February 17, 2016

Vol. XLVI No. 6

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Board of Regents February meeting highlights.
  • Driven to Discover: Daniel Larkin.
  • Feature: Gravitational waves rock the physics world; True story; Living Our Own Story: An Interview with Moin Syed.
  • People: Recipients of the 2016 John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents February meeting highlights

At its February meeting, the Board of Regents reviewed a five-year plan to grow and maintain the quality of undergraduate students on the Twin Cities campus. Regents reviewed specifics in the areas of student enrollment, the student experience, student outcomes, and tuition and financial aid targets. The board also discussed long-term plans for the Twin Cities campus and reviewed progress on recommendations for Gopher Athletics regarding procedures and practices on sexual harassment and hiring and vetting of the athletics director. Also on the agenda: discussion of long-term Law School finances, an update on Operational Excellence, and the U's efforts to address the educational equity gap.

See further highlights >

Driven to Discover: Daniel LarkinDan Larkin

Nothing says "Minnesota" like water—we have the license plates to prove it—so the threat of invasive species in our waters grabs our attention. Daniel Larkin works to protect and restore the health of our waterways. He and his colleagues with U of M Extension and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center are conducting applied research on invasive plant management and ecological restoration.

Learn more >

Gravitational Waves Rock the Physics Worldblack hole

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, a cosmic collision sent ripples through the fabric of space-time. Now, more than a billion years later, that signal has been picked up by a team of physicists, including the U's Vuk Mandic. This is the first direct detection of such ripples—called gravitational waves—which Einstein predicted 100 years ago, and it has sent happy shock waves through the scientific world.

Learn more >

True storystatue of liberty shadow

An innovative Immigrant Stories initiative at the U of M's Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) collects and preserves the stories of our country's newest residents. The project was started, says Erika Lee, the center's director and a professor in the College of Liberal Arts, as part of the IHRC's ongoing mission to work with recent immigrants and refugees to preserve their histories.

Read more >

Living Our Own Story: An Interview with Moin SyedMoin Syed

There is an old, familiar saying, "We are the hero of our own story." But what if our story was written with someone else in the lead role? Professor Moin Syed is researching a concept called the "master narrative," which is particularly powerful in American culture. Syed says that we adopt a master narrative—for example, "the American dream"—and compare our life against the script, usually without even noticing we are doing so. For most of us, that's a pretty good story line to follow. But what if we don't fit the plan?

Read more >


Recipients of the 2016 John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising; Josephine Lee has been selected to receive the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Asian American Studies; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Nominations requested: P&A Senate Outstanding Unit Award

The P&A Senate presents the Outstanding Unit Award, which annually recognizes a University of Minnesota unit for its exemplary support of P&A staff and the critical role that P&A employees fulfill in carrying out the mission of the University. The nomination period is Feb. 22-March 23.

Learn more >

Reminder: Windows computers to receive IE11 update in February

Throughout February, all centrally supported University computers operating Windows will receive an automatic update to the most current Internet Explorer (IE) web browser, IE11.

Learn more >


Feb. 18 - Chinese New Year celebration

The Confucius Institute will present a Chinese New Year celebration with traditional activities from 5 to 6:30 p.m., dinner from 6 to 7 p.m., and performance from 7 to 8 p.m., Bede Ballroom.

Feb. 24 - Soup and Substance

The topic for the next Soup and Substance is "Before You Sign the Lease: Housing Rights and Responsibilities." Whether moving off campus or graduating and moving to a new city, this will be an important discussion. Noon-1 p.m., Bede Ballroom.

Feb. 22 - Black History Month event

The final Black History Month event, A Night of Expression, will feature a meal and cultural display. The meal and cultural display will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Bede Ballroom, with a program at 6:30 p.m., Kiehle Auditorium.

Biology weekly seminars

During spring semester the Biology Seminar Class will host a series of weekly seminars on Thursdays at 4 p.m., 225 Dowell. The first sessions will feature faculty, while the last eight sessions will feature seniors in the biology program.


