December 4, 2019

Vol. XLIX No. 38

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Features: It all comes back to the outdoors; Into the forest.
  • People: John Downing and Craig Packer have been named 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows; and more.

Top News

It all comes back to the outdoorsBen Leibam in the outdoors

After two years of pursuing a degree in engineering, Ben Leibham knew something was missing. What he needed was a field that would combine his interests in art, engineering, and business. As a member of the College of Design’s inaugural product design class, Leibham continues to chart his own course. In this interview, he discusses starting his own business and how he’s applied his degree to his career.

Into the foresttree climbing demo students

Many diseases have adapted to spread across the web of animals and humans. Deciphering not only where pathogens have been, but where they are going, has often been hindered by a lapse between sample collection and lab testing. Armed with a novel mobile lab, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine are responding to this problem by implementing new methods that cut down the time between sample collection and testing.


John Downing and Craig Packer have been named 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows; Tadd Johnson has been named the University of Minnesota’s first senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations; Rick Huebsch has been named director of technology commercialization; the U of M Twin Cities is ranked 6th among U.S. public universities in Reuters’s 2019 World’s Most Innovative Universities; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Paying it Forward: Lessons from the Minnesota Projectblack and white photo of MN project participants

The University has a long history of partnering with countries around the world, but not many Minnesotans know about the Minnesota Project (1955-61): a partnership with Seoul National University that influenced modern medicine in South Korea. The Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility continues the legacy of the Minnesota Project through a partnership with Kabul University of Medical Sciences in Afghanistan.

Research finds signal of decreased early post transplant survival in new heart transplant system

In an analysis of the new heart organ allocation system for transplant patients in the U.S., researchers have identified a signal of a decrease in heart transplant survival rates. The research, led by Rebecca Cogswell, shows that recent changes made to the national donor heart allocation system, which were meant to improve the system, may be leading to a decline in early post transplant survival.

Spring 2020 Grant-in-Aid competition

Administered through the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship program provides seed funding for a wide range of projects in seven funding categories, including use of the Driven to Discover building at the Minnesota State Fair and support for ship time on the Blue Heron research vessel. New for spring 2020: A letter of intent is required (due Jan. 6), and a new multicultural research category is offered. See the application timeline and apply.

Dec. 5 - Meetings of the University and Faculty Senates

A brief meeting of the University and Faculty Senates will take place, followed by a meeting of the Twin Cities Faculty Delegation, which will vote on proposed changes to the Twin Cities liberal education requirements. All are welcome to attend. 2:30 p.m. See the docket for locations and more information.

Dec. 5 - Online discussion with the Intercampus Journal Club on Inclusive Pedagogies

Join faculty facilitators and colleagues from the U of M System in an online discussion about chapter 5, “Building the Foundation of Learning Partnerships,” of Zaretta Hammond's book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. Register to gain access to readings and related resources, online meeting details, and more. 3-4 p.m.

Dec. 11 - Webinar for supervisors: The Art of Influence

Your department’s goals cannot be achieved alone—it takes work from everyone. Giving orders and commands will only take you so far. To truly be effective you’ll have to get buy-in from the members of your team, leaders, and peers through influence. Register for this webinar to learn more. Noon-1 p.m.

Dec. 11 - Online discussion: Messages about brilliance

The article "Messages about brilliance undermine women's interest in educational and professional opportunities" will be the focus of a talk about implications for classroom teaching and the way that academic fields are described and presented to potential students. The author of the article will join the discussion. Join the Google Group for access to readings and meeting details. Noon-1 p.m.

Last call: Proposals due Dec. 16 for public engagement conference

The University's Office for Public Engagement seeks proposals for its systemwide conference, "Partnering with Minnesota: Connecting the University with Urban, Suburban, and Rural Communities through Public Engagement," which takes place March 5. The conference will look at the role of public engagement in addressing challenging issues in Minnesota.

Dec. 18 - Webinar: Managing Stress During the Holidays

The holidays are a time for family, friends, food, and stress. While many people enjoy celebrating with loved ones, the pressures of holiday gift buying, travel, and overindulgence can take a toll. This webinar (register) with Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing director Mary Jo Kreitzer will teach strategies to prevent and cope with holiday stress. 12:30-1:15 p.m.

