a distinguished 50-year career in geology as a professor in the Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, associate director, and chief geologist. He played a pivotal role in enabling the Minnesota Geological Survey to fulfill its mission. In 1986, Morey received the Goldich Medal of the Institute of Lake Superior Geology in recognition of his numerous contributions in geology which included field studies, integration of the geology of Minnesota into the new paradigm of plate tectonics, presentations at regional, national, and international meetings, and in the publications of the Minnesota Geological Survey and national and international professional journals. He was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and recognized authority on the geology of Precambrian Iron Formations.

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

Origins of the Taco
Mexican-ish food is both hugely popular in the United States and spreading wildly, but that's raised a lot of concerns about the authenticity (or lack thereof) of various popular dishes. But William Booth argues that this is largely misguided and authentic cuisine has always been a moving target. "Of course, the idea of the taco is very old. You take a corn tortilla, stick something on it, roll it up and eat it," said University of Minnesota historian Jeffrey Pilcher. "But they didn't call it a taco." Slate.

US: The rise of Minnesota hazelnuts
Louis Braun, a University of Minnesota hazelnut researcher has recently led a Hybrid Hazelnut Research Update Walk n Talk event. At the event, in answer to a question, he said that he could imagine a day when hazelnuts became a, but not the, third crop in the state. Fresh Plaza.

Butter flavoring linked to key Alzheimer's process
An artificial food flavoring compound used for its butter-like taste and mouthfeel may be linked with key processes in the development of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research [conducted by Professor Robert Vince at the University of Minnesota].

Under the lens: U of M reviews 241 institutes
A months-long probe into the 241 specialty centers at the University of Minnesota finds no obvious waste but some of the centers face closure or further scrutiny. New U President Eric Kaler launched the review in March, saying he was surprised by the large number of centers and institutes, which direct activities from the study of sexuality to experimentation with worms. The review found that 9 percent of the centers have closed or will close. Next, Kaler is taking a deeper look at another 9 percent marked as "needs further review," plus the 25 centers that cost the U the most. Star Tribune.

As climate changes, organic methods look like a path to adaptive agriculture
Reading up on the nation's deepening drought and failing crops last week, I came across an interesting piece by Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment. MinnPost.

Will rising food prices change America's eating habits?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has predicted substantial price increases for numerous food items in 2013, if not sooner, due to the devastating impact of the current drought on farms across the country. According to its latest Food Price Outlook, the agency expects prices to go up substantially, especially for meat and poultry because of reduced inventory and higher feed expenses. ...For many of us, undoing all that would require changing our entire food environment, according to Dr. Simone French, director of the Obesity Prevention Center at the University of Minnesota. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Good Question: Where Do Weeds Come From?
If flowers are friends to homeowners, then weeds must be enemies. The theory is that dandelions, chickweeds, thistle and Creeping Charlie steal water and sun from our precious bluegrass. But how did Creeping Charlie and his buddies get here in the first place? Roger Becker is a professor of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota. And if weeds have a friend, he would be it. WCCO.

Diversity reshaping towns, cities
The current demographic picture shows a growing presence of minorities in small towns and suburbia as well as large cities becoming minority-majority populations. These changes continue to shape our communities and force tough conversations on race, culture, economics and shared priorities. Kai Wright, editorial director of, and Myron Orfield, director at University of Minnesota's Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, will also join the discussion. MPR.

Fun, balance keys to Missy Franklin's gold
It was the moment she'd dreamed of since childhood. When Missy Franklin won her first gold medal in London on Monday, she said it almost didn't feel real. ..."Missy Franklin is living proof that there are many pathways to elite performance," said Nicole LaVoi, associate director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota. KARE.

Professors: Court erred on BWCA cell tower
Six law professors from four universities in two states said this week that the Minnesota Court of Appeals was wrong to allow a 450-foot cell phone tower on the edge of the Boundary Waters wilderness and asked the state Supreme Court to review the case. The professors' petition indicates that the case is evolving into a broader dispute -- a critical test of the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, one of the oldest and strongest environmental protection laws in the country. "These interpretations are really important and something that the Supreme Court should take a look at," said Alexandra Klass, one of three environmental law professors from the University of Minnesota who signed the petition. Star Tribune.