USC MAG-MASM Program Overview
During the webinar Professor George Shannon shares information about the University of Southern California, USC Leonard Davis, and the online Master of Arts in Gerontology and Master of Aging Services Management, along with his own impressions of the program and the field from his vantage point as a teaching professor. Learn how USC Davis is preparing students to meet today’s challenges and developing strategies for the Aging Revolution.
Learn more about online gerontology degrees at the USC Davis School of Gerontology.
Jami O’Connell: Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us today for the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology’s Webinar about the online Master of Arts in Gerontology & Master of Aging Services Management Graduate Program. My name is Jami O’Connell, enrollment advisor for the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and I will be your host for this event.
Before we get started I just have a few notes about what you can expect during today’s webinar. You are in auto only mode which means you can hear us but we can not hear you. During the webinar please feel free to type your questions into the question and answer box throughout the presentation as you think of them. We have reserved time at the end of this presentation to answer your questions. We hope that you find this session to be informative, as well as helpful. Let’s look at the agenda for today. We’re going to talk about the university, the Davis School of Gerontology, as well as the online program, then provide the opportunity for questions and answers at the end.
I am very pleased to introduce our presenter today, Dr. George Shannon, who is an Assistant Professor at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Dr. Shannon earned his Masters of Science in Gerontology and PhD from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. He is an active member of Phi Kappa Phi All-University National Honor Society, Golden Key International Society and Sigma Phi Omega National Gerontology Academic Honor Society. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Shannon is the Director of the Rongxiang Xu Center for Regenerative Life Science at the Davis School of Gerontology. Now I’ll turn it over to Dr. Shannon and thanks again for enjoying us today. Enjoy.
George Shannon: Hi. I want to talk just a couple of minutes about the University of Southern California which was established in 1880, located in LA, in a really wonderful, ethnic, mixed, neighborhood in the downtown area. It’s one of the world’s leading private research in universities which means that we focus on research as well as teaching. The last time I looked I think we were ranked twenty-third or twenty-second worldwide in the listing of the best universities in the world. We have seventeen graduate and professional schools. We had 19,000 undergrads in 2015-16, which is now. And 24,000 graduate and professional students both online and in class. It’s a wonderful mix with great opportunities. We have more international students than any other U.S. university. Now about the USC Davis School of Gerontology. It was founded in 1964. Actually the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center was founded in 1964 and the school itself came out of that in 1975.
The faculty represented many disciplines. We talk about how there are four primary areas in the school. We have psychology, sociology, epidemiology and biology. As well as public policy in the various corners of this school and some of which interact with each other constantly. It’s a wonderful work environment for both students and faculty. We have a powerful alumni network that I want to talk about right now. One of the reasons that you want to come to USC is your opportunity to network and meet professionals in the area of your study. I can’t tell you how many people I have met over the years. I graduated with a PhD in 1964. Everywhere I go I meet, am helped and assisted by graduates of the program, of our program, of other programs within the university. It’s just an amazing and a wonderful work environment. It transfers itself into the environment that you’ll be encountering when you go out to the workplace. After all, that’s what it’s all about. What we’re here for is to prepare you to be successful in your work life. I think we really work to accomplish that.
I want to talk a little bit about the different tracks that we have in gerontology. We have a Master of Arts in Gerontology (MAG Program ), which emphasizes what? As I said, the biological, psychological and social aspects of the aging process. What I talk about when I’m teaching GERO 530 or GERO 330 is the life course perspective. I start my lectures by saying, “We are the sum of every moment of our lives. All of the things that we do, all of the people we interact with, all of the circumstances and environmental factors in our lives are reflected in our old age.” That’s why we have to really be conscious and aware and think about what we’re doing now and what will be the payoff when we get to be 65 or 70. In your cases as young people you have ever reason to believe that you’ll live well into your nineties and why not? The Masters of Arts in Gerontology can help you professionally by helping you to understand the aging process, what it is that happens? Why do we age? Questions like should families help older adults?
