What are you most excited about at the moment?
I'm excited about our new Cellular and Organismal Physiology major. The University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved the new major in February at its most recent meeting. The major will cover the physiology of all major organism groups — microbes, plants, animals, humans — and include the evolutionary underpinnings of organismal physiology. More information is coming, but the new major is going to be available to our undergraduates beginning this fall.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming weeks?
I’m looking forward to our next Petri Dish — Your Brain on Science — coming up tomorrow. Our panel, which includes GCD faculty member Daniel Schmidt, will be talking about scientific advances in the science driving the development of neurotechnologies and how they are translated to a clinical setting. Hope you can make it! We also have one more Petri Dish (April 11) as well as Golden Pipettes (April 4), SciSpark 2018 (April 25), our annual event celebrating women in science, and our inaugural alumni event for CBS alums in the New York City area (April 10)!
What do you want to make sure the CBS community knows right now?
Together with the CBS department heads and Faculty Consultative Committee we are following up on the results of the most recent Employee Engagement Survey. Faculty and staff in each department will have an opportunity to discuss key results from the survey, as they apply to their unit, and decide on a few high-priority initiatives to undertake in response. Toward the end of the semester, I will ask departments to report back on what actions have been taken or are planned, and I will share this feedback with the broader CBS community. It’s absolutely critical that we honor the time and thought that members of our community put into completing the survey and providing input by using that feedback to improve our shared work environment. I believe this process will achieve that goal.
Anything else on your mind?
The Center for Precision Plant Genomics recently celebrated its official launch. The new center, led by Dan Voytas, brings together some incredibly talented scientists to advance work in this critical area. Expect to hear about exciting new developments in the months and years to come! Also, Associate Dean John Ward, Assistant Dean Nikki Letawsky Shultz and I participated in a Town Hall meeting organized by the CBS Student Board February 27. The turnout was above expectation, and the conversations were very enlightening and constructive. Kudos to the Student Board and to all the participants for your leadership and engagement.