I. Introduction and Mission
The goal of the Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (MID) Program is to promote scientific excellence by providing intense and modern student training in microbial model systems and the molecular basis of microbial pathogenesis. Microbes are especially well suited for graduate training because their inherent rapid growth and availability of a wide variety of approaches allow an individual student to make a significant contribution to scientific understanding. Most of the existing knowledge of molecular and cellular biology is based on analysis of microbial model organisms. Microbes also are responsible for a wide variety of infectious diseases that affect every single human during their lifetime and cause significant morbidity and mortality. This focus on microbial systems is unique within the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). The Program functions in cooperation with the GSBS. Program faculty are members of the GSBS and are expected to be full participants in GSBS activities.
II. Program Organization
All committee assignments are held from September 1st-August 31st. The administrative organization of the MID Program is as follows:
The director is responsible for organizing all program activities or delegating the organization of specific activities to other faculty, students and/or staff.
The Director's responsibilities include:
- Coordinate the activities of the other Program Committees.
- Counsel and advise first year GSBS students.
- Evaluate and monitor the overall progress of each student in the Program.
- Meet with all the students annually to help maintain student morale and retention.
- Assist in the coordination of laboratory rotations.
- Appoint course directors for each of the required program specific courses.
- Organize Program faculty meetings at least semi-annually and distribute the agenda and minutes in a timely manner.
- Receive applications for faculty membership in the Program and distribute the applications to the Steering Committee.
- Represent the interests of the Program faculty and students in both the Medical School’s Graduate Student Education Committee (GSEC) and the GSBS's Program Directors Committee (PDC) and any other appropriate venue.
- Advise the MID student body of any changes in the MID Program requirements and whether those changes apply to current Program students and/or future Program students.
- Grant an exception to Program course requirements or committee composition for an individual student in response to a written request from the student, and in consultation with the Steering Committee.
- Approve applications for student membership in the Program.
- Review and approve student advisory and examination committees and forward these recommendations to the GSBS Academic Standards Committee for review and approval.
- Coordinate with GSBS to update the MID program website in a timely manner.
The Director will be elected by the Program faculty. The Steering Committee will submit the names of nominees for Director to the GSBS Deans’ Office. GSBS will then solicit nominations, including self-nominations, from the Program faculty at-large to serve as Director. Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the GSBS Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results to the program members. The Director-Elect of the Program will serve as Co-Director for two years and subsequently, upon election, as Director for a single two-year term.
B. Co-Director and Director-Elect
The Co-Director/Director-Elect will carry out the Director's responsibilities in the Director's absence. As stated above, the Co-Director/Director-Elect will serve in this position for two years prior to becoming Director upon election. This arrangement ensures continuity between directors' terms. In the event of a vacancy in the Director position, the Co-Director/Director-Elect will become the Director and an election will be held to fill the Co-Director/Director-Elect position.
C. Program Steering Committee
The Director and Co-Director will be advised by a Program Steering Committee comprised of the Director, Co-Director, four at-large elected MID faculty members and one MID student. At least three of the four at large faculty members will be regular Program members. The chair of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) department will serve as an ex officio non-voting member of the Program Steering Committee
The four at-large MID faculty members on the Steering Committee will be elected by the Program faculty and each will serve a single four-year term. The terms will be staggered by one year such that each year one member is replaced. GSBS will solicit nominations, including self-nominations, from the Program faculty at-large to serve on the Steering Committee. Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results to the program members.
The Student member will be elected by Program students to serve a one-year term. GSBS will solicit volunteers from Program students to serve on the Steering Committee. To be eligible to serve, students must be in good academic standing and have completed the first year of training at GSBS. Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the Program Director and the Deans’ Office, GSBS will conduct the election and report the results to the Program members. The student representative may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.
The Steering Committee will:
- Meet at least semi-annually.
- Empanel subcommittees to advise on Program matters as needed.
- Formulate policies related to the academic and administrative aspects of the Program and present them to the Program faculty for approval or modification.
- Review Program faculty using the GSBS Membership Committee criteria and these bylaws as a guideline.
- Approve changes to the Program.
- Develop student recruitment and admissions policies.
- Appoint a program faculty member each year to coordinate the Annual Program Retreat.
- Advise the Director on all Program functions including appointment of course directors and allocation of Program funds.
- Distribute a summary of meeting activities in a timely manner.
- Periodically evaluate the curriculum and develop and recommend curriculum changes.
D. Program Admissions Committee
The Admissions Committee is composed of at least four Program faculty appointed annually by the Steering Committee. This committee is responsible to the Director and the Program faculty. The Admissions Committee works closely with the GSBS Admissions Committee to aid in evaluating prospective GSBS students with an interest in the MID Program. Ideally, one member of this Program committee serves on the GSBS Admissions Committee.
The Admissions Committee will:
- Provide comments to the GSBS Admissions Committee concerning the suitability of GSBS applicants with an interest in the MID Program.
- Communicate with interested prospective students.
- Organize MID Program efforts to recruit students, including during GSBS student interview weekends.
