January 31, 2018

Vol. XLVIII No. 4

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • U of M Legislative Kickoff events.
  • Features: Researchers use wild rice to predict health of Minnesota lakes and streams; Harmful turned harmless; A Decade of Connecting.
  • People: Nine faculty members have been named as the 2018-20 McKnight Land-Grant Professors; and more.

Top News

Feb. 15-26 - U of M Legislative Kickoff events

For the first time, the U of M is kicking off the legislative session with events at all five campuses. Each campus will hold an event previewing the University's capital request demonstrating how legislative proposals will affect the University, and providing information so that participants can become effective advocates to share the statewide impact of the University of Minnesota. Register for the UMTC event. No charge, and refreshments will be served at each event.

Join UMN Advocates >

Researchers use wild rice to predict health of Minnesota lakes and streamsperson in canoe

By studying wild rice in lakes and streams, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota has discovered that sulfate in waterways is converted into toxic levels of sulfide and increases other harmful elements. This includes methylmercury, the only form of mercury that contaminates fish. Sulfate is a compound that is released into fresh water from mining, sewage, fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion, and other human activity, as well as from natural geological sources in some parts of the state.

Harmful turned harmlessfarm equipment in field

Mikael Elias and colleagues have engineered an enzyme that rapidly neutralizes the toxicity of common pesticides and herbicides. It could prove a game changer. “Our enzymes are the first that can break down a wide range of these compounds in minutes and render them non-toxic,” says Elias.

A Decade of Connectingcontinents seen from space

In 2007, professors Elizabeth Borer and Eric Seabloom founded the Nutrient Network, a global collaboration of independent research groups whose common thread is the study of human impacts on grasslands. A decade later the network has grown into what could be the most extensive ecological research collaborative in the world, involving scientists from 6 continents, 25 countries, and more than 100 (at last count) sites, including the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Over the years, it has yielded remarkable insights into how grassland ecosystems function and how they might be changing.


Nine faculty members have been named as the 2018-20 McKnight Land-Grant Professors; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Speaking Science: Five Tips for Talking about Your Workan idea board at the speaking science lecture

The word science is a broad term, but when it comes to communicating with others, it often means “complicated information that many people may not understand.” Earlier this month, the University of Minnesota hosted a conference designed to help scientists more effectively share their knowledge and research with audiences outside of academia. “Speaking Science: Communicating with Media, Funders, Policymakers, and the Public” brought more than 400 faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students together to hone their communication and storytelling skills.

Feb. 6 - Feedback to improve your teaching

When students give feedback on teaching, it can be vague and contradictory. This webinar will provide mechanisms for soliciting quality feedback from students, both during and at the end of the semester. Participants will walk away ready to gather useful feedback and a framework to respond. 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Feb. 6 - ‘Giving Feedback that Works’ webinar for supervisors

Join Leadership and Talent Development for the “Giving Feedback that Works” webinar, part of the Supervisory Development course. While research finds only one-third of performance feedback actually increases performance, you can beat the odds by knowing what works based on science and best practices. Noon-1 p.m. Register or learn more about leadership development opportunities from the Office of Human Resources.

Feb. 17-18 - Arboretum Winter Art Faira variety of artwork

Shop and meet local artisans throughout the main buildings of the U of M Landscape Arboretum at the Arboretum Winter Art Fair. Participating artists specialize in ceramic, jewelry, wood, wearable art, painting, artisan crafts, mixed media, glass, and photography mediums that reflect nature and its beauty. No charge with gate admission.

Global Health Day call for abstracts

Global Health Day, hosted by the Academic Health Center’s Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility, will take place Apr. 14. Abstract submissions (due March 5) are now open to all U of M students, residents, and fellows for poster and oral presentations. Presentations can be made individually or in groups.

Sept. 30-Oct. 3 - International conference of Engagement Scholarship Consortium

The U of M will host the 19th annual conference of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, an international association devoted to advancing the role of community-engaged scholarship in higher education. This year's conference theme is "Transforming Higher Education Through Engaged Scholarship." The deadline for submitting conference proposals is March 16.


Feb. 1 - Thursday Commons

"Curriculum Integration: The Impact of Study Abroad" will be the topic at the next Thursday Commons. A panel of student participants in the study abroad program will discuss the impact that various types of study abroad programs have had on their lives, both personally and academically. 12:15-1:45 p.m., Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center.

Feb. 2 - Spring Thaw Social

Faculty and staff are invited to join coworkers for the annual Spring Thaw Social. Appetizers and beverages will be provided at no charge, and a cash bar will also be available. 4-6 p.m., Prairie Room, Sargeant Student Center.

Feb. 3 - Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament

Teambackers, along with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, will host the annual Justin Knebel Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament at Zippel Bay Resort on Lake of the Woods near Williams, MN. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with fishing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

UMC named among top online universities

The U of M Crookston is ranked #2 among the “Top Online Colleges & Universities in Minnesota” for 2018 by Affordable Colleges Online, an online educational resource. Schools were ranked by a number of metrics including tuition, count and breadth of online programs available, student-faculty ratio, graduation rates, and scholarship and grant aid.