In my classes anyway we talk about elder suicide, elder abuse. All of the things that contribute to our understanding of aging and the aging process. We can help you when you graduate to be as well informed as possible and move on to a very successful career. The Masters of Aging Services Management, what we call the MASM program, provides knowledge and skill sets. That’s really important. Not just a lot of facts that are in your head but the skills to apply them. We successfully offer products, services and programs to serve older adults. That’s why you will be here and that’s why I’m here. That’s why everybody you hear on this line is here. It is to give service to older adults. We want to help as much as we can and give meaning to our lives by doing that. The Masters of Aging Services Management helps professionals in many industries. It’s really varied, things like residential care facilities. I’m on the certification board for the national assisted living group which is called ALPA, Assisted Living Professionals.
We have many persons from our program who are in that same group of CEOs of upper management, middle management depending on when they graduated and how far they’ve come along. Retirement communities, assisted living as I said, hospice care. Hospice care is something that’s gaining in not just importance because it’s always been important, but gaining in recognition. The amount of money that can be saved, the amount of pain and suffering that can be alleviated is enormous. Hospice care is really taking its place as the kind of a situation, the environment that older adults particularly would want to be in, in their final days. Home care. Again we know that most people want to stay at home as long as possible and spend the final years of their life with their family and friends in that environment that they’re so familiar with. Although I must say that there are changes afoot in terms of the assisted living environment where they’re really working to provide not only a home environment and a community feeling, but also have ready and available the kinds of services that can be needed and sometimes most unexpectedly.
There are new and emerging ideas for what to do with a graduate degree in a Master of Aging Services Management. As I said, there are just so many opportunities. I’ve seen a thousand students in the years that I’ve been teaching here in the master’s program and they’re all working. They are all working and that’s really a testament to the program.
So the MAG Curriculum, which is a Master of Arts in Gerontology, requires five core courses. GERO 500 which is an overview, a basic understanding, gives you a basic understanding of what the study of gerontology will involve. GERO 508, the mind and body connection through the lifespan. Again synthesizing the ideas of the physical, the mental and the emotional. GERO 520, which is lifespan developmental psychology. Psychology is an important and essential element of understanding older adults as they age. We know for example that it’s easy for older adults suffering the losses that they suffer.
Friends, jobs, and life satisfaction can very easily become depressed. If we don’t get to the depression we’re not going to be able to provide the kinds of services that they need. They won’t be able to accept them because they’ve blocked themselves from doing so. The psychology of aging is really important. I teach 530, the lifespan developmental sociology. That is that we are a result as we get older of everything we do, everybody we meet, all of the circumstances and environments that we encounter. The things that happen like depressions and wars. People who have experienced, for example, the down turn that we had in 2009. We’re tremendously affected by it. Kids couldn’t go to school. They had to wait, put off their education because they couldn’t afford it. Their families couldn’t afford to provide them with the kind of education that they wanted. There are many things that influence our outcomes in old age. Social policy and aging which I also teach, is a wonderful class that provides us with an understanding of Medicare and Medicaid, social security. All of the social policies that provide a safety net as well as the kind of healthcare.
After all when you turn 65, almost universally, you’re entitled to healthcare. That’s a big thing. Trust me because I am over 65. I know how important it is to have healthcare that’s affordable because you have certain costs, but it’s not the $1,000 a month that you pay with a private insurer. It’s a wonderful class that really gives you a lot of information. You look at these classes in the MAG curriculum. You see how complex they are, yet how they are interwoven and give you a really terrific understanding of aging and the aging processes. There are our elective courses. You take two from a list of approved electives. I teach, for example, program evaluation which as an administrator is vital because you get a real in depth understanding from the class of how to look at a program and get some ideas. Whether it’s working on not and if so, why? Also I suppose if it’s not working, why? In addition to the unintended consequences of programs that we think are going to work one way and turn out to work another.
To the MASM Curriculum is again GERO 500. In addition GERO 501 which is applied legal and regulatory issues in aging. A great class taught by an attorney who is by the way the wife of one of our outstanding professors. She is just fabulous in her teaching skills. 502 is marketing and shifts in consumer decision making. Again these are the aging services management classes. 504, current issues in aging services management. 589 which I co-teach with Dr. Schneider, who is the former Dean of the school for 18 years. Case studies in leadership and change management where we bring in all of the CEOs that we can gather. We kind of twist their arms, go out into the community, get them to come in and to speak to the class, answer questions, and provide the kind of understanding that you really get first hand from that kind of encounter, to let you know what it is that it takes to become successful in aging services management. I teach 589, 555, 540, 530. I do a lot of teaching. That’s my job and I love it. I went back to school when I was 55, graduated when I was 64.
