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Checking in With Dean Forbes -- February 2019

Welcome back! As we embark on spring semester I want to share a few updates with you. We’re in the thick of student recruitment season both at the undergraduate and graduate level. Prospective students are coming to campus to learn more about what we have to offer that is distinct from other institutions. The high caliber of research that happens here -- and by extension the research opportunities available to them -- is at the top of the list.

Record funding for research
The University of Minnesota as a whole saw record levels of externally sponsored research funding last year according to the Office of the Vice President for Research’s  2018 Annual Report on Research and Technology Commercialization. As we prepare the 2018 annual report, it’s clear that the College has an incredibly robust research ecosystem in terms of the breadth of research activity, production of high-profile publications, indirect cost recovery (ICR), and research expenditures. We are among the most productive colleges at the University by all of these measures.

Expanding our undergraduate offerings
We just launched a new undergraduate minor in computational biology. As our ability to generate large amounts of biological data at every scale continues to expand, the need to train students in the math and computational skills necessary to analyze this information grows as well. This new minor will offer students an avenue for developing these critical and highly marketable skills.

Building community on campus
We will host our annual SciSpark event highlighting women in science here at the University of Minnesota on April 10 at Coffman Union Theater. The event includes hands-on science activities,  lightning talks by faculty from around the University -- including our own Laurie Parker, Marlene Zuk and Kate Adamala -- followed by a panel discussion about women in STEM. It’s a fun event open to all.

Teaching Task Force follow up
Thanks to everyone who participated in the CBS Teaching Town Hall in early December. We had about 60 faculty from across the College in attendance and an hour and a half of lively discussion. Since that time, feedback from the Town Hall has been collected and discussed in the CBS Leadership Council, the Associate Deans’ Group, with Department Heads, and in the CBS Consultative Committee. A link to the final CBS Faculty Teaching Task Force Report and the teaching policy will be forthcoming.  If anyone has ideas for topics to take up at future CBS Town Halls, please feel free to share these.

Have a great semester and stay warm!

January, 2019