College of Chemistry, Berkeley

ChemiCAL Science and Engineering

Product Development Program to launch

Keith Alexander is the Executive Director of the Product Developement Program in chemical engineering


The chemical engineering department is starting a new Product Development Program in response to the growing demand for the department’s graduates from small and large product-based companies, noted Dr. Keith Alexander, the program’s recently appointed executive director. “Industry wants students who can leverage their technical backgrounds early in their careers. Many companies now rely on new products (those less than 5 years old) for 30 to 40 percent of their revenue, so new product development is a critical area for them.”

With seed funding from The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Alexander and various faculty members have begun developing the curriculum. “We intend to create a graduate-level learning experience that uses the education of chemical engineering and expands the reach and future professional horizons of our students. Our goal is to create a post-bachelor’s program that can be completed in one calendar year.” Although the program is not scheduled to begin until the fall of 2006, Alexander is already working to increase its visibility by launching student surveys and talking to both student groups and industry leaders in order to get their input.

An enthusiastic proponent of the program’s goals, Alexander has a diverse background, with expertise in both technical and development fields. He received his B.S. (’78) and Ph.D. (’83) in chemical engineering from Berkeley, studying food spray-drying with Professor C. Judson King, followed by an M.B.A. from Stanford University. He spent twenty years in industry, including eleven years at CH2M Hill, Ltd., where he served as General Manager and Senior Vice President.

While chemical and consumer product companies may be the first to sign up, the geographic location of Berkeley will allow numerous companies to participate, including those in the biotechnology, microelectronics and nanotechnology fields. “We are also intensely interested in getting alumni involved, both with their ideas and with financial support,” noted Alexander. “We want to create a program that supports our students’ aspirations and that the department and the University will be proud of.”

Related sites:

Product Development Program website
Keith Alexander website