[FUN_Mail] FW: FW: FUN Newsletter - President's Message and Conversation

Michael Loose via FUN_Mail fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org
Fri Aug 29 10:25:08 EDT 2014


SFN is running a workshop prior to the meeting this year that is focused on
a science writing career, one option besides the PhD route.  Undergrads can
apply for funding.

*Apply for the Science Journalism Student Award*
SfN wants to help two outstanding science journalism students attend
Neuroscience
2014
<http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/45254598:27660896453:m:1:1236686905:BFE61F99617247F9B4E60797A1677B73:r>.
Are you a current or recent undergraduate or graduate student who is
passionate about science journalism? Are you interested in pursuing a
science writing career? Apply today and you could win complimentary meeting
registration, four nights’ lodging in Washington, DC, and $750.
Applications are due October 10. Learn more and apply today
<http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/45254599:27660896453:m:1:1236686905:BFE61F99617247F9B4E60797A1677B73:r>
.

Mike Loose
Professor of Neuroscience
Oberlin College


On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 11:43 AM, Ramirez, Julio via FUN_Mail <
fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org> wrote:

> Thanks for the great information, Deanne.
>
> SOMAS used to run grad student panels in conjunction with Michael Zigmond
> and Beth Fisher's Survival Skills workshops right before SfN meeting.
> Michael and Beth ran career panels during same event. Well attended and
> very useful information on careers beyond the bench.
>
> We can try to resurrect these panels as FUN or we can work with
> Professional Development Committee of SfN to see if there might be interest
> in doing so during the meeting (if not done already).
>
> Best
>
> Julio
>
> Sent from my iPhone (please pardon typos)
>
> Julio J. Ramirez, Ph.D.
> R. Stuart Dickson Professor
> Director, Neuroscience Program
> co-Director, Neuroscience Scholars Program
>      Society for Neuroscience
> Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Program
> Box 7017; Watson Building
> Davidson College
> Davidson, NC 28035
>
> Voice: 704-894-2888<tel:704-894-2888>
>
> “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the
> most discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but 'That's funny...”
> ― Isaac Asimov
>
> On Aug 5, 2014, at 10:42 AM, "Buffalari, Deanne M via FUN_Mail" <
> fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org<mailto:fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org>>
> wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>
> I thought this link might be useful for some- there is an entire
> conference devoted to these sorts of issues for PhD level students and
> postdocs:
>
> http://www.beyondacademia.org/conference/
>
> While the information provided might not be directly relevant to
> undergraduates, just scanning the topic list provides excellent perspective
> on how a PhD in Neuroscience can prepare students for a remarkably diverse
> set of careers.
>
> More formally, it might be beneficial to contact the conference organizers
> and/or presenters to gather information regarding which of these career
> paths may be accessible without a PhD, as well as what sorts of training
> would be beneficial in terms of the undergraduate framework that would
> prepare students well for such endeavors.  Maybe a future FUN meeting could
> contain a session regarding these types of career paths and best training
> practices with some of these speakers?
>
> Deanne Buffalari, Ph.D
> Westminster College
> 319 S Market St
> New Wilmington, PA
> dmbuffalari at gmail.com<mailto:dmbuffalari at gmail.com>
>
>
> ________________________________________
> From: FUN_Mail [fun_mail-bounces at lists.funfaculty.org<mailto:
> fun_mail-bounces at lists.funfaculty.org>] On Behalf Of Harrington, Ian via
> FUN_Mail [fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org<mailto:
> fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org>]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2014 9:19 AM
> To: Karen Gunther
> Cc: FUN_Mail at lists.funfaculty.org<mailto:FUN_Mail at lists.funfaculty.org>;
> Calin-Jageman, Robert
> Subject: Re: [FUN_Mail] FW: FW: FUN Newsletter - President's Message and
>       Conversation
>
> Hi Everyone,
>
>
> As great as the Ithaca workshop was I do wish we had had some more formal
> time to deal as a group with the issues raised in Jeff’s editorial and in
> the comments that followed. From a number of smaller conversations it was
> clear that many of us are concerned about how we should be advising our
> undergraduate neuroscience majors about their post-graduation plans, and
> the expectations we should be fostering at the undergraduate and graduate
> levels about what the future holds for those who hope to obtain a PhD in
> neuroscience or a related field.
>
>
> I have no idea how the graduate system should be transformed, but I have
> more pressing concerns. Whatever the realities of the tenure-track
> pipeline, now and in the future, for those of us whose primary
> responsibility is undergraduate neuroscience education, when we establish
> admission to a PhD program in the neurosciences as *the* benchmark for
> student success, we do so at the detriment of the vast majority of our
> students, including some of those who will actually achieve that benchmark.
> [As a venture, that seems about as sustainable as running an ice cream
> store whose only flavor is mint chocolate chip. Sure, some people will be
