National PSM Steering Committee Meets at KGI to Chart Way Forward
Group’s goal is to support high-quality programs that strengthen the U.S. science and engineering workforce.
Representatives of the Professional Science Master's (PSM) initiative gathered at KGI on March 8 to map out plans for the future of the degree. Top items on the agenda included refining the PSM National Office Steering Committee charter, facilitating collaboration with the National Professional Science Master's Association (NPSMA), and structuring the PSM branding and affiliation process to ensure quality and consistency. In January 2012 Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) was selected by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to administer the PSM affiliation process as an integral part of establishing and maintaining the high-quality standards for PSM programs across the country.
"We are very pleased to have such broad representation of PSM leaders and constituencies to advise the PSM National Office. We are particularly grateful to Carol Lynch and Michael Teitelbaum who have volunteered to continue their involvement in this important national initiative by co-chairing the steering committee," said Dr. James Sterling, VP for academic affairs at KGI.
Dr. Carol Lynch is a former University of Colorado Graduate School dean and served as senior scholar-in-residence and director of Professional Master's programs there from 2006 to 20012, and Dr. Michael Teitelbaum of the Sloan Foundation has championed many of the PSM initiatives funded by that organization.
The Sloan Foundation PSM initiative began in 1997 with grants to 14 research universities to support the founding of programs in the natural sciences and mathematics, followed by a targeted bioinformatics set of programs at another 12 research institutions. In 2001, a Sloan grant to the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) extended the PSM initiative to master's-focused institutions, which award 40 percent of science/math master's degrees and where faculty are heavily invested in master's education.
In January 2006, the Council of Graduate Schools assumed primary responsibility for supporting and expanding the Sloan Professional Science Master's (PSM) Initiative, with the goal of making it a regular feature of U.S. graduate education. In recent years, the PSM degree has undergone a dramatic rise in popularity with 298 PSM programs in the United States and 131 PSM-affiliated institutions. A recent U.S. News & World Report article on the rise of the PSM degree titled, "Focus on Job Skills with a Professional Master's Degree" reports that schools "from State U. to the Ivy League are launching programs similar to the professional science master's in all sorts of other disciplines. The hallmarks include strategically using professionals as adjunct faculty (as well as on-the-ground industry contacts), an emphasis on internships (often paid), and capstone projects."
At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Lynch noted that participation by such a "wide range of those who have been intimately involved in the ongoing success of the Professional Science Master's degree, including faculty, employers, administrators and alumni," would ensure the success of the PSM initiative going forward. "We expect this new steering committee will provide valuable advice to the national PSM Office as they move forward with their efforts to facilitate high-quality PSM programs designed to strengthen the science and engineering workforce of the United States," Lynch said.
Visit the Professional Science Masters web site for more information on degrees.
Front row (L to R):
Sheila Thomas, California State University, Long Beach; Marilyn Wells, PASSHE; Deborah Silver, Rutgers University; Michael Teitelbaum, The Sloan Foundation; Beverly Karplus Hartline, Montana Tech; Carol Lynch, University of Colorado; Sheila Tobias, consultant and writer.
Back row (L to R):
James Till, California State University, Dominguez Hills; David King, State University of New York, Oswego; David Dyer, California State University, Fullerton; Barbara Taylor, Oregon State University; Joan Fryxell, California State University, San Bernardino; Bogdan Vernescu, WPI; Joseph Whittaker, Morgan State University; Max Poole, University of Central Florida; Dagmar Beck, Rice University; Marc Salata, KGI; Lindsay Janssen, KGI; Lillian Wu, IBM; Jim Sterling, KGI.