December 7, 2022

Inside This Issue
  • Creativity and the brain.
  • Awards and Recognition: The College of Continuing and Professional Studies recently received a $32.5 million gift; and more.
Top News

Creativity and the brain

Creativity Camp participants made self-portraits out of personalized puzzle pieces

Last summer, groups of local youth, all of whom had symptoms of depression, were participants in a two-week Creativity Camp that studied what happens in the brain when we engage in creative activities and whether those activities can affect depression. So far, results are showing that after camp, depression symptoms are lower, and scores on measures of well-being are higher. 


Awards and Recognition

The College of Continuing and Professional Studies recently received a $32.5 million gift; announcing the 2022 recipients of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion award; Jodi Dworkin has been named a fellow of the National Council on Family Relations; U in the News features highlights of University faculty and staff cited in the media.

Awards and Recognition

U-Wide News

Nominations sought: 2023 U of M President's Community-Engaged Scholar Award

The Office for Public Engagement and vice provost for faculty and academic affairs seek nominations for the 2023 University of Minnesota Community-Engaged Scholar Awards. These annual systemwide awards recognize faculty or academic professional and administrative employees (P&A) for exemplary community-engaged scholarship in their respective field(s) of inquiry. Nominations are due Feb. 3, 5 p.m. Email Amber Cameron with questions. 

Center for Writing grant opportunities

Everyone who produces research has a role in learning, understanding, and teaching writing. The Center for Writing’s Grants for the Study of Writing in the Disciplines program offers small grants ($2,000 to $6,000) to support faculty and instructor research on writing in their academic disciplines and as they cross disciplinary borders. Learn more about the application process.

Applications open: Minnesota Neuroimaging Postdoctoral Fellowship

This Minnesota Neuroimaging Postdoctoral Fellowship aims to provide recipients multidisciplinary skills in neuroimaging technology development and advanced biomedical applications, guidance in career development, and social/networking support. Each fellow's primary research will be conducted on a multidisciplinary project that combines their background with another field with the goal of developing new neuroimaging technologies. The deadline to apply is Dec. 15.

Funding opportunity: MnDRIVE Research Fellowships in Neuromodulation

MnDRIVE Research Fellowships in Neuromodulation will be awarded to outstanding graduate students (doctoral), postdoctoral trainees, and residents/clinical fellows pursuing research in neuromodulation. The deadline to apply is Jan. 19.

University Senate December meeting highlights

At the University Senate meeting on Dec. 1, senators approved minor updates to the Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus policy and heard from leadership about proposed revisions to the senate's own governing documents. President Gabel and Provost Croson updated senators on the institution's progress towards the goals in the MPact 2025 Strategic Plan, as well as various senior leader searches. The next meeting is Feb. 23, 2:30 p.m., live on YouTube.

Research, updated tools help MnDOT encourage landowners to join snow fence program

Snow fences are a useful tool for controlling snow and ice on Minnesota’s roads. However, installing them relies on the cooperation of landowners. An ongoing collaboration between U of M researchers and MnDOT aims to develop tools that can be used to attract more landowners to the MnDOT snow fence program.

Talking addiction during the holidays with U of M

It is important to recognize ways to keep each other healthy during the holidays, considering celebrations may be accompanied with alcohol and other substances. The Medical School’s Sheila Specker talks about the impact that the holidays can have on people with addictions. See more editions of "Talking with U of M," a resource where faculty answer questions on current and other topics.

Research Brief: Reduce vaccine hesitancy by focusing on options

Asking people to choose a COVID-19 vaccine rather than asking whether they would get vaccinated can reduce vaccine hesitancy, even across party lines, according to new University of Minnesota research. Additional recent Research Briefs include “Reducing youth interest in flavored vaping products.”

Self-paced online teaching and design program

By choosing from among nine self-paced modules, faculty and instructors are invited to strengthen their online instruction, assessment, use of multimedia, Canvas site design, and more. Learn more and enroll.

Dec. 15 - Canvas Gradebook: Prepare to submit final grades

It is the end of the semester and the time to submit final grades is approaching. Enroll in the Canvas Gradebook: Prepare to submit final grades interactive webinar to help with this process. This hands-on session will focus on concrete tips and strategies to update the Gradebook and prepare to submit final grades from Canvas directly to PeopleSoft. 10-11 a.m. via Zoom. 

Jan. 4-12 - Teaching Enrichment Series

The Teaching Enrichment Series focuses on practical approaches to teaching and learning that instructors can implement in classes this spring. Session topics include creating a learning-centered syllabus, inclusive teaching basics, reframing participation, and more. 

Virtual leadership development program for individual contributors

Discover your leadership potential and build your skills through the online Leading on All Levels leadership program. Whether you informally manage projects or are looking to advance your career at the University, this course will help individual contributors systemwide learn about their strengths and how to use them to progress in their leadership journey. Leading on All Levels consists of seven live virtual-learning sessions (Zoom) and begins on Feb. 1. Learn more and apply.


Chancellor’s December community letter

Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause's December letter to the U of M Crookston community addresses preparing for the winter break, upcoming events on campus, and a glimpse at what the next calendar year will bring. Holz-Clause also addresses the upcoming vote regarding the Crookston School District’s proposed multi-use athletic complex and the University's position on the issue.

London calling

Marah Mcdougal in front of Eiffel tower

In September, Marah Mcdougal landed in London to study for a semester through the CAPA Global Education program. In addition to taking five business classes, the 2022 U of M Crookston Student of the Year has been exploring the city and other major European destinations. A marketing major, Mcdougal says meeting people, learning about international business, exploring the culture, seeing the politics and economics at work, and enduring transportation strikes have been a rollercoaster.



