Dec 012003
Authors: Chris Kampfe

In 1998 CSU received a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical

institute. With the $1.5 million received, the Center for Life

Sciences was created.

The Center for Life Sciences was a department on campus headed

by Tom Gorell, an emeritus biology professor, to serve multiple

advising services to students in the sciences, undergraduate

research programs and K-12 outreach programs.

This year when students came looking for help from the Center

for Life Sciences, they were directed to the Center for Advising

and Student Achievement. CASA was formed this year as a merger

between the Center for Life Sciences, The HELP/Success Center and

Undergraduate Student Retention.

Even after the merger, Gorell retained not only the Center for

Life Sciences department but also his title of director.

Gorell said CSU allowed this so that he could finish out the

last dollars of the grant while performing services that were not

adopted by CASA. These services included the K-12 Outreach Programs

and the Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholars.

These two programs are used as recruiting tools by CSU to show

its programs to K-12 students around the country, as well as offer

the Hughes Research Scholars program as an enticement to students

interested in the life sciences.

But these programs may not be around much longer, due to lack of


Diane Burton, assistant director of CASA and formerly assistant

director of the Center for Life Sciences, showed concern for the

dwindling programs.

“We lost some teachers through the merger who had made a lot of

connections with schools,” Burton said. “And because the grant

money is almost out and the faculty here is stretched so thin, I

don’t know who is going to step forward.”

Alan Tucker, the vice provost for Faculty Affairs who has worked

closely with Gorell and the merger, said he did not know if the

programs would have enough funding to finish out the semester.

“Five years ago we started with about $1.5 million,” Gorell

said. “Now we’re down to about $10,000 to run the programs to see

where we’re at.”

Though the programs seem to be coming to their culmination, both

Gorell and Tucker see potential to continue outside of the grant

and the Center for Life Sciences.

A committee has been created that will address the outreach

programs to schools similar to what the Center for Life Sciences


“There are a lot of departments around CSU other than the life

science that do these programs, and sometimes end up crossing

paths,” Tucker said. “Hopefully when this committee is done, we

will be able to help the programs collaborate and generally make

them more efficient.”

Gorell, who now has his offices near the Center for Science,

Math and Technology Education said he is confident that someone in

or around the department will help pick up where the grant left


“We really just don’t want to lose a successful program,” Tucker

said. “When you are faced with challenges sometimes you have to

look at them as opportunities.”

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