> thrilled but a lot of others are going to be really disappointed and still
> others will only later (if never) find out that there were other flavors
> they would have preferred.]
>
>
> Of course our programs should prepare students for admission to graduate
> school, but they should do more. Most importantly, this “more” should not
> just be found by accident and out of desperation by those who “failed” to
> get into a PhD program, and these “alternatives” should not always engender
> feelings of shame in the student or disappointment in the mentor.
>
>
> What I think a lot of us will need help with, however, is in understanding
> where the best opportunities are for these other successes given our
> students’ skills and knowledge. As I said at the workshop, perhaps
> clumsily, the backgrounds that most of us share prevent us from having
> much, if any, first hand experience outside of our own career experiences.
> I know as much about what it’s like to have a career in industry, science
> writing, or law as I do about being left handed (which I am not). How can
> we thoughtfully guide our students down unfamiliar roads most of us have
> never traveled?
>
>
> Open to suggestions,
>
> Ian
>
>
> On Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 10:18 AM, Karen Gunther <guntherk at wabash.edu
> <mailto:guntherk at wabash.edu>> wrote:
>
> One point that hasn't been brought up yet is our ability to increase
> scientific literacy in our students, which might be even more important in
> students who don't end up as professional scientists - too little of the US
> population understands and "believes in" science - we need more
> knowledgeable people out there spreading the word.
>
> Related to increasing scientific literacy, and Michael's point about
> taking some time away from content to teach more life skills (critical
> thinking skills, etc.), and Cecelia's point about more advocacy, I have
> been thinking of adding a new exercise next time I teach intro
> neuroscience, having my students write a letter of advocacy to politicians
> expressing concern for funding in neuroscience and the behavioral sciences
> (since our neuroscience courses are currently housed in the psychology
> department).  I plan to invite a Rhetoric faculty member to speak to the
> class about writing persuasive statements.  I will not require the students
> to actually send in their letters, but they can if they wish.  Any that I
> find particularly strong, I will encourage to be sent in.
>
> - Karen
>
> *******************************
> Dr. Karen L.  Gunther, PhD
> Associate Professor of Psychology
> Wabash College
> Baxter 322 (Hays 002 for the summer)
> 301 W. Wabash Ave.
> Crawfordsville, IN 47933
> 765/361-6286
>
> Sent from my iPad that I won in the WBAA Purdue NPR fund drive drawing!  :)
>
> On Jun 30, 2014, at 9:29 AM, "Calin-Jageman, Robert" <
> rcalinjageman at dom.edu<mailto:rcalinjageman at dom.edu>> wrote:
>
> From: Fox, Cecilia [mailto:foxc at moravian.edu]
> Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2014 3:45
> To: Hildebrand, John G - (jhildebr)
> Cc: FUN_Mail at lists.funfaculty.org<mailto:FUN_Mail at lists.funfaculty.org>
> Subject: Re: [FUN_Mail] FW: FUN Newsletter - President's Message and
> Conversation
>
> Many thanks to all of you for this interesting series of comments.  As
> neuroscience professors at liberal arts institutions, we have the
> opportunity to cross many disciplines when teaching concepts related to the
> brain and behavior.   In fact, I encourage my majors to not only study
> neuroscience, but to double major or minor in another area of interest.  Of
> course, some like to stay within their comfort zone of the sciences
> (Chemistry or Physics) but recently, a larger number of students are also
> taking clusters of courses in photography, ethics, music, business and so
> on, since they want to have a breadth of experiences that may serve them
> well in their future career path.
>
> In advising these students, many have aspirations of attending medical
> or graduate school.  As we all know, some will succeed and some will not.
> As their academic advisor, I have always viewed my role as one that
> encourages these aspirations but provides realistic advice.  I ensure every
> major has a "plan B" should their first choice not be realized upon
> graduation from college.   It has been essential to work with our Career
> Center to help identify particular marketable skill sets in our students.
> As was mentioned earlier, the development of critical and creative
> thinking skills are important for the future success of our majors.  In
> fact, as technology advances, we may actually be training our students for
> careers that do not even exist right now!
>
> We need to be proactive and develop skill sets in our students that will
> serve them well beyond areas in scientific disciplines (communication,
> computer science, business, social justice, etc).   Some of my majors who
> have gone on to pursue graduate degrees are engaged in professions ranging
> from lobbyists to researchers to art directors.   In my view, the "tenured
> track PhD professor" may easily be considered the "alternative" career
> rather than the norm.
>
> But, if we are to continue training future neuroscientists, it is also
> our responsibility to serve as advocates for our cause.  We need to contact
> our local political representatives to express the importance of educating
> this next generation of physicians, scientists and educators.  As an
> organization, we need to ensure that funding for NSF and NIH remains strong
