@NSF launches new graduate education forum (@nsf_bio; #PhDChat) 



The National Science Foundation recently launched a new graduate research forum to survey early-career scientists on their experiences in their trainee (graduate student, post-doc) stages. Directly from the forum's website:

"This forum will provide the NSF Division of Graduate Education (DGE) a direct connection with graduate students, faculty, university administrators, employers, and others who want to contribute to the national dialogue. To get stakeholder input, the DGE will host moderated conversations on this forum. The DGE will post discussion questions in four broad topic areas: Diversity and broadening participation; campus to careers; the graduate education experience; and mentoring. The intent is to provide a forum for graduate education stakeholders to discuss challenges in graduate education and to propose innovative ideas to improve outcomes. The DGE will respond to general themes within the community discussion, but will not use the forum to answer questions about specific NSF programs. However, the comments and ideas shared on the forum will inform both the NSF and national dialogue about the state of STEM graduate education and new strategic directions."

So, login with your Wordpress account, check out a few questions, and provide some feedback to the good folks at the NSF. Current questions include:

"WHAT PROFESSIONAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT DO YOU THINK IS MOST NEEDED AND LEAST PROVIDED AS GRADUATE STUDENTS AND POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHERS PREPARE FOR CAREERS?"

"WHAT ARE SOME ADVANTAGES OR DISADVANTAGES OF FORMAL MENTOR-MENTEE RELATIONSHIPS?"

"WHAT DOES ‘BROADENING PARTICIPATION’ MEAN TO YOU?"

Kudos to the NSF for trying to formalize some of the discussions that have already been taking place on social media like Twitter and the ecology blogs. The weak part is that democracy only works when people participate, so hopefully NSF et al. will reach out to really broaden the participating groups.