Concept: Bachelor's degree
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget expansion from 1998 through 2003 increased demand for biomedical research, raising relative wages and total employment in the market for biomedical scientists. However, because research doctorates in biomedical sciences can often take six years or more to complete, the full labor supply response to such changes in market conditions is not immediate, but rather is observed over a period of several years. Economic rational expectations models assume that prospective students anticipate these future changes, and also that students take into account the opportunity costs of their pursuing graduate training. Prior empirical research on student enrollment and degree completions in science and engineering (S&E) fields indicates that “cobweb” expectations prevail: that is, at least in theory, prospective graduate students respond to contemporaneous changes in market wages and employment, but do not forecast further changes that will arise by the time they complete their degrees and enter the labor market. In this article, we analyze time-series data on wages and employment of biomedical scientists versus alternative careers, on completions of S&E bachelor’s degrees and biomedical sciences PhDs, and on research expenditures funded both by NIH and by biopharmaceutical firms, to examine the responsiveness of the biomedical sciences labor supply to changes in market conditions. Consistent with previous studies, we find that enrollments and completions in biomedical sciences PhD programs are responsive to market conditions at the time of students' enrollment. More striking, however, is the close correspondence between graduate student enrollments and completions, and changes in availability of NIH-funded traineeships, fellowships, and research assistantships.
Science graduates require critical thinking skills to deal with the complex problems they will face in their 21st century workplaces. Inquiry-based curricula can provide students with the opportunities to develop such critical thinking skills; however, evidence suggests that an inappropriate level of autonomy provided to underprepared students may not only be daunting to students but also detrimental to their learning. After a major review of the Bachelor of Science, we developed, implemented, and evaluated a series of three vertically integrated courses with inquiry-style laboratory practicals for early-stage undergraduate students in biomedical science. These practical curricula were designed so that students would work with increasing autonomy and ownership of their research projects to develop increasingly advanced scientific thinking and communication skills. Students undertaking the first iteration of these three vertically integrated courses reported learning gains in course content as well as skills in scientific writing, hypothesis construction, experimental design, data analysis, and interpreting results. Students also demonstrated increasing skills in both hypothesis formulation and communication of findings as a result of participating in the inquiry-based curricula and completing the associated practical assessment tasks. Here, we report the specific aspects of the curricula that students reported as having the greatest impact on their learning and the particular elements of hypothesis formulation and communication of findings that were more challenging for students to master. These findings provide important implications for science educators concerned with designing curricula to promote scientific thinking and communication skills alongside content acquisition.
Many US biomedical PhD programs receive more applications for admissions than they can accept each year, necessitating a selective admissions process. Typical selection criteria include standardized test scores, undergraduate grade point average, letters of recommendation, a resume and/or personal statement highlighting relevant research or professional experience, and feedback from interviews with training faculty. Admissions decisions are often founded on assumptions that these application components correlate with research success in graduate school, but these assumptions have not been rigorously tested. We sought to determine if any application components were predictive of student productivity measured by first-author student publications and time to degree completion. We collected productivity metrics for graduate students who entered the umbrella first-year biomedical PhD program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2008-2010 and analyzed components of their admissions applications. We found no correlations of test scores, grades, amount of previous research experience, or faculty interview ratings with high or low productivity among those applicants who were admitted and chose to matriculate at UNC. In contrast, ratings from recommendation letter writers were significantly stronger for students who published multiple first-author papers in graduate school than for those who published no first-author papers during the same timeframe. We conclude that the most commonly used standardized test (the general GRE) is a particularly ineffective predictive tool, but that qualitative assessments by previous mentors are more likely to identify students who will succeed in biomedical graduate research. Based on these results, we conclude that admissions committees should avoid over-reliance on any single component of the application and de-emphasize metrics that are minimally predictive of student productivity. We recommend continual tracking of desired training outcomes combined with retrospective analysis of admissions practices to guide both application requirements and holistic application review.
Educational disparities in U.S. adult mortality are large and have widened across birth cohorts. We consider three policy relevant scenarios and estimate the mortality attributable to: (1) individuals having less than a high school degree rather than a high school degree, (2) individuals having some college rather than a baccalaureate degree, and (3) individuals having anything less than a baccalaureate degree rather than a baccalaureate degree, using educational disparities specific to the 1925, 1935, and 1945 cohorts.
Sexual assault on college campuses is a public health issue. However varying research methodologies (e.g., different sexual assault definitions, measures, assessment timeframes) and low response rates hamper efforts to define the scope of the problem. To illuminate the complexity of campus sexual assault, we collected survey data from a large population-based random sample of undergraduate students from Columbia University and Barnard College in New York City, using evidence based methods to maximize response rates and sample representativeness, and behaviorally specific measures of sexual assault to accurately capture victimization rates. This paper focuses on student experiences of different types of sexual assault victimization, as well as sociodemographic, social, and risk environment correlates. Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and logistic regression were used to estimate prevalences and test associations. Since college entry, 22% of students reported experiencing at least one incident of sexual assault (defined as sexualized touching, attempted penetration [oral, anal, vaginal, other], or completed penetration). Women and gender nonconforming students reported the highest rates (28% and 38%, respectively), although men also reported sexual assault (12.5%). Across types of assault and gender groups, incapacitation due to alcohol and drug use and/or other factors was the perpetration method reported most frequently (> 50%); physical force (particularly for completed penetration in women) and verbal coercion were also commonly reported. Factors associated with increased risk for sexual assault included non-heterosexual identity, difficulty paying for basic necessities, fraternity/sorority membership, participation in more casual sexual encounters (“hook ups”) vs. exclusive/monogamous or no sexual relationships, binge drinking, and experiencing sexual assault before college. High rates of re-victimization during college were reported across gender groups. Our study is consistent with prevalence findings previously reported. Variation in types of assault and methods of perpetration experienced across gender groups highlight the need to develop prevention strategies tailored to specific risk groups.
