ITEM 114-1008-R0302�� ATTACHMENT����������������������������������������������������������� March 21-22, 2002




1.�� Briefly describe the proposed new program.  Please indicate if it is an expansion of an existing program; a new program; a cooperative effort with another institution, business, or industry; or an on-campus or off-campus program.  Attach any formal agreements established for cooperative efforts.


The University of Montana is in the process of establishing a national prominence for its research and training programs in the pharmacology, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology of the central nervous system.� While these projects all fall within the field of neuroscience, the participating faculty are spread throughout several of the campus� science departments.� The purpose of establishing a new Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience (CSFN) is to create an organized structure that links these faculty and enhances their efforts to develop nationally competitive research and training programs in structural and functional neuroscience.� In addition to faculty at The University of Montana, CSFN participants will also include faculty and researchers from Montana State University (Bozeman) and the McLaughlin Research Institute (Great Falls) (see #4 below).� By sharing a common interest and effort, resources can be more effectively combined to enhance project development, collaborative efforts, extramural funding, research training, instrument acquisition, as well as faculty and graduate student recruitment.� This is particularly true of a field like neuroscience, where research and education are multidisciplinary by nature and typically cross the boundaries of traditional science departments.� Further, neuroscience is also a field in which campus-based �basic research� can foster the collaborative development of clinical and translational research at regional hospitals and thereby benefit both health care and economic development in Montana.

The mission of the CSFN is threefold:

����� To advance our understanding of how the central nervous system functions at the molecular level and to elucidate how these functions are altered in injury and disease: Faculty and students associated with the CSFN will share a common interest in trying to figure out how the cells of the brain function at the molecular level and how changes in these processes may contribute to the types of brain dysfunction that occur in acute brain damage, such as stroke, or chronic neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer�s. Projects within the CSFN will strongly focus on investigating the structure and function of proteins within the central nervous system, particularly as related to signal transduction, transport, development and neurodegeneration.

����� To increase the quantity and quality of biomedical research in Montana: The CSFN will provide an environment that will not only enhance the quality of ongoing research projects, but will meet a critical need in our ability to recruit nationally competitive faculty scientists by increasing: i) the critical mass of faculty associated with the neurosciences, ii) collaborative and mentoring opportunities, and iii) access to high-tech instrumentation.� Further, as the field of neuroscience crosses traditional disciplinary fields, this focus area has the potential to positively impact a wide range of programs and laboratories within the University, including: pharmacology, chemistry, cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology.� These same factors also dramatically enhance our ability to compete for, and secure the programmatic types of funding necessary to increase the University�s research infrastructure.

����� To enhance graduate and undergraduate education in the field of neuroscience: By enhancing those factors that promote competitive research in the neurosciences (e.g., critical mass, new investigational opportunities, cutting-edge instrumentation, extramural funding), the faculty associated with the CSFN will also be able to positively impact the University curriculum by adding expertise and content in the neurosciences..� Further, it is anticipated that CSFN faculty will play a predominant role in the eventual development of a graduate Ph.D. program in the neurosciences that would be jointly established with Montana State University (see letter from Gwen Jacobs, Chair of Cell Biology and Neuroscience).


2.�� Summarize a needs assessment conducted to justify the proposal.  Please include how the assessment plan was developed or executed and the data derived from this effort.


Increasing the strength and competitiveness of biomedical research programs has been shown to be an effective mechanism through which to enhance regional health care, undergraduate and graduate education in the sciences, faculty numbers, university infrastructure and economic development.� The need for this development, particularly in rural states that have not traditionally been recognized for accomplishments in the biomedical arena, is readily exemplified the federal commitment of the National Institutes of Health to establish Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in these undeserved geographic areas.� The design and initial funding for the CSFN is a direct result of The University of Montana�s success in attaining one of the first such COBRE awards in October of 2000.


