April 4 - April 17, 2016


This newsletter is sent biweekly to subscribers of STEM|PROF, a moderated listserve. The purpose of STEM|PROF is to advance efforts that prepare future STEM faculty as effective undergraduate instructors and mentors. STEM|PROF gathers news, research, and events from four areas: teaching development for current and future faculty; undergraduate STEM education; doctoral education; and academic career formation. STEM|PROF is hosted by the Longitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars.


The Power of Grad Student Teaching

A new study in the Economics of Education Review finds that undergraduates who take their first course in a given subject from a graduate student are nearly twice as likely to subsequently major in that subject, compared to their peers who take the same course with full-time faculty. The study provides evidence that the academic and professional benefits of graduate student teaching experiences extend to undergraduates as well.


The Subtle Ways Gender Gaps Persist in Science

A forthcoming paper by Cassidy R. Sugimoto, professor of informatics at Indiana University at Bloomington, shows that women in science fields are disproportionately performing experimental work such as pipetting, centrifuging, and sequencing; meanwhile, men are more likely to be credited for analyzing data, conceiving experiments, or writing the study. Sugimoto’s study, and others like it, demonstrate persistent implicit biases against women in science.


NSF Director Cordova on Advice for Graduate Students

France A. Cordova, director of the National Science Foundation, addresses a question she is often asked: What advice would you give to graduate students? She encourages readers to explore as much as possible in order to find “eureka” moments, to engage in passions outside research, and rejoice in having career options both inside and outside of academia.


Ph.D.s Embrace Alternative Dissertations. The Job Market May Not.

For a variety of reasons, humanities programs at many colleges have started to allow dissertation formats outside of the traditional book-length monograph, but hiring and promotion practices at most universities have not supported this trend. Advisers and doctoral students need to think about how a nontraditional dissertation may impact career prospects.


She Wanted to Do Her Research. He Wanted to Talk ‘Feelings.’

Plenty of explanations have been proposed about why women are still a minority in many STEM fields. A. Hope Jahren, a professor of geobiology at the University of Hawaii, discusses sexual harassment as one cause. Jahren notes that she has female students approach her about being sexually harassed several times a year by male co-workers, advisors, and professors.


Is the GRE Even Worth Students’ Time?

Standardized admissions tests can pose obstacles to otherwise talented students, many of whom are disadvantaged minorities. Some professors and researchers have openly denounced the GRE, noting that it undermines diversity and does not add valuable information about a students’ true potential. Even the Educational Testing Service, creator of the GRE, warns that there is only a tenuous connection between test scores and success in graduate school.

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Editor: Mark Connolly, Ph.D. ~
Principal Investigator, Longitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars
and Talking about Leaving, Revisited
Wisconsin Center for Education Research
University of Wisconsin–Madison

© 2016