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Checking in With Dean Forbes -Summer 2019

We just wrapped up the last session of Nature of Life at Itasca, which means the new semester isn’t far off. The end of NOL brings with it the departure of Abby Connover, longtime coordinator of our Nature of Life program both at Itasca and back on campus, as well as leader of the CBS Guilds. Everyone who knows Abby understands what an incredible contribution she has made in this role, and we are grateful for her service to the College. We also welcome Frances Wood, who will pick up where Abby leaves off providing our incoming students with a strong start and a sense of community that will sustain them throughout their CBS journey.

Before we turn our attention back to lesson plans and lab meetings, I hope you’ll make plans to participate in what is becoming an annual tradition. Later this month, the College will be back at the fairgrounds for the Minnesota State Fair. We will once again highlight our field stations, Conservatory and outreach programs at our booth in the Crossroads Building. In addition, a number of CBS faculty will take the opportunity to engage the public in research in the Driven to Discover Building. You can see a full schedule here.

The fair isn’t the only thing to look forward to as the summer winds down. This fall, the much-anticipated Active Learning Lab on the third floor of BioSci opens it doors. Designed to extend the active learning principles we employ in active learning classrooms to the lab, the new space promises to make a reality our aspiration to provide authentic student-driven research experiences to all of our students. I hope you will join us for an open house and ribbon cutting to celebrate the launch of this new era for undergraduate research in the College September 6. You’ll find the details here.

The Active Learning Lab is one of a number of fundraising priorities laid out in the Campaign for the College of Biological Sciences. While we still need to raise funds to cover our costs for the lab and other projects, we ended FY19 on a high note. We raised a record-breaking $5.4 million, bringing us quite close to achieving our $21 million goal well ahead of schedule. 

As a College and an institution we have many reasons for optimism including a significant bump in the University’s ranking in Nature’s 2019 index. The quality and impact of the research produced in this College and across the University is truly impressive and will, no doubt, continue on this positive trajectory in years to come.

I hope you’ll all enjoy the warm days while you can. See you in September!

July, 2019