February 25, 2015

Vol. XLV No. 8

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • State Relations Update.
  • Features: Tiny technology to deliver big disease treatments; Video: It Goes into the Ground … and Disappears.
  • People: Chemistry professor Marc Hillmyer has been named a McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair; and more.

Top News

State Relations Update

On Feb. 17 President Kaler presented the U of M's biennial budget request to the House Higher Education Committee. VP for Health Sciences and Medical School Dean Brooks Jackson and nursing professor and faculty legislative liaison Lyn Bearinger also testified in support of the request, which now includes a revised Healthy Minnesota and Medical School component.

Learn more >

Tiny technology to deliver big disease treatments

lab and computerFor the next 40 years, Minnesota's older demographic will make up the largest part of the state's population. During this period, neurological disorders like Alzheimer's and brain cancer, more prevalent in older adults, will pose a growing concern for the state. A team of U of M researchers has set out to improve treatments for these two diseases through the use of DNA nanotechnology. The project is part of the state-funded MnDRIVE Transdisciplinary Research Program.

Read more >

It Goes into the Ground … and Disappears

Kechun Zhang

Kechun Zhang has invented a biodegradable plastic, made from sugar instead of petroleum. Watch "U of M Innovator."

Watch the video >


Chemistry professor Marc Hillmyer has been named a McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair; 2015 recipients of the John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising; the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has named James Kakalios as the recipient of the 2014 AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award; U of M receives $17.8 million NSF grant for Materials Research Science and Engineering Center; UMTC ranks No. 5 nationally on the Peace Corps' annual Top Schools rankings; professor George Barany has been awarded the 2015 Murray Goodman Scientific Excellence & Mentorship Award from the American Peptide Society; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

See People >

U-Wide News

The Upgrade: Avoid pay and vacation interruptions

Faculty, staff and students who currently submit paper timesheets or absence forms will do so online after The Upgrade, scheduled to launch in April. View resources and training at Time Reporting and Absence Reporting. If you have questions after you view the training, contact your local HR director. This change is for University pay only, and does not affect certification related to grants or contracts. (This change applies to everyone who submits paper time and absences now, except: University Services, Auxiliary Services, the Veterinary Medical Center, UMD Facilities & Police, and UMM Facilities & Police.)

New Research Data Management Policy

A new systemwide administrative policy on research data management went into effect in January. The policy establishes high-level guidance for coordinating the institution's efforts to satisfy the research data and infrastructure needs and clarifies ownership and stewardship of research data.

See highlights of the policy >

New CTSI RFA to Support Clinical Interventional Pilot Studies

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is now accepting applications for the Clinical Research Services Pilot Funding program. The program supports full-time U of M faculty by providing them with up to $5,000 toward planning for a clinical interventional pilot study. Eligible pilot study plans will be considered for $25,000 to $75,000 in additional funding for study implementation. Letters of intent are due March 16, 5 p.m.

See funding opportunities >

RFA Opportunity for Health Informatics Research

The Informatics Seed Grant will support U of M junior faculty who pursue innovative health informatics research that lays the groundwork for successful extramural grant funding. CTSI and the Institute for Health Informatics are jointly sponsoring the program, and will award five projects with up to $20,000 each. Mandatory letters of intent are due by March 16, 4 p.m.

Nominations open: P&A Senate Outstanding Unit Award

The P&A Senate is accepting applications for its annual Outstanding Unit Award, which recognizes units of the University that are judged to be exemplary in their support of P&A staff and the critical role P&A employees fulfill in supporting the U's mission.

Learn more and nominate >


Feb. 27 – Faculty Assembly

Faculty Assembly will meet next Feb. 27, 3-5 p.m., 207 Dowell Hall.

See the agenda >

International Dinners Series

Enjoy a taste of the world without the travel expense at the annual International Dinners Series. The 2015 series will highlight India, Korea, and Brazil, and will take place March 2, 9, and 23, and Apr. 1. All dinners begin at 6 p.m., Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. 

March 2 - Soil and Water Conservation Society meeting

The annual meeting and conference of the Minnesota chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society will take place on March 2. Activities will take place in Bergland Laboratory and Ag Research Center.

March 5 - Clean Water for Everyone dinner

The Clean Water for Everyone (CWFE) dinner will be held March 5, Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. All proceeds from the dinner, sponsored by Enactus, support the CWFE initiative to provide safe drinking water and promote safe hygiene practices in a rural area close to Lomé, Togo.


Feb. 26 - WorldQuest International Trivia contest

globe in black and whiteUMD's seventh annual WorldQuest International Trivia contest will feature the country of Germany. Last year, 22 teams competed. Kirby Ballroom, 6-9:30 p.m.

Feb. 28 - Spring Drag Show

drag queenDrag Queens and Kings from UMD and the surrounding community will perform during the Spring Drag Show, sponsored by the Queer and Allied Students Union. Kirby Ballroom, 7-10 p.m.

March 3 - Visual Culture Lecture Series

Steve Willis, professor of art education at Missouri State University, will present as part of the Visual Culture Lecture Series. His scholarly interests include indigenous knowledge and tribal cultural construction, especially in the arts. In addition to being an educator, he is also a visual artist. 70 Montague Hall, 6-7 p.m.

Learn more (PDF) >


UMM a Minnesota Green Ribbon Schools Nominee

wind turbineThe Minnesota Department of Education has nominated UMM for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award, which honors early childhood, elementary, middle and high schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact, improving health and wellness, and providing effective environmental education.

