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April 25 - May 8, 2016

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The Growth of Instructional Design

Colleges are increasingly using instructional designers to improve the quality of teaching at their institutions, whether in online, in-person, or hybrid courses. Instructional designers must be well-versed in technical abilities, design virtues, pedagogical knowledge, and interpersonal skills. The push for instructional designers is reflective of a growing pressure on colleges to improve teaching as well as the maturation of online courses and increasingly sophisticated technology.

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Activism: Frustrated postdocs rise up

High-level reports have called attention to the low pay, spotty benefits, uneven training and hazy career prospects of postdocs for more than a decade, but efforts to combat these issues has been very slow. Recently, regional groups of postdocs at universities such as Tufts, Stanford, and NYU have come together to demand better pay and benefits.

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On Being Observed While Teaching

College instructors tend to be anxious about having their teaching observed by evaluators, and with good reason. David Gooblar discusses steps you can take to improve the odds that your teaching review goes well, including using a lesson plan that has been successful in the past and meeting with your observer before your evaluation date.

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The Community-College Interview: What to Expect

As part of a series on community college hiring practices, Rob Jenkins discusses what to expect if you’ve been invited to interview on campus for a full-time teaching position at a community college. Jenkins advises interviewees to prepare responses on how to best work with underprepared students and diverse populations, as well as to prepare questions for interviewers based on your research into the institution.

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Lifelong Learning: Science Professors Need Leadership Training

A recent article by Charles E. Leiserson and Chuck McVinney argues that science faculty need leadership training to better teach students, mentor PhDs, collaborate with peers, and persuade people to give funding.

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The Shrinking Ph.D. Job Market

The latest results from the Survey of Earned Doctorates show more doctorates are being awarded overall, and the proportion of Ph.D.s awarded in STEM fields keeps growing. This has led to the tightening of the job market for new Ph.D.s.

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A Researcher Discovers Teaching

Patricia Pérez-Cornejo recounts recently learning of new teaching practices that engage her classroom and encourage her own enthusiasm. She finds that mentoring, institutional support, and funding support are all needed to foster good teaching.

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Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2014

This new report from the National Science Foundation reports trends in U.S. doctoral education based on data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates, an annual census of research doctorate recipients from U.S. universities. Important trends in this population highlighted in this report include the representation of women, minorities, and foreign nationals; emergence of new fields of study; time to complete doctoral degree; and employment opportunities after graduation.

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Vitae Bookshelf: James M. Lang

James M. Lang, a professor at Assumption College and columnist for The Chronicle, shares five books that have most influenced his views on learning and teaching in higher education.

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The 13 Most Important STEM Colleges for Women

Using their 2016 Best Value colleges ranking, Forbes looked at schools specializing in STEM and their attendance rate for women. University of California, Davis came in first, followed by Cornell University and Johns Hopkins University. The article attributes these successes to campus programs and support systems that encourage female participation in STEM.

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Diversifying a Discipline

A recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education looks into how Penn State produced unprecedented numbers of black, female Ph.D.s in philosophy. They did this through encouraging long-term relationships with faculty, having a critical mass of minority doctoral students, and encouraging the widening of philosophy.

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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.

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

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