June 19, 2024

Inside This Issue
  • Board of Regents June meeting highlights.
  • U of M maps genome of the last living wild horse species.
  • Feature: Caring for Brianna: Helping a patient smile after paralysis.
  • Awards and Recognition: the U of M System has been ranked fifth in the U.S. in sustainability impact and among the top 10 percent worldwide; and more.
Top News

Board of Regents June meeting highlights

The Board of Regents approved the U of M’s fiscal 2025 operating budget at its June meeting, which emphasizes fair pay for faculty, staff, and student employees. The budget also includes strategic investment in academic and support unit activities. The Board also received the annual report on Native American Affairs and TRUTH Report Response, continued discussions on health sciences strategic planning, received an update on systemwide enrollment coordination, received annual reports from governance leaders representing faculty and staff, and more. See the news release for more details.

U of M maps genome of the last living wild horse species

a small brown horse with a white nose standing in a field

Researchers have successfully mapped the complete genome of the endangered Przewalski’s horse. Once extinct in the wild, the species now has a population of around 2,000 animals thanks to conservation efforts. Researchers can now use this as a tool to make accurate predictions about what gene mutations mean for Przewalski's horse health and conservation.



Caring for Brianna: Helping a patient smile after paralysis

Brianna Eli and Lyford Pike walk down a hallway

“Oh, I can’t look at that,” 26-year-old Brianna Eli winces when she sees a photo taken of her just before surgery. Much of the left side of her face was paralyzed, making it difficult to eat, drink, blink, talk, and even smile. Now, two years into recovery from a nerve transfer, Eli shares her story.



Awards and Recognition

The U of M System has been ranked fifth in the U.S. in sustainability impact and among the top 10 percent worldwide in the Times Higher Ed Impact Rankings; V. V. Ganeshananthan has won the 2024 Women's Prize for Fiction; Manka Nkimbeng has been named a 2024 Bush Foundation Fellow; J. Sunil Rao has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics; Heidi Roop has been appointed to serve in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Global Change Research Program; Tetyana Shippee has received the Gerontologist of the Year award from the Minnesota Gerontological Society; the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs is celebrating a $10 million-plus investment from the Minnesota Legislature for the Anti-Displacement Community Prosperity Program; the Forest Assisted Migration Project has been named the winner of the 2024 Environmental Innovation Award; the U of M Twin Cities has received the 2024 Apex Award for Innovation in a Mobility, Transportation, or Parking Program; U in the News features highlights of University faculty and staff cited in the media.

Awards and Recognition

U-Wide News

Introducing Course Works, a U of M course materials program

The University will launch a new, systemwide course materials program, Course Works, in fall 2024. This program will allow undergraduate degree-seeking students to access their required course materials in the program for a flat rate of $279 each semester. Students may also forgo the flat rate and select materials on a course-by-course basis, or opt out of the program entirely. Digital materials will be provided through Canvas, while physical materials will be distributed by the campus store. For more information, see courseworks.umn.edu.

Submit textbook and course material requests

With the rollout of the new Course Works program, it's important to submit course material requests in a timely manner. Be sure to indicate on the request if print is required. Request physical textbooks, ebooks, online homework systems, and supplies for UMC, UMM, UMR, & UMTC from University Bookstores ([email protected]) or from UMD Stores ([email protected]). Request reading lists, ebooks, journal articles, streaming videos, and book chapters from University Libraries ([email protected]).

Feedback open for draft Health Sciences Strategic Plan

The Governor’s Task Force on Academic Health at the University of Minnesota released its Recommendations to Support World-Class Academic Health Professions Education, Research, and Care Delivery, one of which was the development of a health sciences strategic plan. Over the past several months, the health sciences deans group collaboratively developed shared goals and strategies to shape a draft Health Sciences Strategic Plan. Feedback on the draft is open through June 28.

New MyU accessibility mode control

As a result of the recent system upgrade, there is a new self-service accessibility mode control available to all MyU users. It is an option within the user options menu (the menu that is labeled with your name in the main navigation). Refer to this user guide for how to enable accessibility mode. Contact Technology Help with questions.

Group releases landmark ethical guidance for new portable MRI brain research

MRI has transformed neuroscience research over the past 50 years, but research participants have had to travel to the scanner. With the advent of highly portable magnetic resonance imaging (pMRI), the scanner will now come to them. This portable technology will allow for more inclusive research with new communities. A new report provides urgently needed guidance on ethical, legal, and policy concerns raised by the rapidly emerging use of pMRI for brain research.

New study recommends better ways to pay for and structure the U.S. public health system

Most experts agree that the U.S. public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic was inadequate when compared to other wealthy countries. A new paper from the School of Public Health sheds new light on the complex system the U.S. relies on to pay for its public health infrastructure. The paper includes numerous recommendations for improving both the way public health is structured and paid for in the U.S.

COVID-19 had short-term impact on adolescent sexual and reproductive health

Pregnancy and birth rates among Minnesota youth continue their downward trajectory following a slight pandemic jump, according to the annual Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health Report from the U of M Medical School’s Healthy Youth Development - Prevention Research Center. Sexually transmitted infections among youth, while still prevalent, are essentially unchanged from last year.

Telehealth sustainability at Wilderness Health

Office of Academic Clinical Affairs interns Kandeija Bagurusi '25 and Connor Oetzmann '25 are working with Wilderness Health to create policy briefs to help policymakers create changes that will enhance access to quality health care for those living in rural areas. The team is specifically focusing on telehealth access for mental and behavioral health. Wilderness Health is a collaborative of independent health care professionals in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.

