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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Get To Know LATIS’s Jenny King


Name: Jenny King

Where did you go to college? I graduated from UMN with a Bachelor of Arts-Studio Art.

Your hometown and the first place you lived after leaving your hometown? I was raised in Racine, Wisconsin and then moved to Minneapolis for college and never looked back.

What was your worst or most unusual job? First job ever was working at the Racine Zoo concessions making the largest sticks of cotton candy. It is an art form.

When did you start working at UMN? November 2006. I just celebrated my 11th anniversary at the U.

What is your current job title and what do you do? Executive Office and Administrative Assistant. I deal with all things budget related, including organizing, purchasing and managing. I am also a main wrangler for our LATIS celebrations. Snowtacular is coming in December, but my favorite is Cinco de Mayo.

What brought you to your current job? I knew that the University would be a wonderful career and environment to continue to learn and grow as a person and a global human being.

What is your favorite aspect of your job? The diversity and the ability to be a part of a learning institution. Where there is always something new to gleen from the world.

Pet peeves: Staples in expense reports.

What is your favorite place on campus?  I love the Mall, the wide green grasses and the old amazing trees all leading up to the grand Northrup Hall.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Get To Know LATIS’s Shana Crosson


Name: Shana Crosson

What is your educational background? BA in History from Carleton College in Northfield; MA in Teaching from University of St. Thomas.

Your hometown and the first place you lived after leaving your hometown? I grew up in Plymouth, and moved to Uptown right after college with all the other recent college graduates!

When did you start at UMN? July 2017

What is your current job title and describe what you do? Education Technology Consultant. My job is to work with instructors using technology to enhance teaching and learning. I do everything from helping instructors write assignments that require the use of a digital tool like a website or video, to exploring new technologies like 3D printing or GIS to do deeper exploration of subject matter than ever possible before. Right now, we’re focusing on the move to Canvas.

What brought you to your current job? I’ve worked in education technology for K-12 from a slightly different perspective for the last ten years. I’ve seen so much positive change in the field, all leading towards improved pedagogy and student learning. I feel strongly that appropriate use of technology in instruction not only improves learning, but prepares students (and instructors!) for our changing world. When used appropriately, technology allows us to do things we couldn’t have imagined before. When not used appropriately, technology impedes student growth.

I am excited to expand my work in ed tech to the higher education scene.  
What is your favorite accomplishment at the U, so far? Finding my way around! I’m learning the tunnels and the busses. My daily step count is way up!

What was your worst or most unusual job? My first job out of college was working at Historic Fort Snelling. I was an interpreter there, wearing historically accurate clothing and doing things like cooking over a hearth and doing laundry in a wash tub. It was a very fun job, and led me to many more years working in history.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Get To Know LATIS’s Samantha Porter


Name: Samantha Porter

Your hometown and the first place you lived after leaving your hometown? I grew up in St. Louis Park, just west of Minneapolis. I moved to New York City for college, but moved back to the Twin Cities in 2010 for graduate school. Having spent some time away, I’ve really grown to appreciate all the things the Twin Cities have to offer.

What is your educational background? I received my B.A. from NYU in 2009, where I double majored in Anthropology and Urban Design and Architecture. I’ve been at the U of M since 2010 pursuing a PhD in Anthropology.

When did you start at UMN? I officially took my first class at the U in 2003 while in High School as part of the College in the Schools Program. The class was Microeconomics and I got a B-. I came back to the U in 2010 as a graduate student, and began working here full time earlier this year.

What is your current job title and describe what you do? Digital Preservation Specialist. I help faculty and students use advanced imaging technologies such as 3D scanning, specialized photography, and virtual reality to enhance their research and teaching.

What brought you to your current job? A large part of my archaeological research has involved various imaging technologies. A few years ago, I was able to apply these skills as a graduate fellow in the Digital Content Library (DCL). That year, myself and other graduate students, faculty, and staff  from LATIS and a number of departments came together to submit a grant to start what is now the Advanced Imaging Service for Objects and Spaces (AISOS), a part of LATIS Labs. I’m thrilled to now be a full time member of the LATIS team!