The choice of neuroscience as the focus of the CSFN was in several respects also need-based.� In particular, an emphasis in molecular neuroscience research was selected because:

i)��� It is a field in which interdisciplinary research at a university without a medical school can make a significant contribution to one of the highest priority health care issues facing our state and nation: understanding and lessening the burden of neurological disease and injury.

ii)��� It builds upon existing faculty strengths at The University of Montana, while at the same time complements related programs within the Montana University System.

iii)�� It is a significant area of need at The University of Montana with respect to graduate and undergraduate training in a nationally-targeted, high-priority field of research and education.

iv)�� It is a field in which campus-based �basic research� can foster the collaborative development of clinical and translational research at regional hospitals and thereby benefit both health care and economic development in Montana.� In this respect, the CSFN will develop a strong partnership with the Montana Neuroscience Institute (see below).


3. � Explain how the program relates to the Role and Scope of the institution as established by the Board of Regents.


The Mission Statement of The University of Montana (November 1999) states that:


�The University of Montana-Missoula dedicates itself and its resources to search for the truth and new knowledge, the responsibility to disseminate knowledge, and the obligation to provide service to the people of the state, nation, and world.� The University strives for excellence in all its endeavors, including creating and sharing new knowledge and serving the public, and seeks to assist the people of Montana to achieve their fullest cultural, professional, and personal potential.�


The CSFN�s objectives in research, teaching, and public outreach mesh nicely with the Mission of The University of Montana, especially in regard to its activities being recognized for excellence at the state, national, and international levels.� The goal of the CSFN is to provide the structure, network and resources that will enhance the research and educational activities of the University.� The faculty associated with the CSFN will hold positions in established departments, such as Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, and Biological Sciences, and will be linked to the Center by virtue of their shared research projects in the neurosciences.� In this respect, the Center will also serve to advance the scholarly missions of the participating academic units.� Strategically, the Center will be able to offer collaborative opportunities, access to instrumentation, mentoring, and programmatic funding that are critical to both attracting and supporting nationally competitive science faculty.� Advantageously, these same factors that enhance research efforts, namely increased critical mass and expertise, will have an equally positive impact on graduate and undergraduate education.� In addition to �hands-on� training in laboratory research, the increased presence of neuroscience faculty on campus will undoubtedly have a curricular impact.� Beyond the campus, the CSFN will represent an� important point of contact for the clinical and translational research being carried out in regional hospitals and biotech companies throughout the State� In particular, the CSFN will be the �basic science� partner of the Montana Neuroscience Institute, a cooperatively venture between the University and St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center to promote research, education, and clinical advances in the treatment of neurological disorders.


4. � Please state what effect, if any, the proposed program will have on the administrative structure of the institution.  Also indicate the potential involvement of other departments, divisions, colleges, or schools.


The CSFN will have little or no effect on the administrative structure of the institution.� The CSFN will be housed in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences within the School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences at The University of Montana.� In this respect, the CSFN Director will report to the Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Dean of the School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences.� While administratively located in this Department, the CSFN will also include researchers holding faculty appointments in the Division of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry at UM, as well as faculty from Montana State University Bozeman, scientists from the McLaughlin Research Institute in Great Falls, and clinicians from the neuroscience units of Montana�s regional hospitals.


5. � Describe the extent to which similar programs are offered in Montana, the Pacific Northwest, and states bordering Montana.  How similar are these programs to the one herein proposed?


Montana: Montana State University houses the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience (DCBN) and the Center for Computational Biology (CCB) within the College of Letters and Sciences.� This department and Center have developed considerable strength in neuroanatomy, CNS development, and signal processing, particularly as studied at the systems level.� In this manner, the �systems� level approach of the CCB and the DCBN at MSU meshes very nicely the molecular focus of the neuroscientists participating in CSFN.� The result is a �win-win� situation, with both groups adding critical mass in complementary areas of expertise and study.� This integrated focus has evolved by design, and highlights the level of interaction between the neuroscience faculty on the two campuses. �The degree of integration is exemplified by Roger Bradley�s (i.e., one of the most recent neuroscientists to join the DCBN at MSU) inclusion as a COBRE-funded CSFN investigator and by Gwen Jacobs� participation on the Center�s Administrative Steering Committee.� A letter of support is included from Dr. Jacobs.


