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SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS MASTERâS EDUCATION FOR A COMPETITIVE WORLD Committee on Enhancing the Masterâs Degree in the Natural Sciences Board on Higher Education and Workforce Policy and Global Affairs
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESSâ 500 Fifth Street, N.W.â Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Grant No. 2005-3-22 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclu- sions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that pro- vided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13:â 978-0-309-11471-4 International Standard Book Number-10:â 0-309-11471-3 Library of Congress Control Numberâ 2008934107 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal govern- ment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its mem- bers, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advis- ing the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academyâs purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in pro- viding services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
Committee on Enhancing the Masterâs Degree in the Natural Sciences Rita R. Colwell, Chair, Chairman, Canon US Life Sciences, Inc., and Distinguished University Professor at both the University of Maryland at College Park and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health David S. Chapman, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Geology & Geophysics, University of Utah Jung Choi, Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Faculty Coordinator of the Bioinformatics Masterâs Degree Program, Georgia Institute of Technology Daryl E. Chubin, Director, Center for Advancing Science and Engineering Capacity, American Association for the Advancement of Science Mary E. Clutter, Assistant Director for Biological Sciences, National Science Foundation (retired) Paul G. Gaffney II, President, Monmouth University Lee L. Huntsman, President Emeritus, University of Washington, Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, and Executive Director, Life Sciences Discovery Fund Authority Jonathan Kayes, Chief Learning Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Donald N. Langenberg, Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering (retired), University of Maryland at College Park, and Chancellor Emeritus, University System of Maryland George M. Langford, Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Henry Riggs, Founding President and Professor Emeritus, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences James C. Spohrer, Director, Almaden Services Research, IBM Almaden Research Center Richard A. Tapia, University Professor, Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering, Director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education, and Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Rice University Thomas Tritton, President, Chemical Heritage Foundation, and President Emeritus, Haverford College Philip Tuchinsky, Technical Expert, Systems Analytics Research Group, Ford Motor Co. Research & Advanced Engineering (retired) Staff Peter H. Henderson, Study Director Kara Murphy, Project Assistant
Board on Higher Education and Workforce Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Chair, Irving M. Ives Professor, Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics, Cornell University Burt Barnow, Associate Director, Institute for Policy Studies, the Johns Hopkins University Donald L. Bitzer, Distinguished University Research Professor, Computer Science Department, North Carolina State University Donald Johnson, Vice President (retired), Product and Process Technology, Grain Processing Corporation Michael Nettles, Edmund W. Gordon Chair for Policy Evaluation and Research, Educational Testing Service Debra Stewart, President, Council of Graduate Schools Staff Peter H. Henderson, Director James Voytuk, Senior Program Officer John Sislin, Program Officer Kara Murphy, Project Assistant Rae Allen, Administrative Coordinator vi
Preface This study examines the role of masterâs education in the natural sciences and whether and how masterâs degree programs might be enhanced to bolster our nationâs workforce and our science-based indus- tries. To carry out the study, the National Academies appointed a commit- tee of experts that was charged with exploring and answering, as possible given the data available, the following questions: 1. What are employer needs for staff trained in the natural sciences at the masterâs degree level? Are they able to find or develop the staff they need at this level? How do employers communicate their employ- ment needs to educational programs and how can this communication be enhanced? 2. How do masterâs-level professionals in the natural sciences con- tribute in the workplace? What are the employee characteristics that employers seek in staff with advanced training? Do masterâs-level profes- sionals enter the workforce with a masterâs degree or do they enter with a bachelorâs degree and earn a masterâs degree later? 3. What is known about students who pursue and obtain masterâs degrees in the natural sciences? What are their educational and career goals? How do masterâs programs meet or support these educational and career goals? â By natural sciences, we mean the physical sciences, biological sciences, geosciences, mathematics, and computer science. vii
