July 26, 2017

Vol. XLVII No. 24

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

Summer publication: Brief will next publish on Aug. 9. Weekly publication will resume Aug. 30.

  • Board of Regents July meeting highlights.
  • Features: Two lives, one chance; Researchers transform conservation tool with gold nanotechnology, lasers; U study finds recognition technology a step closer to use in courtroom; Energy storage paired with solar more cost effective in MN.
  • People: Fionnuala Ní Aoláin has been appointed the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents July meeting highlights

The U of M Board of Regents heard an update from UMAA about the significant impact alumni have on the University system and about UMAA’s intent to develop a new five-year strategic plan. Regents also received an update on University Progress Card metrics, which include increasing graduation rates, more institutional gift aid, and the lowering of median undergraduate debt at graduation. The board also heard an annual report from Gopher Athletics.

See more highlights in the news release >

Two lives, one chancePaislyn and Paisleigh babies

In what is likely a first-of-its-kind endeavor, U of M doctors used virtual reality to save the lives of twins partially conjoined at the heart. The use of virtual reality holds the potential to allow doctors to plan medical procedures before they enter the body, setting a precedent for the future of surgery.

Researchers transform conservation tool with gold nanotechnology, lasersa fish embryo

In a new study, researchers at the University of Minnesota and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute have provided the first-ever reproducible evidence for the successful cryopreservation of zebrafish embryos. The results have sweeping implications for wildlife conservation and human health.

U study finds recognition technology a step closer to use in courtroomman wearing electrode cap

In most crime scenes, there is some information that is known only by investigators and the actual perpetrator. Soon, however, neuroscience technology may be able to help the legal system differentiate truth tellers from liars, according to a University of Minnesota study.

Energy storage paired with solar more cost effective in MNwind turbine

As federal policy on renewable energy is being rolled back, a new U of M-led report finds that when environmental benefits are considered, combined energy storage and solar arrays can be a more cost-effective alternative in Minnesota today compared with natural gas peaking plants, which are fired up only to meet peak demand.


Fionnuala Ní Aoláin has been appointed the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism; Linda Kinkel was awarded an NSF grant for creation of the Agricultural Microbiomes Project research coordination network; Ananya Chatterjea is the 2017 recipient of the Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Award; 2017 Equity and Diversity Transformation Award recipients; the U of M has renamed two centers in honor of Earl Bakken; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Library search gets a new look

University Libraries will unveil a new interface for its search tool, MNCAT Discovery, for its print and digital collections. The search is more accessible and includes a feature that allows users to browse a virtual shelf when looking for books.

July 29-30 - Some MyU services unavailable overnight

Due to a planned software update, some MyU features will be unavailable from 6 p.m. on July 29 through noon on July 30. During that time, users will not be able to access the My Time, My Pay, My Info, My Benefits, and Manager Info tabs.

Discover Canvas on Thursdays this summer

In June, it was announced that Canvas was selected to be the successor to Moodle. As the U begins the transition process, Discover Canvas events will be held each Thursday this summer. At these events, members of the Canvas transition team will be available in-person and online to help faculty and staff explore this new learning environment.

Graduate education policy review

Several graduate education policies have been reviewed in accordance with the University’s comprehensive review process. The updated versions, now in effect, are posted on the University Policy Library website. Additional information may be found on the Graduate School website.

Submit nominees for the Lillian H. Williams Award

The Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action invites nominations for the Lillian H. Williams Award. Nominees can be individuals or units that have shown commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action by educating the community on issues and topics related to equity, diversity, and the struggle against discrimination and harassment. Email a one-page nomination to eoaa@umn.edu by Aug. 15.

Apply for the Health Equity Leadership and Mentoring Program

The U of M Medical School's Program in Health Disparities Research is now taking applications for the 2017-18 Health Equity Leadership and Mentoring Program. This program is designed to enhance the academic excellence and leadership capacity of diverse faculty and health disparities researchers at the University of Minnesota and ultimately reduce health inequities. This opportunity is available to junior faculty members and postdoctoral fellows or trainees from minority and underserved groups and/or whose research is addressing health equity.


Chancellor Holz-Clause takes the leadMary Holz-Clause

As the new chancellor at the U of M Crookston Mary Holz-Clause settles into her new role, she comes to it well prepared to lead.

Read more about Holz-Clause >

Golf tournament supports scholarships

It proved to be a record-setting day for the 16th annual Mark Olsonawksi Scholarship Golf Tournament. More than 90 participating golfers raised more than $6,000 in support of scholarships for student athletes.

Aug. 14-19 - Ox Cart Days theater

The annual Ox Cart Days children's Summer Arts Safari Theater, in collaboration with Crookston Community Theatre, will present Disney's The Lion King Jr.

Life Lessons in Study Abroad

In high school, she and a friend declared a goal to study abroad in college. This spring, senior Malena Rupprecht, an elementary education major from Thief River Falls, MN, achieved that goal with a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Her study abroad experience taught her some valuable life lessons.


Athletics' Amazing SeasonUMD flag saying number one

UMD Athletics released highlights from its 2016-17 season. Among the accomplishments in competition, classroom, and community were 16 All-Americans, an all-time-high GPA of 3.21, and a record 3,050 volunteer hours provided to nearly 40 local organizations. UMD athletic sponsorship and ticket revenue topped the $3 million mark for the second year in a row.

