Campus News

University Council will consider proposal to establish cancer center

The University Council this week will consider a proposal to establish a Cancer Center at the university that would bolster research and strengthen outreach to combat the deadly disease. The council meets Feb. 5 at 3:30 p.m. in room 102 of the Student Learning Center. University Council meetings are open to all, but only council members can participate in debate and vote.

The proposed center would help coordinate a large number of research and outreach programs under way in many academic units and would be the university’s point of contact with other institutions and funding agencies involved in cancer research and education, including the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the state’s multi-million dollar anti-cancer initiative.

The proposal for the center was developed by faculty and is being sent to the council by Gordhan Patel, vice president for research. The proposal notes that cancer-related projects are under way in many departments in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences as well as in seven other schools and colleges. Many faculty are also involved in outreach programs through the office of public service and outreach.

The university receives some $1.7 million annually in direct costs from research funded by the National Cancer Institute, and faculty also receive grants from the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. In addition, eight faculty members who have been designated Georgia Cancer Coalition Scholars are receiving a total of more than half a million dollars in research grants.

UGA and the Medical College of Georgia have jointly submitted to the Georgia Cancer Coalition a proposal to create a $60 million “Cancer Center of Excellence” to strengthen research and education efforts at the two institutions. A decision on funding is pending.

The Cancer Center would be the university’s component of the Cancer Center of Excellence. The center would work closely with the university’s Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute in developing collaborative research proposals and other cancer-related programs.

The Cancer Center would not offer courses or degrees, but would help recruit graduate students and provide instruction within the doctoral program in biomedical sciences being developed by the BHSI. The center would also operate a seed-grant program and offer graduate and postdoctoral fellowships and undergraduate research awards.

The proposal notes that cancer annually kills some 550,000 Americans, including 31,000 Georgians.

The council will also consider a request from its Executive Committee that more faculty members be appointed to the board of trustees of the University of Georgia Foundation. The request comes as part of a recommendation that the university’s statutes be amended to recognize the existence of the foundation.

In a routine review of the statutes, the council’s Committee on Statutes, Bylaws and Committees discovered that, although the UGA Foundation is 67 years old, it is not included in the statutes. Similar organizations, such as the University of Georgia Research Foundation and the University of Georgia Athletic Association, are covered in the statutes.

During a discussion of a proposal to add the UGA Foundation to the statutes, several Executive Committee members asked that the council also act to increase faculty representation on the foundation board. The boards of both the Research Foundation and Athletic Association include several faculty members but the UGA Foundation board has only one faculty member.

The Executive Committee voted to ask the council to authorize Executive Committee chair Scott Weinberg to contact foundation leaders and explore the possibility of adding faculty ­members chosen by the council to the foundation board.