Lysa Chizmadia with a large rock sample

In order to build a base camp on the moon, NASA will mimic moon material for use by robots and astronauts. The project will use the Natural Resources Research Institute’s (NRRI) unique rock crushing equipment, the only large-scale high-pressure grinding roll dedicated to research in the U.S. Lysa Chizmadia, a process mineralogist, is the lead researcher on the NRRI portion of NASA’s Artemis Base Camp Project.


‘Office Hours’ with Diana Shapiro

Diana Shapiro

In this episode of “Office Hours,” UMD talks with Diana Shapiro, professor of music. “Life is too short, and there’s too much good music to play,” says Shapiro. A self-professed “concert junkie,” Shapiro began taking music lessons at age 4 and has given concerts in nearly every country in Europe. She encourages students to dream, “Because that can take you so much farther.”


Cougar athletes named Academic All-District

Logo reading Academic All-District Team

Four Cougar football players and three volleyball players have been named Academic All-District. Academic All-District honorees advance to the College Sports Communicators Academic All-America ballot. First-, second-, and third-team Academic All-America honorees will be announced in late December.



Morris recognized for student voting engagement

Logo reading Most Engaged Campus for College student voting 2022

U of M Morris has been recognized by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge as a 2022 ALL IN Most Engaged Campuses for College Student Voting, which recognizes colleges and universities for making intentional efforts to increase student voter participation.



Dec. 9 - Holiday Choir Concert 

This holiday-themed concert celebrates unity in diversity, with performances by the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Tonal Eclipse, and student soloists. 7:30 p.m. 

Fall semester calendar

The final day of classes for the fall semester is Dec. 9. Finals will be held Dec. 13-16. Spring semester classes will begin on Jan. 17. See the academic calendar for more information.


A family affair: The Yusuf siblings

Yaquob, Yusra , and Yasira Yusuf

The Yusuf siblings, Yaquob ’21, Yusra ’23, and Yasira ’24, share their familial and individual experiences attending UMR, supporting one another, and reflecting on their shared passion for health care. Learn more about the Yusuf family and how they are building tradition at UMR, found in the fall 2022 issue of The Kettle.



Capstone presentations

Fall graduates of UMR’s Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree recently presented their senior capstones to peers, faculty, staff, mentors, and their families. At UMR, capstones are an individually planned set of senior-year learning experiences focused on a theme that aligns with each student’s personal and professional goals. Capstone presentations are an opportunity for critical reflection and celebration in the learning journeys of students.

Twin Cities

Marching on

1972 image of women band members

This year marks the 50-year anniversary of the passage of Title IX, the civil rights legislation that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Betsy McCann, director of athletic and marching bands, speaks here about her experience being the first woman to direct the band, the importance of donor support, and her vision for the future of the program.


Unique mentoring program addresses all aspects of wellbeing

Columbia Heights students and their mentors outside

The School of Public Health and School of Nursing have joined with Minnesota’s Columbia Heights Public School District to improve the health of middle- and high-school students while providing college students with experiential learning opportunities. The goal of the program, called “DiscoverU,” is to integrate social-emotional learning, physical activity, and nutrition into an out-of-school program. 


Alec Fischer: Amplifying midwestern narratives

Alec Fischer

Alec Fischer ’16, winner of the College of Liberal Arts’ 2022 Emerging Alumni Award, was recently recognized on the 2023 Forbes "30 Under 30" list in the "media" category. His current documentary series "Covid Confessions" highlights workers in Minnesota impacted by the pandemic. Fischer reflects on his time as a student, shares how he uses “curiosity and passion to guide” his professional career, and outlines his goals for his future visual work.


Pumpkin art showbiz

Justin Boeser and other pumpkin art people

Pumpkin artist Justin Boeser works in Magrath Library as well as the Natural Resources Library on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul. To paint portraits on pumpkins he needs a very special ink; by sharing his vegetable-friendly palette works on social media, he caught the eyes of a mysterious contractor. She asked a lot of questions but refused to indicate which organization she represented. Learn more about that secret employer.


Winter reading from the Libraries

With millions of titles to explore, check a book out from U of M Libraries’ popular reading collections. Libraries has a new way to read and listen to e-books: Overdrive. Access titles on your browser or in the Libby app. Need a challenge? Try the Winter Reading challenge.  

Dec. 7 - Climate action planning virtual workshop

The Office of Sustainability and the Twin Cities Sustainability Committee will host a climate action planning virtual workshop, which will include a short presentation followed by small-group breakouts. Register to participate. Noon-1 p.m.

Jan. 12 - Teaching with Writing Winter Workshops

All Twin Cities faculty members, graduate instructors, and teaching assistants are invited to register for this one-day Teaching with Writing Winter Workshops event focused on designing writing assignments, providing effective feedback on student writing, grading writing efficiently and equitably, and integrating instruction on both written and oral communication. Coffee, light breakfast, and lunch will be provided. Register by Jan. 5. 

UMTC featured events

Uzra Zeya

Dec. 7 - Growing Up With the Oldest and Most Complex Chinese Strategic Board Game

Dec. 8 - IAS Thursdays + Open Rivers Issue 22 Launch | Storying the Floods

Dec. 8 - Democracy, Human Rights, and U.S. Foreign Policy: A Conversation with Under Secretary Uzra Zeya

Dec. 9 - Nora Boyd, Calibrating Cosmic Dawn Instruments

Dec. 9-10 - December Gift Market | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Dec. 12 - Human Rights Economies: The Role of Local Governments - Hernan Santa Cruz Dialogue Series 

Dec. 15 - Webinar: COVID Consequences: The Future of Emergency Powers

Jan. 14 - 2023 Physics Force Winter Shows

See the full Events Calendar