February 11, 2015

Vol. XLV No. 6

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Board of Regents meet Feb. 12-13.
  • Morrill Hall Protest.
  • Industry, University deal moves novel cancer treatment forward; Online photos show the value of clean water.
  • People: Professor Michael Tsapatsis has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents will meet Feb. 12-13

The Board of Regents will review recommendations from Gov. Dayton’s Blue Ribbon Committee on the Medical School and consider changes to the U’s biennial budget request during its Feb. 12-13 meeting. Dayton’s plan would help the University hire 50 top researchers over the next eight years. Regents will also hear a presentation on a faculty of color hiring initiative, learn how the U is advancing industry partnerships, discuss strategies for supporting student success, and more.

See the news release >

Morrill Hall Protest

President Eric Kaler provided this written response to students who demonstrated in Morrill Hall on Feb. 9, and sent an email to Twin Cities students, faculty and staff. The protesters advanced eight demands, many of which are already a part of the work underway through the broad campus climate initiative.

Learn more >

Industry, University deal moves novel cancer treatment forward

Green schematics

The University of Minnesota has combined its own patented gene delivery technology with cancer therapies discovered by the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to create a first-of-its kind nonviral gene therapy treatment that targets cancer by supercharging a patient’s immune system.

Learn more >

Online photos show the value of clean water

Canoes on a lake

Analyzing photos posted to the online photo-sharing site Flickr, researchers at the U of M’s Natural Capital Project and Iowa State University found Minnesota and Iowa lakes with greater water quality receive more visits than dirtier lakes, and that users are willing to travel farther to visit those clean, clear lakes.

Learn more >


Michael Tsapatsis

Chemical engineering and materials science professor Michael Tsapatsis has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering; assistant professor Michael Smanski has been awarded $100,000 to develop a new approach to speeding the discovery of anti-cancer agents from natural sources; University Libraries has received a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Awards Grant for “Umbra: Search African American History”; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

Learn more >

U-Wide News

The PeopleSoft Upgrade: Scheduled Launch in April


The Upgrade of PeopleSoft systems is planned for April. The systems interruption, or cutover period, when PeopleSoft and related systems are unavailable or view-only, is expected to begin Apr. 10 and last approximately 10 days. Many activities need to happen between now and then, including additional testing, business process changes, and cutover preparations. Learn how to get ready at Upgrade.umn.edu.

Learn more >

Information Security Questions for Contract Review

University Information Security has created a resource to help those responsible for selecting vendors, entering contracts, or purchasing licenses in making decisions. See a list of questions to consider regarding security-related concerns such as compliance, system maintenance, and disaster recovery.

Information Security for Contract Review >

Lynda.com Online Courses

Lynda.com, a library of online training videos, is available at no cost to current U of M students, faculty, and staff systemwide. It provides access to nearly 2,000 courses for all skill levels in more than 140 specialties.

Learn more >

New Research Infrastructure Investment Program

The Office of the Vice President for Research has announced a request for proposals to fund research infrastructure at the University of Minnesota. In keeping with its strategic plan, OVPR is committed to facilitating strong core facilities as the backbone for research excellence and to encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration. To ensure the viability of critical existing facilities and research support services, the funding will be directed toward new or existing facilities, service centers, or other shared resources across the system. Letters of intent are due March 9; proposals are due Apr. 13.

Learn more >

2015-16 Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs Competition

The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs announces the competition for the 2015-16 Fesler-Lampert Chair. Approximately $40,000 in support is available for a U of M faculty member to work for a year on a project related to urban and regional affairs in Minnesota.

Apply by March 16 >

Call for Proposals: 2015-16 Faculty Interactive Research Program

The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs invites proposals for the Faculty Interactive Research Program. The program encourages U of M faculty members to carry out research projects that involve a significant public policy issue for the state or its communities.

Apply by March 16 >

Josie R. Johnson Award nominations

Josie R. Johnson

Nominations for the Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award are due by March 16. Nominate a current U of M student, staff, or faculty member for the award, which honors individuals who exemplify Johnson's standard of excellence in creating respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environments. 

Learn more >

Equity and Diversity Transformation Awards

Applications for the Equity and Diversity Transformation Awards are due Apr. 3. The awards fund creative yet pragmatic proposals for projects that support equity and diversity initiatives. The focus for this year’s awards is on advancement of the action steps identified by the Campus Climate Workgroup in its January 2015 report (PDF).

Learn more >

Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute funding opportunities

Cards with dining utensils and/or pluses on them.

The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute’s University Research Grant Program seeks proposals from interdisciplinary faculty teams working to produce high impact research in the areas of food protection/safety, prevention of obesity, and diet-related disease, and/or food policy. HFHL also invites letters of interest for the Community-University Planning Grant Program and proposals for the Graduate and Professional Student Research Grant Program. Deadlines are Apr. 17.

Learn more >

Women’s Center Awards, Grants, and Scholarships

The Women’s Center invites nominations for its multiple awards, grants, and scholarships (from $1K-$5K), which honor the engagement, contributions, and leadership of University female faculty, staff, and students. Due dates range from March to June.

Learn more and apply >


Feb. 16 - Professional development day

UMC will host a professional development day around LEAP's (Liberal Education and America's Promise) High Impact Educational Practices. The keynote speaker is Larry Peterson, director of accreditation, assessment, and advising at North Dakota State University.

Learn more >

Feb. 19 - Chinese New Year Celebration

The UMC Confucius Institute will present an Evening of Chinese New Year Celebration featuring traditional Chinese New Year activities, dinner, and performances. 5 p.m., Bede Ballroom.

Learn more >

Feb. 18-20 - Higher Learning Commission Strategy Forum

Eight members of the UMC community are preparing for participation in the Higher Learning Commission’s Strategy Forum in St. Charles, IL. Knowledge management and campus culture for continuous improvement have been identified as top priorities.

