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ISSUE: Volume 44, Number 36: December 28, 2006

Top Stories
Nominations sought for interim research VP
Astronomy magazine highlights UND, NASA's DC-8
Faculty Q&A: Boosting UND's international exposure
Events to Note
Nursing professor holds book signing
Tickets available for Martin Luther King Jr awards luncheon
NIH seeks information regarding potential change
Electrical shutdown set for Jan. 3
Nomination deadline is Friday for Martin Luther King Jr awards
Chester Fritz Library lists spring semester hours
Jan. 1 is holiday
Please help conserve energy
Holiday parking sites listed
Museum of Art Cafe lists special
Psychology seeks children for research project
Internal job openings listed
Nominations sought for interim research VP

Vice President Peter Alfonso has resigned his position as vice president for research effective Feb. 20. This is to solicit expressions of interest in serving and nominations for service in an interim role as Vice President for Research until a national search can be conducted. Anyone who serves in the interim role would be eligible for consideration for the permanent position. I want to thank Peter Alfonso for all of his work leading the research enterprise at the University of North Dakota for the past four years. He helped build our research enterprise and he has laid the foundation for future growth and successes. Peter and his wife, Polly, have been terrific, contributing members of the UND administrative team. We all join in wishing them the best.

A national search will be launched shortly after the beginning of the new year. -- Charles Kupchella, president.

Astronomy magazine highlights UND, NASA's DC-8

Stardust, the first mission conducted by the University of North Dakota operating NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft, has been named the top astronomy story of the year by Astronomy magazine. The article appears in the magazine’s January 2007 issue.

Scientists aboard the DC-8 gathered data and captured imagery of the Stardust space capsule during its fiery reentry to Earth’s atmosphere on Jan. 15, 2006.

“It was a perfect way for the University to demonstrate its ability to conduct and support science of the highest significance,” said Rick Shetter, director of UND’s National Suborbital Education and Research Center (NSERC). “The entire NSERC team is pleased to have had a major role in what turned out to be a path-setting mission.”

The Stardust spacecraft was launched in 1999 and traveled to Comet Wild 2, approaching to within 149 miles on Jan. 2, 2004. The encounter was brief, since Stardust was traveling at six times the speed of a rifle bullet. While in the comet’s vicinity, a special gel onboard the spacecraft caught dust particles as the Sun’s radiation boiled off the comet. Then began the long journey home.

Its reentry speed was the fastest ever for any manmade object, nearly 29,000 miles per hour. Scientists needed to monitor the reentry for two reasons. The first was to capture pictures and chemical analyses of the performance of a new heat shield. If this shield behaved as expected, it could be used on the next-generation space vehicle, presently being designed. The second reason was to learn what happens when meteors encounter Earth’s atmosphere. Because their entries are not predictable, it is impossible to be in the right place at the right time to witness meteors’ arrivals.

“Having the DC-8 in the right place at the right time with 20 cameras and other instruments on board was the secret of our success,” said George Seielstad, director of UND’s Northern Great Plains Center for People and the Environment. “Although we had only about 90 seconds to track an object traveling at Stardust’s tremendous speed, we caught the full sweep from entry to touch down in Utah. The science team couldn’t have been happier.”

Nearly simultaneously with the publication of Astronomy magazine’s January 2007 issue, Science magazine, the prestigious journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, devoted a special section of its Dec. 15, 2006 issue to the scientific results for which the Stardust mission earned recognition as 2006's best.

"Being involved in a research project of this significance adds both sizzle and lustre to the research enterprise at the University of North Dakota,” said UND President Charles Kupchella. “Because this flying laboratory matches up so well with our world-class program in aviation sciences, we are especially delighted to be involved in operating the DC-8 and exciting missions such as this one."

Faculty Q&A: Boosting UND's international exposure

Editor’s Note: Universities in the People’s Republic of China —- the world’s most populous country and now an economic powerhouse -— are eager to forge more strong, ongoing ties with universities in the United States and throughout the world. For its part, the University of North Dakota sees such ties as a vital part of its future and has already taken bold steps to create a big institutional presence in China.

In the following Faculty Q&A, UND President Charles Kupchella -— who recently returned from an international conference hosted by the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology (USST) for its 100th anniversary -— discusses UND’s international initiatives, the China connection, and his vision for “academic diplomacy” in the global setting.

OUR: Please tell us about this latest trip to China and its part in your overall plan for boosting UND’s international exposure.

