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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World Appendix I Recommendations for Master’s Education in Reports of Leading Science, Innovation, and Higher Education Organizations Federal support for research and graduate and postdoctoral education should respond to the real economic needs of students and promote a wider range of educational options responsive to national skill needs. Federal strategies should: Ensure that federal stipends for graduate and postdoctoral students provide benefits and are competitive with opportunities in other venues; Invest in innovative approaches to doctoral and master’s education that prepare students for a broad range of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary careers in academia, government, and industry; and Provide consistent, long-term support for high-quality disciplinary and interdisciplinary doctoral training programs in S&E. —National Science Board, Science and Engineering Workforce: Realizing America’s Potential, NSB-0369 (2003) http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/documents/2003/nsb0369/nsb0369.pdf. The Professional Science Master’s Degree concept provides an alternative for students interested in STEM areas but not interested in the lengthy time it takes to obtain a Ph.D. The concept was launched in 1997 through the help of the Sloan Foundation and the Council on Competitiveness. Today, this type of degree is available at 45 universities. The Administration should strongly advocate these programs.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World —President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Workforce/Education Subcommittee, Sustaining the Nation’s Innovation Ecosystem: Report on Maintaining the Strength of Our Science and Engineering Capabilities (June 2004) http://www.ostp.gov/PCAST/FINALPCASTSECAPABILITIESPACKAGE.pdf. TALENT: Build a National Innovation Education Strategy for a diverse, innovative and technologically trained workforce: Establish tax-deductible private-sector “invest in the future” scholarships for American S&E undergraduates Empower young American innovators by creating 5,000 new portable graduate fellowships funded by federal R&D agencies Expand university-based Professional Science Master’s and traineeships to all state university systems Reform Immigration to attract the best and the brightest S&E students from around the world and provide work permits to foreign S&E graduates of U.S. institutions —Council on Competitiveness, Innovate America: Thriving in a World of Challenge and Change, National Innovation Initiative Report (December 2004) http://www.innovateamerica.org/webscr/report.asp. Increase the retention rate of undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and math majors by expanding programs such as NSF’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP Tech Talent), and by offering programs such as the Professional Science Masters that encourage college graduates to pursue fields outside of academia that combine science and/or math with industry needs. Encourage private sector involvement in consortia of industries and universities that establish clear metrics to increase the number of graduates. (Higher Education, Business, Federal, State) —U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tapping America’s Potential: The Education for Innovation Initiative (2005) http://www.uschamber.com/publications/reports/050727_tap.htm. Continue to establish and build on professional science masters programs that meet specific science and technical managerial workforce needs identified by the federal government, business, and industry. —Association of American Universities, National Defense Educa-
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World tion and Innovation Initiative: Meeting America’s Economic and Security Challenges in the 21st Century (January 2006) http://www.aau.edu/reports/NDEII.pdf. The professional master’s degree is a promising new initiative that is shaping graduate education in direct response to changing workforce needs in the business, nonprofit, and government sectors. …In the STEM fields, the PSM combines advanced study with professional and interdisciplinary training. The two-year PSM degree includes four basic components: advanced science or mathematics courses which comprise approximately two-thirds of requirements; “plus” courses in business principles and other professional skills, such as written and oral communication, intellectual property, and entrepreneurship; a summer internship in a targeted employment sector; and a capstone project often done as part of an interdisciplinary team. PSM programs are specifically designed to meet the needs of local, nonacademic employers with input from advisory boards representing the employment sector…. The combination of advanced science or math, interdisciplinary exposure, and professional business skills creates highly adaptable graduates interested in innovation. As such, the PSM can serve as a model for professional stand-alone master’s degrees in a wide range of fields…. Recommendation: Continue to expand innovative professional master’s degrees in order to address pressing national needs in such critical fields as mathematics, science, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. —Council of Graduate Schools, Graduate Education: The Backbone of American Competitiveness and Innovation (April 2007) http://www.cgsnet.org/portals/0/pdf/GR_GradEdAmComp_0407.pdf. Professional Science Masters (PSM) programs are useful tools for helping states meet the increasing need for well-trained problem solvers in technology-based industries. PSM is an innovative new graduate degree developed to provide advanced training in science or mathematics while simultaneously developing workplace skills highly valued by employers. Many postsecondary institutions and, increasingly, states are adopting PSM as a tool to meet workforce needs. In 2006, the California State University (CSU) became the first statewide higher education system in the nation to make PSM degrees available on multiple campuses. CSU’s PSM-degree programs have been developed in concert with the growth industries in biotechnology, medical, and computational sciences. —National Governor’s Association, Innovation America: A Compact for Postsecondary Education (July 2007) http://www.nga.org/Files/pdf/0707INNOVATIONPOSTSEC.PDF.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World PROGRAMS AUTHORIZED—The Director [of the National Science Foundation] shall award grants to 4-year institutions of higher education to facilitate the institutions’ creation or improvement of professional science master’s degree programs that may include linkages between institutions of higher education and industries that employ science-trained personnel, with an emphasis on practical training and preparation for the workforce in high-need fields. —U.S. Congress, America COMPETES Act (H.R. 2272), passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President of the United States (Summer 2007) http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h2272enr.txt.pdf. NOTE: All web sites accessed October 26, 2007.