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Awards, appointments, & other news

Compiled by Adam Overland




March 27

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



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

U of M Regents Professor named prestigious Cozzarelli Prize recipient
U of M Regents Professor Apostolos Georgopoulos, Medical School, named prestigious Cozzarelli Prize recipient by PNAS in the Biological Sciences category. Phys.org.

Tubby Smith fired as U of M basketball coach
The University of Minnesota dismissed men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith on Monday. Star Tribune.

Iron Range's copper-nickel mining poses opportunity and possible threat
After more than a century in which iron mining has played a central role in the economy and culture of northeastern Minnesota, a new kind of mining is poised to join the taconite industry. Geologists have determined the Iron Range formed in what had been a tropical sea two billion years ago. Those deposits formed when molten rock deep in the earth called magma encountered rocks containing sulfur, said University of Minnesota - Duluth geologist Jim Miller. MPR.

Spring may have sprung, but most gardens are still slumbering
For vegetable lovers, the start of spring can be a cruel tease, hinting of a feast of just-picked peas and spinach and beets, but delivering instead tired iceberg and romaine shipped from distant climes. Terry Nennich is a veggie guy, a horticulture research director at the North Central Research and Outreach Center of the University of Minnesota, which stands about 120 miles from the Canadian border...[he] takes the bringing of vegetable bounty to the northland as a personal and professional challenge. NPR.

10 things you didn't know about dreams
"The primary determinant of whether you'll remember a dream is being awakened during the dream," says Mark Mahowald, U of M Medical School. Yahoo!

Health exchange bill passes Minn. Senate; heads to Dayton's desk
Lynn Blewett, School of Public Health, discusses the exchange. MPR.

Seeking help with future growth, Rochester already feels strain of expansion
As the Mayo Clinic makes expansion plans and asks for state help to build infrastructure in Minnesota's third largest city, Rochester is feeling financial strain from the rapid growth it has already seen. ...Other mid-size cities like Rochester are also coming to recognize the costs associated with growth, said Professor Ed Goetz, director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota. MPR.

National Ag Day: Reaching more farmers through ag professionals
Bev Durgen, Dean, U of M Extension, writes about the impact of the agriculture industry for the state of Minnesota on National Agriculture Day. Cattle Network.


March 20

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


James Parente to step down as dean of CLA

James Parente, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, has announced his plans to step down as dean at the end of June and return to his faculty position as a professor in the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch.

Dean Parente was appointed to the CLA deanship in 2008, after serving for a year as interim dean and also as associate dean for faculty and research from 2000 to 2007. A champion of the liberal arts, he has provided steadfast guidance for CLA during a time of transition and fiscal challenges, and he has enhanced the college's reputation for academic excellence and innovation. For the past two years he has, in addition, provided University-level service as a member of the President's Senior Leadership Group.

Dean Parente, who holds a Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literatures, joined the Minnesota faculty in 1993, after serving on the faculties of Princeton University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. A former chair of the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch, his scholarship and teaching focus on the literature and culture of the Middle Ages and Early Modern period (1450-1750) in central and northern Europe.

President Kaler will launch a national search for a new dean as soon as possible, seeking to recruit candidates throughout the spring and summer and aiming to have interviews with finalists next fall.

U of M’s Academic Health Center performs solidly in rankings

Nine programs within the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center have ranked in the top ten in the latest national rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

The latest rankings, appearing on newsstands this week, show each school ranked nationally as follows:

The Medical School ranks 7th in primary care instruction, just one of three stand out areas.
The College of Pharmacy holds its impressive 3rd place ranking.
The School of Public Health ranks 5th among public universities and 8th nationally.
The College of Veterinary Medicine maintained a strong 9th place ranking.
The School of Nursing is ranked among the top 25 schools in the country.

In addition to the national ranks of the University of Minnesota’s health sciences schools, many programs received high national rankings.

The Medical School ranks 7th in the nation in primary care education, 5th in the nation in rural medicine and 10th in family medicine, all areas critical to curtailing physician shortages in Minnesota and across the nation.

The School of Public Health received accolades for its Master of Healthcare Administration program, which ranks 2nd in the nation.

