August 28, 2019

Vol. XLIX No. 25

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Features: Creating resilient forests; Students help create prescription drug repository; Winged road warriors.
  • People: U of M receives $20 million grant for sustainable plastics research; and more.

Top News

Creating resilient forestsKurt Kipfmueller

Kurt Kipfmueller, associate professor of geography, environment, and society, used to think humankind’s relationship to nature could best be described as hands-off. But after years of researching wildfire ecology and analyzing tree rings collected from Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and other areas, what he’s learned has helped him better understand humans’ relationship to nature and how knowing more about the past could help us maintain resilient forests for the future. This story is part of a special-edition magazine created by the College of Liberal Arts (UMTC) to commemorate its 150th anniversary.

Students help create prescription drug repositoryHannah Van Ochten and Rowan Mahon

Two College of Pharmacy students are helping to launch a prescription drug repository in Minnesota that will collect and help redistribute unused medications to people who are struggling to pay for their own.

Winged road warriorsEmily Rood with a monarch

Researchers at the College of Biological Sciences are tracking the migration of monarch butterflies to determine whether roadside milkweed—often laden with salt—can fuel their journey. You can get involved as a citizen scientist by watching for monarchs with colored tags on their wings and reporting your sightings.


U of M receives $20 million grant for sustainable plastics research; U of M launches record 19 startup companies based on researchers' discoveries in FY '19; Evan Rosenberg, Victoria Interrante, and Thomas Stoffregen have been awarded a $1.1 million NSF grant for the prediction, early detection, and mitigation of cybersickness; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media. People.

U-Wide News

Faculty Research Development grants

The Office of Academic Clinical Affairs requests applications for Faculty Research Development grants, which support new or expanding interdisciplinary research that addresses significant clinical issues, is innovative, and has a high potential for return on investment. Clinical issues can range from strengthening clinical practice through the development of new tools and approaches to responding to community health concerns and societal factors directly influencing public health and well-being.

Try out NameCoach in Canvas for name pronunciation

NameCoach is a new tool that can help make name pronunciation easier. NameCoach is available in Canvas for both students and instructors. With NameCoach, you can record your name’s pronunciation and listen to the recorded names of others.

Update Windows devices

Microsoft recently released critical patches for Windows users. The University recommends running Windows updates on personal computers and University devices as soon as possible. Contact your local IT staff for help running updates on University-affiliated computers.

Duo Security sign-in tip

Reduce the number of times you need to use Duo Security (two-factor authentication) to once a week by checking the "Remember me for 7 days" box. Duo Security will be required at sign-in for all faculty, students, and staff by November.

Alumni Association travel

The U of M Alumni Association, which serves almost half a million Twin Cities and Rochester alumni, offers fun, educational trips to more than 40 destinations per year. All staff and faculty are invited to enjoy the camaraderie of traveling with alumni and friends of the University on its engaging domestic and international tours. View the 2020 schedule or join the travel mailing list.

Research Brief: Study suggests body dissatisfaction begins before adolescence, remains constant into adulthood

Up to 46 percent of adolescents in the United States report feeling dissatisfied with their bodies, which can lead to eating disorders, obesity, poor mental health, and other serious problems. A study involving University of Minnesota School of Public Health data and researchers found evidence that body dissatisfaction begins before adolescence and remains constant at least until age 30. Additional recent Research Briefs include “A novel cellular process to engulf nano-sized materials” and “High fat foods can increase CBD absorption into the body.”


Johnson to lead Crookston Student AssociationGreg Johnson and Ben Koisti

Newly elected Crookston Student Association (CSA) president Greg Johnson, senior, is ready to lead the U of M Crookston student body in the fall semester. Photo: former Crookston Student Association president Ben Koisti (left) passes the CSA duties to Johnson.

Mukku receives Award for Global Engagement

Associate Professor Venugopal Mukku recently received the 2019 Award for Global Engagement for his work on internationalization and global awareness at the University of Minnesota Crookston.


HCAMS 360Heikkila Chemistry bldg

Take a spin in and around the new Heikkila Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science (HCAMS) building in this piece created by Dan Fitzpatrick from the School of Fine Arts’ Viz Lab. Be sure to catch the time-lapse video-within-a-video of the building’s construction.

Sept. 7 - ‘Asymmetry’ gallery talka piece from Asymmetry

The Tweed Museum of Art’s exhibit “Asymmetry” features constructions and sculptures from the Tweed’s collection. Artists from Minnesota or who have Minnesota connections created many of the pieces. Bill Shipley will present a gallery talk about some of the sculptures in the exhibit from 2 to 3 p.m., Tweed Museum.


Collaboration for energy conservation

U of M Morris is part of a community collaborative that strives for clean energy and sustainable solutions. A recent shared heating project is a case in point. With support from the University of Minnesota Extension Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, an energy feasibility study is helping the campus and community lower their energy costs and carbon footprint.

