December 11, 2019

Vol. XLIX No. 39

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

Notice: Brief will not publish on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Weekly publication resumes Jan. 8.

  • Board of Regents meets Dec. 12-13.
  • Features: In sickness and in health; A home in history; Ahead of the curve.
  • People: Lisa German has been named the next University librarian and dean of libraries; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents meets Dec. 12-13

At its December meeting, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents will receive a report on the University’s research accomplishments in the past year, which include record research funding and expenditures. Regents are also expected to review the 2019 University Performance and Accountability Report and discuss examples of renaming principles and policy language from peer institutions with President Joan Gabel. See the news release for more details.

In sickness and in healthKhaled Mohammed

As individuals age, they need more health care services, but rural residents are finding fewer care providers available to them. The U of M’s Rural Health Research Center studies access to and quality of health care and population health outcomes in rural areas. It’s one of seven such health research centers across the country funded by the federal government to improve health outcomes in areas that have unequal access to providers, compared to more urban locations.

A home in historyHy Berman on book cover

For 43 years, U of M history professor Hy Berman was one of the University’s most popular professors, but he also had a side gig as a member of Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich’s “kitchen cabinet.” More than a relationship between an opinionated wordsmith and an unorthodox politician, this pairing was a marriage of working-class confidantes, one from the Yiddish-speaking neighborhoods of New York, the other from the Croatian-speaking Iron Range of Minnesota.

Ahead of the curvea horse at vet med

The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Leatherdale Equine Center now offers an equine standing computed tomography and neonatal intensive care unit. The new additions elevate the level of care offered by the equine center in multiple ways.


Lisa German has been named the next University librarian and dean of libraries; Abigail Gewirtz has been named a fellow of the American Psychological Association; Damien Fair and Michael Georgieff will lead the new Institute for Child and Adolescent Brain Health; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media. People

U-Wide News

First 2020 pay date moved from Jan. 1 to Jan. 2

The first scheduled pay date of 2020 is Wednesday, Jan. 1. However, because New Year's Day is a bank holiday, the pay date has been moved one day later (rather than a day earlier, as usual) to Thursday, Jan. 2, so that the pay date falls in the same tax year.

Dec. 11 - Chronic Wasting Disease webinar

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy’s (CIDRAP) Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Resource Center will host Debbie McKenzie for a webinar on prions, CWD strains, and potential implications for the species barrier. The webinar is one in a new series of webinars and podcasts CIDRAP will be hosting on various CWD topics. Subscribe to the CWD newsletter and learn more about CWD and CIDRAP's efforts.

Jan. 15 - Teaching with Writing winter workshops

Warm up for spring with this event focused on course and assignment planning, effective feedback strategies, and efficient and inclusive grading practices. All faculty, graduate instructors, and teaching assistants are invited to register. Participants will also have the opportunity to consult with academic librarians, educational specialists, and Center for Writing staff. Food will be provided. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Coffman Union, Minneapolis.

Jan. 16 - Speaking Science Conference

Registration is now open for Speaking Science, a one-day conference designed to help faculty, graduate students, and postdoc researchers hone their storytelling skills. This year’s conference is all new, featuring nationally renowned speakers and trainers, as well as a keynote speech by Hope Jahren, an award-winning scientist and best-selling author of Lab Girl. 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Coffman Union.

Apr. 6-7 - Neuro-oncology Symposium

This two-day event (register) will feature presentations about fundamental brain tumor science, translational research, and clinical trials from leading brain cancer experts. The symposium should be of interest to researchers and students as well as physicians and other health care providers. The event will take place alongside several other innovative events geared towards bringing together engineering and medicine. Cancer & Cardiovascular Research Center, Minneapolis.