The School of Nursing’s graduate program in public health nursing ranks 6th nationally. A program focused on midwifery has also been successful, being named the #8 program in the nation.

In the College of Education and Human Development, the U’s Institute of Child Development repeated its #1 ranking in developmental psychology. The social sciences are ranked every five years. ICD was also number one in the 2008 rankings and has been within the top three for over 15 years.

2013–2014 Fesler-Lampert Chair

Hari Osofsky, associate professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and interim director of the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment, and the Life Sciences, has been named the 2013–2014 Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs. Osofsky plans to use the resources provided by her appointment to expand her analysis of voluntary strategies among Twin Cities metropolitan area suburbs to address climate change. For more information, see Fesler-Lampert Chair.

Xcel Energy presents U with efficiency award

The University of Minnesota was presented with the Platinum Award for long-term commitment to energy efficiency at Xcel Energy's 2013 Energy Efficiency Expo on February 19 at the St. Paul RiverCentre. The awards honored seven commercial, industrial, and small business customers in Minnesota for participating in Xcel Energy 2012 energy efficiency programs.

Starting in 2008, U of M operations managers set aggressive efficiency and carbon emission reduction goals, including annual commitments to conserve five percent of the previous year's total energy consumption. The university's efforts have resulted in more than $15 million in total energy savings. In addition, its sustainability awareness campaign called "It All Adds Up" continues to be the cornerstone of energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives across campus.

The companies honored at the Energy Efficiency Expo lowered their energy costs and reduced their impact on the environment. Collectively, they saved more than 15 million kilowatt hours of electricity and more than 1.9 million therms of natural gas in a 12-month period. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 4,200 cars off the road.

Xcel Energy offers incentives, such as rebates and funding for energy efficiency studies, to its business and municipal customers to encourage them to make energy efficient choices.

For more information, see Xcel Award.

U of M cancer research pioneer John Kersey has passed

From MPR: John Kersey was leader of the U of M team that successfully completed the world's first bone marrow transplant for lymphoma in 1975. He was 74.

Kersey was founding director of the University's Masonic Cancer Center, and from 1974-1995 he directed the U's Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. A memorial service in Kersey's honor will be held Mar. 21 6:30 p.m., McNamara Center.


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

Doulas can coach low-income women on childbirth
Katy Kozhimannil, School of Public Health, found Medicaid could save millions and reduce the risks of complicated births by providing doulas. Salon.

Monarch butterflies coming from Mexico are disappearing
It’s a ritual of spring: Monarch butterflies returning to Minnesota from their winter refuge in Mexico. Dr. Karen Oberhause, from the University of Minnesota, comments. WCCO-TV.

Tough winter forces owls south in hunt for food
Tough winter for owls: A report has said that owls have experienced an exceptionally tough winter. Dr. Julia Ponder said The Raptor Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota is treating around 30 owls this week. Star Tribune.

Conversations with Lars: Jason Rohloff
Jason Rohloff, Special Assistant to the President, Government and Community Relations talks with Lars Leafblad of BePollen.com about his job, the role of philanthropy in higher education and what he does to 're-charge.' BePollen.

Poor sleep may signal onset of Alzheimer's
Disturbed sleep quality may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease, research shows. In a cross-sectional study, research conducted by Karen Ashe of the University of Minnesota, was used to assess molecular levels of the disease. MedPage Today.

Those national debt clocks on Congressional websites are wrong
National debt clocks are all the rage on Republican lawmakers' websites. At least 54 other lawmakers have them as well. But if you look at the figures on the clocks, you'll notice an obvious discrepancy. Writing on the blog Smart Politics, University of Minnesota's Eric Ostermeier finds that national debt clocks on congressional websites are far from being in sync. National Journal.


March 13

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


Excellence in teaching awards

2012–13 recipients of the Morse-Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education and of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education have been announced.

Both the Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education and the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education awards recognize excellence in teaching. Those who have received the awards constitute the membership of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers (ADT). Until this year, these awards were only available to faculty. This year, Professional & Administrative (P&A) employees who teach also became eligible for nomination.

