August 8, 2018

Vol. XLVIII No. 23

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

Summer publication: Brief will publish next on Aug. 22. Weekly publication will resume Aug. 29.

  • University of Minnesota presidential search launch.
  • Features: Testing more reliable materials for nuclear energy; Taking the plunge to fight aquatic invaders; How practicing mindfulness bolsters executive function skills of preschoolers; Keeping ethics at the center of animal research.
  • People: John Bischof has been appointed director of the U of M Institute for Engineering in Medicine; and more.

Top News

University of Minnesota presidential search launch

The University of Minnesota has launched the search for its 17th president, as well as a website devoted to the search at president‑ Additionally, the Board of Regents seeks nominations of candidates for the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 15, 5 p.m.

Testing more reliable materials for nuclear energyNuclear reactors

Could a promising new material more reliably prevent radiation leaks from nuclear fuel rods? Researchers at the College of Science and Engineering are testing a new material to see if it can better serve as the hard outer shell, or cladding, around nuclear fuel rods that prevents radiation leaks.

Taking the plunge to fight aquatic invadersTwo AIS detector volunteers

Launched in 2017, the AIS Detectors program is led by University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, in coordination with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Volunteers are trained to identify and report suspicious findings, and to help boaters understand how to prevent the spread of unwanted plants, fish, and invertebrates.

How practicing mindfulness bolsters executive function skills of preschoolerschild's hand, messy from finger painting

Professor Phil Zelazo studies the development of executive function skills, which are a crucial part of a child’s development. They help children regulate emotion, make decisions, and think critically. One way of promoting the development of healthy executive function skills is by encouraging children to practice mindfulness. Zelazo and colleague Professor Stephanie Carlson have created a curriculum for teaching mindfulness to young children.

Read more and watch a video >

Keeping ethics at the center of animal researchwhite rats living in a fun little hammock house

From heart transplants to chemotherapy, nearly every medical treatment, medical device, and diagnostic tool available today was developed with the help of animals in research. Future treatments and cures for some of today’s most debilitating illnesses, like multiple sclerosis, brain cancer, and depression, will likely also rely on progress made through animal research. Melanie Graham's lab, which studies diabetes and obesity, is one example of the U of M's dedication to fostering a culture of ethics in animal research.


John Bischof has been appointed director of the University of Minnesota Institute for Engineering in Medicine; a University of Minnesota team will receive $3.1 million over four years from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Kathleen Vohs has been named among the 25 Top Behavioral Economists by; the Masonic Cancer Center has received an “Outstanding” Rating from the National Cancer Institute; the Carlson Family Foundation has announced a $15 million gift to the Driven campaign; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Academic calendar changes for Twin Cities/Rochester

The Faculty Senate has approved moving spring break one week earlier, starting in March 2020, for the Twin Cities and Rochester campuses. This results in the final Monday of the first seven-week session falling after spring break. Syllabi may need to be reviewed due to this adjustment, so communicate these changes to your departments. As a reminder, spring 2019 for UMTC and UMR will change from 74 instructional days to 70. Fall and spring semesters will have the same length from then on.

See academic calendars >

Teaching Enrichment Series

Through webinars and in-person workshops, the Center for Educational Innovation hosts sessions offering practical approaches to teaching that instructors can implement in classes next semester. Upcoming topics include addressing academic dishonesty, promoting student mental health, getting useful student feedback, improving presentations, and active learning. Sessions are offered online Aug. 20-22 and in person Aug. 29-30.

See the full schedule and register >

Advancing Stormwater Science, Technology, and Management in Minnesota

The Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota, in cooperation with the Minnesota Stormwater Research Council, invites proposals to advance stormwater science, technology, and management in Minnesota. Proposals are due Sept. 10 by 5 p.m.

Request for applications: Health Equity Leadership & Mentoring Program

The Program in Health Disparities Research is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Health Equity Leadership & Mentoring (HELM) Program. HELM is designed to enhance the academic excellence and leadership capacity of diverse faculty and health disparities researchers at the University of Minnesota. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through Sept. 10.

Sept. 12 - Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research and Management Showcase

Join the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) for a day of informative talks, hands-on demonstrations, lab tours, a poster-session reception, and more. The event is an opportunity to learn about the latest findings in AIS research and useful management tools, and to get an inside peek into the state-of-the-art MAISRC lab. Continuing Education and Conference Center, 1890 Buford Ave., St. Paul.

Register and learn more >


Freshwater sponges in Minnesota Lakes spark researchtwo researchers examine a sponge

Since spring 2016, four U of M Crookston faculty members--two biologists and two chemists--have been focused on freshwater sponges living at the bottom of bodies of water and what their presence might mean to Minnesota waters.

Aug. 15 - Ox Cart Days Ice Cream Social

Members of the campus and the Crookston communities are invited to enjoy ice cream courtesy of University Relations during the annual Ox Cart Days Ice Cream Social. 3-5 p.m., Campus Mall near the Peterson Gazebo.

Orientation and move-in day

New Student Orientation and move-in day begins at 8 a.m. Aug. 17 and runs through Aug. 20. Classes begin Aug. 21.