Before that I spent 30 years as an actor. I just love performing and these classes give me an opportunity to do what I somewhat amusingly call my standard routine. There’s 510, 380, which is diversity aging, a very important undergraduate class which is online. 330 which is an in class undergraduate program which is the sociology of aging. We have mixed or blended classes; 530 is an example, 540 is an example, except for the one in the summer which is strictly online. In that case it’s a wonderful opportunity for you to learn at your convenience.
The sessions are taped so that you can go look at them when you need to. You can go back… One of the things that I like about it is when I was doing the master’s program and the Ph.D. program, I used to tape record the lectures. I would listen to them when I was in the car driving back and forth to school. Here you can do that at home. You can go back and say, “What was that point that he was making or she was making that I wanted to remember and I don’t?” You can go back, look it up and find it. It’s really, really helpful. I think you will find that having the online opportunity is just terrific. People say, “Well does the online person get the same advantage that the in-class person does?” In some ways, it’s even better. There is of course not that personal one-to-one contact that you get in class, but you have online discussions with some of the real experts in the subject matter from across the country, who are getting their master’s degree in gerontology but who are working as nurses, doctors, and OT people, and are people who are providing a direct service in the community, who have a great deal of really relevant and important knowledge that they will share with you. So it really is an addendum to the learning experience and one that I think is truly valuable.
So as I begin to say the online learning advantages are the flexibility. You can pretty much work around your schedule which is really important. I have students all over the world but a lot of students on the East Coast and the time differential is there which can complicate things. As long as they’re able to realize when we’re doing the class, they can either tune in if they have the opportunity or pick it up later on when they get home from work, for example. There’s connection and interaction. What does that mean? Interacting with others in the discussion sections, having the opportunity to call in. You can always call in to the classes and ask questions. If you’re in a synchronous mode … That is that you’re in real time.
You can call in and the professors are more than happy. In fact we encourage you to call in and ask questions. Anything that you want to know and need to know, we’re there to answer for you. Again the accessibility allows you to easily and quickly re-visit. Go back and look at the material. Look it over twice. It’s a wonderful opportunity that you don’t get if you’re just in an in-class situation. I must tell you that a lot of the in class students in our blended classes do just that. They go back and review the lectures so that they pick up all of the points that are really important to them in their studies. Okay, that’s about it for me. I’m going to turn it back over to our enrollment advisor, Jami. She’s going to talk more about admission requirements.
Jami O’Connell: Thank you so much, Dr. Shannon. It’s much appreciated. I’m going to go over some of the admission requirements. Some of you I’ve already spoken to over the phone or maybe have an idea of what they are, but I want to review them as well. First, you need to fill out a graduate application. It is pretty straightforward. Again as you’re going through any of the process of the application itself, my role is to assist and to make sure you have a strong application and are not running into any difficulties. That being said, let’s look at what the requirements are in terms of a GPA. We’re looking at an undergraduate GPA of a 3.0. From experience I have seen student’s special cases that have been accepted with a grade point average of slightly under 3.0. If you fall in that category, that’s something that I can definitely discuss with you offline.
Applicants are required to take the GRE and attain a composite score of at least 297, if your cumulative undergrad GPA is below 3.0. Again there are special cases where that might not pertain. Also your undergraduate degree must be from an accredited institution. We will also need official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, a current professional resume, also a minimum of two letters of recommendation. Those letters can be academic or professional. We run into a lot of students who have been out of school for quite some time so the professional letters of recommendation work beautifully. As well as the statement of purpose, which is in your own words why you are pursuing this degree, what you hope to accomplish, and why you’ve chosen USC as your school of choice. Okay.
That being said, it’s now time for our Q&A session. Just as a reminder, if you have any questions please type them into the Q&A box in the lower right-hand corner of your screen and hit send. If we don’t get to your question today one of us will follow up with you directly.
Okay. Our first question … “How long does it take to finish the program?” That’s a really good question. It depends on some factors. Number one, what program you’re enrolled in. If we look at the Master of Arts in Gerontology you’re looking at a total of seven course. If you’re taking one class in the summer which is usually the recommended amount of classes to take during the summer, two in the fall, two in the spring. You can complete the program in as little as 16 months. If you were to take that program at a part time pace, meaning one class every single semester, then you’re looking at 28 months. There is that built-in flexibility to adjust your pace throughout your time in the program, to finish it anywhere between 16 to 28 months. Master of Aging Services Management is a total of eight courses. You’re looking at 19 months, again at that pace of that one class for the summer, two for the fall and spring. And again, if you kept it in a part time pace which is one class per semester, you’re looking at a maximum of 30 months.
