Cell & Molecular Biology Graduate Group

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Bylaws of the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group

Organization| Program Structure| Executive Committee| Graduate Group-wide Committees| Membership| Reviews

Overall Organization:

The Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group is composed of a broad group of faculty drawn from different departments and schools of the University of Pennsylvania and its affiliated institutions. The functions of the Graduate Group are to educate graduate students in the areas of cell and molecular biology and to award graduate degrees to students who meet the standards of the program.

The Graduate Group shall be governed by an Executive Committee and a Chairperson. In addition, there shall be Program Directors responsible for each of six specialized Programs: Cancer Biology, Cell Biology,  Physiology and Metabolism, Developmental, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Gene Therapy and Vaccines, Genetics and Gene Regulation, and Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology.

Organization| Program Structure| Executive Committee| Graduate Group-wide Committees| Membership| Reviews

The Graduate Program Structure

Six Programs currently exist within the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group: Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Physiology and Metabolism, Developmental, Stem Cell, and Regenerative Biology, Gene Therapy and Vaccines, Genetics and Gene Regulation, and Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology.

Programs exist within the Graduate Group to offer education and training in specific areas of cell and molecular biology. All students must affiliate with a Program. Students may switch between programs with the permission of the program chairs involved. A switch between Programs after the beginning of the second year might involve taking additional courses.

Each Program is responsible for the design and implementation of a specialized curriculum appropriate to its specialized topic, the academic advising and supervision of the students in its Program, the supervision of preliminary exams, the organization and supervision of thesis committees, and the organization of program specific activities and events. In addition, each program shall cooperate with the CAMB graduate group in the establishment of a core curriculum, the integration of Program specific curricula with the overall CAMB curriculum, as well as the recruiting and supervision of students.

The organization of these activities may vary by Program, but at a minimum, there must be a Program Chair that is elected or whose selection is ratified by the program faculty. The Program Chair will be responsible for organizing program activities and will represent the Program on the Executive Committee.

Establishment or disbandment of Programs shall require approval by two-thirds of the membership of the Executive Committee and must be ratified by more than half of the CAMB faculty members. Each Program shall determine changes in the composition of Program specific committees and Program procedures individually.

Organization| Program Structure| Executive Committee| Graduate Group-wide Committees| Membership| Reviews

The Executive Committee and Its Members

  1. Function of the Executive Committee

    The Executive Committee shall have the responsibility for all Graduate Group-wide activities. These include admissions, overall curriculum development, overseeing faculty membership, interacting with the Biomedical Graduate Studies administration and final authority in student-related matters.

  2. Composition of the Committee

    The Executive Committee shall be composed of the Chair of the Graduate Group, the Chairs or their designees from each of the six Programs, two graduate student representatives, and a representative from the MD/PhD program nominated by the MD/PhD program director with consultation and approval by the CAMB executive committee. Each Program Chair may bring one member of their faculty to meetings as appropriate.

    The Executive Committee shall meet monthly or more often if necessary. Issues discussed by the Executive Committee shall be decided by majority vote. Each program shall have one vote, as shall the Chair of the Graduate Group. A quorum shall consist of two-thirds of the Committee membership, including students. On matters pertaining to individual students or faculty, the graduate student members of the Committee shall be asked to absent themselves.

  3. The Graduate Group Chair

    The Graduate Group Chair will be appointed from the current or past membership of the Executive Committee to a term of three years, to be served at the pleasure of the Executive Committee. A majority vote of the Executive Committee will be required for appointment or dismissal.

    The Graduate Group Chair shall preside over the Executive Committee, lead Graduate Group meetings, and serve as the representative of CAMB to the Biomedical Graduate Studies Advisory Committee. The Graduate Group Chair shall either be one of the Program Chairs currently serving or a former Program Chair who has completed a term in that capacity.

  4. The Program Chairs

    Program Chairs are elected by their faculty for a term of 3 years. Three months prior to the end of each term, the Program chair shall inform their primary faculty that his/her term will be ending. Nominations for Program Chair may be put forward by the Program's executive committee or from any primary member of the Program. Appointment of a Program Chair will require a majority vote from at least two-thirds of the Program’s primary faculty. Dismissal of a program chair will likewise require a majority of two-thirds of the Program's primary faculty or a majority vote of the Executive Committee. Program Chairs may appoint at their discretion a second faculty member to assist them in administering the Program.

Organization| Program Structure| Executive Committee| Graduate Group-wide Committees| Membership| Reviews

Graduate Group-wide Committees and Their Chairs

The following committees serve at the discretion of the Executive Committee.

  1. Admissions Committee and Its Chair

    The Chair of the Admissions Committee shall be chosen by the Executive Committee and shall report to the Executive Faculty at least once per year.

    The Admissions Committee shall be composed of the Chair and at least one faculty representative from each of the six programs. Two additional members shall each be responsible for all applications from under-represented minorities and for international applications, respectively. Faculty appointments are for two years. Committee members review new student applications and develop recruitment strategies. Three members will be designated as members of the BGS Admissions Committee with full voting rights. Any member of the Admissions Committee may make presentation of favorable applicants to the Biomedical Graduate Studies Admissions Committee.

  2. Curriculum Committee and Its Chair

    The Chair of the Curriculum Committee shall be chosen by the Executive Committee and shall report to the Executive Faculty at least twice per year.

