March 15, 2017

Vol. XLVII No. 10

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • USCIS suspends premium processing for H-1B visa applications.
  • Features: Tree frogs meet the cocktail party problem; New research explores delivery systems and benefits for FMT.
  • People: Giancarlo Casale has received a Mellon New Directions Fellowship; and more.

Top News

USCIS suspends premium processing for H-1B visa applications

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is suspending "Premium Processing" for all H-1B visa petitions for up to six months (effective Apr. 3). This will impact all job offers requiring an H-1B visa, as these individuals may not be able to start until November 2017 or later. Please contact your department's human resources or payroll offices with questions or concerns.

Tree frogs meet the cocktail party problemtwo tree frogs

Working with Associate Professor Mark Bee and colleagues in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior and the Department of Psychology, postdoc Norman Lee has figured out what traits of background noise of frog choruses allow females to tune out the hubbub and tune into the hubba-hubba--with implications not only for our ability to help humans hear.

New research explores delivery systems and benefits for FMTpill caplet

U of M researchers have published two new studies that demonstrate the efficacy of encapsulated fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in the treatment of severe Clostridium difficile infection, a potentially deadly GI infection on the CDC’s list of top infectious disease threats. The research represents a new frontier in medicine, with the potential for other diseases and clinical conditions to benefit from the therapy.


Giancarlo Casale has received a Mellon New Directions Fellowship; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

In their own wordsWendy Plager

The Office for Equity and Diversity has asked students, faculty, and staff around campus to talk about the importance of Women’s History Month in their own words, through the lens of their identities and experiences.

Share your immigrant story

The U’s Immigration History Research Center has launched two new projects that jointly serve teachers of grade 8 and older and empower immigrants to tell their own stories. Users of the Immigrant Stories website gather photos, documents, text, and audio to create their own three- to five-minute digital story.

Learn more and share your story >

Making the Environment Their Business

The U’s Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) has been making major strides in reducing the environmental footprint of our state’s businesses for more than 30 years. MnTAP partners with businesses to develop and implement solutions that prevent pollution, maximize resources, and reduce energy use, all while saving costs. In 2015, 245 Minnesota businesses took advantage of MnTAP’s assistance.


Driven to create smarter tools for farmingRob Proulx

Agriculture and Natural Resources lecturer Rob Proulx is featured in the University of Minnesota’s newly launched statewide promotional campaign highlighting how the University is addressing grand challenges. Proulx is using detailed data analysis to find smarter ways to evaluate land and its potential for producing crops for food or fuel.

March 15 - River Watch Forum

River Watch, which engages students in monitoring their local streams as part of a Red River Basin citizen science network, will host its annual River Watch Forum. 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center, and other areas on campus.

March 16 - Chamber of Commerce Career Day

More than 300 high school juniors from regional schools are scheduled to visit the U of M Crookston to learn about different careers from a number of local professionals during the annual Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce Career Day.


Hardaway honored by NAACPTerresa Hardaway

Assistant Professor Terresa Hardaway, graphic design, has received the Duluth NAACP Drum Major for Peace Award. She served on the planning committee and was the graphic artist for the 2017 Twin Ports Martin Luther King Day celebration. The award recognizes those who have exceeded their regular duties to build awareness, speak up for justice, celebrate diversity, and work towards building a better future.

Hanson receives Endowed ChairRandy Hanson

The University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences has named Randel Hanson the Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems. Hanson is an assistant professor in Urban, Environment and Sustainability Studies and the director of the UMD Land Lab and Sustainable Agriculture Project. Hanson will take a year off from teaching to oversee long-term development of the UMD Land Lab.

Head of the Lakes concertsChristine and Ingrid Jensen

Saxophonist Christine Jensen and trumpet player Ingrid Jensen will perform March 17, 7:30 p.m., at Weber Music Hall. Saxophonist Ernie Watts will perform with the UMD Jazz Ensemble and the Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival All-Stars March 18, 5:30 p.m., Marshall Performing Arts Center. Learn more and find tickets >

Workshop on genocidegenocide workshop poster

The Center for Genocide, Holocaust, and Human Rights Studies will host “Genocide: Lessons and Questions.” Information and perspectives will be presented on genocide perpetrated over the last 200 years against the Dakota, Hereros, Armenians, Rwandans, and Darfurians. No charge and open to the public, but registration is required. March 25, 9-5 p.m., Griggs Center.


Chancellor Behr meets with media, alumni, and othersMichelle Behr

Chancellor Michelle Behr traveled the region last week to meet with media outlets, alumni, and other external constituents. Behr met with media, alumni, and friends in Appleton and Willmar on March 7, in Morris on March 8, and in Alexandria, Fergus Falls, and Fargo/Moorhead on March 9.

Brand '95 nominated for associate attorney generalRachel Brand

Rachel Brand '95 has been nominated to serve as associate attorney general at the United States Department of Justice. Brand testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in her confirmation hearing March 7. During questioning, Senator Amy Klobuchar complimented Brand on her choice of college.

Summer term learning optionsstudents studying outside

The University of Minnesota Morris summer term provides a diverse selection of summer courses for degree and nondegree-seeking students. UMM makes it easy for community members and students from any college or university to enroll in undergraduate courses. Registration begins March 22.