The Montana Neuroscience Institute Foundation (MNIF) was established in 1998 as a collaborative venture between UM and St Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center (Missoula).� Its mission is to promote research, education, and clinical advances in the treatment of neurological disorders in parallel with the programmatic advancements taking place in the molecular neuroscience within the CSFN.� Richard Bridges (CSFN Director) serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute


Idaho: Idaho State University does not have a specific department, center, or institute dedicated toward research in the molecular neurosciences.

University of Idaho does not have a specific department, center, or institute dedicated toward research in the molecular neurosciences.


North Dakota: North Dakota State University does not have a specific department, center, or institute dedicated toward research in the molecular neurosciences.

University of North Dakota does not have a specific department, center, or institute on its main campus dedicated toward research in the molecular neurosciences.� A Department of Neuroscience can be found on the medical school campus is a multidisciplinary department which includes psychiatry-behavioral science, neurology, neurosurgery, neuropharmacology, and neuroradiology.


South Dakota: South Dakota State University does not have a specific department, center, or institute dedicated toward research in the molecular neurosciences.

University of South Dakota does not have a specific department, center, or institute on its main campus dedicated toward research in the molecular neurosciences.� The Division of Basic Biomedical Science within the medical school has developed a neuroscience program with research emphases very different from those of the CSFN.


Utah: Utah State University does not have a specific department, center, or institute on its main campus dedicated toward research in the molecular neurosciences.

University of Utah does not have a specific department, center, or institute on its main campus dedicated toward research in the molecular neurosciences. The University does, however, house a graduate Program in Neuroscience consisting of twelve participating departments and 70 faculty.�� Research emphases have been established in: developmental neuroscience, molecular neuroscience, neurobiology of disease, brain and behavior, and cellular neuroscience.� Although smaller in scale, the CSFN has been similarly designed to enhance multidisciplinary research in the molecular neurosciences.� A Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy can also be found within the School of Medicine.


Washington: �Washington State University:� The Undergraduate Neuroscience Degree Program at Washington State University offers interdisciplinary studies in neuroscience leading to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. This program combines resources of the Departments of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology and Physiology (VCAPP), Basic Medical Sciences, Psychology, Biochemistry, Chemistry and Zoology.� The Department of Comparative and Veterinary Anatomy, Pharmacology and Physiology (VCAPP) also coordinates a graduate program in neuroscience.�


University of Washington is home to a Graduate Program in Neurobiology and Behavior, while� the School of Medicine houses departments in Neurology and Neurosurgery.� The University, in conjunction with the medical school have also developed several very successful neuroscience centers, including: The University of Washington Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Center for Mind, Brain & Learning, and The Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center.


While there are certainly overlapping goals and areas interests with the programs at WSU and UW, the proposed CSFN remains distinct with respect to its make-up and research focus.� Indeed, we are developing the CSFN for the same reason that WSU and UW have developed their centers.


6.�� Please name any accrediting agency(ies) or learned society(ies) that would be concerned with the particular program herein proposed.  How has this program been developed in accordance with the criteria developed by said accrediting body(ies) or learned society(ies)?


The CSFN is being established with funding provided primarily through a five year award made by the National Institutes of Health�s (NIH) Idea Program to develop Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence in eligible states.� As such, the design and research goals of the CSFN were not only peer-reviewed prior to funding, but the progress of the CSFN will also be annually reviewed by the NIH.


7.�� Prepare an outline of the proposed curriculum showing course titles and credits.  Please include any plans for expansion of the program during its first three years.


The CSFN does not include a curricular component.� It should be noted, however, that it is very likely that faculty associated with the CSFN will take an active role in introducing neuroscience topics into the existing undergraduate and graduate curriculum.




