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CBS News - February 12, 2003

Dean's Comments

CBS Compact plan and impending budget cuts
I would like to thank all of you who attended the recent planning meetings for the CBS Compact. Based on input from faculty and staff, we have outlined FY 2003-04 goals and are developing the Compact, which is due before the end of the week. We are very pleased with Provost Chris Maziar’s encouragement and preliminary recommendations.

Obviously, our ability to realize our goals is closely linked to measures Governor Pawlenty and the Legislature are taking to resolve this year’s $356 million budget shortfall and the projected $4.56 billion deficit for the next biennium. It is somewhat daunting to plan for the future in the current economic and political climate, but it is also important that we don’t allow these challenges to stop us in our tracks. The long-term future for the field of biology is very promising. If we want to be part of that future, we need to continue moving forward in spite of financial challenges.

The first of those challenges is a $489,000 cut for this fiscal year--our share of the University’s $25 million budget reduction. In the past, the College has absorbed cuts and kept departments insulated. We absorbed a $365,000 budget reduction last year. At the College level, we don’t have the reserves to absorb further reductions. Consequently, we have enlisted the help of departments and units within the College. I have given each department head and director an amount to cut, and they are looking at ways to make reductions within their budgets. Our plan for making these cuts is due in President Bruininks’ office on February 17.

Cuts to address the $4.56 billion shortfall for the next biennium will be more challenging. While we don’t yet know what this means for us, University officials are preparing for a reduction of $200 to $300 million. Hypothetically, CBS’ share of this would be about $2 million. The College's base allocation is approximately $20 million and comes from the following revenue sources: state appropriation ($10.5 million), tuition ($7.9 million), state special ($227,000), and indirect cost recovery funds ($1.5 million). Other CBS revenue sources include sponsored funding ($15 million) and private gifts ($1 million). However, since these other sources are restricted in nature all cuts will need to be made against our "base" allocation.

There are lots of variables here. Our tuition revenue is increasing along with enrollment. This will help, but not enough to let us buy our way out of the problem. Another variable is our ability to find creative new ways to generate revenue. Since I mentioned this at the first Compact meeting, leaders of the General Biology Program have proposed a creative plan to bring in an additional $225,000 in tuition by spending $45,000 to hire more TAs.

The budget news isn’t good, but virtually all of our peer institutions are facing similar challenges. President Bruininks has encouraged all of us to look for ways to reduce costs and to turn over every stone to find ways to save money. The University will get through these challenging financial times as we have gotten through tough times in the past. I urge everyone in the College to look for ways to reduce costs and/or maximize efficiencies and to send your recommendations directly to me.

Please join me in approaching this difficult time with a positive and creative spirit. I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

Bob Elde

News

What’s so great about the U?
As a University employee and Minnesota citizen, you probably know lots of good answers to this question. So what are you waiting for? Write them down and send them off to the Governor and your legislators. With the projected $4.56 billion deficit for the next two years, resources are scarcer than ever. Every special interest group is making its case at the capitol. As legislators make difficult choices, they need to hear from you that state funding is essential to keep the U strong. Please share your views as a taxpayer as well as a member of the University community. Legislators pay attention to letters from constituents. You can make a difference.

Governor Pawlenty will present his proposed budget on Tuesday, February 18. Send him a message now asking him to keep cuts to the U’s base funding to a minimum and to allow the U to be flexible in making cuts.

  • How to find your legislator and members of key decision-making committees
  • Key points to make in your letter or if you visit your legislator
  • A sample letter from a U of M alumnus
  • CBS fact sheet: why it’s important to invest in biology plus facts and figures about CBS contributions to the state.

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Over the past year the Dean's Office has made several changes in the content, format, and distribution of CBS News to improve its value to you. The newsletter, formerly printed on yellow paper, is now published online in a new graphic format with color photographs. Content has been shortened and organized into categories to make it easier to read. Now we'd like to know what you think. Have our efforts been successful? Are there other changes you would like us to make? Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey. We look forward to hearing back from you.

Bill Gray, plant biology, gets $1 million NIH grant
Bill Gray, assistant professor of plant biology, has been awarded a $1.04 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Gray will use the funding to improve understanding of how the plant hormone auxin regulates growth and development in plants. This has potential benefits for agriculture and horticulture and could lead to improved understanding of similar regulatory mechanisms in animals, including humans.