Oh, great. We have another great question, “What does the online learning platform look like?” I think this question is probably best suited for Dr. Shannon since he works with this on a daily basis, and is probably more of a master of how this learning platform looks like. If you don’t mind, Dr. Shannon, if you can answer that question. Again it is, “What is the online learning platform like?”
George Shannon: Sure. I think the best way to answer that is first of all, you know that the framework involves our having live and taped lectures. We transfer all of our knowledge into Blackboard. In some cases we actually have written lectures as well on Blackboard, in addition to the spoken lectures that the professors do. We have the grading system on Blackboard. We have an interactive platform for a discussion section which I began to talk about a little bit earlier. That is where we set up a few questions like … Let’s say we use one of the titles from one of our chapters, “Should families care for older adults?” Underneath that would be questions like is social security important in that regard? Should families provide active care and support for their older family members or should they be relegated to nursing homes, or to assisted living? What does that mean? In today’s modern world we have senior living facilities, for example, that are just tremendous, wonderful, creative, very bright and cheerful, pleasant places to live. Those are the kinds of questions that we ask.
We ask questions like, “Why do our bodies grow old?” You have an opportunity then to talk back and forth, respond, answer the question. Someone else says, “Well I didn’t realize that. So it’s a process of biological aging?” Well, you know, wear and tear. Our immune system breaks down. We get older and our cells don’t replicate the way they did. You have this opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from that. Often the professor will come in and say, “Now wait a minute. Let’s keep this straight because we have a cellular theory which suggests that cells replicate maybe fifty-two times and then begin to make mistakes.” That’s only one of the elements that we should be talking about. So, there is that Blackboard-dominated concept where we work through a program that you can access. Once you’re enrolled in the class and you have been entered into Blackboard, you have the opportunity to engage in discussions with all of the other class members.
Currently I have a class with ninety-eight members, 60 of whom are in class and 38 of whom are online. Both the online and in-class people have the opportunity to interact and relate to each other. I think it’s a wonderful learning environment.
Jami O’Connell: Okay. Thank you, Dr. Shannon. Another great question has come up, “How long are the online semesters?” That’s a great question. We have three semesters throughout the school year. Our upcoming semester, which we are still taking applications for will start May 18th and run until the beginning of August. It’s a little bit shorter than our 15-week semesters which run in Fall, which will start August 22nd, and runs through about mid December. Our spring semester starts in January and runs fifteen weeks through April. They’ve got 15, 15 and then a shorter in summer which is usually 6 to 7 weeks, 8 at the most.
Okay. This is a great question, “What is the age group of your students?” What I’ve done as I’m working with students is I actually did a little amateur analysis of the types of students and the age group. I found that 49 percent of the students range in age from 45 to 71.
I say 71 because I recently had a student accepted into the program that’s registered and can’t wait to start with us in the summer. She’s 71. That being said, then we have another larger population, probably between the ages of 25 to 35. It’s a really nice blend. It’s really a great program for those right out of school, those changing careers or those who just want to really give back to society. Also have had experiences with loved ones and really feel that this is a passion and a calling for them.
In addition there’s a second part to that question, “Where do they find work after they complete the program?” I mostly work with students during the application process. Dr. Shannon, if you can shed some light onto the type of work that students are finding after they complete the program, that would be wonderful.
George Shannon: Sure. In my experience they work in management certainly and in the nursing home environment. Excuse me while I clear my throat here. I’m back. They are teaching at community colleges. As well as working as care providers doing a similar job to what social workers might do, but with the adding emphasis that they have in aging services. There are many different areas that students will come out and work in. As I said, everybody I know, and I know many, many–I have contact with almost everybody who comes through the school because I teach so many classes–They’re all working and they’re all happy. I’m constantly getting emails from people saying, “I just got a great job working, doing research at a foundation. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the foundation that I got, the learning experience that I got working in the Davis School of Gerontology, because it’s provided me with the tools to forge a career,” which is what it’s all about. As I keep saying, it’s all about our training you and helping you.
