November 10, 2021

Inside This Issue

Notice: Brief will publish on Thursday, Nov. 18, instead of its scheduled publication day of Nov. 17. Brief will not publish on Nov. 24.

  • 'Native Voices and Visions.'
  • Features: Nursing our planet back to health; Hands-on experience in environmental research.
  • Awards and Recognition: Dante Cicchetti is the recipient of the 2021 Bowlby-Ainsworth Award from the Center for Mental Health Promotion; and more.
Top News

‘Native Voices and Visions’

Nerissa Dolney

The “Native Voices and Visions” feature highlights the incredible accomplishments of six individuals who are a part of our Native American community. Learn more about Kate Beane, a historian who worked tirelessly to restore the historic name of a lake in Minneapolis; Nerissa Dolney, a doctoral student and recent U of M Morris graduate who hopes to return to her reservation and provide much-needed mental health services; and Tadd Johnson, the U of M's first-ever senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations.

Nursing our planet back to health

graphic of transparent lungs with foliage inside signifying a breathing earth

Since 2015, the transdisciplinary field of planetary health has been gaining momentum, driven by its view of Earth as one interconnected ecosystem. Teddie Potter, a clinical professor in the School of Nursing who introduced planetary health into the nursing curriculum, describes it as a paradigm that takes into account environmental conditions that don’t necessarily involve diseases, such as the glut of plastics in the ocean, the widespread loss of pollinators, land use changes, and more. Explore how nurses are leading the way in the burgeoning planetary health movement.

Hands-on experience in environmental research

Fayth Nystel

On a humid morning in July, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (BBE) students Fayth Nystel and Hunter Strubhart drove an hour and a half east of the Twin Cities to Pipe Lake in Wisconsin to collect surface and deep-water samples to analyze in the lab. Involving undergraduate students in field and lab work has been a part of BBE faculty member Joe Magner’s projects for the last decade, and he says it offers students a bigger picture of what Environmental and Ecological Engineering researchers do. 

Awards and Recognition

Dante Cicchetti is the recipient of the 2021 Bowlby-Ainsworth Award from the Center for Mental Health Promotion; the U of M Center for Neural Circuits in Addictions has received a supplemental grant of $100,000 for further research into neurostimulation as a potential treatment for addiction; Ray Christensen was awarded an Emmy at the Upper Midwest Emmy Awards for his participation in the “COVID-19 Vaccines: Finding Answers” special; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

Awards and Recognition

U-Wide News

Accessing National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity resources

The University of Minnesota has partnered with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) to provide free professional development resources for faculty, graduate students, postdocs, staff, and academic leaders. NCFDD resources help people thrive in academia, and focus on strategic planning, explosive productivity, healthy relationships, and work-life balance. You are invited to claim your membership.  

LinkedIn Learning contract expires in April ‘22

As of Apr. 15, 2022, the University’s contract with LinkedIn Learning will expire. The Office of Information Technology will not pursue renewal for a number of reasons, including that systemwide licensing is not cost effective at current usage levels, the vendor’s business model no longer aligns closely with the University's mission, and alternatives are readily available for individuals to pursue. Contact Technology Help with questions.

Migrate classic Google Sites to new Google Sites by Nov. 30

Google is replacing classic Google Sites with the new version of Google Sites. Owners of University of Minnesota classic sites have until Nov. 30 to migrate to the new Google Sites. Starting December 2021, any remaining classic sites will be automatically archived and replaced with a draft in the new sites experience for site owners to review and publish. This change applies to all system campus domains.

Researchers boost human mental function with brain stimulation

In a pilot human study, researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital show it is possible to improve specific human brain functions related to self-control and mental flexibility by merging artificial intelligence with targeted electrical brain stimulation. The method could offer a new approach to treating a variety of severe mental illnesses.

Study finds that Tobacco 21 policies lessen use of tobacco products in adolescents

A study by researchers from the U of M Medical School and the Minnesota Department of Health describes the relationship between local Tobacco 21 policies in Minnesota and middle and high school student tobacco use, including e-cigarettes. Tobacco 21 policies raise the minimum legal age-of-sale for all tobacco products to 21. Learn more about the study findings.

Life Course Center: Call for pilot project proposals

The Life Course Center invites the submission of proposals for pilot funding ($15,000-$45,000) to support research projects from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. The center seeks innovative proposals addressing aging contexts, trends, dynamics, and disparities with a special emphasis on proposals investigating work (paid or unpaid) as a social determinant of health. An informational session will take place at noon, Nov. 17, via Zoom.

