Boston University Metropolitan College/ School of Medicine Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Sciences (BLCS) Strategic Plan Outline

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1 Boston University Metropolitan College/ School of Medicine Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Sciences (BLCS) Strategic Plan Outline 1. The Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Sciences program, a joint effort between Metropolitan College and the School of Medicine, grew out of the need for laboratory technicians in the labs here at the medical school as well as for the burgeoning biotechnology industry taking hold in Massachusetts. Another reason for starting such a program was to reach out to the community so they could take part in biomedical research or get a job in the clinical sciences at the hospitals. For the program to reside here at BUSM and have the ability to grant an undergraduate degree, Metropolitan College was approached as the collaborator, a novel idea in the 1980 s. The BLCS program offers a B.S. degree and two certificates. In addition, the program has given rise to many innovative programs in biotechnology since its inception in Although this document will focus primarily on the BLCS program and CityLab Academy, it is noteworthy that it spawned two very robust programs that continue today. Few students were attracted to the program in the late 1980 s due to a widespread lack of knowledge about education and opportunities in biomedicine. BLCS principals (Franzblau and Phillips) wrote and received grants for high schol teacher professional development (PD) programs in biotechnology this seemed like an efficient way to reach the high school students. These multi-week summer workshops were very popular from 1990 through The teacher PD initiatives actually helped develop the concept of a laboratory here at BUSM to which teachers could bring their students. CityLab, a biotechnology learning laboratory at BUSM for middle and high school students and teachers, was started with a grant from the NIH (SEPA) in 1991 and has flourished since. CityLab, in addition to reaching thousands of students also became the mechanism to reach the teachers. (CityLab s growth, including the MobileLab, are not fully described in this document) In the early 1990 s, joint collaboration with other entities also interested in Page 1 of 6

2 biomedical education for the community (New England Medical Center, Jobs for Youth) developed a job training program with JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act) money for welfare recipients. The first class in 1991 was composed of 28 students and all graduated. One graduate of that program, Bilaal McCloud, today works in Mark Klempner s laboratories here at BUSM. Those early job training programs ( ) evolved into CityLab Academy, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education (FIPSE). For three years, CityLab Academy (CLA) was a day program with immense resources for classes of 12 students. In 1996, Boston University, under John Silber, continued to assume 12-credit scholarships for CLA students, as the Academy became part of the evening, undergraduate BLCS program. CLA continues today with much vigor. Both CityLab and CityLab Academy were developed due to increasing local interest in and visibility of biotechnology in Massachusetts. (CityLab will be discussed in the strategic plan of BUSM in the graduate medical sciences division) As the biotechnology industry grew and drugs were now entering clinical trials, clinical research courses were added in the mid-1990 s to the BLCS course offerings. This attracted many students interested in clinical research jobs. A graduate master of arts in clinical investigation (MACI) was created and, more recently, an online graduate certificate in clinical investigation (to be discussed in the BUSM GMS report). As the BLCS program evolves and changes, more cutting edge courses and programs will be added, additional online courses will be developed, and hopefully the resources will be put in place to attract larger number of students. For example, a new BS/MS program in biomedical laboratory and forensic sciences is being developed at BUSM. 2. Background 2.1. The BLCS program provides solid undergraduate academic and job skills training in biotechnology or clinical research. Students can pursue a B.S. degree or, if they already have a degree, take a 16-credit certificate in biotechnology or clinical research. Since 1987, the program has grown from four specialized courses to more than fifty. Students can choose their own course combination depending on prior education, their current job, and goals. Page 2 of 6

3 2.2. There are two full time faculty in the BLCS program, myself (since 1987) and 2.3. Gloria Vachino who has been teaching in the program (including CLA) in 2001 and recently (2005) hired full time. There is one half-time administrative assistant shared with CityLab. We are all paid by BUSM. Two part-time faculty, Ronnee Yashon and Laurie Halloran, who teach in the BLCS program, also teach in the graduate medical school and are paid by that unit Since 1996, there have been increased numbers of specialized courses and thus additional faculty drawn from the graduate school or industry Since faculty work both in industry and at BUSM in research, they bring their expertise to their own course but also to the overall course integration and planning Faculty respond to the latest knowledge and lab techniques in their fields by incorporating them into their courses (eg. cell signaling, bioinformatics) There are associate degree biotech programs such as those at Massachusetts Bay Community College and Middlesex Community College, but no undergraduate degree granting schools or colleges that compete with the BLCS program. There are biotechnology related courses at University of Massachusetts and Harvard Extension, but the emphasis is not on molecular biology. Other stand alone B.S. programs in the area focus on biomanufacturing, engineering or another field besides molecular biology. The BA/MA in Biotechnology, a combined degree at the Charles River Campus, is a five year, 38-course program BUSM continues to pay all of the salaries for instructors and faculty in the BLCS program. BUSM also supplies space, overhead, and buys supplies, equipment and disposables for the lab classes The sixteen credit certificates continue to attract more students than the B.S. degree. Career changers, students with degrees who cannot find work, and working students needing more or different knowledge like the certificate The relevance of the undergraduate program can be read in the 2005 Page 3 of 6

