Dear NASH-PSM Colleagues and Visitors,
Welcome to the National Association of System Heads (NASH) – Professional Science Master’s (PSM) joint project for PSM degree programs. From their inception in the mid-1990s, PSM degree programs have continued to gain momentum as an innovative feature in graduate education across public higher education systems. To date, 16 higher education systems, alliances, and states have adopted PSM programs, with conversations underway with system administrators in additional states.
In today’s higher education environment, the question asked by many legislators and the public is: Are we still relevant to the social, cultural and economic vitality of our state or region? In fact, this critical question is the focus of the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices’ publication, March 21, 2011, Degrees for What Jobs? Raising Expectations for Universities and Colleges in a Global Economy.
Professional Science Masters (PSM) programs speak directly to relevance. Graduate students develop skills to apply their scientific knowledge in industry, non-profit, or public sector careers. The experiential component of a PSM enables students to understand the contribution of STEM knowledge to real issues and to become the leaders in innovation that will spur the next generation of economic development.
The PSM model fits well within public higher education systems where the focus is on professional skills and applied research, and where we are seeing more of an emphasis in both undergraduate and graduate programs on connection to external partners and on internships. For our students, learning in context is critical as we extend our knowledge from the classroom to the community based on strengths and mission.
As our science-based graduate programs evolve based on the national demand for more STEM graduates, the PSM will serve as bedrock for enhanced scientific innovation and economic development by linking mastery of scientific knowledge to the process of discovery and to application.
Therefore, as a state system leader, I endorse continued development and implementation of system-wide and regionally-focused collaborative PSM degree programs to meet workforce demand in STEM sectors.
The purpose of this site is to link systems and states who have adopted PSM programs, and to serve as a resource for those who are considering system-level PSM adoption. I am confident that you will find the resources, reports, partnership information, and funding opportunities helpful in your PSM initiatives!
Dr. Jim Moran
Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education