Those of you who already are working and want to get a master’s degree to improve your status or provide you with an opportunity to get a better job in nursing, in occupational therapy, physical therapy. We have people all over the country in so many different lines of healthcare service. Particularly for older adults that … There are many opportunities. There are many venues. What will happen is that through our internship program and through the classes, is you will find … If you’re not already working in the industry, you will find what it is that you’re passionate about and you’ll pursue that. That’s why so many of our students are really happy when they graduate because they’ve found a career path that can really excite them, interest them, and provide the kind of mental and physical stimulation that they need to have a fulfilled life.
Jami O’Connell: Thank you, Dr. Shannon. We have another question that I’m sure a lot of our students are anxiously awaiting the answer to, “How much does the program cost?” I like to break it down in terms of this school year and next school year because our tuition does increase every fall. Each class is 4 units. If you’re looking at per unit you’re looking at $1,666 times four, which equals $6,664 per class. In the fall it will increase to $1,733, but then you’re looking at $6,932 per class. To give a bigger picture like the entire program costs, it’s hard to say because the program does increase every fall. You’re looking at between both programs, between $48,000 and $56,000 for the entire degree. Some of you will be wondering, “How do I pay for my education?” In my experience I’ve run into a lot of folks who might seek out scholarship opportunities.
There are some private scholarship opportunities. If you go to Google and you just type in college scholarship opportunities, there’s a lot of great websites out there. There’s also part of the applications for our program. There’s the supplemental portion to the application which is in a sense an application to a scholarship to the Davis School of Gerontology. Additionally, besides scholarships some employers do provide tuition assistance. Some might do full reimbursement. Some might do partial. We also have a financial aid office that is open to answer any and all questions. I’m not really a financial aid expert. From experience I’ve seen that there are graduate loans available to those that qualify. There are some who might have a nest egg or some other ways of funding their education through private matters or help from their family. I hope this has helped answer that question because there were quite a few questions regarding financing of education.
George Shannon: If I may add just a word to that, I have a number of teaching assistants who are paid $17 an hour to work 10 hours a week on my classes. That also is a way to defray some of your expenses.
Jami O’Connell: All right. Great. Thank you so much Dr. Shannon. Now we have another question regarding, “What do the classes look like? Are there tests, papers, a mix, group projects? Are we working in teams? How does the program look in terms of the classes in general?” Dr. Shannon, if you can address this since you are a professor and you’re actually the one out there giving the test papers in the mix. If you can just give us an overview of what your classes look like.
George Shannon: Well, I have a syllabus that I send out to everyone which talks about what the objectives are, what the learning objectives are, and what the conditions are that exist in society and why it’s important to study a class like sociology of aging. We send that out and it’s also available on Blackboard. When you look at Blackboard, many of you are familiar with it because it’s even used in high schools, as well as junior colleges and community colleges, almost everyone is familiar with that. You will see on the left side of all of the things like the assignments, the syllabus. They’re all categorized on the left side. As well as the lectures, handouts and things like that. You have the opportunity and the readings, for example, in most of our classes. In addition to text, we have assigned readings. We will almost always try to find those readings for you. Put them into Blackboard so that you can click on them, download them and you have them for your studies.
I think that’s really key to this is that so much of the online experience revolves around the Blackboard Interface. It gives everyone an opportunity to learn and to get their assignments and to submit their assignments in a really reasonable and easy way. The other thing is that I have office hours and I give my students my phone number. Always, it’s on my syllabus. You can call me if you’re having a problem. I think the biggest worry is to make sure that the online students are connected. That they don’t feel like they’re left out or that they’re out there in the ether without any anchor. What I try to do is make it as easy as possible to connect with me. I respond to emails, for example, almost instantly. You can text me. We can set up Skype or Google Hangout.
There’s so many ways to connect that can help you to … Not just get answers to your questions, but get that sense of who I am and how I respond to you. I think that’s really important. It’s the one thing that I think is vital and I think it can be accomplished with online students by simply having that kind of an electronic connection.
Jami O’Connell: All right. Thank you. We have another question, “I understand there are a lot of traditional and online classes. If I live in another state am I limited just to the online classes? Or am I able to visit the campus and sit in on traditional classes for credit?” Certainly. We have a lot of students in that situation who would like to visit the campus, would like to sit in on classes. That’s certainly an option.