Talking mental health meds with U of M

The CDC estimates 1 in 4 adults in the United States takes a prescription medication for their mental health every month. Mark Schneiderhan, an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy on the Duluth campus, shares information about what mental health medications are, busts common myths about them, and discusses strategies to ensure that every patient is receiving optimized, individualized care for their prescriptions. See more editions of "Talking with U of M." 

Aug. 19-23 - Teaching with Writing faculty seminar

The annual Teaching with Writing seminar (register) offers U of M faculty an opportunity to focus on course-relevant writing assignments, activities, instruction, and assessments. Each participant spends the week focusing on an individual course they teach. This free seminar is designed for faculty members and others who serve as lead instructors or instructors of record for the course(s) they teach.


Faculty recipients of service awards

Four faculty members were named recipients of service awards through the University of Minnesota System in 2024. Kara Bowen, Soo-Yin Lim-Thompson, and Margot Rudstrom each received the Award for Excellence in Academic Unit Service and a $500 stipend for professional development or research. TJ Chapman was one of seven in the U of M System to receive the Provost’s Unit Service Award and a $5,000 stipend.

Faculty attend workshops focused on assessment results and pedagogy

U of M Crookston faculty attended two assessment workshops in early May focused on reviewing data gathered from liberal education assessment practices as well as program assessment activities. Lecturer TJ Chapman and Assistant Professor Rachel Lundbohm led the workshops.

PSEO students visit campus

a group of students and a mascot gather in front of a crookston sign

U of M Crookston recently hosted 49 Crookston High School students who have registered to take fall classes as part of the PSEO (post-secondary enrollment option) program. Visiting students met with U of M Crookston Student Success Center staff to receive advising help on course selection. The PSEO program allows high school juniors and seniors to try out courses in areas of interest while earning college credits.


Vice chancellor Erwin prepares for retirement

Lisa Erwin

After serving as vice chancellor for student life and dean of students at U of M Duluth since 2011, Lisa Erwin is retiring this summer. Erwin is passionate about working with college students and is fiercely proud to be a UMD Bulldog. During her time at UMD, Erwin has significantly impacted those around her. Her work has been recognized locally, at the U of M System level, and nationally.



Dining Services begins major kitchen remodel

several students seated at a dining table eating

UMD’s 1971-era kitchen is getting a multi-million-dollar makeover to better service the campus community. The remodel is scheduled to be completed early next year. Betsy Helgesen, director of Dining Services, and Sam Clark, project manager with Facilities Management, spoke with Fox 21 about this and other important campus projects.


Peters gets full Morris experience in three years

Kim Peters, a red headed woman in a Morris sweatshirt

Kim Peters ’24, Eagan, didn’t plan to get her bachelor’s degree in three years. But her courses lined up and she received her biology degree, along with the full college experience, at U of M Morris.




McMurrin finds uninterrupted connection to U of M Morris

a woman in a colorful native style shawl smiles


When Linsey McMurrin ’24 left U of M Morris as a student in 2009, just two classes short of earning her bachelor’s degrees in both anthropology and Native American and Indigenous studies, she intended to come back and finish. She did just that, graduating this past May.



July 26 - Register for the Cougar Golf Classic

two coffee mugs on grass with a golfball between them a text reading "Golf Classic"

The annual Cougar Golf Classic will be held July 26 at the Pomme de Terre Golf Course in Morris. The day will begin with registration and lunch at 11 a.m. A short program will be held at 11:45 a.m. with a shotgun start set for noon. An awards ceremony will be held at approximately 5 p.m.


Celebrating the Class of 2024

Brandi McParland, a brown haired woman in a red shirt takes a mirror selife

Brandi McParland, a Bachelor of Science in Health Professions graduate, accepted a position as a respiratory therapist in the ICU at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center. McParland’s favorite part of her UMR experience was the small class size that allowed her to form friendships with classmates and professors.



MPR and Braver Angels Rochester Talking Sense event now available

UMR recently hosted a special Rochester event with MPR and Braver Angels to promote civic engagement: Talking Sense: Skills for disagreeing across political divides. Students and community members gathered for the workshop facilitated by U of M professor Bill Doherty to develop skills for constructive conversations about divisive political topics. Listen to a recording of the live workshop.

Twin Cities

The technicolor world of life after glaciers

Mariana cardenas stands in front of a receding glacier on the extinct cayambe volcano in ecuador

Mariana Cardenas is a passionate lichenologist and graduate student in the Ecology, Evolution and Behavior graduate program who spent her early career years studying lichens in the post-glacial environments of northern South America. Conducting fieldwork where glaciers once stood comes with an overwhelming sense of loss. But the ethereal beauty of the life emerging on these barren landscapes is enough to motivate Cardenas to return, season after season.



Featured events

people in a theater look up at space imagery on a 360 screen

June 20 - Reparative Justice in the United States: Human Rights in Practice

June 21 - GMD x CreativeMornings/Minneapolis

June 21 - Cancer Survivorship Family Picnic

June 24 - Mindful Mondays: Free Drop-In Sessions

June 29-30 - Goldy Vs Cancer at the Twin Cities Pride Festival

July 12 - Lifelong Issues in Adoption: Reframing the Discourse Through Lived Experience

July 30 - U of M Night at Minnesota United

Ongoing - Tour the cosmos and beyond with new Bell Museum Planetarium summer shows

June 22-Aug. 3 - Exhibition | Firsthand: Contemporary Craft In Context

See the full Events Calendar