> rather than dwindles....as has been the case in recent years.  We can
> engage our local SfN chapters in this effort to provide a consistent and
> cohesive message.  As someone who serves on the SfN Governance and Public
> Affairs committee, I have seen the value of this work first hand.  The key
> is to not only share our voices, but those of our undergraduates.  When
> organized, they can provide the heart and soul of this message as it
> relates to the future of our country's well being and prosperity.
>
> Kind regards,
> Cecilia Fox
>
> Cecilia M. Fox, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
> Director of the Neuroscience Program
> President of the Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience Chapter
> Moravian College
> 1200 Main Street
> Bethlehem, PA 18018
> 610-861-1426
> cfox at moravian.edu<mailto:cfox at moravian.edu><mailto:cfox at moravian.edu>
>
> On Sat, Jun 28, 2014 at 5:13 PM, Hildebrand, John G - (jhildebr) <
> jhildebr at email.arizona.edu<mailto:jhildebr at email.arizona.edu><mailto:
> jhildebr at email.arizona.edu>> wrote:
>
>
> I heartily endorse the message (below) from Bob Rosenberg. It's right on
> target in every respect! Thanks for posting it, Bob!
>
> ***************************************************************
> John G. Hildebrand, Ph.D.
> Regents Professor and Foreign Secretary of the National Academy of
> Sciences
> Department of Neuroscience
> University of Arizona PO Box 210077
> 1040 East 4th St.
> Tucson  AZ  85721-0077
> USA
> tel: 520-621-6626<tel:520-621-6626>
> fax: 520-621-8282<tel:520-621-8282>
> email: <jhildebr at email.arizona.edu<mailto:jhildebr at email.arizona.edu
> ><mailto:jhildebr at email.arizona.edu>>
> Website: http://neurosci.arizona.edu/
> ****************************************************************
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: FUN_Mail [mailto:fun_mail-bounces at lists.funfaculty.org<mailto:
> fun_mail-bounces at lists.funfaculty.org<mailto:
> fun_mail-bounces at lists.funfaculty.org>>] On Behalf Of Bob Rosenberg
> Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2014 9:38 AM
> To: FUN Mail
> Subject: Re: [FUN_Mail] FUN Newsletter - President's Message and
> Conversation
>
> From my perspective, having been a professor at a research-intensive
> medical/graduate school (UNC-Chapel Hill) and now a professor at a liberal
> arts college (Earlham College), I have some disagreements with Jeff.
>
> 1. There are no "alternative" career paths anymore. Graduate students
> understand from very early on, i.e in their first year, that their career
> path is unlikely to lead to a tenure-track position. All career options
> (e.g. research positions in academia or industry, R&D in any commercial
> setting, grants management, clinical research management, science writing
> and editing, working for professional organizations) are considered as
> options from early on in grad school. All of them are considered legitimate
> by most students and their professors. Many professors still hope their
> students will become their clones, but most are realistic that that's
> unlikely. Maybe students at Stanford and Harvard are deluded into thinking
> they can be a tenured professor if they want, but at the grad programs I
> was affiliated with in Chapel Hill, students knew the score. Most of them
> are using their PhD very productively even if a small percentage are
> tenure-track professors.
>
> 2. Undergraduate education is not vocational education, it's
> life-enriching education. We can hope that neuroscience students will
> pursue neuroscience after they graduate, but we mustn't be disappointed if
> they follow other paths that aren't in science at all, and we mustn't think
> of those paths as failures. Students become neuroscience majors because at
> this point in their lives they're passionate about learning about the brain
> and behavior, and that should be reason enough. Their lives will be better
> for following that passion even if they don't pursue it past the BA or BS.
> If they use the skills that they learn as neuroscience majors -- thinking
> critically, being able to communicate their thoughts, understanding complex
> ideas and data -- in any career, their education was worth the effort. Even
> if they become real estate agents, bartenders, or stay-home parents, their
> college education enriches their lives.
>
> 3. We must be honest with students who express an interest in graduate
> school about the possible career paths, and we can't be too sanguine about
> their chances getting onto and then surviving the tenure track, but I think
> it would be a mistake to discourage students from following their passion
> for further education. Unless we actively delude students into thinking
> that the tenure track is a likely outcome, we are not part of the problem.
> The problem is when students, both graduate and undergraduate, are deluded
> into having unrealistic goals about academic career paths. As long as we
> don't do that, there is no major problem.
>
> Bob Rosenberg
> Professor of Biology
> Earlham College
> 801 National Road West, Drawer 142
> Richmond, IN 47374
>
> office: (765) 983-1464
> fax: (765) 983-1497
> email: rosenbo at earlham.edu<mailto:rosenbo at earlham.edu><mailto:
> rosenbo at earlham.edu>
>
>
> MAILMAN_MIMEDEFANG WRAP
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>
>
> --
>
> *Ian A. Harrington, Ph.D.*
>
> Augustana College, Psychology
>
> Director, Program in Neuroscience
>
> 639 38th St., Rock Island, IL 61201
>
> 011 Evald Hall, (309) 794-7243
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