George Shannon: Yeah. I have a lot of students who will say, “Oh. I’m going to be in town next week. Is it all right if I sit in? I’m an online student.” I say, “Sure. We’re happy to have you.” I had one, as a matter of fact, just in my Tuesday class. A woman came in and did a presentation live, in person, which was really exciting. She’s a bright, bright student and did a wonderful presentation in the sociology of aging. It was exciting to have her come in, be able to talk to her, sit down and discuss her career aims, what she’s getting out of the program, and any comments that she had. The one thing that I think is really important, is that you’ll be able to express what you’re getting out of the program, what you expect to get out of the program. And if the expectations aren’t being met, have the opportunity to express those ideas. See if we can fix it so that you are getting what you want to get.
Again the whole idea is for the professors to get you ready to make an improvement in your circumstances at work or to get a job. That’s what we try to do.
Jami O’Connell: Great. There’s another question asking, “There’s a lot of emphasis on these degrees for being for professionals. I am currently an undergrad student. Would it not be recommended that I pursue the degree? I have little professional experience in gerontology.” That a wonderful question. I work with students from all different parts of their educational life and professional life. It is certainly not limited to just professionals. There are so many students that are coming fresh out of undergrad and are enrolling in the program because of various reasons. Whether it’s because that’s what they studied as an undergrad … Not a requirement though. Or maybe have had an experience being a caregiver with a loved one. Maybe has volunteered some place or simply just has that, like I mentioned earlier, has that calling and really has had an epiphany that this is the field that they want to pursue. Certainly there’s no professional experience required to enroll in the program.
George Shannon: One of the terrific things is that we have students from all over the campus who come to gerontology from diverse backgrounds. When I talk about professionals being online, I see it as a tremendous advantage for the students who are not professionals and have the opportunity to learn from direct service professionals. People who are out there in the field working hands-on. There’s nothing like doing it. Teaching it can set you up to be able to do it, but there’s nothing like the experience of actually performing in a challenging environment of healthcare for older adults.
Jami O’Connell: All right. Great. We have a question here regarding, “Will there be any requirement” for writing and presenting a thesis? Or a capstone or any type of overall research project at the end of the program? I think this is suited for Dr. Shannon.
George Shannon: Yeah. I actually teach the Capstone Program so I know about this. I teach half of it actually. Dr. Zulinski, who is one of the four most experts in the psychology of aging, has been with the university for many years and is admired all over the country for her expertise. So she teaches the in class version of the Capstone class. What she does is teach how to write a grant according to national NEA standards and National Institute of Health’s standards. What I do is I teach a similar class which involves program evaluation. In both of these classes I require that you have a consummate knowledge of the program, of the different elements. The psychology, the epidemiology, the sociology, the biology. All of these components go into program planning and into grant writing. That is our capstone.
I think I was in the first capstone program that we had. We always used to have a thesis. There were so many students who were working professionals or got a job right away out of school and then delayed their writing of their thesis, that the professors at that time developed a capstone class to prevent that and allow people to take a class and to graduate.
Jami O’Connell: Dr. Shannon, are you saying that in the Masters of Arts in Gerontology and the Master of Aging Services Management there is a set thesis that students have to provide?
George Shannon: No. For those career tracks I believe that they are optional. If you get a master’s of science in gerontology, it’s required. I should have made that clear and thank you for pointing that out. In those career paths you don’t have to do capstone or certainly write a thesis. In the Master of Science of Gerontology which is the degree that I have, you do. It is necessary for those career tracks. You’re in to management, direct service and writing the capstone which is essentially a writing class where you try to develop … A paper that involves all of the elements of the gerontological curriculum. It’s not necessary.
Jami O’Connell: Thank you so much for clarifying that. Here’s a wonderful question from a perspective student, what types of positions or jobs are graduates of the MASM program being offered? Do you see this changing or evolving in the near future?