Kupchella: There were several dimensions to my visit to the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. We’ve had a USST program in place for close to a decade; this program includes a joint degree. We’ve got faculty on the ground there, including two executives in residence who are alums of the UND College of Business and Public Administration who are teaching marketing and other business courses related to their experience as entrepreneurs and business people. I also met Barbara Hauser from Switzerland who is pursuing a master’s degree in English at UND and is currently teaching English at USST.

The other significant context with respect to this trip -— and the many others I’ve made overseas in the last several years -— is our institutional interest in globalization.

Of course, we’ve had this interest expressed in our strategic plan for many years. We want to expand the number of students from abroad studying here and provide more opportunities for our students to go for a study-abroad experience. Thus we developed this relationship with USST and kept it moving, most of that being carried by Victoria Beard, our associate provost and professor in our school of business. Victoria has, for the past several summers, taken a group of American students to Shanghai. Victoria and people like Dean Wang of USST’s College of Business have worked to make this relationship substantial and sustainable.

The third major context for this trip was the celebration of USST’s 100th anniversary. I was invited to be a part of that celebration and to participate in a forum of university presidents from a number of institutions that have collaborative relationships with USST (which was founded by a group of Baptists from Texas). It’s one of China’s 100 world-class universities; the Chinese government sees it as a key player in ramping up opportunities for Chinese students to get the benefit of advanced degrees. China literally is establishing hundreds of new universities and will designate a special group of 100 of them as “world-class” institutions.

OUR: Where is this relationship going?

Kupchella: Actually, we’re going to take up that exact question in earnest here now that we have an established base there. China obviously is going to be one of the leading economies of the world. We see a role for UND both educating American students in Chinese business practices, and then having a cadre of Chinese students in China educated as to American business practices. We’re also going to set up a way to broker business deals on into the future, so this is a great start.

We now have American companies over there that have long accepted UND students into internship roles; there also are some Chinese companies doing that. Now, we’re involving some of those very same American and Chinese companies in accepting USST students into internship roles.

OUR: This is an important academic relationship; what impacts do you expect on UND’s curriculum. For example, do you see more Chinese language and culture courses?

Kupchella: Absolutely! We are currently developing a Chinese studies degree program; we already offer Chinese language courses, and we expect to find ways to facilitate academic exchanges. Maybe that will include subsidizing travel to and from China by students and faculty from the two countries. I think we have five Chinese students here currently and a group of 10 to 20 who would like to come to UND.

OUR: You’re developing such relationships in part because you expect a payoff; would one of the important outcomes be new economic activity at both ends?

Kupchella: Right -— I’ve been at other universities where we’ve seen companies directly involved in subsidizing and even endowing such exchanges when they see that there’s a business interest in having such a relationship flourish.

OUR: What is China in general -— and USST specifically -— looking for from UND and the American higher education model?

Kupchella: I’ve been to China eight times, and I’ve learned this -— they understand the need for globalization. They know that they have to connect with other countries. They want to learn whatever they can from us, especially because in several respects we’ve had more time to develop various dimensions of our economy; we also know how to educate large numbers of people. Of course, this also is true in reverse: we can learn from China, too.

OUR: What did you learn on this trip that enhanced your global vision for UND?

Kupchella: One of the highlights of this trip for me was the session on globalization. I heard from both local Chinese Communist Party officials and Chinese higher education leaders acknowledging that what they need to get from higher ed in terms of adapting to globalization is creative, innovative people.

The conference started with a statement by a Chinese official who said China has had a problem with that in the past because of how students have traditionally been taught in China: it’s all been by rote memorization.

China’s leadership now recognizes that’s not the way to actually draw out and encourage creative, innovative kinds of people. So I heard a lot of emphasis on experiential learning and acknowledging different learning styles; I also heard that there needs to be more of a dialog between teachers and students. The teacher-student relationship is a lot more than just one-way lecturing, as we have come to recognize here.

It’s one thing to take ideas from the world and manufacture something more cheaply because labor is cheap; it’s quite another to reach the level of inventiveness and creativity that puts a country at the leading edge of new ideas and innovation, and that’s where China wants to go.

OUR: Ostensibly, one of China’s main educational successes has been its output of highly qualified scientists and engineers -— how will this new model of higher education take this into account? Do you see any similar changes here?

