October 10, 2018

Vol. XLVIII No. 31

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • Board of Regents meets Oct. 11-12.
  • Features: Unlocking Mechanical Minds: using robots to help diagnose autism; Finding good food close to home.
  • People: The U of M has received a $1.75 million NSF grant to research autonomous vehicles; and more.

Top News

Board of Regents meets Oct. 11-12

At its October meeting, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents will discuss graduate and professional education, including academic planning for new graduate programs, enrollment management, and financing graduate education. Additionally, regents plan to discuss the University’s work to ensure equitable access and opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and guests with disabilities. The board is also expected to take action on the president’s recommended biennial budget and capital requests to the State of Minnesota, which the board reviewed in September.

Unlocking Mechanical Minds: using robots to help diagnose autisma boy and a small robot

Kids’ interactions with talking robots--which behave in a standardized, bias-free manner--could reveal telltale signs in very young children destined to develop autism. University of Minnesota researchers have collected baseline data on robots’ interactions with 2- to 4-year-olds. They hope to use this data to predict who will develop autism, unlocking the door to countless precious minds. Watch a video and learn more.

Finding good food close to homekirsten arm and ousman camara outside a grocery store

In 2008, when Minneapolis decided to tackle the scarcity of healthy foods in some Minneapolis neighborhoods, it called on the research of School of Public Health (SPH) professor Melissa Laska. Relying on her work, Minneapolis passed the Staple Foods Ordinance--a groundbreaking piece of legislation that is the first in the country to require licensed grocery stores to display and sell high quality fresh produce and other whole foods. Now the city is partnering with Laska and SPH to measure the legislation’s impact.


Christopher Cramer has been named the University's vice president for research; the University of Minnesota has received a $1.75 million NSF grant to research autonomous vehicles; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Research Brief: A warmer climate will also be a drier climate, with negative impacts on forest growthresearcher checking a tree plot

Warmer temperatures brought on by climate change will lead to drier soils and reduce tree photosynthesis and growth in forests later this century, according to a new University of Minnesota study published in the journal Nature. That conclusion comes as scientists have speculated the opposite: that a warming climate might speed up forests' photosynthesis and facilitate growth in cold-weather climates found in North America, Europe, and Asia.


Oct. 10 - School of Nursing info session

The University of Minnesota School of Nursing will have a representative at an information table in the Student Center as well as an information session in the Minnesota Room, noon-1 p.m.

Oct. 11 - National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out Day is an observed civil awareness day recognized annually on Oct. 11. Make an Ally Pledge and get a rainbow cupcake from noon to 3 p.m., Northern Lights Lounge, Sargeant Student Center.

Oct. 11 - Not Alone film screening

The film Not Alone, about depression and suicide, will show at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) in Kiehle Auditorium. The film will be followed by an expert panel discussion, including members of the local suicide awareness and prevention coalition. No charge.


IonE@UMDstudents looking through binoculars

The U of M Institute on the Environment (IonE), established on the Twin Cities campus, has launched IonE@UMD. Professor Julie Etterson, Department of Biology, will oversee activities in which faculty, staff, and students from across disciplines will work together on sustainability issues. IonE@UMD’s first event included visits to UMD’s Sustainable Agriculture Project farm, Hawk Ridge, and the research vessel Blue Heron.

Homecoming 2018students in parade

UMD will celebrate Homecoming on Oct. 13. Dress the kids in maroon and gold and bring them to the parade on campus beginning at 11 a.m. Football kicks off at 1 p.m. in Malosky Stadium, with tailgating starting at 10 a.m. Bulldog Volleyball begins at 4 p.m. in Romano Gymnasium.

Reading circlesreading circles logo poster

Throughout the 2018-19 school year, UMD’s Commission on Equity, Race, & Ethnicity will offer six reading circles designed to foster conversations on diversity and equity. An informal discussion will be held on the first book, 13 Colors of the Honduran Resistance/13 colores de la resistencia hondureña on Oct. 29, 5 p.m., 4th Floor Rotunda, Kathryn A. Martin Library.

Chanticleer at the WeberChanticleer poses for a group photo

The Grammy Award-winning a cappella choir Chanticleer will perform Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., Weber Music Hall. The 12-man ensemble’s repertoire spans ten centuries from Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, and romantic art songs to contemporary music, jazz, spirituals, and pop. Find tickets.