Research Brief: U of M researchers part of collaboration that casts doubt on ‘sterile neutrino’

Assistant Professor Andrew Furmanski and his team are part of an international collaboration of scientists who have possibly eliminated the theory related to the “sterile neutrino.” Additional recent Research Briefs include “Filtration devices could make dentist appointments safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Nov. 15-19 - University Compliance Week

The Office of Institutional Compliance will host Compliance Week, Nov. 15-19. The University Compliance Program works to promote a University culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to compliance through awareness, recognition, and reinforcement.

Nov. 18 - Mini-Webinar: Research Tool Commercialization

Research tools facilitate the progress of research and discovery and are valuable assets to make widely available. In this webinar on research tool commercialization (register), learn how the Technology Commercialization office can help you to commercialize and distribute the research tools developed in your lab to scientists at a variety of organizations, both academic and industrial. 10-10:30 a.m. 

Nov. 18 - Kaltura Video Quiz Digital Learning Lab

Instructors are invited to register for this month's Digital Learning Lab featuring Kaltura Video Quiz, a tool that enables you to insert questions into a video and track student responses. Presenters will discuss the functionality, demonstrate how to set it up in a Canvas site, and talk about what video usage data is tracked. You will have an opportunity to explore this tool from both the student and instructor perspectives. Register for one or more of the Digital Learning Lab sessions.

U of M featured virtual events

Dyani White Hawk

Nov. 11 - Spotlight Series: Art as Protest and Patriotism

Nov. 12 - Three-Minute Thesis Competition

Nov. 15 - AAPI Visibility & Science Fiction: Reimagining Visions of the Future

Nov. 16 - Fostering Your Own Creative Capital 

Nov. 17 - Online Artist Talk: Dyani White Hawk

Nov. 17 - Health Reform Lives 

Nov. 18 - Amplifying Black Narratives: The Creation of Black Narratives

Nov. 18 - Inside the pandemic: A conversation with Michael Osterholm and Andy Slavitt

Nov. 23 - Five lessons in leading in a post-George Floyd world 

See the full Events Calendar


Crookston students get hands-on experience with landscape project

Students in Associate Professor Eric Castle’s Landscape Installation and Maintenance course got hands-on experience this fall on the University of Minnesota Crookston campus. Castle’s class had the opportunity to install pavers and seating walls in the beautiful Pederson Campus Garden on campus.


Chancellor Black announces retirement

Lynn Black

Chancellor Lynn Black is announcing his retirement after 12 years at UMD. Black started at UMD in August 2010, and his accomplishments include a successful capital campaign, improved campus facilities, and increased retention and graduation rates. Chancellor Black will work through the 2021-22 academic year. President Joan Gabel has announced her intentions to conduct a national search for his successor.


Sustainable agriculture and Healthy Lives Day

gardent at UMD

Residents of the Steve O’Neil Apartments, a long-term supportive housing complex, participated in Healthy Lives Day at UMD’s Land Lab on Oct. 30. The event was sponsored in part by a “Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives” grant from the University of Minnesota, and is intended to foster relationships between farmers and lower-income residents.



UMD Chemistry Club explodes pumpkins with science


In honor of Halloween, the UMD Chemistry Club used liquid nitrogen, and the power of science, to detonate pumpkins and crush metal cans. “We try to run events that we can engage students with as much as possible that are showy and interesting, at the same time explaining what we’re doing,” says graduate student and Chemistry Club president Malachy Brink. 


Nov. 16 - Visual Culture Lecture Series featuring Tamara Walker

Tamara Walker

Tamara J. Walker will present as part of the Visual Culture Lecture Series. Walker is a historian of race, gender, and slavery in Latin America, and is currently at work on two book projects—one on the history of slavery and piracy, and the other on black subjects in Latin American visual culture. 6 p.m. via Zoom


Report shows student voting up in 2020

American flag

The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement report shows that University of Minnesota Morris student voting increased in last year’s presidential election, rising to 75.8 percent in 2020 from a rate of 73.9 percent in 2016. In addition to seeing an increase over 2016 student voting rates, U of M Morris came in nearly 10 percentage points above the national average of 66 percent. Nearly 90 percent of Morris students were registered to vote in 2020.


Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Liberal Arts events

Three events in the DVPLA series are coming up this week. Rick Eckstein will present “The College Admissions Scandal: Anomaly or Business as Usual?” on Nov. 11, 7 p.m., 109 Imholte. Sally Campbell Silverman will lead a zine-making workshop on Nov. 13, 9 a.m.-noon, Student Center. Silverman will also present "Gender Moxie: Telling stories about childhood and gender diversity with arts-based research" on Nov. 16, 7 p.m., HFA Recital Hall. Zoom participation is available for the two lectures.  


UMR boosts downtown presence with addition of student lounge, innovation center

Rochester student lounge

The University of Minnesota Rochester has expanded its presence in downtown Rochester with the opening of two new spaces along First Avenue Southwest. Both facilities are located in the 318 Commons building. Read more in Med City Beat.



abstract artwork from the WAM exhibit

UMR faculty members Angie Mejia and Yuko Taniguchi were invited by Weisman Art Museum to facilitate a creative writing workshop, Counterspaces: Bipoc Pasts, Presents and Futures in Medicine. “Essay: Counterspaces in Medicine” was recently published by the Weisman Art Museum, featuring two UMR students' artwork: Yellow Rain by Kao Moua and Suni’s Gold Medal by Kylie Pha. The article describes the aim and process of the writing workshop.


Reminder: Nov. 15 - UMR State of the Campus Address

At the annual State of the Campus Address, Chancellor Lori Carrell will host a panel of students, faculty, and alumni to share how innovation is emerging in this disruptive era. The event will feature Summer Quest; Counterspaces - Antiracism, Art and Student Voices; alumni battling COVID-19; and NXT GEN MED faculty design. New members of the Board of Regents will be present as they visit the Rochester campus for an introductory tour. 

Twin Cities

TRIO McNair faculty mentors sought

The TRIO McNair Scholars program is recruiting faculty mentors for its summer 2022 cohort. The program gives first-generation and underrepresented undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research and prepare for graduate school. Faculty are also encouraged to help identify undergraduate students to participate. Interested faculty can complete this short survey (includes prompt to refer prospective students) and/or contact [email protected] for more information. 

Community Fund Drive results

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Community Fund Drive. Together, the U of M community raised nearly $1.1 million, while 19 percent of Twin Cities faculty and staff participated in the campaign. Whether you made a donation, participated in one of your department’s events, or showed your support in other ways, the community and the University are grateful for your support.

Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain now open

The new Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain is now open and ready to lead the way in understanding how young brains develop and apply that knowledge during the age periods when the biggest difference can be made. Located on East River Parkway near the University’s Twin Cities campus, the 10.2-acre property includes a two-level building with a research center, clinic, and support area, as well as a community center and an attached parking lot.

Contemporary history brings insight to asylum cases

a u.s. border crossing

In 2015, Patrick McNamara, a Latin American historian by training, was asked to serve as an expert witness on a federal immigration court case. The matter at hand was determining whether an individual fleeing dangerous conditions in El Salvador should be allowed to stay in the United States. It was the first such case McNamara, associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts, had worked on, but far from the last. Since then, he has provided insight to over 300 such asylum cases involving citizens from El Salvador and Mexico.

A climate smart cereal with CFANS roots

According to Whole Foods Market, grocery grains are refocusing on the environment in 2022, emphasizing grains grown via agriculture practices and farming processes that help address soil health. One such grain is Kernza, the first commercially viable perennial grain in the United States. It is one of 16 new perennial and winter crops and cropping systems being developed and improved by the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences’ Forever Green Initiative. U of M Extension is also working to connect early adopters of this new perennial grain.

Biostatistics goes to high school

biostat students pose for a picture

Biostatistics may seem intimidating, but a partnership between the School of Public Health (SPH) and Saint Paul Public Schools may change that. A team of biostatistics graduate students, guided by instructor Marta Shore, developed a curriculum for ninth graders to expose them to data science, environmental health science, and public health in general through an interactive curriculum. Read about the partnership in the SPH magazine Advances.


Nov. 18-19 - Human Rights Program Symposium: Mobilizing Knowledge to Advance Human Rights

To mark its 20th anniversary, the Human Rights Program is hosting a two-day symposium featuring a keynote speech by a representative from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights addressing the role of universities in advancing human rights. The event will also include a film screening of Until We Find Them, as well as U of M faculty-led engaged scholarship.