Behr previews school year in convocation

Chancellor Michelle Behr opened the 2019-20 school year at the faculty/staff convocation and reception on Aug. 21. Behr welcomed faculty and staff and previewed what's to come in the year ahead. "I am excited for the work that we have ahead and the opportunities the work presents for us to collaborate and to continue to support and enhance the excellence for which our campus is known," she said.

New Student Orientation

Morris welcomed new students to campus on Aug. 24 (see photos). The students began their college journeys with New Student Orientation—four days of activity, information, and fun to prepare the Class of 2023 for life at the U of M Morris. Led by volunteer student leaders, orientation helps new students transition to college life with a close group of peers.


UMR student receives Gilman ScholarshipSamira Hassan

Samira Hassan, a UMR senior, has been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the competitive Gilman Scholarship provides funding for undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. Hassan is currently studying the health implications of environmental issues in Australia.

Twin Cities

Reimagining Pillsbury HallPillsbury Hall rendering

In 1900, John Sargent Pillsbury said, “There is no spot on earth I more prefer to be remembered than on this campus.” Since then, Pillsbury Hall has housed animal biology, botany, geology, mineralogy, and paleontology, and now is officially home to the Department of English. The current renovation will transform Pillsbury into a 21st-century hub for scholarship and engagement. Learn more about the Pillsbury Hall renovation.

Instructors: Make course materials affordable for students

Last year, University Libraries saved students up to $2.5 million on course materials through a partnership with University Bookstores. As you prepare for fall, take a look at course material options and work with University Libraries to maximize savings for students.

Safe-U notifications

The University’s Departments of Public Safety and Emergency Management use Safe-U notifications to send emergency or advisory notifications to the Twin Cities campus community. When a serious campus threat or disaster occurs, you will receive notification by text, email, and phone, depending on the contact preferences you have selected. All Twin Cities faculty, staff, and students are automatically enrolled in the system. Update your contact information and notification preferences at MyU > My Info > Safe-U Alerts. Learn more about Safe-U alerts.

OLLI course guide now available

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s (OLLI) fall noncredit courses include topics ranging from art to history, music to science, and travel. Courses are offered at different sites around the Twin Cities. Membership of $240/yr. includes unlimited courses and special interest groups. Scholarships are available. Join by Sept. 9 to be included in the first request for fall courses.

Sept. 12 - IT@UMN Fall Fair

Learn about IT services and resources available for students, faculty, and staff at the IT@UMN Fall Fair. Pick up some swag, enter to win a pair of gold wireless Beats headphones, and see what’s coming up this year for IT at the U of M. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., front plaza, Coffman Union.

Sept. 12 - U of M Constitution Day event: Using Social Media Data for the Common Good

U.S. Internet viewing patterns offer insights into our health and behavior, as well as our democracy. Social science researchers are analyzing this vast trove of information through a pioneering collaboration between academia and Social Science One. Harvard professor Gary King, a quantitative researcher and leader of Social Science One, joins data privacy expert and U of M Law School professor William McGeveran in this year's Constitution Day Event, organized by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. Noon, Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School.

Develop leadership skills with the Leading on All Levels program

Whether you manage projects or want to take your career to the next level by building your leadership skills, the Leading on All Levels program will equip you to navigate your leadership journey at the U of M. Sessions begin Sept. 30; applications are due Sept. 13.

Sept. 14 - Spotlight Science: Chronic Wasting Disease

Learn about chronic wasting disease, the research being done to help combat its spread, and what you can do to help. Researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine are working to develop a rapid field-testing device to quickly detect chronic wasting disease in deer populations. Learn more and see a list of speakers. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Bell Museum.

Center for Bioethics Ethics Grand Rounds

The Center for Bioethics Ethics Grand Rounds feature noted local, national, and international bioethics scholars who lecture on a wide variety of ethical issues in health care and the life sciences. The lectures are held monthly during the academic year over the lunch hour on the East Bank. Upcoming lectures include “Social Public Health & Ghana's National Response to HIV,” Sept. 17, 12:15-1:30 p.m., 2-690 Moos Tower.

Beginning Sept. 20 - Mindfulness at Work

Mindfulness at Work is an online experiential course designed to teach mindfulness skills while also exploring specific applications to the workplace setting. The course explores key mindfulness traits and how they relate to essential workplace skills, such as presence, emotional regulation, resilience, cognitive flexibility, and communication, all of which are critical skills for thriving at work.

UMTC Featured Eventsa planet

Aug. 29 - Characterization Facility Open House!
Aug. 29 - NSF I-Corps: From Lab to Impact (St Paul)
Aug. 30 - Story Maps 101: Visual Storytelling with Maps
Sept. 6 - Star Party: Gas Giants
Sept. 6 - WAM-O-RAMA 2019

Events Calendar