1. � Please indicate, by name and rank, current faculty who will be involved with the program proposed herein.


Current faculty involved in the CSFN research

����������� Richard Bridges (Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.M.)

����������� Roger Bradley (Assistant Professor, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, M.S.U.)

����������� Fernando Cardozo (Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.M.)

����������� Sean Esslinger (Research Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.M.)

����������� John Gerdes (Associate Professor, Chemistry, UM)

����������� Mark Grimes (Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, UM)

����������� Craig Johnston (Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.M.)

����������� Thomas Kuhn (Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.M.)

����������� Frances Lefcort (Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, M.S.U.)

����������� Diana Lurie (Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.M.)

����������� John Mercer (Scientist, McLaughlin Research Institute)

����������� Keith Parker (Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.M.)

����������� David Poulsen (Research Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.M.)

����������� Charles Thompson (Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.M.)

����������� Pin-Xian Xu (Scientist, McLaughlin Research Institute)


Gwen Jacobs (Professor and Chair, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, M.S.U.) and George Carlson (Scientist and Director, McLaughlin Research Institute) serve on the CSFN Administrative Steering Committee.


2. � Please project the need for new faculty over the first five-year program.  Include special qualifications or training.  If present faculty are to conduct the new program, please explain how they will be relieved from present duties.


The CSFN was not designed with the intention of having its own faculty, but rather to link faculty from a variety of departments that share research interests in the molecular neurosciences.� It should be noted, however, that as part of the initial establishment of the CSFN, the COBRE award will contribute funding toward the addition of six new faculty (4 tenurable and 2 non-tenurable) whose research programs aligns with the mission of the Center. Significantly, five of these positions have already been filled, while the search for the sixth is currently underway. Two of the tenure-track appointments will be in each of the School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences (see below).� These latter positions are especially important, as it means that CSFN investigators will have a presence in each of the three primary health science units on campus, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry and Biological Sciences.� It is envisioned that, in addition to making significant contributions to the CSFN, these scientists will contribute strength to their home departments and to other interdisciplinary focus areas on campus, e.g., Biological Structure / Function group, Pathogenesis group. To date, three of these tenure-track faculty positions have been filled. Further, funding provided through the COBRE project (e.g., NIH, State match, St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center) has also been used to support two new non-tenure track research faculty positions.� These new faculty hires include:

�  Division of Biological Sciences: Mark Grimes, Associate Professor, Ph.D. in Chemistry and Molecular Biology      (1986) University of Oregon

�  Department of Chemistry:John Gerdes, Associate Professor Ph.D. in Chemistry (1982)

��� University of California, Riverside

�  Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences:Thomas Kuhn, Assistant Professor Ph.D. in Biochemistry (1991) University of Zurich; Christopher Esslinger, Research Assistant Professor, Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry (1992) Colorado State University; David Poulsen, Research Assistant Professor. Ph.D. in Molecular Virology (1995) University of Delaware

�  Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Search to be conducted in Year 2 of COBRE)

Biochemist / Pharmacologist / Molecular Biologist that utilizes electrophysiological approaches to investigate the structural and functional properties of ion channel, transmitter receptors, or transporters


The NIH COBRE award will provide support for these positions for the initial three years of their appointments.� This funding includes:

����������� 50% Salary support during the academic year for 3 years

����������� 66% Salary support during the summer for 4-5 years

����������� Start-up packages for necessary equipment and supplies (≈ $200,000 � $275,00 over 3 years)


Present faculty:     As all of the participating researchers from The University of Montana will hold faculty positions in established academic units (e.g., Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, Biological Sciences) the decisions regarding the division of effort between instruction, scholarly activity, and service will be a function of that unit.� Professional time devoted to CSFN activities would, for the most part, fall under the category of scholarly activity.� Indeed, the resources and collaborative opportunities afforded through the CSFN are there for the express purpose of enhancing faculty research.


3.�� Please explain the need and cost for support personnel or other required personnel expenditures.


