Kyndt's Combinations Lead to New Degree Offerings
Kyndt’s Combinations Lead To New Degree Offerings
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Combining elements is second nature to Dr. John Kyndt. That’s probably no surprise from someone who holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry. But rather than combining potassium chlorate and gummy bears (which is pretty darn cool), Kyndt is hoping to create just as much energy combining cool things like technology innovation and entrepreneurship or sustainability and project management. Kyndt leads the University’s Master of Professional Science in Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MPS) program as well as the Bachelor of Science in Sustainability Management. Kyndt believes these combinations will help launch students into burgeoning job markets.
“It’s not the traditional track where you have a science degree or an entrepreneurship degree or a management degree,” he said. “Bring the two together and make it something people can use. That’s what attracts me. It’s a challenge because you have to explain to people that this is a new type of degree and people have to get used to it. Once they go through the program and see the benefits it will be interesting to see (what develops), but I’m confident that graduates from these programs will come out well-rounded and well prepared for the modern workplace.”
Kyndt came to the University two years ago from the University of Arizona where he was a research professor experimenting with algae biofuels. Originally from Belgium, Kyndt earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. at the University of Ghent. Well over 100 years old and with enrollments of close to 40,000 students each, both Arizona and Ghent offer a different experience than Bellevue University. “There are pluses and minuses to both,” Kyndt said. “(At Bellevue University), you can easily get new programs off the ground that you could not do at a large institution. Being smaller, being a private non-profit helps with turning things around faster, being more innovative in a more timely manner.” Initially attracted to the permanent summer offered in Arizona, Kyndt began to miss the seasons after almost eight years in Tucson, so he came to Bellevue along with his wife Heather, and three children; twins Diego and Sebastian (10) and youngest Elliot (7). “Coming here, it’s more like Belgium. You have the seasons again. I see the culture here is more like Belgium than it was in Arizona,” he said. “I like having some roots in both Europe and the U.S. It makes me more diverse and I can see things from different angles.”
Kyndt’s Sustainability program launched last spring with 13 students. Another section is due to start in October. “The students come from different backgrounds. Some are from waste water management, some are from energy companies, some are just interested in sustainability,” he said. “I think it is a good group to start with. It’s not too big, but it gives enough interaction.” The combination of the science of sustainability with project management is what gives the program its electricity. “I think that merger is unique and talking to some of the students before they entered the program they liked that. Some of them had looked at environmental sciences degrees, but they liked the project management part on top of it,” he said. “It gives them enough tools to implement a project and stand it up.” For more from Dr. Kyndt, check out his TEDxOmaha talk on YouTube.