BEST highlighted in Council of Graduate Schools report
Earlier this year, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) published the results of their study on the importance of professional development in graduate education. The study, entitled Professional Development: Shaping Effective Programs for STEM Graduate Students and supported by the National Science Foundation, reached out to over 900 individuals at 226 academic institutions and a variety of other stakeholders including industry leaders, professional organizations, and federal agencies. Notably, the NIH biomedical workforce study and its recommendations were cited as a major force in driving awareness and systematic change. Happily, but not surprisingly, the NIH BEST initiative was highlighted throughout the report as a model for incentives and best practices. Kudos to Atlanta BEST, where Lisa Tedesco was cited as discussing “the importance of creating a culture of expectation for both faculty and students that prioritizes content, training, and ‘ownership’ for professional development and career planning.” As Lisa noted, the BEST programs serve as “proving ground” for modeling activities in other areas. Another area that was highlighted in the report was the use of the IDP and how it is gaining traction in the graduate training community, noting that BEST institutions champion the practice of using these tools. The report articulates many elements of graduate training that will resonate with BEST programs and notes that the key challenge of “Faculty attitudes about professional development and multiple career paths for PhDs and master’s in their field can prevent students from obtaining valuable skills needed for career success after graduation.” It is satisfying to note that the BEST community is doing its part in address this significant concern. We look forward to continued efforts on behalf of our STEM graduate students.