January 11, 2017

Vol. XLVII No. 1

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • State Relations Update.
  • Features: Research shows people can control a robotic arm with their minds; Coming home to hunger; How overworking employees costs automakers millions; Growing fresh greens year-round.
  • People: U Libraries has received an $88,000 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grant to make key Minnesota literary archives more accessible; and more.

Top News

State Relations Update

The Minnesota Legislature convened on Jan. 3. This year, the legislature and governor are tasked with passing a biennial budget, as well as addressing issues carried over from last session, such as a bonding bill. Governor Dayton released his capital investment recommendations to the legislature, providing $154.4 million in state funding for four University of Minnesota projects. Updates will be available throughout the session at a new Government and Community Relations website. Legislative materials for the biennial budget request and capital request will be added throughout the session.

Read more of this update >

Research shows that people can control a robotic arm with only their mindsman controlling robotic arm with mind

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have made a major breakthrough that allows people to control a robotic arm using only their minds. The research has the potential to help millions of people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.

Coming home to hungerRachel Widome

U of M researcher Rachel Widome has found that 27 percent of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are food insecure. Nationally, food insecurity is estimated to affect 14.5 percent of the population.

How overworking employees costs automakers millionsRachna Shah

New research shows that building cars in overutilized plants could have cost U.S. automakers $167 million over seven years. Professor Rachna Shah and her co-authors also discovered that auto assembly lines which install a greater variety of options and run at or above maximum capacity lead to significantly more auto recalls.

Growing fresh greens year-roundcrops indoors in greenhouse

Rural Minnesota has a lot to offer, and U of M Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) are working to add year-round access to local greens to the list. RSDP is helping small- and mid-scale farmers to grow fresh greens all year by using Deep Winter Greenhouses.


U Libraries has received an $88,000 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grant to make key Minnesota literary archives more accessible; Charalampos Kalodimos is a 2016 recipient of The Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in the Physical Sciences; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Jan. 25 - Join in the U of M Legislative Kickoff Breakfast

At the annual U of M legislative kickoff breakfast, President Kaler will give a primer on the different ways to be an advocate, and professor Jakub Tolar, distinguished alumna Myah Walker, and student leaders will talk about the importance of this legislative session. The event is no charge and includes a continental breakfast. 7:30 a.m., McNamara Alumni Center. Registration is requested. In the meantime, your voice matters to elected officials. Take 60 seconds and tell them the University matters to you.

Use Duo two-factor authentication to protect against identity theft

Last year, the IRS saw an increase in tax return fraud due to identity theft. Take action to protect your identity: opt into the University’s Duo for direct deposit and W-2 service. The service uses two-factor authentication, which requires your password and your phone (or tablet) to verify your identity. With Duo, even if hackers steal your password, they can’t gain access to your U of M accounts.

Mileage rate change for 2017

The 2017 mileage reimbursement rate is $0.535. Use this rate for business mileage incurred on or after Jan. 1, 2017. This rate is set annually by the IRS. View 2016 and 2017 rate information on the U of M Travel website, or contact the University financial helpline at 612-624-1617 or via email at controller@umn.edu with questions.

New online programs available

The University of Minnesota recently launched three new online graduate programs: Talent Development and Gifted Education Graduate Certificate from the College of Education and Human Development; Technical Communication Graduate Certificate from the College of Liberal Arts; and the part-time Master of Business Administration from the Carlson School. Visit the University of Minnesota Online to see a complete list of programs and courses, including online and blended programs for U of M faculty and staff.

Spring 2017 Grant-in-Aid competition

Apply now for the spring 2017 Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship program, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). The program promotes the research, scholarly, and artistic activities of faculty. Deadline to submit applications to approvers is Feb. 6; deadline for approvers to submit final applications to OVPR is Feb. 9.


Jan. 16 - Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.

The fifth annual community-wide Red River Valley celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will begin with a Unity Walk at 10:30 a.m., leaving from the Crookston Inn and walking to Kiehle Auditorium.

Top Ten stories of 2016

The University of Minnesota Crookston named its top ten stories of 2016 and they range from a golden anniversary to the grand opening of a new wellness center.


