December 16, 2015

Vol. XLV No. 42

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Board of Regents meeting highlights. 
  • Driven to Discover feature: Tracy Sherbert.
  • Features: A Workforce to Thwart Infectious Diseases; Fossil Teeth Point to Early Exodus from Africa.
  • People: Regents Professor R. Lawrence Edwards has been elected as a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents December meeting highlights

During its December meeting, U of M Regents received the U's annual research report, highlighting faculty and staff awards of $754 million in externally sponsored research in 2015, ranking eighth nationally and third in the Big Ten. Regents also reviewed a record-setting year of gifts to the U of M Foundation, and received an update on undergraduate education on the Twin Cities campus, which included a record number of applications, new highs in average incoming ACT scores (28.2) and graduation rates (63.3 percent in 4-years); and an increase in the percentage of undergraduate students of color (20.8 percent). President Eric Kaler also outlined to the board implementation steps and a timeline regarding recommendations from findings from an external review and a financial audit of Gopher Athletics.

See additional highlights >

Driven to Discover: Tracy SherbertTracy Sherbert

Telemarketing trainer Tracy Sherbert recruits, hires, and trains the student staff that work in the U of M Foundation's annual giving call center. She loves working with students every day, sharing in their successes and helping them with their setbacks.

Read more >

A Workforce to Thwart Infectious Diseasessmall child

U of M researchers are leading an international effort to ensure nations have the skilled health care workers they need to battle the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola as they emerge. The One Health Workforce project is building a stronger workforce of health professionals in 11 countries that currently lack the professional resources needed to respond to a pandemic threat. More than 20 University researchers contribute to the project.

Read more >

Fossil Teeth Point to Early Exodus from Africadifferent kinds of teeth

What are clearly modern human teeth, 80,000-120,000 years old, doing in a cave in southeastern China? For starters, they're turning back the clock on modern humans' exodus from the African cradle by at least 20,000 years. Using methods he developed, the discovery by the U's R. Lawrence Edwards and Chinese colleagues place modern humans in southeastern Asia at least 35,000 years before they entered Europe.

Read more >


Regents Professor R. Lawrence Edwards has been elected as a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Christopher Phelan has been elected a fellow of the Econometric Society; Andrew Furco has been named to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' 2016 Board of Directors; the School of Dentistry is a recipient of the ADEA's 2016 Gies Award for Outstanding Vision by a Public or Private Partner, and dentistry professor Mark Herzberg was named recipient of the Gies Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Dental Educator; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Get W-2 tax statements electronically

Employees can now choose to receive their official W‐2 tax statements online, rather than by mail. Electronic W‐2s are available earlier than by mail, and they're accessible anytime. From MyU, click My Pay, then the W-2/W2C Consent link. After submitting your consent, you'll be asked to enter your MyU password again to confirm. If you do not choose to get your W-2 online, you will continue receiving paper W-2s by mail.

Administrative policy updates

The new administrative policy Access to and Use of Physical Security Data covers the use of, oversight and controls of, and access to information generated by video and card access systems for the purposes of crime prevention. The revised version of the Protected Health Information policy consolidates information from three existing policies and 23 procedures. The Promoting Timely Graduation by Undergraduates policy has been revised to add more detail around the expected timelines for declaring a major, and the provision for units to place a hold on a student record if the declaration is not within the specified term.

Policy drafts are available for comment >

Drupal website creation tool now available

The "Drupal Lite" website creation tool, designed to help users quickly and easily develop websites using professionally designed themes and page templates, is now available for use. This tool was developed for users without access to web-developer resources and is ideal for creating small- to medium-sized sites for research projects, conference events, and student groups.

Learn more >

State Fair D2D Building request for applications

The U of M's Driven to Discover research facility on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds is accepting applications for faculty and student researchers who wish to recruit research subjects from among the fair's 1.8 million yearly visitors. The application deadline is Jan. 8.

Learn more and apply >


Austin Lien ready to graduate and go back for moreAustin Lien

Originally, senior Austin Lien thought he would spend his days soaring above the field, but his interest in ag-related research is going to keep him much closer to the ground.

Read more >

Faculty and staff luncheon

Faculty and staff from across the campus community are invited to attend the annual UMC Holiday Luncheon on Dec. 18, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. This event is open to faculty and staff from UMC, NWROC, and Extension.


RAID completedRAID drill in shipping packaging

The Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID) mobile drilling system will soon be shipped to Antarctica. It will enable scientists to drill into some of that continent's deepest sheets of ice. Professor John Goodge from UMD's Earth and Environmental Sciences department is one of the co-leaders on the project, which is supported by the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Read more >

Three-Peatrugby jerseys

UMD's men's rugby football club, the Fighting Penguins, claimed its third Division II national championship in as many years. They defeated the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's War Hawks 25 to 19.

Infinite Possibilitiesimage of solar system

While most of the campus will be rather quiet in late December and early January, the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium offers no-charge shows every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and low-cost shows on Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Learn more >


Ceballos joins U.S. delegation to VietnamNguyen Tho and Michael Ceballos

Assistant professor of biology Michael Ceballos joined a delegation to the U.S.-Vietnam Joint Science and Technology Committee Meeting. This meeting, which took place in Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho, Vietnam, earlier this month, was organized in part by the U.S. Department of State Office of Science and Technology.

Learn more >

Theatre lighting upgradetheater student on stage

UMM has executed its second Green Reinvestment Fund project: an LED lighting upgrade for campus theatre spaces. Orchestrated by assistant professor of theatre arts Craig Moxon and theatre and events coordinator Carrie Hurst in consultation with Facilities Management and the Morris Campus Student Association, the project improves energy conservation and curriculum.

Learn more >


UMR student starts group to help kids with cancerTrevor Schwarz

The Spring Valley Tribune recently published an article on UMR freshman Trevor Schwarz, who started a campus crew based off the organization Love Your Melon to promote cancer research and bring smiles to the faces of children with cancer.

Read more >

Twin Cities

Cooking for Wellness course for employees

The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute invites U of M Twin Cities employees to participate in a hands-on demonstration cooking course led by culinary instructors, where you will learn the benefits of developing your cooking skills as an important first step toward personal wellness. The winter session starts Jan. 12.

Learn more and register >

A new look at plants and CO2image of earth from space

A new study led by Institute on the Environment researcher William Kolby Smith uses satellite observations of plant growth to suggest that CO2 emissions targets need to be reevaluated.

Learn more >

Jan. 13 - Preparing Future Faculty retreat

The next Preparing Future Faculty retreat will include workshops that cover the academic job search and opportunities to speak with faculty experts about finding an academic position that's right for you. A $10 registration fee includes workshop materials and light refreshments. Noon-4:45 p.m., 312 Bruininks Hall.

Space is limited. Register soon >

UMTC Featured EventsTwo guys demonstrating science experiment at physics force

Dec. 16 - Campus Orchestra Concert
Dec. 17 - Tour of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory
Dec. 19 - Sensory-Friendly Saturday
Jan. 14 - Physics Force

Events Calendar >