As I mentioned in my October 2015 blog, Shaping Biomedical Sciences, when we started this project, a biomedical sciences program managed by the College of Medicine (with options/streams to ensure students, upon graduation, are well prepared to enter health professional programs, pursue research endeavours, or enter the work force in their area of specialized training) is critical for our college. There are so many avenues for Saskatchewan to be a leader in the biomedical sciences, and this is our opportunity to be creative and stretch ourselves.
Nearly a year of hard work, meetings and much discussion culminated recently with a vote by the faculty of the Division of Biomedical Sciences on their governance model going forward. As many of you know, the biomedical faculty voted on whether it would move toward a two-department or school governance structure for the future. The vote was in favour of the two-department model, with nearly 70 per cent making that choice. This provides a clear decision by the faculty for a two-department model, and we now begin the work to make this happen.
Conceptual departments, under working only titles of Department of Cellular and Integrative Biomedical Sciences and Department of Microbial and Molecular Biomedical Sciences to enable discussion and understanding, will enable faculty members an opportunity to self-identify which of the two proposed departments they would be likely to join.
In terms of next steps, the Biomedical Governance and Programs committees will begin to flesh out details of the restructuring and the undergraduate program streams. It goes without saying that we need the continued commitment and involvement of our faculty in this work. A Notice of Motion is expected to go forward to the College of Medicine Faculty Council and when that motion has been debated and approved, the next step would be for it to go forward to University Council for approval.
As we move forward with developing the structure to more effectively support these goals, it’s important to note that our current undergraduate and graduate students will be able to complete their programs, which will continue to be honoured and valid, and we certainly need our faculty and staff to reassure all current students of the value of their existing programs.
I want to extend my appreciation to everyone in the basic science departments for your work and commitment to this process over the past nine months, as you’ve organized and participated in many consultations, discussions and town halls. I look forward to continuing to work with you as we take our Biomedical Sciences program to a new level.