What is your best/more amusing U-related memory? Every year, the Anthropology department has an event called the Paleo Picnic. We make our own stone tools, then use them to butcher an animal. Everyone gets to take some meat home with them. It’s both fun and a great hands-on learning experience, albeit a bit messy.

What was your worst or most unusual job? I’ve worked on archaeological excavations for over ten years. In practice, archaeology isn’t so much about running from boulders and using whips to swing across chasms. It’s more about spending countless hours sorting tiny bits of 40,000 year old hyena poo from limestone. I wouldn’t give it up for anything though!

Before I die, I would like to: Visit all seven continents. I’m really lucky, in that I get to travel a lot of cool places as part of my work. Four down, three to go!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Get To Know LATIS’s Fritz Vandover

Name: Fritz Vandover

Your hometown and the first place you lived after leaving your hometown? I grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, which is an old suburb on the edge of the city of St. Louis. My parents still live in the house I grew up in, and my siblings and their families are all near them.

The first place I lived after high school was my dorm room at DePauw University in Longden 221.

What is your educational background? B.A. in American History from DePauw University , Masters in American History from Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and Administration from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

When did you start working at UMN?  July 2017.

What is your current job title and describe what you do? Educational Technologies Consultant. My role is to work with CLA faculty to utilize technology effectively in their teaching.

What brought you to your current job? At the big picture level, I was really drawn to CLA’s initiatives to help students in liberal arts disciplines see the value and many future paths available to them because of, rather than in spite of, their decision to choose a liberal arts course of study.

What is your favorite aspect of your job? The TEL team has a great energy that makes coming into work and tackling the Canvas transition fun. And I am enjoying getting to know faculty in CLA.

What is your favorite accomplishment at the U, so far? Thus far, watching faculty get excited about teaching with Canvas rather than dreading it.

What is your best/more amusing U-related memory? During graduate school, a fellow grad student from Georgia came into the TA office covered in snow and complaining about the cold weather as he walked across campus. We said, “Why don’t you use the tunnels?” His response was, “What??? No one told me there were tunnels!” We all had a good laugh.

What is your favorite place on campus? I love the architecture of Nicholson Hall and Pillsbury Hall, so I like hanging out in that area of the East Bank. 

What was your worst or most unusual job? My worst job was right out of college. I worked at Andersen Consulting in Chicago. I appreciate that it gave me a foundation in computer programming, but it made me realize that I am not suited for a corporate environment.

Pet peeves:
  • People who don’t load a dishwasher effectively.
  • Fry voice.

People may be surprised to know: Fritz is not my real name. My real name is William Frederick Vandover, I have been Fritz since the day I was born. I come from a long line of Fritz’s on my mom’s side (an uncle, great-uncle, great-grandfather). It’s kind of a thing in my family to use a nickname instead of a given first name; my mom’s real first name is Dana, but Cricket (her nickname as a kid) is the name she has gone by forever.

Before I die, I would like to: Take my kids and their kids on some killer trips.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Get To Know LATIS’s Bernard Ferguson



Name: Bernard Ferguson

Your hometown and the first place you lived after leaving your hometown?
I grew up in Nassau, Bahamas, and moved to St. Joseph, Minnesota for college when I was 18.

What is your educational background? Bachelor in Computer Science, Saint John’s University.

When did you start working at UMN?  November 2014.

What is your current job title and describe what you do ?
Software Developer 3. I love coming up with great experiences. I enjoy thinking about everything a user might experience, from first learning about a product, to using a product, to how they talk about a product with friends and colleagues. I want to fine tune the whole thing, to make sure users keep coming back. Right now, I do that via slick programming and attention to details in the user interface.

What brought you to your current job?
I first worked at the U as a software developer in CEHD in 2014, but decided I needed a change in pace about a year and a half later. In 2016, I found a snazzy spot in LATIS that involved a bit more hands on with stakeholders and more opportunity for growth. The rest is history.  

