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Awards, appointments, and other news

Compiled by Adam Overland




November 28

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


2012 Award for Global Engagement Recipients

The 2012 recipients of the Award for Global Engagement were honored at a ceremony on Nov. 15 during International Education Week. The all-University Award for Global Engagement is given to faculty and staff members 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.

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.

Folsom wins AHA's Population Research Prize

Professor Aaron Folsom was selected as the recipient of the 2012 Population Research Prize of the American Heart Association. The prize is awarded annually to one scientist in the U.S. for outstanding contributions to understanding cardiovascular disease at the population level. Over 32 years, Folsom has helped to author more than 750 scientific publications on risk factors for heart attack, stroke, venous thrombosis (blood clots), and cancer. He is currently a professor of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Human Rights Program receives USAID grant

The University of Minnesota has received a $1.25 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Higher Education for Development (HED), to create a human rights law school partnership between the University and four law schools in Medellín, Colombia, to strengthen the capacities of the Medellín schools to teach, research and provide clinical legal representation toward the promotion of international human rights and the rule of law.

The grant covers three years of partnership, which will be carried out by the university's Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts and the Human Rights Center in the Law School. Faculty in both colleges will conduct workshops and teach courses in Medellín, and Colombian law students and faculty will travel to the university to learn about human rights law and practice and to cultivate mentor relationships with faculty and human rights professionals.

To build upon their mutual interest and expertise in human rights more than 50 faculty members spanning at least six colleges—including education, law, liberal arts, medicine, public affairs and public health – have come together through a voluntary collaboration known as "The Human Rights University." The collaboration seeks to mobilize knowledge to advance human rights.

For more information, see Human Rights grant.

Minnesota Digital Library to receive $350,000

The Minnesota Digital Library, a statewide collaboration consisting of Minitex, the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, and other key institutions, was chosen to be a key early contributor to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Ultimately, users of the DPLA will be able to search across a network of local collections, finding information on a topic—like the Civil War or the Great Depression—via database entries from throughout the country. The Minnesota Digital Library will receive about $350,000 in funding—$250,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and $100,000 from the Knight Foundation.

TCF Bank Stadium Rain Garden recognized

TCF Bank Stadium was recently named the Best Public Rain Garden by Metro Blooms, a local nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates gardening. Land care supervisor Les Potts was on hand at the organization's annual Garden Awards on Nov. 8 to accept the award.

TCF Bank's gardens have a fascinating underground system that makes use of rainwater. Rainwater collected in the gardens and paved surfaces is piped to a dry holding pond where it is stored temporarily, treated and released at a controlled rate to the city's storm sewer system. A proprietary system called the Epic System takes water captured from the roof and collected in pipes and uses it for watering the grass. In some areas curb cuts and porous pavements were used to additionally direct and capture water. For more information, see rain garden award.

SEED Award winners

The Office for Equity and Diversity recently named its 2012 Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Award winners. The SEED Awards honor students from diverse backgrounds who are doing outstanding work at the University of Minnesota, both within and outside of the classroom. The 2012 awards were presented at the University of Minnesota's Equity and Diversity Breakfast.

Learn more about each of the recipients.

Undergraduate SEED Award winners

Abdimalik Ahmed, College of Liberal Arts

(Max) Hui Bai, College of Liberal Arts

Lucas Caretta, College of Science and Engineering

Abrham Desta, College of Science and Engineering

Amal Gazey, College of Continuing Education

Dae Yeul "Danny" Lee, UM-Crookston

Johanna Lucht, College of Science and Engineering

Stephanie Martinez, College of Science and Engineering

Hai Nguyen-Tran, College of Biological Sciences

Carlos Reyes, College of Education and Human Development

Wemimo (Abbey) Samson, UM-Crookston

Janelle White, College of Liberal Arts

Graduate and Professional SEED Award winners

Kaishan Kong, Ph.D. student (Second Languages and Cultures Education), College of Education and Human Development

Erica Warnock, third-year medical student, UM-Twin Cities Medical School



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

A potent mix: mom, chemist, trailblazer
Christy Haynes looks at some of the world's smallest things and sees solutions to big problems. Under this U of M chemist's microscope, the whispers of platelets reveal treatments for patients whose blood won't clot. In the laboratory of one of the country's major research universities, on a PBS Kids show and in the pages of Popular Science, she is using her work to inspire young women to don lab goggles. Star Tribune.