CSFN Administrative Staff: Administrative staff will handle routine record keeping and correspondence for the CSFN.� They will also assist with Center-specific projects, such as invited speakers, conferences, web pages, and public outreach information.� These needs will be initially met by a single, part-time program coordinator.� Funding for this administrative support is included within the COBRE Award and will continue to be supported through future research grants.



1. � Please summarize operating expenditure needs.


The majority of the supplies is for research and researchers in the center.� Miscellaneous items include publication costs and small equipment.� Travel covers one meeting a year for up to 10 faculty members.� Communication covers materials for the annual conference held by the center.


2. � Please evaluate library resources.  Are they adequate for operation of the proposed program?  If not, how will the library need to be strengthened during the next three years?


Research within the CSFN will focus on the molecular structure and function of the nervous system, a multidisciplinary field with literature needs that overlaps with those routinely required for general programs in Chemistry, Biology and Pharmacy. As such, the scientific journals relevant to its research mission are those that address current topics in the fields of neuroscience, biochemistry, chemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and pharmacology.� In consultation with Science Librarian Barry Brown, the following observation/conclusions have been made regarding the library resource needs of the CSFN: (Letter from B. Brown is included in the Appendix)

���  Excluding those journals specifically targeting neuroscience, the majority of the most needed subscriptions in the relevant fields are already in place because of existing programs in Biochemistry/Microbiology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Chemistry.� These would include:

Science����������������� Nature��������������������������������� Cell��������������������� Biochem. Biophy. Res. Comm

J. Biol. Chem.�������� Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci.������������ J. Med. Chem������ J. Pharmacol. Expt. Therap.

Biochem.��������������� J. Amer. Chem. Soc.������������ Nature Med���������� Nature Struct. Biol

Pharmacol.������������� Pharmacol. Toxicol.�������������� .Mol. Pharmacol.

���  Specifically within the field of neuroscience, access to journals addressing topics relevant to molecular and biochemical neuroscience will be needed resources.� (It should be noted that this focus is readily distinct from the neuroscience related to behavior and psychology).� To meet this need, CSFN researchers already hold (or plan to hold) personal journal subscriptions to:

Neuron������������������� J. Neuroscience������������������� J. Neurochem ������ Trends in Neuroscience

Nature Neuro.��������� J. Comp. Neurol.������������������ Glia

� �� Needed references from other neuroscience journals can be accessed through the current article retrieval services maintained by the library.

���  CSFN researchers will work with University library staff to advocate for and try to acquire funding for the expansion of electronic subscriptions that support research within the biomedical sciences at UM.


3. � Please indicate special clinical, laboratory, and/or computer equipment that will be needed.  List those pieces of equipment or computer hardware presently available in the department.


� Instrumentation Cores

One of major roles of the CSFN is to assist in the acquisition of high-cost, cutting-edge instrumentation needed by Center and University investigators.� In most instances, this will be accomplished through federal grants and will often involve collaborative efforts with other faculty, academic units and/or centers at the University.� Specialized equipment already in place, much of which was obtained by successful proposal developed by CSFN researchers, includes:

Tissue Culture Facility:������������������������������������� Molecular Histology Core:

Core Centrifuge Facility:����������������������������������� Microscope and Image Analysis Laboratory

Mass Spectral Analysis Core Facility������������������ Liquid Chromatography Facility:

Molecular Computational Core

� Computational Requirements:

���� A local network will be established to enhance the ability of CSFN researchers to exchange data and documents. The CSFN will be responsible for developing the funding necessary to establish this network and will work closely to integrate this system with computing resources from other campus centers and departments.

���� Computer resources will most likely also need to be developed in the area of computational analysis. While CSFN researchers have successfully begun to develop a molecular modeling core, it will likely need to be significantly expanded.� The CSFN will work closely with other participating departments (e.g., Pharm. Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry/Microbiology) to fund the acquisition of these resources for both benefit of both research and instruction.


4. � Please describe facilities and space required for the proposed program.  Are current facilities adequate for the program?  If not, how does the institution propose to provide new facilities?


