June 20, 2018

Vol. XLVIII No. 21

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

Summer publication: Brief will publish on July 18 and Aug. 8 and 22. Weekly publication will resume Aug. 29.

  • Board of Regents June meeting highlights.
  • Working to strengthen M Health.
  • Features: The grip game; A smartphone app that collects travel data; Dancing with stars; Embracing the bump.
  • People: 2018 Research Infrastructure Awards announced; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents June meeting highlights

At its June meeting, the U of M Board of Regents approved the FY 2019 operating budget, which includes an additional level of review (starting July 1) for hiring positions supported by state appropriations and tuition. Regents also reviewed the University’s efforts to ensure student success in high-risk, high-enrollment foundational courses that fulfill general education requirements, and recognized members of the University community for their service.

See the news release for more information >

Working to strengthen M Health

The University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Physicians, and Fairview Health Services have announced a nonbinding letter of intent to create a nationally-renowned health system that combines academic and community resources to provide the best clinical care to patients and communities, while supporting research and education.

The grip gamea video game of a rocket on a screen

With philanthropic backing, a U of M team has designed a video game that uses a cleverly disguised handgrip to measure strength, fatigue, and fine motor skills in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Read more and watch kids try the game >

A smartphone app that collects travel dataYingling Fan

Researchers led by Associate Professor Yingling Fan are in the final stages of creating a startup company to sell an app that tracks how people get from place to place. The app, called Daynamica, will inform transportation planning by collecting important information more easily and for less cost than traditional methods. This is the first patent and startup based on research completed at the Humphrey School.

Dancing with starsan interplanetary scene

Once the realm of science fiction, virtual journeys through the stars will become reality in July, when the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium opens at the new University of Minnesota Bell Museum. The 120-seat planetarium employs space-age tools for sending visitors anywhere in the universe. With input from numerous U of M scientists, the planetarium is poised to help students and the public see Earth in new ways.

Embracing the bumpMap of Minnesota graphic with "Minnesota Bump" region highlighted

Cynthia Messer directs the U of M’s Tourism Center, which helps cities and towns across the state--regardless of size or location--develop their tourism industries by using community-engaged research. Messer recently helped pump up the number of visitors to Clinton, Graceville, and Beardsley (total population: 1,200) in Big Stone County. The county is just one of dozens of Minnesota communities that Messer and her colleagues have helped in the past few years.


2018 Research Infrastructure Awards announced; Michelle Biros has been appointed deputy institutional official for biomedical studies for the U of M’s Institutional Review Board; Diane Wiese-Bjornstal has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology; Michael Osterholm has been selected by the U.S. Department of State as one of five 2018 U.S. Science Envoys; Stephen Shuman has been named a Gerontological Society of America Fellow; Sri Zaheer has been honored by Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest as one of its Business Hall of Fame Laureates; Shaker Zahra has been elected a member of the Fellows Group of the Academy of Management; more than 150 U of M Health physicians were recognized as “Top Doctors” by Mpls.St.Paul magazine; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Administrative policy update

Food and refreshments, meals while in travel status, and business mileage are just three of the topics covered in the new Business Expenses administrative policy, which covers employee expenses. The Hospitality and Entertainment of Non-Employees policy now focuses on non-employees, allows for colleges/campuses/departments to establish more restrictive guidelines, and specifies the exception request process.

Review and comment on the policies >

Pronouns and gender identity

Students and employees on all campuses are now able to share personal pronouns and/or a gender identity through the “My Info” tab of MyU. Sharing personal pronouns and/or a gender identity is optional. Students’ pronouns will be available in several places where student data is made available to University instructors, advisers, and other employees. Gender identity is not shared with class instructors or other campus partners, including health services. Learn more at MyU: Pronouns & Gender Identity, or in the fact sheet.

An online library for all Minnesotans

Following a two-year pilot, readership of Ebooks Minnesota, an online book collection available to all Minnesotans (managed by Minitex at the University of Minnesota), is taking off. Many schools and some rural public libraries are using Ebooks Minnesota, and by making the collection available statewide, the program is leveling the playing field for all Minnesotans.

June 26 - Supervisory Development webinar: Building Resilient Teams and Departments

Today’s workplace is filled with change, so it’s likely that you’ve experienced moments of stress and ambiguity. As a supervisor you have the power to build resilience within your team and remain effective during challenging times. Noon-1 p.m.

Register and learn more >

Updated Gmail interface available in July

The new Google Gmail interface will be optional for U of M users until October, when it will become the University’s standard Google web mail interface.

Google Hangouts Meet to include dial-in option

Google Hangouts Meet will include a feature that allows users to dial in to a Google Meet using a phone number beginning July 5.

