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Checking in with Dean Forbes -- September 2021

While the resurgence of COVID cases means we must remain cautious, it’s wonderful to be back on campus. The start of a new semester is always a time of high energy and some anxiety, particularly for students new to campus and college life. Not only are we welcoming our largest incoming class to date, but many students who started last fall will attend classes and labs on campus for the first time in person this fall as well. Please make them feel welcome (and stop to give directions when you see confused expressions!). 

A new guild 
As the size of our incoming classes keeps increasing, we must adapt in ways big and small. This year, we introduced a new guild named after CBS alumna Dr. Pearl Bergad. For those unfamiliar with our guilds, they are an important foundation of the Nature of Life program. Most years, students start their undergraduate journey at Itasca. We launched the guilds to ensure students have a cohort of about 90 fellow students to continue building connections once back on campus. Dr. Bergad was nominated by the CBS community and chosen based on a vote by incoming students as the namesake of our eighth guild. You can read more about the guilds and Dr. Bergad here.

Diversity, equity and inclusion update
This semester, we’ll continue to move forward with implementing the recommendations of our anti-racism working group. You’ll hear more about this work in coming weeks, and there will be opportunities to get involved. We’ve discovered that there is already a lot of work going on at different levels in the College, and one of our goals is to raise the visibility of these efforts and communicate more regularly about ongoing initiatives. 

Opportunities to engage this fall
We decided to postpone our annual recognition dinner and the long-awaited grand opening of the CBS Conservatory & Botanical Collection based on University guidance. However, opportunities to engage remain, including our Petri Dish conversation series, with discussions about urban nature and the origin of life. We will also host a special panel discussion with biotechnology leaders about the future of the bioeconomy. Please mark your calendars and join us online later this fall!

Scicomm success story
In other news, kudos to Judee Sharon and Abbey Robinson, editors of the new BioLine blog and newsletter, which landed in inboxes in August. Judee and Abbey are both graduate students in the Adamala lab. They worked with CBS staff to launch a blog and newsletter about CBS research written by CBS community members interested in science communication. It’s worth checking out. Those interested in contributing can start by signing up for the upcoming BioLine Bootcamp. Keep up the great work!

September, 2021