Department Facilities and Services

General Information and Office Staff

The Department of Soil, Water, and Climate main office is located in 439 Borlaug Hall. The Administrator's office is 446 Borlaug, and the Accounting Office/dropbox is located in 442 Borlaug Hall. There are three department conference rooms: Borlaug 375, Borlaug 438 and Soils 415. These rooms are scheduled for meetings, classes, seminars, and any other gathering which seem appropriate. To reserve any of the conference rooms, please contact the receptionist, who will provide instructions to reserve the room online, listing your name and a telephone number should someone need to contact you.


Keys for entry to Department buildings, (Borlaug Hall, Soils Building, Greenhouse, and Crops Research) and to offices and research laboratories which students use can be obtained from the department receptionist. There is a $5 deposit when keys are issued which will be refunded when keys are returned. You will need your University of Minnesota valid ID to be approved for access to the building. This activation can be done at the main office.


Campus buildings are locked from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. weeknights, Saturday afternoon, and all day Sunday. Many people have access to building facilities during working hours. Keep items of value out of sight, preferably locked in a desk or cabinet. We encourage you to keep your offices and labs locked when you are not around. Windows should be closed for the evening. If you have valuable articles taken from your work place, please report it immediately to the University police and the Department Receptionist.

Computer room

Computers, printers and graphic arts equipment are available for graduate student use. The computer equipment is stationed in Soils 521 under security arrangements. Guidelines and resources are posted in the computer room.


Graduate student mailboxes are located in 435 Borlaug Hall. Messages and mail are distributed to mailboxes daily. If you plan to be gone for an extended period of time, please let the receptionist know if you need any special handling for your mail. The St. Paul Campus post office is located in the St. Paul Student Center.


Telephones. Telephones are set up according to what your advisor deems necessary. The University publishes a student/staff directory annually which is useful in finding various departments, services and individuals. The directory is available on the Web at the U of MN OneStop .

Job postings

Information regarding available positions is posted on the bulletin board outside 439 Borlaug Hall. The information includes various notices of post doctoral and faculty positions available at other institutions.

Bulletin board

The main Departmental Bulletin Board is located outside the Department Office, 439 Borlaug Hall. There you will find information on departmental and intradepartmental seminars, conferences, social activities, also, information on scholarships, fellowships, special course information and other pertinent announcements.


A weekly newsletter, The Profile, distributed to your departmental email address is used for departmental announcements, seminars, meetings, job vacancies, social activities and to introduce new people in the Department. We encourage you to use the newsletter for any announcements you might have. Articles should be submitted to the receptionist by Friday each week. The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences has a newsletter that can be found online at The University has a daily newspaper, which can also be found online at

Copy machines

The Canon machine is located in Room 446 Borlaug Hall and requires a code. Graduate students needing to use the Canon machine for their research project must get an account number from their project leader. There is a coin operated copy machine located in the Plant Pathology Library, 395 Borlaug Hall, which may be used for personal copying. This machine will also accept a card which may be purchased from the copy center at the St. Paul Campus Library in whatever dollar amount you wish to set up for copying.

Departmental Computer Network

Departmental computers are connected to the campus network. The Web gives you access to a local and world-wide network of information including library catalogs, news, phonebooks, etc. Each employee is assigned an e-mail account by the University.

Office Staff

The Department office staff serves as a source of information on University procedures and policies. The staff will help you with any questions or problems you may encounter. If you need to meet with the Department Head, (with or without an appointment) inquire with his secretary, located in the main office in 439 Borlaug Hall.

Payroll staff

Student payroll where hours worked are flexible and a time sheet needs to be filled out is handled by Linda Bieza located in 206 Hodson Hall. Time sheets can be picked up and returned in the departmental mail room. Please make sure the time sheet is signed by a supervisor. All Nonresident Aliens must report to the payroll staff to have their human resource information entered into the University's system, and then go over to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), and then over to payroll. Most human resource functions are available on the Human Resource Self Service Employee website: this includes viewing your paycheck, updating your W-4, changing your W-2, as well as viewing your vacation/sick leave balance.


The accounting staff will assist you in ordering of supplies, equipment and repairs as authorized by your research advisor. When ordering, you can use either a Purchasing Card (requires approval by supervisor before a card is issued to you) or a Purchase Order. When using the Purchasing Card, remember to give companies the University's tax exempt ID number listed on the back of the card. Use the billing address that is listed on the informational sheet that comes with your purchasing card. When using a Purchase Order, complete the PO including quantity, catalog number, item description, name, address and phone number of vendor and costs.

Purchase Order forms and Purchasing Card Reports are on the department website and must be approved by your advisor. Orders from the University Storehouse and Fisher Scientific can be made online. You must have an account set up in advance, please see the Accounting Office for help in getting an account set-up. The purchasing website lists purchasing thresholds and steps to go through when BEFORE purchasing an item. The website is:

Travel authorization and expense report forms must be submitted for University travel. This is handled by the accounting office in 442 Borlaug Hall. Requests for advance travel funds must be processed at least three weeks prior to traveling. Any travel requests require approval by your project leader. Details on the University of Minnesota Travel Policy can be found on the web or you can ask the accounting staff. The travel website lists per diem rates, and mileage rates as well as other useful information when traveling on University business. The travel website is:

Reimbursements are handled by the accounting office. Be sure to use the most current Employee Reimbursement Form that is on the website. The website is

Human Resource Department Officer

The administrator serves as the Department Human Resource officer and provides information and sources to contact regarding any personnel or grievance matters. Her office is located in 446 Borlaug Hall. Contract and governing documents that cover the various positions at the University of Minnesota are located at: .

