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CBS News - January 2004

Dean's Comments

CBS Compact – priorities and process

As you may know, the Dean’s Office has begun developing the compact for FY 04/05, which is due in the Provost’s Office early next month. CBS compact priorities, announced at the All College Meeting on December 19 are as follows:

Curriculum Reform
The Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment
Funding for Graduate Education
Partnerships with K-12 schools and with business and industry
Enrollment management, including improved diversity and retention

In addition, the compact will reflect the major role we expect to play in President Bruininks’ Initiative for Bioscience and Biotechnology as well as continued support for key academic priorities, such as Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior.

This year for the first time, the University is rolling the capital budgeting process into the compacts. Consequently, our compact will specify needs for new facilities at Cedar Creek and Itasca Biological Station, a new building on the St. Paul campus for renewable energy and materials laboratories, a behavior lab for Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, and an undergraduate teaching lab.

The Compact process for CBS began with the announcement of major priorities at the All-College meeting in December. Last week, we met with EVPP Chris Maziar and members of her staff. On February 3, our draft compact is due in her office. From March through June, the compact will be reviewed by the EVPP staff and will be revised as needed by our office.

The Provost uses compacts to make allocations from the University’s discretionary fund, which is expected to be $9 million for the next fiscal year. Given the scarcity of resources, the compact is a very important tool for us. Resources from this fund are allocated after the University’s annual budget is approved in June. And final compacts are posted on the EVBB website in September.

At this point in time, we are continuing discussions of goals with department heads and have encouraged them to engage faculty and staff in discussions. Your involvement is welcome. If you have suggestions, please submit them to Elizabeth Wroblewski, who is coordinating this effort, at

The University initiated compact planning in 1997 to improve alignment of the University’s goals with goals of colleges and other units. Since that time, biology has made steady progress to the top of the University’s academic priorities. Through our compact, we hope to continue to demonstrate that investing in biology is important for the University and the State.

I will keep you posted as this effort progresses. Please send your comments to Elizabeth Wroblewski.


Bob Elde, Dean
College of Biological Sciences


You’re invited to the 2004 Legislative Briefing
Join President Robert Bruininks and UMAA President Jerry Noyce at McNamara Alumni Center on Thursday, January 22 for an insider's preview and discussion of the University's 2004 capital bonding request. The University is asking the Legislature for $155.7 million for capital improvements – primarily to maintain, preserve, and renew old buildings. Governor Tim Pawlenty has recommended only $76.6 million for the University of Minnesota in his bonding proposal.

This event is an opportunity for alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends to learn about the University's proposed partnership with the state of Minnesota and what you, as an advocate, can do to support the U. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by the program, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. To register, go to, send an email to, or call 625-9174.

Neuhauser named head of EEB
Claudia Neuhauser has been named head of the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, replacing Robert Sterner, who stepped down to devote full time to research. Neuhauser, who has been interim head since September, brings many abilities to her new role, ranging from expertise in applied mathematics to leadership in education. She serves as EEB’s Director of Graduate Studies and last year received the Stanley Dagley-Samuel Kirkwood Undergraduate Education Award for her course and textbook “Calculus for Biology and Medicine.” After earning a Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1990, Neuhauser was on the faculty at the University of Southern California and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She came to the University of Minnesota in 1996 (initially in the School of Mathematics) and joined EEB fulltime in 2001. She has also held a faculty appointment at the University of California, Davis.

Leadership plans for Renewable Energy & the Environment Initiative
Dick Hemmingsen, Interim Director of IREE, and Jennifer Kuzma, Ph.D., Interim Associate Director, will continue in their roles until June 30, 2004. Hemmingsen will divide his time between IREE and Government Relations, where he is Associate Director. Kuzma, who is Associate Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Humphrey Institute, will devote 25 percent time to IREE. A permanent staffing plan and position descriptions for IREE are being developed so that permanent positions can be filled prior to July 1, 2004.

