The Academic Science Education and Research Training (ASERT) program for postdoctoral scholars at the University of New Mexico (UNM) matches PhD graduates from around the United States with outstanding biomedical research mentors and engages New Mexico's diverse populations through effective science education collaborations with minority serving institution (MSI) and national tribal college partners. As one of 19 NIH-NIGMS Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA), the ASERT program requires scholars to spend 75% of their time on research and 25% on teaching and career development activities. During the next funding cycle we will extend the length of the program to 4 years, by requiring research mentors to contribute 25% of scholars' stipend each year. This will enable scholars to solidify both their research programs and education collaborations, engage in career development and skill building activities, apply and interview for faculty positions. The overall, long-term objective of ASERT is to contribute to the number of junior faculty across the country with the training and experience to succeed in all facets of academic life at institutions that are likely to have highly diverse student populations and where interdisciplinary, collaborative research is essential for success. To accomplish this goal, the ASERT program focuses on 1) developing strong, independent research programs with mentoring by cutting-edge scientists, 2) preparation for effective teaching and course and curriculum development that meets with success for diverse student populations, 3) development of strong yet insightful leadership, mentoring, and management skills, and 4) acquiring the team-building skills that underlie success in the current job market. Research training and most career development activities take place at UNM and capitalize on the wide array and depth of available resources: research seminars and journal clubs, participation in interdisciplinary research programs in cancer, bioengineering, nanotechnology and clinical translational sciences, interactions with other NIH-funded programs for undergraduates and post-baccalaureates (IMSD, MARC, PREP, INBRE), highly relevant and internationally recognized educational development workshops, education seminars and retreats, and skill- and team-building activities. We will admit 4-5 scholars each year and have established a track record of fellows assuming independent academic careers. All ASERT activities and career tracking are evaluated by a non- ASERT evaluation team, collating feedback and input from ASERT scholars, T32 trainees and ASERT mentors to provide outcomes data and assessment for continual program improvement.
The Academic Science Education and Research Training (ASERT) program at the University of New Mexico (UNM) aims to increase the number of new faculty prepared to excel in all facets of academic life at institutions likely to have highly divese student populations. This is accomplished through cutting-edge research training with scientists at UNM, a wide range of career development and skill-building activities, and education partnerships with three Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) in New Mexico, in which ASERT scholars collaborate with expert mentors to contribute research- oriented, innovative teaching strategies and open possibilities for both MSI faculty and students to participate in research programs at UNM.
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