November 18, 2015

Vol. XLV No. 38

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Driven to Discover feature: Keith Mayes.
  • Features: A Novel Way to Write; Rebel in a White Coat.
  • People: Renee Frontiera has received a National Science Foundation CAREER program award; and more.

Top News

Driven to Discover: Keith Mayesyoung black child in classroom

Today, roughly 50 percent of black students drop out of high school, and another 50 percent drop out of college. "When a student drops out of school … we all lose out on that student's potential to change the world," says Keith Mayes. He's working to close the achievement gap by creating curricula that will inspire high school students in new ways.

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A Novel Way to WriteJulie Schumacher and her cat

A funny thing happened to English professor Julie Schumacher on the way to writing her latest book. Starting out to see if one could build a novel solely from letters of recommendation, she ended up writing Dear Committee Members, which in September won the coveted Thurber Prize for American Humor.

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Rebel in a White CoatBrenda Her

Don't be misled by Brenda Her's kind demeanor and petite stature. The second-year medical student, Dean's Scholar, and Tae Kwon Do green belt is a force to reckon with. Proud of her Hmong heritage, Her hopes to set an example for other Hmong youth, including her younger sisters, inspiring girls to achieve and showing them the importance of preserving their culture in the 21st century.

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Renee Frontiera has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER program award; Mary Jo Kane has been named the recipient of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Distinguished Service Award; Leslie Schiff and Pamela Flash are part of a five-year, $3 million NSF grant to investigate the impacts of writing activities on critical and conceptual learning in STEM courses; Kristi Rudelius-Palmer has received the Edward O'Brien Award for Human Rights Education; the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change has received a $910,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Nominations: Director of the Center for Educational Innovation

Provost Hanson invites nominations and applications for the position of director of the Center for Educational Innovation, which strengthens instructional and academic technology collaboration and support across the University. This is an annually renewable, 12-month, academic administrative appointment, 50-100 percent time. A tenured U of M faculty member is preferred. Nominations and applications should be sent to; review begins immediately and continues until the position is filled.

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Dec. 2 - Startup seminar and networking event for University inventors

U of M faculty, graduate students, and post-docs are invited to a startup seminar and networking event for researchers interested in commercializing their inventions. The event includes a panel of faculty inventors involved in U of M startup companies and opening remarks by Bill Murray, president and CEO of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium. No charge. Includes complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres. 5-7:30 p.m.

Learn more and register >

Making Spirits Bright: U of M Landscape Arboretum

The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum presents "Making Spirits Bright," a season of live music, visits with Santa, outdoor lights, a 20-ft. live "Poinsettia Tree," the "Land of Gingerbread" exhibit, and more. The event runs Nov. 27-Jan. 3.

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Nov. 19 - Korean percussion ensemble Kwanggaeto SamulnoriKorean dance group

Kwanggaeto Samulnori, a percussion ensemble from Seoul, South Korea, will perform as part of International Week. Admission is $10 for adults; no charge for children, high school students, and UMC students. 7 p.m., Kiehle Auditorium.

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Chaffee named Chief Development Officer

Brandy (Lietz) Chaffee has been named chief development officer at the University of Minnesota Crookston. She will work primarily in the area of development but will oversee alumni relations, as well. Chaffee, a 2000 graduate of UMC, began Nov. 2.

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Loegering receives Jim McDonough Award

Associate professor and Extension wildlife specialist John Loegering was recently presented with the Jim McDonough Award by The Wildlife Society (TWS). The award recognizes a certified wildlife biologist who is a member of TWS and who has made a significant contribution to the wildlife profession, especially at local levels.

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Erwin honored by NASPAErwin

Lisa Erwin, vice chancellor for student life and dean of students, was named a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Class of 2016 Pillars of the Profession. Recipients are chosen based on four criteria, including being recognized by colleagues, friends, students, or student organizations for extraordinary service and having made significant lifetime contributions to higher education.

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UMD designated Military Friendlyu.s. flag, umd flag, minn flag

For the fifth year in a row, UMD has been named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media. The distinction is given to the top colleges and universities committed to serving the educational needs of military veterans and active duty students, including students enrolled in the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

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Nov. 21 - Celebrating Asian Pacific Cultureasian pacific culture poster

The 25th annual Culture Show, sponsored by the Asian/Pacific American Association, will showcase various ethnic Asian Pacific cultures, backgrounds, and heritages, and features dance, vocals, food, and an exhibit in Kirby Rafters. 5:30 p.m., Kirby Ballroom.

