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CBS News - April 2008

From the Dean | College news | Trendwatch | People | Events | FYI

From the dean

CBS faculty publish the most UM papers in Science and Nature

I just learned something very telling about the quality of faculty in CBS departments. Between January 2003 and March 25, 2008 we published 40 papers in Science and Nature. That’s more than a third of the total 117 papers published by U of M faculty in those journals during that time period and more than any other college.

Huber Warner, associate dean for research, unearthed this nugget while working with U librarian Amy Hribar to track faculty publications in high-impact journals.

As you know, Science and Nature publish significant discoveries across many disciplines. The media watch them closely for health and environmental news. And at the U of M, the Office of the Vice President for Research considers them a metric for high-impact research.

Scoring 40 of 117 papers in the two top scientific journals is even more impressive when you consider the size of CBS. Including the joint departments, we have only 136 research faculty, which is fewer than any U of M science college.

Of course Science and Nature are only two measures of quality. Huber also tracks publications in 25 top specialty journals. Over the past six years, faculty publications in these journals have increased from 100 to 160 articles per year. This research is just as important within disciplines but not as accessible to the media and the public as Science and Nature articles.

Out of curiosity, Huber asked Amy to see how the University of Minnesota compares to other large public research universities. University of Michigan faculty published 148 papers in Science and Nature over the same period and University of Wisconsin faculty published 172. UC Berkeley published a whopping 352.

If the U of M is going to achieve its goal of becoming one of the top three public research universities, increasing the number of publications in Science and Nature is one indicator of success. We’d like to continue doing our share. In fact, it’s one of our top compact goals. One of the ways we work toward that goal is to hire talented faculty. Another is to encourage and support faculty who do high-impact research. Toward that end, Huber, who came here from the NIH after many years on the biochemistry faculty at CBS, is helping to develop a virtual research support office.

If you have any suggestions about how CBS could do a better job of helping you increase the impact of your research, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Huber.

Bob Elde, Dean
College of Biological Sciences

College news

Recognition event spotlights major staff anniversaries

Dozens of CBS civil service and bargaining unit staff were recognized on March 25 for their years of service to the college. Their roles cover the gamut from senior laboratory technician to executive secretary to assistant scientist. All play a vital role in keeping the college running. The college extends a heartfelt thank you to all who marked an anniversary, including the following:=]

40 years

Cheryl Madsen (BMBB)

35 years

Nancy Jo Becker (Biology Program)
Thomas Krick (BMBB)
Nancy Ann Haas (PBIO)

25 years

Lisa Wiggins (EEB)
Geralyn Grosinger (Biology Program)
Susan Knoblauch (GCD)

20 years

John Kettinger (Biology Program)
Sarah Dea Neil (Biology Program)
Nancy Hasse (BMBB)
Edward Hoeffner (BMBB)
Mohini Devi Singh (BMBB)
Anne Johnston Smith (BMBB)
Lori Buboltz (BTI)
Jean Marie Lindquist (Dean’s Office)
Kathleen Pollock (EEB)
Sandra Brovold (EEB)
Maryam Gerami-Nejad (GCD)
Beverly Retzlaff (GCD)
Theresa Stiernagle (GCD)
Laurence Stout (GCD)
Gail Kalli (PBIO)
Matthew Lavoie (PBIO)
Lori Nicol (PBIO)

Enterprise Financial Systems update

The new finance clusters on both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses are in place. If you have not heard already, specific instructions about who to contact as staff members duties shift will come from your departmental administrative director on the St. Paul campus or from the cluster director on the Minneapolis campus. For questions regarding the financial clustering on the St. Paul campus, please contact your departmental administrator or cbsacctg@umn.edu.

More information about vacation/sick time tracking and timesheet procedures is also forthcoming. Contact cbshr@umn.edu if you have any questions in the meantime.

Redesigned CBS website debuts

The CBS website has a new look, new navigation and a new audio feature. Listen to an interview with the Biology Program’s Randy Moore about his new book co-authored with Mark Decker, More Than Darwin, on the history of the evolution-creationism controversy. This is the first audio feature produced by CBS communications staff. Watch for more audio and video features in the future.

Imaging Center launches new reservation system

The CBS Imaging Center’s new reservation system is live. The updated system for reserving Imaging Center and instructional lab computers is easier to use and includes new features that allow users to import reservations into UMCal, request reminder email notifications and document descriptions under reservation entries.

