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The next issue of Currents will be emailed out and posted on Tues., July 19, 2016 (Deadline: Wed., July 13, 2016). Send updates and announcements to:

Click here for a complete list of issue deadlines for 2015–16.

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Campus News

Academic News

On May 13, 2016, the Board of Regents approved the following faculty members for promotion to full professor:

Julie Etterson, Biology
Ryan Frane, Music
Richard Gran, Physics
Linda Grover, American Indian Studies
Marshall Hampton, Math & Statistics
Rachel Inselman, Music
Vekatram Mereddy, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Jennifer Schultz, Economics
Elizabethada Wright, Writing Studies
Tongxin Zhu, Geography, Urban, Environment & Sustainability Studies

The Board of Regents also approved the following faculty for promotion to associate professor with indefinite tenure:

James Amell, Social Work
Abram Anders, Finance & Management Information Sciences
Joseph Bauerkemper, American Indian Studies
Jennifer Gomez Menjivar, Foreign Languages & Literatures
Dana Lindaman, Foreign Languages & Literatures
Ronald Moen, Biology
Adam Pine, Geography, Urban, Environment & Sustainability Studies
Joellyn Rock-Sivak, Art & Design
Cynthia Rugeley, Political Science
William Salmon, Writing Studies
Lin Xiu, Management Studies

Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (RSOP) is again offering their popular Freshmen Outdoor Trips, and they need faculty and staff to participate. The trips are Aug. 20–23 (Saturday–Tuesday of the week before classes begin) and include canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, sea kayaking, and mountain biking. Visit the Freshmen Trips website for general itineraries/equipment lists and photos from past trips.

These trips are an opportunity for first year students to get a better understanding of college life, become a part of the University community, meet faculty/staff, and discover outdoor opportunities. Also, studies have shown that these types of trips increase retention of students.

The trips are free to faculty and staff. No prior experience is necessary. Faculty and staff who have participated in the past are welcome to join again. For more information or to sign up, contact Tim Bates, 218-726-8743, RSOP.


Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit information about events via the easy-to-use Bulldog Update form. The Bulldog Update is a weekly digest of campus activities and news that is sent to all students in the form of an email with links to more detailed information on the Bulldog Update website.

Administration News


Archived ITSS News articles are available online. For more information, contact the ITSS Help Desk, 218-726-8847.


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Jefferson Lines offers daily bus service, year round, from the UMD Campus to the Twin Cities. Purchase tickets at UMD Stores Street Level.

UMD Stores offers special events and promotions all year long. Check the website often. UMD Stores is also on facebook and Twitter.

Faculty and Staff News

Academic News

Stephanie Bartsch, graphic/multimedia communication associate, International Programs and Services, received one of the University of Minnesota's Maroon & Gold Awards for her entry "UMD Study Abroad Informational Cards." The awards were created to formally acknowledge the creative efforts of communicators at the U of M and highlight the quality of their work. The awards were given at the Communicators Forum member appreciation party in May at the Campus Club.

Josh Berlo, director, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, has been named chair of the WCHA Women's Hockey Commissioner Search Committee. The goal of the search committee is to have the WCHA vice president and women's commissioner position filled by Aug. 1, 2016.

Rebecca de Souza, associate professor, Department of Communication, was the guest of Representative Rick Nolan at the U.S. Congress in June when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a joint session of Congress. De Souza and Adam Pine, associate professor, Department of Geography, Urban, Environment & Sustainability Studies, run a study abroad course called "Grassroots Activism in South India."

Jill Doerfler, associate professor and department head, Department of American Indian Studies, has been informed that her book, Those Who Belong: Identity, Family, Blood, and Citizenship Among the White Earth Anishinaabeg (2015), has received the best book award from the Midwest Independent Publishing Association in the category of History. In addition, she presented “The Pitfalls and Promises of Lineal Descent as a Requirement for Tribal Citizenship” at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association annual meeting in May.

