The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Author: kemound

Faces of GPS: Kevan Kivlan

Meet Kevan Kivlan, MS, who serves as a Director for the US General Services Administration in New England. Kevan is responsible for the overall regional stakeholder program management where he oversees a team who provides program, project and acquisition advice to federal, state and local governments. In 2010, Kevan received an M.S. in Project and Program Management from Brandeis University after completing his undergraduate studies at Assumption College in Worcester, MA in 2002.

Kevan transformed his role from Brandeis GPS student to Brandeis GPS instructor in 2017, and now teaches RPJM 115: Challenges in Project Management alongside his professional career. In the following Q&A, he discusses what led to this transition, what has come of it, and how this shift in roles has impacted both his educational and professional spheres.

Q: Where are you from and where do you currently live?

A: I live in Gloucester, MA with my wife and our 2 children. For those unfamiliar with Gloucester, it is a coastal city on the north shore of Massachusetts. Historically Gloucester is known as a fishing community, it’s beautiful beaches, and it’s arts. We love living in Gloucester because of its island feel and our many friends. I originally grew up in Chelmsford, MA where I attended Chelmsford Public Schools.

Q: Tell us what led you to enroll in Brandeis GPS as a student.

A: I had been researching a master’s degree program with flexibility and local to Boston. During this time, a friend of mine, who I worked with at the time, told me about the Brandeis Program and Project Management degree program. I researched it, took a couple of sample classes and decided it was the right program for me.

Q: What did you enjoy the most about your student experience?

A: The student experience at Brandeis was great. I really enjoyed being surrounded by early, mid, and later career classmates who brought such a wide variety experience from different industries and backgrounds. This contributed to a diverse and rich learning environment. I graduated in 2010 and was happy to experience this same experience again in 2017 when I started teaching at GPS.

Q: Why did you want to become an instructor for GPS?

A: I taught high school early on in my career and loved it, but had never considered becoming an instructor until Leanne Bateman invited me to apply in 2010. At the time, I actually passed on the opportunity because my wife was just about to have our first child, [but] I didn’t stop thinking about potentially teaching down the road. So in 2015, I reached out to GPS to see if the invitation was still there, I interviewed and was fortunate enough to be chosen for the position.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

A: The communication between students and our classroom exchanges. The students at GPS are extraordinary. They are diligent, intelligent and the professional experiences they share to enrich the learning environment.  The participation element of the GPS courses is definitely a highlight and reinforces the subject matter with real-life questions and content.

Q: Do you feel that teaching for GPS has continued to support your own professional development?

A: Of course, teaching challenges me to stay relevant in my expertise, experience, and knowledge of the subject matter. It also inspires me to write and organize my thoughts on course subject areas.

Q: How does what you’ve learned at GPS and what you’ve learned throughout your career inform what you teach your students?

A: Having been a student in GPS helps because I can always ask the question, what would Kevan the student have done? This serves as sort of a benchmark for the level of effort and quality when I am considering a student’s performance. Now, I am not saying I was the perfect student, but I know I put a ton of work into each course I took, so I have that to measure against. And obviously, I follow the course rubric, but it helps to have the experience of being a GPS student. Additionally, being a GPS alum helps because I experienced great instructors like, Anne Marando, Leanne Bateman, and Laurie Lesser, and know what a really great classroom environment looks like based on their example.

In terms of my career, I would like to think I bring a seasoned perspective with plenty applicable experiences from the many professional positions I have performed. I try to weave those experiences into the classroom discussions and course announcements as much as possible to expand on the subject area and ask questions that are relevant to the students.

Q: Was there anything in particular about your student experience that shaped your approach to teaching?

A: This is a tough question because I had so many great instructors. Rather than a specific encounter, conversation or assignment, I think I would say it’s just a general characterization of my experience in words. The 3 words that describe my experience are fairness, flexibility, and responsiveness. In terms of the classroom experience being a challenging master’s level course, this goes without saying, so I think these are the characteristics I strive to deliver to the GPS students who attend my class.

Q: Having worked in program management for several different levels and branches of government, how do you apply what you’ve learned to such a diverse range of projects?

A: One of the things about Government is there are always many stakeholders with a wide variety of objectives. One of the main things Brandeis taught me was a systematic, yet flexible, method of planning and executing strategies to meet stakeholder expectations. Most importantly, GPS emphasized this is through building relationships, including stakeholders in the process, and making sure they know what to expect in terms of communication.

Q: What are some noteworthy projects you’ve managed?

A: I have managed lots and been involved in lots of projects. The last project I consulted on, outside of my normal job, was a Light Art Festival in Downtown Crossing called, ILLUMINUS. I helped the LuminArtz and ILLUMINUS team kick things off, organize a project charter and begin their planning. In this same vein, in my free time, I am also currently helping LuminArtz collaborate on their next light art project with a local museum.  Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it too much yet.


