November 9, 2016

Vol. XLVI No. 36

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Features: How a child’s mind works; New discovery could help oral medicines work better.
  • People: The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the governor’s office have announced the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership; and more.

Top News

How a child’s mind worksa smiling child

How does a child’s mind work? And how, through such understanding, can we ensure that all children succeed? That’s the work being undertaken by researchers Maria Sera and Melissa Koenig as they explore how children learn new languages. Sera and Koenig are not only uncovering new ways to help English language learners become proficient faster, they’re also finding more effective methods for teaching a new language to English speakers.

Read more about the work of Koenig and Sera >

New discovery could help oral medicines work betterpills on table

A team of researchers from the U of M and The Dow Chemical Company have discovered a new method for customizing ingredients that helps oral medications dissolve in the body and be absorbed into the bloodstream. The materials discovered in this study could allow life-saving drugs to work faster and more efficiently.

Read more about the discovery >


The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the governor’s office have announced the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership; the Institute on the Environment has named 12 associates, 34 fellows, 4 educators, and 2 visiting scholars to its 2017 cohort of IonE Affiliates; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Open Enrollment: Re-enroll in an FSA

Re-enroll in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) by Nov. 30. If you want to continue using health care and dependent daycare FSAs in 2017, you must re-enroll during Open Enrollment. The limit will be $2,600 for the health care FSA per employee and $5,000 for the dependent daycare FSA per household.

Nov. 15 - Final Canvas faculty experience presentation

In this final presentation in the Canvas learning management system pilot series, Stephanie Hernandez and Elizabeth Lake from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese will share their experience with Canvas. Hernandez will talk about building her courses from scratch, while Lake will speak about transferring her Moodle course. 10:10-11 a.m., 140 Nolte or live online.


Nov. 11 - Missing Man Table Ceremony and Display

The Missing Man Table is a semi-official place of honor in some dining facilities of the U.S. armed forces in memory of fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service members. The table serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance. 8 a.m., Eagles Nest, Sahlstrom Conference Center.

Nov. 14-18 - International Education Week

International Education Week will feature food from around the world on Nov. 14, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Brown Dining Room. Later that evening the film He Named Me Malala will be shown at 7 p.m., Bede Ballroom.

For a full list of activities, see UMC Today >

Torch & Shield recognition event

Two individuals and one association were honored with the Torch & Shield Award in late October during the annual recognition event. The three recipients for 2016 were Jim Cameron, Betty Younggren, and the UMC Faculty Women’s Association. Sierra Trost, a senior double majoring in biology and health sciences, spoke at the ceremony on behalf of student scholarship recipients.


The value of NRRINRRI building with rainbow in front

A study published by UMD’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research reveals that the UMD Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) is returning tenfold on Minnesota’s investment. Over 200 NRRI business and agency partners were surveyed. They reported an average savings of $60,000 to $100,000 due to NRRI assistance, along with an average of 7 to 12 new or retained jobs.

Forty years of excellenceUMD Medical School

The University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth is celebrating its 40th anniversary. From the beginning, its focus has been on graduating physicians who have a desire to serve rural and American Indian communities. The program ranks second in the nation for the number of American Indian graduates.

Nov. 10 - Holocaust commemoration eventFred Amram

U of M Professor Emeritus Fred Amram will read excerpts from his recently published memoir, We’re in America Now: A Survivor’s Stories. Amram was born in Nazi Germany in 1933. In November 1939, he and his family fled to New York City. 7-8:30 p.m., Kathryn A. Martin Library Rotunda.

Nov. 17 - Networking nightUMD bulldog mascot

Reserve a spot today to attend the annual UMD Networking Night at Greysolon Ballroom in downtown Duluth. Prospect future employees and mingle with current students, area professionals, and alumni. RSVP by Nov. 11.


Students receive Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity awardsAmy Coria and Nicole Palmer

Two UMM students have received the 2016 Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity award: Amy Coria '18, Chicago, and Nicole Palmer '17, New Ulm. Sponsored by the Office for Equity and Diversity, the systemwide award honors and acknowledges diverse students doing outstanding work across the University of Minnesota, both in and out of the classroom.

Nov. 15 - Founders Scholar Forumfounders forum panel

The fourth annual Founders Scholar Forum on the Liberal Arts theme will be "Making the Case for the Liberal Arts: So You Want to Change the World?" The Founders Fund was established with gifts from a private donor in honor of the founding faculty of the University of Minnesota Morris on the occasion of UMM's 40th anniversary.

Nov. 10-15 - Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dreamstudents performing shakespeare

The UMM Theatre Discipline will begin its 2016-17 season with William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Raymond J. Lammers Proscenium Theatre. Awash in satire and humor, the bard's eternal comedy depicts the struggles of young love amidst a fantasy full of fairies, mythology, and magic.

Dec. 2-4 - Holiday Soiree

The UMM Music Discipline will present its third annual Holiday Soiree in the Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall. The highlight of this year's program is a performance of Bach's beloved Magnificat, performed by the concert choir, professional orchestra, and soloists.


Nov. 15 - Large Lakes as a Climate AntennaJay Austin

Jay Austin of the U of M Large Lakes Observatory/Department of Physics and Astronomy will discuss how ice plays a major role in the physical and biogeochemical development of mid- to high-latitude lakes at the next UMR Connects. Ice has been shown to be a major driver of the annual thermal development of large lakes like Lake Superior, with winter ice conditions playing a fundamental role in determining seasonal timing and eventual thermal structure of the lake during the subsequent year. 7 p.m. 417 University Square.

