I am at MinneCollege in Scottsdale, Arizona this weekend meeting with alumni and hearing talks by University experts. George Weiblen will be among those presenting. He’s a MinneCollege veteran. Two years ago, George talked about his cannabis research and this year he will give a talk about his research and conservation work in Papua New Guinea where he established the first long-term forest study plot in Oceania, co-founded the New Guinea Binatang Research Center and established a 20,000-acre conservation area!
We are preparing for our annual budget meeting with the University administration. While this may not sound like something to look forward to, it is a great opportunity to pull together all of the College’s accomplishments during the last year and to set our priorities for the year ahead. I’m also looking forward to the official opening of the renovated BioCommons student study space in Moos Tower in February 19.
At the beginning of the year, the University implemented a new, expanded sexual misconduct policy — part of the President's Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct. The new policy describes the University's sexual misconduct response processes and resources. Please take a few minutes to read the policy if you haven’t already. It’s critical that we all understand our responsibilities and work together to maintain the highest standards for ourselves and others on campus. The University will share details about new required training for faculty and staff on how to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct in the coming weeks. It’s an important step in the right direction and I welcome your ideas for advancing these efforts.
Congratulations once again to our award-winning faculty and staff. Ran Blekhman was named a McKnight Land-Grant Professor, and Peter Tiffin and Will Harcombe were the recipients of the John & Abigail Wardle Chair in Microbial Ecology. All are welcome to attend a celebration in Peter and Will’s honor Feb. 20 at 4:30 p.m. at the Cargill Building in St. Paul.