Center For Small Towns seeks community project proposals

The Center for Small Towns seeks applications for its Connecting Students and Communities program. Previously funded projects have included local recycling efforts with the Red Lake Nation, social media presence for the City of Morris, Grant County 4-H after-school programs, museum attendance, and more. Applications for spring 2019 will be accepted through Oct. 31.

Oct. 16 - 2018 Lee Lecture: ‘Apocalyptic Anxieties’

Sean Parson, associate professor of politics and international affairs and sustainable communities at Northern Arizona University, will deliver the 2018 Jooinn Lee Lecture. In his talk, "Apocalyptic Anxieties," Parson will focus on apocalyptic anxieties regarding science fiction, climate change, and the politics of doom. 7 p.m., 109 Imholte Hall.

Armstrong ’11 named 2018 Latterell Visiting Alumnus

Douglas Armstrong '11, data scientist at Securian Financial, is the 2018 Latterell Visiting Alumnus. In addition to classroom visits, Armstrong will deliver the 2018 Latterell Visiting Alumni Lecture on Oct. 17. In his lecture, "From Forensics To Insurance: Making Decisions With Data," Armstrong will discuss research he did while working toward his Ph.D., and how those experiences help him build an innovative, data-driven culture today.


Marcia Nichols receives tenureMarcia Nichols

A first-generation college graduate and one of few people in her family to graduate high school, Marcia Nichols has become a passionate teacher and researcher. As a professor at UMR’s Center for Learning Innovation, Nichols is responsible for delivering the literature portions of the humanities component of the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree. She also teaches classes on gender and sexuality studies.

LibreText awarded $5 million grant

Xavier Prat-Resina, a chemistry professor at the University of Minnesota Rochester’s Center for Learning Innovation, is a part of the proposal team of LibreTexts, a nonprofit that received a $5 million Department of Education grant to fund their work in providing open-access textbooks and course materials on 12 topics in the STEM field.

Twin Cities

Achieve your leadership goals with the Leading on All Levels program

Whether you manage projects or want to take your career to the next level by building your leadership skills, the Leading on All Levels program will better equip you to navigate your leadership journey at the U of M. The session starts March 1. Applications are due Feb. 15.

Oct. 11 - Arts Quarter Festivalart quarter poster

Arts collide at the 3rd annual Arts Quarter Festival: an evening mashup of visual art, dance, music, and theater showcasing student and faculty talent from across the University. Over 100 artists will take over the West Bank Arts Quarter.

Oct. 18 - Treasures, Hoards, and the Ends of Medieval Objects

Cecily Hilsdale will present a fascinating look at medieval treasure hoards at the annual Carl Sheppard Memorial Lecture in Medieval Art History. 6 p.m., Elmer L. Andersen Library.

Oct. 30 - Active Threat Response Forums

The University of Minnesota Police Department will hold two Active Threat Response Forums for faculty, staff, and students. Participants will learn and discuss what actions to take during an active threat incident. Noon-1:30 p.m. or 7:30-9 p.m., Coffman Theater. Registration is required.

Through Oct. 31 - ‘A Campus Divided’ reprise

A Campus Divided” examines the U of M campus climate during a time of division over issues including racial and economic equality, opposition to war, and students' rights. Exhibit panels feature archival images and descriptions. This is the reprise of the exhibit originally displayed in fall 2017.

Nov. 7-9 - Statistical and Computational Challenges in Precision Medicine

In continuation with the Innovative Statistics and Machine Learning in Precision Medicine workshop held in fall 2017, the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications is hosting a second precision medicine workshop that will focus on exchanging ideas for developing accurate and reliable statistical and machine learning tools used to estimate optimal treatment regimes. Register and learn more.

UMTC Featured EventsAmerica Justice film screenshot

Oct. 10 - Petri Dish: Super foods or super frauds

Oct. 11 - Mapping Prejudice at WAM

Oct. 11 - American Justice

Oct. 12 - "The 1967 Plymouth Avenue Rebellion: Its Impact and Meaning for Today," a CURA 50 Event

Oct. 15 - Quantum Supremacy: Checking a Quantum Computer With a Classical Supercomputer

Oct. 15 - Rural Design and Urban Design: Healing the Divide

Oct. 17 - In the Field: Conversations with Creatives

Oct. 25 - Exhibit reception: ‘Such a Big Dream’: Edward S. Curtis at 150

Events Calendar >