UMC named a safe campus

USA TODAY College lists UMC among “10 of the safest college campuses in the U.S.” The U of M Crookston came in at number five. The ranking considers crime reports on campus and in the surrounding community, as well as the surrounding region, and utilizes data from the Office of Postsecondary Education and the FBI.

View the rankings >


Erik Redix awarded McKnight Land-Grant Professorship

Erik Redix

Assistant Professor Erik Redix, Department of American Indian Studies, has been awarded a University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, a two-year honor designed to advance the careers of exceptional junior faculty. He is currently working on a book about the impact of Wisconsin’s Chippewa Flowage, which wiped out a community, its cemeteries, roads, and wild rice beds, resulting in decades of poverty for the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe.

Learn more >

Minnesota taconite on the road to Alaska


Since 2006 Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) Economic Geologist Larry Zanko has been researching, testing, and promoting the use of hard taconite rock as a road aggregate with a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Minnesota taconite is now being tested as a surface coating on Alaska’s Glenn Highway. NRRI is working closely with a private sector partner and the Alaska Department of Transportation to monitor the results.

Learn more >

Feb. 16-20 - Out Cold Week

UMD Out Cold Week

Out Cold Week begins Feb. 16 and offers something for everyone. Among the activities are Soup Night, "Walk in Her Shoes" Cake Walk, Yeti Film Festival, and Chinese New Year Dinner. Kirby Student Center.

See the full schedule >

Weekly planetarium shows


The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium offers public shows at no charge every Wednesday at 7 p.m. The show on Feb. 18 is “Astronomy Lessons from Star Wars,” and on Feb. 25, the show is “Native American Skies.”

Learn more >


Black History Month celebrations

Black History Month

UMM is hosting several activities in honor of Black History Month. This monthlong celebration explores African American heritage through food, dance, music, and discussion. Events include Afro Fitness, a Soup and Substance discussion on Black Lives Matter, the annual Soul Food Dinner, and a screening of the film Half of a Yellow Sun.

Learn more >

UMM named a ‘College of Distinction’

Colleges of Distinction 2014 - 2015

UMM has been named a 2014-15 Public College of Distinction. The campus is one of only 41 institutions (and the only Minnesota school) on this list. Colleges of Distinction is a web-based college guide for high-school juniors and seniors seeking an institution that takes a holistic approach to admissions decisions, excels in providing undergraduate education, and has a truly national reputation.

Learn more >


Combating Poverty and Social Justice Issues in Rochester and Around the World

The Feb. 17 UMR Connects will focus on the source of social inequalities and what is being done in Rochester, with presentations from the Oxfam America student club at UMR and the Activators student club at UMR, as well as Channel 1 Food Bank. 7 p.m., 417 University Square.

Learn more > 

Twin Cities

U partners with Minneapolis Public Schools on technology assessment

In a unique partnership between two of the state's largest education systems, the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Public Schools announced collaboration on an assessment aimed at building a comprehensive technology strategy for one of the state's largest K-12 school districts.

Learn more >

Vote for the 2015 Homecoming theme

Homecoming embraces the entire University community around the pride of maroon and gold. The Homecoming theme helps guide parade floats and Greek house fronts, and engages staff, faculty, and alumni.

Vote for this year’s theme >

Get help quitting tobacco

UMTC does not allow smoking and tobacco use on campus, and there are resources at no charge to help you quit. UPlan members can access tobacco cessation health coaching at Boynton Health Service while earning wellness points. Learn more about the campus policy at Sharetheair.umn.edu.

Learn more >

Feb. 12 - Making Dances: the Voice of the Body

A panel discussion with Northrop 2014 McKnight Choreography Fellows Wynn Fricke, Joanie Smith, and Penelope Freeh will be a thoughtful and wide-ranging discussion of the creative process in making dances. 4 p.m., 100 Barbara Barker Center for Dance.

Learn more >

Feb. 13 - Northrop Transformed gallery opening party

The University of Minnesota’s iconic Northrop reopened in April 2014 as a dynamic performance center and vibrant multi-use entertainment and academic venue. Northrop Transformed presents a behind-the-scenes look at how this historic landmark was reborn using world-class acoustical and engineering innovations, as told by the architectural firm charged with the impressive task. 6-8:30 p.m., Northrop Gallery. Northrop Transformed will be open during building hours through Jan. 3, 2016. 

Learn more >

Feb. 18 - Frontiers in the Environment lecture

Jonee Kulman Brigham, architect, artist, and IonE resident fellow, will explore "How can art and story heal the disconnect between modern humans and the environment?" in the Feb. 18 Frontiers in the Environment Big Questions. Noon, R380 Learning & Environmental Sciences Bldg., St. Paul, and live via UMConnect.

Learn more >

Feb. 28 - A Brighter U: Conversations about big ideas with CLA faculty

A Brighter U

A sampler program of some of the most intriguing and relevant ideas currently being explored in the College of Liberal Arts will be the focus of “A Brighter U.” The event will feature a lunch panel discussion among CLA faculty of various disciplines; an afternoon of six faculty-guided, interactive sessions; and a social reception. Registration is required by Feb. 20. Admission includes lunch, two topic sessions, and a drink ticket.

Learn more >

UMTC Featured Events

Three video game characters interacting

  • WAM Sweetheart Sale (Feb. 11-13)
  • 10 Types of Innovation (Feb. 12)
  • Excelsior Farmers Market (Feb. 14)
  • What's on the Table: Current Issues in Equity and Diversity (Feb. 16)
  • Nature Essays of Paul Gruchow: A reading with Louis Martinelli (Feb. 18)
  • Gender, Identity, and Video Games (Feb. 19)