UND announces nickname voting process and dates

University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley has announced the details of the voting process for determining final selection of a nickname for UND’s athletics teams.

The voting process, which will be conducted completely online, will take place in mid-October and will extend for approximately one week. Precise dates will be announced later. Voting will be open to the following groups:

  • Current UND Students
  • Current UND Faculty
  • Current UND Staff
  • UND Retirees
  • UND Alumni
  • UND Donors (including Champions Club members) (one vote per account)
  • Current season ticket holders to UND athletic events (one vote per account)

In order to be eligible to vote, individuals must be a UND retiree; a current faculty or staff member; a currently-enrolled student as of Sept. 30, 2015; or a donor or season ticket holder as of Aug. 31, 2015.

Shortly before the voting period begins, eligible voters will receive an email with voting instructions. Current UND students, faculty and staff will receive the emails at their UND (UND.edu) email address. Alumni, donors, retirees and all current season ticket holders must confirm their emails through a  process that will be communicated soon. Eligible voters who fall into more than one of the above categories–such as a staff member who is also an alumnus–may only vote once, and any identified multiple votes will be voided.

The online voting process will be conducted by Qualtrics, a third-party survey technology provider with more than 7,000 customers in 75 countries. In 2014, Qualtrics customers sent over one billion surveys worldwide.

During the voting process, eligible voters will cast one vote for a single option on the ballot. Eligible voters will choose one of five nickname options:

Fighting Hawks
Nodaks
North Stars
Roughriders
Sundogs

If any of the proposed nicknames receives a majority of more than 50 percent of the votes, that name will be determined to be the new nickname for the University of North Dakota.

In the event that no single nickname receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff vote will be held between the two top vote-getters shortly after the initial vote.

Said UND President Robert Kelley: “In deciding the final list of names to include in the final vote, I have reviewed the recommendations of the Nickname Committee, the additional input received from a recent student poll, and input from many other individual students (including student athletes), faculty, staff, alumni and community members who have contacted me. I have considered all this input carefully and, in determining the final voting list, have concluded that it is in the best long-term interest of the University not to use ‘North Dakota’ as the University’s official nickname.”

President Kelley added, “As I have noted many times, North Dakota is not a nickname–it is a reflection of our pride in who we are. We have been North Dakota–UND–for more than 130 years, and we always will be. The Nickname Committee has delivered a list of five prospective nicknames with the potential to add value to our already-existing North Dakota identity and evoke the pride and spirit that we all feel for our University and our State. I respect and support the process the Committee used, and the extensive public input they gathered. In making this decision, I also respect their final recommendations.”

President Kelley also received extensive input concerning the people who should be involved in the voting process. One important consideration in the decision is the importance of verifying voter identity to prevent fraud. Each eligible voter’s identity and connection to UND will be confirmed.

Even more importantly, noted President Kelley, “We have appreciated the opportunity this past year to gather feedback and ensure representation from all interested parties across the state and across the country. This was accomplished through broad stakeholder representation on the two teams that worked on this process. It was also accomplished by gathering feedback from last fall’s town hall meetings, an online survey, and the month-long nickname comment process conducted by the Nickname Committee this past April. It is now time to allow the final step of this process to be undertaken by those individuals with the most direct ties to UND–students, alumni, faculty, staff, retirees, donors, and season ticket holders.”

Information About Email Delivery of Voting Instructions

Eligible voters will soon receive voting instructions. While students, faculty and staff will already have a confirmed means of identification through their UND email (UND.edu), retirees, alumni, donors and current season ticket holders will need to ensure that their emails are current in their respective databases in order to be able to vote. The weeks prior to the vote will allow these groups the opportunity to do that.

Current season ticket holders (non-Champions Club):  Contact the Ralph Engelstad Arena Box Office at 701.777.0855 between the hours of 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday, or email tickets@theralph.com any time between now and October 1, 2015 to ensure that your correct email is on file.

UND alumni, retirees, and donors: Additional information will soon be sent explaining how to confirm email addresses. For alumni, this information will be sent via the Alumni Review and through a direct mail.