Learn more >

Joyce Sutphen to Serve as 2015 Commencement Speaker

Joyce SutphenMinnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen will serve as speaker at UMM's 52nd commencement May 9. Sutphen was appointed as Minnesota's second poet laureate by Gov. Mark Dayton in August 2011. As poet laureate, she is the state's primary spokesperson, supporter, and promoter of poetry. Sutphen also is a professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Learn more >

Tammy Berberi lectures on Tristan Corbière

Tammy Berberi, associate professor of French, presented "Tristan Corbière and the Art of Revision: the Art and Politics of Disability in France's Second Empire" at the Royal Holloway University of London School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures on Feb. 11. She delivered a similar lecture at Paris Sorbonne University on Feb. 13.

Learn more >

Alumna curates new exhibit at UW-Milwaukee

Alumna Laura Sims '12 curated Reflections on a Collection: The UWM Icons Revisited Fifty Years Later, a new exhibit at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Sims discussed the history, assemblage, and donation of the Rogers Family Collection of Greek and Russian icons to the UWM Art Collection at the opening reception earlier this month.


Oxfam Club Combating Social Inequalities In Rochester

It's estimated that there are more than 600 homeless people in southeast Minnesota alone. A group of UMR students are working to "right the wrongs" of poverty, hunger, and social injustice.

Learn more >

Twin Cities

Campus Climate update

College of Liberal Arts Dean John Coleman announced that CLA, with support from the Office of the Provost, will make a faculty cluster hire of four new tenured and tenure track positions engaged with scholarly traditions represented in the RIGS (Study of Race, Indigeneity, Gender and Sexuality) Consortium. One of the positions will be a tenured position in the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies. The announcement advances recommendations from the Campus Climate Workgroup report (PDF) and related efforts to address campus climate on the Twin Cities campus, such as the Feb. 5 event "Campus Climate: From Conversation to Action (summary document)."

Relocation Assistance Program Housing Database

The University's Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) maintains a housing database to assist new faculty and staff members interested in short- or long-term housing options. Current faculty or staff members who will be away on sabbatical or extended travel and who want to add their home to the database should email rapland@umn.edu or call 612-626-0775.

See RAP housing >

Coming Fall 2015: Borlaug Commons

Throughout spring semester, a phased relocation of Plant Pathology Library materials to other U Libraries facilities will take place. It is designed to minimize disruption and ensure nearly continuous access to all Plant Pathology Library materials. Once the collection has been relocated, the physical space will be reimagined as the Borlaug Commons, a flexible space ideally suited for student studying, group projects, and public engagement activities.

Learn more >

New: Happy Hour at Surdyk's/Northrop

Northrop's Surdyk's Café will begin hosting a Happy Hour on Thursdays, starting Feb. 26, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Offerings include wine, beer, cocktails, and snack selections. Surdyk's is located on the west-side first floor of Northrop and offers breakfast, lunch, and pre-show dining options, as well as a full-service café and event catering services.

More information and a complete menu >

March 5 - Is America Still the Land of Opportunity?

Economists Fatih Guvenen, U of M, and Raj Chetty, Harvard, will use new data to explain patterns of income inequality and mobility at this Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute panel discussion. University Hall, McNamara Alumni Center, 5:30-7 p.m.

Register and learn more >

March 11 - Leading Change: Navigating the Human & Cultural Dynamics

This workshop, sponsored by the Project and Change Management group, will explore the normal, natural human dynamics of change and discuss the leadership skills needed to overcome resistance, generate commitment versus compliance, and optimize project momentum. Speaker: Kirk Froggatt, Technology Learning Institute. 325 Education Sciences Building, 10-11:30 a.m.

Register and learn more >

March 12 - The Charlie Hebdo Attacks: Liberty Versus Security in France

Professor Anne Deysine, a political analyst and legal scholar, is considered France's most prominent Americanist. She will discuss the recent terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and the Jewish grocery store. Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School, 5-6:30 p.m.

Registration is requested >

March 28 - Classes Without Quizzes

This year's Classes Without Quizzes program will feature the latest research from CFANS scientists, including keynote speaker Brian Horgan, who will present on the golf industry's need for long-term agronomic, economic, and environmental sustainability. Breakout sessions cover a variety of topics, including practical knowledge about integrating renewable energy into your home, human-induced bird mortality, sustainable food systems, and savvy sustainable traveling in Minnesota. A Kids' Edition program will provide opportunities for youth K-6. 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul.

Call for Artists: Mental Health Exhibition

Submit artwork for a juried exhibit focused on de-stigmatizing those with mental health issues. Open to all Twin Cities' faculty, staff, and student artists. Submissions are due March 30. Selected artwork will be displayed Apr. 20-May 14 at Boynton Health Service.

Learn more >

U Libraries announces Partnership for Affordable Content grants

University Libraries invites faculty and instructors to apply for a competitive grant to work with library staff to implement affordable, high-quality content options into their courses as an alternative to costly commercial textbooks and other expensive course materials. Applications are due by March 30.

Attend an information session and learn more >

Support U of M Masonic Children's Hospital at Goldy's Run

Goldy medallionJoin thousands of runners on a beautiful 5K route through the U of M campus or a 10-mile route along the Mississippi River and back, ending with a spectacular finish on the 50 yard line of TCF Bank Stadium. Additional options include a 10 Mile Relay and Goldy's Gallop Kids Run. Participants can also take Goldy's $100 Challenge by creating an online fundraising page and asking others to give. Top fundraisers qualify for prizes. The event takes place Apr. 11.

Learn more and give >

UMTC Featured Events

decartesRare Disease Day Event – Feb. 26
Beyond the Modernist Understanding of Consciousness - Feb. 26
The Longest Way Round is the Shortest Way Home (Feb. 27)
Digital State: The Story of Minnesota's Computing Industry (March 1)
Frontiers- "Is drawing down aquifers really so bad?" (March 4)
First Fridays: 'Record building' and 'Power in the archives' (March 6)

See all Campus Events >