Northland economyDuluth aerial view

UMD’s Bureau of Business and Economics Research contributed data to an updated economic study of the 15-county area that makes up Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. Through this research initiative, area educational institutions and business constituents are working together to drive growth, prosperity, and collaboration across the region.

Jan. 16 - Celebrating MLKMartin Luther King Jr.

UMD will be the site of Duluth’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast. Speakers will be televised from the MLK event in Minneapolis. The keynote is civil rights activist and author Myrlie Evers-Williams. She was the wife of Medgar Evers, a civil rights activist who was slain in 1963. 7:30 a.m., Kirby Ballroom.

One Riveractors on a stage

Written and directed by School of Fine Arts Professor Tom Isbell, One River will be performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region V Festival at the end of January. The play grew out of a community journalism effort, One River, Many Stories, in which participants drew inspiration from the St. Louis River watershed.


Jan. 16 - MLK Day of ServiceStudents in MLK parade march

UMM will celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. People of all ages and abilities are invited to join in the event, which includes service projects as well as a march, program, community meal, and facilitated conversations about hopes for the Morris community.

Jan. 19 - Driggs Distinguished Lecture in History presents Erika LeeErika Lee

Erika Lee, director of the Immigration History Research Center and the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History at UMTC, will deliver the O. Truman Driggs Distinguished Lecture in History titled "The Walls Go Up: A History of the first Global Migration Crisis." 7:30 p.m., Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Jan. 27 - Town Hall Water Summitwater summit poster

Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith will host a Town Hall Water Summit at UMM. The event will bring together local government leaders, farmers, students, environmental groups, and businesses to focus on water challenges and solutions in Greater Minnesota.

Register and learn more >

UMM named ‘Best College Value’ by Kiplinger’steacher in classroom instructing

UMM has been named to Kiplinger's Personal Finance's list of the Top 300 Best College Values of 2017. This is the ninth consecutive year in which the campus has been included on the public colleges list, which acknowledges academic quality and affordability.

UMM grad named to Forbes 30 Under 30 listElijah Mayfield

Elijah Mayfield '09, vice president of new technologies at Turnitin, was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 - Education list. Mayfield’s LightSide Labs is helping 250,000 students in about 500 middle and high schools across more than 30 states to improve their writing skills.


Student accepted to Citizen's League Capitol Pathways Internship ProgramNitya Chandiramani

UMR student Nitya Chandiramani has been accepted for an internship (PDF) at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. After gaining work experience in the healthcare industry, Chandiramani plans to pursue a graduate program in either Public Health Policy or Healthcare Administration. She eventually hopes to work on healthcare reform issues to improve the patient experience and healthcare processes.

Jan. 17 – ‘Improving Patient and Provider Experience through Investigation’

UMR students Alecia Alto, Mikayla Schmidt, and Vivian Ma are members of The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, an organization committed to improving health and healthcare worldwide. The students completed three projects and will present their findings at the next UMR Connects on the relationship between patient time spent in the clinic and overall satisfaction and this relationship’s conjunction with provider type; the prescription refill process and possible inefficiencies; and implementations to encourage the culture of employee health and measure the effectiveness of these methods. 7-8:30 p.m., 111 South Broadway.

Twin Cities

2016 Community Fund Drive results

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2016 Community Fund Drive. Together we raised $1,167,418, which will go to over 500 nonprofits, including the campaign’s seven federation partners. This success was possible through the creativity and energy of hundreds of employees who volunteered to make a difference in our community.

Announcing the new Department Directory

The new Department Directory is now online. Improvements include more complete contact information for units and staff such as unit postal addresses, staff email addresses, links to faculty bios, and more. The directory has been incorporated into the new search.umn.edu interface (see the “Departments” link along with the “Web” and “People” search links) and, unlike the previous directory, it’s searchable. Update requests can be made from each unit listing page.

Submit listings, updates, and learn more >

Jan. 12 - Moodle clinic for faculty and instructors

Information technology staff, academic technologists from across campus, and TeachingSupport@UMN will be available during a Moodle clinic to help faculty and instructors get ready for spring semester. No charge, and no registration required. Stop in anytime during the clinic hours, noon-3 p.m., at two locations: 432A Bruininks Hall and the technology help walk-in location, St. Paul. Classes on teaching with Moodle and creating course websites are also available.

