March 25, 2020

Vol. L No. 12

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • University establishes funds to aid students, health workers.
  • Uof M launches COVID-19 clinical trials.
  • Features: University researchers construct makeshift ventilators to fight COVID-19; Dog at work; Protocol overhaul; Powerful benefits.
  • People: Trevor Ames has been named Veterinarian of the Year by the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association; and more.

Top News

University establishes funds to aid students, health workers

To address urgent needs, the University has established two funds focused on providing relief to financially insecure students systemwide who are impacted by COVID-19 and to support those on the front line of our care systems. The Student Emergency Fund will support the emergency needs of financially insecure students, such as costs related to unexpected travel requirements or lost income. Meanwhile, the U of M Caregiver Emergency Fund will immediately help front-line caregivers assist more patients.

U of M launches COVID-19 clinical trialscoronavirus graphic

The University of Minnesota Medical School’s hospital is the only federally designated containment center in the upper Midwest and its investigators are working on possible prevention and treatments of COVID-19, as well as developing a greater understanding of this virus. The U of M has launched three clinical trials, including one on a post-exposure treatment for COVID-19 that is testing hydroxychloroquine, an FDA-approved medicine for the prevention and treatment of malaria.

University researchers construct makeshift ventilators to fight COVID-19makeshift ventilator

University researchers have come together to develop a low-cost ventilator using straightforward, off-the-shelf components to help fill a potential shortage. Watch a video about the project. The researchers have begun crowdfunding at Covid-19 Ventilation System Medical Devices Center Fund.

Dog at workrocket dog with patient

University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital’s first-ever facility dog is winning the hearts of patients, families, and staff alike. Since the 2-year-old golden retriever joined the hospital staff in November, Rocket and his handler, certified child-life specialist Anna Dressel, have spent 40 hours a week working with children at the hospital.

Protocol overhaulDemetri Yannopoulos

For almost 20 years, Demetri Yannopoulos has found hope in one of medicine’s most dire situations: treating sudden cardiac arrest, a condition that typically kills nine out of 10 victims. Yannopoulos, an M Health Fairview interventional cardiologist and Medical School professor, has collaborated with Twin Cities emergency medical directors to overhaul resuscitation protocols, resulting in survival rates near 40 percent for people who experience cardiac arrest away from the hospital.

Powerful benefitspeople exercising and laughing

Cancer physician and associate professor of medicine Shernan Holtan has been exploring a strength-training "prescription" for her patients. Holtan’s strength-training study idea stemmed from her own fitness journey. Read more and learn seven basic exercises.


Trevor Ames has been named Veterinarian of the Year by the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association; the College of Education and Human Development has been rated the 13th best public education graduate school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report; the U of M Medical School has risen three spots in U.S. News & World Report’s research rankings; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

New sessions on the Keep Teaching website

Based on input from the University community, new sessions, such as Using Zoom and Kaltura, Creating Online Assessments, and Using Group Work, will be offered to help instructors teach remotely. Daily consultation sessions with Academic Technology Support Services are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the Keep Teaching website for more details.

COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants programs

COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants, available through the Office of the Vice President for Research, aim to catalyze small-scale research projects designed to address and mitigate the risk associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The primary focus of the grants is to fund research that informs near real-time decision making for professionals tasked with making operational response decisions. Awards will range from $5,000 to $10,000, with grants lasting 12 months. Funding will continue to be available until funds are expended or until Apr. 30, whichever comes first. The Office of Academic Clinical Affairs is also offering Rapid Response Grants to fund clinical and other research.

New podcast: Health in All Matters

The School of Public Health has begun Health In All Matters, a weekly podcast to bring more understanding of public health challenges across the globe and close to home. The podcast will include expert voices from U of M faculty and their colleagues around the world. Episode 1 of the first series, COVID-19: When a pandemic sweeps the modern world, is now available.

Retirement transition postponed until June 12

Due to continued market volatility regarding COVID-19 and other market developments, the Retirement Plan Governance Committee will delay the transition to Fidelity until June 12. This means that there will be no blackout period between March 20 and Apr. 13, nor will there be a day out of market for the Apr. 1 transition. See Retirement Plan Transition for more.

Mental health resource: Employee Assistance Program

A reminder that the Employee Assistance Program is available to provide confidential professional consultation and referral services to address any personal or work concern that may be affecting the wellbeing of faculty and staff. You can receive up to eight sessions at no cost if eligible for employee benefits.

Using the U of M Virtual Private Network

When using the University Virtual Private Network (VPN), use Split-Tunnel for most systems and applications. Many of the systems used by faculty and staff regularly do not require the University’s VPN, like MyU, Canvas, Zoom, and more. Learn more about the University's guidelines on how to use your device securely, which are especially important when not using the University's network.

