2020-2021 PDGR Abstracts

Ferolyn Angell. Lecturer in Dance, Humanities Division, University of Minnesota, Morris
Creation of inter-generational, trans-Atlantic dance film I will collaborate with dance artist and teacher Thomas Maucher from the Music & Arts School in Schwedt, Germany, to develop a dance theatre piece linking the history of discrimination during Hitler’s reign and current treatment of immigrants in Europe. I will also be assisted by dance artist, friend and colleague Elizabeth Birmingham whose knowledge of the challenges faced by immigrant children will be invaluable. The grant will fund an initial period of research and consultation, travel, lodging and per-diem for Ferolyn Angell, and a fee for Thomas Maucher who will be the primary contact with the administration and students in the School of the Arts. The project will have at its core my personal connection with the city of Schwedt which was my mother’s home until she and many of her siblings were forced to flee because of Nazi race laws.

Andrew D. Cohen, Full Professor  Center for Advanced Research on Language Learning (CARLA), within the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.
The Long-Term Impact of the Styles and Strategies-Based Instruction CARLA Summer Institute Course The CARLA Summer Institute on Styles and Strategies-Based Instruction (SSBI) was offered for 22 years (1996 to 2017). During that time, 553 teachers, researchers, and administrators participated in the course. Reference to this course by a keynote speaker at the 3rd International Conference on Situating Strategy Use (Osaka, Japan, 13-15 October 2019) prompted my interest in knowing more about the long-term impact of this course in that it had such a long run as an offering at CARLA. The planning of this study comes at a time when the field of language learner strategies, and especially the sub-area of strategy instruction, has been experiencing an upsurge of interest, including the formation last month in Osaka of the Strategic Language Learning Association – comprised of both researchers, teachers, and administrators. In addition, a new book focusing entirely on various aspects of strategy instruction has just appeared, probably destined to be seminal in the field (Chamot, A. U., & Harris, V. (eds.) (2019), Learning strategy instruction in the language classroom: Issues and implementation. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.). Participants in the SSBI course over the years will be invited to fill out a brief survey on a volunteer basis. Those willing will also engage in a follow-up interview. In addition, at the suggestion of the interviewees, selected learners from their language courses which included SSBI will be invited to provide interview data.

Charles Fairhurst. T. W. Bennett Professor of Mining Engineering & Rock Mechanics, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering (CEGE), College of Science and Engineering
Earth Resources Videos It is proposed to develop three videos to describe the significance of Earth’s subsurface in addressing engineering issues associated with climate change, infrastructure, earthquake protection, radioactive and hazardous waste isolation, adequacy of mineral supplies critical to US economic welfare and national security. The videos (each of 30-45 minutes duration) will be designed for different audiences, viz: science and engineering professionals; middle and high school students; general public. The overall aim is to try to correct the misimpression that civil (geotechnical), mining engineering and subsurface (including ocean) engineering in general, are ‘mature’ disciplines with limited potential for innovation. The US National Academy of  Engineering has adopted the term ‘Earth Resources Engineering’ to describe this emerging field. The videos could complement current efforts by the UMN Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering (CEGE) Department to stimulate student interest. The Department has a leading international research reputation in Subsurface Engineering.

Thomas Hedin, Department of Arts and Design, School of Fine Arts, University of Minnesota, Duluth
Fountain of Lantona: Louis XIV, Charles LeBrun, and the Gardens of Versailles A manuscript that I have written ,entitled The Fountain of Latona: Louis XIV, Charles LeBrun, and the Gardens of Versailles,is scheduled for publication in 2020 by the University of Pennsylvania Press. It will become the newest member in a series: Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture. The book will be distributed here and abroad. Eighty black-and-white photographs will be included. The aim of my application is to acquire funding for the finest possible reproductions, a grade above the quality of the images in my earlier book in the series:Diplomatic Tours in the Gardens of Versailles under Louis XIVIn none of my previous publications has the issue of photographs been so crucial.