viii PREFACE 4. What can be learned from efforts already under way to reshape masterâs education in science? What effective practices have been identi- fied that could be adopted by others? 5. What can masterâs-level programs in the natural sciences learn from each other? What can they learn from the way graduate-level profes- sional programs in fields such as business, public policy, public health, and engineering developed to meet employer needs? 6. What findings and conclusions about appropriate goals and effec- tive practices for enhancing masterâs education in the natural sciences can be drawn from the answers to the preceding questions? 7. What recommended next steps can the committee provide for stakeholdersâstudents, faculty, department chairs, university adminis- trators, employers, federal agencies and policymaking bodiesâconcerned with enhancing masterâs-level professional education? As a result of its work in carrying out this charge, the committee determined that there is a strong employer need for graduates of profes- sional science masterâs programs and, moreover, that these graduates would make a significant contribution to our national competitiveness and security through their employment in a variety of science-based posi- tions in industry, government, and nonprofits. Consequently, this report, while covering each of the questions in the charge, tended to focus more heavily on questions about employer needs, student characteristics and the ways that graduates can contribute in the workplace, and what can be learned from efforts under way to enhance the masterâs in the natural sciences, particularly as a professional degree. The questions regarding communication between employers and institutions is important and addressed, but one that requires new research and we make a recom- mendation regarding this. Question five was addressed, but examined primarily in Appendix F, with only brief discussion in the report. This report, then, was organized to present a focused argument, par- ticularly about professional science masterâs programs. For the reader interested in specific questions in the charge, the following provides pointers to places where they are addressed: 1a. What are employer needs for staff trained in the natural sci- ences at the masterâs degree level and how do they communicate their needs? Demands of the marketplace are addressed on pages 31-32; emerging employer needs on pages 39-44 and Boxes 2-6 and 2-7; and a general discussion of evidence for employer demand on pages 44-46 and Appendix I. 1b. How do employers communicate their employment needs to educational programs and how can this communication be enhanced?
PREFACE ix Employers tend to communicate their needs in two ways: (1) at the local level, where they may be engaged in employer advisory boards, and (2) through national associations. Like others working in this area, we believeâand have recommendedâthat strong connections between pro- grams and advisory boards, if properly constituted and energized, can provide an important link here. See particularly pages 50-51 and the recommendations 6 and 7, pages 65-68. 2. How do masterâs-level professionals in the natural sciences contrib- ute in the workplace? What are the employee characteristics that employ- ers seek in staff with advanced training? The answer to these questions can be found in those that address the questions about employer needs. See pages 40-44. 3. What is known about students who pursue and obtain masterâs degrees in the natural sciences? The report addressed the numbers of masterâs degrees awarded annually by field on pages 17-21; student goals on pages 23-26, 32-33, and Box 2-1; careers of graduates on pages 26-29; and offers and salaries of recent graduates on pages 44-46. 4. What can be learned from efforts already under way to reshape masterâs education in science? What effective practices have been identi- fied that could be adopted by others? This has been extensively covered in the report. See pages 33-40 and 46-52, and Boxes 2-3, 2-4, and 2-5. 