November 8, 2017

Vol. XLVII No. 36

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Features: ‘With this privilege comes the power to make change’; Curbing emissions to improve health; Renewable coal on the horizon; New tissue-engineered blood vessel replacements closer to human trials; Wheat harvest shatters previous yield records.
  • People: U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media; and more.

Top News

‘With this privilege comes the power to make change’four first generation U students

Almost 30 percent of University of Minnesota students (nearly 13,000) are first-generation—the first in their families to attend college. They come from all different backgrounds and places (and even include President Eric Kaler), and while their personal stories are unique, their beliefs about higher education are often the same—that it is the surest path to success. As the nation celebrates them all on Nov. 8, here are a few of their stories.

Explore more of their stories and help celebrate them on Nov. 8 >

Curbing emissions to improve healthChinese city full of smog

The United Nations projects 2.5 billion more people will live in cities by the year 2050. That means air pollution, and its deadly toll on human health, will only prove a larger concern. An international team of researchers, including the U of M’s Anu Ramaswami, recently explored how to design cities to reuse the byproducts of industrial processes to reduce energy use and emissions. The study demonstrates that sustainable urban design strategies can lead to cleaner air and, in turn, better health for local residents, while also reducing carbon emissions.

Renewable coal on the horizoncoal biofuel nuggets

Coal fueled the Industrial Revolution, but it took eons to form. Now, a team of researchers at the U of M Duluth has introduced what might be called “instant coal”: an energy-dense biofuel made from wood and agricultural waste in the Natural Resources Research Institute’s (NRRI) Renewable Energy Lab. NRRI envisions the product to be a supplement to fossil coal that helps reduce harmful coal emissions to meet state and federal mandates while minimizing new capital requirements at existing power plants.

Learn more about instant coal >

New tissue-engineered blood vessel replacements closer to human trialsbeakers with fluid

A discovery by researchers at the U of M could help tens of thousands of kidney dialysis patients each year. Researchers have created a new lab-grown blood vessel replacement that is composed completely of biological materials, but surprisingly doesn’t contain any living cells at implantation. It is the first-of-its-kind nonsynthetic, decellularized graft that becomes repopulated by the recipient’s own cells when implanted.

Wheat harvest shatters previous yield recordswheat

Minnesota is on track to break its wheat harvest record and, for the first time in nearly 30 years, the number of acres planted with University of Minnesota-developed varieties edged over the 50 percent mark. Harvest is tracking at a record-breaking 67 bushels per acre, shattering the previous record of 60 bushels per acre set in 2015.


U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Nov. 9 - Meetings of the University and Faculty Senates

The University Senate and the Faculty Senate will hold concurrent meetings from 2:30 to 5 p.m., Coffman Theater. The agenda will include a special topic on efforts to reduce sexual misconduct on campus. All members of the University community are invited to attend. System campuses will be linked by ITV.

Call for proposals on problems in health, environment, and the life sciences

The Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences is issuing a call for proposals addressing the societal implications of problems in health, environment, or the life sciences to graduate and professional students for work during the upcoming summer and/or academic year.

See available awards and deadlines >

Call for proposals: Grand Challenges conference

The role of public engagement in addressing society's most pressing issues will be the focus of Advancing Publicly-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning to Address Society's Grand Challenges, a systemwide conference on March 1, 2018, at Coffman Memorial Union. All University faculty, staff, students, community partners, and institutional leaders are invited to submit presentation proposals. Proposals are due Dec. 15.


Accessibility training webinars

A series of webinars covering the basics of making PDF files accessible is taking place in 141 Kiehle. Webinars begin Nov. 9 and continue with dates through December.

See the full list >

Nov. 14 - Faculty development workshop

The faculty development workshop “Little Things Mean a Lot,” based on Small Teaching by James Lang, will take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m., Minnesota Room, Sargeant Student Center.

Nov. 16 - Curator of Native American art to present

Jill Yohe, assistant curator of Native American art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, will present “Blanketing the Plains: Navajo Chief Blankets in Indian Country.” Noon, Bede Ballroom.

2017 Torch & Shield recipients

2017 Torch & Shield recipients including Justin Dagen, American Crystal Sugar Company, and Bremer Bank were recognized Nov. 1. The award honors individuals and organizations who have provided leadership and have aided in the development of the University of Minnesota Crookston, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center, and Extension.


Campaign celebrationDuluth aerial view

Last month, UMD launched the public phase of its capital campaign. The goal is to raise $120 million in the following four areas: student support, experiential learning, faculty and research support, and improvement of facilities. To date, over 70 percent has been raised.