Luiggi Donayre and Neil Wilmot, both assistant professors from the Department of Economics, had their article, “The Asymmetric Effects of Oil Price Shocks on the Canadian Economy,” published in the spring 2016 issue of the International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Vol. 6 (2), pp. 167-182.

Julie Etterson, professor, Department of Biology, and her coauthors, Erin Espeland, Nancy Emery, Kirstin Mercer, Scott Woolbright, Karin Kettenring, and Paul Gepts, had paper entitled 'Evolution of plant materials for restoration: Insights from the applied and basic literature' accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Dalibor Froncek, professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, presented an invited lecture "Rosa-type labelings, graph decompositions and factorizations" at 2nd MMMM Combinatorics Graduate Student Workshop, held at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.

Linda LeGarde Grover, professor, Department of American Indian Studies, participated as an invited author in the Library of Congress "Spotlight on Native Writers" panel and reading in May.

Jacquelyn Harvey, assistant professor, Department of Communication, will be honored by the Interpersonal Communication Division of the International Communication Association for her dissertation, entitled “Caring for Caregivers: Assessing the influence of expressive writing on cancer caregivers' emotional well-being, relational satisfaction, and comforting sensitivity.” The ceremony will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, in June.

Arshia Khan, associate professor, Department of Computer Science, presented a lecture as part of the Digital Technology Center Seminar Series at Walter Library on the U of M Twin Cities campus. Her talk was entitled “Wireless Solution to Prevent Decubitus Ulcers: Preventive Weight Shifting Guide, Monitor, and Tracker App for Wheel Chair Users with Spinal Cord Injuries (Phase II).”

Dahui Li, professor, Department of Finance and MIS, and his coauthor, Yonggui Wang, had their article, “Virtual Space Co-Creations: The Perspective of User Innovation,” published in the spring 2016 issue of the Journal of Organizational and End User Computing,Vol. 28 (2).

Andrea Schokker
, professor and department head, Department of Civil Engineering, has been named a recipient of the INSIGHT Into Diversity 2016 Inspiring Women in Stem Award. This national award recognizes inspiring work done by women in the STEM field. The upcoming September STEM issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine will feature Schokker and other award honorees. Alison Hoxie, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, nominated her for the award.

Abbey Strong, assistant athletics director for compliance and camps, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, was named to the NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey Committee. This is a four-year term.

Shannon Drysdale Walsh, assistant professor, McKnight Land-Grant Professor, Department of Political Science, published two peer-reviewed journal articles in the spring of 2016: “Sex Trafficking and the State: Applying Domestic Abuse Interventions to Serve Victims of Sex Trafficking” in Human Rights Review and “Impunity and Multisided Violence in the Lives of Women in Latin America: El Salvador in Comparative Perspective” in Current Sociology. She was awarded an Imagine Fund Faculty Award as well as an Institute for Diversity, Equity and Advocacy (IDEA) Multicultural Research Award through the University of Minnesota. Both provide funding for research on violence against women in Latin America. She presented two papers at the International Studies Association in March. In addition, she served pro bono as an expert witness for U.S. Immigration Court on violence against women and country conditions in Honduras. For updated information, visit her website.

Wenqing Zhang, assistant professor, Department of Management Studies, and his coauthor, Chun Qiu, had their article, “Managing Long Queues for Holiday Sales Shopping,” published in spring 2016 issue of Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, Volume 15(1), pp. 52-65.  

Special Recognition

UMD’s online undergraduate Psychology degree program was named one of the Best Online Bachelor's in Psychology Degree Programs by College Choice. It ranked #4 overall.

Center for Economic Development

Sandi Larson, business development professional, has been selected to be a speaker at the annual America's Small Business Development Centers national conference in September 2016. She will be speaking on Generational Diversity and Entrepreneurship. This year's conference held in Orlando, Fla., is expected to draw more than 1,500 participants.

