SMB continues to thrive. We began the 2012-13 academic year with our annual retreat held at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho. I am pleased to report that over 130 faculty and students participated. Basically, the retreat was divided into two parts; science presentations from faculty representing SMB and IPN (Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience [formerly the Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology and Physiology (VCAPP)]) and workshops that focused on professional development. The eight science presentations were split equally between SMB and IPN faculty. Dr. Pat Hunt also presented on effective tools for communicating science with media and general audiences. The first workshop focused on techniques for resolving tricky lab dynamics and included the entire audience with the intent of improving communication skills between faculty and trainees, within and across peer groups. The second workshop divided faculty and trainees into separate groups. The faculty developed strategies for providing more effective peer mentorship. The trainees learned skills for enhancing their effectiveness in presenting themselves during professional interviews. The retreat concluded with a working lunch where I, as Director of SMB, outlined the progress and direction of our five year strategic plan.
The awards dinner, has become a hallmark of our annual retreat. We have found over the last 10 years that the awards banquet builds camaraderie, celebrates excellence, and creates a strong sense of group ownership. Individual awards for research, teaching, and service were presented to one faculty and one trainee in each of the three categories. Additional individual awards were presented for staff excellence, outstanding research assistant, and excellence in postdoctoral research. Recipients received a crystal plaque and a written testimonial. The graduate students acted out skits and two of our talented faculty provided musical entertainment.
Indeed, the 2012-13 academic year is finishing on a high note as numerous faculty have been recognized for their accomplishments. Two of our clinical faculty, Julie Stanton and Consetta Helmick were recognized by the WSU Access Center for providing exemplary support and service to students with disabilities. Phil Mixter, another clinical faculty member won the WSU Student Advising Award. Phil Mixter, Julie Stanton, and Sue Wang were also awarded Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching Learning grants that help support their educational research projects. Bill Davis, who last year became associate dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Mary Sanchez-Lanier, associate dean of the WSU University College and Clinical Faculty member in SMB, were both independently nominated for the 2013 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award for their work in promoting human rights and social justice. Finally, Mike Griswold, former dean of the College of Science and former director of SMB will receive the Carl G. Hartmann Award at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproductive Biology this summer. This is the society’s highest award that recognizes a notable career of research and scholarly activities in the field of reproductive biology.
It is also important to note that Nancy Magnuson stepped up help WSU by agreeing to serve as the Interim Vice-President of Research and Dean of the Graduate School in 2012-13. Although a new dean of the Graduate School has been named, Nancy has agreed to continue to serve as the Interim Vice-President for Research during the 2013-14 academic year. Kudos to Nancy!
In addition to the awards noted above, two of our young faculty, Jennifer Watts and Cynthia Haseltine, were awarded tenure and promoted to associate professors. We expect that you will hear much more about Jenny and Cynthia as they will undoubtedly play leading roles moving SMB forward.
That’s my story for highlights of 2012-13 and I’m sticking to it!
John Nilson, Ph.D.
Director of the School of Molecular Biosciences