March 22, 2017

Vol. XLVII No. 11

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Board of Regents meets March 23-24 in Duluth.
  • Features: "Super sponge” promises toxic cleanup of lakes and more; Researchers develop process for creating ultra-selective separation membranes; Mapping Prejudice in Minneapolis.
  • People: 2017 IDEA Multicultural Research Award recipients; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents meets March 23-24 in Duluth

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents will host its March meeting on the Duluth campus. Regents will address rural and Native American health care, among other topics. The full agenda highlights issues of particular interest to Duluth and northeastern Minnesota. Regents will also discuss systemwide strategic planning and review the FY2018 budget framework. See the news release for more >

‘Super sponge’ promises toxic cleanup of lakes and moresuper sponge graphic representation

Mercury is toxic and can cause long-term health damage, but removing it from water is challenging. To address this growing problem, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences professor Abdennour Abbas and his team created a sponge that can absorb mercury from a polluted water source within seconds. According to the EPA, cutting mercury emissions would result in 130,000 fewer asthma attacks, 4,700 fewer heart attacks, and 11,000 fewer premature deaths each year. The research was funded by the MnDRIVE Global Food Venture, MnDRIVE Environment, and USDA-NIFA.

Researchers develop process for creating ultra-selective separation membranesmolecular sieve illustration

A team of researchers led by the U of M has developed a groundbreaking process for making ultra-thin layers of material with molecular-sized pores. The discovery could greatly improve energy-efficiency of separation and purification processes in the chemical and petrochemical industries.

Mapping Prejudice in Minneapolispeople looking at map technology

A collaboration by University of Minnesota Libraries with Augsburg College maps racially restrictive covenants in housing deeds. The mapping technology can be used to explore historic injustices to shed light on modern racial disparities.


2017 IDEA Multicultural Research Award recipients; University of Minnesota Libraries is among 30 finalists for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

2017 Learning Management System (LMS) review available

The decision between Moodle and Canvas/Unizin will be coming this spring. In support of the decision, an in-depth report (PDF) of factors driving the evaluation has been created for the University community. A high-level overview of the data and reports influencing the decision is also available.

U partners with Ramsey through Resilient Communities Project

The University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) will partner with the City of Ramsey for the 2017-18 academic year. Starting in September 2017, Ramsey and the University will begin collaborating on 20 multidisciplinary projects that advance community from Ramsey’s Strategic Plan focused on a stable tax base, a connected community, smart citizen-focused government, and an efficient organization.

March 29 - Make performance reviews easier and more effective

Performance reviews are often viewed as difficult by both supervisors and employees, but supervisors can learn a better way to approach performance management. Register for the Managing and Evaluating Performance webinar, offered by Leadership and Talent Development. Participants will learn common misconceptions about performance management and how to plan, coach, and evaluate performance. Noon-1 p.m.

MyU and other services unavailable Apr. 1-2

MyU, PeopleSoft applications, and other related online services such as APAS and Grad Planner will be unavailable due to system updates on Saturday and Sunday, Apr. 1 and 2. Service is expected to be restored by the afternoon of Apr. 2. Receive details and updates during the outage at the Service Status website. For more information, contact Technology Help.


UMC TV spots

TV commercials showcasing the current selection of majors within each of the U of M Crookston’s four academic departments will air during the Minnesota State High School League Basketball Tournaments. The spots are available for viewing on the U of M Crookston’s YouTube channel.

March 22 - Gao Hong performanceGao Hong with instrument

Composer and performer Gao Hong, acclaimed master of the Chinese “pipa” lute, will perform from 1 to 2 p.m., Prairie Room, Sargeant Student Center. No charge and open to the public. Tea and snacks will be served.

March 22 - Golden Eagle Gratitude

Students are invited to take part in Golden Eagle Gratitude, the campus celebration of donor support hosted by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. The event will include stations with food and beverages, and t-shirts will be given to the first 114 students who show their gratitude. 11:04-11:44 a.m., Northern Lights Lounge, Sargeant Student Center.


Palombi honoredLaura Palombi

Assistant Professor Laura Palombi, Duluth College of Pharmacy, will receive the 2017 Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents' Civic Engagement Steward Award in April. The award recognizes her leadership in developing campus-community partnerships. Palombi has been involved in a variety of projects and collaborations in Carlton Country, including serving as the chair of Operation Community Connect, a resource day for the homeless.

Alumnus receives achievement awardPhil Noorgard

Phillip Norrgard ’80, master of social work, has received the U of M’s Outstanding Achievement Award. Norrgard served as the director for Fond du Lac’s Human Services Division for 37 years until his retirement earlier this year. The award honors his leadership and innovation providing health care and social services to American Indians.

March 23 - Shades of Africa lecture/demonstrationFred Onovwerosuoke

Fred Onovwerosuoke, an award-winning composer and founder of the St. Louis African Chorus, will discuss the emergence of African composers. Onovwerosuoke has traveled to more than 30 African countries doing fieldwork and analyzing the music he encounters. 7:30 p.m., Weber Music Hall.

