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Press Release

Graduate School of the Stowers Institute receives accreditation

Higher Learning Commission grants the Graduate School institutional accreditation

09 November 2021

KANSAS CITY, MO – The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research announced today that it has received institutional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

“Receiving this accreditation is an important milestone for our school,” said Betty M. Drees, M.D., President of the Graduate School. “Our graduate program provides a distinct experience to predoctoral researchers who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in biology.”

The Graduate School at the Stowers Institute is housed on the 10-acre life science campus of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Mo. Predoctoral researchers come from across the world to conduct curiosity-driven research alongside 25 faculty members who are investigators and scientists at the Stowers Institute.

“We focus on hands-on, experiential learning here at the Graduate School,” said Matt Gibson, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School. “Our predoctoral researchers dive into working side-by-side with faculty and other researchers in the labs shortly after they arrive.”

The Graduate School currently has 40 predoctoral researchers enrolled and 23 Ph.D. graduates. New predoctoral researchers participate in module courses and lab rotations prior to initiating their thesis research, completion of which requires predoctoral researchers to accomplish a significant body of work over a period of several years. Predoctoral researchers at the Graduate School must demonstrate competency in each of the following six areas to complete the degree program: research leadership, critical thinking, scientific knowledge, experimental skills, scientific communication, and professional and ethical behavior. Predoctoral researchers are encouraged to publish their work in scientific journals and attend scientific meetings and talks.

Full accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is a critical milestone that validates the quality of the education provided by the Graduate School as well as the integrity of the Graduate School’s operations. The HLC has five criteria for accreditation: mission; integrity: ethical and responsible conduct; teaching and learning: quality, resources and support; teaching and learning: evaluation and improvement; and resources, planning and institutional effectiveness. In receiving accreditation, the HLC has affirmed the Graduate School meets these criteria.

“Here at the Graduate School our predoctoral researchers have the academic freedom to offer different points of view and engage in active discussions about foundational scientific truths,” said Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer at the Stowers Institute and a faculty member for the Graduate School. “Science at Stowers is often unexpected, exploring the unknown, and our predoctoral researchers have the chance to experience that first-hand.”

About the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research
The mission of the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research is to prepare a superb cadre of predoctoral researchers from around the world for the pursuit of innovative and creative investigations in the biological sciences. The Graduate School educational program stresses critical thinking and the rapid development of experimental prowess. The program also focuses on in-depth understanding of the latest methodologies and approaches. The Graduate School is designed to provide predoctoral researchers with mentorship and hands-on experience to refine their abilities to carry out independent biological research. The Graduate School welcomed its first class in the fall of 2012, and in 2016 the first predoctoral researcher completed the PhD program. Learn more about this unique program at and on Facebook and Twitter.

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