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CBS News - December 2003

Dean's Comments

Council proposes $117 million for biosciences facilities

For several years, the College of Biological Sciences, MNBIO, and other stakeholders have urged the state to invest in Minnesota’s biosciences industry before we lose the opportunity to create our niche in this rapidly growing field. This year, the state heard us. Governor Pawlenty convened the Biosciences Summit and formed the Biosciences Advisory Council. The legislature helped create the Biosciences Zone and funded the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.

Now, I’m pleased to announce that the Biosciences Advisory Council has recommended a $117 million bonding request to further support the growth of the biosciences industry in Minnesota. Details of the request are below. In addition, the Council has recommended funding for research and new positions at the University of Minnesota.

It’s very satisfying to see that our efforts are paying off, and that many people in high places now recognize the economic and environmental benefits of biosciences industry. I, of course, am pleased because of the opportunities this will provide for our students, faculty, and staff.

This is certainly a positive note on which to end the year. I’d like to thank all of you for all the work you’ve done to help position the College for this new and very promising era. Best wishes to you and your family for happy holidays.


Bob Elde, Dean

Bioscience Council Bonding Request

Projects currently in the Dept. of Finance bonding review process:

  • $40 million for the University of Minnesota/Mayo Clinic – Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Human Genomics building in Rochester.
  • $40 million to assist with funding the infrastructure needs for the Bioscience Zone ($20 million in St. Paul; $12 million, Minneapolis; $8 million, Rochester).  Projects that are recommended, but not in the Dept. of Finance bonding review process:
  • $5 million for University Enterprise Laboratories to assist with building renovations and equipment.
  • $30 million for the U of M – Bio-based Materials and Energy Laboratory on the St. Paul campus.
  • $2 million to fund equipment purchases for the U of M - Biorefining Center.
The council also recommends operational funding and administrative policies to support biosciences industry in Minnesota.


All College Meeting

There was standing room only in 239 Gortner for the All College Meeting in December, which included discussion of learning outcomes proposed by the Curriculum Task Force; UM and CBS budget issues; Compact planning; and Web-based surveys and other forms. Following is a summary for each agenda item.

  • Proposed Learning Outcomes: Michael Simmons, Curriculum Task Force member and professor of genetics, cell biology, and development presented learning outcomes for five key areas, encompassing scientific knowledge and reasoning, information and technology literacy, communication skills, biology's social and cultural context, and preparation for life after college. The group welcomes comments and suggestions at The learning outcomes will create a framework for the next step in the process, which is to review the first two years of the CBS curriculum. Task force members are seeking suggestions from faculty, students, national leaders in biology education, leaders of affiliated colleges and departments at the University of Minnesota, and other stakeholders.
  • CBS Web Forms: Thanks to a new service on the CBS website (called HAWK), faculty and staff are able to create their own Web-based forms for collecting data. The process is relatively simple to master: typically, it takes someone with no experience only an hour or two to create a form and put it online. So far, HAWK forms have been created for surveys, registrations, and problem reporting. If you have questions or would like a tutorial, send an email to or call Jim Smith 625-6208.
  • UM and CBS budget issues: State budget forecasts are holding steady, so the likelihood of a rescission this year is low. However, operating budget planning assumptions require the University to identify $9M in permanent cuts for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2004. Central administration has not yet announced if those cuts will be selective or across the board. The current budget plan calls for investments in the following areas next year: $12M for academic initiatives; $7.2M for student service related initiatives; funding for a 2.5% salary increase and related fringe benefit costs; $3.9M for facility infrastructure, e.g. utilities, debt, leases etc.; $7.2M for data network upgrade, security improvements, etc.; $6.5M for unanticipated needs; and $10.5M for elimination of the University's structural imbalance.
    As a result of a number of factors (increased taxes, insurance, fringe benefits, and graduate student stipends) the College is also facing budget challenges. These factors, coupled with the recent rescissions and reallocations, impact our ability to maintain our investment strategy. While tuition revenues continue to grow, changes in the IMG model have reduced the amount of tuition flowing back to the college. This uncertainty makes it difficult to predict revenues and develop plans for the future.
  • CBS Compact: The Dean’s Office has begun to prepare the CBS Compact for 2004/2005. Priorities are curriculum reform; the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment; funding for graduate education; CBS partnerships with K-12 schools and with business and industry; and enrollment management, including improved diversity and retention. The Provost uses compacts to make allocations from the University’s discretionary fund, which will be approximately $10 to $12 million for the next fiscal year.Dean Elde visits partner K-12 schools in northwest Minnesota

Dean Elde visited schools in Park Rapids, Bagley, Grand Rapids, and Bemidji earlier this month to thank administrators and teachers for their efforts to provide high quality science education to rural students. All of the schools are members of the Science Education Partnership for Greater Minnesota (SEPGM), a collaboration between the University and schools in northwestern Minnesota to recruit and retain science teachers for secondary schools.

