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Building Capacity for Dissemination of Evidence-Based Practices in PhD Career Development

In recent years, universities, professional societies, and funding agencies have increased investment in the career development of PhD trainees, leading to an influx of new professionals into the field and establishment of new programs.  Though the culture of PhD career and professional development has long been one of sharing best practices, such sharing within networks has been inefficient for changing the broader higher education ecosystem. Moreover, the field of PhD career and professional development--and graduate education more broadly--lacks resources and infrastructure for rigorous evaluation and research that can inform continued evolution of educational practices. As we push to enhance graduate education to better address scientists' professional development and the wealth of careers that STEM PhDs pursue, there is a national need to build capacity to better connect research to practice, test the effectiveness of educational approaches, and disseminate effective practices in a way that will support their adoption and adaptation across various educational contexts with fidelity. 

I am honored to be leading an emerging cross-stakeholder initiative to facilitate the spread of evidence-based practices in STEM PhD career development. The initiative was initially developed by a working group brought together by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and co-chaired by Bruce Alberts and me. The project, currently in its planning phase, is moving forward with funding from ASBMB and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, with activities supported by the National Science Foundation and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Our next steps are shaped by a 50-participant stakeholder workshop that we hosted in July 2019 at Janelia Research Campus, bringing together employers, training directors and university leaders, career development professionals, scientific societies, higher education professional associations, education researchers and evaluators, students and postdocs, funders, and disseminators. 

More about this initiative > [information coming soon]

Upcoming gatherings to attain further input from the community:
Graduate Career Consortium (GCC) annual meeting (June 2019)
University Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP) annual meeting (Sept 2019)
AAMC Graduate Research, Education, and Training (GREAT) Group annual meeting (Sept 2019)
Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) annual meeting (Nov 2019)

Key colleagues on this work:
Yasmeen Hussain, Ph.D., Program Manager and Policy Analyst; yasmeen.hussain@umassmed.edu
Other collaborators  [information coming soon]

Grant support and sponsorship for project:
American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Activities sponsored by:
National Science Foundation  (grant no. 1848789, DGE-NRT)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

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