The Professional Science Masters (PSM): Bridging the Gap Between Science and Business The California State University (CSU) PSM Experience

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1 The Professional Science Masters (PSM): Bridging the Gap Between Science and Business The California State University (CSU) PSM Experience Presented at the NGA Center for Best Practices Governors Education, Workforce, and Economic Development Policy Advisors Institute 2011 By: Elizabeth L. Ambos Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Initiatives and Partnerships California State University Office of the Chancellor June 11, 2011

2 Professional Science Master s (PSM): A New Type of Graduate Degree Developed over past decade in response to workforce needs Produces technically trained leaders for U.S. knowledgebased economy*; often termed 21 st Century MBA Two-year innovative programs combine science and professional courses (e.g. ethics, project management) Often includes paid industry internship experience - projectbased learning, not research-thesis based 230 programs nationwide at 100 universities, enrolling 3000, 28% of whom are international 42% acceptance rate *Source: Teitelbaum, M., and Lynch, C. B., Needed: Support for Professional Science Master s Degrees, Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/15/

3 PSM: Distinctive from Other Science Graduate Programs Less research emphasis than M.S. or Ph.D. in sciences More likely to lead to private sector employment Extensive collaboration with industry; shared facilities, faculty, project-based learning Crosses institutional silos; more sharing of courses; on-line instruction

4 Strategic Steps to the CSU PSM Institutional Readiness to Innovate: Both grass-roots (individual faculty) and system-led leadership (CSU Chancellor s Office, biotechnology leadership) Environmental Scan: business needs assessment surveys by trusted independent agency (California Council for Science and Technology) and internal survey of student preferences Catalytic funding/help from National Experts and Partnerships: CSU PSM development accelerated by funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

5 Result: CSU PSM Development Rapid and Responsive In 2007, the CSU initiated the largest PSM program in the nation with $1.365M in funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Now 17 campuses offer 22 programs More than 400 students enrolled annually* 409 degrees awarded between * External Advisory Board established *As of March 2011; source: CSU final project report to Alfred P. Sloan Foundation 5

6 CSU PSM Programs: Industry Sectors Dominated by Life Sciences Current programs: assistive and rehabilitative technologies, bioengineering, bioinformatics and medical informatics, biostatistics, biotechnology, communication and, computer hardware and software, computational science, environmental sciences, forensic science, genetic counseling, and stem cell research training

7 PSM Graduate Employment Dominated by Private Sector 5% 9% 78% 4% 4% Private Gov't/non profit Academia Advanced Degrees Unemployed Most CSU PSM graduates work for life science/biotechnology firms in California 7

8 CSU PSM Example: Biotechnology at Channel Islands M.S. in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Emphases in Biotechnology, Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management, and Biomedical Engineering* M.S. in Biotechnology/MBA dual degree Over 200 students enrolled since inception in 2005 Over 80 students graduated ALL graduates employed by biotechnology industry or entered professional and doctoral programs (note: Amgen major employer) The dual degree won a national award as an Outstanding Academic Program * 8

9 CSU PSM: Program Measures of Success Number of PSMs has more than quadrupled in four years 400 students enrolled annually 409 graduates over the last four years 96% of graduates are employed or have gone on to additional education ALL programs have instituted external advisory boards building of close ties to industry associates to guide curriculum and foster internships 9

10 CSU PSM: Lessons Learned Public higher education sectors can move quickly to develop state-wide programs if conditions are right Expect significant opportunity cost: need upfront investment and continuing investment Need particular focus on nurturing relationships with business/industry partners! Process is a meaningful goal: external advisory boards provide powerful bases for other collaborations CSU PSM graduates highly valued not yet understood as a separate brand.. but combination of science, business, and applied research/project-based learning (innovation, enterprise) understood as excellent preparation for a variety of job assignments

11 CSU PSM Programs in the National Context CSU PSMs Represent 80% of California PSM programs CSU PSMs Represent 10% Of nation s PSM programs Source: ; retrieved 6/6/2010

12 Primary Needs for PSM Programs in Higher Education??? Access to Data Ability to Track Graduates Marketing Strategies for PSM programs Linkages to State Labor Agencies and WIBs

13 - California State University PSM programs Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) PSM website National Professional Science Masters Association (NPSMA) PSM National Association of System Heads (NASH) project website

14 Thank you. May I answer any questions? Elizabeth L. Ambos

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