April 15, 2020

Vol. L No. 15

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Regents review response planning and forecasts of financial challenges around COVID-19.
  • Researchers launch U.S. COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project.
  • Features: Medical Reserve Corps answers the call; Cancer may try to run, but it’s getting harder to hide; No microscope? No slides? No problem.
  • People: Mpls.St.Paul Magazine has recognized 97 U of M Medical School doctors among its 2020 “Top Doctors: Rising Stars”; and more.

Top News

Regents review response planning and forecasts of financial challenges around COVID-19

During an Apr. 7 videoconference meeting, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents discussed the University’s response to COVID-19 and considered initial financial forecasts and potential options for addressing anticipated budgetary challenges, including the possibility of a tuition freeze for the 2020-21 academic year. The Board also amended the start dates for the Comprehensive Student Fee Refund Plan. Additionally, President Gabel outlined initial plans to partially offset increased costs and expected revenue losses due to the pandemic. See the news release for more details.

Medical Reserve Corps answers the callTwo MRC members

For years, the University of Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) has hovered around 1,000 members—health professionals as well as non-clinical personnel and students—ready to help the community in case of an emergency. In the past month, membership has increased by about 500. Formed as a national program in the wake of 9/11, the U of M’s program is the largest in the state and among the largest in the country, and unique in that it includes students.

No microscope? No slides? No problem.Microscope slide

With COVID-19 driving instruction online everywhere, students who will perform vital services as medical laboratory scientists have lost access to microscope labs and stocks of teaching slides. Stephen Wiesner, associate professor in the Medical Laboratory Science Program, has built a digital database of more than 400 high-resolution pathology microscope slides, covering fields like hematology, bacteriology, parasitology, and body fluids. Through May 31, he is sharing it freely with instructors who train future laboratory scientists.

Cancer may try to run, but it’s getting harder to hideNK cell illustration

Researchers at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine are expanding immunotherapy to better seek and destroy tumor cells in both dogs and humans. Bruce Walcheck is partnering with Jianming Wu to leverage the circular relationship between human and veterinary medicine to advance immunotherapies in the fight against cancer in dogs and humans alike.


Mpls.St.Paul Magazine has recognized 97 University of Minnesota Medical School doctors among its 2020 “Top Doctors: Rising Stars”; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Coursera online courses available through July 31

All U of M instructors have access to use content from more than 3,800 open courses and 400 Coursera Specializations at no cost through July 31. This high-quality, electronic curricular material consists of a series of modules with 8- to 12-minute video segments, readings, and assignments that can be used to supplement your content. Learn how to access Coursera content and discover how to supplement your U of M course content. For assistance or questions, email Bob Rubinyi.

Converting exams to Canvas quizzes

The Office of Measurement Services (OMS) can assist instructors in converting an exam to a Canvas Quiz. Instructors on all campuses can submit requests using the exam conversion form. Once set up, instructors will receive a zip file to upload to their Canvas course site. OMS recommends submitting exams a week before the exam date.

U-CAN: Mobilizing unified response, recovery, and resilience

The University COVID-19 Action Network (U-CAN) is a coalition of faculty, staff and students that are mobilizing to support COVID-19 response, recovery, and resilience. More than 300 faculty, staff, and students systemwide have joined in the effort so far, with projects ranging from creating new audience-specific educational materials to helping the Minnesota Department of Health to identify alternate materials and manufacturing capacity at the University for personal protective equipment.

Securing your Zoom meeting

As a result of the increased use of Zoom meetings globally, they have become a target for meeting hijackers. Read about how to Secure Your Zoom Meeting before it occurs, while you are meeting, and after it is over. You can also watch a short demonstration of In-Meeting Tools to Secure your Zoom Meetings.

April schedule: Teaching and Learning with Technology webinars

Academic Technology Support Services offer 60-minute drop-in webinars on topics to support instructors teaching through alternative methods. Webinars and drop-in consultation services are available daily. Join at no charge.

New online wellbeing tools

The University of Minnesota Wellbeing Program has teamed up with several new partners to support faculty and staff wellbeing during this stressful time. Through May 31, the following tools are available at no charge: Aaptiv: At-home cardio & relaxation classes that can be accessed through Apple or Google podcasts; Enrich: Managing financial wellness during COVID-19; and meQuilibrium: A tool to help you manage uncertainty, stress, and anxiety.

New course available on disaster preparedness, infectious disease outbreak response

A new 10-hour course is available online to anyone around the world focusing on the principles of disaster preparedness and responding to infectious disease outbreaks. The course was created by Kristina Krohn and her colleagues in the Department of Medicine.

Artistic Antidote to COVID-19painting of a boy with kite

The Office of Clinical Academic Affairs is featuring ways to integrate art or the arts into clinical or self-care practice to deepen empathy, encourage curiosity, promote creative thinking, and embody the joy of practice through its Artistic Antidote to COVID-19 feature. Submissions for the feature can be sent to arts-antidote@umn.edu

COVID-19 podcast highlights

In "Preparing for What's to Come," episode 3 of the CIDRAP podcast Osterholm Update: COVID-19, Michael Osterholm talks about the U.S. situation, potential subsequent waves, minority disparities, mask wearing, and more. Meanwhile, episode 4 of the School of Public Health's Health in All Matters podcast discusses COVID-19 testing issues, including delays and availability as well as immunity to reinfection.

