Advancing PhD Career Development Through Innovation and Collaboration: a Workshop at the 2017 GCC meeting

Advancing PhD Career Development Through Innovation and Collaboration: a Workshop at the 2017 GCC meeting

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.     The Graduate Career Consortium (GCC) serves as a national voice for graduate-level career and professional development. The 2017 GCC meeting, held at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, included several member-generated programs in this regard.   One of these broad themes at the meeting was “Effective Strategies for Leveraging Career and Professional Development.” Within this theme, I attended a session entitled “Advancing PhD Career Development Through Innovation and Collaboration.” This session was co-organized by Cynthia Fuhrmann (Assistant Dean of Career & Professional Development at UMass Medical School), Ryan Bixenmann (Director of PhD Career Services at Michigan State University), Bill Lindstaedt (Assistant Vice Chancellor for Career Advancement, International and Postdoctoral Services at UCSF), and Melanie Sinche (Director of Education at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine).   The goal of the session, summarized in this Twitter thread, was to bring together GCC members to discuss ways in which we might help advance the PhD career development field across the academic life sciences community. Specific goals of the session in this regard were discussing:   a) how established career development professionals can help new initiatives getting launched; b) opportunities and challenges in applying for grant funding; c) how we might more broadly disseminate existing models so they can form a foundation for further innovation; d) how to shift from satisfaction- to outcomes-based evaluation; e) how various stakeholders might partner to advance PhD career development locally and nationally.   The session began with some brainstorming on how to advance the field of PhD career development, and...
Graduate Admissions: How do we predict and measure “success”?

Graduate Admissions: How do we predict and measure “success”?

Two recent posts by FoR Policy Activist Adriana Bankston and Executive Director Gary McDowell for the American Society for Cell Biology discuss graduate admissions and “success” in graduate school.   The first post, “Can we anticipate graduate student success if we can’t assess it?” discusses recent articles that show the difficulty in basing graduate admissions on metrics like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) which do not appear to predict success in graduate school, as measured by metrics like publications.   In the second post, “Letting the right ones in: obstacles in graduate admissions,” the obstacles to graduate admissions are discussed, such as “success”, how and when to evaluate it, and recently-discussed issues with the process by which committees themselves decide on admissions....
Perspectives on the Future of STEM Graduate Education: an Open Forum  at the 2017 AAAS Meeting

Perspectives on the Future of STEM Graduate Education: an Open Forum at the 2017 AAAS Meeting

  This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to advance science for the benefit of all people. The annual AAAS meeting is an exciting place for discussions on how science policy benefits society. Influencing science policy can be achieved by multiple avenues, including getting the voices of junior scientists in the conversation.   The background: During the 2017 AAAS meeting, Future of Research members attended the Open Forum: Perspectives on the Future of STEM Graduate Education, a session led by Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of AAAS and Chair of the Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century at the National Academy of Sciences. This ad hoc committee is under the auspices of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) and the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), and liaising with the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) and Teacher Advisory Council (TAC). The committee will lead a study of STEM graduate-level education in the U.S., directed by Layne Scherer, revisiting and updating a similar COSEPUP study completed 20 years ago, which was named Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. The products of the new study, including feedback from this open forum, will be used in service of producing an Academies report to enhance STEM graduate education.   The context: The introduction to the open forum given by Dr. Alan Leshner highlighted that the world is changing both within and outside the scientific enterprise. Today, over 60% of new...
Graduate students and recent grads: An opportunity to contribute to the Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century study

Graduate students and recent grads: An opportunity to contribute to the Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century study

In a recent post, we discussed the beginning of the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, a new study looking at how the U.S. can create the next generation of independent researchers.   Another study that has just begun at the National Academies is the “Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century study,” which is holding a session at the AAAS meeting in Boston this month, “Open Forum: Perspectives on the Future of STEM Graduate Education” with the study chair, Alan Leshner.   It is particularly important for this committee to hear directly from current and recently graduated graduate students in person and we encourage anyone attending the meeting to join. We at FoR will hopefully be able to report back on what was discussed.   The scope of the committee is:   “An ad hoc committee, under the auspices of BHEW (Board on Higher Education and Workforce) and COSEPUP (Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy), and liaising with GUIRR (Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable) and TAC (Teacher Advisory Council), will lead a study of STEM graduate-level education in the U.S., revisiting and updating a similar COSEPUP study completed 20 years ago. Specific tasks will include: • Conduct a systems analysis of graduate education, with the aim of identifying policies, programs and practices that could better meet the diverse education and career needs of graduate students in coming years (at both the master’s and Ph.D. levels—understanding the commonalities and distinctions between the two levels), and also aimed at identifying deficiencies and gaps in the system that could improve graduate education programs. • Identify strategies to improve the alignment of graduate education...
FoR response to NIGMS RFI on Modernizing Graduate Education

FoR response to NIGMS RFI on Modernizing Graduate Education

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input on how to catalyze the modernization of biomedical graduate education. You can read the RFI here.   The Board of Directors at FoR has responded to the RFI and as part of our commitment to transparency, has also posted the response publicly.   You can read the response in: Future of Research Response to NIGMS Request for Information (RFI): Strategies for Modernizing Biomedical Graduate Education (NOT-GM-16-109)...