U course helps retirees transition
About 80 University faculty members, staff and community members attended a daylong workshop titled "Preparing for Post-Career Life," a presentation about financial planning for retirement, on Friday. The course is offered through the University's College of Continuing Education, and is the only retirement-planning program of its kind in the nation, now in its third year. In four years, Michael Powers will reach the University of Minnesota's Rule of 90—when his age plus the number of years he's worked at the University equal 90. Powers said he wants to start planning for retirement now. Minnesota Daily.

Minn. health incentives raise privacy concerns
More Minnesota workers are considering financial incentives to participate in wellness programs that monitor their health, but the programs come at the sacrifice of some privacy. ...For example, the University of Minnesota offers discount of at least a $300 on health insurance premiums next year. ...Dann Chapman, the university's employee benefits director, said he thinks participation will rise dramatically next year as more people find out about the opportunity. Post-Bulletin.

U of M expert comments on confronting aging
As our parents age, they worry about becoming frail and losing their independence. And we dread the talk - about their driving, moving to a nursing home, and preparing for worse. Sara Lassig, who teaches social work at the University of Minnesota, says the key to this transition is communication and respect. CBS Minnesota.

Is your workout better if your body trembles?
Many exercise programs advertise a certain kind of muscle quaking that they hold up as evidence that their workout is effective. But is the "wobbling" Amanda refers to actually a sign that your body is getting stronger? "Twitching is not associated with improvement in terms of strength," confirms Joseph P. Garry, MD, the director of sports medicine and an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. Huffington Post (blog).

Bureaucracy in universities
At Purdue University, a "faculty revolt" has arisen against bureaucratic bloat at the university. At the U of M, as part of an overhaul of management, the U eliminated a senior vice president's position this month and will cut an additional 5 1/2 administrative jobs, said Chuck Tombarge, a University of Minnesota spokesman. Bloomberg News.

Breakthrough discovery finds how to manipulate our perception of time
It seems unfair that time flies when you're having fun, but drones on at a snail's pace when you're bored. Thanks to a breakthrough discovery by brain researchers at the University of Minnesota, there may soon be a pill that would alter how you perceive the passage of time. Mother Nature Network.


November 14

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


Lopez and Mayo named 2012 Lillian Williams Award recipients

The Office for Equity and Diversity and its Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) have named Naty Lopez and J.B. Mayo the recipients of the 2012 Lillian Williams Award. Named in honor of Lillian H. Williams, the founding director of the U’s EOAA Office, the award was established in 1986 to recognize individuals within the University community who exemplify Lillian’s spirit and unwavering commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Lopez is the assistant dean for admissions and diversity as well as an assistant professor in the School of Dentistry. She started her career as a nurse, working with indigenous people. From nursing she transitioned to teaching—continuing to address issues of disparity by focusing on cultural issues in oral health care, awareness and cultural competence. Lopez is one of three national recipients of a $1.9 million Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA) grant for the Building Bridges program, which supports recruitment, retention and matriculation efforts with students from underrepresented backgrounds at the Dental School.

Mayo is an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and an expert in Social Studies Education. His research, teaching, service, and outreach commitments are focused on educating teachers, teacher educators and the University community around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities (LGBT). Mayo is an active member in the community and was recently a panelist for OED’s Critical Conversations: Understanding Minnesota’s Marriage Amendment. He is also the faculty adviser for the Queer Graduate and Professional Student Association, and a volunteer for Face to Face, which serves homeless queer youth in the Twin Cities.

U Recognized with 2012 Commuter Choice Award

University of Minnesota Parking and Transportation Services received the Employer of the Year award for earning the top score among employers nominated for a Commuter Choice award. Among its accomplishments were the department’s newly opened bike center, which provides bike repair services, a retail store, secure bike parking, shower facilities, classes and an electronic bike trip-planning kiosk. The bike center also is the base for an innovative radio frequency identification system, which permits enrolled bicyclists to earn benefits and biking-related incentives by simply validating their bike trips.