Trick-or-CanningUMR students on stairs

The Rochester Student Association went door to door in East Rochester and collected 290 pounds of nonperishable food item donations for Channel One Food Shelf. Trick-or-Canning is an annual event of the Rochester Student Association in which students ask for food donations to benefit the Rochester Community.

Twin Cities

An interview with Michelle Johnson-JenningsMichelle Johnson-Jennings

Michelle Johnson-Jennings, director of the Research for Indigenous Community Health Center, is a trained clinical psychologist, health researcher, advocate for tribal communities, and a member of the Choctaw Nation. An expert on cultural differences between westernized medicine and indigenous populations, Johnson-Jennings notes that cultural barriers around what pain means differ among patients of different cultures compared with health care providers. And there’s clearly a need for her understanding in this area, as many indigenous people suffer from addictions.

Read more about Johnson-Jennings >

Nov. 15, 16 - Employee Health and Benefits Fairs

The Employee Health and Benefits Fair is your opportunity to talk with representatives of your University benefits plans. Attend to learn about your medical, dental, retirement, life, disability, and other benefit options. The UPlan Wellness Program will also offer flu shots at no charge at the events. Nov. 15, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., North Star Ballroom, St. Paul Student Center; and Nov. 16, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Great Hall, Coffman Union.

Nov. 15 - Writing and community engagement panel and discussion

Panelists at this writing and community engagement event will discuss the role of writing in their community-engaged learning courses and address questions of how writing and community engagement can be mutually beneficial in learning environments. Lunch is provided to registrants. Noon-1:30 p.m., 135 Nicholson Hall.

Nov. 15 - Global Health Day: Global Partnerships through Research

2016 Global Health Day is an opportunity to exchange knowledge across disciplines and make connections. The event will feature the Academic Health Center Uganda Hub with a keynote presentation, panel discussion, and student poster session. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Coffman Union. RSVP to attend.

Nov. 15 - Student veterans appreciation event

UMTC has honored student veterans on campus since 2007 with a Student Veterans Appreciation Day event. The 10th annual celebration will honor student veterans' sacrifice and service to our country. Stop by to thank student veterans, participate in games, and grab a slice of pizza. Open to the public. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Great Hall, Coffman Union.

Nov. 16 - Provost’s Conversation Series: Moustafa BayoumiMoustafa Bayoumi

Moustafa Bayoumi, author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, will give a lecture highlighting the challenges facing young Arab- and Muslim-Americans today. No charge, open to the public. 2 p.m., Coffman Union Theater. Bayoumi’s talk marks the first in the Provost’s Conversation Series: Constructing Community--Identity, Opportunity, and Place. The yearlong speaker series will focus on human rights, reflecting on how we can contribute to a more inclusive society.

Nov. 16 - Spatial Forum and Borchert Lecture

The 2016 U of M Spatial Forum and Borchert Lecture will feature Jessica Hellmann, director of the U’s Institute on the Environment. The forum is a yearly event highlighting spatial research, teaching, and outreach at the University of Minnesota. Hellmann will give the annual Borchert Lecture, "Challenges and opportunities in modeling and managing biodiversity in a future under climate change." Noon-5 p.m., Rapson Hall.

Nov. 18 - Thanksgiving Iron Pourmolten iron being poured

Students and visiting artists will work together to perform an aesthetic, athletic, and pyrotechnic event, pouring molten iron into sand molds to make cast iron sculptures. Tamsie Ringler, assistant professor of sculpture, will lead the pour. 5 p.m., Regis Center for Art Foundry.

Nov. 19 - Violence and Health Injustice

Violence and Health Injustice: Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Undocumented Communities is the second event in a series focused on the political issues and health outcomes of refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented communities in the United States and Canada. Panels of human rights lawyers, health care professionals, activists, and refugees will discuss issues impacting these groups. No charge, open to the public. Meals are included with registration. 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m., L-110 Carlson School.

Nov. 26-27 - Indoor Marching Band Concertthe U of M Marching Band at Northrop

The University of Minnesota Marching Band will put you in the middle of the show, performing favorite tunes from this year’s pregame and halftime shows. One of the most exciting and visible organizations on campus, the marching band provides enthusiastic support to the University's athletic programs, and represents the University with pride at home and away. The band will perform two shows: Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 27 at 2 p.m., both at Northrop.

Find tickets >

Nov. 30-Dec. 2 - TEDMED at the Bio-Medical Library

The Bio-Medical Library in Diehl Hall will host a live viewing of the TEDMED 2016 stage program. Attendees can stop in to watch one or more of the scheduled talks, which explore the science of aging, environmental and community health, visionary science, and more.

Dec. 1 - Farm Fields, Gardens, Kitchens, and Libraries of the Great Midwest

Join U of M Libraries for an excursion through today’s food with novelist J. Ryan Stradal and food writer Beth Dooley. 7 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School. No charge and open to the public, but reservations are requested by Nov. 28.

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 Eventsa bull moose

Nov. 12 - The Caring Economy: Transcending the Status Quo
Nov. 15 - Living in the Age of Islamophobia and Resurgent Bigotry and Violence
Nov. 15 - Café Scientifique: Clever Moose
Nov. 16 - Design Thinking in the Public and Nonprofit Sector
Nov. 16 - Life, Emergent: The Social in the Afterlives of Violence
Nov. 16 - Wellbeing Lecture with Dr. David Eisenberg
Nov. 17-20 - University Opera Theatre presents Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia
Nov. 17 - Money Conversations: Your Money is Speaking, Are You Listening? Workshop

Events Calendar >