Poul Houe, Professor, Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch (GSD)
[now Department of German, Nordic, Slavic and Dutch [GNSD]), CLA
Herman Bank Anthology This application for funding of the Bang anthology’s production costs has a dual rationale. First, the volume will finally make a rich representation of the influential short prose production in many genres by one of the foremost writers of the modern breakthrough in Scandinavian literature available to English-speaking audiences in a professionally composed and executed translation framed by a scholarly introduction and researched notes. Secondly, my future research intocultural shadowscast by various strides of modern movements of progress – and my attempts at laying these shadows bare as inseparable from the progressive drives, rather than treating the shadows as the drives’ unintended consequences – relies in no small part on Bang’s artistic configuration of modernity’s shadow plays and images. This anthology of his short prose in translation will prove a significant and reader friendly companion book to my future English language writings on this matter.

Jacqueline Johnson, Professor of Sociology,University position at retirement: Chancellor, University of Minnesota, Morris
This is my country: a longitudinal study of children’s expressions of national and political culture. The project completes an international study that began in 1991. The researchers, one American, one Polish, gathered pictures from elementary school children in their respective countries in response to the statement “This is America”. They repeated the exercise in both locations in 2018 and 2019, allowing for longitudinal as well as cross-cultural comparison. The study provides a window into children’s representations, reproductions, and understanding of national and political culture across time and space. The University of Minnesota’s digital laboratory has captured the images—more than 500—and a searchable website is under construction that eventually will be open source. Funds are requested to support the work remaining in this project.

Karen L. LaBat, Horace T. Morse Distinguished Professor, Emerita, Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel College of Design (CoD)
Anatomy for Product Designers The objective of the project is to develop a basic anatomy workshop and supporting materials for wearable product designers. The workshop is a follow-up to the book Human Body: A wearable product designer’s guide(CRC Press, 2019), co-authored by the PI, a design educator/researcher, and a medical doctor. The PI taught product design for over 40 years in three different design colleges/universities and saw a need for wearable product designers to have a solid understanding of human anatomy. The focus for the workshop will be on body structure—specifically how a product must match key features of skeleton, muscles, and adipose tissue. A brief exploration of product in motion will be incorporated. The workshop will be taught in-person with future plans for online delivery.

Joyce Lyon, Associate Professor Emerita, Art Department, CLA
In Book Form: Some Pages for A Book of Hours To re-imagine and redesign Some Pages for A Book of Hours, a suite of eighteen digital broadsides as a traditionally formatted book. Some Pages is an image and text narrative about the last year and a half of my mother’s life. The structure is inspired by the medieval Book of Hours, but the content is secular and speaks to challenges and possibilities at end of life. When first exhibited at Form+Content Gallery (Minneapolis) in 2018, Some Pages received strongly positive response. Though the subject is difficult, viewers read attentively and spoke of their own experiences. Their responses and those of counseling professionals I consulted confirm its potential in caregiving and hospice support and in community discussions of end of life. Making the work available in a traditional book format will facilitate that usage. I will collaborate with a book designer and will seek a publisher/sponsor or self publish through Blurb.

Toni A.H. McNaron, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emerita in English. English Department, CLA
Hurricane Alice, an early feminist publication This project involves designing and mounting a Wikipedia page that will allow interested researchers/teachers/readers/community activists access to all the issues of Hurricane Alice. This magazine, edited by a combination of University of Minnesota professors, graduate students, and community members from Minneapolis and St. Paul, was one of the earliest feminist publications featuring work by and about women, touching on a wide range of themes or topics. These issues are currently housed within various wings of the University of Minnesota library system, e.g. at Wilson Library in the Bound Periodicals section, and at the Anderson Library Archives, scattered among the Social Welfare Archives, the Minnesota Women’s Studies Center records, and the Tretter Collection. We also have communicated with Rebecca Toov at the Anderson Library who has agreed to create an archive dedicated to Hurricane Alice. But all these valuable holdings are essentially unknown by anyone not directly aware of existing archival resources. Having a Wikipedia page is the simplest way to extend this invaluable resource to a much wider audience. Contributors include people who became important writers of fiction and poetry, e.g., Jewell Gomez, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Alice Walker, and Adrienne Rich. Having this media outlet will add to the expanding body of knowledge about early feminist publishing efforts around the country. Securing a Wikipedia page that moves Hurricane Alice into the contemporary world of the Internet will bring visibility to this journal.