- Develop and distribute recruitment materials.
- Organize events to inform first year GSBS students of opportunities in the MID program. This includes any program specific events in the GSBS orientation, as well as a social event for Program faculty and students during GSBS orientation or near the beginning of the academic year.
E. Student Advisory Council
The Student Advisory Committee (SAC) is composed of the student representative on the Program Steering Committee and two additional MID Program Students. The two at large SAC members will be elected by Program students to serve a one-year term. The standing SAC members will nominate candidates to serve on the SAC and the Program will solicit additional nominations from Program students. To be eligible to serve, students must be in good academic standing and have completed the first year of training at GSBS. Once the slate of candidates has been approved by the Program Director, the Program will conduct the election and report the results to the Program faculty and students. The student representatives may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.
The SAC will:
- Have one member serve as the Student Representative on the MID Program Steering Committee.
- Coordinate organization of the yearly Graduate Student Seminar (GraSS) program with voluntary help from additional MID Program students as needed.
- Invite at least one national seminar speaker for the MMG department Seminar Series, and an optional local seminar speaker each year, pending available funding from the MMG department.
- Coordinate and write the annual MID Program Newsletter with voluntary help from additional Program Students as needed.
- Assist with MID Program recruitment by participating in GSBS interview weekend activities.
- Provide feedback to the Program Director concerning Program Student opinions on prospective MID students interviewing with GSBS.
- Assist with MID Program recruitment for prospective students by including first- year students rotating with program faculty as Program Members for the duration of their rotation.
- Nominate student representatives or officers to other GSBS, Medical School or UTHealth committees and organizations, including the Graduate Student Association (GSA), the Student InterCouncil (SIC), and the GSEC when called for.
III. Program Faculty
The goal of the MID Program is to provide rigorous training in the study of bacterial and eukaryotic microorganisms and to foster scientific interactions between students and faculty. These goals require enthusiastic Program faculty who are dedicated to graduate student education and have vigorous and well-funded research programs. The Program Faculty members must be members of the GSBS. Program faculty will include Regular Members, Associate Members and Distinguished Senior Lecturers as determined using the GSBS Membership Committee Criteria.
MID Program faculty will:
- Participate in the formulation of Program policies.
- Train and mentor MID students.
- Serve on student committees as requested.
- Direct or teach Program courses as requested.
- Make changes to these bylaws by majority Method of voting will follow GSBS guidelines.
- Attend thesis defenses of program students, the annual retreat, journal club and student summer seminars.
Applications for membership in the MID Program are submitted to the Program Director. Applications should include the applicant’s CV and a letter stating the applicant’s reasons for requesting to join the Program. This letter should indicate what the applicant expects to gain from being a Program faculty and what the applicant can contribute to the Program. Applications are reviewed by the Steering Committee with input from the MID Program faculty. Criteria for membership include, but are not limited to:
- Scientific independence.
- Active and funded research projects in an area relevant to the MID Program mission.
- A willingness to participate in Program activities and assume the responsibilities of Program faculty as outlined above.
The Steering Committee reviews the contributions of Program faculty every five years in conjunction with GSBS’s review using the GSBS Membership Committee criteria as a guideline. Faculty participation reports provided by GSBS should be augmented by reports/statements of Program-specific activities. The Program sends GSBS a list of faculty that are inactive. Inactive faculty will be notified by GSBS that they are on probation for one year. At the end of this time, if there is no increase in activity, the Program Steering Committee 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 as GSBS faculty members.
The Program will notify GSBS Faculty Affairs of any new or terminated faculty members.
IV. Program Students – Admission to the Program
GSBS PhD students who elect to perform thesis research in the laboratory of a MID Program faculty member can be considered for membership in the Program (termed “Affiliated Students”). If a student joins the lab of a GSBS but non-MID Program faculty member and wishes to join the MID Program, an arrangement can be made at the Director’s discretion in consultation with the Steering Committee. All Program students are required to fulfill all Program and GSBS requirements. Exceptions regarding completion of required Program courses may be made by the Director on a case-by-case basis. PhD and MS Students in Program faculty laboratories who are not formally in the Program may, by common agreement of the Director, the student, and the student’s faculty advisor, participate in Program activities (termed “Participating Students”).
The MID Program website contains all the essential information concerning the MID Program curriculum, course requirements, and other requirements. The Program Director consults with the Steering Committee concerning any changes to the website and is responsible for updating the website annually. The Director alerts students to any substantive changes.
VI. Amendments to Bylaws
An amendment to the Bylaws of the MID Program may be accomplished by a majority vote of the Program faculty after the following procedure has been followed. The proposed amendment will be submitted to the Program Director who will send it to the GSBS Deans Office for review to ensure that it meets GSBS guidelines. The Program Director will then send the amendment electronically to the Program Faculty for consideration at least two weeks before a vote is to be taken. If the amendment is to be discussed at a faculty meeting, a final vote may be taken at the meeting. If the amendment is to be approved electronically, GSBS will send the final version of the amendment to the Program Faculty to approve by electronic ballot.