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Peter B. Johnson
Executive Associate Vice President
Media Relations Coordinator/Community Relations Officer
Public Relations Group
Division of University & Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.4317 | 701.740.5398 cell | 701.777.4616 fax
peter.johnson@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND electrical engineers to research how to improve reliability of nation’s power grid

The National Science Foundation has granted $215,622 to University of North Dakota Assistant Professor Prakash Ranganathan and UND Associate Professor Naima Kaabouch, both in the Electrical Engineering Department of the College of Engineering & Mines, to research how to improve the reliability of the nation’s power grid and decrease costly blackouts.

“When a malfunction occurs in an electricity-provisioning system, it is important to quickly diagnose the problem and take corrective actions to prevent outages,” Ranganathan said. “This project will support fundamental research to enhance both the proactive and reactive reliable operation of the smart grid without costly infrastructure investments.”

Specifically, he added, the two-year project is intended to show how controlling the smart grid’s topology — or network of interconnections — can enhance the grid’s reliability.

In addition, this research will develop procedures required to find the most reliable grid topology in response to changes in energy demand. Thus, the primary societal impact of this research is the prevention of unexpected blackouts, which account for approximately $90 billion in losses each year for U.S. businesses and consumers.

The UND team also hopes to address unpredictability and grid reliability through new topological-driven methods that perform well when the grid is broken into smaller regions. Applications of interest include generator and load-scheduling applications in energy management and service systems, pricing and revenue-management problems, and inventory control.

In addition to advancing the knowledge for next-generation smart grids, this project is expected to result in a new, holistic framework for monitoring, understanding and managing energy resources and smart-grid environments.

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David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Division of University & Public Affairs
O  701.777.5529 | D  701.777.2731
david.dodds@UND.edu | UND.upa@UND.edu

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Bibel presents talks on engineering disasters in Seattle, Minneapolis

George Bibel

George Bibel

University of North Dakota Mechanical Engineering Professor George Bibel, an expert on mass transportation disasters, recently presented invited and sponsored talks on engineering disasters and airplane crashes at the National Society of Profession Engineers in Seattle and at United Technologies (parent company of Pratt & Whitney) Aerospace Systems in Minneapolis.

The United Technologies lecture was simulcast in Connecticut, North Carolina, Alabama, Ohio, California, New Jersey and Vermont.

In addition, Bibel has been invited to give a presentation at the new Boeing Dreamliner 787 plant in Charleston, S.C. in October. This talk is sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics as part of their Distinguished Lecture Series.

Bibel is author of Beyond the Black Box: The Forensics of Airplane Crashes and Train Wreck: The Forensics of Rail Disasters.

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David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Division of University & Public Affairs
O  701.777.5529 |D  701.777.2731
david.dodds@UND.edu | UND.upa@UND.edu

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UND again ranked as a top school for business management degrees

college-of-business_avIt’s lucky 13 for the University of North Dakota College of Business & Public Administration.

The college (CoBPA) was just named the 13th is the best place overall to receive a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree, according to TopManagementDegrees.com in one of its most recent Top 50 ranking. The University of Indiana, University of Florida and Arizona State hold the top three spots.

The new designation comes on the heels of another list in which the same publication ranked UND’s online MBA program No. 1 in the world for its  affordability. That ranking lauded UND’s CoBPA for its commitment to online education, demonstrated by the number of programs available and the availability of in-state tuition regardless of residency. The Masters of Business Administration program is housed in the CoBPA, and is offered in cooperation with the UND Office of Extended Learning.

According to TopManagementDegrees.com, professionals pursue an MBA for a competitive edge in the job market, for possible promotions or salary increases, and for the acquisition of general business and management expertise.

TopManagementDegrees.com‘s business education rankings are designed to help prospective students make informed choices about where to invest their time and money.

“We are committed to connecting people to inspiring ideas and high quality educational opportunities,” said Tammie Cagle, publication editor. “We are confident that students will find both at the University of North Dakota.”

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Contact:
Tammie Cagle
Editor, Top Management Degrees
425.440.0619
tammie@topmanagementdegrees.com

David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Division of University & Public Affairs
O  701.777.5529 | D  701.777.2731
david.dodds@UND.edu | UND.upa@UND.edu

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Former UND grad student honored to be Philly’s top ‘Geek’

Photo by Bastian Slabbers Photography

Photo by Bastian Slabbers Photography

Ather Sharif’s passion to help people with disabilities stems from 2013 car accident that left him with a spinal cord injury

By David Dodds, University & Public Affairs writer

A former University of North Dakota graduate student recently took home top honors for his smarts, perseverance and dedication to others at a quirky Philadelphia innovation and entrepreneurship competition held at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Ather Sharif, a native of Pakistan who spent time in UND’s Master of Science in Technology program in 2013, was named “Geek of the Year” at the Philly Geek Awards on Aug. 15, for his development of accessible websites for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. A Google scholar, Sharif’s efforts also helped introduce international subtitles to spinal cord injury support videos. On top of all that, he teaches middle school students about computer code and languages.