Wayne E. Potratz, Professor and Scholar of the College, Department of Art, CLA
Cast Metal Sculpture Exhibition and Attendance at 2 National Conferences This project is about art and creative making. I am preparing for an exhibition of cast metal sculpture [ two person exhibition with Joyce Lyon] at the Raymond Avenue Gallery, August 14 – October 16, 2020. I seek support in the form of an UG Research Assistant. Assistance with the preparation for an exhibition of cast metal sculpture in August of 2020 and support for attendance and participation at two national conferences: the Western Iron Art Conference, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD April 7-10, 2020 and the National Cast Iron Art Conference, Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, Birmingham, AL, October 7-10, 2021

Linda Rochford, Associate Professor of Marketing, Labovitz School of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing, University of Minnesota, Duluth
Overcoming Barriers and Borders to Innovation.”   The proposed project focuses on understanding the factors that influence successful innovation and entrepreneurship in the North West of Ireland along the border between the Republic of Ireland (i.e., County Donegal) and Northern Ireland. This is an area of the Republic of Ireland that is geographically remote and that is disadvantaged in terms of educational and economic achievement. The methodology involves in-depth case studies with companies and organizations in the region. The results will be aggregated to examine what variables contribute or inhibit success in the region and can contribute to the literature on innovation as well as informing public policy in Ireland.

John L. Romano, Professor, Educational Psychology College of Education, (CEHD) TC Campus
Prevention Science Counseling Psychology: 20 Years of Exceptional Growth Society of Counseling Psychology will hold specialty“Counseling Psychology Conference” in 2020. [This conferenceheld every 5 years.] At least one conference session will highlight the 75 year history of the Society. I have been contributor to counseling psychology for over 40 years. As leader of prevention science in the Society, I hope to be included on a program of members who historically made major contributions to the profession. My contributions include co-founder and first chair of the Prevention Section of the Society, co-chair/chair of the Task Group that developed Guidelines for Prevention in Psychology (approved by American Psychology Association, 2014), inaugural recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Section. If I am not selected for a convention session, I want to attend as I have continued my writing and scholarship in prevention science since retiring (see vita). Funds requested are to support my conference attendance.

Kathryn J Sedo, Senior Attorney (Professor of Clinical Instruction),  Law School TC Campus
Funding to continue participation in ABA Section of Taxation This is a request for a professional development grant. The grant is to pay for travel and registration fees to attend 3 ABA Section of Taxation meetings. As an attorney I will obtain necessary CLE credits to maintain my license. As a tax attorney, I will stay current in tax law and procedure. As a volunteer service provider it will allow me to participate on committees and speak at these and other tax meetings as well as be a resource to the local community.

William D. Sudderth, Professor Emeritus, School of Statistics, CLA
Stop-or-Go Games A mathematical theory of when to stop playing a sequence of games was developed in the last century. The problem first arose in the analysis of statistical observations where a decision must be made about whether to continue sampling to obtain additional information or to stop and make a decision about the underlying process. One application is to the question of when to stop a clinical trial and decide upon a treatment. Applications in operations research include the problem of when to sell an asset and when to stop or adjust a production process. Game theoretic questions arise when there are two or more participants who are concerned with the outcome. The games of this proposal have two opposing players one or both of whom may have the power to stop the process at any stage. Future research could consider problems with many players who might or might not have opposing interests.

John L. Sullivan Regents Professor emeritus, Department of Political Science, CLA
Attend and participate in the International Society of Political Psychology conference in Berlin I am requesting support to attend the conference and acknowledge the new award when it is formally announced. The International Society of Political Psychology is holding its annual convention this July 14-17 in Berlin, and I have been informed that they are planning to announce a new Mentoring Award named the John L. Sullivan Mentor Award. I am requesting support to attend the conference and acknowledge the new award when it is formally announced.

Joseph M. Terry MD Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences , Medical School.
Vegetarianism and Age Related Macular Degeneration Abstract: Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness among older people in the developed world. Many genetic variants have been identified that affect the risk of developing AMD with advancing age, but modifiable risk factors have also been identified: Smoking, Hypertension, and Diet. All persons with advanced AMD have atrophy of the central retina (macula) with 15% developing abnormal blood vessel growth (neovascularization) beneath the central retina. These abnormal blood vessels leak fluid and can bleed causing visual loss. This study will determine if long term Vegetarians develop Advanced Neovascular AMD less frequently than other people at risk of AMD and have later age of need for treatment with intraocular injections of anti-VEGF medications.