Kupchella: Chinese students still don’t have anywhere near the freedom our students do to emphasize other areas such as the humanities; the pressure still is there to get into engineering, technology, science, and mathematics. Majors like that are popular because they are likely to produce a quick economic benefit to the country. Thus a much higher percentage of their students are enrolled in science and engineering. We experienced a similar push here right after World War II and right after Sputnik was launched. And again in the United States, we’re experiencing a renewed call for emphasis on engineering, mathematics, and science.

OUR: Globalizing higher education is a big task -— bigger than UND alone. Do you see a broader national higher ed strategy?

Kupchella: Clearly, we need ways of bridging differences between countries, and I believe that academic exchanges and cooperative programs are among the best ways of accomplishing that. What I would like to see is a greater emphasis on this by our own government.

One experience that I would share in this context is traveling to Russia a few years ago with a group of American university presidents sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. We found that the total annual budget of the United States supporting academic exchanges with Russia was about $100 million, roughly the equivalent of Ohio State University’s athletic budget, and this with a former Cold War adversary that caused us to spend billions and billions of dollars every year on defense. It seems to me that we have not yet taken advantage the potential that academic exchanges offer in world diplomacy and improving the image of our country abroad.

I was fortunate to be invited to a conference on this topic; I met with (U.S. Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice and (U.S. Secretary of Education) Margaret Spellings at this conference and we talked about how to facilitate academic exchanges and what roles academic exchanges play in world diplomacy. Much of that conversation had to do with how to make it easier for students to get visas to come to the United States to study here, and to make it easier to get multiple-entry visas. But the broader context of the conference was academic exchanges as a means of diplomacy in the world today.

We had a great conversation, and the consensus was that academic exchange is one of the best, most cost-effective ways to establish good, positive relations with people throughout the world. Many of the people who are going to be involved in such exchanges will end up being world leaders at some point, so if they have some personal experience in our country and we in theirs, it bodes well.

Nursing professor holds book signing

The College of Nursing invites the community to a book signing Friday, Jan. 5, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Barnes & Noble bookstore. Cindy Anderson, assistant professor at the UND College of Nursing, and Carie A. Braun, professor at the College of Saint Benedict, co-authored “Pathophysiology: Functional Alterations in Human Health.” Both authors will be available at the signing.

The textbook offers a unique conceptual approach that facilitates learning by first teaching about general mechanisms of disease or alterations in human function -– such as immune alterations or altered nutrition -– and then showing how to apply these processes to specific conditions.

The book is published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. For more information, go to
-- Becky Cournia, Alumni & Development Coordinator, College of Nursing,, 777-4526

Tickets available for Martin Luther King Jr awards luncheon

The Office of Multicultural Student Services is pleased to present the 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Luncheon. This event provides an opportunity to recognize individuals whose contribution(s) reflect the spirit of Dr. King Jr.'s life and legacy.

The theme of the luncheon is "Countdown to 2013: If Walls Could Talk." The keynote speaker is Andria Hall, former CNN anchor. The event will be held Friday, Jan. 26, at 11:30 a.m., Memorial Union Ballroom. The cost of the luncheon is $8 for faculty, staff, and non-students, $6 for UND students, and $2 for children ages 12 and under. Please purchase tickets no later than Friday, Jan. 17, at 4:30 p.m. Note: If attending the luncheon and dance Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., at the University Armory, the cost is $13 for faculty, staff, and non-students and $11 for UND students. For more information, please contact Multicultural Student Services at 777-4259.

NIH seeks information regarding potential change

This is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) regarding a possible change in the current 25-page limit of the Research Plan section (PHS 398 Sections A-D) of the NIH Research Project Grant (R01) application. Comments will be considered from interested applicants, reviewers and other members of the research community.

This request for information is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the government. The government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the government’s use of that information.

The NIH is considering reducing the current 25 page limit for the research plan section of the research project grant (R01) application. A significant number of applicants and reviewers have suggested that NIH peer review could be improved by focusing less on experimental details and more on key ideas and the scientific significance of proposed projects. In addition, recruitment of qualified reviewers has become increasingly difficult, resulting in greater reviewer turnover and reduced consistency from one review meeting to the next.

To ensure that the NIH review process identifies the most promising scientific projects, we are evaluating the possibility of shortening the research plan section and focusing it more on ideas and significance. A committee has been formed at NIH to gather additional information from the external community and explore possible options. We would like your opinion, as an applicant and/or reviewer, of this potential change.

