September 4, 2019

Vol. XLIX No. 26

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Inauguration of Joan T.A. Gabel as University of Minnesota president.
  • Features: Gardening for the masses; Back from war: Telling Native veterans’ stories after Vietnam.
  • People: Alon Herschhorn has received a 2019 Avenir Award for HIV/AIDS research; and more.

Top News

Sept. 20 - Inauguration of Joan T.A. Gabel as University of Minnesota president

Inauguration activities for the 17th president of the University of Minnesota, Joan T.A. Gabel, will take place on the Twin Cities campus, and the installation ceremony as well as President Gabel’s inaugural address will be livestreamed. The day will begin with a formal installation ceremony at 9 a.m., followed by a 10 a.m. procession along the Scholars Walk to Northrop, an 11 a.m. inaugural address on the Northrop steps, and a lunch on Northrop Mall. Prior to inauguration day, the Twin Cities campus will host a week of activities highlighting the depth and breadth of the University’s work. This fall, President Gabel will also visit the system campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester.

Gardening for the massesJoel Karsten

When Joel Karsten got his degree in horticultural science from the University of Minnesota in 1991, he had no idea his agricultural life would take him down the path of fine-tuning and promoting a novel way to grow food: straw bale gardening. He hopes the method helps make gardening more accessible worldwide.

Back from war: Telling Native veterans’ stories after VietnamJohn Little

As US soldiers returned home from fighting the Vietnam War, they faced numerous challenges. American Indian veterans were no exception to these struggles, but they did experience something few other veterans met when they returned to their communities: support, rather than scorn. PhD student John Little is building his dissertation around Native American veterans’ experiences during and after Vietnam. Through his research, he aims to provide new perspectives on this piece of history, which has often omitted Native accounts.


Alon Herschhorn has received a 2019 Avenir Award for HIV/AIDS research; Shirley Nordrum has been named a recipient of the Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media. People.

U-Wide News

Apply for Imagine Fund awards, Special Events funding, and chair position

Imagine Fund grant programs support innovative lines of research or scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design that may not otherwise be possible. Applications are now open for the Arts, Humanities, and Design Chair position (due Jan. 6), annual awards (due Dec. 2), Special Events Round 1 (due Nov. 18), and Special Events Round 2 (applications open Jan. 13 and close March 16).

Equity and Diversity Breakfast and award applications

The annual Equity and Diversity Breakfast, sponsored by the Office for Equity and Diversity, will take place on Nov. 4. Several awards will be given at the breakfast; applications for the Outstanding Unit Award and the Josie R. Johnson Award can be submitted online until Oct. 4, 4:30 p.m. Registration for the breakfast opens Sept. 23.

Music Library CDs and DVDs now circulate

The U of M Music Library's rich collections of over 30,000 CDs and DVDs now circulate for one-week loans. The media collections now also circulate to all U of M campuses and to other institutions through interlibrary loan. Twin Cities users can place requests for these materials using the “Get It” campus delivery system.

Medical School hosts White Coat Ceremonies

The University of Minnesota Medical School recently welcomed the class of 2023. MD students kicked off their first year of medical school at White Coat Ceremonies hosted on the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses. The 2023 class of 240 students—nearly 86 percent of whom are Minnesota residents—embodies the school’s commitment to diversity and the training of the next generation of Minnesota’s physicians.

Research Brief: Culturally centered birth center improves value and equity in health care before and after birth

Racial inequities in health care in the weeks before and after birth put African American women and their babies at greater risk for birth complications and death. Some providers are eliminating the inequities through care models that respect the cultural needs and values of African American women. University of Minnesota School of Public Health researchers studied one such model in Minneapolis. Additional recent Research Briefs include “New type of visual filter discovered in an unlikely place” and "Physicians more likely to prescribe opioids later in the day."


Crookston welcomes studentsUMC welcome

Orientation leaders recently welcomed students to the University of Minnesota Crookston for the start of a new academic year. Summer brought many updates across campus in preparation for fall semester, which began Aug. 27.

Crookston named a ‘Best Midwestern College’

The University of Minnesota Crookston has again been named one of the best colleges in the Midwest according to The Princeton Review, a nationally known education services company.


Smythe receives awardWendy Smythe

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society has honored Wendy Smythe with the 2019 Professional of the Year Award. Smythe recently joined the Department of American Indian Studies in the College of Liberal Arts as an assistant professor. Smythe, who is a technology and policy fellow with the National Science Foundation, will lead UMD’s Masters of Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship program.

Understanding algae bloomsKaitlyn Reinl

Robert Sterner, director of the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO), and PhD candidate Kaitlin Reinl, an LLO team member, are researching blue-green algae in Lake Superior. They have installed equipment in the lake and on the shoreline to measure conditions such as nutrient levels and water temperature when another bloom occurs. “The data will tell us which of these conditions are coincidences and which are causes,” Sterner says.

Sept. 10 - Visual Culture Lecture SeriesAnna Sorenson

Anna Sörenson will present as part of the Visual Culture Lecture Series. Sörenson is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited internationally and who has been awarded numerous scholarships including a Fulbright. She earned a BFA at Umeå University in Sweden and an MFA from Pratt Institute in New York. 6-7 p.m., 80 Montague Hall.


