FAC Minutes 03-16-17

College of Natural Science

Faculty Advisory Council

Meeting Minutes

March 16, 2017

Present: S. Balasubramaniam, D. Bello, M. Donahue, F. Downes, J. Kirkpatrick, M. Linabury, D. Liu, D. Long, K. Olson, F. Peterson, C. Sisk, M. Steury, and M. TerAvest


Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the February 9, 2017 meeting were approved as written.


NatSci Student Advisory Council Report

There was no report because no SAC meeting had been held since the last FAC meeting.


University Council/Faculty Senate Committee Report

D. Bello reported that two new programs (Creative Writing and Physiology-Environmental Toxicology, Ph.D.) have been approved. Also, that the proposed patent policy is on the web.


Old Business


Dean Search Committee

D. Bello reported that at the February search committee meeting, members received insights on potential candidates and had an opportunity to give feedback. They also narrowed down the list of potential candidates and requested further information about them. She reminded council members to keep submitting names of potential candidates to the search committee. Decisions about which candidates to invite to the first round of interviews (via teleconference) will be made at their March meeting.


University and College Elections

It was reported that the university and college committee election process was finalized and all candidates would be informed of the outcome the following week. A few units have not provided names of their FAC representatives. F. Peterson will follow up with them.


SIRS Subcommittee

An update about a planned subcommittee meeting was presented by D. Bello. She noted that she would be getting input from those unable to attend. She also extended an invitation to FAC members who would like to attend the meeting and/or join the subcommittee. It has been charged with 1) looking at alternative forms and 2) considering mid-semester feedback.




New Business


STEM Building Update

Dean Kirkpatrick explained that the proposed STEM Education Building would be for teaching labs. It would be constructed near BPS. The university presented a proposal to the State of Michigan asking for one half of the funding. However, it was not put in the governor’s budget request. The university is now trying to find funding through foundations.


He noted that construction of a disciplinary science building has been authorized by the president and the Board of Trustees. It will go up on south campus directly north of the IQ Building (near the Clinical Center). It is purely for research. They are using the design of the new research building being built for the College of Human Medicine in Grand Rapids. Ground breaking is expected summer 2017 with occupancy fall 2019. Discussions have begun regarding who will be placed there. NatSci has proposed that the Neuroscience Program be housed in the building. Another possibility is reproductive biology (CANR/CHM). The ideas is that a new building(s) will free up a lot of lab space throughout the university that can be renovated for teaching space.



M. TerAvest informed council members about a new research opportunity for MSU students—the MSU iGEM Team. She is trying to raise the profile of the program and get other units involved. iGEM (Genetically Engineered Machines) is a synthetic biology competition started by MIT in 2003. Students use the Registry of Standard Biological Parts as a resource. They are encouraged to design a new genetic part to be added to the registry for the next year, thereby building a resource for the whole community. Funded students stay over the summer to do research. Interacting with the team provides a great opportunity for graduate students and postdocs to provide a mentoring experience. They volunteer their time to do training. Goals are: 1) fund 10 stable positions, 2) make the team more attractive/competitive, 3) advance to top tier of teams, and 4) foster intellectual and organizational independence of the team. While it seems like a molecular biology focus, there is a focus on interdisciplinary work. iGEM faculty members would like other faculty members to think about how it could apply to their unit. The slide show presented at the meeting is appended at the end of these minutes. Committee members suggested that M. TerAvest talk to the Development Office regarding alumni funding.



The call for award nominations went out March 10 with a due date of April 15. Nomination packets will be put on a D2L site for council member review. The FAC will choose award recipients at the May 11, 2017 meeting.



Members were encouraged to contact D. Bello or F. Peterson with agenda items.


Next Meeting: April 13, 2017