60 Seconds with... Kevin Eckert, Dean, Erickson School of Aging Studies

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Q: As newly appointed dean, what do you emphasize about this young school? A: As far as I know, there is only one other independent school of aging studies or gerontology: the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at USC. Our school will have an educational program – undergraduate and graduate, professional development, a policy and a research institute dedicated to aging and aging services.

Q: Safe to say there are lofty aspirations?

A: Our goal, quite frankly, is to be considered to the aging services industry what the Wharton School (at the University of Pennsylvania) is to the business community or the Cornell school is to the hospitality industry.

Q: What do providers need most?

A: It's in the integration of knowledge. You can't divorce the development from the operations. We think the opportunity lies with integrating these areas that are typically silos. You can go out and find training here and there, but how do you put it all together?

Q: Why do this now?

A: If we just think of the seniors housing and care industry, my understanding is that it's about a $140 billion industry and it will triple in the next three decades.

Q: Will courses all be at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County?

A: No. It will be on-site and distance learning. UMBC is a very high-tech, advanced university. And being at a public university, we will be able to offer a good value – top quality, second to none and at a price that is affordable. We have a beginning Web site that is a good place for people to watch us grow. It can be reached at: www.umbc/edu/erickson.