Resident creates children’s book to bring comfort during pandemicHolly with neices

A University of Minnesota Medical School third-year pediatric resident, Holly Belgum, recently wrote and illustrated the book Piggy & Bunny and the Stay-At-Home Plan, with hopes of bringing comfort to children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seed starting videos give options to garden

Extension has created a video series that shows three different seed starting systems at the homes of Extension educators. These systems highlight different options for starting seeds, from lighted, heated systems to sunny windows, and materials ranging from specially created seed starting pots to objects found around the home.

Research Brief: Goat grazing helps control buckthorn growthA goat eating leaves

Goat grazing as a means for removing invasive species has become an increasingly popular practice among Midwestern landowners. At the same time, there’s concern the goats may be spreading the invasive species they’re eating through their feces. University of Minnesota researchers addressed these concerns by feeding goats buckthorn fruits and recording how many seeds passed through their digestive tracts intact and able to grow. Additional recent Research Briefs include “Kids or teen smokers are less likely to kick the habit as adults.”

Apr. 21 - Webinar and learning module for supervisors: Driving Results through Others in Uncertain Times

The last few weeks have required a shift in priorities and adaptation to new ways of working. It can be challenging to lead a dispersed team to get results in innovative ways. The webinar “Carrying on mission-critical work in difficult times” will cover how to define new goals and create strategies to achieve them, and will be followed by the launch of a new self-paced, interactive learning module on supervising.umn.edu about driving results through others. Noon-1 p.m.

U of M featured virtual eventspaintbrush and paints

Apr. 15 - Design Challenge: Course design with Open Educational Resources

Apr. 15 - Virtual PAWS for all

Apr. 16 - Webinar: Remotely Engaged: The 12 Elements of Great Managing in the Age of Social Distancing

Apr. 16 - FabLab Presents: Crafternoons

Apr. 16 - Virtual Yoga with the Arboretum

Apr. 20 - FabLab Presents: Mending Mondays

Apr. 21 - How Xenophobia Spreads Like a Virus


Bekkala's journey as a U.S. Marine leads him to Crookston and a collegiate golf careerBrian Bekkala

Brian Bekkala, a self-described hockey player who plays golf, traveled around the world as a combat photographer in the U.S. Marines from 2012 to 2017. During that time he also played golf everywhere he went and with whatever means he was able to. His worldwide pursuit led him to encounter influential people that would help him on his eventual path to the University of Minnesota Crookston.


It’s More Than That podcast begins season 2Paula Pedersen

The second season of UMD’s podcast It’s More Than That has begun. Each episode features members of the UMD campus community, who share their experiences around the topic of diversity and inclusion. The podcast is hosted by Paula Pedersen, who, in March, retired from UMD after 30 years. She was most recently the director of Education for Inclusive Excellence.

Project honoredStudents carrying wood

A 2019 Bulldog Welcome Week initiative earned the 2020 Outstanding Service Project of the Year award from the Association of College Unions International. The Seminar Service Project, organized by Kirby Student Center, brought 1,200 students, 50 student leaders, and 40 faculty/staff together to work on more than 30 service projects throughout the Twin Ports. The initiative was created to increase student retention.


Student award winnerstassle trophy

The U of M Morris has announced winners of its annual student awards: Wyatt Anderson (Curtis H. Larson Award); Sydney Loechler (Allen W. Edson Award); Amelia Nelson and Hannah Johnson (Morris Student Sustainability Leadership Award); Sam Rosemark (Mary Martelle Student Award); Sarah Severson (Edith Rodgers Farrell Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research); and Lexi Dant and Sierra Paske (Bill and Ida Stewart Award for Ethnic Diversity).


Patient Care PathwaysHawa Ali

UMR's innovative degree programs and integrated curriculum provide students with a foundational undergraduate education. Discover how Hawa Ali navigated her time at Rochester and learn more about the Patient Care pathway.

My UMR with Oleg KazakovOleg Kazakov

Learn more about UMR faculty and staff by checking out "My UMR," an occasional feature from the University's Marketing and Communications office. Oleg Kazakov, chemistry faculty, was recently featured.

Twin Cities

Prepare, test, treat, eliminateCovid virus illustration

Research in the field of veterinary medicine has historically helped advance outcomes for human patients. In these urgent times, the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is making numerous strides in the fight against COVID-19. Learn more about currently funded research projects at the CVM pertaining to COVID-19.

Testing turfgrass performance in cold-climate states

Vibrant green grass along roadways is a common sight across urban and rural landscapes, but its survival is a significant challenge—especially in cold climates. Roadway salt and other stressors can cause turfgrass to fail, requiring expensive reseeding or sodding efforts. U of M researchers have been conducting projects aimed at solving this problem by identifying best management practices for turfgrass establishment and recommending new species and cultivars. They recently directed a coordinated testing effort across five states.

Twenty years of Elmer L. Andersen Library

April 8 marked 20 years since the founding of the Elmer L. Andersen Library. At the opening ceremony, former Governor Elmer Andersen, then 90, told the crowd that it was “an honor beyond words to have this great structure and what it will mean in service dedicated in my name.”