Introduction and Mission
The goal of the Cancer Biology Program is for our basic and clinical faculty to teach graduate students, postdoctoral and clinical fellows concepts of cancer biology and its translation, enabling our trainees to become cancer biology scientists, who can conduct significant, cutting-edge, and hypothesis-driven basic, translational, and clinical research.
The administrative organization of the Cancer Biology Program is as follows:
- The Cancer Biology Program is under the aegis of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, a shared graduate program of the UT Health Science Center in Houston and the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.
- The Cancer Biology Program will be conducted by all members of the Program Faculty. It will elect a Program Director, through whom the Program will be administered in collaboration with the Steering Committee.
- The Cancer Biology Program is comprised of two separate tracks:
- Cancer Discovery Track
- Clinical Translational Oncology Track
Cancer Biology Program Director
- The Director of the Program will be appointed to a two-year term by the Dean of the GSBS upon election by the Program Faculty. The Director will be allowed to be elected to serve a second, consecutive term. The Director will be responsible to the Cancer Biology Graduate Program faculty and the Dean of the GSBS. The Director will serve on the Program Directors Committee (PDC) of the GSBS.
- The Director will oversee all administrative activities of the Program. These activities include:
- Coordinate Activities of the Program Steering, and any other ad hoc Committees as needed.
- Counsel students.
- Assist in the coordination of laboratory rotations.
- Grant an exception to Program course requirements for an individual student in response to a written request from the student.
- Organize Program faculty meetings.
- Present applications for membership in the Program.
- Review Program faculty.
Cancer Biology Program Co-Directors
- The Program Co-Directors are appointed to a two-year term by the Dean of the GSBS upon election by the Program faculty. Consecutive terms for Co-Directors will be allowed. The Co-Directors must be members of the Cancer Biology Program faculty and are responsible to the Program faculty and the Dean of the GSBS. One Co-Director will be from the Cancer Discovery track, and one Co-Director will be from the Clinical Translational Oncology track.
- The Co-Director(s) assists with the administrative activities of the Director and conducts business (e.g., approving student forms) in the Director’s absence. The Co-Director also oversees the administrative activities related to the track that the Co-Director represents.
Program Steering Committee
The Director and Co-Director(s) will be advised by a Steering Committee comprised of the Director, Co-Director(s), and a minimum of five other elected faculty members and students. The faculty members of the Steering Committee will be elected by Program Faculty and serve staggered terms. Steering committee membership will be for two-year terms. There is no limit to the number of terms a member may serve.
The Steering Committee will meet at least semi-annually and there will be a Program-wide faculty meeting semi-annually at which the Steering Committee will present their report and Program business will be conducted with minutes recorded for public dissemination. The Steering Committee will formulate policies related to the academic and administrative aspects of the Program and present them to the Program faculty for approval or modification. The Steering Committee will empanel subcommittees to advise on Program matters.
The Steering Committee is responsible for the following, with input from the Program faculty:
- Appointing and reviewing Program faculty.
- Approving changes to the Program curriculum.
- Approving academic requirements.
- Overseeing the recruitment, admissions, and academic progress of Cancer Biology Program students.
- Appointing a Chair each year to coordinate the Annual Program Retreat.
- Determining the allocation of Program funds.
- Approving appointments to Program Committees.
- Organizing ad hoc committees as needed,
- Distributing a summary of meeting activities in a timely manner.
Election Process of Program Leaders
To preserve the integrity and anonymity of the election process, the Graduate School will conduct the elections for Program Director, Co-Directors and Steering Committee Members. GSBS will solicit nominations, including self-nominations, from the Program faculty at-large. Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results of the election to the Program community.
GSBS will also conduct the election of the two student members of the Steering Committee. GSBS will solicit volunteers from Program students. To be eligible to serve, students must be in good academic standing, and it is recommended but not required that candidates have completed the candidacy exam. Once the slate of volunteers has been approved by the Program Director and the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results to the Program community.
Faculty Program Membership
The Cancer Biology Program welcomes enthusiastic faculty who are dedicated to student education and have vigorous and well-funded research programs. Program faculty must be members of the GSBS. Program faculty will include Regular Members, Associate Members and Distinguished Senior Lecturers as determined by the GSBS Membership Committee.
Cancer Biology Program faculty will:
- Participate in the formulation of Program policies
- Train and mentor students
- Serve on student committees
- Organize and lecture in Program courses
- Make changes to these bylaws by majority vote. The faculty must receive notice of the proposed changes at least ten business days prior to the vote. The method of voting will follow GSBS guidelines
- Participate in Program Retreats
- Attend Program Faculty meetings to discuss issues relevant to the Cancer Biology Program
Applications for membership in the Cancer Biology Program are submitted to the Program Coordinator and are reviewed by the Cancer Biology Program Steering Committee. In addition to the applicant’s CV and NIH biosketch, applications should include a letter stating the applicant’s reasons for requesting to join the Program. This letter should identify what the applicant expects to gain from being a Program faculty and what the applicant can contribute to the Program. This letter should clearly outline 1) current projects of interest in lab as they pertain to cancer biology; 2) teaching experience; 3) mentoring experience.
Criteria for membership include, but are not limited to:
- Scientific independence
- Active and funded research projects in an area relevant to the Cancer Biology Program mission
- A willingness to participate in Program activities and assume the responsibilities of Program faculty as outlined above
- Prefer tenure-track
- Prefer at least one independent external course of peer-reviewed funding
- Strong interest in cancer biology research, teaching and mentoring
Faculty who apply for Program membership but are denied may appeal the decision to the GSBS Membership Committee, who will make a recommendation to the Deans.
The Cancer Biology Program will notify GSBS Faculty Affairs of all new Program faculty members.
Review of Current Faculty Members
The Cancer Biology Program will review participation by individual faculty members once every five years in conjunction with the faculty member’s five-year review by the GSBS Membership Committee.
The five-year review by the Program will be done on a schedule determined by the Program. Scoring metrics shall be used to determine membership. The criteria will be based on a faculty member’s evidence of engagement in graduate education using the GSBS Membership Committee criteria as a guideline. Faculty participation reports will be provided by GSBS but should be augmented by reports/statements of the Program-specific activities.
The Co-Directors may discuss ways to improve participation with any faculty members who are marginally involved with the Program’s activities. The Program will send GSBS a list of faculty they suggest are inactive. Inactive faculty will be notified that they are on probation for an additional year. At the end of this time, if there is no increase in activity, the Program may terminate membership. Faculty who are asked to leave the Program or who apply for Program membership in later years but are denied may appeal the decision to the GSBS Membership Committee, who will make a recommendation to the Deans. Faculty determined to be disengaged are subject to not being reappointed to GSBS. Being a Program faculty member should involve a significant investment of time and energy. To avoid dilution of this effort, faculty members may affiliate with a maximum of two Programs.
The Program will notify GSBS Faculty Affairs of any terminated faculty members.