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Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences — Issues for the 21st Century: Report of a Workshop 11 New Students, New Faculty, and New Opportunities: Preparing Future Faculty Richard A. Weibl Association of American Colleges and Universities I would like to start with a short survey. All of you can do this. Those of you who work in industry may have to make some translations. When I ask about work in colleges or universities, think about your company. When I talk about faculty roles, think about the kinds of activities that you do in your own setting. This quiz invites you to recall your graduate school years. The questions are based on the actual work of faculty members at most of the colleges and universities in the United States. The items should be familiar to many of you. Reflecting on your graduate programs, did you have a course, seminar, workshop, or any formal preparation for the following: The Teaching Roles of Faculty Learning about theories or research literature regarding how students learn? Setting learning goals and assessing student performance? Understanding the meaning of and differences between a “liberal,” “general,” or “professional” education? Conceiving, designing, implementing, and evaluating a course? Linking one course to another, a sequence, or a program? Integrating research activities into classroom activities? Designing courses for nonmajors? The Research Roles of Faculty The history and meaning of “academic freedom”? Professional ethics, responsibility, and conduct? Understanding intellectual property rights? Developing a line of research?
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Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences — Issues for the 21st Century: Report of a Workshop Involving students in research activities? Integrating research activities into classroom activities? Writing proposals for funding? The Service Roles of Faculty Review, promotion, and tenure processes? Roles and responsibilities for institutional governance? Effective mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students and junior faculty? Reviewing academic programs for integrity, cohesion, and significance? Serving on committees, with faculty peers from other fields, in service to institutional goals? In reviewing this list, some might have recalled conversations among fellow graduate students, maybe even with a faculty adviser. In some cases you may recall advice that too many graduate students today can repeat verbatim, “Don’t waste your time with those things.” I suspect many of you had no formal preparation for most of the tasks you would be asked to do in your first year as a faculty member. Why should doctoral students, the future faculty, learn these activities? Should graduate programs be expected to teach them? We think so. That is the position of the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program, sponsored by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Association of American Colleges and Universities with financial support from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Science Foundation. We clearly are saying, “Yes, it should be a part of the way future faculty are prepared for the full range of faculty roles and responsibilities.” This assertion is based on several assumptions: The Ph.D. is, and should remain, a research degree. Not all doctoral students aspire to faculty careers. Not all doctoral programs aspire to prepare students for faculty careers. Too many doctoral programs are failing to provide students educational experiences that make them “job ready,” whether for industrial or academic work, upon graduation. PFF programs are not to be confused with teaching assistant (TA) development programs. TA development programs have made great improvements in the quality of basic preparation available to graduate students with teaching assistantships. PFF programs often build upon this foundation, giving graduate students a more complete awareness of the work faculty members do in each of their roles—teaching, research, and service. A recent issue of Chemical & Engineering News (November 15, 1999) features a special report on the employment outlook for 2000. The articles make it clear that graduates will find employment, but that skills and interests beyond the research paradigm are being sought by a variety of employers. When department chairs at major research universities assert1 that candidates “should be both qualified and interested in becoming educators,” have “a creative interest in undergraduate education,” and “definitely interested in interdisciplinary areas,” we must acknowledge that something beyond the traditional research experience is desired in a “job ready” candidate. 1 “Demand 2000,” Chemical & Engineering News, November 15, 1999, pp. 38-46.
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Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences — Issues for the 21st Century: Report of a Workshop KEY CONCEPTS OF PFF PROGRAMS The key concepts that guide our program for graduate students, the future faculty, are these: Graduate students should learn about the academic profession and have experience with the kinds of institutions that may become their professional homes. The majority of the doctoral students who seek faculty positions will not find employment in research universities. Doctoral programs should provide students the opportunity to make informed choices about the variety of academic career options and work settings in higher education. PFF programs create institutional and departmental partnerships, forming a collaborative network of faculty and academic administrators committed to the future professoriate. The graduate experience should equip future faculty for the changes taking place in teaching and learning so they are adequately prepared for the classrooms of tomorrow. Yesterday, Professor Stacy introduced us to a constructivist point of view, something relatively new in thinking about teaching and learning. These ideas about effective teaching apply in both the academic and industrial work settings. PFF contends that doctoral programs should provide students the opportunity to learn about and acquire the best skills to teach and communicate with others. Graduate programs should include formal systems for mentoring in all aspects of professional development. Let’s not make the assumption that faculty know how to mentor. Most were never trained to be a mentor, and those who are most successful accomplish a great deal without formal training in this area. We all know many of us could have used some help in learning how to be a better mentor. Syracuse University has a formal program that most of their faculty have now completed in order to be “certified” as a faculty mentor on its campus and to be rewarded for successful mentoring in the promotion and tenure process. Graduate programs should include opportunities for students to develop professional expertise in teaching, research, and service, as well as opportunities to learn how to balance and integrate these responsibilities. Each of us struggles to find a balance between the many demands competing for our most valuable resource—our time and attention. Graduate students will tell you that they, too, have this struggle. Yet when programs create artificial boundaries or expectations (for example, working 60 hours per week in the lab), students are not given opportunities to learn about other roles or how to balance the roles. Apprentice teaching, research, and service experiences should be planned developmentally so that they are appropriate to the student’s stage of development and progress to degree. Urban legends tell of doctoral students being assigned to teach classes, lead labs, or serve committees without the barest of preparation. And while many might believe this “swim or sink” approach is effective, I suspect many of us who have had that experience are convinced that there must be a better way. How could you do it differently? PFF experiences should be thoughtfully integrated into the academic program and sequence of degree requirements. Program review and design are a very important collective responsibility for university faculty. We all share a concern about time to degree and recognize that each new idea cannot simply be added to the existing program requirements.
