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Appendix A Charge to the Study Committee The National Research Council will undertake a study exploring the role of masterâs education in the natural sciences and whether and how masterâs programs might be enhanced to bolster our workforce and our nationâs science-based industries. The study committee will explore and answer, 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? 2. How do employers communicate their employment needs to edu- cational programs and how can this communication be enhanced? 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? 4. 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? 5. 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? What can masterâs-level programs in the natural sciences learn from each other? 73
74 SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS 6. What can they learn from the way graduate-level professional programs in fields such as business, public policy, public health, and engineering developed to meet employer needs? 7. 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? 8. 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?