Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
Graduate training often takes a monodisciplinary approach that is not informed by best practices, ignores the needs and preferences of students, and overlooks the increasingly interdisciplinary and international nature of research. This is unfortunate, particularly since graduate education that is fully integrated with interdisciplinary research can help students become part of a trained and diverse workforce equipped to meet society’s many challenges. Against this backdrop, a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) program is being established at the University of Kentucky leveraging the most effective instruments for the training of STEM professionals, such as network-based graduate student mentoring and career preparation encompassing both technical and professional skillsets. Briefly, the training graduate students will receive – in a way that is fully integrated with the research they perform – includes: 1) tools such as individual development plans and developmental network maps; 2) a multi-departmental and interdisciplinary course on research-related content; 3) a seminar course on transferrable skills (ethics, research, communication, teaching, mentoring, entrepreneurship, teamwork, management, leadership, outreach, etc.); 4) a certificate to be awarded once students complete the two courses above and garner additional credits from an interdisciplinary curriculum of research-related courses; 5) summer internships at other departments and at external institutions (other universities, industry, national laboratories) nationwide or abroad; 6) an annual research-related symposium including all elements of a scientific conference; 7) internal collaborative research grants for participants to fund and pursue their own ideas; 8) fields trips to facilities related to the research; and 9) coaching on job hunting as well as résumé, motivation letter and interview preparation. Since a workforce equipped to meet society’s challenges must be both well trained and diverse, multiple initiatives will ensure that this NRT will broaden participation in STEM. Recruitment-wise, close collaboration with a number of entities will provide this NRT with a broad recruitment pool of talented and diverse students. Moreover, collaboration with these entities will provide trainees with ample opportunities to acquire, practice and refine their professional skills, as trainees present their results and recruit in conferences, meetings and outreach events organized by these entities, become members and/or join their leadership, and expand their professional and mentoring network in the process. In addition, minority trainees will be surveyed periodically to probe their feelings of well-being, preparation, acceptance, belonging and distress, as well as their perception of how well structured their departments and programs are. According to recent literature, these factors determine whether or not they perform (i.e., publish) at rates comparable to their male majority peers. Saliently, the evaluation of the educational model employed will afford a comprehensive understanding not only of the academy components that were more utilized and impactful, but will reveal the individual mentoring and skill-building facets of the program driving its successful implementation. The evaluation plan includes outcomes, performance measures, an evaluation timetable, benchmarks and a description of how formative evaluation will improve practice, the evaluation process also extending to research activities.
Santillan-Jimenez, E., & Duan, Q., & Dariotis, J. K., & Crocker, M. (2020, June), Enhancing Graduate Education by Fully Integrating Research and Professional Skill Development within a Diverse, Inclusive, and Supportive Academy Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34569
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