November 2011

Education and professional development

Maximizing competitiveness during challenging times  


Although the economy shows some signs of recovery, today’s college graduates continue to face a challenging job market. Similarly, institutions of higher learning face the challenge of maintaining economic viability while continuing to deliver comprehensive instruction using state-of-the-art technologies.

At the faculty level, diminishing resources and increasing time commitments have redefined the three major missions of academia: scholarship, teaching and service. Finally, the emergence of strong economies and research infrastructure in other countries challenges U.S. scientists to remain competitive and develop collaborations on a global scale. Recognizing these challenges, the 2012 education and professional development theme is focused on increasing competitiveness at the global, institutional and individual levels.

Outreach and research 

The program is organized into six sessions. On Saturday, April 21, the activities will focus on education and outreach in coordination with the 16th annual undergraduate poster session, sponsored by the Undergraduate Affiliate Network. After the poster session, students will be invited to a speed-dating-like session with representatives from various career paths called “Finding Your Perfect Career Match.”

Undergraduate research experiences provide a unique means for developing the technical and critical-thinking skills that allow graduates to be competitive in the job market. As such, Sunday morning’s session, “Maximizing Institutional Effectiveness,” will focus on approaches to bolstering undergraduate research/research training. Peter Kennelly (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) will approach the issue from the perspective of a research-intensive institution. Next, Joseph Provost (Minnesota State University Moorhead) will discuss this issue from the perspective of a primarily undergraduate institution. Finally, Cecile Andraos-Selim (Hampton University) will discuss the unique challenges to undergraduate research/research training at a minority-serving institution.



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