In addition to its bicycling programs, the department has developed a number of services to encourage the use of alternate transportation modes, like U-Pass, Zimride and Zipcar. transportation modes, like U-Pass, Zimride and Zipcar. For more information, see the news release.

The University of Minnesota Crookston has received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State

The grant from the State Department will fund a collaborative effort between UMC and Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic (ZJETP) to establish an American Cultural Center on the ZJETP campus in Hangzhou. The center’s purpose will be to cultivate greater understanding between the United States and China. It will house a 3-D immersive lab similar to the one located on campus. For more information, read the news release.



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

U medicinal chemist talks to Young Scientist Roundtable
Michael Walters of the U’s medicinal chemistry department presented “From Urea to Lipitor: The Art and Science of Molecular Construction” to a Young Scientist Roundtable at Wayzata Central Middle School. Lake Minnetonka Patch.

Bodystorming: Dance grooves show how molecules move
Inside a chain-link cage, a handful of men and women walk, run, and spin, creating a mesmerizing dance. These dancers are also doing science, testing hypotheses of how big molecules move within a cell....The collaboration between David Odde, a UMTC biomedical engineer, and Carl Flink, artistic director of Black Label Movement and the head of the U’s theater and dance department, started when both received small grants from the University’s Institute for Advanced Study to study the concept of time. Science Magazine.

The Last Dragonslayer and Iron Hearted Violet
What is it about dragons that fascinates us so? And what if dragons were to die out altogether? Those questions are at the crux of the drama in two novels for young readers that are reviewed by Lisa Von Drasek, curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota. New York Times.

What is food fraud?
It’s a booming enterprise that makes money by feeding lies. Women’s Health examines how counterfeit groceries can hurt your wallet and your health. “That’s the biggest problem with food fraud,” says Karen Everstine a research fellow at the University of Minnesota. “We don’t know what the long-term health consequences are.” Women’s Health Magazine.

Fixing long election lines may be easier said than done
Although voting problems in Tuesday’s election were fewer than some people had expected, there were extremely long lines at many polling sites; so many that President Obama noted them in his victory speech. But fixing them might not be so easy. Tens of thousands of voters stuck it out. Some, however, clearly didn’t, says Doug Chapin, an election expert with the University of Minnesota. MPR.

Good Question: How can states pass laws that contradict federal law?
Voters in Colorado and Washington State were clear in approving ballot initiatives to make using small amounts of marijuana legal. But federal law is equally clear, classifying marijuana as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act. So how can a state pass a law that contradicts federal law? Dale Carpenter, professor of constitutional law at the U of M Law School says that typically, states have the authority to set laws regulating criminal activity. WCCO-TV.

U professor among top 30 design educators in nation
A U faculty member Adam Marcus has been named one of the top 30 most admired design educators for 2012. Marcus, an architecture assistant professor and Cass Gilbert Design Fellow, was given the honor by DesignIntelligence magazine. KSTP-TV.


November 7

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


Dante Cicchetti wins Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize

Dante Cicchetti was awarded the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize and more than $1 million by the Jacobs Foundation for more than 30 years of work in child development.

One of the world's leading researchers in developmental and clinical psychology, Cicchetti studies the consequences of child maltreatment and neglect and the conditions that lead to resilience—the psychological capacity to withstand difficult life conditions.

Cicchetti combines theory and research in psychosocial behaviors, neurobiology and genetics to inform interventions that dispel the notion that poverty and child maltreatment are directly linked and that they both have the same impact on development. He has also demonstrated that violence and abuse affect the body and mind differently throughout a child's life.

Cicchetti received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1977, taught at Harvard University and the University of Rochester in New York, before returning to the University of Minnesota as the McKnight Presidential Chair and William Harris Professor of Child Development and Psychiatry. He has won numerous national and international awards and has published over 450 articles, books, and other works that have had far-reaching impact on developmental theory, policy and practice related to child maltreatment, depression, mental retardation, and other fields of study.

