July 12, 2017

Vol. XLVII No. 23

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

Summer publication: Brief will publish on July 26 and Aug. 9. Weekly publication will resume Aug. 30.

  • Board of Regents meets July 12.
  • Features: Middle-class wages have stagnated over time; Sustainable rubber and plastics become a reality; Study finds link between community’s rate of military sacrifice, Trump support; Humphrey School partnering on research to help Greater Minnesota; Study determines what makes ‘successful’ smile.
  • People: Recipients of the 2017 Research Infrastructure Investment Program; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents meets July 12

The U of M Board of Regents will receive the second annual update on the University Progress Card, a tool used to track progress on high-level institutional goals, at its July meeting. Progress Card highlights include increasing graduation rates, a higher Twin Cities campus first-year student average ACT score, an increase in institutional gift aid systemwide, and greater Twin Cities campus R&D expenditures. The board will also receive annual updates from Gopher Athletics and the U of M Alumni Association, as well as discuss UMore Park. 

See the news release for more information >

Middle-class wages have stagnated over timepeople from aerial view walking in open area

Middle- and working-class workers’ earnings in the US have been stagnating or sinking in recent decades, according to a study conducted by a group of researchers that included the University of Minnesota’s Fatih Guvenen. The team’s research explores how the lifetime income for men and women in the US has changed over six decades, from 1957 to 2013.

Sustainable rubber and plastics become a realityrows of car tires

Tire companies have long sought an efficient way to make isoprene—the main building block of natural rubber—from sugars found in trees, grass, and other plants. Now, a University of Minnesota-led team of engineers has given them one. The new discovery has the potential to expand domestic production of car tires from renewable sources and is expected to have an impact on many other rubber-based products.

Study: Link between community’s rate of military sacrifice, Trump supportgravestone and folded american flag

Increasingly, a divide is emerging between communities whose residents are dying to defend the country and those communities whose young people are not. This divide—including a large urban-rural casualty gap—contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential victory in November 2016, says Francis Shen, a U of M law professor and coauthor of a study that has found a “significant and meaningful relationship” between a community’s rate of military sacrifice and its support for President Trump.

Humphrey School partnering on research to help Greater Minnesotasmall town main street

The Humphrey School is partnering with University of Minnesota Extension on a three-year study to examine economic and population trends in rural Minnesota, and to help communities attract more residents. Associate Professor Ryan Allen is co-leading the project. A report Allen authored earlier this year determined that attracting more immigrants is the key to growing Minnesota's labor force in the future.

Study determines what makes ‘successful’ smilea smile

New research shows that less is more when it comes to a successful smile, which could have implications for how surgeons and therapists work with patients who have facial paralysis. The study observed how 802 people perceived 3D computer-animated facial models that had varying mouth angles, symmetry, extent of smile and amount of showing teeth. The researchers found that a successful smile may contradict the “more is always better” principle because bigger, toothier smiles were not as well perceived.


The Office of the Vice President for Research has announced the recipients of the 2017 Research Infrastructure Investment Program; the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has achieved the highest national recognition afforded to the nation’s museums; Sandy Ulsaker Wiese has been elected chair of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s board of directors; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Adobe Acrobat and Reader to be upgraded

Beginning on July 17, the Office of Information Technology will be performing a mass update of all Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions to Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Reader DC. This update will affect all OIT centrally managed devices (both Windows and Mac) and all devices that OIT patches.

Use eduroam WiFi network

Faculty and staff are encouraged to use eduroam, the preferred secure WiFi network for the University of Minnesota. To log in, choose “eduroam” from your WiFi network options and enter your full University email address and password. The eduroam network is available at all campuses.

Encryption is for everyone: Keeping your data safe and secure

Wherever you store your data or information, encrypt it. Whatever you store, back it up. Learn how to keep your digital property safe and secure with backups and encryption at this Spotlight on Safe Computing.

Aug. 2-3 - Minnesota eLearning Summit

Register for the Minnesota eLearning Summit, the premiere event of the Minnesota Learning Commons and a gathering place for educators and innovators in the Midwest who are committed to effective online and blended learning. Keynote presenters include Nichole Pinkard, DePaul University, "Equity Through Design: Defining the Components of a Community-based Equitable Learning Infrastructure"; and Alec Couros, University of Regina, "Embracing Open/Networked Learning in a Post-Truth Era."


New UMC Leadership Academy

The new UMC Leadership Academy will launch this fall. The program is designed to create a culture of leadership at the University of Minnesota Crookston by assisting faculty and staff in the development of leadership skills, capacity, and readiness, and to help position them to move their programs, units, departments, and the campus forward. Informational sessions about the program will be offered during Opening Week in August.

Regents approve UMC academic programs

At its June meeting, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved two academic programs for the Crookston campus. The board granted approval to deliver both the existing on-campus bachelor of science (B.S.) degree and the online undergraduate minor in agricultural business, effective fall 2018.

Westrom receives service award

Professor Lyle Westrom has been presented with the Judging and Student Service Award by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA). He received the award on July 1 at a NACTA professional meeting in West Lafayette, IN.


