CBS Dean Search

CBS Dean announced

A message from Provost Karen Hanson

Dear Colleagues:

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Valery E. Forbes as dean of the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) at the University of Minnesota, effective July 31, pending approval of the appointment and tenure by the Board of Regents in February.

As dean, Valery will provide strategic leadership and administrative oversight for the college and will work with faculty, staff, and students to advance the college mission and goals. She will also work with other collegiate deans to advance the educational mission of the University and to develop joint educational and research activities. Valery's appointment to the position follows a national search launched late last spring.

Valery is an accomplished academic leader, administrator, and scientist who, since 2011, has been director of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL). Previously, she was founding chair of the Department of Environmental, Social, and Spatial Change at Denmark's Roskilde University, where she was also a professor and dean of natural sciences.

A native of New York, Valery earned a doctorate in coastal oceanography and a master's degree in marine environmental science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She also holds bachelor's degrees in biology and geology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She has published over 100 articles and two books and is on the editorial board of several international journals. She also provides scientific advice to government and industry.

Valery's scholarly work focuses on ecotoxicology and ecological risk assessment, providing a scientific foundation for assessing chemical risks to ecosystems and human health. Her research is at the interface of quantitative ecology and environmental management and involves collaborations with researchers in chemistry, mathematics, computer science, and the social sciences.

At UNL, Valery has been a strategic and effective leader of the School of Biological Sciences. She has worked to advance a framework for interdisciplinary research and teaching--emphasizing stronger ties among the school's biological subdisciplines and expanded collaborations with quantitative fields--with the aims of increasing understanding of biological systems and solving major societal challenges related to food, water, and energy.

She played a key role in implementing a new core curriculum for life sciences majors and in planning and securing support for state-of-the-art teaching labs and other facilities improvements. Among other accomplishments, she oversaw a comprehensive review of academic programs, led a restructuring of the school's graduate program, improved faculty mentoring, and implemented a strategic hiring plan for faculty and student services. All the while, she maintained a high level of scholarly productivity, including serving as principal investigator on two interdisciplinary research grants and as coauthor on numerous peer-reviewed articles in various journals.

At Roskilde University, she led a large department, collegiate in size and scope, that brought together a wide range of disciplines across the natural and social sciences. She took on concurrent responsibilities as dean of natural sciences for three years and served as a member of the Danish Natural Sciences Research Council.

As dean, Valery will build on the outstanding foundation laid by Bob Elde, who retired as dean last June after 19 years, and the excellent work of Tom Hays, who has served as interim dean since June. She will work with the college community to continue the tradition of teaching excellence that has defined CBS as one of the country's pedagogical leaders in the biological sciences and to craft and implement a strategic vision that will further enhance the college and the University. This will include nurturing close partnerships with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; the College of Science and Engineering; and the Medical School, as well as with other colleges and with external stakeholders.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Valery Forbes to the University of Minnesota. Your support and engagement in her leadership transition will be crucial to her success and to the strong collaborations that will carry the college into the future. I offer heartfelt thanks to Professor Tom Hays for vigorous and successful interim leadership of the college; to Trevor Ames and members of the search committee for their hard work and dedication; and to all of the faculty, staff, and students who took time to provide thoughtful and very helpful feedback on the dean candidates.

Sincerely, Karen Hanson
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost


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