February 3, 2016

Vol. XLVI No. 4

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Driven to Discover: Jeff Coulter.
  • Feature: New technology aids quest for dormant genes. 
  • People: The National Jurist has named Professor Joan Howland to its annual list of the 25 most influential figures in American legal education; and more.

Top News

Driven to Discover: Jeff CoulterJeff Coulter

Given that Earth's population could reach 9 billion by 2050, increasing corn production is an important goal. But increased production means that farmers need help reducing their environmental footprint, and that's where Jeff Coulter comes in. Coulter, an Extension agronomist and CFANS associate professor, is especially concerned with nitrogen losses from farm fields.

Learn more >

New technology aids quest for dormant genespetri dish

Michael Smanski, an assistant professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics in the U's College of Biological Sciences, has developed a technology to quickly search organisms for genes that could make the next great antibiotic or anticancer drug. His methods also allow him to find the best way to assemble the parts of those genes so they can function optimally.

Read more >


The National Jurist has named Professor Joan Howland to its annual list of the 25 most influential figures in American legal education; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

New creative content available

Faculty and staff now have access to creative content through an updated U of M Photo and Video Library, with nearly 2,000 University-themed images, and a licensed Stock Content Library offering more than 100,000 stock video clips, audio clips, and graphics.

Zika virus travel precautions

Growing concern about the Zika virus has prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a level 2 travel alert–Practice Enhanced Precautions. Faculty, staff, and students planning travel outside of the U.S. will find current Zika virus information, prevention recommendations, and resource links at CIDRAP. Global Programs and Strategy Alliance has posted a Zika travel update for those traveling for University activities.

University 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 >

UMWiki to be retired in June

With more user-friendly alternatives available at no cost, UMN IT will retire the website building tool UMWiki on June 30. Google Sites is anticipated to be a popular alternative because it offers a more modern and user-friendly interface and has unlimited capacity. Learn more about Google Sites and how to migrate your information from UMWiki.

Feb. 19 - U of M Job Fair

Faculty and staff are encouraged to let students know about the U of M Job Fair, open to undergrad and grad students and recent alums. The 322 registered employers represent all industries and are hiring for internships and full-time jobs.

Register and learn more >

Apr. 11-14 - Design of Medical Devices Conference

The University of Minnesota's Medical Devices Center, the College of Science and Engineering, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering will present the world's largest medical device conference at The Commons Hotel & McNamara Alumni Center. The conference brings together medical device designers, manufacturers, researchers, and representatives from academia and the public sector. Special registration rates are available for U faculty, staff, and students.

Learn more >


Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)

A new AQIP Action Project, Developing Advisory Assessments for Optimal Mathematics Placement, has been chartered by the AQIP Steering Committee. The project, led by Marcella Melby and T.J. Chapman, will provide another instrument to help place students in math courses to enhance student success.

Torch alumni magazine

The latest edition of Torch alumni magazine is now available. The magazine features a cover story on Dayle (Rockensock) and Ivan Reinke, '97, who promote grazing their cattle using sustainable practices for better land-use management.

Feb. 4 - Thursday Commons: International Dimensions of Sustainability

International Dimensions of Sustainability will be the focus of the next Thursday Commons. Students will lead lightning talks on various topics that focus on international dimensions of sustainability. 12:30-2 p.m., Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center.

Learn more >

Feb. 6 - Western Minnesota Regional Science Fair

UMC will host the 67th annual Western Minnesota Regional Science Fair, Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center.


Feb. 4 - Anishinaabe adoptionAmerican Indian Studies logo

Damien Lee will present "The Family Decides: Locating Anishinaabe Laws of Belonging through Adoption Stories," sponsored by the Department of American Indian Studies. No charge and open to the public. 3:30 p.m., Kirby Garden Room.

Learn more >

Get outsidepeople ice climbing

Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (RSOP) offers a huge array of lessons, activities, trips, and events. It also has equipment available for rental for just about any outdoor adventure. The RSOP spring catalog (PDF) is online.

Environmental Learning Center education opportunities

Registration is open for Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center classes and workshops. Sessions on nature photography, basket making, and crafting a wooden paddle are just some of the many offerings. Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer training is offered in May and in August.

Learn more >


Feb. 9 - Ralph Nader lecture and book signingRalph Nader

Sustainability Leaders for the Future will host consumer advocate and former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Honored by Time magazine as "One of the 100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century," Nader will discuss the role of citizen leadership in overcoming sustainability-related challenges.

Learn more >

Feb. 13 - Ten Strings and a Goat Skin performanceband picture

The 2015-16 Performing Arts Series continues with Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, an award-winning bilingual trio from Prince Edward Island celebrating the music of the Irish, Francophone, and Maritime cultures. Rowen Gallant, Jesse Pèriard, and Caleb Gallant integrate modern and world rhythms with traditional and original tunes to create a fiery, infectious energy and unique sound.

