buff briefs | Monisha Merchant resigns seat on CU Board of Regents


Monisha Merchant resigns seat on CU Board of Regents

Monisha Merchant resigned her seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents on Sept. 25. She will become the senior advisor for business affairs for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Merchant is a Lakewood Democrat whose six-year term began in January 2009 after she won the election in November 2008.

Under state law, the governor appoints a successor to serve until the next general election, which is set for November 2012. That election will determine who holds the seat for the final two years of the term. The governor’s appointee must reside in the 7th Congressional District.

$4.5 million awarded from NSF to CU team

The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $4.5 million grant to a team led by the University of Colorado Boulder to better understand the electrical processes that connect the Earth with the atmosphere and space.

CU-Boulder Professor Jeffrey Forbes, who is chair of the aerospace engineering sciences department, leads the team. The grant is one of seven awards totaling $33 million made by the National Science Foundation as part of its new Frontiers in Earth-System Dynamics program. The program’s goals are to improve data resolution and modeling capabilities to simulate complex processes and forecast disruptive events that may affect the Earth’s environment.

The CU team will study the processes controlling the charge and discharge of electrified clouds, the electrical coupling between the atmosphere and ionosphere and the flow of electrical current throughout the system. The effort will include satellite-based measurements of magnetic perturbations, studies of clouds and cloud types, aerosol distributions and studies of the ionosphere, which is a region of electrons and electrically charged particles that surrounds Earth from 30 miles to 600 miles in altitude.

CU’s Leeds school index: economic outlook negative

Colorado business leaders’ outlook on the economy has turned negative heading into the fourth quarter, according to the most recent Leeds Business Confidence Index, released by the University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business.

Confidence decreased in all six economic categories measured by the index, with hiring plans leading the decline. For the fourth quarter of 2011, the LBCI posted a reading of 47.3, down from 51.6 in the third quarter, according to Richard Wobbekind, the Leeds School economist and executive director of the Business Research Division, who conducts the quarterly survey. An index reading greater than 50 indicates positive expectations, while an index lower than 50 indicates negative expectations.

Several factors are feeding the economic uncertainty including employment reports released for August showing zero growth for the nation and negative growth for Colorado.

CU’s Creating Futures campaign passes $1 billion threshold

The University of Colorado Boulder’s “Creating Futures” fundraising campaign has exceeded $1 billion, due to individual, corporate and foundation gifts and grants. The total has surpassed a major milestone in CU’s largest fundraising campaign, which amounts to $1.5 billion.

Since the campaign began in July 2006, more than $530 million in private gifts and grants have come through the CU Foundation, the university’s fundraising and investment-management partner. Most of the remaining private support has been faculty-generated grants and private gifts that are channeled directly to the university.

Contributions to Creating Futures are aimed at expanding access to higher education, providing health services, generating research and ideas, and driving the region’s economy. Priority fundraising areas for the remainder of Creating Futures include scholarships, endowed chairs, and professorships, research programs, buildings and infrastructure and academic support on all four CU campuses.

CU’s annual economic impact exceeds $7 billion, and CU researchers annually garner more than $800 million in public grant awards for research.

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