April 2012 Archives

Changes to TXT-U

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TXT-U is the University's emergency notification text messaging system to provide students, faculty, and staff with critical campus safety information. To increase its effectiveness and reach, in mid-to-late May 2012, current students, staff, and faculty with an active Internet ID and University of Minnesota email address will be automatically enrolled in the new TXT-U system. Those with cell phone numbers included in their University personal information will receive emergency text messages.Those wishing to not use this system will be able to opt out (instructions will be available once the new system is in place). More information can be found on the TXT-U web page.

On April 9, University President Eric Kaler, Governor Mark Dayton, Senator Al Franken, and Office of Higher Education director Larry Pogemiller engaged University students and others in a round table discussion about college affordability and financial literacy. The chat took place in STSS and was followed by a tour of One Stop Student Services. One Stop Director Julie Selander and Vice Provost and Dean Bob McMaster also showed the group an active learning classroom and University Veterans Services. Julie briefly explained ASR's "Live Like a Student Now So You Don't Have To Later" financial literacy campaign.

The Graduate & Professional Student Update launches April 30

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On April 30, 2012, a new eNewsletter will launch aimed at enhancing communication to University graduate and professional students on the Twin Cities campus.

The Office for Student Affairs, in collaboration with the Office for Graduate Education, Academic Support Resources, and Orientation & First-Year Programs, is launching the Graduate and Professional Student Update (GPU). GPU will be similar to the Undergrad Update, an eNewsletter for undergraduates, and is intended to enhance communication with graduate and professional students.

Those wishing to provide content for the GPU should submit it to Steve Carnes. The deadline for the April 30 issue is Friday, April 20 at 4:30 pm. The same general guidelines used to determine if content is appropriate for the Undergrad Update will apply to the GPU as well.

All graduate and professional students will be automatically added to the distribution. Staff and faculty will be able to opt in to this list soon.

Committee Assignment Workflow

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Based on a careful review of the Appointments to Graduate Examination Committees policy and feedback received at meetings of the Registrar's Advisory Committee, the process map for the assignment of committee [PDF] has been revised and automation work is underway. Once this process automation is complete, both assignment of adviser and assignment of committee will be released for use simultaneously. This automation will affect two forms currently in use: the Degree Program form and the "Thesis Project/Proposal" form.

The "Degree Program" form will be revised to exclude adviser and committee assignment information. This form will be available and should be used exclusively once the automated processes are live. The "Thesis Project/Proposal" form will be retired and will no longer need to be submitted to the Graduate School.

Prepare now for entering grades later

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Grades for most full semester and second 7-week session University courses on the Twin Cities campus should be entered online by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16.

Instructors should verify that they have access to all of their assigned grade rosters before the last day of instruction. If an instructor is able to view a class list for a course using the "My Classes" report in UM Reports, he or she will have access to the grade rosters for that course. See Grade Reporting for more information about how and when to enter grades.

OIT Faculty Fellowship Program for 2012-2013

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The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is inviting faculty and P&A instructors to submit applications for their faculty fellowship program. OIT anticipates funding up to eight participants with an award of $10,000 to conduct research that will lead to presentations and/or publications focused on technology-rich innovation in teaching and learning through course (re)design and scholarly investigation.

For complete information on this program, see the OIT News Blog.

Academic Support Resources: limited service on May 16

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All ASR units will be attending a staff meeting from 8 a.m. to 12 (noon) on Wednesday, May 16. This includes the Office of the Registrar, Office of Student Finance, One Stop Student Services, and the Office of Classroom Management (OCM). Some staff members will remain in ASR offices; however, some services may be limited.

From 8 a.m. to 12 (noon), messages may be left on the OCM Support Hotline voicemail. These messages will be monitored and responded to as necessary.

The One Stop Student Service center located in Science Teaching & Student Services will have limited service and the St. Paul and West Bank One Stop centers will be closed 8 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

FERPA Q&A: Serving as a reference for a student

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Question: A student has asked me to serve as a reference; can I do that?

Answer: Before agreeing to serve as a reference for a student--either in writing or verbally--there are a few things to keep in mind. If the student wants you to include private information in the reference, including grades and GPA, you must first obtain a signed dated release from the student. The student must include the following information in the release:


  • Specifics of the records to be disclosed

  • Type of reference being requested

  • Purpose of the disclosure

  • The name of the party to whom the disclosure is to be made


It is important to know that the recommendation is considered a part of the student's education record and he or she has a right to access it, unless the student has waived the rights to view it. The Office of the General Counsel has created a form for serving as a reference which can be accessed at http://www.ogc.umn.edu/download/studentref.html

Planned elevator outage in Johnston Hall

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There is planned elevator maintenance scheduled from Monday, May 14 to Tuesday, August 14 in Johnston Hall. During this time, the elevator will be unavailable for use. Those with mobility issues needing to conduct business with the Graduate School in-person during this time should contact the appropriate Graduate School office or Roberta Juarez in Disability Services so accommodations can be made.

Moodle Upgrade Scheduled for May 13

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An upgrade to Moodle is scheduled for Sunday, May 13 during the regular 6 a.m.-noon maintenance window. Moodle will be unavailable for 2-4 hours during that time. Because this is an "in-place" upgrade, no action is required from instructors and other course site owners.

This upgrade will add new features such as a mobile-friendly theme and ensure that critical fixes and security patches to Moodle will continue to be available to the University. See complete information on the OIT news blog.

Calculating PhD time to degree

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At the April RAC meeting, Brad Bostrum from the Graduate School presented on how PhD time to degree is calculated. He has provided his presentation:

PhD Time-to-Degree

Beginning in July 2012, certain functions handled by Graduate School Student Services and Progress (GSSP) and Graduate School Data Management (GSDM) will transition to ASR. At that time, four staff members from these offices--Amber Cellotti (Knapp), Renae Faunce, Stacia Madsen, and Genny Rosing--will formally join ASR's Office of the Registrar as a new group dedicated to supporting graduate and professional programs.

This change will continue to promote the local decision-making authority of colleges and programs while enhancing administrative processes and student services as outlined in the recommendations from the Academic Issues and Student Administrative Processes work groups.

Amber, Renae, Stacia, and Genny can still be reached through their current phone and email contacts. They are working together with ASR staff during the coming months to ensure a smooth transition of functions to ASR; specifics of this transition will be shared in future updates to the Ledger.

Construction season on campus

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Spring and summer in Minnesota means construction. A presentation with details on the traffic impacts on and around campus for this spring, summer, and beyond is available online (login required). More information, including weekly construction maps, is available on the University's Central Corridor page.

New general purpose classroom utilization dashboard

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The Office of Classroom Management recently unveiled a new classroom utilization dashboard. The newly designed dashboard allows users to see how general purpose classrooms are being used. This tool provides options for sorting by semester, campus location, and room size.

"E-Review - Part 2!" is a half-day workshop on graduate admissions consisting of several short demonstrations, a Q & A session, and a networking lunch. Ten speakers from different programs will demonstrate technology tools used to create electronic processes related to the applicant file review and the decision stages of graduate admissions. A catered networking lunch with the opportunity for participants to share best practices with each other will follow the presentations.

More information and a link for registration are available on the Graduate School spring workshop page.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

May 2012 is the next archive.

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