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Provost schedules listening session

Dear CBS Faculty and Staff:

Thank you again for contributing over these past few months to a thoughtful and productive discussion of questions about the alignment of CBS and CFANS.  As I communicated earlier this month, I have accepted the recommendation of the CFANS-CBS advisory task force not to proceed with an administrative reorganization of the colleges; still, this remains a crucial transitional time for both CFANS and CBS.  The task force made a number of excellent suggestions about how we might build on the colleges’ existing strengths and enhance productive collaborations, and we should explore these suggestions.

Even as we do that, however, we must identify interim leadership for CBS and launch a national search for a new dean. On the first task:  I invite you to send me suggestions and nominations for the interim deanship. It would be helpful if you could include a brief statement of the nominee’s qualifications.  Previous experience in academic administration (e.g., as associate dean, department head, director, etc.) is normally expected. The interim dean must be a tenured full professor.

I also invite you to join me at a college-wide CBS listening session on Friday, February 28, 9:30-10:30 a.m. in Room 105 Cargill. That will be the first of a number of listening sessions designed to seek your views about the search and the college’s direction and goals.  I hope to see and hear from as many of you as possible.

The national search for a new dean will be launched in March.  We plan to recruit outstanding candidates throughout the spring and summer, with the expectation that we will have campus interviews of finalists next fall.  My goal is to have a new dean hired by January 2015. 

I welcome your nominations of faculty, staff, and students to serve as members of the search committee.  It would be most helpful if you send nominations—for both the interim deanship and for members of the search committee—by March 7.  I also invite you to share your thoughts about the position and the direction of the college.  Please write to

As we proceed with these tasks, we must all extend deep appreciation to Dean Elde for his extraordinary service to the college and our University over his 36-year career. As I noted in a message to the college last fall, Bob is a visionary leader and scientist who has ably steered the college at a time of dramatic change in biosciences and technology. He has led innovative reform in biological sciences research and education, implemented initiatives that enhanced the undergraduate experience, and built strong relationships to advance human health, the environment, and agriculture in Minnesota and beyond.

His leadership has been truly exemplary—generous and wise, energetic and committed, marked by innumerable successes and achievements.  He will be leaving a strong foundation on which to continue to build excellence in the University's biological sciences.

I look forward to continuing to work with all of you.


Karen Hanson
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost