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doctoral program

Graduate School Dean Returns to Research

Richard Kessin

Richard Kessin

Richard Kessin, Ph.D., stepped down as associate dean of graduate students on Nov. 1. After five years in this position, Dr. Kessin returned to his lab to continue his research in microbiology and antibiotic synthesis.

Dr. Kessin was a passionate advocate for the more than 350 Ph.D. students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences basic sciences doctoral program at CUMC, raising visibility for the program. Dr. Kessin believes that the goal of graduate education should not be only to provide career training but to engender good scientists by nurturing creative, well-rounded, independent thinkers.

Under his leadership, many initiatives were launched that help enrich Columbia's quality and reputation in graduate education. To introduce graduate students to the interface of basic research and clinical medicine, Dr. Kessin initiated the "Grand Rounds for Graduate Students" series. Designed in conjunction with the M.D./Ph.D. program, the talks acquaint graduate students with clinical applications of the skills they have acquired. These lectures are also well attended by medical students and residents who wish to further their understanding of the molecular basis of disease.

Dr. Kessin also began a series of talks on critical events in the history of science. The acclaimed "Four Evenings on the History of Science" series brought together students, clinicians, researchers and administrators for fascinating and often entertaining lectures.

During Dr. Kessin's tenure, minority recruitment efforts were successfully expanded. He organized and taught in the Responsible Conduct of Research Course that is required for all graduate students and NIH grantees and also took time to introduce the excitement of scientific inquiry to undergraduate and high school students.

Dr. Kessin has been an active member of the university's Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and has participated with a group of graduate deans from other New York schools in the coordination of career development conferences.

While an active search for a replacement for Dr. Kessin is under way, Assistant Dean Fred Loweff is managing the day to day functions involved in recruiting, enrolling and retaining graduate students.