Research Brief: Mapping the benefits of the world’s largest lakes

For the first time, a project based at the University of Minnesota Duluth Large Lakes Observatory has mapped the precise ways in which people benefit from the world’s largest freshwater lakes. Additional Research Briefs include "Overlooked measures of biodiversity can have strong effects on ecosystems," "Estimating undiagnosed abnormal heart rhythm cases in older adults," and "Understanding how raptors hear may help prevent future wind turbine deaths."


Tree specialists lead introduction to climbingtree climbing demo students

Students in Rick Abrahamson’s arboriculture class at the University of Minnesota Crookston climbed to new heights recently as tree service and forestry experts led students during an introduction to tree climbing.

The power of doing

For Associate Professor Eric Castle and Assistant Professor Leslie Lekatz, a study abroad trip to Brazil last summer provided opportunities in both horticulture and animal science at the University of Minnesota Crookston.


Memory keepersNeil Henderson

Neil Henderson is the executive director of the Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team on American Indian and Rural Health Disparities at the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth Campus. Henderson takes a holistic approach in studying diabetes and dementia in American Indian populations. He looks at income, access to care, physical environment, nutrition, and cultural beliefs to understand how everything contributes to disease.

DOVE recipientMaya Enriquez

Maya Enriquez, a graduate student in the Integrated Biosciences Program, received the U of M’s Diversity of Views and Experience (DOVE) Fellowship. With extensive research experience as an undergraduate at Vassar College, Enriquez was encouraged by biology professors Jennifer Liang and Allen Mensinger to apply for the fellowship. This past summer, she researched Round Gobies, an invasive species in Lake Superior, under the mentorship of Mensinger.

Passport facility opensphoto of a passport

International Programs & Services has opened a passport facility at UMD. It offers more convenience, especially for students who don’t have a car. Students also receive a discount on the cost of their photo. The service is available by appointment and is open to the Duluth community as well.


Dec. 5 - Sustainability Forum

U of M Morris is one of the most sustainable schools in the country and has won many awards. The Sustainability Forum allows faculty, staff, and students to present on sustainable initiatives or research to the campus community. 6:30-8 p.m., Student Center.


UMR student featured in Mayo Clinic Magazine

UMR sophomore Arlena Schmidt realized she wanted a career in health care when she attended the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences’ Career Immersion Program while in high school. UMR’s partnership with Mayo Clinic has allowed her to pursue her career goal of being a surgical first assistant.

My UMR with Emiko WalkerEmiko Walker

Emiko Walker, a student success coach at UMR, started her role as an adviser while living and working in Japan. She continues working as an adviser to UMR students because she loves to help connect others to resources with the hope that they will have fewer “if only I had known” instances than she did as an undergraduate.

Twin Cities

Dec. 4-6 - WAM Shop Holiday SaleWAM shop person shopping

U of M faculty, staff, and students, receive 20 percent off purchases at the Weisman Art Museum Shop, including jewelry, accessories, gifts for the home, and unique handmade works by local artists. The shop is open during regular museum hours.

Dec. 5 - Borlaug Memorial Lecture

Allison O'Toole, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, will be the featured speaker at the Borlaug Memorial Lecture, which commemorates the contributions U of M alumnus Norman Borlaug made to fighting world hunger. 2:30 p.m., 335 Borlaug Hall.

Dec. 12 - Community-Campus Liaisons Council networking event

The University's Community-Campus Liaisons Council is hosting a meet-and-greet opportunity (register) for Civil Service Bargaining Unit and Professional/Administrative staff who work on community-engaged projects to connect with others for professional development, dissemination, networking, and award opportunities. Refreshments and a tour of the “Unity Without Uniformity” exhibit will be provided. 3 p.m., 120 Elmer L. Andersen Library.

UMTC Featured EventsArboretum aux sale

Dec. 5 - CSE Winter Light Show
Dec. 5 - Integrate Spatial Thinking into your Classroom
Dec. 6 - Auxiliary Holiday Sale at the Arboretum
Dec. 8 - Gospel Choir: Fearless
Dec. 10 - Science is a Visual Medium, Fall 2019
Dec. 12 - 2019 Local Government Innovation Awards

Events Calendar >