May 16, 2018

Vol. XLVIII No. 19

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

Summer publication: Brief will publish on June 6 and 20, July 18, and Aug. 8 and 22. Weekly publication will resume Aug. 29.

  • Board of Regents May meeting highlights and upcoming public input sessions.
  • Features: ‘This place makes good people’; New research sheds light on why certain oaks are found together; St. Paul’s son; A new spin on Parkinson's disease.
  • People: The U of M has been nominated as one of the world’s best at spinning off companies from research; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents May meeting highlights and upcoming public input sessions

The U of M Board of Regents celebrated members of the University community who received top academic, service, and athletic awards during the 2017-18 academic year at its May meeting. The board also reviewed President Eric Kaler’s proposed operating budget for FY2019. Regents will host two public input sessions (May 16, Duluth, and May 21, Twin Cities) to gather feedback from the University community on the budget (feedback may also be submitted online through May 29). Additionally at the May meeting, the board approved the annual recommendations for faculty promotion and tenure, voted to extend the M Health Agreement by one month, and discussed the medicine and health focus area of the systemwide strategic plan.

See the news release for more information >

‘This place makes good people’Ruby DeBellis

Ruby DeBellis ’18 (Bloomington, MN) is an achiever, a dreamer, and an optimist. That’s surely why faculty and students at the University of Minnesota Morris chose her to deliver their 2018 commencement address. Her time at Morris has been marked by numerous opportunities. “When you have this many faculty and staff to support this many students--there’s no way we’re getting out of here without a billion different experiences and opportunities,” she says.

Read more about Ruby DeBellis UMM '18 >

New research sheds light on why certain oaks are found togethera large oak tree

A study recently published in the American Journal of Botany has unearthed the secret: A unique evolutionary history that allows oak species to be different and similar at the same time--making them the most diverse and dominant tree species on the continent.

St. Paul’s sonMelvin Carter III

As St. Paul’s first African American mayor, Melvin Carter III has been building social capital in the capital city since taking office in January. Carter recently talked about his plans and his time at the U of M Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and about the impact of the U of M on the nation and world.

A new spin on Parkinson's diseaseJian Ping-Wang

The U’s Jian-Ping Wang is a leader in “spintronics” research. He is exploring the use of magnetic nanostructures to enable electrons’ “spin” function in an implantable device that could treat brain disorders including Parkinson’s disease.

Watch a video and learn more about spintronics >


The U of M has been nominated as one of the world’s best at spinning off companies from research by the London-based business publication Global University Venturing; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

New design for managing research datadata storage servers

In response to the looming need for increased data storage, a team of University data experts has been working to redesign the U of M’s approach to data management to ensure the University can keep up with the increasing demand. The recently formed University Storage Council aims to better coordinate and allocate data to improve the experience for researchers seeking reliable storage and make data storage more efficient and cost-effective.

Gear up for Chainbreaker 2018bike chainring

Fight cancer with pedal power and register for Chainbreaker 2018, a three-day weekend (Aug. 10-12) of cycling, entertainment, and volunteerism that supports lifesaving research at the U of M Masonic Cancer Center. Routes for the ride range from 25 to 180 miles. Last year’s inaugural event drew 1,021 cyclists and more than 400 volunteers, and raised nearly $1.4 million. All funds raised will count toward the U’s $4 billion Driven campaign.

Coming soon: Google Hangouts Chat

Google’s new text chat tool, Hangouts Chat, will be available at the U of M starting May 23. Whether in a 1:1 chat or a dedicated group workspace, Hangouts Chat makes it easy to collaborate with teams in an organized way. If you’re a Slack or HipChat user, many of the new features of Hangouts Chat will seem familiar.

Online seminar: Inclusive Practices for Teaching Online Courses

The Multicultural Inclusive Learning and Teaching (MILT) online seminar begins on June 11 and runs for five weeks. Participants from across the U of M system will move through the seminar as a cohort, interacting through discussion and activity-based forums exploring MILT philosophies, discussion strategies, universally designed courses, and transparent assignment development.

Register and learn more >

June 18-20 - Mindfulness in Education Summer Institute

The University of Minnesota's Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing’s Mindfulness in Education Summer Institute brings together researchers and educators for three days of professional learning and discussion on mindfulness research and research-informed practices to explore innovations that promote wellbeing in school communities. The institute is open to educators and education leaders regardless of experience, with three program tracks: educators new to mindfulness, experienced mindfulness practitioners, and administrators.

Reminder: Sexual misconduct prevention training should be completed by June 30

Training for preventing sexual misconduct for all faculty and staff is mandatory, and online training should be completed by June 30. The training informs faculty and staff about University policies, how to intervene and support those affected, and what our responsibilities are as bystanders and representatives of the University community.

Aug. 20-25 - Teaching with Writing: Annual Faculty Seminar

This seminar presents a unique opportunity for faculty members to focus exclusively on the role writing plays in their diverse courses, whether those courses are in sciences, humanities, social sciences, or arts and design.

Register and learn more >


Lessons from tragedyDesariah Santillanez

When she was only 16 years old, University of Minnesota Crookston senior Desariah Santillanez experienced the loss of her northern Colorado home to wildfire. She remembers going to let the horses out and looking around to see fire on every side--then she ran for her life.

Inaugural Northern Great Plains Youth Institute

High school students were on campus for the inaugural Northern Great Plains Youth Institute, an official World Food Prize event. Participants had an opportunity to present their research and recommendations on ways to solve key global challenges in a short speech and small group discussions with statewide experts, while exploring exciting ways to make a difference in Minnesota and around the world.

Faculty and Staff Day award recipients

The annual Faculty and Staff Day was held on May 8, honoring retirements, years of service, and special recognitions.

