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Checking in With Dean Forbes - September 2019

Welcome back to campus! Summer provides some much-needed breathing room to reflect on accomplishments and make plans for the coming year. I hope your summer provided ample opportunity for both activities. 

For some of us, summer also means teaching at Nature of Life. I spent three sessions at Itasca and greatly enjoyed interacting with faculty and incoming students. NOL continues to be a tremendous community-building experience for all involved. As we welcome our largest incoming class to date, it’s more important than ever to maintain that sense of community. Thank you to the staff at Itasca Biological Station and the Nature of Life program for making it possible.

Active Learning Lab launches
Fall is an exciting time on campus and this fall in particular because we will open the doors to our Active Learning Lab on the third floor of the Biological Sciences Center building. It’s the first space of its kind here on campus and, as with active-learning classrooms, sure to become a model for other institutions. I hope you will all join me at the open house and ribbon cutting at 3 p.m. this Friday, September 6. You can also watch a brief video about the new space here.

A greater focus on sustainability
Taking inspiration from our students, I believe we can do much more as a college to reduce waste and resource consumption. One way we can do this is by making CBS-sponsored events more sustainable. I encourage anyone tasked with organizing events to reference this zero waste event guide provided by the University as a starting point and welcome other ideas for how the College can do more to support sustainability on campus. 

Committed to maintaining community standards 
As you move through CBS spaces in coming weeks you’ll notice posters outlining our community standards. Our goal in posting these is to provide a tangible reference point for all and ensure we are doing everything we can to create a safe and welcoming work environment for everyone. The posters outline expectations and offer guidance on reporting misconduct should it occur. Please take a moment to read through the content and become familiar with reporting options. You can review the poster here

Progress on strategic priorities 
This fall, we also continue to work toward advancing the strategic priorities outlined in our FY20 Compact. Those priorities include:

  • Increasing financial and logistical support for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers.
  • Catalyzing research through recruitment, retention and recognition of field-shaping faculty.
  • Continuing to grow our undergraduate enrollments while maintaining excellence of our programs. 
  • Increasing diversity at all levels.
  • Building and enhancing research collaborations across the College of Biological Sciences sub-disciplines and between CBS and other public and private partners. 
  • Expanding our outreach and community engagement efforts.
  • Making progress toward our CBS campaign goals. 

We’ve already made significant progress in many areas and continue to focus attention and effort on these key areas. I value the contributions made by faculty and staff across the College to help realize these ambitious goals. None of them are possible to achieve without the hard work and dedication of many, many people. Thank you.


September, 2019