New School of Fine Arts deanRobert Kase

Robert Kase has been named dean of the UMD School of Fine Arts (SFA). A UMD alumnus, Kase most recently was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Francis. Kase is also a Grammy-nominated musician. Previous SFA dean William Payne has returned to teaching in UMD’s Department of Theatre.

CAMS groundbreaking ceremonyCAMS building blueprint

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 11 to celebrate UMD’s new Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science (CAMS) building. The CAMS building, which will take about two years to complete, is replacing the current Chemistry Building, which opened in 1948 and was built to serve 300 students. It currently serves more than 5,500 students a year.

Great Lakes grand challengesRobert Sterner

Professor Robert Sterner is among a team of scientists who have named five grand challenges facing the Great Lakes in a paper published in the Journal Limnology and Oceanography. Sterner, director of UMD’s Large Lakes Observatory, stated that the article was written to “articulate the Grand Challenges for research in the Laurentian Great Lakes and the need for associated funding.”

One River honoredactors on stage

UMD Theatre’s production of One River was recently named “Outstanding Production of a New or Devised Work” by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Written and directed by Professor Tom Isbell, the play was also named “Outstanding Ensemble of a Play or Musical,” with Isbell receiving the award for outstanding director.


Wind-STEP Programteacher and student looking at computer

UMM recently conducted the Wind-STEP Program, funded by the National Science Foundation. Wind-STEP is a two-week program that introduces Native American students who are juniors or seniors in high school to careers in the sciences. Participants learn about Geographical Information System(s) (GIS) and wind energy in a fun, supportive, and challenging environment.

Rural Arts and Culture Summitpeople exercising outside

UMM recently hosted the 2017 Rural Arts and Culture Summit, which brought together a community concerned about arts in rural spaces. The summit featured speakers, including Beyond Buckskin creator Jessica Metcalfe and Bemidji State University Professor of Ojibwe Anton Treuer, in conversations about culture and the arts in rural communities.


UMR faculty receive NSF grant for collaborative research

This project is a collaborative proposal between faculty at the University of Minnesota Rochester and Kennesaw State University. Cassidy Terrell will serve as UMR’s principal investigator for the grant along with co-principal investigator Xavier Prat-Resina. The goal of the project is to increase chemistry and biochemistry students' conceptual understanding of structure/function relationships using targeted 3D virtual and physical modeling activities.

July 18 - Caring Canines: Animal Assisted Therapy

Pet therapy is a growing trend in healthcare. Dogs and other animals are able to help people recover from or better cope with health problems such as heart disease, cancer, and mental health disorders. At the next UMR Connects, Jessica Smidt will share her experience in training dogs for these services. Smidt is coordinator of the Animal Assisted Therapy Program at Mayo Clinic. 7 p.m., Peace Plaza.

Twin Cities

July 12 - U of M Farmers Market returnsman buying veggies at a market

The U of M Farmers Market will return beginning on July 12, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Gateway Plaza, outside McNamara Alumni Center. As in past years, the market will take place every Wednesday, through Sept. 27. Local farmers are looking forward to bringing you the freshest vegetables, berries, flowers, and more. Be sure to stop by the University Wellness Program tent and pick up a reusable bag to carry your produce (supplies are limited, so stop by early).

Zap! 2017 Bike Challenge Begins July 15

Employees of 3M, Target, and the University of Minnesota will be pitted against each other this summer in a semi-friendly biking competition for a gold-colored bike rack. Learn more about the contest and encourage coworkers to join the U of M team.

July 26 - The Fragile Individual Health Insurance Market

The private insurance that self-employed Americans use is under enormous stress due to policy changes in Washington and market pressures. Consumers in Minnesota and other parts of the country are facing fewer choices and sharp increases in premiums. Prominent national and state experts Sabrina Corlette, professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute, Senator Michelle Benson, Jim Schowalter, president and CEO of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, and others will discuss the future of private health insurance. 9-10:30 a.m., Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School.

Register and learn more >

University Libraries canceling BrowZine subscription July 31

BrowZine is a service that helps users find and access content from academic journals. Although there are no directly equivalent alternatives to BrowZine, your liaison librarian can help you find alternate ways to be notified of new journal content. Email Kristi Bergland or Jody Kempf with any questions.

4th Street Parking Ramp discontinues Early Bird discounted parking

Effective Aug. 15, the discounted Early Bird parking rate will no longer be available for public parkers at the 4th Street Parking Ramp. The Early Bird program offers parking for $6 in select University parking locations when drivers arrive before 7 a.m. and exit before midnight.

Learn more about other locations and alternatives >

UMTC Featured EventsDan Israel

July 12 - Dan Israel
July 19 - Innocent Reggae Band
July 19 - Soccer Game (Minnesota United FC vs. Houston Dynamo) with ISSS Summer Group
July 20 - Tour of St. Anthony Falls Laboratory
July 20 - Kim International Piano Camp: Opening Concert Featuring Kyung & Michael Kim, "Dancing Keys"
July 21 - Palliative Care Exceptionalism? A Broader Perspective on End of Life Care and Modern Medicine
July 22 - Jr. Composers Salon

Events Calendar >