Research Brief: Less sleep linked to teen obesity, poor eating habits, and low physical activity

University of Minnesota researchers have found that how much teens sleep at night is related to their weight, eating habits, and physical activity. Additional recent Research Briefs include “Study shows why visceral fat increases with age and impairs metabolism,” “Examining secondhand smoke and cardiovascular risks in children,” and “Rural residents at greater risk of maternal morbidity and mortality compared to urban residents.”


Senior sets sights on Mayo ClinicNikki Mazour

Nicki Mazour has always been interested in a career in health care. The senior from Moorhead, MN, found that the health science degree at the University of Minnesota Crookston was the perfect fit. Future plans for Mazour include becoming a doctor of physical therapy and working in Minnesota or the Midwest.

Crookston football player leaves a legacy of leadership

Will Cross has become known as a coach on the field, a consummate leader, and the quintessential student-athlete, whether as a student of the game or as a student in the classroom.


Downing named AAAS fellowJohn Downing

John Downing, director of Minnesota Sea Grant, has been named a 2019 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the category of atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences. Downing, who is also a scientist at UMD’s Large Lakes Observatory and a tenured professor in the Department of Biology, focuses his research on limnology, marine science, environmental economics, and terrestrial ecology.

The journey and the destinationAlexandera Houchin

Senior Alexandera Houchin is majoring in American Indian studies with a minor in chemistry. After conquering the 2,700-mile Continental Divide by bicycle and riding with someone who had just been accepted into dental school, she discovered there’s a huge need for Native dentists in this country. Houchin now has her sights set on becoming a dentist and one day treating her people on the Fond du Lac Reservation.

Filming the worldJJ Kelley filming in Antarctica

For a senior project in UMD’s Environmental and Outdoor Education program, J.J. Kelley created a documentary about a 1,200-mile bike trip that he and a friend took across Alaska. That piece launched his career as a video storyteller. Now an alumnus and an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, Kelley is the host of “Lost in the Wild,” a Travel Channel series that premiers Dec. 29.


Morris Athletics agrees to deal with Under Armour, BSN Sports

University of Minnesota Morris Athletics has entered into a multi-year partnership with Under Armour through BSN SPORTS. The agreement will allow Morris Athletics to outfit its student-athletes and staff members with Under Armour gear and includes a graphics package to upgrade the Cougar Sports Center.


My UMR with Jeffrey Ratliff-CrainJeff Ratliff Crain

As vice chancellor for academic affairs and innovation, Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain oversees the academic programs and faculty and helps lead and facilitate the innovative work of faculty and staff.

Capstone presentations

2019 graduates of UMR's Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program recently presented their capstones, which are an individualized theme that aligns with each student's personal and professional goals.

Twin Cities

Detecting plant diseases earlier using hyperspectral imaginga phenotyping cart in a field

When it comes to identifying soybean diseases residing in the soil, farmers often don’t know of infections until it’s too late to treat or manage them. That’s why Department of Plant Pathology assistant professor Cory Hirsch is using hyperspectral imaging to discover these diseases before the naked eye can detect them.

Access U of M Coursera offerings at no charge

The new Coursera for Minnesota program provides Twin Cities faculty, staff, and students access to more than 40 Coursera online courses and specializations offered by the U of M in areas such as computer science, business, health, and creative problem-solving. Learn new skills, explore a new subject, or advance your career goals by taking any course you want, whenever you want. Instructors can also integrate U of M Coursera content into their courses.

Dairy and meat gift boxes

Cheese and/or meat boxes are available while supplies last from the U of M Meat and Dairy Salesroom. Store hours are Wednesdays, 2-5 p.m. The shop also has peppermint chip ice cream and eggnog ice cream.

UMTC Featured Eventswind ensemble on stage performing

Dec. 11 - Wind Ensemble Presents: "Imaginations"
Dec. 12 - 2019 Local Government Innovation Awards
Dec. 13 - December Gift Market at the Arboretum
Dec. 14 - Spotlight Science: Plant Love/Hate Stories
Dec. 18 - Challenging Classism

Events Calendar