January 10, 2018

Vol. XLVIII No. 1

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Board of Regents December meeting highlights.
  • Features: Pools apart; FDA approves innovative Parkinson’s device tested at U; Places for healing; Cancer fighter from Cameroon.
  • People: The College of Liberal Arts has received a $5 million gift from the estate of Hella Lindemeyer Mears; and more.

Top News

December Board of Regents meeting highlights

At its December meeting, the U of M Board of Regents approved a 15 percent tuition increase for nonresident/non-reciprocity (NRNR) undergraduate students on the Twin Cities campus for the 2018-19 academic year. Twin Cities NRNR tuition was discussed as a factor in the University’s fiscal year 2019 operating budget. Regents also ratified the Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence administrative policy, and heard the annual report of the University’s research and technology commercialization accomplishments during 2017.

See the news release for more information >

Pools apartSam Myers near pool

For professor Samuel Myers Jr., it’s hard to say which figured more prominently in his early life, swimming or economics. While both are long-standing interests, only recently have they become intertwined in his professional work. In fact, his background as an African American in swimming has informed his recent research, which explores disparities in drowning rates--disparities that, in some ways, are emblematic of racial inequity as a whole.

FDA approves innovative Parkinson’s device tested at Ubrain scan image

A new medical device designed to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, tested in a clinical study co-led by University of Minnesota neurologist Jerrold Vitek, has received FDA approval to be used widely in patients. Vitek and his team successfully implanted the first patient outside of clinical trials with the Vercise Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) System at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Places for healingYussuf Shafie and Patricia Shannon

It was 2001, and Yussuf Shafie was 12 years old. He had just arrived in Minnesota with his family after fleeing war in Somalia. Meanwhile, Patricia Shannon had begun what would become a decade as a psychotherapist and then a trainer at Minnesota’s Center for Victims of Torture. Eleven years later, Shafie and Shannon would meet in a classroom at the U--he as student, she as faculty. When Shafie shared his dream of opening a clinic, Shannon encouraged him. Today, Shafie is the founder of a new, first-of-its-kind clinic, Alliance Wellness Center--an addiction treatment center born out of his response to the suffering of those with mental illness and addiction, problems long stigmatized in the Somali community.

Read more about Shafie and Shannon >

Cancer fighter from CameroonChristian Njatcha at desk

A graduate student in pharmacology, Christian Njatcha was examining mice with lung cancer with one question in mind: Could the proto-drug he had given them defeat the disease? Answer: It could. The tumors had shrunk, and the mice were doing well. A native of Cameroon, Njatcha graduated from STEM-strong Harrisburg University. He was recruited to the U in 2013, the same year his adviser--professor and department chair Jill Siegfried--was hired. He joined her lab in 2014.

Read more about Njatcha >


The College of Liberal Arts has received a $5 million gift from the estate of Hella Lindemeyer Mears; Robert Vince has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors; College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Associate Dean for Research and Planning Mos Kaveh will serve as interim dean of CSE as Samuel Mukasa steps down Jan. 16; Shaden Tageldin has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2019; Mark Herzberg has been elected vice president of the American Association for Dental Research; Todd Sorensen has been named president-elect of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; Donald Uden is the recipient of the Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal; the Campus Climate Engagement Team recently awarded nearly $24,000 to 31 projects on the UMTC campus; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Mileage rate change

The IRS announced changes in the standard business mileage rates for calendar year 2018. On Jan. 1, 2018, the standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use on approved University business increased from 53.5 cents to 54.5 cents per mile. The standard mileage rate for moving expenses is 18 cents per mile as non-taxable and the remaining 36.5 cents per mile as taxable. Business mileage incurred in 2017 but reimbursed in 2018 should be reimbursed using the 2017 mileage rates. The Employee Expense Worksheet (UM1612) and the Moving/Relocation Expense Documentation Form (UM1357) are being updated to reflect the rate changes.

Feedback requested on proposed Student Conduct Code amendments

The Board of Regents in December reviewed new standards for student group responsibility for violations of the Student Conduct Code. The University seeks your feedback on changes, available on the Policy Office website. Comments are open through Feb. 2, with board action scheduled for Feb. 9.

U of M completes first semester of Moodle to Canvas transition

After a full semester of Canvas use for a handful of instructors, the transition is well under way toward the adoption of Canvas and replacement of Moodle as the University’s centrally supported learning management system.