Food-Fish Aquaculture in Minnesotagraphic of fish in water

Following the state’s first aquaculture workshop, Minnesota Sea Grant released a report, “Food-Fish Aquaculture in Minnesota: A Synthesis of the 2017 Workshop,” highlighting trends and technologies in aquaculture and how they may affect the industry in Minnesota. The report focuses on three themes: prioritizing species and production strategies for food-fish aquaculture in Minnesota; identifying research needs and information gaps; and examining policy and regulatory issues.

Tools for agenciesaerial of Duluth

To help identify service needs for job seekers and opportunities for agencies serving job seekers to better coordinate, UMD’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and UMD’s Geospatial Analysis Center developed a research report, database, and interactive map for the Northeast Workforce Development Board and the Duluth Workforce Development Board. The work also pinpoints significant barriers faced by agency clientele.

Feb. 9 - Charles Darwin Lecturedan fisher

Dan Fisher, professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and director of the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, will present the UMD Biology Department’s 10th annual Charles Darwin Lecture. His talk is entitled "Testing Hypotheses for Late Pleistocene Extinction with Tusk Data from Mammoths and Mastodons.” No charge and open to the public. 185 Life Science.


Center for Small Towns delivers on U of M’s public promisePeople listening to a speaker

In its 20-plus years, the Center for Small Towns (CST) has earned the nickname “Land Grant 101.” Serving Minnesota communities of 5,000 or fewer, CST works with its partners to solve local challenges like affordable housing, water quality, and food security. Each year CST serves more than 50 of Minnesota’s small towns, schools, and nonprofits--from the west central region to the Iron Range to the Mississippi Valley.


UMR students present at University of Northern Iowa RA conferencestudents at Iowa conference

UMR students Hannah Quarnstrom, Kristi Tauer and Danielle Scherb presented at this year’s University of Northern Iowa RA conference. They were able to share their experiences and knowledge with over 200 delegates from across the nation. Their session titles included Jumping the Gap: Finding Different Ways to Connect with Residents; Tipping the Scales - Finding Balance Between Family, Residents and your RA Team; and Cracking Under Pressure: The Importance of Taking a Step Back.

KSMQ Rochester program ‘R-Town’ films at UMR

Throughout 2018, the KSMQ local Rochester program "R-Town" will film its weekly talk show at UMR. UMR student Kiersten Lee had the opportunity to meet with correspondent Danielle Teal for a quick introduction on what it’s like to be a UMR student.

Watch the “UMR Student Life” segment >

Twin Cities

Spring Technology Training schedule

View a list of Spring 2018 courses on the Technology Training website or search for training in ULearn. Training includes courses on Canvas, Drupal, and other topics, as well as access to Lynda.com, a library of online training videos available at no cost to current University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students.

Bias Response and Referral Network postcards available

The Bias Response and Referral Network (BRRN) responds to incidents of bias on the Twin Cities campus. To help spread the word about this important resource to students, faculty, and staff, BRRN promotional postcards are available through Printing Services at no cost to units or departments. The minimum order is 50 and supplies are limited.

Tony Diggs Excellence Awards and President's Student Leadership and Service Awards

Nominations are open for the Tony Diggs Excellence Awards and the President's Student Leadership and Service Awards. The Tony Diggs Excellence Awards recognize student group achievements during the 2017 calendar year in a selection of award categories. Nominations close Feb. 5. The President's Student Leadership and Service Awards honor the accomplishments of outstanding students for their leadership and service contributions. Nominations close Feb. 2.

Feb. 12 - English pronunciation for teaching workshop

The Center for Educational Innovation offers a series of workshops for non-native English-speaking instructors and teaching assistants. Experienced consultants will explore the nuances of English pronunciation to aid in your teaching.

Register and learn more >

Learning community for international faculty, instructors, and post-docs

Join the spring 2018 Community of Practice for international faculty, instructors, and post-docs who seek to explore how language use, teaching strategies, and cultural expectations intersect to enhance classroom communication in U.S. higher education. At monthly sessions, participants will also consider ways to deepen students’ understanding of the world by infusing their instruction with relevant perspectives and content from their own experiences. Meetings take place Feb. 9, March 9, and Apr. 6.

Gain confidence as a leader

If you are new to management and want to become more confident in leading people, building and managing a team, and achieving results, sign up for Leadership Essentials, offered by Leadership and Talent Development in the Office of Human Resources and the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Register by Feb. 28. Sessions take place March 5, 12, 19, and 26.

UMTC Featured Eventsa word cloud

Feb. 1 - Resilience: A Panel Discussion (IAS Thursdays)
Feb. 1 - Panel Discussion | Land Body Industry
Feb. 2 - Marc Swackhamer ‘Hypernatural: Architecture's New Relationship with Nature’
Feb. 3 - EXHIBITION - Then and Now: Fashion Show @ 50
Feb. 5 - Spring 2018 Community Chinese Classes
Feb. 14 - The Love Project: Love Letters to Our Marginalized Communities

Events Calendar >