This study tests if the drives to empathize (E) and systemize (S), measured by the Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ-R) and Empathy Quotient (EQ), show effects of sex and academic degree. The responses of 419 students from the Humanities and the Physical Sciences were analyzed in terms of the E-S theory predictions. Results confirm that there is an interaction between sex, degree and the drive to empathize relative to systemize. Female students in the Humanities on average had a stronger drive to empathize than to systemize in comparison to males in the Humanities. Male students in the Sciences on average had a stronger drive to systemize than to empathize in comparison to females in the Sciences. Finally, students in the sciences on average had a stronger drive to systemize more than to empathize, irrespective of their sex. The reverse is true for students in the Humanities. These results strongly replicate earlier findings.
Increasing biomedical workforce diversity remains a persistent challenge. Recent reports have shown that biomedical sciences (BMS) graduate students become less interested in faculty careers as training progresses; however, it is unclear whether or how the career preferences of women and underrepresented minority (URM) scientists change in manners distinct from their better-represented peers. We report results from a survey of 1500 recent American BMS Ph.D. graduates (including 276 URMs) that examined career preferences over the course of their graduate training experiences. On average, scientists from all social backgrounds showed significantly decreased interest in faculty careers at research universities, and significantly increased interest in non-research careers at Ph.D. completion relative to entry. However, group differences emerged in overall levels of interest (at Ph.D. entry and completion), and the magnitude of change in interest in these careers. Multiple logistic regression showed that when controlling for career pathway interest at Ph.D. entry, first-author publication rate, faculty support, research self-efficacy, and graduate training experiences, differences in career pathway interest between social identity groups persisted. All groups were less likely than men from well-represented (WR) racial/ethnic backgrounds to report high interest in faculty careers at research-intensive universities (URM men: OR 0.60, 95% CI: 0.36-0.98, p = 0.04; WR women: OR: 0.64, 95% CI: 0.47-0.89, p = 0.008; URM women: OR: 0.46, 95% CI: 0.30-0.71, p<0.001), and URM women were more likely than all other groups to report high interest in non-research careers (OR: 1.93, 95% CI: 1.28-2.90, p = 0.002). The persistence of disparities in the career interests of Ph.D. recipients suggests that a supply-side (or "pipeline") framing of biomedical workforce diversity challenges may limit the effectiveness of efforts to attract and retain the best and most diverse workforce. We propose incorporation of an ecological perspective of career development when considering strategies to enhance the biomedical workforce and professoriate through diversity.
National efforts to transform undergraduate biology education call for research experiences to be an integral component of learning for all students. Course-based undergraduate research experiences, or CUREs, have been championed for engaging students in research at a scale that is not possible through apprenticeships in faculty research laboratories. Yet there are few if any studies that examine the long-term effects of participating in CUREs on desired student outcomes, such as graduating from college and completing a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) major. One CURE program, the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI), has engaged thousands of first-year undergraduates over the past decade. Using propensity score-matching to control for student-level differences, we tested the effect of participating in FRI on students' probability of graduating with a STEM degree, probability of graduating within 6 yr, and grade point average (GPA) at graduation. Students who completed all three semesters of FRI were significantly more likely than their non-FRI peers to earn a STEM degree and graduate within 6 yr. FRI had no significant effect on students' GPAs at graduation. The effects were similar for diverse students. These results provide the most robust and best-controlled evidence to date to support calls for early involvement of undergraduates in research.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to describe currently used educational strategies for teaching evidence-based practice (EBP) in entry-level master’s degree occupational therapy programs in the United States. Fifty-eight entry-level occupational therapy program directors completed a survey. Results showed that occupational therapy programs consistently use a wide variety of EBP resources for teaching EBP including database searches, literature reviews, and the development of a research proposal. Less commonly used strategies include the use of case stories and journal clubs. The current study provides a baseline of existing strategies taught in entry level programs that may be built upon to gather more information about the content of EBP coursework, and determine ways to foster implementation of EBP in practice.
AIM: (i) To assess the impact of primary root canal treatment on the perceived quality of life amongst a cohort of Jordanian patients, (ii) to assess this cohort’s satisfaction of their primary root canal treatment, and (iii) to evaluate the association of the level of training and experience of clinicians with these two parameters. METHODOLOGY: A systematic random sample of 302 subjects was selected from patients who attended undergraduate, graduate and specialty clinics of Jordan University of Science and Technology. Participants were interviewed before and two weeks after completion of root canal treatment. The study instrument included the Oral Health Impact Profile questionnaire (Dugas et al. 2002) and seven semantic differential scales. Data analyses included descriptive statistics and nonparametric analyses. RESULTS: More than 90% of subjects reported improvements in the sense of taste, pain, eating, altering food temperature, self-consciousness, waking up during sleep, interruption of meals, difficulty to relax and difficulty to sleep after root canal treatment. There was no significant difference in terms of improvement amongst patients treated by specialists, graduate students or undergraduate students. The overall semantic differential score of intraoperative pain, pleasantness, chewing ability and general satisfaction was about 8. Satisfaction of root canal treatment by specialists was higher in terms of time involved, intraoperative pain, pleasantness and general satisfaction than those treatments by undergraduate students. Patients treated by specialist were least satisfied with the treatment cost compared to those patients treated by graduate or undergraduate students. CONCLUSIONS: The impact of root canal treatment on the quality of life was apparent. Satisfaction with root canal treatment approximates 8 on the semantic differential scale with preference for specialists over dental students.