June 7, 2017

Vol. XLVII No. 21

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

Summer publication schedule: Brief will publish on June 21, July 12 and 26, and Aug. 9. Weekly publication will resume Aug. 30.

  • State Relations update.
  • Regents invite comments on proposed 2018 operating budget.
  • Features: Shaping Somali youth and family success; The science of meditation; We’re on the brink of mass extinction--but there’s still time to fix it; Help astronomers find ‘baby’ galaxies. 
  • People: Three U of M researchers have received Minnesota Futures grants; and more

Top News

State Relations update

On May 30, Governor Dayton signed the higher education bill and the bonding bill. President Kaler released a statement expressing gratitude for the state funding. He also voiced concern that the funding was lower than what’s needed to maintain mission-driven activities of the U.

Regents invite comments on proposed 2018 operating budget

The Board of Regents will review President Eric Kaler’s recommended fiscal year 2018 Annual Operating Budget at its June 8 meeting (see the agenda), taking action on the budget during a special meeting on June 20. Regents have launched a new online feedback form to gather input on the budget. The period for public comment is open until noon, June 13. Both the June 9 and June 20 meetings will be public, live-streamed, and video recorded. Additionally, the June 8 budget discussion, beginning at 8:45 a.m., will be live-streamed.

Shaping Somali youth and family successtwo young somali girls

Somali-American refugees who aren't enrolled in college are often surprised the University of Minnesota has something for them. Through U of M Extension, many adults are discovering the benefits of nutrition classes to get their health back on track, and their kids have joined the 4-H family. Educators in other states are taking notice.

Read more >

The science of meditationTwo U researchers

Can meditation help prevent or ameliorate heart disease? For years, many patients and physicians have believed the answer is yes--though ironclad evidence has been hard to come by. Now a University of Minnesota Medical School team is exploring whether--and precisely how--meditation affects heart health.

We’re on the brink of mass extinction--but there’s still time to fix itfield students with binoculars

U of M researchers and coauthors from eight countries on four continents have estimated that the value humans derive from biodiversity is 10 times what every country in the world put together spends on conservation today--suggesting that additional investments in protecting species would not only reduce biodiversity loss but also provide economic benefit.

Learn more about the study >

Help astronomers find ‘baby’ galaxies that give birth to new starswhite light through a prism

A new U of M–led citizen science project is asking the public to find “baby” galaxies that are giving birth to new stars.


Three U of M researchers have received this year’s Minnesota Futures grants; Bernadette Gillick has been named to the Global Professional Education Committee for the International Alliance of Academies of Childhood Disability; Bernard (Bernie) Gulachek has been appointed VP for information technology and chief information officer; dozens of U of M Health physicians were recently honored as “Rising Stars” in their fields by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine; the Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies at University Libraries is a recipient of the Diversity Award given by the Society of American Archivists; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

University of Minnesota selects Canvas to replace Moodle

Following two years of pilots, evaluation, and cross-campus consultation with faculty, students, and staff, the University of Minnesota has chosen Canvas to succeed Moodle as its single, centrally supported learning management system.

Learn more about the transition and timing >

Redesigned z.umn.edu

The University’s popular z.umn.edu URL-shortening service recently relaunched with a refreshed look and new features. The tool is available to anyone with a U of M Internet ID. The service enables users to create custom URLs ending in umn.edu for University-related projects. Improvements include better accessibility, the ability to transfer ownership of a link, the ability to create collections for better organization, and more.

Want to help pollinators? Try these annuals and native grasses

Minnesotans eager to help pollinators now can turn to research at the University of Minnesota Extension, which looked at which annual flowers are likeliest to attract bees, butterflies, moths, and other insects.

A Summer of Treehousestreehouse art rendering

The U of M Landscape Arboretum will host "Amazing Spaces, Places and Escapes: Re-imagining Treehouses," a summer exhibit that captures the whimsy, artistic fancy, interpretation, and "wild" points of view in 12 outdoor structures or sculptures. The works are the re-imaginings of local artists, architects, builders, and hobbyists. Those who wish to design a treehouse model of their own may attend a special Community Builds event scheduled for June 17, July 8, July 22, and Aug. 12, 10 a.m.-noon.


NWRSDP seeks board members

Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (NWRSDP) is seeking community members in Northwestern Minnesota to serve on its board of directors. Submit your application by June 9 for terms beginning in July.

Commencement ceremonies online

The video of commencement ceremonies for the UMC Class of 2017 is now available on the Commencement 2017 website.

Wellness Center now available for faculty/staff use

In an effort to enhance benefits, encourage healthy lifestyles, and engage employees in the campus community, the Wellness Center will be available for membership to University employees beginning July 1. Complimentary trial memberships will be offered now through June 30.

‘Most Financial Aid’ recognition

The University of Minnesota Crookston has been listed among the Top 250 Public Colleges that Offer Freshmen the Most Financial Aid by the Student Loan Report, an online resource. UMC was ranked number 155 in the nation.


STEM initiativestudents walking

Professor Anne Hinderliter, Assistant Professor Ona Egbue, and junior Akquaa Anye, all from the Swenson College of Science and Engineering, have launched a project, SCSE PeerUp. Their goal is to encourage and support women and underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields at UMD through a mentorship program.

New directorKarl Markgraf

Karl Markgraf has been named director of UMD’s International Programs and Services. Some of his top priorities will be to expand opportunities for students to study, work, and volunteer abroad. He will also strive to grow and diversify UMD’s international student population. Markgraf most recently served as the associate vice president for international affairs at Virginia Tech.