Learn more >


Feb. 9 – UMR CONNECTS: The History of Police Use-of-Force Methodology and Policies

The next UMR CONNECTS lecture will feature Mark Erickson and Steve Borchardt exploring current cases that are affecting law enforcement and information about the frequency of use of force by law enforcement. They will explain the Use of Force Continuum, techniques and weapons, the physical and cognitive limitations police officers are subject to, and law enforcement training. 7 p.m., 111 South Broadway.

Twin Cities

U Libraries launches Publishing Services unit

U Libraries has launched a Publishing Services unit to support the creation of scholarly publications. Publishing Services can provide direct support, referral services, consultations, and access to publishing platforms. U Libraries Publishing Services unit recently supported the publication of Open Rivers: Rethinking the Mississippi, an interdisciplinary online journal from the Institute for Advanced Study.

Office hours with Katrice Albert, VP, Office for Equity and Diversity

Share a concern or ask a pressing question about diversity and inclusion during office hours with Vice President for Equity and Diversity Katrice Albert. Appointments are not required, but strongly encouraged. Drop-ins will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sign up for office hours >

New: French Meadow Bakery and Café

French Meadow Bakery and Café is now open at the U of M East Bank Recreation Center. French Meadow Bakery focuses on using organic, natural and local ingredients and aims to offer vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and omnivore options. The menu includes breakfast and lunch sandwiches, soup, salad, a smoothie bar, and more.

Hours and more >

University of Minnesota Genomics Center grants

The U of M Genomics Center is offering several pilot project grants to researchers interested in trying new equipment or expanding their genomics research. Applications for pilot projects using UMGC's Fluidigm, Illumina, and SGI-DNA instruments are due Feb. 5. Pilot projects on NeoPrep and 10X Genomics GemCode instruments will follow later in 2016.

Details and application materials >

Deadline approaching: Funding Request for International Student Academic Services Fee

Faculty and staff are invited to submit proposals for academic service projects that focus on ensuring retention, timely graduation, and satisfaction of international students. Funding for approved projects comes from an international student fee. Units may submit multiple requests, but must use a separate online submission for each project. Requests are due Feb. 5.

Learn more and apply >

New lactation room

A new lactation room is now available in 38 Appleby Hall, close to the Women's Center and the Student Parent Help Center. A grand opening event with a brief program will take place Feb. 11, noon-1 p.m., in 41 Appleby.

Learn more >

Healthy cooking course for U of M Twin Cities employees

The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute invites U of M Twin Cities employees to participate in a hands-on course led by culinary instructors, where you will develop healthy cooking and eating strategies to take home and use for weeks and years to come. Two sessions are available starting in late March.

Learn more and register >

Feb. 9 - Music and the Mind Unplugged

Join Adam Levy (Honeydogs), Mina Moore, Claire Monesterio (GRRRL PRTY), and Johnny Solomon and Molly Solomon (Communist Daughter) for an evening of acoustic performances and unfiltered conversation on creativity and mental health. 8-10 p.m., The Whole Music Club, Coffman Union.

Learn more >

Feb. 10-12 - WAM Shop Sweetheart SaleValentines Day themed books and cards

Get a head start on shopping with adoring finds for your special someone at the Weisman Art Museum (WAM) Shop, featuring a 20 percent discount Feb. 10-12 for U faculty, staff, and students. Shop the Sweetheart Sale for jewelry, cards, handmade goods, treats, locally made items, and more. All purchases support WAM programs and exhibitions.

Feb. 11 - Infectious Diseases in the 21st Century: The Need for a New Brand of Public Health Leadership

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa highlighted the deficiencies in the international public health response capability for rapidly emerging infectious diseases. Such diseases, including those of pandemic potential, will become more frequent, as demonstrated by the current outbreak of the Zika virus. The School of Public Health's Art & Science of Prevention public health series will feature Michael Osterholm discussing public health infrastructure needs of the 21st century. No charge, but registration is encouraged. 3:30-5:30 p.m., Mayo Auditorium and live online the day of the event.

Registration and more >

Feb. 17 - Technically Speaking: Leadership, Empathy and Security Preparedness

The U of M Technological Leadership Institute will feature guest speaker Richard Serino, former deputy administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Serino will share insights from his more than 40 years of public service in emergency management and disaster response. He will explain how he led FEMA to adopt a "whole community" approach to better focus on the needs of survivors of natural and human-caused disasters. 5:30-7 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center.

Registration and more >

Feb. 18 - Our Umbra Search: Bringing Black History Out of the Shadows

Erin Sharkey and Junauda Petrus will deliver capstone presentations related to their residency with the Archie Givens, Sr., Collection of African American Literature. 7 p.m., 120 Elmer L. Andersen Library.

Learn more >

UMTC Featured EventsApparel show

Feb. 4 - Kevin Bales, "Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World"

Feb. 4 - Loaded Lunch with Cory McAbee

Feb. 5 - Feminist Friday: Mama's Boy

Feb. 5 - Wind Ensemble presents The Roaring Twenties: An Age of Change

Feb. 6 - IDENTITY: 48th Annual Apparel Design Fashion Show

Feb. 11 - OED Certificate Workshop 2: Leadership in the Context of Equity and Diversity

Events Calendar >