Discover Canvas workshops

Each workshop in this series takes a thorough look into a Canvas topic, such as making design and navigation decisions, creating content and assessments, and assessing student progress. In these short, blended workshops, participants should expect to commit at least one hour per day over four days to completing online activities in addition to one hour-long, synchronous session via WebEx. 

Register and learn more >

Aug. 1-2 - Minnesota eLearning Summit

This year’s eLearning Summit at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities will provide professional development and networking opportunities for educators and innovators committed to effective online, blended, and digital learning. Keynote speakers are higher education futurist Bryan Alexander and Chronicle of Higher Education writer Goldie Blumenstyk. Group registration discounts are available for U of M faculty and staff. Early registration ends July 13.


Student profile: Chase KnickerbockerChase Knickerbocker

An interest that began in high school developed into a major in college and a future in finance for University of Minnesota Crookston student Chase Knickerbocker. The finance major and accounting minor is spending his summer in Atlanta, interning at one of the largest data and analytics companies in the country.

Hoffman named vice chancellor for academic and student affairs

John Hoffman has been named vice chancellor for academic and student affairs  at the University of Minnesota Crookston, pending approval by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.

June 30 - NWSA reunion

The Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) Alumni Association will welcome alumni back to the University of Minnesota Crookston campus for their annual reunion. First held in 1918, the reunion brings back alumni from the Northwest School of Agriculture, a residential high school located on what is now the University of Minnesota Crookston campus.

Spring 2018 graduates

The Office of the Registrar at the University of Minnesota Crookston recently announced its list of spring semester 2018 graduates.


County pilots deconstruction alternative to demolitionconstruction workers at a site

Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) material specialists are working with two Minnesota organizations on the best ways to dismantle houses, recycle and reuse salvaged materials, and keep tons of waste out of landfills. NRRI scientist Victor Krause and his team are training workers to safely remove items such as hardwood flooring or architectural features in a way that retains resale value and keeps items out of landfills.

Learn more about the pilot project >

Concerts in Julypeople at Glensheen pier concert

Glensheen’s Concerts on the Pier run every Wednesday in July from 7 to 8 p.m. The series kicks off on July 4 with Big Wave Dave and the Ripples. Food truck selections will be available for purchase, and local brews will be available at a cash bar. Glensheen has extended hours every night in July with tours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Mellon Foundation granttwo women prepare food

The University of Minnesota Morris has earned a $137,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The award supports an Engaged and Engaging Humanities initiative, which will engage students, faculty members, and the larger community in reimagining the role of the humanities as vital and broadly relevant to a modern liberal arts curriculum.

CST receives operating support grantcenter for small towns meeting

The Center for Small Towns (CST) has been awarded an operating support grant for 2018-19 by the Otto Bremer Trust. The award will help further CST's work with small towns and community groups across Minnesota.

UMMAA Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

Marilyn Strand '77 has earned the 2018 University of Minnesota Morris Alumni Association (UMMAA) Distinguished Alumni Award. An outstanding student at Morris, Strand has been a leader in patient care for almost 40 years. She holds a BA in biology and psychology from the University of Minnesota Morris and an MD from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.


June 26 - UMR Connects: Absolutely Elvis

At the next UMR Connects, Todd Anderson will portray Elvis Presley through music and sharing of historical and interesting facts in an entertaining show for all ages. No charge and open to the public.

Higher Education Innovation Summit recap

More than 100 attendees from colleges and universities around the country, Canada, and Norway attended 34 different sessions over the three days of the Higher Education Innovation Summit that explored and shared innovations in higher education including best practices and challenges. Some highlights can be found on Twitter.

Twin Cities

July 11-Sept. 26 - U of M Farmers MarketGoldy Gopher at the farmers market

The U of M Farmers Market will return on Wednesdays beginning July 11, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Gateway Plaza outside McNamara Alumni Center. Local farmers are looking forward to bringing you the freshest vegetables, berries, flowers, and more. Once again there will be plenty of dining options including the UDS dining tent and several food trucks. Representatives from the U of M’s Wellbeing Program will be handing out t-shirts (while supplies last).

UMTC Featured EventsLindsey Whalen

June 21 - Thought Leaders in Food & Ag Speaker Series: Innovation and Investment in Agtech
June 22 - Tour of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory
June 26 - 2018 Public Leadership Awards
June 29 - U of M Night at the Minnesota United
July 10 - Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Community Course
July 11 - "felt room" with BodyCartography Project 7.11.18
July 11 - OED Certificate Workshop: Facilitating Challenging Conversations
July 15 - Lynx U of M Night

Events Calendar >