CAMS building approvedCAMS building drawing

Funding for UMD’s Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science (CAMS) building was part of the bonding bill recently approved by Governor Mark Dayton. In addition to chemistry, the structure will house UMD’s Advanced Materials Center, where students will explore the field of materials science. The CAMS building will serve over 5,500 students a year.


2017 Distinguished Alumni Award RecipientsDennis Gimmestad and Teresa Luckow

Dennis Gimmestad '73 and Teresa Luckow Peterson '91 earned the 2017 UMM Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award. Now in its 16th year, the award honors alumni who make noteworthy contributions in their professional lives, in public service, or in service to the University of Minnesota.

First J-1 Student InternJan Broemmelhaus

UMM saw the arrival of its first J-1 Student Intern, Jan Broemmelhaus of Ahaus, Germany. Broemmelhaus is working to develop clean energy solutions with the campus, the City of Morris, and the West Central Research and Outreach Center. Coordinated by the International Student Services Program at UMTC, the J-1 Student Intern program provides career training for students.

Top 20 for computer sciencestudents at a computer

UMM has been included in The Bookmark’s “Top 20 Small Colleges for Computer Science” list. The list considers factors like student-faculty ratio, average annual cost, graduation rate, and median salary 10 years after attending, and was compiled using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, The Princeton Review, and the Department of Education’s College Scorecard.

2017 Hall of Fame inductees

Todd Hanson ’97 (basketball), Anna Townsend Tool ’99 (volleyball and basketball), and Steve Van Hee ’65 (golf) are the latest inductees into the Cougar Hall of Fame. The athletes will be honored as part of 2017 Homecoming celebration, Sept. 29-Oct. 1.


UMR going the extra mile or 6,732 milesHaley Pysick and Virginia Peterson

UMR alumna Haley Pysick is currently completing her capstone near Shanghai. While there (6,732 miles from campus), she was able to connect with UMR Professor Virginia Wright-Peterson, who was giving lectures at various hospitals. Pysick says that Wright-Peterson is an amazing professor who helped her throughout her undergrad years, and she was thrilled to connect with her in China.

June 13 - Swing Inc. plays the classics from the Swing Era

The next UMR Connects will feature an outdoor summer evening listening to classics from the swing era. Swing Inc. Jazz has been performing for nearly 20 years. The quintet is made up of some of the best jazz players in the region, who are sure to delight with their interpretations of classic tunes from the great American songbook. 7 p.m., Peace Plaza, downtown Rochester. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be held at Room 417, University Square, 111 S. Broadway.

Twin Cities

U report explores healthy and equitable development in Twin Cities suburbshousing sketch

A new report by a team of researchers at the U of M’s Resilient Communities Project provides insights into barriers stakeholders face to building healthier, more equitable developments in first-ring suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and steps to positively influence development decisions moving forward.

WiFi upgrade on the Twin Cities campus

The Next Generation Network (NGN) project will upgrade all components of the University of Minnesota's network, both wired and WiFi, over the next three years. WiFi upgrades are continuing this month on the East Bank campus, and upgrades have recently been completed in St. Paul and on the West Bank (see the schedule). This first phase of the NGN project will upgrade every WiFi access point in buildings and structures systemwide. Service disruption is expected to be minimal.

It All Adds Up: Swellness program

Whether you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint or simply want to be more active during the workday, at the intersection of sustainability and wellness is Swellness, where small actions improve your health and help the environment. There's still time to participate in Walk the Waste/Waist Away (June 5-9), an optional event where you can commit to using shared waste and recycling bins, encouraging healthy habits for you and the earth.

Campus Club summer happy hour

The Campus Club is open to nonmembers weekdays in June, July, and August, 4-7 p.m. The bar and happy hour menus include house-made appetizers, snacks, and entrees featuring local and organic ingredients with a rotating lineup of local beers, wines, and custom cocktails. Visit the bar and the beautiful fourth-floor terrace.

Northrop summer Music on the Plaza

Northrop’s outdoor concert series is back in full force this year on Northrop plaza. Enjoy shows featuring bands from around the Twin Cities every Wednesday (and one bonus Monday concert) at noon. In case of rain, concerts will be held inside Northrop. Concerts begin June 7.

Register June 5-16 for the 2017 Turtle Derby

For 30 years, the Turtle Derby at U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital has been a tradition for patients, families, faculty, and staff. Activities include turtle races, a dunk tank, games with prizes, a lollipop tree, therapy dogs, refreshments, and more. The fundraiser provides many of the extras that make the children's hospital a healing place with a heart. The cost to sponsor a turtle is $40 for an individual or family; $80 for a work team or department. June 22, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., front lawn, Masonic Children's Hospital.

June 10-11 - Northern Spark

Stay up late with WAM during the 2017 Northern Spark all-night art celebration. Hop off the Green Line at the museum to witness time and space blend together. Participants will be able to record personal climate change stories, build an animal luminary, visit with the owls, and lend your body’s internal rhythm to electronic sonatas.

June 28 - 2017 Public Leadership Awards

The Humphrey School Public Leadership Awards honor individuals who have contributed to the common good through leadership and service. This year’s awards recognize remarkable leaders who have devoted their lives to helping to strengthen communities in Minnesota and around the globe. Award recipients include Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Thor Companies, Tom Swain, and Monica Meyer. 5:30 p.m. reception, 6:30 p.m. dinner and program, McNamara Alumni Center.

UMTC Featured Eventslimes on a plate

Through Sept. 29 - Exhibition: Luther and the World Turned Upside Down
June 9 - Cloud Cult
June 10 - Yoga at WAM
June 12 - Summer Community Chinese Language and Culture Classes
June 14 - Funktion Junction
June 21 - Dan Newton's Cafe Accordion Orchestra
June 22 - Herbalism (LearningLife course)

Events Calendar >