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Nov. 24 - The history of Glensheenold black and white pic of Glensheen

Zenith City on Tap will feature the history of Glensheen as author Tony Dierkins highlights the mansion's past from 1905-30. Glensheen director Dan Hartman will also share some discoveries that have recently come to light at the Congdon estate. No charge, and open to the public. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.

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Community engagement mural service-learning project completedcommunity service mural

UMM's Office of Community Engagement has completed one of its largest service-learning projects to-date: the new Pomme de Terre Food Co-op mural. Led by Michael Eble, associate professor of studio art, the project gave 14 first-year students the chance to experience the role of public art in society.

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MacArthur Genius visits UMMGary Nabhan

Renowned ethnobiologist and 2015 Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Liberal Arts Gary Paul Nabhan returns to UMM through Nov. 19. Nabhan will take part in workshops and armchair conversations with students, faculty, and staff. The UMM Distinguished Visiting Professorship for the Liberal Arts was established through the generous support of a private donor.

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Founders Fundpeople sitting on founders forum panel

The Founders Fund tradition continued when faculty Founders Scholars, students, and guest Gary Paul Nabhan discussed "Making the case for the Liberal Arts: How are you gonna land a job with THAT degree?" at the third annual Founders Scholar Forum on the Liberal Arts. Established with private support on the occasion of UMM's 40th birthday, the Founders Fund fosters the campus's spirit of self-discovery and thoughtful inquiry.

See event photos >


Nov. 24 - UMR CONNECTS: Using Cadavers in Medical Education and Research

Cadavers have played an important role in medical education and research, though historically their use has been rather controversial. At the next UMR CONNECTS, professor Brian Mondy will examine the fascinating history of the procurement of cadavers for research, and consider both historical and current ethical issues raised by their use.

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Twin Cities

LASIK discount with U ophthalmology residents

The U of M Department of Ophthalmology is offering faculty, staff, and students LASIK at a discount. The surgery will be performed by an ophthalmology resident with oversight by faculty. While insurance plans do not cover LASIK, it is an itemized tax deduction and a qualified Flexible Spending Plan expense. To determine if you are a candidate, schedule an initial consultation (no-charge) by emailing Debbie Hannem or calling 612-626-1442.

Learn more >

University Opera Theatre presents Carlisle Floyd's Susannah

Composed 50 years ago at the height of the McCarthy persecutions, Carlisle Floyd's Susannah is a flawlessly effective melodrama focused on an innocent woman victimized by a narrow Evangelical community in rural Tennessee. Nov. 19-21, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 22, 1:30 p.m., Ted Mann Concert Hall.

Find tickets >

Nov. 21 - Math and Science Family Fun Fair

Families are invited to enjoy fascinating activities, hands-on exhibits, and entertaining presentations showcasing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics during a day of fun and learning. The event will include more than 35 interactive science and engineering exhibits for kids of all ages, including Physics Force shows, Energy and U shows, the solar system in 3D in the ExploraDome, and more. U of M string backpacks will be given away to the first 1,000 kids. 10 a.m., Coffman Union.

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Dec. 3 - Will Steger climate talk

"Eyewitness to Climate Change" is Will Steger's vivid account of the changes that he has witnessed firsthand, caused by global warming pollutants, in polar regions over five decades of exploration. Steger will share stunning photographs from his expeditions along with compelling data, satellite imagery, and videos documenting the deterioration in the polar ice caps. After his presentation, Steger will be in conversation with Todd Reubold of the Institute on the Environment. 7 p.m., Best Buy Theater, Northrop.

Reservations and more information >

UMTC Featured Eventsiron pour

Nov. 19 - How to Make it to the Dance Floor: A Salsa Guide for Women (Based on Actual Experiences)

Nov. 20 - UMN Spatial Forum and Borchert Lecture featuring Amy Kircher

Nov. 20 - Transformation of Pharmaceutical R&D & Increasing Opportunities for Academic Scientists

Nov. 20 - Limiting Liberty: The Recurring Collision of Free Speech and Religion

Nov. 23 - 29th Annual Turkey Pour

Dec. 2 - Research with Human Participants: The National Debates

Events Calendar >