Q: How do you try to inspire the same interest you have for project and program management in your students?

A: By sharing my experience and encouraging to look at their everyday experience as relevant to their coursework and learning.

Q: What kinds of skills does your course equip your students with?  

A: The course I teach right now is called Challenges in Project Management. We explore a ton of current topics and challenges in the subject area. The one thing I try to emphasize to my students is to see beyond the challenges presented and visualize the potential opportunities that are possible because of the circumstances. I guess I try to help students see the positive in the challenges presented, not to sugar coat things or avoid facing the negative, but to instill the idea in business every experience is something we can learn from to improve on, build on, and capitalize on in the future.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work/school?

A: Spending time with and enjoying my family. Going out to dinner with my wife. Enjoying the beach in the summer, especially after work. Visiting as many playgrounds as possible with my children. Eating coffee ice cream with chocolate sprinkles, and finding TV shows I can binge watch (right now we’re watching The Good Place). My other like is grocery shopping, which I think is something from when I was a child and my memories of grocery shopping with my mother.

Q: Anything else you’d like to tell us?

A: I am always open to chatting about ideas, questions, experiences, so reach out to me via LinkedIn. Hope to see you in the classroom.  And in case you’ve been wondering, it’s Kevin with an A.

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Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: Stakd (remote position, but office space is available in Hoboken, NJ and Boston, MA)

About: STAKD is a mobile app to lend and borrow money with your peer network — like Venmo but for loans. Users can create, share, and pay down a personal loan within our app. We have 4 software engineers, 2 non-technical Co-Founders, and are members of 3 prestigious incubator programs that provide us office space in Boston, MA and Hoboken, NJ. Still, our founders based out of New York City.

Position: UI/ Graphic Designer

Position Details:  STAKD is seeking a talented junior-to-senior level graphic designer to design our mobile app from scratch, for both Android and iOS. You’ll have access to our current mockups, which have been user tested, to draw on for UX patterns — but we expect you to inject unique and original UI elements, states, transitions, and animations to result in a simple yet effective consumer product.

Responsibilities:  Design STAKD’s mobile app


  • Proficient with Photoshop, Sketch and/or Illustrator
  • Experience designing iOS or Android apps
  • Color, typography, and interface design
  • Experience with prototyping
  • HTML/CSS a bonus
From STAKD: We will issue a monthly stipend of $300 to $500 at the onset of this project — but after a 3-month period, we will, additionally, issue an equity stake in our company to engage you as a lead designer and partner. Hourly commitments will be 15/wk. *note this is a remote position and candidates are free to accept concurrent positions — be them full-time, part-time or freelance.

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV to Adam Zeiff at

Please make sure to reference seeing this position through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

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The Top 5 Robotics Trends You’ll See in 2018

Robotics technology has proven to evolve at a rapid pace. In 2015, Uber began testing the first of its self-driving cars, and in 2016 it launched 16 self-driving SUVs in San Francisco. With the innovations of today providing just a small glimpse into future advancements, the robotics industry eagerly has its sight set on 2018. As we roll into the new year, we’ve got our eye on five particular trends that we think could characterize the next robotics wave.

  1. Talent demand & salary hikes for specialized workers – According to data released by research firm International Data Corp’s (IDC) Manufacturing Insights Worldwide Commercial Robotics program, b the year 2020, 35 percent of robotics field jobs will be unfilled as the demand for talent increases, while median salaries in these positions will increase by 60 percent.
  2. Growth in robot-as-a-service (RaaS) – Innova Research predicts that within the next two years, people should expect to see more commercial, service-based robots integrated into a variety of global industries. These specific robots will function as “pay-as-you-go” workers, “according to the service type and the time taken by the service.” By 2020, this model will make up 30 percent of the global robotics market.
  3. Governments will intervene in robotics growth with regulations – With robots potentially displacing humans in certain positions, government action will explore unions, rules, and incentivizing companies to maintain human employees while incorporating robots into their workforce.
  4. More collaborative robots – In less than a year from now, research suggests that 30 percent of all newly produced robots will be collaborative robots. These robots function in tandem with human workers, and by next year, will work three times more efficiently than the same robots of today.
  5. Increase in software-based robots – More and more robots are programmed using cloud-based software that can be shared with and distributed to a diverse range of robots. Robots will depend on software engineers to provide the cloud with information they need to function, like certain cognitive capabilities and skills.

For software engineers seeking to develop an advanced set of robotics technology skills, Brandeis GPS will now offer courses in robotic software engineering in 2018. Learn more.

Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) is dedicated to developing innovative courses and programs for working professionals. GPS offers 11 fully online, part-time master’s degrees and one online graduate certificate. With four 10-week session each year, Brandeis GPS provides exceptional programs with a convenient and flexible online approach. Courses are small by design and led by industry experts who deliver individualized support and professional insights. For more information on our programs visit the Brandeis GPS website.

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Brandeis GPS programs recognized for high quality education, affordability

Education research publisher, SR Education Group, recently unveiled their latest rankings for top online colleges and universities, and Brandeis GPS received high rankings for its Project and Program Management, Software Engineering, and Strategic Analytics master’s degrees.

The rankings are based on the value that prospective students look for in an online graduate program. Against other online schools, SR Education Group found that Brandeis GPS offers the highest academic standards for the lowest tuition rates with its Master’s of Science in Project and Program Management. The full list of GPS rankings is:

GPS is currently accepting applications for spring 2018.  Course enrollment for all programs begins on December 27, and classes begin on January 17.  Learn more about our courses and programs below.

Project & Program Management:

Strategic Analytics:

Software Engineering:

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Spotlight On Jobs

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: Boston Private Bank & Trust Company in Boston, MA

About: Boston Private is a leading wealth management and private banking company, headquartered in Boston and serving clients from 34 offices in Massachusetts, California, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia. Today, wealth is being created by an extraordinary variety of business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders in private partnerships, nonprofits and every corner of our economy. These busy individuals are Boston Private’s clients, and they each have different priorities and goals for their businesses, families and communities. Boston Private is committed to establishing a close personal relationship with each client in order to provide a sound, custom approach for their very individual needs. And as a leader in both wealth management and private banking, Boston Private has the broad expertise to evaluate your financial life as a whole, and create comprehensive solutions for whatever personal or business financial needs you may have. Boston Private is also deeply committed to the communities in which we live and work, providing financial solutions for affordable housing, first-time homebuyers, economic development, social services, community revitalization and small businesses.

Position:  Deposit Area Trainer

Position Details:  Boston Private is currently seeking a creative, hardworking individual to assist in the design, development and delivery of customized role-based training using a variety of methods with a current focus on eLearning, in-person and virtual training. This is a new opportunity to design training programs from the ground up in a dynamic, collaborative environment with a company at the start of an exciting transformation strategy. The Deposit Trainer will work with subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop sustainable solutions to help ensure new business processes and systems are adopted with minimal impact to daily production.


  • Partner with SMEs to design training curricula and programs
  • Assist Business Area Trainer in delivering individual training program goals, overall program objectives and module objectives
  • Develop creative, engaging e-Learning modules for deposit office role based training
  • Deliver instructor-led training on an as-required basis
  • Conduct train-the-trainer sessions
  • Ensure training is focused on increasing the capability of employees to perform in their job

To view additional details on this position, please visit the career portal here!


  • Bachelor’s degree with 2-4 years’ experience designing, developing, delivering & evaluating instructional design programs preferred
  • Knowledge of adult learning theory, instructional design techniques & customer service concepts
  • Some travel required
  • Advanced computer (most recent versions of all MS Office products) & Internet skills
  • Experience with Adobe Captivate, WebEx and Camtasia or similar eLearning tools
  • Demonstrated ability to manage to priorities, organize & plan work to satisfy established timeframes
  • Proven ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Strong communication skills: writing, listening, speaking, comfortable communicating in front of all levels within the organization (virtual and in person)
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with subject matter experts
  • Ability to quickly understand technical subject matter
  • Demonstrate professional and technical writing skills
  • Excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Ability to think creatively

Boston Private is an equal opportunity employer.

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit their Resume/CV and a Cover Letter on the Boston Private career portal.

Please make sure to reference seeing this position through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.


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Spotlight On Jobs

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: Axis Communications in Chelmsford, MA

About: Axis is a company; Axis is a culture; Axis is a way of life. The employees at Axis are innovative, dedicated, energetic, charismatic, strive for success, and that’s just the beginning. Their employees are the driving force of the company and seek to move it forward towards the goal of being number one in our industry. Axis encourages their employees to work hard, and play harder; whether it is a game of darts or ping pong on your break, a pickup game of basketball during lunch, or socializing at the summer outing, Axis employees are always outgoing and lively. Axis allows and promotes independent thinking; Axis seeks to act as one, to be always open, and to think big!

Position: Reporting Analyst

Position Details:  Axis Communications is seeking an individual with a proactive approach in understanding the needs of their business and excels at quantitative business reporting and analysis.