Jan. 19 - MLK Jr. Tribute concertV Bozeman

The 36th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute will feature V. Bozeman, a Grammy-nominated singer and actress best known for her recurring role in FOX’s Golden Globe-nominated hit drama Empire. Other performers include the U of M Jazz Combo. 6-7:30 p.m., Ted Mann Concert Hall. No charge to attend.

Cooking for Wellness courses

Two Cooking for Wellness courses for U of M Twin Cities employees will be offered this spring. Register today for The Basics Cooking Class or Getting Creative Cooking Class. Both courses are designed to help you develop healthy cooking and eating strategies to take home and use for weeks and years to come. Classes include hands-on demonstrations led by a professional.

Office hours with Katrice Albert

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 >

Days Hotel discount

The U of M acquired the Days Hotel on University Avenue in 2014, in partnership with United Properties. The Days Hotel is part of an area that is planned for eventual redevelopment, but it is anticipated to remain in operation well into the foreseeable future. The hotel may benefit faculty and staff with lodging to visiting faculty, graduate students, academic workshop and conference participants, and visitors to the University at a reasonable price. The University has a contract with the hotel for guest rooms for University employees (business only), contractors, consultants, and visitors on University business at $92 plus tax for 2017. 

Jan. 19 - Learning Management System town hall workshop

The University of Minnesota is currently in the process of evaluating the future of the learning management system (the current LMS is Moodle) and its impact on creating the best future for teaching and learning. In this interactive town hall format workshop, faculty, staff, and students are welcome to participate and contribute their ideas and experience.

Jan. 19 - How will you make the world better? Ideas to get involved, take action, find community

Join the Women's Center and on- and off-campus partners to learn about ways to get involved, take action, and find community. Participants will share ideas and refreshments, and enjoy a performance from several local spoken-word poets. Jan. 19, Noon-1:30 p.m., Mississippi Room, Coffman Union.

RSVP and learn more >

Mini Bioethics Academy

Registration is open for Mini Bioethics Academy, a three-evening education series taught by faculty and sponsored by the Center for Bioethics. Mini Bioethics Academy helps the public engage with faculty in learning about the ethical challenges in today's society. 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesdays, Jan. 24, 31, and Feb. 7. Registration: $10/session or $25/three sessions. Student rate: $5/session or $10/three sessions.

Register and learn more >

Jan. 26 - A Feast of Words

Erika Lee, professor and director of the Immigration History Research Center, will present "The First ‘Global Immigration Crisis’: History and Contemporary Issues" at A Feast of Words. 5 p.m., Campus Club, Coffman Union. Tickets required.

Tickets and more >

Jan. 27 and 28 – Gabor Maté

The Minnesota Center for Chemical and Mental Health is hosting Gabor Maté, renowned physician, author, and speaker. Maté explores the ill effects of trauma, chronic stress, and strategies to enhancing wellness and ending addiction. The events are relevant for individuals working with, interested in, or experiencing trauma, stress, addiction and/or mental health disorders. A discount for faculty, staff, and students is available for the Jan. 28 event using the code UMNGMSAT2017.

Register and learn more >

Jan. 30 - New Roles for Black Athletes? Post-Ferguson and Post-Kaepernick in the Age of Trump

Sports are America's public square, drawing millions to the playing fields and courts around the country. For black America, John Hoberman argues that the effect of sports is damaging--it helps sustain racial myths and stereotypes and it lures the young to over-invest in the hope that it is the "ticket" out of depressed economic circumstances. Noon-1:15 p.m., Humphrey Forum, Humphrey School. Learn more >

Feb. 1 - Active Shooter Response Presentation - St. Paul campus

The University of Minnesota Police Department, in partnership with Student Unions & Activities, will present the Active Shooter Response Plan in an open forum for all University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students. This is an opportunity to learn what actions you can take during an active shooter incident. 12:30-2 p.m., St. Paul Student Center Theater.

RSVP to attend >

UMTC Featured Eventopen mic night advert

Jan. 12 - Physics Circus

Jan. 14 - Yoga at WAM

Jan. 18 - Open Mic Night

Jan. 19 - Without a Profession: Becoming an American Imam

Jan. 19 - The Surprise of Trump's Election: Polling, Election Analysis, and Populism

Events Calendar >