EEB alumnus Douglas DeMaster to receive UM award
Douglas DeMaster, director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, will receive a UM Outstanding Achievement Award on Thursday, March 6 at 4 p.m. in 155 Earle Brown Center. Following the presentation, he will give a lecture titled “The Life of A Wildlife Biologist in a Federal Regulatory Agency.” DeMaster is being recognized for his leadership in resolving important conservation issues and for his scientific achievements as a marine mammal biologist.

Have you made a contribution to Campaign Minnesota yet? If not, there’s still time for you to be part of this historic fundraising effort. Making a gift is easy. Just go to
Campaign Minnesota ends on June 30, 2003 www.foundation.umn.edu/frameset_5.html. You can designate a gift to a CBS program, department, or specific fund, such as scholarships or fellowships. As of December 2002, 9,000 faculty and staff had made contributions. If you make your contribution by April 1, you’ll receive an invitation to the U’s faculty/staff thank-you party on April 22. For information about different kinds of giving opportunities, such as gifts of stock and bequests, contact Janene Connelly, connelly@cbs.umn.edu, or Paul Germscheid,pgermsch@cbs.umn.edu, for more information. As the U’s state support decreases, private gifts are more important than ever. Any amount you can give will help.

Bruininks inauguration
Robert Bruininks will be inaugurated as the University of Minnesota’s 15th president at
1 p.m. Friday, February 28, in Northrop Auditorium. Governor Tim Pawlenty and Regent Maureen Reed will present Bruininks with the symbols of University leadership: the mace and the medallion. The inauguration coincides with Founders Week, a celebration that marks the founding of the University 152 years ago.

People

Sheldon Reed, retired professor of genetics and former head of the Dight Institute for Human Genetics, passed away earlier this month at the age of 92. Reed, who came to the University in 1948, is recognized as the founder of genetic counseling. He stayed active well after his retirement. At age 70 he learned to speak Hmong and helped many refugees learn English and settle in the U.S.

A. Orville Dahl, chairman of the Botany Department from 1947-57, passed away last month at the age of 92. He studied pollen and taught cytology courses.

Alice Gortner Johnson, daughter of Ross Gortner, passed away on February 9, 2002 at the age of 84. Ross Gortner was chairman of the Department of Agricultural Chemistry from 1917 to 1942. Gortner Laboratories on the St. Paul Campus, built in 1967, was named in his honor. Alice Gortner Johnson graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Minnesota in 1939, and was a longtime friend of CBS. She is survived by children Sarah Sawyer, Linda Siqveland, and Ross Johnson and by six grandchildren.

Lihsia Chen, assistant professor of genetics, cell biology, and development, received a Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award of $150,000 from the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation for her work entitled “Genetic Analysis of L1CAM and its Role in the Doublecortin Pathway in C. elegans."

Events & Seminars

February 13
“Genetic Analysis of Susceptibility to Infectious Disease”
William Dietrich, Harvard Medical School
12 noon, 2-101, BSBE
Sponsored by GCD. Contact David Kirkpatrick, 624-9244

February 20
“Genetics of Ocular Patterning Defects: Coloboma/Microphthalmia”
Lisa A. Schimmenti, Pediatrics and Ophthalmology
12 noon, 2-101, BSBE
Sponsored by GCD. Contact Susan Berry, 624-7144

February 28
CBS Career and Internship Fair
11 a.m., McNamara Alumni Center
For more info contact Maggie Kubak, mkubak@cbs.umn.edu.

March 5
4th Goldberg Lecture in Signal Transduction and Metabolism
“The Malonyl-CoA Hypothesis and the Regulation of Energy Metabolism”
M. Daniel Lane, Johns Hopkins University
4-5 p.m., 2-137 Jackson Hall
Sponsored by Minnesota Obesity Center, BMBB

Contact: CBS Alumni Relations,
4 p.m., 155 Earle Brown Center
Presentation of Outstanding Achievement Award to Douglas DeMaster,
Ph.D. '78 EEB, Director of Alaska Fisheries Science Center.
Lecture "Impossible Problems, Improbable Solutions: The Life of a Wildlife Biologist in a Federal Regulatory Agency" to follow.

March 6
denz0018@umn.edu