Adviser is frequently referred to in the context of graduate education as a research adviser. While adviser and mentor are sometimes used interchangeably, the National Academies report, Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering, highlights some key differences between the roles: “A fundamental difference between mentoring and advising is more than advising; mentoring is a personal, as well as, professional relationship. An adviser might or might not be a mentor, depending on the quality of the relationship” (NAS/NAE/IOM, 1997, p. 1).
Convergence is an approach to problem solving that integrates expertise from life sciences with physical, mathematical, and computational sciences, medicine, and engineering to form comprehensive synthetic frameworks that merge areas of knowledge from multiple fields to address specific challenges (NRC, 2014).
Disciplinarity refers to a particular branch of learning or body of knowledge whose defining elements—such as objects and subjects of study, phenomena, assumptions, epistemology, concepts, theories, and methods—distinguish it from other knowledge formations. Biology and chemistry, for example, are separate domains typically segmented into departments in academic institutions (NRC, 2014).
Diversity “in science refers to cultivating talent and promoting the full inclusion of excellence across the social spectrum. This includes people from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented and those from backgrounds that are traditionally well represented.” In terms of dimensions to consider for diversity,
those characteristics include, but are not limited to, national origin, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, educational background, and family structures (Gibbs, 2014).
Education (see also Training) refers to activities that enhance knowledge and understanding, typically on a broader scale.
Equity is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources (Kapila et al., 2016).
Fellowships are defined as awards that are made to U.S. graduate students in National Science Foundation-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.1
Gender equity refers to the different needs, preferences, and interests of women and men. This may mean that different treatment is needed to ensure equality of opportunity. This is often referred to as substantive equality (or equality of results) and requires considering the realities of women’s and men’s lives (WHO, 2018).
The Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering survey is an annual census of all U.S. academic institutions granting research-based master’s degrees or doctorates in science, engineering, and selected health fields as of fall of the survey year. The survey, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, collects the total number of graduate students, postdoctoral appointees, and doctorate-level nonfaculty researchers by demographic and other characteristic such as source of financial support.
Historically underrepresented minority groups in STEM (URM) include women, persons with disabilities, and three racial and ethnic groups—blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians or Alaska Natives (NCSES, 2017).
Impostor syndrome is a specific form of intellectual self-doubt. Impostor feelings are generally accompanied by anxiety and, often, depression (Weir, 2013).
Inclusion is defined as a culture that connects each employee to the organization; encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness; and leverages diversity throughout the organization so that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential (NSF, 2011).
Interdisciplinary research is a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice (NAS/NAE/IOM, 2005).
Massive open online course (MOOC) is defined as a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people.2
Mentoring is a collaborative learning relationship that proceeds through purposeful stages over time and has the primary goal of helping mentees acquire the essential competencies needed for success in their chosen career (Pfund et al., 2016).
Micro-credentialing is an opportunity for individuals to demonstrate competency in a specialty area, typically through engagement with a MOOC (Sullivan, 2016).
Multidisciplinarity juxtaposes two or more disciplines focused on a question, problem, topic, or theme. Juxtaposition fosters wider information, knowledge, and methods, but disciplines remain separate and the existing structure of knowledge is not questioned. Individuals and even members of a team working on a common problem such as environmental sustainability or a public health initiative would work separately, and their results typically would be issued separately or compiled in encyclopedic alignment rather than synthesized (NRC, 2014).
The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), formerly the Division of Science Resources Statistics, was established within the National Science Foundation by Section 505 of the America COMPETES Re-authorization Act of 2010. The name signals the central role of NCSES in the collection, interpretation, analysis, and dissemination of objective data on the science and engineering enterprise. As 1 of 13 federal statistical agencies, NCSES designs, supports, and directs periodic national surveys and performs a variety of other data collections and research.3
3 See https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/about-ncses.cfm#core (accessed May 8, 2018).
Research assistantships are a financial award given to a graduate student where most of the student’s responsibilities are devoted primarily to research assistant activities (NSF/NIH, 2016).
The Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR) provides demographic, education, and career history information from individuals with a U.S. research doctoral degree in a science, engineering, or health field. The SDR is sponsored by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics and by the National Institutes of Health. Conducted since 1973, the SDR is a unique source of information about the educational and occupational achievements and career movement of U.S.-trained doctoral scientists and engineers in the United States and abroad.4
The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) is an annual census conducted since 1957 of all individuals receiving a research doctorate from an accredited U.S. institution in a given academic year. The SED is sponsored by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics within the National Science Foundation and by five other federal agencies: the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The SED collects information on the doctoral recipient’s educational history, demographic characteristics, and postgraduation plans.5
Science and Engineering Indicators (Indicators) is the “gold standard” of high-quality quantitative data on U.S. and international science, engineering, and technology. Indicators is factual, unbiased, and is widely used by state and federal policymakers, businesses, universities, and many others to inform their decisions.6
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For this report, the field of science includes the social and behavioral sciences. The data in this report refer to the following broad fields: engineering, agricultural sciences; biological sciences; earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences; computer sciences; mathematics and statistics; chemistry; physics; social and behavioral sciences; and medical and other health sciences (for Ph.D.’s only, as these degrees are part of the “doctoral-research/scholarship” category as noted by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics).
Teaching assistantships are a financial award given to a graduate student where most of the student’s responsibilities are devoted primarily to teaching assistant activities (NSF/NIH, 2016).
Trainee may refer to both predoctoral and postdoctoral individuals, regardless of their source of support. Trainee also refers more specifically to individuals appointed to a particular training program.7
Training (see also Education) focuses on the development of a skill, trait, or set of abilities related to a specified task or specialization.
Transdisciplinarity transcends disciplinary approaches through more comprehensive frameworks, including the synthetic paradigms of general systems theory and sustainability, as well as the shift from a disease model to a new paradigm of health and wellness. In the late 20th century, it also became aligned with problem-oriented research that crosses the boundaries of both academic and public and private spheres. In this second connotation, mutual learning, joint work, and knowledge integration are key to solving “real-world” problems. The construct goes beyond interdisciplinary combinations of existing approaches to foster new worldviews or domains (NRC, 2014).
Gibbs, K., Jr. 2014. Diversity in STEM: What it is and why it matters. Scientific American. Voices blog. Available https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/diversity-in-stem-what-it-is-and-why-it-matters/.
Kapila, M., E. Hines, and M. Searby; ProInspire. 2016. Why diversity, equity, and inclusion matter. Independent Sector. Available: https://independentsector.org/resource/why-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-matter/.
NAS/NAE/IOM (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine). 1997. Adviser, teacher, role model, friend: On being a mentor to students in science and engineering. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
NAS/NAE/IOM. 2005. Facilitating interdisciplinary research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
NCSES (National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics). 2017. Introduction in Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2017. Special Report NSF 17-310. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation. Available: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/technical-notes.cfm#reporting-categories (accessed December 21, 2017).
NRC (National Research Council). 2014. Convergence: Facilitating transdisciplinary integration of life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, and beyond. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
NSF (National Science Foundation). 2011. Diversity and inclusion strategic plan 2012–2016. Arlington, VA: NSF. Available: https://www.nsf.gov/od/odi/reports/StrategicPlan.pdf (accessed May 8, 2018).
NSF/NIH (National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health). 2016. Worksheet for Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering. Available: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvygradpostdoc/surveys/srvygradpostdoc-2016.pdf (accessed May 8, 2018).
Pfund, C., A. Byars-Winston, J. Branchaw, S. Hurtado, and K. Eagan. 2016. Defining attributes and metrics of effective research mentoring relationships. AIDS and Behavior 20(2):238-248.
Sullivan, A. 2016. A case study in micro-credentialing. Interstate Renewable Energy Council. Available: https://irecusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MicroCredential-Case-Study-FINAL-March-2016.pdf (accessed May 8, 2018).
Weir, K. 2013. Feel like a fraud? gradPSYCH 11(4):24-27. Available: http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud.aspx (accessed January 23, 2018).
WHO (World Health Organization, Knowledge Centre). 2018. Gender, equity and human rights: Glossary of terms and tools. Available: http://www.who.int/gender-equity-rights/knowledge/glossary/en/ (accessed May 8, 2018).