Dr. James D. Sterling, whose teaching and research interests include applied entrepreneurship and bioengineering, has been named vice provost and founding dean of the Kummer College of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Sterling is a professor in the Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences at the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in Claremont, California, which is a member of the Claremont University Consortium. Sterling serves as director of the school’s intellectual property and technology transfer committee and its Ph.D. program. He will begin his role at Missouri S&T on June 1.
Sterling joined KGI in 2000 as a founding faculty member. He is KGI’s former vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty and director of the professional sciences master’s degree program. From 2013 to 2015, he joined the Minerva Schools at KGI, serving as the founding interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences and director of Minerva Labs. Sterling also co-founded and currently chairs the board of directors of Claremont BioSolutions, an entrepreneurial KGI spin-off. His interest in developing new products and entrepreneurship began when he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, TRW and Advanced Projects Research as a systems engineer and project manager. Sterling has also taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the California Institute of Technology. He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1987.
The Kummer College was established in 2022 through a $300 million gift from June and the late Fred Kummer, who graduated from Missouri S&T in 1955. The gift also established the Kummer Institute, which supports the college as well as educational and research initiatives. Economics, business and information technology, and engineering management and systems engineering are the college’s founding departments.
Designed with innovation at its core, the Kummer College prepares students for leadership roles in rapidly changing fields with new degrees and emphasis areas as well as graduate certificates in entrepreneurship and technological innovation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation in business, and other subjects. The college also serves as a higher-education innovation incubator for Missouri S&T as a whole, housing innovations such as stackable credentials, online and distance learning, the integration of traditional curricular and co-curricular experiences, and modular, self-paced learning.
“It’s a transformational period in the history of Missouri S&T, and the arrival of Dr. Sterling makes it even more so,” says Dr. Colin Potts, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Jim has experience in creating startups, teaching students to become entrepreneurs, and creating new academic enterprises. It’s both an honor and a pleasure for me to welcome such a seasoned educator, researcher, innovator and leader. He brings a fresh perspective and focused vision to our leadership team, which is already achieving ambitious goals. We all have absolute confidence that Dr. Sterling will play a critical role in leading those endeavors.”
In partnership with Missouri S&T’s leadership team and the deans of the university’s other two colleges – the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education, and the College of Engineering and Computing – Sterling will join the university-wide effort to achieve three “north star” goals: increase enrollment significantly, particularly in graduate education; elevate Missouri S&T’s national and international reputation; and broaden the university’s research base to attain and sustain its status as a Carnegie R1 institution.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to work with colleagues in the Kummer College and across Missouri S&T to prepare our students to excel by providing world-class educational and research experiences,” says Sterling. “We must infuse what we’re teaching in our classrooms, whether they’re on campus, online or a combination of the two, with the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that’s at the heart of the gift from Fred and June Kummer. It’s a privilege to lead such an amazing endeavor.”
About Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,200 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. S&T also is home to the Kummer Institute, made possible by a $300 million gift from Fred and June Kummer. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.