May 17, 2023

Inside This Issue

Brief summer schedule: May 31; June 14 and 28; July 19; Aug. 2, 16, and 30. Weekly publication resumes Sept. 6.

  • Board of Regents May meeting highlights.
  • Researchers map the genome of the world’s grumpiest cat.
  • Awards and Recognition: Boris Shklovskii has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences; and more.
Top News

Board of Regents May meeting highlights

At its May meeting, the Board of Regents received a report on the University’s sustainability strategy across the U of M System, including unique Climate Action Plans under development at each campus. The Board also reviewed and approved recommendations for promotion and tenure, reviewed the administration’s recommended FY23 capital improvement budget, discussed next steps for the NXT GEN MED and NXT GEN AG programs, discussed next steps on a tuition and pricing strategy, and more. See the news release for more details

Researchers map the genome of the world’s grumpiest cat

a pallas's cat

University of Minnesota researchers recently led successful efforts to build the first genome for Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul), a small wild cat native to central Asia known for its grumpy facial expression. The study results will enable future research not only on Pallas’s cat, but on the health, disease, and physiology of house cats and other species—even translational work to humans. 


Awards and Recognition

Boris Shklovskii has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences for his excellence in original scientific research; Faith Miller and Amanda Sullivan recently received a $5.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education in support of youth mental health; a number of graduate schools and programs on the Twin Cities campus have ranked among the nation’s best in the latest edition of the U.S. News Best Graduate Schools Rankings; Gary Eldon Peter’s recent novel has won the Minnesota Book Award for Young Adult Literature and was selected as best book of 2022 in the young adult fiction category by NPR; the U of M Twin Cities has earned a STARS® Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education; U in the News features highlights of University faculty and staff cited in the media.

Awards and Recognition

U-Wide News

COVID-19 policy recommended for retirement

The COVID-19 Vaccination and Safety Protocol Requirements for University Employees and Student Workers policy has been recommended for retirement. The recommendation was guided by medical and public health experts, was consulted on broadly, and is part of the layered public health approach followed since the start of the pandemic. Learn more about these recommendations in this background document.

UMN Headlines: May 2023

Graphic reading Discovery never stops

The May edition of the “UMN Headlines” video series highlights thousands of our new graduates who are off on their next adventures, as well as research breakthroughs, grant awards and other honors, the upcoming U of M Juneteenth Celebration, and more highlights from around the University of Minnesota System. See past episodes here.


First-of-its-kind measurement of Universe’s expansion rate weighs in on longstanding astronomy debate

Thanks to data from a magnified supernova, a team led by U of M researchers has successfully used a first-of-its-kind technique to measure the expansion rate of the Universe. The researchers’ data provide insight into a longstanding debate in the field of astronomy and could help scientists more accurately determine the Universe’s age and better understand the cosmos.

Research Brief: A new tool to study cell movement promises to advance cancer research

In a promising development for cancer screening and treatment, groundbreaking research by a team of U of M researchers from the Medical School and College of Biological Sciences has led to a new laboratory test to measure cell mechanotypes quickly and easily. Efficient tools for measuring mechanotypes could allow doctors to diagnose diseases at an early stage, predict whether a tumor might metastasize, and identify effective drugs and genes linked to certain diseases. See additional recent Research Briefs.

Register for Fundamentals of Disability Accommodations and Inclusive Course Design

The University of Minnesota's new hour-long online course, Fundamentals of Disability Accommodations and Inclusive Course Design, required for faculty and instructors, is now open to staff and students. The course offers illuminating information on disability accommodations and inclusive course design. Learn more at inclusivecourse.umn.edu

Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus workshop series

Register for this series of teaching enrichment opportunities that promotes integration of the U of M’s globally diverse student population and facilitates inclusion of international and intercultural elements into course design. The spring session runs through May 24.

July 22 - U of M Day with the Minnesota Twins

Get out to the ballpark for U of M Day at Target Field as the Twins take on the Chicago White Sox. This special ticket package includes a ticket to the game plus a limited edition hat and pregame and in-game activities.

Aug. 14-Sept. 1 - Fall Teaching Enrichment Series

The Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) invites the entire teaching community across the University of Minnesota System to participate in sessions focused on strategies that you can implement in your courses this semester. All sessions are delivered online via Zoom.


May 18 - U of M Crookston plant sale

The U of M Crookston Horticulture Program will host its 49th annual bedding plant sale featuring a wide variety of annuals, vegetables, herbs, grasses, hanging baskets, and more. Open to the public. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Production Greenhouses (across from parking lot A).


Fantastical space

a colorful mural with a tree at its center

Duluth artist Mana Bear Bolton has created an elevator mural in UMD’s Tweed Museum of Art. Her work has been described as “fantastical, whimsical, and emotionally laden,” and the UMD mural is no exception. Her murals grace several exteriors of businesses and public spaces in Duluth, Minneapolis, and across the U.S.