Call for TA award nominations

Know an excellent teaching assistant deserving of recognition? Nominate him or her for a CBS Outstanding Performance Award. Teaching assistants in CBS courses who have demonstrated excellence in teaching or other instructional activities are eligible for the annual award. The deadline for submission of nominations covering courses taught from spring through fall 2008 is January 30, 2009. Please submit nominations to the TA Award Committee coordinator, Bruce Fall (bafall@umn.edu, or 3-104 MCB).

Trendwatch

Less money available through federal student loan program

Colleges across the country are offering students smaller Perkins Loan awards due to a decline in available funds. Cuts in federal support and a decline in the consolidation of student loans are translating to the scarcity of student loan money. The drop in funding affects thousands of students who will receive smaller loan awards—or no award at all—this year as compared to last. The cuts come amid a credit crunch that could make private student loans and home-equity loans harder to obtain this fall.

People

Anh Tran, a senior majoring in neuroscience and psychology, has been awarded both the Donald R. Zander Award for Outstanding Student Leadership and the 2008 President’s Student Leadership Award.

Associate professor Sarah Hobbie (EEB) has been named a 2008 Leopold Leadership Fellow. She is among 19 selected to receive the competitive fellowship for academic scientists working on environmental issues.

Last month, Larry Wackett (BTI/BMBB), a Distinguished McKnight Professor, gave two presentations in the Bay Area, one at Genencor International in Palo Alto titled “Biocatalysis for the synthesis of novel fuel molecules,” and one at the U.S. Department of Energy in Walnut Creek, titled “The University of Minnesota BioFuels Database”.

EEB graduate student Leah Domine recently received the Edward D. and Sally M. Futch Graduate Fellowship from Ducks Unlimited Canada. The fellowship comes with an award of $7,000 to support Domine’s graduate research project estimating carbon sequestration in wetlands and determining whether lake trophic status has an effect on carbon sequestration.

Plant biology senior Brian Arnold received a 2008–09 Fulbright Grant to Finland. Brian will spend the year at the University of Oulu working in the laboratory of Outi Savolainen, a renowned plant genetics researcher who is studying the genetic basis for adaptation in flowering time in the plant Arabidopsis lyrata.

Events

2008 Undergraduate Symposium

Come support the efforts of CBS undergraduates as they present their research during poster sessions throughout the day at this year’s symposium.

DETAILS: Coffman Memorial Union | April 18 | Noon–5 p.m.

2008 Science & Technology Banquet

World-renowned entrepreneur and inventor Dean Kaman will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Science & Technology Banquet. Kaman is best known as inventor of the first wearable insulin pump and the Segway.

DETAILS: Hilton, Minneapolis | April 24 | 5 p.m. | Tickets: $115

CBS Year-End Picnic

Join the CBS dean’s office and CBS students and faculty for burgers and prizes on the front lawn of Snyder Hall on the St. Paul campus.

DETAILS: Snyder Hall lawn | St. Paul campus | May 9 | 11:30 - 1:30

Evolution 2008

The University of Minnesota, the Bell Museum of Natural History and the College of Biological Sciences are hosting this annual conference on the latest scientific research relating to evolution. The conference will include a half dozen symposia on a variety of topics. Register by May 2 for discounted rates.

DETAILS: East Bank campus | June 20–24

FYI

Registration open for Itasca summer courses

Visit the website to view course offerings including a new aquatic entomology course. Scholarships are available. For more information, contact Erin Fider at 612-624-6743 or fider002@umn.edu.

Minnesota Cup call for entries

Do you have a breakthrough business idea? Submit it to the Fourth Annual Minnesota Cup—a statewide contest designed to seek out, support, celebrate and promote Minnesota’s newest and most innovative business ideas. The winner receives $50,000. Deadline: May 23.

Wanted: student inventors

Students with a new idea, process or technology can share their creation with the world and maybe win a cash award in the process. The Collegiate Inventors Competition promotes exploration in invention, science, engineering, technology, and other creative endeavors. One undergraduate and one graduate winner or team each receives $15,000. Academic advisors of each winning team also receive a cash award, and finalists in the competition receive an all-expenses paid trip to present their work to a panel of expert judges. Deadline: May 16.