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MICaB Graduate Program
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MICaB Governance

MICaB Governance

Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).  The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) is a member of the MICaB graduate faculty who serves as the administrative supervisor and coordinator of graduate studies in the MICaB program.  The DGS is responsible for guiding and improving graduate education within the MICaB program and serves as the liaison among the MICaB graduate student body, the MICaB graduate faculty, and the Graduate School administration.  The DGS serves as the MICaB representative on the Graduate School Biological Sciences Policy and Review (P&R) Council.  The DGS is responsible for all aspects of the program, including student-related issues (student recruitment and admission, student progress, nominations for awards, grievances, etc.), faculty-related issues (appointment to the graduate faculty, review of graduate faculty, etc.), and curriculum-related issues (program changes, course changes, program reviews, etc.).  The Graduate School maintains a website for Directors of Graduate Studies at  The DGS serves as the chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies.

Committee on Graduate Studies. The general policies of the MICaB program are established by the faculty.  The Committee on Graduate Studies (CGS) administers these policies, evaluates applications, interviews prospective graduate students, and facilitates the selection process.  The CGS serves both faculty and graduate students in the maintenance of academic standards, without impinging on the advisor/advisee relationship, through periodic reviews of the progress of all graduate students; assignment of examining committees; and the evaluation of graduate examinations.

The CGS consists of nine MICaB faculty [including the Director of Graduate Studies, (DGS)], three representing each track (Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology), as well as the two MICaB student representatives.  As recommended by the Graduate School, participation of the student representatives in CGS meetings is confined to matters of general administrative and educational policy and does not extend to matters that relate to the progress of individual graduate students or to the applications of individual prospective graduate students.

CGS members serve three-year terms. One member from each track is rotated off in July.  The outgoing CGS member seeks nominations for CGS candidates from faculty within the CGS member’s track.  Nominated candidates are asked if they are willing to serve.  If more than one faculty member is nominated and is willing to serve, then an election is held within that track to select the new CGS member.

One of the three CGS members within each track serves as the track representative on the CGS.  This individual advises the DGS on discipline-specific issues.

The CGS meets on a regular basis throughout the year and is chaired by the DGS.

Faculty Admissions Committee.  The Faculty Admissions Committee evaluates applications from faculty members who have applied to become graduate faculty in the MICaB program.  The committee consists of 6 MICaB faculty members (two from each track) and 3 MICaB students (one from each track).  The MICaB faculty committee members are selected by the CGS and the MICaB student committee members are selected by the MICaB students.

The committee votes on each faculty applicant and the chair of the committee informs the DGS of the committee’s decision.  The DGS then notifies the faculty applicant of the outcome.

Student Travel Award Committee.  The Student Travel Award Committee evaluates applications from students for MICaB Travel Awards to support attendance at national and international research conferences.  The committee consists of three MICaB faculty members (one from each track) who are selected by the CGS. 

Career Development Committee.  The mission of the MICaB Career Development Committee is to promote education, opportunity, inclusion and excellence surrounding the exploration of available career paths.  Key elements include promoting open and candid discussions of career path options, providing a realistic modern-day rationale for choosing a given path that considers both the professional and personal needs of each student, and providing mentorship, resources, and guidance that will equip MICaB students with the best tools and mechanisms to success within a given career path choice.

The MICaB Career Development Committee coordinates career development activities within the MICaB program.  The committee consists of 3 MICaB faculty members (one from each track), two MICaB students and one Postdoctoral Associate.  The MICaB faculty members are selected by the CGS.  The MICaB students and Postdoctoral Associate serving on the committee are selected by the chair of the Career Development Committee.

Student Representatives.  Two 4th year MICaB students in good standing in the program serve as student representatives on the CGS.  Student representatives are nominated and elected by MICaB students and serve for one year.  In addition to serving on the CGS, MICaB student representatives coordinate the MICaB Student Seminar series, organize monthly student meetings and social activities, and coordinate recruitment activities during recruiting weekends.


MICaB Graduate Faculty Appointments and Responsibilities

MICaB Faculty Appointments. Faculty in the MICaB program are reappointed every three years provided they have carried out their responsibilities in a satisfactory manner, as determined by an evaluation carried out by the CGS. This evaluation occurs during the last semester in the third year of the DGS’s term. Faculty admitted within the past 3 years do NOT have to apply for reappointment as they are automatically reappointed.

To be reappointed, faculty must show that they have an active research program as demonstrated by the publication of a primary authorship (first or last author) OR a collaborative (co-author) paper in a peer-reviewed journal in the three year period preceding the evaluation; AND they must have had a Ph.D. or Master’s Degree student receive a degree under their tutelage within the 5 year period preceding the evaluation, OR be in the process of training a Ph.D. or Master’s degree student at the time of the evaluation, OR be able to demonstrate significant involvement in the MICaB program by teaching or serving on committees.

New MICaB faculty members are reviewed by the MICaB Faculty Admissions Committee.  Faculty interested in joining the MICaB program are considered for appointment to the program only during the academic year.  At the outset, each applicant is required to identify an advocate from the current MICaB faculty in his/her track of interest.  Applicants are required to submit a C.V. or NIH-style biosketch, a statement of graduate education philosophy, along with a nomination letter from the MICaB faculty advocate.  This information is distributed to the entire MICaB faculty by the MICaB Program Coordinator.  The applicant presents a seminar in either the MICaB Invited Speaker Seminar Series or the MICaB Student Seminar Series.  Following the seminar, the MICaB Faculty Admissions Committee Chair will convene a meeting to solicit discussion of the applicant and to conduct a vote on admission to the program.  For admission to the MICaB Graduate Faculty, a minimum of 2/3 of the ballots cast must be in favor of admission.  The committee informs the DGS of the committee’s decision and the DGS then notifies the faculty applicant of the outcome. 

The faculty applicant must be of the highest quality to mentor and teach students and interact with other MICaB faculty colleagues.  The committee considers the following issues when evaluating faculty applicants:

  • Does the applicant perform top-quality research and does their research fit within the scope of the three MICaB disciplines?
  • Does the applicant have an independent and interesting research program that will attract students? 
  • Does the applicant have the ability to financially support a student for the duration of their training (i.e., external funding, preferably from federal sources such as NIH, NSF)? 
  • If the applicant is a new faculty member and does not yet have external funding (and thus would support a student from start-up funds), does the applicant appear qualified to train students and capable of obtaining external funding in the future? 
  • Is there sufficient evidence of commitment of the applicant to graduate education and service to the program?
  • Does the applicant have the necessary communication skills and ability to teach in MICaB courses?


Responsibilities of MICaB Faculty.  The general responsibilities of the MICaB graduate faculty include:


Specific responsibilities of MICaB faculty advisors of MICaB students include:

  • Helping the student identify a novel and testable hypothesis and providing an experimental system with which to test the hypothesis.
  • Ensuring that adequate funds are available to support the student's stipend and fringe benefits.
  • Providing funds for the purchase of supplies required for the student's thesis research project.
  • Being available to consult with the student on course work, and design and interpretation of experiments.
  • Attending the student's presentations at the MICaB Student Seminar Series and national meetings and providing constructive criticism on these presentations.
  • Critically reviewing the student's thesis.
  • Helping the student make professional connections outside of the University of Minnesota.
  • Helping the student obtain a quality postdoctoral position.