Innovative Teaching Methods, New Collaborations and a Reinvigorated Research Program Are Part of KGI’s Plan for ‘Smart’ Growth
This fall, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences welcomes 97 new students — the largest class ever to be admitted. In May, we awarded degrees to 92 students from our Master of Bioscience (MBS), Postdoctoral Professional Masters (PPM), Postbaccalaureate Premedical Certificate (PPC), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Bioscience Management Certificate programs. We set another record with Team Masters Projects (TMPs). This year, 19 projects were presented in two parallel sessions. Since its inception, KGI has completed 119 TMPs with repeat sponsors constituting 71 percent of those projects.
The focus of TMPs ran the gamut from rare childhood diseases to next-generation medical devices to biofuels, and our students continued to impress sponsors with their professional abilities and creative insights. With more than 500 KGI alumni pursuing careers and making contributions throughout the life science industry, KGI’s reputation and reach continues to expand — not only here in the United States but internationally as well.
During the past year, KGI was added to the Chinese Ministry of Education’s list of approved schools in California, and the institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s Zhong Mei Group, a large conglomerate encompassing the medical services, education, pharmaceutical and research sectors. The group also will sponsor KGI’s first two international TMPs in the coming academic year. KGI also has signed a cooperation agreement with the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) in Brazil. In addition to promoting and facilitating research collaboration and an exchange of students and faculty between the two institutions, the agreement allows for mutually beneficial activities such as joint submission of grants and other funding proposals.
Reinforcing our role as national leader in bioscience graduate education, in January, KGI was selected by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to administer the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Affiliation process, an integral part of establishing and maintaining high-quality standards for PSM programs across the country. KGI launched the first PSM, the Master of Bioscience, as its flagship program, and it has since been adopted by the graduate education community nationwide in an effort to produce the kinds of science and engineering professionals needed to keep the United States globally competitive. We assumed full responsibility for the program in July and have established a PSM Office at KGI that we believe will add substantial value in building awareness, reputation, and corporate sponsorships for the PSM movement.
We are pleased to welcome two new faculty members this fall. Susan Bain, DRSc, has joined as professor of practice in clinical & regulatory affairs, bringing with her more than 25 years of managerial experience at leading pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device firms and the FDA. Alan Rothfeld, MD, will also join the faculty full time as a professor of practice. Dr. Rothfeld recently served as vice president of medical quality at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and the chief medical officer of QueensCare Family Clinics. He also has held several teaching positions at USC.
This is an exciting time at KGI — one that is distinguished by numerous opportunities for collaboration and expansion. In order to ensure maximum effectiveness during this next phase of our growth, we have completed our second strategic plan which delineates institutional priorities for the next five years. These include reinvigorating our research programs, finding and adapting innovative and effective teaching techniques and technologies, and strengthening our infrastructure by increasing faculty/staff retention and fostering an environment that encourages team work. Also, to help guide our growth, the Board of Trustees approved the formation of KGI’s first president’s council. Comprised of an elite group of life science industry leaders, the council will provide the institute with knowledge, guidance and industry expertise as we strive to educate the next generation of life science professionals and engage in research that will ultimately benefit society.
As always, we invite you to visit KGI to learn more about our educational model, plans for the future and how our innovative institution can benefit you.
Sheldon M. Schuster