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Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences — Issues for the 21st Century: Report of a Workshop CAMPUS-BASED PFF ACTIVITIES In 1993 the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) invited 17 graduate schools to design and develop model PFF programs based on the previously mentioned key concepts. Since 1993 more than 200 colleges and universities have been involving hundreds of faculty and thousands of graduate students in activities including course work, weekly professional seminar series, campus visits, participation in teaching, research, and service activities with mentors, and more. For example, university-wide PFF programs are Offering a seminar that addresses general issues in college teaching; Organizing a seminar that addresses professional and career issues (e.g., professional ethics, academic freedom, intellectual property, and promotion and tenure processes) and is led by faculty and academic administrators from diverse institutions; Discussing teaching in a multicultural setting and teaching about diversity; Offering certificate programs in PFF and noting accomplishments on student transcripts; Explaining academic governance systems and inviting graduate students to attend faculty meetings or committee meetings; Helping students develop portfolios documenting expertise in teaching, research, and service; and Training faculty to mentor. Departments participating in PFF are Inviting doctoral alumni to discuss how their careers do or do not connect with what they did in their graduate programs; Encouraging the development of professional portfolios; Offering courses on teaching in their respective disciplines; and Creating forums to discuss faculty histories, career paths, and alternative professional lifestyles. College and university partners are Discussing their distinctive academic missions and different academic cultures; Assigning PFF students a faculty mentor; Inviting PFF students to join them in supervised teaching of course units or entire courses and providing feedback; Inviting PFF students to attend faculty, committee, and departmental meetings and to later discuss their interpretations; and Arranging opportunities for PFF students to discuss the graduate school experience with undergraduates. Participants in the national program receive a dossier letter that says they have participated in our national program and that urges hiring institutions and departments to pay special attention to the candidate because he or she worked above and beyond to be prepared for a faculty role.
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Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences — Issues for the 21st Century: Report of a Workshop PFF IN THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES The national PFF program, directed by AAC&U and CGS, has several funded initiatives to develop and institutionalize model programs. The National Science Foundation is supporting working with five disciplinary societies (American Association of Physics Teachers, American Chemical Society, Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education of the Association for Computing Machinery, and both the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America). Each society has conducted a national competition and selected four departments to develop and implement PFF programs in their departments. The Education Division at the American Chemical Society did an excellent job in recruiting innovative proposals, so much so that we in the national PFF office shifted funding so that one additional chemistry department might join the program. The chemical science participants include the following: Duquesne University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, working in partnership with Chatham College, Community College of Allegheny County, La Roche College, Seton Hill College, St. Vincent’s College, and Thiel College. Contact: David Seybert (email@example.com); City University of New York-Queens College, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, working in partnership with Queensborough Community College, Baruch College, and Manhattan College. Contact: Thomas Strekas (firstname.lastname@example.org); University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, working in partnership with California State University, Fullerton, Mount St. Mary’s College, and Mount San Antonio College. Contact: Arlene Russell (email@example.com); University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Department of Chemistry, working in partnership with Amherst College, Hampshire College, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, and Smith College. Contact: Julian Tyson (firstname.lastname@example.org); and University of Michigan, Department of Chemistry, working in partnership with Baldwin Wallace University, Calvin College, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Hillsdale College, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Oakland University, and Oberlin College. Contact: Brian Coppola (email@example.com). Present with us today is Professor Chris Bauer from the University of New Hampshire, whose institution participates in the PFF program funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. They are doing marvelous things at New Hampshire, including offering the field-based course “Teaching and Learning in Chemistry,” using PFF activities to recruit doctoral students to their chemistry programs, and offering special fellowships supported by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation to PFF students. You can learn more about all the PFF programs by visiting our Web site at <www.preparing-faculty.org> or by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. My closing thought was suggested by a faculty partner in the University of Minnesota cluster: If we consider that PFF is a radical experiment in dispersing the ownership of the preparation of future faculty across a wider collaborative network, we should stress that PFF also represents a new way of thinking about the professoriate as a community of scholar/teachers embracing the full range of academic cultures.
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