Sharif, a software engineer and freelance web developer and consultant, is the founder of and a researcher at EvoXLabs. He has a special interest in developing processes and tools to make the Internet more accessible for people with disabiltieis. He also is the founder of the SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) Video Blog, which is full of tutorial videos that help people with spinal cord injuries perform routine daily activities.

His passion for helping people is fueled by the fact that Sharif, himself, is the survivor of a spinal cord injury after a 2013 car accident. Sharif said he’s honored to be considered Philadelphia’s No. 1 Geek for 2015, but more than that, the award is a reflection of the work he’s done to help others.

Photo by Bastian Slabbers Photography

Photo by Bastian Slabbers Photography

“This award, to me, tells people that no matter what disability you have, no matter what limitations, these are never the end of the world,” Sharif recently told Newsworks.org. “You can still get there. You can make an impact on society.”

As a result of the car accident and the arduous rehabilitation process that was needed, Sharif could not finish his master’s studies at UND. He moved to Philadelphia, where he began rehabbing; he is currently continuing his education at in the St. Joseph University web technology program. Sharif attended UND from the spring of 2012 through the spring of 2013.

Friends at UND, such as Matthew Hiller, with UND International Programs, say Sharif was active in and out of the classroom when he lived in Grand Forks. He especially liked to compete in intramural basketball.

“Ather has always had a great attitude and been positive about life,” Hiller said. “He loved meeting new people and always has a friendly aura that surrounds him.”

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This article contains information from an original story by Kyrie Greenberg of Newsworks.org.

David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Public Relations Group
Division of University & Public Affairs
701.777.5529 |david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND expecting most academically qualified class In University’s history; Also expecting considerable increase in transfer students

convocation_avThe Fall 2015  incoming first-year class is expected to be the most academically qualified (based on average high school GPA and ACT scores) class in the University of North Dakota’s history, according to Sol Jensen, UND Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Services. This is the fourth consecutive year with an increase in freshman average GPA, and fifth consecutive year with an increase in average ACT, said Jensen. He said the increases are the result of strategic practices focused on recruiting the very best students.

Thomas DiLorenzo, UND Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said early indications also support another increase in first-to-second year retention after last year’s historic high. This is a result of deliberate initiatives focused on student success, coupled with the quality of last year’s freshmen.

“We’re delighted about the academic quality of our new students the past three years,” said UND President Robert Kelley. “These students are coming in already well-prepared to succeed in the rigorous academic setting of a leading research university like UND. We are also seeing increased retention as these students continue their academic work at UND.”

As fall semester begins, preliminary numbers indicate that overall enrollment at UND will be slightly above or similar to last fall, including growth in new first-year, transfer, and graduate students, said Jensen. The number of students transferring to UND is expected to increase by almost 15 percent this fall.

Students continue to register for fall semester classes at UND, so official enrollment numbers won’t be released until the fourth week of September.

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Peter B. Johnson
Executive Associate Vice President
Media Relations Coordinator/Community Relations Officer
Public Relations Group
Division of University & Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.4317 | 701.740.5398 cell | 701.777.4616 fax
Peter.johnson@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND researcher to help improve efficiency for power-generation industry

A University of North Dakota researcher will lead a team that was recently awarded $400,000 to develop technology to boost the efficiency of fossil fuel use.

Gautham Krishnamoorthy, assistant professor of Chemical Engineering in the UND College of Engineering & Mines and a member of the SUNRISE research program, will lead a joint UND-University of Utah collaboration with a co-principle investigator, Utah’s  Jeremy Thornock, on the three-year project. The grant is from U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)-Managed University Coal Research (UCR) program.

The goal of the project is to develop computer code that quickly for solves large, sparse matrix equations observed in advanced energy system simulations. This will enable power producers to conduct simulations of multiphase particle flows and is expected to lead to more efficient fossil energy-based power generation.

The project will also be used to train undergraduate and graduate engineering students at both universities.