Interim executive vice chancellorBrian Levin-Stankevich

Brian Levin-Stankevich has been named interim executive vice chancellor of academic affairs. He began his duties Feb. 10. Most recently, he was a research professor for the Center for Educational Policy Research at the University of New Mexico. He was president at Westminster College in Utah from 2012-15 and chancellor of UW-Eau Claire from 2006-12.

Learn more >

Feb. 24 - People-First Language discussionpeople first event poster

Members of Access for All and Arc Northland will present "Offense Taken: A Discussion About Using People-First Language." 6-7 p.m., Griggs Center. No charge and open to the public. Pizza will be served.

Learn more >

Feb. 25 - Will Steger lectureWill Steger in an ice tunnel

Will Steger, polar explorer, photographer, writer, and lecturer, will share the global warming–induced changes that he has witnessed over the past 40 years at the 2016 Overman Lecture Series. A book signing will follow his presentation. 7 p.m., Marshall Performing Arts Center.

Tickets >

Kirby Student Center renovation highlightedstudents studying in kirby student center

Kirby Student Center is featured in the "Renovation & Construction Showcase" section of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Bulletin's Jan./Feb. 2016 issue. ACUI is the professional association for college student union professionals, with more than 500 member institutions worldwide.


Biodiesel drives Hannah GoemannHannah Goemann

Hannah Goemann '17, Wells, MN, is fueled by the possibility of biodiesel production at UMM. The junior biochemistry major is partnering with campus offices and academic disciplines to research the feasibility of a campus production project. Her work will help her reach her professional goals and could put the campus one step closer to carbon neutrality.

Learn more >

Feb. 23 - Café Scientifiquecafe scientifique poster

Science and the arts will intersect at the next Café Scientifique in a discussion about music, cognition, and development. Associate Professor of Biology PZ Myers and Assistant Professor of Music J. Wesley Flinn will pose such questions as "How do we hear music, how do we interpret what we hear, and can we train ourselves to hear differently?"


Feb. 20 - UMR hosts inaugural Health Care Scholars Day

To financially support students looking to attend UMR, the university is changing the way it awards scholarships by holding a Health Care Scholars Day. More than 60 admitted students will attend this invitation-only, daylong event.

Twin Cities

Rankism is a Campus Climate Issue

Rankism can occur between full professors and assistant professors, tenured faculty and adjunct faculty, faculty and staff, advisers and graduate students, or seniors and freshmen. No matter what form rankism takes, the outcome is often the same. It creates an environment where people are made to feel they do not belong, and emotions of shame, blame, and fear persist long after the incident.

Learn more about rankism >

Living Lab call for proposals

Have an idea to create a space on campus to explore and research sustainability? Proposals from the University community will be accepted through March 25 to utilize campus grounds as a living laboratory. Selected proposals will be provided space on the campus and assistance facilitating project implementation.

Learn more >

Feb. 23 - Otto Schmitt Distinguished Lecture

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine will welcome Rick Horwitz, executive director of the newly formed Allen Institute for Cell Science, as speaker for the Otto Schmitt Distinguished Lecture series. Horwitz will present "Integrated and Multi-Scale, Spatial-Temporal Cell Biology." A networking lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., with a presentation to follow at noon. Mississippi Room, Coffman Union.

Feb. 24 - U of M Major/Minor Expo

Faculty and staff are encouraged to let students know about the U's first-ever Major/Minor Expo. Representatives from academic departments across all undergraduate colleges will be available to help students learn more about majors and minors.

Feb. 25 - Generations in the Workplace

Join UMAA for a discussion about why generational differences matter, the benefits to understanding and accommodating them, and how new understanding of generational difference can contribute to productivity and effectiveness in the workplace. 6-7 p.m., Mayo Auditorium. No charge, but registration is required.