Watch the campaign launch video >

Solar investmenta solar panel

UMD Housing & Residence Life, Dining Services, and Transportation & Parking will become subscribers to Minnesota Power’s Community Solar Garden. A 100-kilowatt block will be purchased from a new solar array nearing completion in Wrenshall, MN. UMD has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020, with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.


Celebration of Scholarly AccomplishmentsPeople examining displays

Morris’s seventh Celebration of Scholarly Accomplishments continues through Nov. 9. The ongoing event showcases outstanding research and artistic activities undertaken by faculty, staff, and retirees in the previous year. All are welcome to come celebrate the academic and creative accomplishments of Morris faculty and staff.

Nov. 14 - Diversity in the Post-Agricultural Rural Economypeople outside enjoying sun

Rural Minnesota's economy has changed a great deal over the past 40 years. U Extension researcher Ben Winchester, economic analyst Brigid Tuck, and Broadband Grants administrator Jane Leonard will address those changes and what they mean for the future of Minnesota in the discussion "Diversity in the Post-Agricultural Rural Economy.” 6:30 p.m., University Room, Student Center.

Dec. 2-3 - Holiday Soirée: Sounds of the Seasonpeople in choir

Tickets are on sale now for the Music Discipline's 2017 Holiday Soirée: Sounds of the Season. Delight in festive music and fare as the Morris choirs and chamber ensembles provide an exciting program of seasonal repertoire. Dinner and entertainment precede the formal concert.

Johnson receives Farrell Awardjackie johnson

Chancellor Emeritus Jacqueline Johnson received the James Farrell Re(Cognition) Award at the 2017 Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability biennial conference at Central College. The award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions toward advancing sustainability efforts in the Upper Midwest.


UMR State of the CampusLori Carrell

The 2017 UMR State of the Campus focused on UMR Students: Passion and Purpose. A majority of UMR students have had a pivotal health care experience in childhood or adolescence that serves as the catalyst for their passion and purpose. Interim Chancellor Lori Carrell stated, “With their potential and our world-class education, UMR graduates are equipped with the competence, care, and creativity required for the health care workforce."

UMR spreads Random Acts of Kindnesscards for kids

Students, faculty, and staff participated in multiple events this week to celebrate Minnesota Acts of Kindness. UMR hosted events including writing letters to veterans, making a card for a child undergoing treatment, and spreading random acts of kindness to others based on ideas from a “Kindness Tree.”

Twin Cities

Nov. 10 - Interdisciplinary Publicly-Engaged Scholarship event

University of Minnesota faculty and staff from a range of colleges and campuses will discuss publicly engaged methodologies including digital storytelling and technologies, asset mapping, action research, citizen science, and community-based participatory research. 9:30 a.m., 240 Northrop. Open to the public.

Nov. 15 - Inaugural Andrea Jenkins Lecture and Reception

The Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life will present the inaugural Andrea Jenkins Lecture and Reception. Jenkins is a Minneapolis-based playwright, curator, visual artist, poet, spoken word artist, trans activist, and alum of the U. 6 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. lecture, Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School.

Nov. 16 - Annual Kuehnast Celebration with Mark SeeleyMark Seeley

Using Minnesota's rich climate history as a platform for public dialogue, Mark Seeley has become beloved around the state while engaging the public on how our climate has changed and how these changes have impacted our state. Seeley is retiring after 40 years of extraordinary service. Join us for this celebration and hear from Seeley in “Forty Years as Extension Climatologist: Learning How Science and Citizenship Can Unite Us.” 2 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center.

Register and learn more >

Annual Indoor Marching Band Concerts

Join the University of Minnesota Marching Band, directed by Betsy McCann, for performances that showcase music, tradition, and entertainment for the whole family. The band will perform halftime favorites and more. Nov. 18, 7 p.m., and Nov. 19, 2 p.m., Carlson Family Stage, Northrop.

Tickets and more information >

Nov. 30 - Safety, Environmental, and Sustainability Conference

University Health and Safety, FM Energy Management, the Office of Risk Management, and the Office of Sustainability have joined together to create a one-day conference to foster a culture of safety, sustainability, and environmental stewardship. The keynote speaker, Chad Pregracke, has dedicated his life to cleaning and maintaining the Mississippi River and other waterways throughout the United States. 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center.

Register and learn more >

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.

UMTC Featured Eventscassava leaves

Nov. 9 - Exploring African Agricultural Futures
Nov. 9 - "Reinventing America’s Schools" with Author David Osborne
Nov. 9 - The Summit for Civil Rights
Nov. 10 - Covering Refugees: Roundtable with Journalists from Europe, the Middle East, North & Central America
Nov. 9-11 - Bookstore Balloon sale
Nov. 14 - Women Innovators Conference
Nov. 16 - University Opera Theatre presents W.A. Mozart’s "Idomeneo"

Events Calendar >