5. What can be learned from the development of other professional degree programs? This is covered on pages 21-23 and more extensively in Appendix F. The committee was comprised of individuals who brought expertise in the natural sciences disciplines, graduate education, higher education administration, and employer needs in industry, government, and non- profits. To cover the broad range of employers, the committee included members who have experience in each of these areas. James Spohrer, Philip Tuchinsky, Rita Colwell, and Henry Riggs work or have worked in industry and bring experience from such diverse sectors as informa- tion technology, biotechnology, automotive manufacture, and business analytics. Rita Colwell, Donald Langenberg, Mary Clutter, Daryl Chubin, and Paul Gaffney are all former federal officials who bring experience with federal science agencies and, in the case of Vice Admiral Gaffney, the defense establishment as well. Jonathan Kayes is the current Chief Learning Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. Daryl Chubin, Lee Huntsman, and Thomas Tritton are all currently affiliated with nonprofit science organizations. (See Committee member biographies in Appendix B for further details.) The committee gathered evidence in several ways to address its charge:
PREFACE â¢ Experts in competitiveness, graduate education, and industry workforce needs testified to the committee at its meetings in March and July 2007; â¢ Representatives of innovative masterâs degree programs in the natural sciences presented descriptions of those programs to the commit- tee at its March and July meetings; â¢ Officials of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Council of Graduate Schools provided the com- mittee with their perspectives on masterâs education, particularly in the context of all graduate education and U.S. economic competitiveness; â¢ The committee reviewed and assessed the provisions of Section 7034 of the America COMPETES Actâpassed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush during the course of this studyâthat authorizes the NSF to develop a program of grants for the creation or expansion of professional science masterâs degree programs; and â¢ Staff conducted a review of the relevant literature and data. The committee synthesized this information as a foundation for this report and its findings and conclusions. It drew on these data and infor- mation to the extent they were already available and it drew as well on the experience, expertise, views and collective judgment of the committee members. As described in detail in Chapter 2, projecting demand for a âproduct,â especially a relatively new one like the professional science masterâs degree, is fraught with particular difficulty even when such data as offers and salary comparisons support oneâs conclusions. It is the judg- ment of this committee, nonetheless, that PSM graduates are in demand and will continue to be in increasing numbers in the future. (Meeting agendas in Appendix C list individuals who spoke to the committee. The full text of Section 7034 of the America COMPETES Act is provided in Appendix D.) One audience for this report includes Congress, the president and the administration, the federal agencies charged with carrying out the America COMPETES Act, and educational and science policymakers at the state level. We would also like to note the importance of the philan- thropic community both in promoting innovation in higher education generally and in driving change in masterâs education in the sciences more specifically. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the William M. Keck Foundation have played important roles in the last decade in laying the foundation for change. We believe there is an ongoing role for philan- â America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act, Public Law No. 110-69.
PREFACE xi thropy in encouraging continued development in masterâs education and we address this audience as well. The audience for the report also encompasses four-year institutions of higher education, students, and employersâall of whom are actors in the development of professional science education. Higher education insti- tutions need to innovate to continue to offer programs that are relevant to society and the economy. While this report urges change in masterâs education, we expect that these changes will also impact undergraduate- level and doctoral-level education. We urge students to take advantage of the opportunities provided by new and exciting programs, like the professional science masterâs that is described in this report, that provide not only a more advanced understanding of science but also practical skills for the workplace. Employersâindustry, nonprofits, and govern- mentâare critical to the success of this initiative. They should form part- nerships with masterâs degree programs to develop and evolve curricula on an ongoing basis and provide mentoring, internships, team projects, and employment. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academiesâ Report Review Com- mittee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institu- tional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Robert Atkinson, Information Technology and Innovation Foun- dation; G. Wayne Clough, Georgia Institute of Technology; T. Gregory Dewey, Keck Graduate Institute of the Applied Life Sciences; Judith Glazer-Raymo, Columbia University; Susan Hackwood, California Coun- cil on Science and Technology; Karen Klomparens, Michigan State Univer- sity; Carol Nacy, Sequella, Inc.; Stephanie OâSullivan, Central Intelligence Agency; Linda Strausbaugh, University of Connecticut; William Valdez, Department of Energy; Bogdan Vernescu, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and Ernst Volgenau, SRA International. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many construc- tive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the con- clusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Charles Phelps, University of Rochester. Appointed by the National Academies, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures
xii PREFACE and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring com- mittee and the institution. The study committee thanks the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for the financial support it provided for this study and the many experts who met with the committee to provide their insights on the policy context, employersâ workforce needs, and developments in masterâs education. We also thank the staff of the National Academies who helped organize our committee meetings and draft the report. Rita R. Colwell, Chair Committee on Enhancing the Masterâs Degree in the Natural Sciences
Contents Summary 1 1 Innovation 9 Innovation and Competitiveness, 9 Investing in the Knowledge Workforce, 11 Reform in Graduate Education, 14 2 Masterâs Education 17 The Landscape of Masterâs Education, 17 Roles of Masterâs Education in the Natural Sciences, 23 Emerging Need for Professional Masterâs in the Natural Sciences, 29 New Professional Programs: MBS and PSM, 33 Assessing Employer Needs, 40 Developing PSM Programs, 46 3 Mastering the Future 53 Findings, 55 Recommendations, 57 Appendixes A Charge to the Study Committee 73 B Committee Member Biographies 75 xiii
xiv CONTENTS C Committee Meeting Agendas 85 D America COMPETES Act, Section 7034 91 E Estimating the Path of Masterâs Degree Recipients in the Biological Sciences 95 F Development of Selected Professional Degree Programs 97 G Side-by-Side Comparison: Keck Graduate Institute of the Applied Life Sciences, Sloan Foundation Professional Science Masterâs Initiative, and America COMPETES Act, Section 7034 PSM Provisions 103 H Data Tables 117 I Recommendations for Masterâs Education in Reports of Leading Science, Innovation, and Higher Education Organizations 123 J Bibliography 127 TABLES 2-1 Bachelorâs, Masterâs, and Doctoral Degrees Conferred and Percentage of Change over Time, Selected Years, 1970-1971 to 2004- 2005, 18 2-2 Masterâs Degrees Conferred, by Field, 2004-2005, 19 2-3 Ratio of Masterâs Degrees to Doctorates Awarded by U.S. Institutions, by Field, 2004, 26 2-4 Masterâs Degrees Awarded by the University of Utah in Selected Natural Sciences Fields, by Type of Masterâs Degree and Relationship to Doctorate, 2002-2003 to 2005-2006 (four years), 28 2-5 Employed Individuals with Highest Degree in the Biological Sciences, by Highest Degree and Employment Sector, 2003, 30 2-6 Employment and Salaries for MBS Graduates, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences, 2001-2002 to 2006-2007, 45 F-1 Development of Selected Professional Degree Programs, 98 H-1 Masterâs Degrees and Doctorates Conferred, by Sex of Student and Field of Study: 2004-2005, 118 H-2 Selected Graduate Education Characteristics, by Science and Engineering Field, 120 H-3 Bachelorâs, Masterâs, and Doctorate Degrees Awarded, by Science and Engineering Field, 2004, 122
CONTENTS xv FIGURES 2-1 Percentage of change in number of masterâs degrees awarded by discipline, 1975-1976 to 2004-2005, 20 2-2 S&E masterâs degree recipient, with no additional advanced degrees 10 or more years after first S&E masterâs degree, by broad field, 2003 (percentage), 27 2-3 S&E masterâs degree recipient, with no additional advanced degrees 10 or more years after first S&E masterâs degree, by fine field, 2003 (percentage), 27 2-4 Median salaries of degree recipients 1 to 5 years after degree, by field and level of highest degree, 2003, 41 2-5 Inflation-adjusted change in median salary 1 to 5 years after degree, by field of highest degree, 1993-2003, 41 BOXES 1-1 The Context for Innovation and Competitiveness Policy, 10 1-2 Reform in Graduate Education: IGERT and GK-12, 16 2-1 Masterâs Education for Science and Mathematics Teachers, 22 2-2 Typologies of Masterâs Degree Programs, 24 2-3 Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences, 35 2-4 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Professional Science Masterâs Initiative, 36 2-5 Guidelines for Formal Recognition as a Professional Science Masterâs (PSM) Program by the Council of Graduate Schools, 37 2-6 Business Intelligence, 42 2-7 Service Science, Management, and Engineering, 43 2-8 Scientific Societies and the Masterâs Degree, 49