July 11-12, 2002


ITEM 116-2011-R0702������������ Authorization to Establish a Graduate Certificate Program in Complex Biological Systems; Montana State University-Bozeman


THAT: ���������������������������������� The Board of Regents of the State of Montana authorizes Montana State University-Bozeman to establish a Graduate Certificate Program in Complex Biological Systems


EXPLANATION:����������� �������� Purpose: In the proposed program, graduate students will, upon entry to MSU, be admitted to the Cell Biology and Neuroscience Department with their first year�s graduate program being built around Complex Biological Systems (CBS) requirements.� They will participate in three research rotations (10 weeks each) with CBS faculty members in any of the eight participating departments in their first year.� Students will become affiliated with one of the participating departments after year one, where they will complete departmental PhD requirements within the compatible CBS program structure (three CBS courses, ethics training, and participation in multi-disciplinary seminars, workshops and research).� Upon completion of the CBS requirements and those of the home department, the student will receive a PhD through his/her home department, as well as a "CBS Program Certificate."� The certificate program is designed to complement and fill out existing departmental PhD programs.� It is not an �in addition to� program but rather a integrated multi-disciplinary program that transforms the existing programs into a more complete,� multi-disciplinary approach to learning.�


Statement of Need: Montana State University believes the increasing relevance of multi-disciplinary graduate programs necessitates the creation of a new administrative structure to appropriately deal with the non-departmental nature of this mode of study.� The CBS curriculum integrates with the student�s chosen departmentally-based PhD program to transform it into a cross-cutting, multi-disciplinary educational experience. Over 30 faculty from eight departments across campus (Chemistry and Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Microbiology, Plant Sciences, Veterinary Molecular Biology, Computer Science, Electrical/Computer Engineering and Mathematical Sciences) already collaborate to provide innovative graduate training opportunities that cut across departmental boundaries. The Graduate Certification in Complex Biological Systems (CBS) is designed to provide students with appropriate documentation that they have successfully completed work in a multi-disciplinary, cutting-edge scientific training program for students pursuing their PhD in biological research.


Evidence of appropriate fit within the institution�s mission: Recent studies by the National Academy of Sciences have indicated an increased need for multi-disciplinary graduate education, to keep the U.S. on the forefront of science and engineering expertise in the coming century.� This is nearly a paraphrase of MSU�s land grant mission.� The CBS curriculum is an effective recruitment and retention tool, well suited to be offered at a land grant university.�� It will be even more attractive as a certificate program that can be offered to students as a formal component of their education.


Brief Explanation of the Proposal: In 1999, specific students began organizing their graduate programs to include the courses, seminars and laboratory experiences needed to concentrate their Ph.D. study in complex biological systems.� Each year the number of students involved has increased and students are now asking to have formal documentation of the extra work they have completed.� Currently, these students have no formal recognition by the MSU administration of the multi-disciplinary nature of their graduate study program.� Implementation of a CBS graduate certification program will allow such formal recognition, as well as allow a stronger and more rigorous program to be established.


Proposed Starting Date: Spring 2003