Information in the following areas will help NIH determine whether to shorten the R01 application. Depending on whether you are an applicant and/or a reviewer, please provide information in the following areas:

Applicant issues
* Would a shorter grant application affect your ability to present your scientific ideas? Describe whether your ability would be the same, less, or greater.
* Would a shorter application take less time to prepare? Describe whether your preparation time would be the same, less, or greater.

* In your opinion, which of the following models would best serve your needs?
** Five pages [one for statement of question and significance, one for specific aims, three for approach],
** 10 pages [one for specific aims, one for background and significance, three for preliminary data/progress, five for research design and methods],
** 15 pages [one for specific aims, two for background and significance, four for preliminary data/progress, eight for research design and methods], or
** 25 pages [the current application format –– one for specific aims, two-three for background and significance, six-eight for preliminary data/progress, 13-16 pages for research design and methods.

Reviewer issues
* Would a shorter grant application affect your ability to judge the scientific merit of a proposed project? Describe whether your ability would be the same, less, or greater.

* In your opinion, which of the following models would best serve your needs?
** Five pages [one for statement of question and significance, one for specific aims, three for approach],
** 10 pages [one for specific aims, one for background and significance, three for preliminary data/progress, five for research design and methods],
** 15 pages [one for specific aims, two for background and significance, four for preliminary data/progress, eight for research design and methods], or
** 25 pages [the current application format –– one for specific aims, two-three for background and significance, six-eight for preliminary data/progress, 13-16 pages for research design and methods.

* If you were assigned an equivalent number of shorter grant applications, would it affect your willingness to serve as a reviewer?
* In your opinion, would your willingness be the same, moderately increased/decreased, or greatly increased/decreased.

General issues
* If the page limit were reduced, should the review criteria be changed to emphasize key ideas and significance more strongly?
* Would a decreased page limit place any group of investigators or type of research at a disadvantage? If yes, please describe which group(s) or type(s).
* Do you define your research as clinical?
* Do clinical research plans require more application space than basic research plans? (Note: assume that clinical protocols, letters of consent, data and safety monitoring plans, survey instruments, etc. would be in application sections outside the Research Plan.) If yes, please explain.
* Do you have additional comments about the effects of a shorter application on the NIH application/review process?

How to Submit a Response
* Please submit responses through the following special Web site: (Alternatively, responses may be submitted by sending an e-mail to Responses will be accepted until Jan. 5. All information provided will be processed and analyzed with strict anonymity. The results obtained from the responses to this RFI will be available to the public on the CSR web site.

Inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to:
Cheryl Oros, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Analysis
6701 Rockledge Drive
Room 3030, MSC, 7776
Bethesda, MD
Phone: 301-435-1133
Fax: 301-480-3965

Respondents will receive an automated e-mail notification acknowledging receipt of their responses, but will not receive follow-up information concerning NIH’’s assessment of the information received. No basis for claims against the NIH shall arise as a result of a response to this Request For Information, or from the NIH’s use of such information as either part of its evaluation process or in developing any subsequent policy or announcement.
-- Barry I. Milavetz, Associate Vice President for Research, Research Development and Compliance,, 701/777-4278

Electrical shutdown set for Jan. 3

There will be an electrical shutdown Wednesday, Jan. 3, from 5 to 10 p.m. for the following buildings: Babcock, Burtness, Carnegie, Chandler, Education, Fulton, Gillette, J. Lloyd Stone, Johnstone, Leonard, Merrifield, Smith, Steam Plant, Twamley, and Upson I.

Nomination deadline is Friday for Martin Luther King Jr awards

Send in your nominations in for the 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. awards. UND students, faculty and staff along with the Greater Grand Forks and Grand Forks Air Force Base community members are eligible to make nominations and to receive the awards. Nomination forms are available at All nominations must be received by Friday, Dec. 29, at 4:30 p.m. For more information call the the Center at 777-4259. -- Linda Skarsten, office manager, Multicultural Student Services, 2800 University Ave.

Chester Fritz Library lists spring semester hours

Spring semester hours for the Chester Fritz Library are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to midnight.
-- Karen Cloud, Administrative Assistant, Chester Fritz Library,, 7-2618

Jan. 1 is holiday

In accordance with State Board of Higher Education directives, Monday, Jan. 1, will be observed by faculty and staff members of the University. Only those employees designated by their department heads will be required to work on this holiday. -- Greg Weisenstein, vice president for academic affairs and provost, and Diane Nelson, director, human resources.