Read more about transition progress >

Jan. 26 - Institute on the Environment Sustainability Education Summit, Part II

The second in a two-part series, this January's Sustainability Education Summit offers faculty and staff the opportunity to share best practices in teaching and innovation in sustainability--both on campus and in communities from around the state. The gathering will feature a provocative, multi-campus discussion on sustainability across the curriculum, with fresh ideas and new ways to reach students. Lunch and refreshments provided. 10 a.m.-1 p.m., digitally co-hosted at all U of M campuses.

Register to attend >

Apply for the ISW research grants program

Letters of Intent for an Interdisciplinary Studies of Writing (ISW) research grant from the Center for Writing are due Feb. 5.

Submit proposals for U of M Google Day

U of M Google Day will be held March 2 on the Twin Cities campus for University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students. The focus of the event will be how to effectively use G Suite (Google) apps. OIT is now accepting proposals for 30-45-minute presentations and 15-20-minute hosted table talks.

Learn more and submit a proposal >


Jan. 15 - MLK celebration

The annual community-wide Red River Valley Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be held at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Events begin at 10:30 a.m. with a Unity Walk starting at the Crookston Inn and ending on campus at Kiehle Auditorium.

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program study

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of the Red River Valley, located on the U of M Crookston campus, has been approved by the U of M’s Institutional Review Board to conduct a study in relation to the popular senior exercise class, Stay Active and Independent for Life.

Student profile: Mazie PiniMazie Pini jumping on horse

She literally has been in the saddle since she was a baby. For University of Minnesota Crookston junior Mazie Pini, riding is second nature. When it came time for Pini to go to college, she had two primary selection criteria: She wanted to attend a college with a hunt seat horse riding team and one with a major in animal science that would lead to her goal to study veterinary medicine. The University of Minnesota Crookston offered both.

Read more about Pini >


Hagley to be honoredCynthia Hagley

Cynthia Hagley, Minnesota Sea Grant educator, will receive the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Ramón Margalef Award at the ASLO 2018 summer meeting. The award is given for excellence in teaching and mentoring in the fields of limnology and oceanography. Much of Hagley’s work has focused on engaging students, teachers, the general public, and agencies in aquatic science.

Maher publishes new bookSusan Maher

Susan Naramore Maher, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, has coauthored a book with Tom Lynch, Drucilla Wall, and O. Alan Weltzien. Entitled Thinking Continental: Writing the Planet One Place at a Time, it contains works by numerous authors and, in Maher’s words, seeks to weave together “creativity, scientific research, and matters of the heart--love of place, concern for the planet.”

Antigone encoreAntigone poster

The School of Fine Arts’ Department of Theatre will offer two encore performances of Antigone before the cast and crew head to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) regionals in Des Moines. Performances will be held Jan. 12 and 13, 7:30 p.m., Dudley Experimental Theatre. UMD Theatre has been selected 13 times to present at the KCACTF regionals.


UMM named Best Public College Valuestudents on UMM campus

Kiplinger has named UMM one of its 100 Best Public College Values for 2018. This is the campus’s 10th consecutive appearance on the list. UMM earned the #79 spot on the magazine's list of 100 best values for in-state students and #40 for out-of-state, and ranked #161 overall.

Lindberg awarded Grant-in-Aid fundingTim Lindberg

Tim Lindberg '06, assistant professor of political science, earned a Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship Program award in the fall round. Administered through the Office of the Vice President for Research, Grant-in-Aid funds are awarded in the belief that the quality of faculty research and artistic endeavors is a major determinant of the overall vitality of the institution.


#UMRProud: Special Reporta doctor

Produced by students from the University of Minnesota Rochester’s Community Collaboratory course, this report published by Med City Beat explores the ways Mayo Clinic is expanding its footprint through technology, research, and business to reach more people than ever before.

Twin Cities

New Main Energy Plant helps reduce campus emissions by 50 percentMain Energy Plant

A deteriorated, decommissioned 104-year-old heating plant on the U of M Twin Cities campus has been resurrected as a cutting-edge “co-generation” combined heat and power utility that is 83 percent energy-efficient--more than double the efficiency of a coal-fired power plant. Fueled by natural gas, the Main Energy Plant is a key investment in the University’s climate action plan to reduce campus emissions by 50 percent by the year 2020.