    The Curriculum Committee Chair shall preside over a Committee consisting of one faculty representative and one student from each Program. Appointments are for two years, with half being appointed each year. The Curriculum Committee shall plan and coordinate courses. It is expected that courses will be developed for individual Programs by the Programs themselves and presented to the CAMB Curriculum Committee for approval. The Chair of the Curriculum Committee shall be a member of the Biomedical Graduate Studies Curriculum Committee, as shall any two other faculty members.

Organization| Program Structure| Executive Committee| Graduate Group-wide Committees| Membership| Reviews

Membership in the Graduate Group and in Individual Programs

  1. Guidelines for Faculty Membership

    Candidates applying for membership in CAMB must have a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania. All candidates must demonstrate, commensurate with their experience, a strong commitment to and competence in PhD graduate training and graduate teaching. All faculty must have an independent laboratory and clearly demonstrated expertise and productivity in Cell and Molecular Biology as judged, for example, by multiple first or last authored publications in highly respected peer-reviewed journals within the field. Faculty applying for membership three or more years after their initial appointment must demonstrate the presence of an active and independent, high quality research program appropriate for the training of graduate students. This can be accomplished, for example, through a distinguished record of publications in the field of Cell and Molecular Biology, a history of outside funding, and participation in graduate teaching or graduate group activities.

  2. Admission of New Faculty

    The following procedures shall be followed for admission to the Graduate Group:

    Faculty who wish to join the Graduate Group in Cell and Molecular Biology must submit the following documentation to the Chair of CAMB:

    • A current curriculum vitae, including grant support and training record.
    • A paragraph (approximately 200 words) describing the faculty's research and two bibliographic reference citations.
    • For newly appointed (within two years) and adjunct faculty (faculty with primary appointments outside the University of Pennsylvania), written confirmation that the faculty member currently holds an appointment in a department at the University of Pennsylvania.
    • A letter of understanding that specifies the Program with which the applicant wishes to affiliate and states the faculty member's willingness to serve on administrative or examination committees, attend thesis defenses, attend Graduate Group and Program seminars, attend general meetings of the Graduate Group, develop and teach graduate level courses, host seminar speakers, serve as a facilitator for BGS bioethics training at least once every three years, and pay the fee for the annual CAMB Symposium, as well as attend at least one Symposium every three years.

    These submissions will be reviewed by the Program Chair and then submitted to the Executive Committee for its approval. The Executive Committee will only accept faculty who are likely to be suitable mentors for graduate students and are willing to contribute to graduate group activities. It is encouraged that the prospective CAMB member contact the relevant Program Chair before formally submitting an application

    The Graduate Group Chair will forward the names of accepted applicants to the Director of Biomedical Graduate Studies. The Biomedical Graduate Studies Office will confirm the applicant's University appointment and send a letter of confirmation of Graduate Group membership.

    Once admitted to a specific program, a faculty member may supervise a rotation or dissertation for any student in the Graduate Group, regardless of the Program that the student has selected. Supervision of graduate students is contingent on demonstrating the capability of supporting a student, should he/she do a thesis in that laboratory. Membership in a Program requires participation in Program-specific and CAMB-wide activities (see Renewing Membership, below).

  1. Renewing Membership in the Graduate Group

    Each new appointment and reappointment to the Graduate Group is for a three-year term. The term may be renewed for another three years by the Executive Committee. In order to qualify for renewal of membership, an individual must meet the service requirements outlined below and maintain a strong independent research program suitable for the training of graduate students.

    Each Graduate Group member must complete an average of 50 service hours per year over a three-year period. Graduate Group and Program chairs, training grant principle investigators, and course directors are exempt from the teaching and administrative service requirements.

    • Teaching/Academic Committee Service: A minimum of 15 of the 50 hours must be devoted to teaching and/or service on academic committees. Teaching is defined to include directing courses, preparing and giving lectures, other course preparation and in-class time, grading, and the like. Academic committee service includes participation in preliminary exam and thesis committees. This service category does not include supervision of a rotation or dissertation student.
    • Administrative Committee Service/Supervision of Students in the Lab: The remaining hours per year must be performed in areas such as serving on administrative committees and supervising rotations and dissertations.
    • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training: Each faculty member must participate in an RCR training program at least once during each three-year term. This requirement may be met by serving as a discussion leader of a BGS RCR Workshop; other options for participation include attending other relevant BGS-approved University bioethics courses or symposia. Faculty must dedicate at least two lab meetings (1-2 hr each) per year to RCR training.Conducting a lab meeting as prescribed by BGS guidelines will also satisfy this requirement.

    Documentation for the evaluation will be provided by annual surveys submitted by each faculty member to the CAMB office and by written confirmation of faculty teaching contributions generated by the Curriculum Committee. Failure to provide the necessary information in a timely manner could be construed as a failure to meet the service requirements of the graduate group.

    The Executive Committee, advised by recommendations of the Program Chairs, shall make decisions regarding membership. A faculty member whose membership is not renewed may appeal the decision to his or her Program Chair. The Executive Committee will vote again on reappointment after this meeting.

Organization| Program Structure| Executive Committee| Graduate Group-wide Committees| Membership| Reviews

Graduate Group Reviews

In accordance with BGS policy, each graduate group shall be reviewed every six years.

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