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Checking in With Dean Forbes - April 2022

In just under a month, the class of 2022 will walk across the stage at 3M Arena. They will hear from commencement speaker Dr. Mary Kemen and sing along to Hail! Minnesota with John S. Anderson. For the first time in two years, we will be able to send off our soon-to-be graduates as we have done in years past – in person surrounded by their family, friends, advisors and professors. 

Employee Engagement Survey

As the semester rushes toward this joyous conclusion, we continue to focus on the work at hand including reviewing the results of the 2021 Employee Engagement Survey. The University measures engagement by two key metrics: commitment and dedication and effective environment. While faculty rated the College slightly lower than the U average on those key metrics, staff responses were comparable to the University as a whole. 

In general, the majority of faculty and staff gave CBS high marks for providing the opportunity to do challenging, interesting work; demonstrating a commitment to high-impact and high-quality scholarship; encouraging innovation; and setting clear expectations for work deliverables. Areas for improvement include mentoring and coaching to support professional development, equitable distribution of workload and responsiveness to concerns raised by this survey.

Responsiveness is key to building a culture of excellence. With that in mind, I have asked department heads and unit leaders to meet with faculty and staff to discuss unit-specific results in the coming weeks. Departments are tasked with collaboratively developing concrete steps to address concerns raised in the survey.  I look forward to sharing more about the actions being taken throughout the college to strengthen our CBS work environment and community

DEIJ micro grants

I’m also pleased to spotlight the work of our CBS DEIJ Community of Practice (DCoP), which just announced awards for initiatives across the College. The CBS Dean’s Office provided $75,000 in funding to be distributed by the group. CBS DCoP developed a call for proposals, vetted the submissions and awarded the entire amount in a few short months. Kit Leffler and Katie Furniss deserve kudos for going above and beyond to keep the process moving forward. You can read about the initiatives here

SciSpark 2022

Finally, the College is hosting SciSpark in person this spring at the Bell Museum. If you haven’t attended, it’s a fun, inspiring event highlighting a handful of the exceptional women scientists in CBS. This year, SciSpark will feature researchers associated with Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve who will give five-minute lightning talks. There will be activities and food as well. It’s a family-friendly event that never disappoints. Hope to see you there! 


April, 2022