Betsy Olivanti, CED business consultant, participated as a speaker during a discussion focused on the connection between entrepreneurship, downtowns, and attracting/retaining talent. Held in May, this was part of a week-long tour of the Iron Range by Strong Towns, who led a series of in-depth, community-centered conversations on the Minnesota Iron Range to discuss why communities are struggling financially and how to fix that. The sessions highlighted creative ways to build better places and create more job opportunities, all while utilizing the assets that already exist in the community.

CED partnered with Incredible Ely and others to present the Incredible Ely Small Business Conference held in Ely, Minn., in April. Business Consultant Curt Walczak was among the presenters at this two-day event.

CED hosted the Minnesota Small Business Development Centers (MNSBDC) Network Knowledge Exchange Program on the UMD campus in June. This annual conference brings together SBDC professionals from around the state of Minnesota to develop core competencies and share better practices. Eleven speakers shared a variety of topics, including Larson, Olivanti, and Walczak.

The 2016 spring semester Student to Business Initiative (SBI) program had big participation numbers and great results. Over the course of the semester, 184 UMD students worked on 28 different business projects applying classroom learning to a real world experience. This is the largest number of participants during one semester that the SBI program has had in its 17 year history.

Large Lakes Observatory News

See next issue

Medical School-Duluth News

Lynne Bemis, chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences, presented at Minnesota Sparks, a program in which U of M faculty share their research and ideas with people across Minnesota. Watch the Fox 21 video.

Bemis was invited to be a host for a Cancer Moonshot Summit. President Obama launched this national initiative earlier this year, which is being led by Vice President Joe Biden.

Ruth Westra, associate professor, Meg Little, assistant professor, and Paul Ranelli, professor, (both from the Pharmacy Department), presented "Interprofessional Rural Community Experience" at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Annual Spring Conference in Minneapolis, Minn., in May.

Minnesota Sea Grant News

John Bilotta, water resource management and policy extension educator, and Cynthia Hagley, environmental quality extension educator, announced that The Watershed Game New Classroom Version is now available.

Mae Davenport, MNSG researcher, and associate professor, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, held an event in Two Harbors in May called Building Climate Readiness on Minnesota's North Shore. The event was covered by Fox 21. Multiple universities are collaborating to figure out how climate change could affect tourism and communities on the North Shore in the future.

Doug Jensen, aquatic invasive species program coordinator, received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. EPA through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to support the work of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network to work with multiple Partners, including aquarists, water gardeners, educators and anglers, to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in the region.

Hilarie Sorensen, climate change extension educator, hosted a B.Y.O. Lunch and Learn about Climate Change & Lake Superior in Duluth on April 19 for UMD scientists to talk about trends and their implications. Hagley served as the moderator.

River Talks, co-hosted by MNSG, WSG, and the Lake Superior Reserve, was a public discussion regarding the St. Louis River Estuary in the Duluth-Superior area held in April.  The event generated coverage on Fox21.

MNSG staffed stations about rip currents, invasive species and Habitattitude at River Quest, held in Duluth in May.  At the event, Duluth-Superior area sixth-graders “travel” through educational stations aboard the Vista Star and in South Pioneer Hall at the DECC. Carrying "passports" to document their adventures, they learned about the St. Louis River ecosystem and related commercial, industrial and recreational activities. During the 2.5-hour "excursions," students were introduced to topics ranging from pollution prevention and stopping aquatic invaders, to boating safety and commercial shipping. The event was covered by WDIO News.

MNSG and the St. Louis River Alliance are co-hosting a series of training sessions in Duluth for the Aquatic Invasive Species Sentry Volunteer Training Program through July 30. The classes, taught in both classroom and field, will help individuals manage AIS.

MNSG announced the selection of six research projects to support with $1.5 million in funding:

MNSG Staff produced a new episode of the "Sea Grant Files" for KUMD Radio and the Superior Waves podcast.
"Fishing Opener! Walleye, Part 1" (7:44) May 10.