Weisman exhibit explores genomics and art
“Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics,” opens at the Weisman Art Museum on the Minneapolis campus on Saturday, January 31 and continues through March 4. Several CBS faculty members have been involved in planning for the exhibit and related activities. Rick Peifer, General Biology Program, provided instruction on genetics for Weisman staff and volunteers and will participate in the opening. Mark Decker, also in the General Biology Program, developed a kiosk computer program to introduce museum visitors to the basic biology behind the art. Philip Regal, professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior, will lead a series of concurrent discussions. Titled “Art, Genes, and the Future: The Artistic Challenge in the Age of Biology,” the class will meet Tuesdays, 6 to 9 p.m., from February 3 through March 31 in the Weisman Family Seminar Room. To register, contact Compleat Scholar at 612-625-7777.

Environmental Career and Internship Fair
The Environmental Career and Internship Fair will take place February 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the North Star Ballroom of the St. Paul Student Center. CBS is co-sponsoring this event with CNR and COAFES.

Annual Winery/Brewery Tour
Join CBS Alumni for the Third Annual Winery/Brewery tour on Saturday, February 21. This year we will tour Summit Brewery in St. Paul, learn about the science of beer brewing, and enjoy some samples. But first we’ll meet at Famous Dave’s on 7th Street in St. Paul for appetizers and networking, Cost is $10 per person, which includes the appetizers and the tour. All proceeds will support CBS freshman scholarships. Space is limited to 50 people, so register today or contact CBS Alumni Relations at 612-624-4770 or Map and directions will be provided with confirmation of reservations.

Event details:
Saturday, February 21;
12:00 - 12:45 p.m. Networking at Famous Dave's
1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Tour of Summit Brewery

CBS Life Science Career and Internship Fair
The annual CBS Life Science Career and Internship Fair will take place on Friday, February 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at McNamara Alumni Center. Please encourage colleagues and alums to join us. Because of environmental and health career fairs, emphasis of this fair will be on biotechnology employers.

Biology Colloquium
During the University’s recent Month of Kindness, Biology Colloquium students sponsored an Ice Cream and Apple Cider Social and collected clothing, food, and cash for charitable causes. Thanks to all students, staff, and faculty who participated.

Toys for Tots – Thank you
Juli Pelletier, CBS coordinator for the Toys for Tots drive, thanks everyone who contributed a toy to this year’s effort, which was so successful that a second drop-off box was added after the first one was filled.


Michael Sadowsky, professor of soil, water, and climate and member of the Biotechnology Institute, is co-principal investigator on a three-year, $1,028,514 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to construct and evaluate genome-wide microarrays to examine environmentally regulated gene expression in the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Bradyrhizobium japonicum. This bacterium forms a symbiotic association with soybean plants. David Emerich and Gary Stacey from the University of Missouri-Columbia are also co-PIs.

The second edition of “Genetics: Analysis and Principles,” written by Rob Brooker, professor of genetics, cell biology, and development, was released this month. Publisher is McGraw-Hill.

Sarah Hobbie, assistant professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior, received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This five-year award is the NSF’s most prestigious honor for junior faculty members. It supports activities of teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.

Jacques Finlay, assistant professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior, received a National Science Foundation grant for "Collaborative Research: Food-Chain Length in Streams: Testing the Role of Ecosystem Size, Resource Availability and Disturbance."

Diane Larson and Ruth Shaw received funding from the USDI U.S. Geological Survey for research to determine “Is the exotic, invasive legume yellow sweetclover (Melilotus officinalis) changing ecosystem properties and facilitating invasion through nitrogen enrichment of a low nitrogen system?"

Steve Polasky, Fesler-Lampert Professor of Ecological and Environmental Economics, received a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation on “Disparate Scales of Process and Nearshore Fishery Management.”

Dan MacNulty, an EEB graduate student advised by Professor Craig Packer, received a grant from the Yellowstone Park Foundation to study “The Behavioral Ecology of Wolf Predation: Building a Biological Rationale for Models of Wolf Kill Rates.”

Wade Schulz, a CBS sophomore majoring in genetics, cell biology, and development who is from Edgeley, North Dakota, received the Fall 2003 Student Leader of the Semester award from the Biology Colloquium Program. The award is given each term to the student leader who has gone the extra mile and shown excellent leadership skills.