“I am very enthused about the quality of the work that this partnership is supporting,” Elde said. “In one second grade classroom at Bagley Elementary School students were learning about how the brain perceives sensory stimulation. This is an example of how the University can help improve the quality of K-12 education in greater Minnesota.”

The partnership, which is funded by a $1.7 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, grew out of concerns that many science teachers are nearing retirement and replacement of teachers in greater Minnesota is especially difficult. Components include an internship program that places University of Minnesota students with mentors in local schools, training programs at Lake Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories, and opportunities for interns and teachers to participate in research and use high tech equipment.

Biosciences top Bruininks academic priorities
Biological sciences figure prominently in the University’s list of academic priorities, which President Bruininks announced in his State of the University address this fall.

  • Biosciences and biotechnology
  • Environment and renewable energy
  • Translational research in human health
  • Healthy foods, healthy lives
  • Brain development and vitality over the lifespan
  • Children, youth, and families
  • Art and humanities
  • Law and values in health, environment, and the life sciences

For more information go to
A Practical NMR Workshop will be held January 13-15, 2004
NMR workshop in January

CBS' annual Life Science Career and Internship Fair will take place Friday, February 27, 2004, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., in the McNamara Alumni Center. Please forward this information to professional contacts who might be interested in participating, remind students of the value of this event, and come meet and greet employers, students, and alumni at the fair.
Life Science Career and Internship Fair

Watch CBS News for details on these initiatives as they develop. The first four will likely form the basis for the University’s programmatic request to the Legislature in 2005.

“While it’s an honor for CBS to figure so prominently on the President’s list of academic priorities, it’s also a responsibility,” Dean Elde says. “The University and the State are depending on us for leadership in areas that are critically important to the future of Minnesota and the planet. Our goal is to make a difference in how the world deals with challenges presented by a growing population and overextended ecosystems. We’ll do our best to meet those challenges.”
or contact Beverly Ostrowski at

McGrath Library update
RefWorks is a Web-based citation management program that is now available to all UM-TC students, staff and faculty through a University Libraries pilot project. For more information, see Hands-on RefWorks classes are also scheduled for November and December. Check times and register at

New "Find It" Service
As you search your favorite index, you may begin to see the new "Find It"
buttons, which will save you steps in locating electronic and print
versions of the journals that you want. More info about Find It may be
found at

Longer Hours at Magrath Library

Magrath Library is now open until 10 p.m. on Sunday-Thursday evenings. Due to budget cuts, it was only open until 8 p.m. in September and October.


Sarah Hobbie and David Tilman, EEB, are co-principal investigators on a four-year $1.8 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant titled “Interacting responses of C and N cycles to altered biodiversity, elevated CO2, and N enrichment.” Peter Reich, Forest Resources, is principal investigator. Hobbie and Jennifer King, EEB, are co-principal investigators on a two-year, $350,000 NSF grant to study “Coupled biogeochemical cycles in urban and agricultural ecosystems: the role of hydrology, stoichiometry, spatial linkages, and human behavior.” Pat Brezonik, civil and mineral engineering, is principal investigator. Both grants are part of the NSF Biocomplexity in the Environment Program on Coupled Biogeochemical Cycles.

Charles Arntzen, founding director of the Arizona Biomedical Institute and holder of the Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Chair in Plant Biology at Arizona State University, received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University at the Cargill Building on December 17. The award was given following Arntzen’s lecture, "Using the Power of Plant Biotechnology to Prevent Infectious Disease: The Science of Plant-derived Vaccines." The lecture was part of the National Academy of Sciences Lecture Series, which is sponsored by the Center for Microbial and Plant Genomics.

Jeffrey J. Esch, Margaret Chen, Mark Sanders, Matthew Hillestad, Sampson Ndkium, Brian Idelkope, James Neizer and M. David Marks recently published “A contradictory GLABRA3 allele helps define gene interactions controlling trichome development in Arabidopsis” in Development 130:5885-5894.