George Shannon: Sure. There are these areas of hands-on care management. There are the areas of business management. There’s so much involved. In my work with the assisted living credentialing committee, these are professionals who are making a really good living, who are CEOs and upper echelon management people. Many of them have master’s degrees in gerontology and who have graduated from the program. In addition, I’ve been doing some work with Bank of America, Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch is a brokerage firm and they are developing programs to help their financial advisors understand older adults and how important it is to … Because these are the people who have the money that they’re going to be handling and have been handling over the years. They really see the importance of training them to understand what the issues are, what the problems are, what the positives are, with their older adult clients so that they can more easily facilitate their financial advice and help them with long-term retirement planning.
There are just so many areas in today’s world where with the aging of the baby boomers, the job opportunities are boundless if you’re creative, innovative. I think we try to encourage that as much as possible in our leadership classes. There is just no limit to what you can do in terms of starting businesses. We have many, many people with master’s degrees who have their own aging services business. The opportunities are out there.
Jami O’Connell: Great. We just need a clarification, Professor Shannon. Are there any team requirements for the program?
George Shannon: Oh, yeah. We do that. We do that quite often with our assignments, for example, where we have papers or we have case studies. We will assign a team of four or five people to analyze, report and provide a care package that will delineate the different resources that have to be acquired, to provide the kind of care the conforms to our modern society. There are so many ways to help people that are so creative and innovative. You can have tracking cameras for Alzheimer’s patients to make sure that they don’t get away from a community where they’re living. You have people living at home with these devices that they hang around their neck that thing we’re all familiar with, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” It saves lives every week. Although it can be kind of humorous, nevertheless, it’s really important. All of these things can go into a care plan that is developed in class by a team. And I think that working in teams, Even online, and now you might say, “Well how do you meet?”
You meet by working online together. These days there’s nothing to setting up a Google Hangout meeting with four or five people. It’s free and you can do it for hours at a time. Why wouldn’t you? It gives you the opportunity to pick each others’ brains and get to know each other, have an opportunity to learn in a really creative and really even fun way. Yeah. Teamwork is essential because when you get out in the business world, teamwork is one of the components that is emphasized for sure.
Jami O’Connell: Wonderful. We also have a lot of questions regarding, “Are there any career placement services available to students?” I’ll speak to that a little bit, but I know Dr. Shannon has direct experience with this. Yeah. We have a very strong Trojan network, alumni network. A very dedicated career placement department. Dr. Shannon, if you want to add any additional comments regarding the career placement, I know that students would love to hear from you.
George Shannon: Sure. One of the great opportunities that exist are internships. We have an internship program here at the university. It has branches all over the country where we can try to make connections for people who are living, for example, in New York City or in Stamford, Connecticut. In New Jersey and down in Georgia. In North Carolina we have contacts all over the country. Up in Washington, Oregon, all over the country where people can get locked into internship programs. Which very often if you do the work and you provide the kind of services they’re looking for, you will get offered a job. Those opportunities exist. Now here in LA, at the school we have an internship program that is run by Anna Nguyen, who will reach out into the community at foundations and service providers, direct service providers like Partners in Care who I worked for, for several years myself, to give you the opportunity to work in the type of environment that you’re trained to work in and give you the opportunity to learn and if you don’t get a job there, to move onto another organization because of the experience that you’ve had, because it’s a combined thing. It isn’t just education and learning in classes. You have to be able to apply it and that’s the opportunity that we want to give you.
Jami O’Connell: All right. Thank you very much. That concludes our Q&A for today. I know this hour has really flown by. I want to thank you so very much, Dr. Shannon, for your time today. Your insight, all your wonderful descriptions and really sharing your real life experience as being part of the program. Thanks to all of you for joining us today. We truly appreciate your time in joining us and giving us some great questions to answer. If you have any questions or are ready to start your application, please reach out to me. I emailed all of you with a link to my calendar so you can set up a time that works best for you. Certainly you could reach out to me at my phone number which is displayed on the screen right now, as well as my email address. The great news is that this presentation has been recorded. We’ll be able to email you shortly with the link to the recording.
Also the upcoming deadlines. We are still currently accepting applications for summer. Those will be due the week of April 25th and the summer term will be starting May 18th. And Fall, that will be starting August 22nd and we’ll be accepting applications until late July. Again that concludes today’s webinar. Again thank you so much and I really look forward to chatting with anybody that wants to feel free to reach back out to me. I’m running back to my desk right now so feel free to reach out to me. Give me a quick phone call or send me an email. Again thank you so much, Dr. Shannon, really your input was invaluable. Thank you so much.
George Shannon: My pleasure.