Carol Urness, Professor and Curator of the James Ford Bell Library, University Libraries, Wilson Library, TC Campus.
Book: Nature Essays from Isanti County, Minnesota This book has been in process for more than 50 years, beginning when I first became a serious bird watcher. That early interest widened into more general nature observations, so that the essays in progress or completed include text and photographs of birds, wildflowers, mushrooms, insects, amphibians, trees, and mammals, primarily in Isanti County, Minnesota. As a historian I know and practice good research methods, careful documentation, and accurate reporting. This has been my goal as I have prepared the essays on nature that I now seek to publish. I feel that this is one way I can share some of my joy in nature as well as to celebrate and lament some of the victories and defeats for nature that have taken place during my birding lifetime. I sometimes call these writings “My Eternal Essays” and I want to finish them now.

Lisa Vecoli Assistant Librarian,  Curator, Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies, University of Minnesota Libraries. TC Campus.
Minnesota Lesbian Community Organizing Oral History Project The Minnesota Lesbian Community Organizing (MLCO) Oral History Project is using oral histories to document early lesbian activism in the state. Organizations like the Lesbian Resource Center, the Lesbian Feminist Organizing Committee, Amazon Bookstore, and the Women’s Coffeehouse were important centers of both social connection and political activism for lesbians and feminists particularly in the 1970s and 80s. The goal in year one of the project was to collect 25 interviews with women involved in the creation and/or operation of local spaces/organizations for lesbians and feminists. The goal in year two of the project is to collect an addition 20-25 interviews. Additional interviews are needed to diversify the voices in the project, document organizing efforts across the state and gather information on less formal examples of community formation.



For 2023 grant year, the UMRA PDGR Committee reviewed 10 applications for Professional Development Grants for Retirees. The applications covered a diverse set of topics and goals. The PDGR Committee recommended that nine be funded in April 2023. The recipients represented the Morris and Twin Cities Campus. The awardees and grant abstracts are listed on the 2023 PDGR Abstracts page.


In mid-July, a hacker on the “dark web” claimed they had gained access to University records with more than seven million Social Security numbers. Here’s what you can do if you are concerned about the security of your records and online identity. 


Meet UMRA member Paul Ranelli, a man of many talents. His LinkedIn profile identifies him as professor emeritus, Santa Claus, photographer, voice talent, and public address announcer. Funny AND educated! 


With this year’s World Series coming up soon, UMRA member Ron Matross is savoring memories of sharing America’s pastime with his son at the old Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis in the 1980s. Those were glory days for the Minnesota Twins. 


UMRA members have logged nearly 200 hours of volunteer service to the University and broader community through the Silver Gopher Service Corps since its launch six months ago. 


How I learned, this summer, that my great aunt, one of my paternal grandfather’s sister, was included in a fresco at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  As far as I know she is the only relative of mine who is part of a fresco anywhere in the world.


Meet UMRA member Joni Mitchell, no relation to the “other” Joni Mitchell but there is an interesting connection.


Applications for UMRA’s 2024 Professional Development Grants for Retirees competition will be accepted beginning October 1. Funding of up to $5,000 per grant is available. 


Sneak Preview Days have been happening at the University for many years. This year, adding 18 UMRA Silver Gopher Service Corps volunteers put a new twist on the welcome. Who better to provide a friendly greeting and lend a helping hand than those of us who have spent our careers at the University?


One of the great benefits that come with UMRA membership is the discounted rate for parking in University parking facilities. Forgotten whether you’ve already renewed your UMRA membership for 2023–24? It’s easy to check online.


Eric Hockert and Ron Matross represented UMRA at the 2023 Big Ten Retirees Association Conference held at UW–Madison in late July. They enjoyed sharing ideas and practices with the other conference attendees, and came away with several ideas worth pursuing.


The UMRA Board has selected Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville as the location for five of our in-person luncheon forums in the coming year, in part because of the high marks those who attended last year’s forums gave the location for its food, service, and easy and free parking. 


As retirees, we are all learning to adapt to a world that seems to change on a daily basis. So, the editorial committee of the Journal of Opinions, Ideas & Essays (JOIE) is inviting UMRA members to share their thoughts on resilience via a short essay.