Other than a shared office space for the Program Coordinator (provided by School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences) no specific laboratory space has been directly assigned to the CSFN.� All of the participating faculty have research and office space as assigned by their respective academic units.� However, as there is already a significant need for additional research space on campus and it is anticipated that even more space will be needed as the research productivity of the CSFN investigators grows, the CSFN will proactively help and contribute its scientific critical mass to campus efforts aimed at securing external funding for the construction of research labs.� For example, it is anticipated that the CSFN and its participating faculty will play an important role in the NIH-NCRR Construction proposal currently being prepared for submission by the School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences.


1. � Please name faculty committees or councils that have reviewed and approved the program herein proposed.


Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty, Graduate Council and Faculty Senate.


2. � If outside consultants have been employed, please list the names of these consultants, their current positions, and titles.  Append copies of their written reports (this is required of new doctoral programs).


���� The Scientific Advising Committee of the CSFN includes:

Edwin Rubel, Ph.D., Professor of Otolaryngology, Neurosurgery, and Physiology and Biophysics, Founding Director, Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington

A. Richard Chamberlin, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Chair, Department of Chemistry, University of California at Irvine

E. Gouaux, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute


On this form, indicate the planned FTE enrollment, estimated expenditures, and projected revenues for the first three years of the program.� Include both the reallocation of existing resources and anticipated or requested new resources.� Second and third year should be in constant dollars.



FY 2003

First Year

FTE Headcount

FY 2004

Second Year

FTE Headcount

FY 2005

Third Year

FTE Headcount









A. New Enrollment




B. Shifting Enrollment


















FTE������������ COST


FTE����������� COST


FTE������������ COST





        I.      EXPENDITURES




����� �A. Personnel Cost

3.0������������� 212,818

3.0������������ 219,572

1.33��������� 102,084

����������� 1. Faculty




����������� 2. Administrators




����������� 3. Adjunct Faculty




����������� 4. Graduate/Instru

��������������� Assistants

1.33������ �������72,000

2.0������������ 108,000

2.0���������� 108,000

����������� 5. Research Personnel

�������������������� 27,083

������������������� 55,698

����������������� 86,055

����������� 6. Support Personnel

������������������ 346,011

����������������� 245,520

��������������� 269,857

����������� 7. Fringe Benefits

������������������ 311,541

����������������� 288,840

��������������� 224,368

����������� 8. Other (________)








Total Personnel� FTE/Cost

������������������ 969,453

��������� ��������917,630���

��������������� 790,364





B. Operating Expenditures




���� 1. Travel

���������������������� 7,500

�������������������� 7,500

������������������ 7,500

���� 2. Professional Services




���� 3. Other Services




���� 4. Communication

���������������������� 5,000

�������������������� 5,000

������������������ 5,000

���� 5. Utilities




���� 6. Materials & Supplies

������������������ 199,550

���������������� 161,022

�������������� 130,903

���� 7. Rentals




���� 8. Repairs & Maintenance




���� 9. Materials & Goods for��

�������� Manufacturing & Resale




�� 10. Miscellaneous

�������������������� 49,888

������������������ 40,255

��������������� 32,725

Total Operating Expenditures

������������������ 261,938

��������������� �213,777

������������� 176,128









C. Capital Outlay




���� 1. Library Resources




����� 2. Equipment








Total Capital Outlay








D. Physical Facilities

���� Construction or Major

���� Renovation




E. Indirect Costs

��� (Overhead)


�� 427,000

� 432,000

















A. Source of Funds




1.       Appropriated Funds-





2.       Appropriated Funds-





���� 3.�� Federal Funds




���� 4.�� Other Grants




���� 5.�� Fees




���� 6.�� Other (_________)








���� Total Source of Funds








B. Nature of Funds




���� 1.�� Recurring




���� 2.�� Non-recurring









1, 657,391


1,558, 407






Letters of Support are on file in the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.