The top-ranked Institute of Child Development is part of the University's College of Education and Human Development, whose mission includes improving the lives of children, families, and communities locally and around the world.

The Jacobs Foundation, founded in 1989 by Klaus Jacobs, promotes child and youth development worldwide by funding research and intervention programs.

For more information, see the news release.

U alumnus Robert Gore donates $10 million

Robert and Jane Gore have donated $10 million for the expansion of Amundson Hall, the home of the University's highly ranked Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in the College of Science and Engineering. This donation builds upon a previous gift of $5 million received last December from Dow Chemical Company for the project.

Robert Gore received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1963. He is the inventor of the revolutionary fabric, called GORE-TEX®. He is the former president and CEO of W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., a company started by his father.

Construction will begin in early 2013 on a 40,000-square-foot expansion of Amundson Hall. The addition, named the Gore Annex, will accommodate expansion of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in response to increasing demand from highly qualified students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

For more information, see the news release



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

Political blog from U of M professor is doing well
Most professors focus their time on research for scholarly journals – but not all. Eric Ostermeier, a research associate at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, spends all of his time researching for his nationally recognized blog, Smart Politics. Pioneer Press.

U's director of distributed education discusses MOOCs
In an article published by Minnesota Public Radio, Bob Rubinyi, directory of distributed education, discusses with a reporter the pros and cons of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MPR.

Weather on steroids is global warming, stupid: Paul Barrett
Yes, yes, it's unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us—and they're right—that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. An unscientific survey of the social networking literature on Sandy reveals an illuminating tweet (you read that correctly) from Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Nov. 5 issue. Business Week.

Power grid vulnerability: where do we go from here?
The forecasters generally got this one right. Sandy's predicted left-hand hook caught us squarely under the chin. Massoud Amin, a highly regarded University of Minnesota Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering lamented today on NPR that "we can do better." Forbes.

Thomas Friedman: The election story as told by my hometown
When I was growing up, my congressmen were liberal Republicans (there was no other kind in Minnesota back then) in a Democratic district. Many business-oriented Republicans here are not only voting for Klobuchar but are giving her money, because they've become frustrated by the far-right lurch of the state GOP, explained Lawrence Jacobs, a politics expert at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Star Tribune.

Study connects high school sports participation to academic achievement
There's a certain belief existent in some parents that if their child is to play a sport in high school, their grades will drop. However, research shows that is far from the case. In a report commissioned by the LA84 Foundation and written by Douglas Hartmann of the University of Minnesota, Hartmann found that the "research has time and again demonstrated a strong and positive correlation between high school sports participation and academic achievement." Huffington Post (blog).

Professor in biological sciences authors article on women in biology
Marlene Zuk, a professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, recently co-authored an article with Sheila O'Rourke exploring gender in higher education. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Expert at the U of M says the risk from stun guns is 'extremely low'
University of Minnesota emergency medicine researcher Jeffrey Ho, who is also Taser International's medical director, was at an Australasian stun gun conference today. At the conference, Ho said that the risk of a stun gun causing a cardiac arrest was extremely low, as his peer-reviewed research showed. The use of stun guns is raising questions in Australia after Brazilian student Robert Laudisio Curti, 21, died in March after police shot him with a stun gun when he was suspected of shoplifting. The New Zealand Herald.

U of M exploring more online course offerings
In the past year, some of the nation's most prominent colleges and universities, like Stanford and Harvard Universities, have begun offering online courses in a way that could transform higher education. Online education isn't new, but it could soon begin to replace the traditional classroom setting for many. Provost Karen Hanson says the University of Minnesota is exploring the courses' potential, but has no immediate plans to create any. MPR.

Team at U of M develops computer vision system to detect autism
A team from the University of Minnesota has developed a computer vision system that can detect behavioral markers for autism from a child's gait, head motion and facial features. The video analysis tools—developed by computer scientist Jordan Hashemi and team—assess four fundamental behavioural patterns: visual tracking, disengagement of attention, sharing interest and atypical motor behaviour. Wired UK