Employee Benefits contact person

The administrator serves as the Employee Benefits contact person. A benefit packet is distributed by the administrator to new employees in the department, and other forms are available on the Employee Benefits website:


Scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are adjunct members of the faculty and are housed within their subdisciplines in the department. The ARS faculty advises graduate students and serves on departmental committees. The ARS secretarial office is 454 Borlaug.

Physical Facilities at St. Paul

Growth Chambers

We have 6 Conviron and 2 EGC controlled environment chambers located in 196 Borlaug Hall. They are equipped with fully programmable temperature, lighting, and humidity controls. A user fee of $2.10 per day is assessed to cover operating expenses. Be sure to determine if a greenhouse will work as well as a growth chamber before requesting this premium space. To get access to the chambers, see Andrew Scobbie p) 612-625-2712.

Greenhouses and Plant Growth Facilities

Greenhouse space is managed by the Resources Coordinating Team; visit this link, for information regarding fees, services and the online greenhouse request form. Contact Roger Meissner, 612-624-3631, or Pam Warnke, 612-625-3153,, for specific questions regarding these facilities.

Research Analytical Laboratories and Soil Testing

The Department of Soil, Water, and Climate operates these facilities to serve the soil testing needs of the public and researchers, and to help support the research done at the University. The facility is directed by Brian Barber, 612-625-7701 and it performs chemical analyses on a fee per sample basis. See the laboratory service request sheets available in Crops Research 135 for the available tests and prices. Their website is:

Soil and plant sample handling, cold storage, general storage, autoclaves

Cold storage is available in 174A and 174B Borlaug Hall and 7 Crops Research. Label, date and inventory your items.

General storage is available in several locations. See advisor if you need storage space. Do not use greenhouse rooms, hallways, or other common areas for this purpose.

Autoclaves and instructions for their use are in 290 Borlaug. Access must be obtained by bringing UCard to the main office.

Larger quantities of soil or plant material can be dried, stored, cleaned, ground or otherwise prepared for analysis in the Crop Service building. Containers have been provided for disposal of plant and soil material; do not dispose of them in the dumpster. Please see Andrew Scobbie for assistance (612-625-2712).

Equipment Maintenance and Fabrication

There is a wood shop available for use in the Seedhouse, while the equipment is older and limited it is in good working condition and available at no charge.

There is a mechanical shop at 1866 Dudley Ave, it is operated by Ag. Services, the phone number is 612-625-7817. Vehicle and equipment maintenance and service is available for a fee, see the web site for details


We will do whatever we can to provide you with a safe work environment but this is only possible if you practice safe work habits. Safety should be practiced when operating a motor vehicle, working in extremely hot or dusty environments, fields recently treated with pesticides, as well as the more obvious laboratory situations. Project leaders and supervisors are responsible for the safety and well being of their employees, and are required to instruct you in safe procedures for working in your work place. Safety training is required of all employees and includes both video and in person training, depending on the employee's work environment. To document this training, please use the CFANS "Worker Training Requirement Checklist". Training should be updated as the work environment of the employee changes, noting these changes on the checklist. Annual refresher training is also helpful and should be documented as well. Finally, while the supervisor has responsibility to provide training, employees must also be aware of hazards in their work environment, ask questions as needed and obtain safety related guidance whenever the work situation calls for it.

For minor cuts and scrapes, there is a supply of bandages, gauze, antiseptic etc. in the Soil, Water, and Climate main office, 439 Borlaug Hall, as well as a very well stocked first aid cabinet located in room 412 Borlaug Hall, that we share with Agronomy & Plant Genetics.

Bring any safety concerns you may have to a member of the safety committee:

Andrew Scobbie, UM Research Safety Officer, 612-625-2712
Mike Dolan, USDA Safety Officer 612-625-2747
Keith Piotrowski, 612-625-3717
Mike Sadowsky, 612-624-2706


For your convenience the department has available 2 mini-vans and one 15-passenger van for general checkout. The mileage charge (as of 9/13) is $0.76/mile for the mini-vans. The vehicle checkout book is located in the mailroom, 435 Borlaug Hall, keys for the mini-vans are there also.

All traffic offense fines and penalties are the personal obligation of the driver. Fines for traffic or parking violations are not reimbursable University expenses.
Authorized drivers must comply with all requirements of the University's Vehicle Loss Control Program and must follow the rules in the Appendices section of this policy. The University of Minnesota vehicle use policy can be viewed at the following URL:

Vehicles can be rented on a daily/weekly/monthly time period from Fleet Services, The service is very convenient and parking is available at no cost. Hours are M-F 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday 7:00 a.m. to noon. After hours drop-off is available. Charges for a mini-van are currently $38/day and $0.23/mile. If you are traveling more than 170 miles it is cheaper to rent from Fleet Services than to use the departmental van. If you can use a mid-size sedan it is cheaper if you traveling over 105 miles and half the cost at 350 miles.

Fuel is available on campus 24/7, if you are below half a tank, fill it up, it is only courteous to do so. The pump is at the Ag Services building directly east of Crops Service. Use the fuel "computer chip key" attached to each car's key ring.

Keys should be dropped off in the mailroom immediately after you are finished with the vehicle, do not wait until the next morning.

Please inform Andy of any concerns or problems as they arise, a note in the vehicle checkout book is a nice gesture for the next user but will likely not solve the problem.

To reiterate, to operate a university vehicle you must:
- possess a valid U.S. driver's license, and be at least 19 years of age.
- return the vehicles as soon as possible.
- return the vehicles clean and full of fuel.
Accidents must be reported immediately and forms filled out within 24 hours. Forms are available on fleet services website.
- report any problems to Field Crew Office, 262 Borlaug Hall, p) 5-2712.


In conclusion, our Department has some excellent research facilities available for you. Please use them fully, but don't abuse them. If we all treat these facilities with care, they will be available in good order the next time you want to use them.

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