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TODAY news for Thursday, July 20, 2006

Graduate School news

Faculty of Graduate Studies names dean

Anthony J. Zuccarelli, PhD
Anthony J. Zuccarelli, PhD
Loma Linda University has named Anthony J. Zuccarelli, PhD, as dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Dr. Zuccarelli has been a member of the LLU faculty since 1976, and in 2003 became interim dean of the Graduate School (now called the Faculty of Graduate Studies).

How did the change from the Graduate School to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) happen? In the summer of 2004, Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, chancellor of LLU, convened a task force of University officers and representatives from each of the schools to consider the role of the Graduate School in the University. The resulting Graduate School task force met regularly for 10 months, and in April 2005, proposed the creation of a new, school-level entity called the Faculty of Graduate Studies to replace the Graduate School. The University Board of Trustees endorsed the plan during its meeting the next month.

In August 2005, Dr. Zuccarelli convened regular meetings of University faculty who had held appointments in the Graduate School. More than 50 faculty members volunteered to serve on 11 “working groups” assigned to study the individual topics.

“They debated the questions, collected suggestions and recommendations from the faculty and other sources, and proposed how the FGS should function,” explains Dr. Zuccarelli.

By March 2006, most of the working groups had prepared draft policy and operation documents representing their consensus for those functions. These were individually brought to the full FGS faculty to discuss, modify, and approve. To date, more than 100 faculty members and administrators from all of the schools have attended the general meetings and participated in those deliberations. “Major elements of FGS organization and function were approved by the faculty during the last few months, but much remains to be done,” says Dr. Zuccarelli.

Dr. Zuccarelli has two general goals for FGS. “The first goal is to enhance, expand, and improve research-based graduate education at LLU,” he states. “As a strategy for achieving this first goal, we hope to make FGS an ‘intellectual commons’ where insight and expertise in discovery-based education is shared and freely available.

“A second goal is to enhance the research productivity of the University,” Dr. Zuccarelli continues. “Loma Linda is well-known for health care education and for its commitment to global service. Those efforts flow directly from our historical mission and our defining institutional values. They must continue to be our primary activities. However, the academic community tends to measure the stature of a university by what it contributes to the body of useful knowledge. Discovery, scholarly investigation, research and innovation are considered essential attributes of successful academic institutions.”

In achieving the second goal, FGS plans to collaborate with the office of the vice chancellor for research affairs to create a University-wide research directory. FGS will also sponsor forums to bring potential research collaborators together in settings where they can explore common interests. A further initiative will be to provide financial incentives to qualified graduate students interested in interschool and interdisciplinary research projects.

“With time I see FGS efforts to enhance the quality of graduate education and the initiatives to improve the scholarly output of the University merging into one stream. My hope is that we can add to our current repertoire of health care education and international service a reputation for innovation and discovery.”

By Patricia Thio

TODAY news for Thursday, July 20, 2006