See the award recipients >

May 23 - Alumni Brew Bash Tour

The spring Alumni Brew Bash Tour is coming to Half Brothers Brewing Company in Grand Forks, ND. 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Faculty promotionsUMD sign

The Board of Regents approved the promotion of seven faculty members to full professor: Jing Bai, Electrical Engineering; Carlos Carranza-Torres, Civil Engineering; Jill Doerfler, American Indian Studies; Sergei Katsev, Physics and Astronomy/LLO; Chongwon Park, English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies; Hua Tang, Electrical Engineering; and Debao Zhou, Mechanical/Industrial Engineering. In addition, 12 faculty members were promoted to associate professor and another received indefinite tenure.

Summer fellowPaula Gudmundson

Paula Gudmundson, assistant professor, Department of Music, is one of nine U.S. music faculty members who will participate in the College Music Society - National Association of Music Merchants summer fellows program June 28-30 in Nashville, TN. The fellows program introduces music faculty to professions in the music industry and provides them with the means to help prepare students for careers as musicians.

UMDPD officers honoredJosh Neumann and Aaron Johnson

UMD Police Department officers Josh Neumann and Aaron Johnson were recognized by the City of Duluth Fire Department for their efforts in saving a life on Feb. 24. The two officers helped a person who uses a wheelchair escape a blaze. Fire Chief Dennis Edwards said the officers saw the need for immediate rescue and performed without hesitation.

May 24 - Glensheen tours at no chargeGlensheen interior

The public is invited to tour Glensheen, the historic Congdon mansion, during its annual Community Day. Tickets are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive early as the event is extremely popular and tickets go quickly. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


Peters earns inaugural Distinguished Alumni AwardHeather Peters

Associate Professor of Psychology Heather Peters earned an inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Department of Psychology. Awards honor alumni who have made notable contributions to the field. Peters was recognized at the department’s Centennial Celebration Gala on May 11.

Pilugin earns Boren ScholarshipNoah Pilugin

Noah Pilugin '18, anthropology and art history, has earned a Boren Scholarship for Urdu language acquisition and Indian cultural study. The scholarship will support Pilugin as he completes a summer language program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a year of study in India.

Morris students tackle critical health questionsBailey Kemp and Sarah Severson

Bailey Kemp '19, Spicer, MN, and Sarah Severson '20, New Brighton, MN, developed a plan to tackle a real-world health issue for Mayo Clinic's Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies Program. The students had a winning idea to address the cause of hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect.

Klarer earns Briggs Library Associates Senior Art AwardEmily Klarer

Emily Klarer '18, Ogema, MN, earned the University of Minnesota Morris Briggs Library Associates Senior Art Award for her piece Turtle Lady in the 2018 senior art exhibition, “IN/EXHIBIT 10.5.” Klarer’s future plans include having her own studio and potentially heading to graduate school.


Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Innovation candidate presentations

Three candidates for Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Innovation will visit campus on May 21, 22, and 23. Visit the search site for candidate information, as well as presentation times and locations.

Twin Cities

Branching outjared Rubinstein

Graduate student Jared Rubinstein is tapping into his own curiosity to teach visitors about the trees on the U of M’s Twin Cities campus in St. Paul. A native of Seattle, Rubinstein noticed an unusually high number of tree species on campus when he entered the U’s graduate program in applied plant sciences in 2015. That gave him the idea for the Campus Trees project.

Apply for the 2018-19 Early Career Teaching and Learning Program

Enhance your teaching, research, and public engagement by participating in the Early Career Teaching and Learning Program. Through discussion, practice, and reflection in large and small group interactions, participants work to deepen understandings of learning and broaden teaching strategies. Available to tenure-track and P&A instructors who are in their first five years of teaching at the U.

Learn more and apply >

Register for 2018-19 Mid-Career Faculty Women's Program

This cohort program engages in discussions that draw on participants’ experiences and research on gender, teaching, and women in academe as we explore and support the teaching practice and professional lives of University female-identified faculty.

Learn more and apply for the 2018-19 cohort >

June 1 - Pieces of the Puzzle sneak peek

This theatrical production is performed annually for all incoming first-year students during New Student Orientation by student leaders in the office of Orientation & Transition Experiences. Through both humorous and serious portrayals the performance will address issues including mental health, dating and healthy relationships, binge drinking, peer pressure, stress, diversity, and sexual assault. 3:30-4:45 p.m., Coffman Union Theater.

RSVP to attend >

June 4 - Capstone event for the Olson Innovation Award Artists in Residence

Celebrate the work of artists Valerie Caesar, Johnnay Leenay, and Rini Yun Keagy--2018 Artists in Residence at the University of Minnesota Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. 7 p.m., Room 120, Elmer L. Andersen Library. Reservations are requested.

June 29 - U of M Night with Minnesota United

Enjoy an exciting summer night of major league soccer at U of M Night with the Minnesota United as they take on FC Dallas. A special U of M package includes a game ticket and an exclusive U of M and Minnesota United soccer scarf (while supplies last). The Minnesota United will donate a portion of each ticket sold to the UMAA. 7 p.m., TCF Bank Stadium, with a special pregame social starting at 5 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings across the street.

Tickets and more >

UMTC Featured EventsAthletes Village exterior

May 21 - LiveBETA Medtech
May 21 - Are the U.S. and China Destined for War?
May 23 - Startup Workshop: The Finer Points of Raising Money
May 24 - Behind the Scenes at Athletes Village
May 31 - The Conservative Case for Universal Coverage
June 2 - Caring for a Person with Memory Loss
June 5 - 1st Tuesday featuring Amherst H. Wilder Foundation President and CEO MayKao Hang

Events Calendar >