You are here

Checking in with Dean Forbes -- November 2021

This is a busy time of year for all. There’s so much happening and even more on the horizon. While we continue to navigate this pandemic, it has been wonderful to see students around campus, reconnect with colleagues, hear classes in session and glimpse labs in progress. The energy and activity on campus is most welcome and extends to a number of collegiate initiatives detailed below.

Making progress on DEIJ priorities
Members of the CBS Diversity Community of Practice (DCoP) and DEIJ Action Teams began meeting in late October. Both groups are made up of faculty, staff and graduate students. The CBS DCoP was launched to help facilitate information sharing across units within CBS. The action teams are tasked with working on specific priorities outlined in the report submitted by our collegiate committee last spring. You can see an overview of the structure of our DEIJ efforts and some additional details about the work of the action teams here.

There’s great work happening throughout the College and especially in our departments. To give just a few examples, Biology Teaching and Learning developed a guide to incorporating DEIJ language into syllabi. Ecology, Evolution and Behavior revised its graduate curriculum to provide a course about DEIJ history and philosophy. The list goes on but your energy and commitment to continue with this essential work impresses and inspires me.

Biotechnology and the bioeconomy
You may have noticed construction underway on Buford Avenue. The future home to an expanded Biotechnology Resource Center will open its doors in 2023. The new building will be an anchor for a biotechnology hub on the St. Paul campus, and a space for industry clients and partners to access biomanufacturing services critical to bringing new bio-based products to market. 

We look to leverage a history of research and innovation in biotechnology to provide opportunities for faculty and students, and help advance the bioeconomy as a whole. We’re doing this in a number of ways including:

  • Membership in BioMADE, which will give our faculty and staff opportunities to apply for funding for proposals related to biomanufacturing. There are several upcoming opportunities to learn about current RFPs.
  • Developing a new Industrial and synthetic biology major to provide undergraduates with training that will give them the skills needed to succeed in the bioeconomy.
  • Expanding workforce development and growing our ties to industry by hiring for several key positions including an Industry Partnership Manager and Education Program Specialist (job ID 344039) to develop curriculum to support our biotechnology education ecosystem.
  • We also partnered with OVPR to host a conversation with UMN and industry experts about the bioeconomy earlier this month. You can view a recording here.

Thank you for all that you do to move our mission forward. 


November, 2021