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Awards, appointments, and other news

Compiled by Adam Overland

April 16

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 Watkins receives Guggenheim Fellowship

University of Minnesota English Professor John Watkins has been named a 2014 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Watkins is among 178 U.S. and Canadian scholars, artists and scientists selected from almost 3,000 applicants.

Watkins is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of English. His expertise is in sovereignty, diplomacy, and political culture of the medieval and early modern eras, the world of Elizabeth I and Shakespeare, and the apocalypse. Although his interests are rooted in centuries past, Watkins is a frequent media commentator on our enduring fascination with royals today.

During his fellowship, Watkins will complete a book he is writing about marriage diplomacy in the late middle ages to the end of the 17th century.

Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted over $315 million in fellowships to almost 17,700 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates and poets laureate, as well as winners of Pulitzer Prizes, Fields Medals, and other important, internationally recognized honors.

IAS 2014-15 Research and Creative Collaboratives

The IAS has announced Research and Creative Collaboratives for 2014-15.

The twelve projects will engage in activities ranging from the study of the wellbeing of different African diasporic communities in the Midwest to the development of digital studies at the University, from exploring efforts to govern emerging technologies such as nanotechnology and genetic engineering to engaging artists with ecosystems research.

Conveners are faculty and staff from 27 departments in 10 colleges/schools, as well as outside partners from the Walker Art Center and the Farmers' Legal Action Group.

Flipgrid selected as Webby honoree

Flipgrid, the Learning Technologies Media Lab's video-based discussion and reflection tool, was selected as an honoree in three categories for this year's Webby Awards. The categories are Web Education, Mobile Education and Reference, and Social Education and Discovery.

Flipgrid was developed to enable teachers to create short, discussion-oriented questions that students respond to through recorded videos. Since its launch, over 600,000 teachers and students, community groups, corporate teams, research organizations, and individuals looking to boost social presence in their online discussions have utilized Flipgrid. 

The Webby Awards is the leading international award program honoring excellence on the Internet.

Lauren Beach honored by U.S. Jaycees

Law School grad and Ph.D. candidate Lauren Beach '12 has been named one of "10 Outstanding Young Americans" by U.S. Jaycees, an award she shares with the likes of Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, Orson Welles, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

Beach was named to the United States Junior Chamber's 2014 list of the 10 men and women under age 40 "who best exemplify the highest attributes of the nation's emerging generation."


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

Palm Sunday goes eco-friendly
Eco-Palms are harvested and marketed in sustainable ways that help preserve the rain forest and provide an economic boost to palm workers and their communities, said program founder Dean Current, U of M director of the Center for Integrated Natural Resource and Agricultural Management. Philly.

U of M tuition freeze for resident students is paying off
U of M vice provost and dean of undergraduate education Robert McMaster comments on the results from the ongoing tuition freeze. MinnPost.

Cedar-Riverside addresses crime, victims
For the Somali community of Cedar-Riverside, the impact of misconceptions about crime hits home. U of M's director of the Brian Coyle Center, Amano Dube, and Humphrey School of Public Affairs' Katherine Fennelly comment. The Minnesota Daily.

The race to locate Twitter users
Few Twitter users broadcast their locations, but businesses and researchers are hunting for ways to infer it. U of M assistant professor of computer science and engineering Brent Hecht comments. Wall Street Journal.

Legislature gets involved in fight against cattails
U of M Center for Forest Ecology's Lee Frelich comments on a bill that would expand people's ability to combat cattail spread. Star Tribune.

Climatologist says snow-free areas of Minnesota growing rapidly
U of M climatologist Mark Seeley comments on the snow melting quickly across more and more of the state. MPR.

Affordable housing forum at U of M: Do first-ring suburbs have too much of it?
When light rail travels through Hopkins, affordable housing projects will likely follow. The result will draw more low-income residents and people of color to the first-ring suburb, which is already 30 percent minority. U of M Law School's Myron Orfield comments. Pioneer Press.

U maps out long-term mission
With every new wave of University of Minnesota leaders, the institution re-establishes goals to hold the administration accountable and make sure the school is moving forward. The plan under University President Eric Kaler's administration is underway and will launch this fall. U of M Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Karen Hanson comments. The Minnesota Daily.

New care model could save Minn. nearly $1B in Alzheimer's costs
The state could save nearly $1 billion over the next decade, in part by reducing the most expensive forms of care that dementia patients require, according to a study published Monday by the influential journal Health Affairs. Joseph Gaugler of the U of M School of Nursing and Steven Foldes of the U of M School of Public Health comment. Star Tribune.