  • Provide financial and statistical business analysis to support and drive business initiatives
  • Prepare and distribute various sales reports and analysis on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis for all
    departments and levels of Management
  • Develop new report packages, utilizing Cognos
  • Spearhead database initiatives to increase reporting capabilities and efficiencies surrounding Axis processes
    and analysis
  • Work with Sweden IT team in maintaining appropriate standard reports in a user friendly format within the
  • Provide systematic evaluation of sales systems to ensure data accuracy
  • Assist in executing monthly POS reporting to deliver sales commissions
  • Performs other related duties as needed

To view additional details on this position, please visit the career portal here!


  • Bachelor’s degree in Business or Finance, Math, Computer Science
  • Fluent in all Microsoft Office Applications
  • IBM Cognos
  • 2-5 years experience


Axis offers competitive pay and a great benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, company paid life insurance, 401K and tuition reimbursement. Perks include five-star company events, a fun culture and a casual dress code. Axis is a nationally ranked Great Place to Work and they’re growing fast. Join their team!

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit an application on the Axis Communications career portal.

Please make sure to reference seeing this position through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

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Brandeis GPS announces new Information Security Leadership program chair

GPS recently named Joseph (Joe) Dalessandro as the Information Security Leadership program chair. In this new role, Dalessandro, who previously served as an instructor in the program, will recruit and mentor faculty, oversee course quality, and advise students on program and course requirements.

Joseph (Joe) Dalessandro

Joseph (Joe) Dalessandro, the newly-appointed Brandeis GPS Information Security Leadership program chair.

Dalessandro was selected for his extensive experience in information security, technology audit, and risk and people management. After graduating cum laude with an MS in Information Security from Norwich University, Dalessandro spent four years in Australia as the Head of Internal Audit for the Asia-Pacific region comprising Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan for Vanguard, the largest mutual fund company in the world.

Eventually, Dalessandro transitioned to Vanguard’s US information security team, where his role was part advisory — serving as a liaison with the firm’s Asia-Pacific offices — and part operative, performing information security risk assessments of Vanguard’s vendors and partners.

Brandeis GPS’s online Information Security Leadership program seeks to create the security leaders we need in the ever-advancing digital age. The program equips students to:

  • Develop a business case for investing in security and risk management.
  • Inform and influence senior executives to commit to obtaining and maintaining this investment.
  • Oversee the planning, acquisition and evolution of secure infrastructures.
  • Assess the impact of security policies and regulatory requirements on complex systems and organizational objectives.

We are so pleased to channel Joe’s global perspective and extensive experience into the Information Security Leadership program at Brandeis!

Brandeis GPS student to receive national award for achievements in health and information technology

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) will award GPS Health and Medical Informatics student Jill Shuemaker with the Richard P. Covert, PhD, LFHIMSS Scholarship for Management Systems, a national award recognizing her contributions to the field of health and information technology in 2016.

The award coincides with Shuemaker’s emergence as a national expert in health and medical informatics. As a registered nurse with Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Shuemaker developed a patient-centered, analytic, teamwork-based approach that single-handedly ensures her organization’s electronic quality measure program fully meets federal regulatory requirements. She also advocates on a national level for advancing patient care through sound measurement design, implementation of quality program changes and vendor accountability.

Jill Shuemaker

Jill Shuemaker, a Brandeis GPS Health and Medical Informatics student

“HIMSS is proud to honor individuals that have made significant contributions to our mission of improving health through the use of information technology,” JoAnn W. Klinedinst, M.Ed., CPHIMS, PMP, DES, FHIMSS, vice president, professional development, HIMSS North America said in a press release. “Congratulations to all of the award and scholarship recipients for their achievements and for their skills and expertise focused on improving health and healthcare through the best use of IT.”

Shuemaker is currently enrolled in the Health and Medical Informatics graduate program at Brandeis University’s division of Graduate Professional Studies. As a part-time, fully online student, Shuemaker continues to advance her career as she works to improve and transform the healthcare industry.

In addition to her work as an RN, Shuemaker is a Certified Professional in Health Information Management Systems (CPHIMS) and Co-Chair of HIMSS National Quality and Safety Committee, where she interacts directly with clinicians, technical staff, and even federal officials on a routine basis.  She will officially receive her award later this month at the HIMSS annual Awards Gala in Orlando, Florida.

About Brandeis GPS

Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) is dedicated to bringing an exceptional graduate education experience to adult learners across the country and the world. The division’s catalog of 12 fully online, part-time master’s degrees and certificates represents today’s most innovative industries, offering students opportunities to advance in management, technology, data informatics, marketing and other fields. With small classes, a convenient and flexible approach to online learning, and faculty who are leaders in their industries, GPS fosters a community that is mindful of its students’ professional, academic and personal commitments. As a leading research university and member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Brandeis fosters self-motivated, curious students ready to engage new experiences and global endeavors. The university is widely recognized for the excellence of its teaching, the quality and diversity of its student body and the outstanding research of its faculty.

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