Helping Women and Girls of Color Thrive

One of the most longstanding gaps in the world of research is the dearth of studies focused on women and girls of color. The University of Minnesota’s Women and Girls of Color Initiative is part of a national collaboration inspired by the White House Council on Women and Girls, which aims to increase research opportunities for women of color, as well as the number and breadth of studies related to improving the lives of women and girls of color.

Jan. 10-11 - Teaching Enrichment Series Workshops

Teaching Enrichment Series Workshop topics to kick off the new year include teaching critical thinking, slide design, creating effective team projects, what the best college teachers do, and more.

Jan. 10, 11 - Learning Management System (LMS) clinic for faculty and instructors

Information technology staff and academic technologists from across campus will be available during the LMS clinic to help faculty and instructors get Moodle and Canvas course sites ready for spring semester. No charge, and no registration required. Stop in anytime during the clinic hours, noon-2 p.m., at two locations on both days: 330 Bruininks Hall and the technology help walk-in location, St. Paul.

Jan. 12 - New TA Orientation

In this interactive session, new teaching assistants will be introduced to strategies for classroom teaching and other University resources, as well as key policies, including policies related to sexual harassment and consensual relationships, the student code of conduct, FERPA, working with students with disabilities, and more. 10 a.m.-noon, 131 Bruininks Hall.

Gopher sports tickets for faculty and staff

University of Minnesota faculty and staff can receive a 20 percent discount on season tickets for all Gopher sports. Additionally, faculty and staff can receive discounted tickets to select Gopher sporting events.

Jan. 18 - Martin Luther King Jr. tributeMLK tribute poster

The 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert will feature various artists presented by The Avant Garde. Featured artists will include Jovonta Patton, Ashley DuBose, Niles, Delphin Starr, Meah Ismail, and Daonna Lewis. The Avant Garde is a renaissance arts, music, and entertainment company that specializes in creating outings that infuse multiple forms of art into one event. No charge and open to the public, and no tickets or reservations are required. 7-8:30 p.m., Ted Mann Concert Hall.

Jan. 25 - Masculinities and Violence Prevention

The year 2017 brought a stream of media attention to both violence and harassment by men against women. What can we do in 2018 to better address gender based violence, both globally and locally? Join in this panel dialogue on connections between masculinity and violence and actions we can take to address this pernicious problem. 5-7 p.m., Humphrey Forum, Humphrey School.

Cooking for health in 2018

Register now for cooking classes to improve your health in 2018 with the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute’s Cooking for Wellness courses. In The Basics, culinary educators teach foundational techniques and help participants use whole seasonal ingredients. In Getting Creative, students develop an intuitive sense for creating delicious recipes. Everyone will prepare and enjoy a meal together each night. University faculty and staff are eligible to receive 150 Wellness Points and a partial reimbursement through the Wellbeing Program.

Upcoming: Mini Bioethics Academy

Registration is open for Mini Bioethics Academy, a three-evening education series taught by bioethics experts and sponsored by the U of M Center for Bioethics. Sessions engage participants with U of M faculty in learning about the ethical challenges in today's society. You can choose to attend one, two, or all three sessions on Jan. 23, Jan. 30, and Feb. 6, 6:30-8 p.m., 2-530 Moos Tower. Registration: $10/session or $25/three sessions. Student rate: $5/session or $10/three sessions.

Register and learn more >

International Student Academic Services Fee funding requests

Faculty and staff are invited to submit proposals for academic service projects that focus on ensuring retention, timely graduation, and student 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. 9. For more information, email intlfee@umn.edu.

Feb. 23 - Leading on All Levels leadership development opportunity

Discover your leadership potential through the Leading on All Levels leadership program from Leadership and Talent Development in the Office of Human Resources. This cohort program will help you build leadership skills, whether you manage projects or want to explore your potential to oversee others.

Register and learn more >

UMTC Featured Eventsexhibit artwork from Smashing Invisible

Jan. 13 - Yoga at WAM
Jan. 13 - Physics Force
Jan. 16 - Exhibition | Smashing the Invisible
Jan. 17 - OED Certificate Workshop: Being an Ally in the Work of Equity and Diversity
Jan. 19 - Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption
Jan. 30 - Betrayal or a Right? The NFL National Anthem Protests

Events Calendar >