April 9

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


Josie R. Johnson Award recipients

Priscilla Gibson, associate professor of social work, is the faculty/staff recipient of the 2014 Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award, and Daniel Nidzgorski, doctoral candidate in ecology, evolution and behavior, is the 2014 student recipient. The award recognizes individuals who exemplify Dr. Johnson's standard of excellence in creating respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environments.


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

MNsure claims success in first year sign-ups
The exchange closed out the Affordable Care Act's first open enrollment period on Monday, March 31, at midnight with nearly 170,000 enrollments. U of M School of Public Health's Roger Feldman comments. Politics in Minnesota.

U of M President Kaler to bring some class to the MinnRoast 2014 stage
This year MinnRoast will be held in a larger venue, the Historic State Theatre, and among the new faces performing will be University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. MinnPost.

Experts: Native gardens can help pollinator species now in decline
The bad news just seems to keep coming for bees and butterflies, from long-term global population declines to massive die-offs in local areas. Karl Foord of U of M Extension comments. InForum.

Young and fit? You'll be old and sharp, study finds
People who were the fittest in their 20s were sharper thinkers 25 years later, new research shows. And the fitter they stayed physically, the more mentally fit they were in middle age. U of M School of Public Health's David Jacobs discusses his findings. TIME.

Amid cheers, union bid stirs concern for women
Those involved in sports equality issues see benefit and risk for women's sports in the changes that might ripple from the Northwestern football players' quest to unionize. Mary Jo Kane, U of M director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, comments. The New York Times.

Earplug ordinance clears hurdle at City Hall
A proposal that would require Minneapolis music venues to carry free earplugs passed a key hurdle at City Hall Wednesday, to the delight of hearing advocates worried about the growing public health impact of loud music. U of M speech, language and hearing sciences professor Robert Schlauch comments. Star Tribune.

Digital materials could cut book costs
Course materials could soon become cheaper and more accessible at the University of Minnesota. U of M Wilson Library's Danika Stegeman and College of Education and Human Development's Dave Ernst comment. The Minnesota Daily.

New Minn. woolen mill finds unexpected markets
Founded last year, Northern Woolen Mills is finding markets for its yarn from the U.S. textile industry to Minnesota regional fiber artists excited to find a locally made product. U of M Extension's Jim Stordahl comments. MPR.

University experts recommend whole grain food regulations
U of M researchers participated in a multidisciplinary and international discussion in 2012 to develop a standardized definition of a whole-grain food, the results of which were published late last month in the journal Advances in Nutrition. U of M Food Science and Nutrition professor Joanne Slavin comments. The Minnesota Daily.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor makes cash offer to buy Star Tribune
Minnesota billionaire Glen Taylor has made a formal offer to acquire the Star Tribune, a purchase that would add the state's largest media company to his diverse business empire. Dan Sullivan, Cowles Chair of Media Management and Economics at the U of M, comments. Star Tribune.

University to pilot global graduate student survey
Come fall, University of Minnesota graduate students will be among the first in the nation to take part in a survey measuring their experience at research institutions. U of M Office of Institutional Research's Ronald Huesman comments. The Minnesota Daily.


April 2

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


Seeley awarded Siehl Prize in Agriculture
One of Minnesota's best-known climatologists, the CEO of a large agricultural products company and a farmer who has played a key role in the state's turfgrass industry are this year's recipients of the prestigious Siehl Prize in Agriculture.

The prize is awarded annually by the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Recipients are chosen in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research and outreach); agribusiness; and production agriculture.

This year's winners:

Mark Seeley (knowledge): Since 1978, Mark Seeley has been the go-to source for information about Minnesota's weather and climate. As a professor in the U's Department of Soil, Water and Climate and Extension Climatologist/Meteorologist, he has led numerous research projects, mentored and advised students, and is perhaps best known for his Extension and agricultural outreach work. In collaboration with the National Weather Service and Minnesota State Climatology Office, he has nurtured a Weather and Climate Education Extension Program, which has reached all 87 Minnesota counties. He's also a frequent guest on local and national media and makes many public appearances each year, many associated with his books and television documentary work.

Other recipients:

Tom Rosen, CEO of Rosen's Diversified, Inc., and Richard Magnusson, Magnusson family farm.

The 2014 Siehl Prize laureates will be honored at a ceremony in McNamara Alumni Center on the University campus on May 22.