Research for healthier fish

nate Johnson taking a water and soil sample in a lake

Nate Johnson and his students are examining the heavy metal mercury and its contamination of soil and water. They are studying how adding activated carbon to soil can help reduce the amount of mercury that enters bodies of water and the food chain. Their work adds to the goal of healthier food, healthier lives, and a healthier ecosystem. Johnson is an associate professor and director of graduate studies in UMD’s Swenson College of Science and Engineering.

Glensheen’s secrets

Gleensheen exterior and gardens

Glensheen's new Lock & Key guided tour takes guests through spaces in the mansion, carriage house, boathouse, grounds, and gardens. Guests will learn about the Congdon family and the staff who worked for them. The tour crosses the estate, and takes visitors to behind-the-scenes spaces not typically open to the public. Tours are offered daily.


Renewable energy trail leads Berthiaume to a new experience in a new setting

wind tower in a field

When Cameron Berthiaume ’23, Eagan, MN, was looking for a summer internship, they found it at the U of M West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), just across from the U of M Morris campus. Berthiaume is passionate about environmental policies and programs and was looking for something that aligned with those interests. A project to design a self-guided trail through the WCROC grounds to highlight the various renewable energy research being conducted there was a perfect opportunity.

Now accepting submissions: Scholarly Horizons undergraduate journal

Faculty and staff are encouraged to let students know that Scholarly Horizons, the U of M Morris undergraduate journal, is accepting submissions of outstanding student papers or creative works. This journal was created as a joint venture with the ACE Office and Briggs Library. The deadline for inclusion is June 2. Send submissions to [email protected].


Distinguished Capstone Awards

All U of M Rochester seniors complete individually planned capstone experiences. This year, UMR faculty honored 18 graduating students with the 2022-23 Distinguished Capstone Award. Recipients of this prestigious honor have gone above and beyond learning outcomes, expressed their experience in a meaningful way, and demonstrated community impact during their capstone experience.

Commencement 2023

UMR students in commencement caps and gowns

U of M Rochester celebrated its largest graduating class at the 2023 commencement ceremony, with Regent Tadd Johnson presiding. Student speaker Pal Koak called graduates to live with intention, seeking community and pursuing truth. Graduates received PhD and MS degrees in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and Bachelor of Science degrees in both Health Sciences and Health Professions.


Public Policy and Global Health Pathway

Lindsey Kuefler

Discover how Lindsey Kuefler navigated her time at UMR to prepare her for her career as an Environment, Health and Safety Manager at Toro Company. UMR's innovative degree programs and integrated curriculum provide students with a foundational health sciences education through six distinct health career pathways. Learn more about UMR’s Public Policy and Global Health Pathway

Twin Cities

UMN-TV services are changing: Action is required to maintain service

The provider for UMN-TV is changing from Comcast Xfinity to Apogee. If you're a user of the UMN-TV service, this change will impact your channel options and will require you to take action to maintain service. There will be intermittent service outages the week of May 22 to accomplish this transition. For more details, visit z.umn.edu/umntv-service.

A weapon to battle misinformation online

Emily Vraga in her office backed by a bookshelf

To help journalists combat the problem of misinformation online, Associate Professor Emily Vraga is working with researchers across the United States to create a tool for journalists that can help identify and correct online misinformation



Angela Spranger reflects on DEI work

Angela Spranger giving a talk into a mic

As spring arrives, Angela Spranger is hitting the one-year mark in her role as the Carlson School’s inaugural senior diversity officer and founding director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence. One year in, Spranger reflects on the work that’s done and what lies ahead.



Planting with purpose

Students in front of garden pose for a photo

The Health Sciences Education Center interprofessional student garden offers students a space for respite, wellness, and forming relationships across disciplines. Located outside between the Mayo and Phillips Wangensteen buildings, the garden offers students an opportunity to work together and socialize



May 19 - U of M Bike to Work Day

May is National Bike to Work Month. Join Parking and Transportation Services at the U of M Bike Center (Oak Street Ramp) to celebrate and enjoy a fun and healthy way to start your day. The event includes free safety checks, tune-ups, giveaways, food, and beverages while supplies last. 7:30-10 a.m.

Featured events

colorful trees and a sitting bench at the arboretum

May 18 - Community Pop-Up Lecture: How Do You Do Visionary Work Around Catastrophe?

May 18 - Population Decline and the Future of Women’s Rights in China

Opening May 19 - Portraits of the Plots: Biodiversity at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, by Don Luce

May 19 - Go Public Gardens Day

May 19 - Sustainability Coffee Chats: Sustainability and Supplier Diversity: 3 Small Business Origin Stories

June 3 - Caring for People with Memory Loss Conference 

See the full Events Calendar