Please help conserve energy

Each holiday break, the University does its part to conserve energy by cutting back on utility consumption. Until Jan. 7, ventilation systems in classroom areas and other unused areas will be turned off or their thermostats will be set back to 60 degrees, depending on the automation capabilities for each area. Office areas will remain at their normal setpoints and schedules.

We would appreciate the assistance of the University community in saving energy. If there are any items that are not being used during the break we ask that you please shut them off. Also, because we do not have automation in all areas, we ask that if your department has an area that will not be used during the break that you would please lower the thermostat setpoint to 60 degrees.

We would appreciate your help with this. The University does this to save dollars on energy and to help offset the recent increase in utility costs, much like you would do at your homes when you are away. If you find an area you are using to be at an uncomfortable temperature or have any other special needs, please contact the Communications Center at 777-2591 and they will assist you. Thanks for your cooperation and have a Happy Holiday!

Holiday parking sites listed

During the break, any valid UND permit is allowed to park in all lots except Upson, Twamley, Wilkerson, and the Airport. These lots always require a red “A” permit to park between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. After 4:30 p.m., anyone with a valid UND permit can park in these lots, except the airport. In this lot no vehicles can park between the hours of 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., unless special permit is displayed from flight operations.

The visitor booth will not be staffed until Monday, Jan. 8. Parking in the visitor lot will be free with any valid UND permit displayed. Visitor or enrollment services guest permits will also be allowed to park here free of charge. All meters and timed zones are enforced except the meters near Bek Hall. With a valid UND permit you may park in this metered lot without paying the meter fee.

Red permit renewals have been processed and mailed. If you have not renewed your permit, please do so. If you have sent in the necessary application but have not received your revalidated decal, please contact parking at 777-3551 for assistance. Service vehicle placards must also be revalidated at the parking office. Citations for expired permits will not be issued until Jan. 8 when the semester begins.

If you have any questions, please contact the parking office. — Sherry Kapella, manager, parking office.

Museum of Art Cafe lists special

The North Dakota Museum of Art cafe lists the following special:
Jan. 2 – Entrée: California Buffalo Burgers; Soup: Chorizo and Potato

The Museum Café will be closed through Jan. 1.
-- Connie Hulst, Office Manager, North Dakota Museum of Art,, 777-4195

Psychology seeks children for research project

The psychology department is seeking children with a reading disability or attention deficit for a research project. Volunteers will be paid $25 for three hours of time. Please call Tom Petros, professor of psychology, at 777-3260 if interested.

Internal job openings listed

The following position vacancies are available only to regular UND staff employees who have successfully completed their six-month probation period, earn annual and sick leave, receive BC/BS health insurance and TIAA-CREF or ND PERS retirement benefits. Current UND faculty, please contact Human Resources for eligibility.

TO APPLY: Please complete UND Application/Control Cardform. Send letter of application and resume, referencing position name and number, to: Human Resources, University of North Dakota, Twamley Hall, Room 313, 264 Centennial Drive Stop 8010, Grand Forks, ND 58202-8010. Applications MUST be received by the deadline date.


POSITION: Continuing Medical Education (CME) Education Coordinator (Mon - Thurs, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), Continuing Medical Education, #07-177
DEADLINE: (I) 01/02/2007
SALARY: $26,000 - $32,000

POSITION: Research Scientist, Energy and Environmental Research Center, #07-175
DEADLINE: (I) 1/02/2007
SALARY: $50,000 - $75,00

POSITION: Graduate Advisor/Accreditation Coordinator, College of Business and Public Administration, #07-170
DEADLINE: (I) 12/29/2006
SALARY: $31,000 - $37,000

POSITION: Associate Vice President for Outreach Services & Dean of Outreach Programs, #07-091
DEADLINE: Internal applicants will be considered with the external. Open Until Filled (Review of applications will begin November 15, 2006.)
SALARY: Commensurate with experience


POSITION: Account Technician/Customer Service, #07-173
DEADLINE: (I) 12/29/2006
SALARY: $19,000 - $22,000


POSITION: Administrative Assistant, School of Medicine, SW Campus-Bismarck, #07-176
DEADLINE: (I) 1/03/2007
SALARY:$24,000 - $28,000


POSITION: Catering Sales Coordinator (flexible schedule, some weekends), Dining Services, #07-174
DEADLINE: (I) 1/02/2007
SALARY: $11.21 - $11.89

POSITION: Utility Person (variable Schedule) Dining Services, #07-171
DEADLINE: (I) 12/28/2006
SALARY: $8.30- $9.00