Horace T. Morse-Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education 2012–13 Winners

Jennifer Deane, Associate Professor, Social Sciences (Morris)

Christopher Dovolis, Teaching Specialist, Computer Science & Engineering, College of Science and Engineering

Carrie Earthman, Associate Professor, Food, Science & Nutrition, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Karen LaBat, Professor, Design, Housing & Apparel, College of Design

Rachel McCoppin, Associate Professor, Liberal Arts & Education (Crookston)

Susan Staats, Associate Professor, Postsecondary Teaching & Learning, College of Education and Human Development

Susan Wick, Professor, Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences
 

Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education 2012–13 Winners

Jerry Cohen, Professor, Horticultural Science, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (Twin Cities)

Ronald Hadsall, Professor, Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems, College of Pharmacy (Twin Cities)

Karen Ho, Associate Professor, Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts (Twin Cities)

Kevin Murphy, Associate Professor, History, College of Liberal Arts (Twin Cities)

Michael Osterholm, Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health (Twin Cities)

Keshab Parhi, Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, College of Science and Engineering (Twin Cities)

Lisa Schimmenti, Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Academic Health Center (Twin Cities)

Robert Washabau, Professor, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine (Twin Cities)

Flagrant Conduct finalist for Lambda Literary Awards

University of Minnesota law professor Dale Carpenter’s book, Flagrant Conduct, has been named a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards in the category of LGBT nonfiction.

Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas, by U of M law professor Dale Carpenter, has been named a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards in the category of LGBT nonfiction.

Now in their 25th year, the Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2012. Winners will be announced during a ceremony on Monday evening, June 3.

Lambda Literary Foundation set a new record in 2013 for both the number of LGBT books submitted for Lammy consideration, 687, and the number of publishers participating, 332. This beats the record-setting numbers in 2012 of 600 titles by over 250 publishers and is the fourth consecutive year of growth in submissions and publishers.

Learn more about the book in this 2012 feature.


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

What's the most efficient way to shovel driveway snow?
What is the most efficient way to shovel the driveway? Could there be a mathematical equation for efficient shoveling? Larry Gray, a mathematician at the University of Minnesota, provides insight. WCCO-TV.

U of M sees "opportunities to improve" in administrative staffing report
In a new snapshot of the University of Minnesota's administrative ranks, leaders see opportunities to make the U leaner. At the Friday, March 8, Board of Regents meeting, University President Eric Kaler previewed an early report on the U's administrative structure that he will present to legislators early next week. Star Tribune.

Poll finds minimum wage hike support
A recent poll finds a majority of Minnesotans support raising the state's minimum wage, but are divided on which amount it should be. Professor Ann Markusen, an economist at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, comments. KMSP-TV.

Economists study early education
Megan Gunnar, professor of child development at the University of Minnesota, comments in an article that examines the economic argument made by proponents of expanding early-childhood education in the U.S.: that it more than pays for itself in economic returns, in the form of better employment prospects for participants and lower costs in crime and social programs for society. Wall Street Journal.

C-Section rates vary widely
Cesarean delivery rates ranged from as low as 7% to as high as 70% at U.S. hospitals, a nationwide study showed. The magnitude of the variation was more than could be accounted for by case mix, suggesting a possible quality-of-care problem, Katy Backes Kozhimannil, PhD, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, and colleagues reported. New York Times.

U of M Oreo splitter
U of M professor Barry Kudrowitz and his former MIT classmate Bill Fienup have designed a machine to separate the Oreo. KMSP-TV.

Best Buy ends flexible work program for its corporate employees
Best Buy Co. said Monday it has ended its program that allowed corporate employees to control their schedules and how often they showed up at the company’s Richfield headquarters. Now most corporate employees will work the traditional 40-hour week, though managers still have discretion to accommodate some workers. Erin Kelly, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota who has authored studies on ROWE, comments. Star Tribune.

Human rights trials strengthen the rule of law
Kathryn Sikkink, the Arleen C. Carlson professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, wrote a debate article for the New York Times on the affect of human rights trials on the rule of law. New York Times.


March 6

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


John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising

The John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising is named in honor of John Tate, Professor of Physics and first Dean of University College (1930-41).