Islamic Awareness Week celebration

UMR's Muslim Student Association celebrated Islamic Awareness Week, March 6-10, with a number of events including "God on Speed Dial: How Muslims Pray," a fasting from sunrise to sundown, and an Iftar Potluck and Hajj Photo Gallery.

March 21 - UMR Connects: “Text Neck”

At the next UMR Connects Nicholas Pratt will discuss the risks and damages of prolonged usage of cell phones, tablets, and other wireless devices. Pratt will talk about how to combat the problem facing this generation of tech users. 7 p.m. Room 417, 111 South Broadway.

Twin Cities

Audit has impact on St. Paul police-community relations

When the St. Paul City Council voted to remove police officers from the city's Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission last December, Professor Mark Umbreit was a little stunned, but also proud. Umbreit, director of the U of M Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking, was a part of an audit team that recommended 18 changes to commission operations, the most controversial being that police officers should no longer serve as voting members of the commission.

New University Paratransit Service route

Beginning March 20, a University Paratransit Service van will provide rides for individuals with disabilities from the Level C area of East River Road Garage at 7:30 a.m. without the need for an advance reservation.

U-Pet Wellness Plans

U of M employees are eligible for U-Pet Wellness Plans at the U’s Veterinary Medical Center. Pets can receive unlimited primary care visits with this annual plan, which can be paid through payroll deduction. Employees can save up to 20 percent on pet medical care with plans that include standard immunizations, heartworm testing and prevention, free pet boarding up to 12 hours on the day of an exam, and reduced fees on specialty exams.

Feedback forums for Twin Cities Public Engagement Action Plan

The University's Office for Public Engagement is hosting two open feedback forums for faculty, staff, and students to review and provide input on the Twin Cities campus' proposed action plan for public engagement. Reservations are requested. March 21, 9-10:30 a.m.; March 24, 1:30-3 p.m., Room 6, University Recreation and Wellness Center. For more information, email the Office for Public Engagement.

Exploring the Roots to Healingroots to healing exhibit graphic

A new exhibit at Northrop Gallery organized by the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory examines the intersection of culture, medicinal plants, and current research. Conservatory Curator Lisa Aston Philander shares her thoughts on the exhibit in this interview.

March 21, 22 - Northrop presents Kidd Pivot/Electric Company Theatre

Betroffenheit is a gripping and visually arresting journey through the maze of trauma, addiction, and recovery. Based on true events, this dance/theater hybrid integrates original music, text, and movement with puppetry and visual design. Includes a post-performance panel discussion with the artists and U of M experts who are tackling the issues raised by the production. $20 rush tickets for faculty and staff will be available on performance days at 10 a.m. $25 advance tickets are available with promo code UMNdriven. 7:30 p.m., Carlson Family Stage, Northrop.

March 21 - Deadliest Enemy book signing and lecture by Mike Osterholm

Join the School of Public Health as Regents Professor and CIDRAP Director Michael Osterholm discusses and reads excerpts from his newly published book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs. The book tackles the gaps in public health preparedness in the face of burgeoning global pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks. 4:30-6 p.m., Mayo Auditorium. No charge, but registration is suggested.

The Basics: U of M Wellness cooking class

Register for Cooking for Wellness: The Basics, a cooking class offered through the U’s Wellness Program. The Basics is led by culinary instructors who teach foundational techniques to adapt your cooking for a healthier lifestyle and greater wellbeing. Participants engage in hands-on demonstrations and discussion topics related to whole food cooking and personal health. The upfront cost to participate is $210, which is reimbursable up to $200 and 50 wellness points.

March 25 - Dismantling Campus Rape Culture

This event is designed to create discussion around current policies and practices that both contribute to or fight against rape culture on campus. It is intended for students, staff, faculty, and administrators, but it is open to anyone who is involved in sexual violence in any way, who is in a position to respond to it, or who wants to help improve the culture of, and responses to, sexual violence on campus. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Mayo Auditorium.

Research projects on disparities in African American men’s health

The Center for Healthy African American Men through Partnerships (CHAAMPS) has released its Spring 2017 RFA for the CHAAMPS Disparities Scholars Program to fund research projects, using national health databases. Research will focus on disparities in unintentional and violence-related injuries and homicide, head injuries in athletes, and chronic diseases in African American men across their life course. Biostatistical and study design support will be provided to funded scholars. Letters of intent are due Apr. 3.

Apr. 13 - The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History weaves intellectual and natural history with reporting in the field. Kolbert will discuss the book and her groundbreaking research on the dynamic between humans and the environment. Discount tickets are available for faculty and staff with the promo code ULEKPartner. 7:30 p.m., Northrop.

UMTC Featured Eventsgirl holding sign with spanish language

March 17 - Star Parties: Lifetime of Stars
March 20 - Veterans Clay Vessel Making
March 20 - 2017 MnDRIVE Environment Symposium
March 20 - What’s Next for the Humanities?
March 29 - Ni Una Menos: The Activists behind the Global Movement against Gender Violence
March 30 - Miroslav Volf, "Religion and Human Flourishing in a Globalized World"

Events Calendar >