The project is one of six recently selected to receive funding through NETL’s UCR, administered by the Crosscutting Research Technology Program.

UCR funds research and development at U.S. colleges and universities for coal conversion and utilization.

Its goal is to improve our understanding of chemical and physical processes for environmentally friendly coal conversion and utilization, byproduct utilization and technological development.

Through this funding, NETL enhances the education of the next generation of scientists and engineers, while upgrading the coal research capabilities and facilities of the academic environments in which they study.

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Contacts:
Gautham Krishnamoorthy
UND Department of Chemical Engineering
701.777.4242

Juan Miguel Pedraza, Writer/Editor
National Media Relations Coordinator
Public Relations Group
Division of University & Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.6571 | juan.pedraza@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND to hold Convocation for new students, Monday, Aug. 24 at the Chester Fritz Auditorium, luncheon to follow

University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley is slated to take part in his last New Student Convocation before his retirement early next year.

Kelley will join faculty, administrators and staff members in welcoming all new students to UND at Convocation, set for 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24, in Chester Fritz Auditorium.

Convocation is a formal ceremony, filled with pomp and regalia, emphasizing the University’s attention to academic excellence. The event has come to mark the start of the academic career for all first-year students at UND.

All students, faculty, and staff are invited to celebrate our new students at Convocation, and welcome them to campus during the UND All-Campus Luncheon, which will immediately follow Convocation at the Gorecki Alumni Center parking lot.

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David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Public Relations Group
Division of University & Public Affairs
701.777.5529 | david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND Space Studies gets acting chair for the fall semester

Veteran test pilot and Space Studies faculty member James Casler to hold down the fort as chair takes developmental leave

James Casler, a faculty member in the University of North Dakota Department of Space Studies, is taking over as acting chair for fall 2015. Santhosh Seelan, professor and chair, is taking developmental leave for the semester. Space Studies is part of the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

Casler joined UND in 2007. He is a graduate of the Navy’s Test Pilot School and spent more than a decade flight testing new aircraft and systems for the Marine Corps. Among other aircraft, Casler test piloted the Bell-Boeing M/V 22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

Casler also has held various engineering and management positions with what has become the Aerospace Group, Wyle Laboratories. For five of those years, he was the Senior Business Development Manager for Research and Development and was actively engaged in strategic planning and business development efforts oriented to new markets in aeronautical and aerospace research and development, primarily in the NASA engineering and technical services arena.

A student of space colonization since the mid-1980’s, Casler did his doctoral research in human performance in space-based manufacturing settings. He continues to investigate future industrial, such as mining and manufacturing, operations on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars.

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Contact:
Juan Miguel Pedraza, Writer/Editor
National Media Relations Coordinator
Public Relations Group
Division of University & Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.6571 | 701.740.1321 cell | 701.777.4616 fax
juan.pedraza@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND Provost DiLorenzo goes from tourist to tour guide on annual new faculty and administrator bus tour, Aug. 17-19

The UND Bus Tour group in front of Langdon's General Store.

The UND Bus Tour group in front of Langdon’s General Store.

Nearly three dozen from the University of North Dakota embarked on the 25th UND Bus Tour for New Faculty and Administrators on Today, Monday, Aug. 17, to explore much of the northern portion of North Dakota.

“It gives newcomers to the state and campus a glimpse into the state,” said Fred Wittmann, the tour coordinator and director of Ceremonies & University Events.

The tour, free for participants, was introduced 26 years ago as a way to raise awareness about the importance of higher education, as well as to acquaint the new faculty and administrators with their new state. It also allows new faculty to get a better understanding of where many of their students will come from.

UND Provost Tom DiLorenzo welcomes the participants of the UND New Faculty and Administrator Bus Tour. Tom went from passenger last year to tour leader this year.“It’s one of the pieces of the ‘orientation puzzle’ for them,” said Wittmann.

Joining the new faculty and administrators on the tour is UND Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas DiLorenzo and his wife, Suzanne Austin, as well as Melissa Gjellstad, assistant professor in the UND Department of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures. A North Dakota native from Velva, Gjellstad will provide additional commentary for the tour.

The tour also serves as a way to bring interdisciplinary faculty members together. These people may have never had the chance to meet otherwise.

“I’m always amazed with this activity and how it brings people together,” said Wittmann.