Register and learn more >

Feb. 25 - Threepenny Operathreepenny opera poster

Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht opens at Rarig Center Feb. 25 and runs through March 6. This startling piece of musical theatre features some of the 20th century's most enduring songs—including "Mack the Knife" and "Pirate Jenny"—and is a wickedly funny story of betrayal upon betrayal, climaxing in one of the most unusual finales in modern theatre. Faculty member Kym Longhi directs; School of Music's Jerry Luckhardt conducts.

Learn more >

Feb. 27 - Jazba 2016: A Bollywood-Fusion Dance Competitionjazba logo of person dancing

In early 2014, U of M student Anish Chandak founded Jazba, a nonprofit that spreads South Asian women's empowerment through dance. In its first year, Jazba hosted a Bollywood-Fusion dance competition at the U of M with nearly 1,000 attendees and 150 participants from around the nation. Proceeds went to support the nonprofit Women In Need in Nagpur, India, which rehabilitates impoverished South Asian women who have suffered from sexual assault, HIV/AIDS, and leprosy. Now, Jazba 2016 returns to the Northrop stage, bigger and better than ever.

Find tickets and learn more >

Micro-grants available for campus climate projects

Micro-grants between $200 and $500 are available for faculty, staff, and students working on projects to improve campus climate on the Twin Cities campus. People with projects in the works or just at the idea stage are invited to apply. The grants can provide seed money or be added to other funding sources. Projects must be sponsored by a registered student group or University college or department. Application deadline is March 1. For more information, email cclimate@umn.edu.

Learn more >

March 1 - The Principles of Hinduism and Nonviolence: An Educator Workshop

In a world fraught with extremism, nonviolence takes on a greater meaning. This educator workshop will present resources to explore Hinduism and its nonviolent beliefs and practices, seeking to increase knowledge and understanding for a more peaceful world where there is mutual respect among followers of different religions. 1210 Heller Hall. No charge, but registration is required.

Learn more >

March 3 - College Readiness and Achievement Gaps talk

The final College Readiness and Achievement Gaps (CRAG) talk will be an opportunity to hear from U of M colleagues working on similar issues from different angles, to spark new thinking, and to find potential collaborators. CRAG Talks are sponsored by the College Readiness Consortium and Michael Rodriguez, Campbell Leadership Chair. RSVP to Char Greenwald. Noon-1 p.m., 303 Coffman Union. A light lunch will be provided.

March 10 - NOMMO African American authors series

The spring 2016 NOMMO authors series, cosponsored by U of M Libraries, will feature Claudia Rankine, poet, playwright, and recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poetry, the National Endowments for the Arts, and the Lannan Foundation. She is currently the Henry G. Lee Professor of English at Pomona College. 7-9 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School.

Find tickets >

Leadership Essentials course for supervisors

Faculty and staff who manage others are invited to participate in an enhanced leadership development program through Leadership and Talent Development in the Office of Human Resources. Build foundational leadership capabilities to foster engagement and create results. The next four-day Leadership Essentials course will be held on March 15, 16, and Apr. 5, 6. Register by March 2.

Learn more >

March 25 - Assessing Public Value in a Shared-Power World

The Humphrey School, the Center for Integrative Leadership, and the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership will host a half-day workshop focused on assessing public value in a cross-sectoral world. The workshop will be an interactive and engaging session focused on public value accounting and public value mapping. 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Humphrey School. Register by March 1.

Register and learn more >

UMTC Featured EventsJason Isbell playing guitar

Feb. 18 - Energy consumption and economic growth
Feb. 19 - American Soviet
Feb. 20 - Sensory-Friendly Saturday
Feb. 22 - Time, Uncertainty, and Emerging Threats in Great Power Politics
Feb. 22 - Jason Isbell
Feb. 23 - EXHIBITION | Free Radicals: Remixing History Through the Power of Print
Feb. 25 - Design Lab: Ideas, Question, Knowledge, Experience

Events Calendar >