Natural Resources Research Institute News

Matt Aro, scientist, along with Michael Barnes and Amy Rowlen (both of Mississippi State University), co-authored a paper titled "Durability of Thermally Modified Engineered Wood Products" which was presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the International Research Group on Wood Protection, in Lisbon, Portugal, in May.

Aro also co-authored, with Xiping Wang, Dwight McDonald, and Marshall Begel (all three of the USDA Forest Service), a paper titled "Tensile strength of thermally modified laminated strand lumber and laminated veneer lumber" which was published in the May 2016 issue of Wood Material Science & Engineering.

Rolf Weberg, executive director, was one of three panelists in a community discussion, Minnesota Sparks, about "Challenges That Connect Us" hosted by the University of Minnesota. His focus was "Together for a Bioeconomy" held at the Mountain Iron Community Center in May.

Pharmacy Department News

Keri Hager, assistant professor, S. Reidt, J. Beattie, et al., had their article “From drug literature evaluation to evidence-based medicine: Transforming the focus of a first year pharmacy curriculum” published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Innovation, 2016;7(2):Article 2.

Michelle Johnson-Jennings, assistant professor, spoke on "Harnessing the Power of Stories" for the April 25 installment of the KUMD radio series “Journey of Wellness in Indian Country.”

Amanda Klein, assistant professor, along with her co-authors A. Vyshnevska, P. Reeh, M. Ringkamp, M. Schmelz, and R. Carr, had their article “Sodium channel NaV1.8 mediates axonal TTX-resistant conduction in peripheral C-fibres in mice,” published in the Journal of Pain, 2016;17(4):S67. Klein presented a poster on the same subject at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Pain Society in Austin, Tex., in May.

Elizabeth LaPensee, a postdoc in RICH, was featured in the May 8 Duluth News Tribune story, "Play with a purpose: Educator designs games that celebrate indigenous culture."

Mark Schneiderhan, associate professor, was featured in the April 14 Health Talk story, "Pharmacists bridge gap between mental health care and primary care systems."

Schneiderhan was a research award finalist for his abstract, "Gender Specific Improvements in Metabolic Markers Receiving Pharmacist Comprehensive Medication Management Services in a 12 Month Randomized Study,” at the 19th Annual Meeting of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) held in Colorado Springs, Colo., in April.

Sarah Schweiss, assistant professor, Kylee Funk, Claire Kolar, Jeffrey Tingen, and Kristin Janke presented their primary research project, "Experience with the Script Concordance Test to Develop Clinical Reasoning Skills in Pharmacy Students," at the University of Minnesota Best Practices in Medical Education Day, held in Minneapolis, Minn., in May.

Megan Undeberg, assistant professor, presented "Dollars and 'Sense' Dilemma of Diabetes: Making Treatment Manageable and Affordable" at the Northern Diabetes Educator Group Spring Meeting held in Duluth, Minn., in May.

Ruth Westra, associate professor, Medical School Duluth, Meg Little, assistant professor, and Paul Ranelli, professor, presented "Interprofessional Rural Community Experience" at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Annual Spring Conference in Minneapolis, Minn., in May.

2015 College of Pharmacy Meritorious Service Award recipients were honored at an employee recognition event at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in May. Duluth awardees included: Eric Shilinski, end user support one, Olivia Buncher, admissions coordinator, Sean Hall, director of Technology, and Katie Vukelich, event & student services coordinator.


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Event Publicity

There are many ways to get publicity for your UMD events: the UMD Calendar of Events, Business Announce E-mail, Department Web pages, Media Releases, the UMD Home Page, advertisements, producing brochures, and advertising in the Statesman student newspaper or on KUMD. For more details, visit Getting Publicity for UMD Events and News.

Events Calendar

Scheduling events? Make sure you post them on the UMD Events Calendar. Public events must be posted on the online UMD Events Calendar before you can send out a UMD business announce message.

For more information, contact Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann at 218-726-7111 or e-mail

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