May 15, 2019

Vol. XLIX No. 19

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

Summer publication: Brief will publish on May 29, June 12 and 26, July 17, and Aug. 14. Weekly publication resumes Aug. 28.

  • Board of Regents May meeting highlights.
  • Features: Addressing walleye habitat loss in Mille Lacs and other lakes; His greatest teaching challenge.
  • People: The U of M will lead a $12.8 million study on education's role in deterring Alzheimer's and other dementias; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents May meeting highlights

The Board of Regents recognized outstanding faculty, staff, and students during its May meeting, including distinguished professors, newly awarded fellows, service award winners, national scholarship recipients, and NCAA champions. Regents also endorsed enrollment plans for the University’s Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester campuses and approved the provost’s annual tenure and promotion recommendations for faculty. Additionally, Regents reviewed the President’s Recommended Annual Capital Improvement Budget, which proposes projects across the system totaling $376 million for fiscal year 2020.

U of M research shows how to address walleye habitat loss in Mille Lacs and other lakes

U of M research reveals that walleye decline in Mille Lacs Lake is linked to loss of habitat and indicates that by adapting harvest policies to account for changing environmental conditions, walleye fisheries may be sustained. The study focuses on Mille Lacs, where walleye populations have dramatically declined since the 1990s.

His greatest teaching challengeRob Palmer

After 20-plus years of teaching, Rob Palmer decided he needed a fresh start. So he’s earning a second master’s degree, this one from the College of Education and Human Development. Finishing his degree this spring, Palmer recently accepted a science teacher position at Walter McGinnis, the school at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Red Wing. He says his prior work in STEM and the University’s education program target traditionally underserved groups, “and you’re not going to get a more underserved group than those who are behind the fence.”


The University of Minnesota will lead a $12.8 million study on education's role in deterring Alzheimer's and other dementias; IonE Mini Grant recipients; the University of Minnesota will confer an Honorary Doctorate of Laws on Laysha Ward; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Talking about the impact of stressful commutesBetty Zhou

On average, commuters in the U.S. spend more than 25 minutes commuting to work. Add in construction season or missing a bus, and the commute can become particularly unpleasant. Betty Zhou, an assistant professor in the Carlson School of Management who conducted research on the impact of stressful commutes, answers questions about how commutes can impact workers and employers.

Items relevant to online courses added to the Student Rating of Teaching survey

Three new items have been added to the standard Student Rating of Teaching (SRT) form used by the Twin Cities, Crookston, Morris, and Rochester campuses. The new items were developed by a multi-campus work group and are designed to be relevant to online and blended courses.

Google Team Drives will become Shared Drives

Google recently announced that the Team Drives feature of Google Drive will be renamed Shared Drives. All features and permissions will stay the same. The change will begin starting May 21. Learn about the name change and rollout dates.

June 13 - Telling Our Story: Communications Tips for Publicly-Engaged Staff

This workshop is designed to help University staff promote their community-engaged stories using best practices and by working with departmental, collegiate, and University-wide communicators. Hear from professional communicators on how to sell your story, how to keep your audience engaged and growing, what makes for a successful media campaign, and how to use Minnesota Campus Compact's new communications toolkit for engaged staff. 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 101 Walter Library, University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Register by June 10.

Apply for Women’s Center awards and Gender Equity Grants

The Women’s Center invites nominations for its multiple awards and Gender Equity Grants, which honor the engagement, contributions, and leadership of University faculty, staff, and students systemwide. Applications are due June 14.

June 14 - Bridging the divide: the Clean Energy Future series

Statewide policymakers, scholars, and other decision-makers will come together for a bipartisan forum on Minnesota's clean-energy future in a series of three events beginning June 14. The forums will explore topics including electrification, carbon pricing, nuclear power, energy storage, and alternative fuels, as well as other opportunities to advance Minnesota toward a clean-energy economy.

Research Brief: Planning for the future of energy demand with renewable energy

Converting the home heating sector to electricity--and supplying that electricity with renewable energy--has been identified as a critical national decarbonization pathway. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and three other institutions studied whether enough renewable energy can be generated locally to meet most, if not all, of that increased electricity demand. Additional Research Briefs include “Women perceive the potential benefits of mammograms to be more important than the potential harms,” and “Surface protein editing in bacteria.”