March 25 - Northland Community Wellness DayPeople on climbing wall

The family-friendly Northland Community Wellness Day promotes healthy families and communities through education and awareness about health and wellness, public safety, sustainability, and financial literacy. No charge and there will be bouncy houses. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Romano Gymnasium.


Morris students ‘Leading the Renewables Revolution’student in lab

William Kiehne ’17, Zachary Damond-Midnight ’18, Hannah Goemann ’17, and Theo Buysse ’17 recently visited Saerbeck, Germany, as part of the U of M’s Leading the Renewables Revolution program. Visiting Saerbeck and seeing its sustainability efforts up close helped them learn more about implementing the technology in their own communities.

Jopp wins Kerlan Essay AwardKelsey Jopp

As part of an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program project with Distinguished McKnight University Professor of English Michael Lackey, Kelsey Jopp ’16 wrote the U Libraries Kerlan Essay Award-winning “Creativity Gone to the Dogs: Rediscovering the Creative Process through Drafts of Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn Dixie.” Jopp believes her Morris experience led to her success, in both the contest and her current career. Learn more about Jopp >


March 28 - UMR Connects

Health care in the United States is in a constant state of change. People entering the healthcare system now and in the future will encounter and be cared for by a variety of non-physician licensed providers. In “Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants: Providers Helping to Heal the U.S. Healthcare System,” Dr. Randy Hemann and Physician Assistant Clover Schultz-Tiedekenn will discuss their roles in health care, their scope of practice, and the obstacles they face. 7 p.m. Room 417, 111 S. Broadway.

UMR students spend spring break in Arizona learning about immigration issuesUMR students on spring break

Six UMR students spent their spring break in the Arizona borderlands exploring issues of immigration and border control with an organization called BorderLinks. The students learned about and worked with humanitarian organizations to broaden their understanding of the complexity of immigration on the U.S.-Mexican border.

Twin Cities

March 27 - An Evening with Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan Omar

Ilhan Omar is the newly elected Minnesota House Representative for District 60B. She is the first Somali-American, Muslim woman in the nation to hold an office at this level. Rep. Omar is an experienced policy analyst, activist, coalition builder, and humanitarian. She is focused on advancing important issues, including raising the minimum wage, closing the opportunity gap, and fighting for environmental justice and racial equity. No charge, but tickets are required. 6 p.m., Mayo Auditorium.

March 28 - Nicholas Kristof: Reporting Sex Trafficking, Genocide, & Other Truths of the World

He’s lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to more than 150 countries. During his travels, he has caught malaria, experienced wars, confronted warlords, encountered an Indonesian mob carrying heads on pikes, and survived an airplane crash. Nicholas Kristof--journalist, author, human rights champion, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes--will deliver the 2017 Guy Stanton Ford Memorial Lecture. No charge and open to the public. 2 p.m., Northrop.

Nominations sought for executive director of UROC

Nominations and applications are invited for the next executive director of the U's Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center. The position is open to tenured U of M faculty members with a record of scholarship and leadership in urban community research, community-engaged scholarship, and community partnership development. This is an annually renewable, 12-month, academic administrative appointment, 50-75 percent time; terms/conditions are negotiable. Review begins March 31.

Learn more and apply >

Apr. 6 - Battle of the Mega-Donors: The Koch Network vs. Democracy Alliance

Debates about "big money" in U.S. politics mostly focus on individual contributors in specific elections. But in the current political climate, many millionaires and billionaires have banded together into donor consortia that aim to transform policies to suit their agenda across the nation. Noon-1:15 p.m., Humphrey Forum, Humphrey School.

Register and learn more >

Apr. 9 – Goldy’s Runkids in Goldy's run

Join in raising funds for pediatric cardiovascular research and care at the U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital as part of Goldy’s Run. Each year, generous people come together to run and fundraise for the hospital. Whether you are running, cheering, or want to honor someone special, start a crowdfunding page and help further pediatric research today.

Register and learn more >

Apr. 21 - Implicit Bias lecture with Benjamin Reese

The School of Nursing will host a focused exploration of implicit bias with Benjamin Reese, an internationally renowned scholar on the topic. Reese will be speaking about the development of implicit bias in early childhood, research findings, the impact of implicit bias on decision-making, what helps to diminish implicit bias, and implications for future research. No charge and open to all faculty, staff, and students. 10 a.m.-noon, Mayo Memorial Auditorium.

May 5 - U of M Night with the Minnesota TwinsTwins cap in maroon and gold

U of M Night with the Minnesota Twins will feature a limited-edition maroon and gold Twins hat, a special appearance by Goldy Gopher, and a distinguished alum throwing out the first pitch. A portion of every ticket sold supports the U of M Alumni Association.

Get tickets >

UMTC Featured Eventsartwork of things

March 24 - "Making Maintainers: A Place for History in an Age of Innovation-Speak and Endless Tech Hype"

March 24 - Power on the Page

March 27 - Trump, Trade, and the Future of NAFTA

March 27 - The Subtlety of Contemporary Racism: John F. Dovidio

March 28 - Shakespeare and Restoration Verse Drama

March 29 - Immigrant Stories Screening: Refugee Stories

Events Calendar >