University of Minnesota


Provost's Advisory Task Force

on the potential creation of a new college
devoted to agriculture, natural resources, environmental and life sciences.

Charge to Advisory Task Force

September 20, 2013

To: Gary Muehlbauer, Task Force Co-Chair; Distinguished McKnight Professor and Head, Plant Biology; Professor, Agronomy and Plant Genetics
Michael Sadowsky, Task Force Co-Chair; Professor, Soil, Water, and Climate and Director, BioTechnology Institute
David Bernlohr, Distinguished McKnight Professor and Head, Cargill Chair in Systems Biology of Human Metabolism; Professor, College of Biological Sciences
Gregory Cuomo, Professor and Division Head, Research and Outreach Centers
Emily Hoover, Professor and Department Head, Horticultural Science
Mindy Kurzer, Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition; Director, Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute
Scott Lanyon, Professor and Department Head, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
Kristen Nelson, Professor and H.T. Morse Distinguished Faculty, Department of Forest Resources, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology
Seth Naeve, Associate Professor and Extension Agronomist, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
Philip Pardey, Professor, Department of Applied Economics and Director, International Science and Technology Practice and Policy Center
Daniel Voytas, Professor and Director, Center for Genome Engineering, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development
Susan Weller, Director, Bell Museum of Natural History; Professor, Department of Entomology
Michael E. White, Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor and Head, Department of Animal Science
Rylee Ahnen, Undergraduate Student, CFANS
John Berini, Ph.D. Student, Conservation Biology
Salli Dymond, Ph.D. Candidate, Natural Resources Science and Management
Ron Kulhanek, Undergraduate Student, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior major/ Environmental Science, Policy & Management minor
Carl Stenoien, Graduate Student, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior; CFANS advisor
Ambuj Upadhyay, Graduate Student, Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics graduate program

FROM: Karen Hanson, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

RE: Advisory Task Force

Thank you for your willingness to serve on the Provost’s Advisory Task Force to examine the potential creation of a new college devoted to agriculture, natural resources and environmental and life sciences that would integrate faculty and staff principally from the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and the College of Biological Sciences (CBS).

While the leadership transitions in CBS and CFANS make this discussion timely, it is crucial to underscore that consideration of such a college is driven principally by the direction of the life sciences and by trends in research and higher education in agriculture, biological and natural resource sciences. CFANS and CBS reflect these trends. The two colleges are notable for their intersecting interests and close faculty/staff collaborations, and both include applied and basic research geneticists, biochemists, plant scientists, and ecologists whose research, teaching, and outreach often dovetail.

I ask the task force to examine, from varied perspectives and with no foregone conclusions, the idea of a new college and to lead a vigorous process of consultation with internal and external stakeholders over the next few months. The task force’s examination should include careful consideration of whether consolidating existing strengths will advance the excellence of our research and teaching; benefit students; enhance our partnerships with agriculture and other key stakeholders; and strengthen opportunities to help address critical challenges in agriculture, biology, environmental and natural resource sciences, and medicine. I will attend the first meeting of the Task Force to provide an opportunity for us to discuss the charge in more detail and to answer any questions you may have.

I am especially grateful to Professors Gary Muehlbauer and Michael Sadowsky, who have agreed to co-chair the task force. I am asking them to deliver to me by or before the start of the spring semester an executive summary and report, to include a summary of benefits, potential concerns, and advisory recommendations for my consideration in making a final decision.

I will meet with Gary and Michael prior to the first task force meeting to develop a more detailed charge for our upcoming discussion.

Thank you for your participation in this important review and planning effort.

cc: President Eric Kaler
Brian Buhr, Interim Dean, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Robert Elde, Dean, College of Biological Sciences
Allen Levine, Liaison for Special Initiatives, Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost
Deb Cran, Chief of Staff, Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost

Thank you for your participation
in this important review and planning effort.

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