Rodriguez named associate dean at CEHD

Michael Rodriguez ’87 has been named the new associate dean for undergraduate programs at the U of M’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). A 2008 Morris Distinguished Alumnus and an expert in psychometrics, Rodriguez works with schools to develop methods for improving their use of large-scale test information for planning and evaluation.

Grant-in-Aid award recipients

Two Morris faculty members received awards in the spring 2019 round of the U of M Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship program: Emily Bruce, assistant professor of history, and Robert Denton, assistant professor of biology. The awards are administered by the Office of the Vice President for Research and act as seed money for developing projects to attract more complete, external funding.


Sept. 5 - UMR Community and Student Club Involvement Fair

Encourage students to attend the annual UMR Community and Student Club Involvement Fair, which connects community partners, students, faculty, and staff to promote community and on-campus engagement. 12:30-2:30 p.m., 417 University Square.

Twin Cities

Inspired by American Sign LanguageJohn Penny teaching on an ipad

In 1987, a deaf student at the U of M Twin Cities whose first language was American Sign Language (ASL) petitioned to take an English course to fulfill his second-language requirement. After he succeeded, other students began to request ASL be offered as a second language. Today, ASL is a requirement of the deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) teaching licensure program and one of the largest languages at the University, with roughly 700 to 800 students in classes each semester. Read more about the ASL program.

U of M Passport Office now open

The new U of M Passport Office accepts passport applications and takes photos for passports and country-specific visas. The office is open to all faculty, staff, students, and the public, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., University International Center.

Sept. 10-12 - Fall Cops and Coffee

The Department of Public Safety will host fall Cops and Coffee, starting each day at 8 a.m. and lasting until the coffee and donuts run out. Stop by and grab some coffee and a donut, and talk to representatives from UMPD and Parking and Transportation Services. Locations: Sept. 10, West Bank Plaza; Sept. 11, Keller Hall Plaza; and Sept. 12, outside of the St. Paul Student Center.

Sept. 22 - Film Premiere: Summoned: Frances Perkins and the General Welfare

Summoned: Frances Perkins and the General Welfare is an exclusive pre-broadcast premiere of a film on the life and legacy of the nation's first female cabinet member and the force behind the American social safety net, Frances Perkins. The film will air on PBS stations nationwide in March 2020 as part of Women's History Month and the centennial of women's suffrage. 4 p.m. film screening, Ted Mann Concert Hall, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Mick Caouette, Humphrey School dean Laura Bloomberg, and State Auditor Julie Blaha. No charge, but register in advance.

Sept. 25 - Minnesota Mycology: Small Plate Soirée

What is this? Can I eat it? According to mycology enthusiast and alumnae Kathy Yerich, these are the most commonly asked questions about mushrooms. Hosted by LearningLife and offered in cooperation with the Campus Club, Cornercopia Student Farm, alumni-owned Mississippi Mushrooms, and the Minnesota Mycological Society, this event invites participants to learn about—and taste—some of the more than 5,000 species of mushrooms found in our region. Register by Sept. 18.

Sept. 26 - UROC Community Day

Join in a celebration of Minnesota and North Minneapolis at UROC Community Day, hosted by the University's Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center. This year's open house features a program with President Joan Gabel, research demonstrations and learning activities, performances by local artists, live music, prizes and giveaways, and foods representing the diversity of Minnesota's communities. No charge and open to the public. 3-7 p.m., UROC, 2001 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis.

Sept. 26 - We the People, Reclaiming the Public Square

Laura Bloomberg, dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, will present the annual David A. Rothenberger Lecture. Bloomberg will reflect on the creation of policy that yields public value and working across sectors to advance the common good. Bloomberg's academic research focuses on community-based and cross-sector leadership, program evaluation, and educational policy. No charge but tickets are required. 4 p.m., Coffman Theater.

Sept. 28 - U of M Day of Service

During the annual U of M Day of Service, hundreds of alumni and friends at locations across Minnesota, the U.S., and the world come together to do good. Gather with alumni and friends at one of more than a dozen projects to help your community.

Oct. 5 - Mindful Eating Workshop

In this interactive workshop, participants will explore what it's like to eat with awareness. Through hands-on practice, you will delve into what it means to really pay attention to what you're eating, how you're eating, and why you're eating. You'll also learn how to identify different kinds of hunger and distinguish between hunger that can be satisfied with food and other feelings that are best satisfied in other ways. Bring a bag lunch. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Meditation Space, Mayo Memorial Building.

Oct. 14 - Gotta Minute? (for Silly but Serious Science about the Environment)

U of M Regents Professor Peter Reich and son Alex Reich, the creators of MinuteEarth, are working to foster better stewardship of the planet through engaging online science videos. A reception will follow the program. 7 p.m., Great Hall, Coffman Union. No charge, but reservations are requested.

UMTC Featured EventsMisel Lecture image of person looking at device

Sept. 7 - EXHIBITION | Beverley Oliver Hawkins and Nieeta Presley: Influential St. Paul Developers
Sept. 7 - Guest Recital: Chicago Harp Quartet
Sept. 9 - STEP Seminar: Scott Strand, Environmental Law and Policy Center
Sept. 10 - Webinar: Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Sept. 12 - 2019 IT Fall Fair
Oct. 16 - 14th Annual Misel Lecture-"Quantum Computing: Why, How and When"

Events Calendar