LinkedIn Learning for faculty, staff, and students at no charge

The University provides access to LinkedIn Learning to all students, faculty, and staff. LinkedIn Learning is an online educational platform that helps you develop business, technology-related, and creative skills through expert-led videos. With more than 13,000 courses and personalized recommendations, you can discover, complete, and track courses related to your needs at this time.

March 27 - Webinar: Working Remotely, Now What?

Many employees are working remotely for the first time and trying to adapt quickly to the new reality. Join this webinar for a conversation about working from home. Presented by the U of M Alumni Association. Noon.

March 30 - Webinar: Wellbeing in a COVID-19 World

Join the University of Minnesota's Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing for a webinar on Wellbeing in a COVID-19 World (register), 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. Bakken director Mary Jo Kreitzer will discuss ways to support your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you. The Bakken Center will also be hosting an hour of informal online meditation and light movement on Tuesdays at noon (register).

Due May 15 - U-Spatial Mapping Prize applications

Instructors and staff supervising students creating maps in any discipline are asked to encourage students to apply for the U-Spatial Mapping Prize, which incentivizes University of Minnesota students to make innovative maps in multiple categories.


Online and on-campus students meet at the College Conference on CooperativesChuck Lariviere and students

Agricultural business instructor Chuck Lariviere recently traveled with two on-campus students and met up with two online students at the National Farmers Union's 2020 College Conference on Cooperatives. The event provides students with co-op tours and trainings and builds on National Farmers Union’s long history with cooperatives while hosting students from 25 states and regions across the United States.


'Geo-robust' trees developed for future green marketsHybrid poplar

The Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) has developed trees that can grow fast across many climate zones in anticipation of expanding bio-based markets. For the past 25 years, NRRI tree breeder Bernie McMahon has been cultivating fast-growing and disease-resistant crosses between native eastern cottonwood and European black poplar. The program is now poised to be a tree-breeding and selection center for much of the Midwest.

Learning through the Bulldog FundBulldog fund students

Each year, students in the Labovitz School of Business & Economics’ Financial Markets Program manage the Bulldog Fund. This fund gives students portfolio management experience in everything from researching new investment ideas to performance reporting and attribution. Recently, the Bulldog Fund surpassed $2 million in assets. The fund was officially launched in 2003 with investment support from LSBE and NorthStar Foundation.

Planning for disaster: Spatial research guides local governmentstornado

Researchers with U-Spatial @UMD are working with local governments to help them plan now for future natural disasters, including flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires. “For each hazard, we create maps that can demonstrate how risk may vary across the county,” says Stacey Stark, associate director of U-Spatial @UMD. The geographic data can show how different hazard mitigation actions will be more or less appropriate in different parts of the county.


Fulbright finalist

Trina Vue ’20, Mendota Heights, is a Fulbright U.S. Student Program finalist. An English major, Vue was chosen to spend a year in Thailand. Vue ends her undergraduate career with a national honor. Her success speaks to the power and value of a U of M Morris education on the global stage.


My UMR with Micaela HaasMicaela Haas

Micaela Haas, UMR biology teaching specialist, shares her advice for UMR students. "Get your feet wet. Take advantage of opportunities, try new things, gain experience in the field you find interesting, and get to know the people around you."

Twin Cities

Referring students to mental health resources

Even though students are learning remotely, Boynton Health services and programs remain ready to help. The Mental Health Crisis Line is available 24/7 for students who need support during these uncertain times at 612-301-4673 (or text "UMN" to 61222 on evenings and weekends). Additionally, resources are available for faculty and staff on how to recognize signs of distress in students and make appropriate referrals.

Recreation and Wellness online resources

U of M Recreation and Wellness facilities may be closed, but RecWell is committed to its mission of enriching the campus experience and encouraging lifelong wellbeing. RecWell is currently building a library of online resources for faculty, staff, and students to stay healthy and continue the wellness journey through its blog, website, and social media accounts.

University Libraries essential teaching and research services

Make a virtual appointment with a librarian, suggest an e-book purchase, get copyright assistance, and more. Visit University Libraries online for essential services and resources to help faculty, students, and staff transition from in-person instruction. The list is subject to change, based on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 landscape.

The mysterious Roseau StoneRoseau Stone

The Roseau Stone, a smooth one-and-a-half-inch oblong housed in the University of Minnesota Archives for more than 50 years, contains a ribbon of markings that may be ancient runes or a strange natural occurrence. The stone was found in an area near the present-day town of Roseau, MN, in 1916 or 1918, and there are many theories about its origins.

UMTC Featured EventsAcara poster

March 26 - [Virtual Event] Acara Challenge and 10th Anniversary Celebration

Apr. 1 - Webinar: Are Checks and Balances Obsolete?

Apr. 7 - Canvas Learning Data and Analytics Foundations

Most in-person events have been canceled. Please refer to the U of M Events Calendar for current event information.