Student profile: Bethany NovakBethany Novak

She followed in her sisters’ footsteps when she chose to attend the University of Minnesota Crookston, but senior Bethany Novak has made her own way.


Reed joins UMDWendy Reed

Wendy Reed has been named the new dean of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering (SCSE). She is SCSE’s fifth dean and will begin later this summer. Previously, Reed served as a professor and department head in biological sciences at North Dakota State University. She holds a B.A. degree from Kalamazoo College and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

Digging into historyEmily Ford

During her first winter at Glensheen, Head Gardener Emily Ford pored over old maps, plant lists, and correspondence about the grounds. Now she and her team of students are working to replicate the original Congdon landscape. Ford believes that Glensheen’s grounds offer a fresh way to tell the Congdons’ story. “It’s a whole new facet of experiencing history,” she explains.

Helping turtles thrivestudent examining a turtle

Graduate student Maria Berkeland and a small team of UMD undergrads are working with UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute and the Minnesota DNR to monitor two populations of wood turtles. The goal is to find out what’s causing the turtle population to decline and to experiment with a variety of protocols to help this threatened species survive.


Excellence in Sustainability AwardShane Stennes

The National Association of College and University Business Officers has recognized U of M Morris with one of its first Excellence in Sustainability Awards, which honors excellence and innovation in areas including finance, facilities, operations, environment, community, and climate. The campus was noted for "transforming its rural area with clean energy initiatives both on campus and in its community."

Planning grant award2018 native student graduates

The U of M Morris has received a $10,000 award from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, with the support of the Lumina Foundation. The grant will extend work on campus to close college attainment gaps for American Indian students.

Research Infrastructure Investment Program awardUMM science building

The Office of the Vice President for Research has awarded UMM’s Chemistry Discipline a Research Infrastructure Investment Program 2018 award. The award will allow the purchase of an NMR spectrometer that will help Morris scientists solve grand challenges.

Sustainability achievement awarda leaf on pavement

U of M Morris has earned a STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in recognition of its sustainability achievements. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. This is the third time the campus has been recognized with the rating.

Chancellor Behr talks lifelong liberal educationMichelle Behr

Chancellor Michelle Behr wrote an opinion piece on Education Dive and was interviewed by The EvoLLLution about the value and process of lifelong liberal learning.


Ratliff-Crain named vice chancellor for academic affairs and innovation

Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain will begin his position as UMR’s new vice chancellor for academic affairs and innovation on Aug. 15. Ratliff-Crain comes to UMR most recently from his leadership role at Augustana College in Illinois. Before that, he served at the University of Minnesota Morris campus as assistant dean (2008-11) and as director of the Academic Center for Enrichment (2012-13). He holds a Ph.D. in medical psychology and has broad experience in academic leadership.

UMR student in Mayo Clinic summer program

UMR senior Lis Pearson is one of 130 undergraduate students from around the United States who come to Rochester to spend 10 weeks researching with scientists from the Mayo Clinic through its Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. Students conduct their own research projects, develop technical skills, and participate in weekly seminars that help them learn more about progressive research areas, all under the guidance of a Mayo Clinic supervisor.

Twin Cities

Welcome Week volunteers needed

Faculty and staff volunteers are needed to assist with Welcome Week 2018. Opportunities include helping with Residence Hall Move-In (Aug. 27-28) and New Student Convocation (Aug. 30). Welcome Week is designed to welcome new students to campus and to prepare them for the start of their academic careers.

Learn more and volunteer >

Teaching with Writing TA workshops

The Writing Across the Curriculum program is offering two TA workshops, each focused on commenting on and grading student writing (papers, lab reports, presentations, posters, etc.). The first (Aug. 28) is offered to TAs who serve as graduate student instructors. The second (Aug. 29) is offered to TAs who assist with faculty-directed courses, either running sections or assisting in other ways.

Register and learn more >

Aug. 31 - New TA Orientation

In this interactive session, new teaching assistants will be introduced to key policies, including policies related to FERPA, working with students with disabilities, the student code of conduct, sexual harassment and consensual relationships policies, university resources, and strategies for classroom teaching. All new teaching assistants are encouraged to attend. 9-10:45 a.m., 114 Bruininks Hall.

Register and learn more >

Nov. 16 - Wellbeing Experience with Dessa and Mary Jo Kreitzer

Enjoy a festival with food, music, interactive wellbeing activities, therapy animals, and more, followed by a program featuring wellbeing expert and U of M Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing Director Mary Jo Kreitzer, and Minneapolis-based performer and author Dessa. 5-9 p.m., Carlson Family Stage, Northrop.

Tickets and more >

UMTC Featured Eventsa flower

Aug. 9 - 2018 State Government Innovation Awards
Aug. 13 - Forum with DFL Primary Candidates for Congressional District 5
Aug. 15 - Diversify Your Workforce With International Candidates
Aug. 15 - OED Certificate Workshop: Inclusive Design
Aug. 16 - Introduction to data-analysis with R and reproducible Data Science
Aug. 16 - Story Maps 101: Visual Storytelling with Maps
Aug. 23 - Chinese Language Cafe
Aug. 25 - Mindfulness Meditation Retreat

Events Calendar >