The Tate Awards serve to recognize and reward high-quality advising at the University of Minnesota. They call attention to the contributions academic advising and career services make in helping students formulate and achieve intellectual, career, and personal goals. By recognizing professionals for their outstanding commitment to students, the Tate Awards celebrate the role that academic advising and career services play in the University's educational mission.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon during the John Tate Advising Conference March 14, 12:15 p.m., University Commons Hotel.

Jennifer A. Goodnough, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Division of Science and Mathematics, University of Minnesota, Morris

Amy Hackett, Senior Academic Adviser, CEHD Student Services, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Elizabeth Hruska, Coordinator, Career and Internship Services, St. Paul, Office of Student Affairs, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Chris Schlichting, Advising Coordinator, Student Services, College of Design, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Learn more about the Tate Awards.


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

Husband-wife team conducts ambitious brain research at UMD
In a tidy, nondescript laboratory on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus, Bjorn Bauer and Anika Hartz, a husband and wife team from Germany, are performing research that may one day lead to better success treating epilepsy, Alzheimer's and other brain diseases. Duluth News Tribune.

Chimps' 'girl talk' uses more negative gestures
Female chimpanzees are more "negative" when communicating with other females, research has found. "When communicating with males, females sort of 'suck up' to them," said PhD student Nicole Scott from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, US, whose findings are published in the American Journal of Primatology. BBC Nature News.

Children with rare skin disease find help in MN
Eleafar Xelhua arrived in Minnesota eight months ago with a goal more humble than those of most 12-year-olds. He wanted a hug from his mom. That goal is now met. Hugs are again part of his life thanks to the work of Dr. Jakub Tolar of the University of Minnesota and Amplatz Children's Hospital. KARE-TV.

At long last, a pill for men?
Gunda Georg, a professor in the College of Pharmacy's Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Minnesota, has developed a new approach to bringing men into the world of birth control, short of condoms or vasectomies. Star Tribune.

Britain needs bees: Crops suffering as wild pollinators decline
Scientists have revealed that the decline of wild bees and other insects could hinder Britain's crop yields – even more so than the dwindling honeybee. A recent report has shown that wild insects pollinate orchards more efficiently than rented honeybees, and for no cost. Marla Spivak, a professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota, offers insight. UK Daily Express.

No horsemeat found in US but food fraud does happen
The horsemeat scandal in Europe is spreading to Poland. Polish authorities said Thursday that traces of horse meat DNA have been found in beef samples taken from three meat processors – the first acknowledgement that the country could be a source of the horse meat that fraudulently ended up in processed meat products sold as beef across Europe. Karen Everstine, a research fellow at the University of Minnesota's National Center for Food Protection and Defense, comments. WBUR.

President Kaler gives State of the U address
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler plans to give graduate programs a boost, open office hours to hear student concerns and put a new focus on employee satisfaction. In his second State of the University address Thursday, Feb. 28, Kaler struck an upbeat tone, even amid what he called "the perfect storm for higher education." MPR.

Medicare needs fixing, but not right now
What's the rush? For all the white-knuckled wrangling over spending cuts set to start on Friday, the fundamental partisan argument over how to fix the government's finances is not about the immediate future. It is about the much longer term: how will the nation pay for the care of older Americans as the vast baby boom generation retires? Will the government keep Medicare spending in check by asking older Americans to shoulder more costs? Should we raised taxes instead? Stephen Parente, University of Minnesota, comments. New York Times.

Best Buy cutting 400 HQ jobs
It's hardly the kind of 10th anniversary surprise that Best Buy employees were expecting. The sprawling campus at Penn Avenue and Interstate 494 stands as a shining beacon to the importance of retail. Now, a decade after the company's corporate headquarters were built, 400 Best Buy employees are out of jobs, and are the latest casualties in the company's efforts to trim $725 million in costs. Akshay Rao, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, comments on Best Buy's recent actions. WCCO.

BTN LiveBIG: Minnesota's research & medical discoveries
BTN's new series "BTN LiveBIG" continues with stories about Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe and her team's findings that have broad implications for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and a team of researchers who are tracking the carp populations in local lakes to help native ecosystems survive. Big Ten Network.