What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I like being a part of CLA. The work of the college has so many aspects to it, and involves so many departments. I like knowing a collaboration with really cool faculty and/or staff is only a half-step away.
What is your favorite accomplishment at the U, so far?
Definitely re-releasing Z.umn.edu.

What is your best/more amusing U-related memory?
Can’t really come up with any one thing. I laugh with the folks here a lot, so there are too many moments to choose a favorite.

What is your favorite place on campus?  
Probably the Sencha on East Bank. BUBBLE TEA!

Pet peeves:
I can’t borrow you something. Lend, people. Lend.

People may be surprised to know:
I’m also a poet!

Before I die, I would like to:
Live in a lot more places.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Get To Know LATIS’s Laura Cervin

Name: Laura Cervin

What is your educational background? Bachelor of Arts in Theater, University of Minnesota

When did you start working at UMN?  As a student in 1999, then on and off as a freelancer, and full-time starting in 2007.

What is your current job title and describe what you do ? Coordinator of Media Services. I oversee LATIS Video Services which is comprised of the TV studios and video equipment checkout center in Rarig Center, and also video production services for CLA. I also coordinate the Digital Content Library team, who maintain the DCL.elevator online library. The DCL is also growing as part of the LATIS Labs initiative and we are delving into the makerspace/Internet of Things realm - virtual reality, drones, programmable devices, 3D imaging and scanning, etc.

What is your favorite accomplishment with LATIS, so far?
The new checkout center and computer lab in 640 Rarig Center we launched in 2015. It has really grown from being housed in the corner of an office, to crammed into a small room, and is now a large, cozy yet bustling space.

What advice do you have for LATIS constituents who are intimidated by technology?
We are all learning!  With the rate of change in technology these days, it’s pretty rare that anyone’s an expert anymore. One of my favorite descriptions of our Labs employees is “co-explorers.” Everyone has unique perspectives that contribute to solving a problem, and yours is just as valuable in applying to technology. Don’t be afraid to try something out, ask those who may have had some experience in a similar area, and be prepared to try things more than once. You might just discover something you weren’t even looking for along the way.

What do you consider to be a best kept secret about the U?
I don’t know about best kept secret, but there are some random nuggets I like to share with new undergrads. Like, did you know the circular plaza right outside Wilson Library is a sundial? You stand in the center and your shadow tells the time. I also make everyone stand in the very center of the amphitheater between Ferguson and Anderson halls and shout. Try it - you’ll see why.

What do you do for fun?

I love yard work! I’m creating an “edible urban forest” in my backyard. It is a huge work in progress. I gave up on raising chickens (never started, actually,) but maybe bees are in my future.     

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Now Open: 2018 Infrastructure For Learning Funding Program

The application process for the Infrastructure for Learning funding program is now open. More information was sent directly to department administrators and chairs to share with faculty and staff. More info can also be found in The Neighborhood.

The Infrastructure for Learning Program  supports equipment upgrades or recurring funding and the long-term evolution and maintenance of the inventory of instructional infrastructure in CLA. This program option is intended to utilize strategic planning with regard to departmental technology equipment.

New Timing

Previously awarded in the spring/early summer, the Infrastructure for Learning Program adjusted its timing to the fall/early winter to allow for more timely installation of the technology. OCM is very busy in the late summer and the timing change will ensure departments do not have to wait long periods of time after the technology arrives before it can be installed and start benefiting the community.

Required Meeting with Departmental Consultant

The deadline to complete the required consultation as part of an Infrastructure for Learning Program application is Friday, August 17. After meeting with their departmental consultant, the department chair will also meet with a representative from the Office of Classroom Management (OCM) to include an estimate for any labor when they submit a single plan for their department.

Contact your departmental consultant to schedule the required consultation. You may request a consultation any time, even if you have not yet drafted your funding application.

All proposals for the Infrastructure for Learning Funding programs are due Friday, September 29, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. All proposals must be received online at that time. Results will be communicated in late January 2018.


Questions and emails of interest can be sent to claatf@umn.edu.