4 Biotechnology Training Needs Survey, conducted by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MBC), the biotech workforce is expected to grow. Since the inception of the BLCS program, the number of MA biotech firms has risen from under a hundred to more than Most students leaving the program continue to work at their laboratory job; some pursue Ph.D. s. As mentioned below, an active network of graduates working in the field interacting with current students is a vision for the future Research in the BLCS program has been primarily grant writing and a smaller amount of publishing. There are many graduate students who teach in the program engaged in research here at BUSM, but the focus of our research has always been in finding methodologies that will attract students into science. Between 1987 and the late 1990 s, Dr Carl Franzblau and I wrote many grants to fund CityLab and CityLab Academy for program development, staff, supplies, equipment, and teacher professional development. We successfully raised millions of dollars for growing these two programs from the National Institutes of Health (SEPA), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Bay State Skills Corporation, Job Training Partnership Act (in collaboration with New England Medical Center, Jobs for Youth, Boston Technical Center), the U.S. Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education, PALMS (A MA funding initiative for teacher professional development), Eisenhower and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. A textbook for cell culture was written by an instructor in the program, Bernice Martin. She had been teaching the course for years without a text and wrote Tissue Culture Techniques, An Introduction, Bernice M. Martin (Birkhauser pub.) We continue to use it today My other research and scholarship has been focused on science education programs, particularly with regard to program evaluation. Published articles have appeared in science teacher magazines, on web sites (HHMI, NAHSEP) and in an AAMC publication. These have been in Page 4 of 6

5 collaboration with other peers and colleagues within NIH and HHMI Present day focus is building the BLCS program with offerings that are attractive in today s scientific climate. Embarking on the B.S./M.S. in biomedical laboratory and forensic sciences, as well as a new M.A. in Biotechnology are examples. Developing more programs, or certificates, or employing new technologies to teach these are also important to pursue Focus is also on CityLab Academy as the job training program for the South End community for the NEIDL (New Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory). The first of three years of job training for Boston residents begin in the fall We are hiring personnel to help with student recruiting, case managing, retaining and helping students find jobs and continue to pursue college. Our commitment to the neighborhood has grown considerably since the late 1980 s. 3. The long-term (5-10 year-) goals and strategies include building an alumni online network where students and employers can locate each other, where internships, jobs, seminars by graduate for current students, and social events are main events. Every year, I receive at least two jobs or internships from program graduates for students currently in the program. Graduates feel loyalty to the program and remember the somewhat awkward activity of finding their internship. Keeping track of graduates, maintaining records and statistics of current students are important activities going forward. I want continuous collaboration with the Charles River Campus. I increased my involvement with MET over the years and have now chair the Academic Policy Committee for two years. Don DeRosa, CityLab, and I are co-pis on the NSF GK-12 grant which partners graduate students with K-12 teachers. Dr. Franzlbau and I continue to seek collaborative programs with MET and other colleges and schools. 4. The short-term (1-5 year-) priorities are to change the name of the program to better reflect its current mission, to hire two to four more part-time or full-time faculty, and to acquire new space. I would like to put the Medical Terminology course which I teach online and I would like a textbook written for the Introduction Page 5 of 6

6 to Biomedical Laboratory Sciences course. The program needs its own space, separate from CityLab with offices, classrooms, labs and student rooms, including a computer room and lounge. Keeping statistics on courses, students, jobs and other data are important moving forward. Being a MET/MED program, no one has kept data on the program, except for income in GMS (see attached). We are looking for ways to increase full time students since they bring in the most income. The income that the program brings to the two schools is not significant, but I feel the impact the courses have on program students and their livelihood, our position with the biotech education community and the immediate community outreach that we perform, is well worth the effort. Page 6 of 6

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