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Creating Economic Strength

As the state’s land-grant institution and only major research university, the U of M upholds its responsibility to innovate on behalf of people in Minnesota, the nation, and the world. No other single hub of higher education has put as many ideas, insights, and employees into Minnesota’s workforce. Donors know that good education is good business: They support University people and programs that keep our local economies thriving.

More Than Meets the Eyeteeth

Since opening in 2007, the Simulation Clinic at the U of M School of Dentistry has given more than 200 first- and second-year dental students a high-tech chance to sharpen their skills along with their drills. Work stations feature mannequin “patients” and LED-tracked instruments that follow drill movement as students perform virtual reality-based procedures. “Students can work at their own pace and receive objective feedback,” notes Dean Patrick Lloyd. More than one-third of the $10.5 million project was funded through private gifts, meaning donors are helping train the majority of dentists practicing in Minnesota.

Visit the sights and sounds of the Dental Simulation Clinic in an interactive photo.

Saving Lives and More

Saving lives is the primary goal of the U of M’s Medical Devices Center. But a welcome side-benefit of one recent invention will save significant money, too. Marie Johnson, ’99 M.S., ’04 Ph.D., who directs the center’s fellows program, has helped develop the next-generation 3M Littmann stethoscope. It uses voice recognition signal techniques to detect cardiovascular abnormalities that once were found only with an echocardiogram. Early tests indicate that used more broadly, it could eliminate the need for more than eight million echocardiograms and cardiologist visits annually, taking some $9.4 billion in healthcare costs from the system.

Tour the Medical Devices Center in a short video.

Hungary Minds

Two Carlson School hallmarks — international education and experiential learning came together in a first-of-its-kind undergraduate course titled “Corporate Strategy in Central & Eastern Europe.” Eighteen marketing and international business students partnered with the Cargill company to research Cargill’s prospects to expand pet food operations in the emerging economies of Poland and Hungary. The students returned with business know-how and worldly wisdom that they’ll take with them into the workforce. “Working in markets like Eastern Europe can be challenging,” noted Kendra Pexa, ’10, who received scholarships to cover travel and program costs. “It tested our ability to solve problems and find a way forward.”

View a story about the project or student-made videos of the experience consulting in Eastern Europe.

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