Dykhoff receives scholarship

Alysha Dykhoff, a junior from Wadena, MN, double majoring in Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Water Resources Management, received a scholarship at the recent annual meeting of the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society.

Faculty and Staff Day awards

The annual Faculty and Staff Day was held on May 7 in celebration of excellence and service by faculty and staff. The program recognized years-of-service milestones and retirements, and featured multiple award presentations. See the full list of awards and photo gallery of the event.

Video: International student experience at Crookston

Hear international students talk about their experience at the University of Minnesota Crookston in this newly created video.


Outstanding serviceJulie Westlund

After a 40-year career in UMD’s Career and Internship Services, Julie Westlund is retiring as the department’s director. Westlund recently received the University of Minnesota President’s Award for Outstanding Service. That service included launching the systemwide job search tool GoldPASS, creating the University of Minnesota Job Fair, and, most importantly to Westlund, having a positive impact on the lives of thousands of students.

Power and empowermentKathryn Milun

Anthropology associate professor Kathryn Milun’s Solar Commons project is as much about social justice as it is about renewable energy. Through a partnership that Milun helped establish in Tucson, electric bill savings from solar panels in one area of the city are funding a low-income community development program in another. The project has been entered into the Department of Energy’s Solar In Your Community Challenge.

May 23 - NEMBA celebrationMargi Preus

Author Margi Preus, whose work includes the Newberry Honor book Heart of a Samurai, will be the keynote speaker at the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA). Awards will be given in five categories: nonfiction, fiction, children’s literature, poetry, memoir, and art/photography. No charge, and open to the public. 5 p.m., Northland Country Club.


May 18 - Morris commencementstudents in graduation gowns and caps

Approximately 320 students will graduate in Morris's 56th commencement ceremony. University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler will be the commencement speaker. All are invited to attend or to watch the event streamed online. 1:30 p.m., campus mall.

Community Engagement Award recipients

The Office of Community Engagement has announced the 2019 winners of its Community Engagement Awards, recognizing those who make a tangible difference on campus and in the Morris community. The recipients are Sydney Bauer '19, Assistant Professor of Spanish Tom Genova, and Morris city manager Blaine Hill '87.

Benoist wins Briggs Library Associates Art Award

Bray Benoist '19, Eagle Butte, SD, won a Briggs Library Associates Art Award for his work The Last Hunt. The studio art and psychology senior from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe says the honor came as a surprise. Benoist is now heading to a 10-week fellowship at the Minnesota Historical Society.


Student groups compete in IMPACT

Three student groups from the University of Minnesota Rochester had the opportunity to compete against other undergraduate students in researching healthcare solutions. IMPACT: Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies, gives undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in novel hypothesis generation to address real-world health questions alongside Mayo Clinic scientists and physicians.

Twin Cities

A taste of collegeSara Mack Stephanie Anderson and Cristina Castro

College in the Schools is a program that provides highly motivated high school students the opportunity to take college courses in a high school setting--with the chance to earn college credit, too. Cristina Castro, faculty coordinator assistant, explains the program’s impact on students and how it engages Minnesota’s high schools with the University.

Border technology, alien studiesMichael Lechuga

Growing up in El Paso on the border of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Assistant Professor Michael Lechuga of the Department of Communications Studies learned about border control from a young age. Today, his research focuses on the role that technology plays in border security mechanisms and the ways migrants are depicted as “alien” in popular culture.

May 16 - ‘Of Bugs, Entomology, and Global Food Security’

Sonny Ramaswamy will present a public lecture as part of the Department of Entomology’s Celebrate Entomology event. Ramaswamy is president of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and served for six years as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 11 a.m., 335 Borlaug Hall.

June 27 - Josie Johnson to discuss memoir

Activist, scholar, and University of Minnesota Regent Emeritus Josie R. Johnson will discuss and sign her new book, Hope in the Struggle: A Memoir. The book is about shouldering the cause of social justice during the darkest hours and brightest moments for civil rights in America--and, specifically, in Minnesota. 5:30 p.m., Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center.

UMTC Featured Eventswheelchair basketball movie poster

May 17 - Wheelchair Basketball Demo and Documentary Showing of The Rebound
May 20 - Summer Public Health Institute
May 22- Barriers to Racial Equity in America: A Pathway Forward
May 22 - Reimagining Teaching and Learning in Globally Diverse Classes
May 23 - The 4th International Conference on Taxpayer Rights
May 31 - John Prine

Events Calendar >