The Siehl Prize was created in the early 1990s by a generous gift from New Ulm-area livestock breeder and businessman Eldon Siehl, a dedicated philanthropist who had a lifelong interest in agricultural systems. Siehl was concerned that people were losing touch with their agrarian roots and wanted his gift to ensure that achievements in agriculture would be recognized and celebrated. Recipients receive a $50,000 award as well as a sculpture and lapel pin designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose especially for the Siehl Prize.

For more information, see the news release.

2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar

A University of Minnesota Twin Cities undergraduate has been named a 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, and two UMTC undergraduates have received honorable mentions in the competition. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

University Honors Program student Rachel Soble is a 2014 Goldwater Scholar. Rachel is in her third year of a five-year undergraduate career pursuing Bachelors of Science degrees in genetics, cell biology & development (College of Biological Sciences) and computer science (College of Science and Engineering). She plans to earn a Ph.D. in computational biology and to develop new computational frameworks for investigating microbial ecology and physiology.

Moriana Haj received an honorable mention from the Goldwater Scholarship Program this year. Moriana is a junior chemistry major in the University Honors Program and the College of Science and Engineering.

Robin Lee also received honorable mention. A native of Bel Air, Maryland and a graduate of Bel Air High School, Robin lived in South Korea for many years before coming to the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities to pursue his interest in cancer genetics. Now a junior in the University Honors Program, he is completing an undergraduate degree in genetics, cell biology & development in the College of Biological Sciences.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986. This year, 283 scholars were selected nationwide. A total of 55 UMTC undergraduates have been Goldwater Scholars since the program's inception.

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.

After renovation, Northrop is ready to dance again
Dramatically changed after a three-year renovation, the University of Minnesota's Northrop is poised to reopen next weekend. Northrop director Christine Tschida comments. Star Tribune.

Flight 370 and Washington mudslide families face pain of ambiguous loss
As loved ones of passengers on Malaysian Flight 370 and those missing in the Washington mudslide wait for news, we look at the importance for survivors to "know" during the grieving process. U of M's Pauline Boss - who has been repeatedly called in to help in the aftermath of disasters where people are missing and feared dead - comments. MPR.

U on track to meet legislative requirements
The University of Minnesota is proving that it can strengthen its performance when more state dollars are on the line. U of M Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter and vice president for the Office of Human Resources Kathy Brown comment. The Minnesota Daily.

People unwilling to swallow soda tax, size restrictions
Those hoping to dilute Americans' taste for soda, energy drinks, sweetened tea, and other sugary beverages should take their quest to school lunchrooms rather than legislative chambers, according to a recent study by media and health policy experts. U of M School of Public Health's Sarah Gollust comments on her findings. Newswise.

Condoleezza Rice's U visit sparks protest
Members of the University of Minnesota community are voicing disapproval of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's campus visit next month, citing her involvement in the George W. Bush administration's wartime policies. U of M Humphrey School of Public Affair's Kent Love-Ramirez comments. The Minnesota Daily.

Minnesota farm income dropped 78 percent in 2013
Lower corn prices fueled a dramatic 78 percent drop in Minnesota farm income last year, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and University of Minnesota Extension. U of M Extension economist Dale Nordquist comments. WCCO TV.

How refrigeration changed our lives
Never mind the cold outdoors, it's the temperature inside that makes a difference when we're cooking — inside the refrigerator, that is (which optimally will be set at 39 degrees). Craig Hedberg of the U of M School of Public Health comments. Latino Times.

'Conscious uncoupling' or calling it splits? What Gwyneth Paltrow is talking about
On Tuesday, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin introduced millions to the term 'Conscious Uncoupling' when the couple used it to describe their separation after a decade of marriage. U of M professor of family social science Bill Doherty comments. TODAY.

U Of M's Raptor Center giving snowy owl second chance to fly
A snowy owl who came to Minnesota after being injured in Washington, D.C. is recovering after a unique procedure at the U of M. Lori Arent of The Raptor Center comments. New York Times.

Social media users migrating to smaller circles
In an age when people are encouraged to collect hundreds of Facebook "friends" and thousands of Twitter followers, some social media users, particularly young ones, are going smaller. U of M journalism professor Shayla Thiel-Stern comments. CNN.

Don't wake a sleeping teenager
Neuroscience research says teenagers don't just like to sleep; they need to sleep. U of M professor of educational research Kyla Wahlstrom talks about her study's findings. SoundCloud.