Provost Tom DiLorenzo (left), Melissa Gjellstad, associate professor of Languages ? Norwegian, and bus driver Gerry Eggers listen as Fred Wittmann, UND director of Ceremonies & University Events, explains some of the details of the UND New Faculty and Administrators Bus Tour.

Provost Tom DiLorenzo (left), Melissa Gjellstad, associate professor of Languages ? Norwegian, and bus driver Gerry Eggers listen as Fred Wittmann, UND director of Ceremonies & University Events, explains some of the details of the UND New Faculty and Administrators Bus Tour.

Each year, the tour alternates between northern and southern routes across the state.

This year, the tour will be making stops in communities such as Langdon, Belcourt, Black Butte Acres Ranch near Velva; Watford City, Tioga, Minot, Rugby, Sully’s Hill south of Devils Lake, and Larimore.

Throughout the tour, participants will get the chance to learn more about North Dakota agriculture, education, tourism, energy development, government and business from experts in the field.

The following is a partial itinerary for the bus tour (subject to change):

Day 1 — Monday, Aug. 17

Summary of the Day:  

  • Expert on the bus briefing on agriculture
  • Morning community outreach coffee stop in Langdon
  • Lunch and Tour, Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt
  • Check in to Comfort Inn and Suites in Minot
  • Tour and dinner at Black Butte Acres Ranch near Velva, ND

7:30 a.m. — Depart UND / Grand Forks; Expert on the Bus on agriculture – John Botsford

9:30 a.m. — Arrive in Langdon for a gathering and refreshments with local residents and UND alumni at the General Store

10:30 a.m. — Depart Langdon

11:45 a.m. — Arrive in Belcourt for lunch and tour at Turtle Mountain Community College

1:30 p.m. — Depart for Minot

3:30 p.m. — Arrive in Minot / Check-in at Comfort Inn and Suites (701.852.2201)

4:25 p.m. — Depart Minot

5 p.m. — Arrive Black Butte Acres Ranch near Velva; Tour and home-cooked dinner hosted by Jerry and Norma Effertz

8 p.m. — Depart Effertz Home – Return to Minot

Day 2 — Tuesday, Aug. 18

Summary of the Day: 

  • Travel to Watford City for Tour and Lunch
  • Driving Tour of Western North Dakota via Williston
  • Tioga Area Oil Field Tour and Briefing
  • Social and Dinner at Minot State University, Minot

7 a.m. — Depart Minot

9:30 a.m. — Arrive in Watford City for Tour and Briefing

11:45 a.m. — Lunch in Watford City with UND alumni and community leaders, Outlaws Bar and Grill (in the atrium adjacent to First International Bank)

12:45 p.m. — Depart Watford City; Travel to Tioga via Williston

2:30 p.m. — Arrive in Tioga for Tour and Briefing — Hosted by Neset Consulting, Neset Consulting Headquarters, 117 North Welo

4:15 p.m. — Depart Tioga

6:30 p.m. — Socializing and dinner at Minot State University; Guests will include new faculty from Minot State, UND alumni, and Minot community leaders

Day 3 — Wednesday, Aug. 19

Summary of the Day

  • Tour of Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot
  • Tour and Briefing at Heart of America Medical Center in Rugby
  • Lunch at  Prairie Village Museum, Rugby
  • Stop at Sully’s Hill National Game Preserve
  • Visit to Hoverson Farms, Larimore
  • Community Supper at Larimore Golf Course

7:45 a.m. — Depart Hotel

8 a.m. — Tour Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot

9:15 a.m. — Depart Minot

10:30 a.m. — Briefing and Tour at Heart of America Medical Center

11:45 a.m. — Lunch at Prairie Village Museum, Rugby

1 p.m. — Depart Rugby

2:15 p.m. — Arrive at Sully’s Hill National Game Preserve

3 p.m. — Depart Sully’s Hill

4:15 p.m. — Arrive at Hoverson Farms near Larimore for tour

5:45 p.m. — Depart Hoverson Farms

6 p.m. — Community Social and Supper, Larimore Golf Course

7:45 p.m. — Depart Larimore Area

8:30 p.m. — Return to UND / Grand Forks

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Peter B. Johnson
Executive Associate Vice President
Media Relations Coordinator/Community Relations Officer
Public Relations Group
Division of University & Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.4317 | 701.740.5398 cell | peter.johnson@UND.edu
UND.edu

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