Awareness through designawareness poster

Graphic Design Assistant Professor John O’Neill’s The Awareness Campaign, which he established with the founders of content development company Zuula, educates people about disability inequality and discrimination. The campaign has been recognized by publications such as Graphic Design USA and Creative Quarterly and was a merit winner in How magazine’s annual international design competition.

Unique program launchedcogs

Swenson College of Science and Engineering (SCSE) is now offering a B.S. in Engineering Physics--the only one of its kind in Minnesota. Marc Seigar, new associate dean for SCSE, says that the program will seek accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. Representatives from a wide range of companies serve on SCSE’s new Engineering Physics Industrial Advisory Board.


UMM honored for inclusivity, academics, and creativitysummer scene

Recent rankings by Fiske, College Choice, The Bookmark, and Creative Colleges commend UMM for its engaging academics, inclusivity, and creative community. These rankings not only distinguish UMM, but also paint a welcoming picture of campus life.

UMM named best college for the moneystudents throwing hats in air

UMM has earned accolades for the return on investment it offers students and their families. This month the campus made MONEY's list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money 2017-18." The list offers a new take on what matters most in an admissions decision: where students will get the best return on their investment after graduation.

Alumna to bike cross-country for wild placesKatie Ledermann

This fall alumna Katie Ledermann '17 will bike 4,871 miles to raise awareness of the threats facing public lands. Ledermann says the critical-thinking and organizational skills she honed at Morris, along with her internship at the Office of Sustainability, set her up for success in her fight for wild spaces.

Imagine Fund awardprofessor speaking to class

Associate Professor Mark Collier and Assistant Professor Clement Loo received a Special Event Imagine Fund award to support the 42nd annual Midwest Philosophy Colloquium. Special Event Imagine Fund award winners are recognized for providing exceptional opportunities in terms of ideas, innovation, collaboration, interdisciplinary exchange, and public engagement with the University and community.


UMR considers expansion at Discovery Square

As UMR continues to attract a record number of students, it will soon become necessary to occupy additional space for teaching, including hooded chemistry labs. The University has been in discussions with M.A. Mortenson Co., which is developing the Destination Medical Center area known as Discovery Square. The research and development complex is set to break ground later this year and will be home to multiple tenants including Mayo Clinic. UMR has signed a nonbinding letter of intent that does not commit the University to the space, but allows discussions and planning to begin.

Students get hands-on experience

Last week, 40 high school students from across Minnesota participated in the second annual Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Career Immersion Program. The intense weeklong program is a collaboration with Mayo Clinic to give participants firsthand experience with a variety of health science careers. After the 2016 program, five participants decided to continue their health science journey and are now students at UMR.

Read more in the Rochester Post Bulletin >

Aug. 1 - Discovering Chinese Culture in Rochester

Learn about Chinese culture and traditions from members of the Rochester Chinese School at the next UMR Connects. The school will introduce attendees to Taiji, traditional Chinese instruments Erhu (Chinese violin) and Guzheng (Chinese zither), and Chinese songs and dance. 7-8:30 p.m., Peace Plaza.

Twin Cities

What Drives Emily Riha?Emily Riha

As the copyright permissions coordinator at University of Minnesota Libraries, Emily Riha is driven to negotiate the fairest price for students and faculty.

Read more about Riha >

Volunteers needed for Welcome Week

Faculty and staff volunteers are needed to assist with Welcome Week 2017. Opportunities include helping with Residence Hall Move-In (Aug. 28-29), Move-In Receptions for Families (Aug. 29), and New Student Convocation (Aug. 31). More than 6,000 students will participate in this year’s Welcome Week, which is designed to prepare them for the start of their academic careers.

Learn more and volunteer >

U buys additional community solar subscriptionssolar panels

The U of M is continuing to invest in renewable, locally produced energy sources. With approval from the Board of Regents, the Twin Cities campus will annually purchase 46 million kilowatt hours of community solar garden subscriptions over the next 25 years.

Aug. 13 - Pre-eclipse Block Partyeclipse path represented on map

One week ahead of the great North American solar eclipse, U of M scientists will host talks, hands-on activities, solar telescope observing, and ExploraDome planetarium shows. Learn everything you'll need to know to safely catch your view of the eclipse on Aug. 21. Complimentary solar viewing glasses will be available while supplies last. Noon-3 p.m., Physics & Nanotechnology Building and Akerman Hall’s Balas Atrium. A July 29 solar picnic will also take place in St. Paul.

Aug. 31-Sept. 1 - Introduction to Data Analysis with R and Reproducible Data Science

With the increasing availability of data with broad applications, it is more important than ever to be able to elucidate trends, decisions, and stories from data. This short course will offer a hands-on introduction to data science and statistics using the publicly available software R. Assuming no background knowledge of software or statistics, the course will bring you up to speed on some of the most useful, modern, and popular data analysis techniques. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily, Room 50B, Humphrey School.

UMTC Featured Eventsan orchestra

July 26 - Rio Nido
Aug. 3 - Annual McNair Scholars Poster Presentation & Reception
Aug. 5 - Minnesota Rally for Research
Aug. 5 - Summer Chorus Concert
Aug. 9 - Summer Orchestra Concert
Aug. 9 - The Gentlemen's Anti-Temperance League
Aug. 12 - Yoga at WAM

Events Calendar >