The University of Michigan (UM) has a superb history of training postdoctoral fellows, and is committed to enhancing diversity and the pipeline of future teachers and students in the workforce that pursues the Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) fields. With this in mind, the UM College of Engineering and Medical School have partnered with two colleges that are within a 45 minute drive, Henry Ford College (HFC) and Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) to develop the Michigan IRACDA: Training of Future Professors of Engineering and Physiology program to train future scientist- educators. The proposed four-year program for each trainee scholar involves an initial three years of 75%-time research training by 32 UM research mentors who have an excellent training record and are well funded. The research mentors are based primarily in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Physiology, and include 3 assistant professors, 9 associate professors and 20 professors; with a training record of >230 current and past postdocs and 31 current postdocs who are training grant eligible. The remaining 25% training time of the first 3 years consists of training in teaching, which will be carried out at HC and WCCCD. Four trainee scholars will be selected annually, with 12 total scholars by years 3-5 of the program; half will have an engineering focus and teach at HFC and half with a physiology focus and teach at WCCCD. The fourth year of training will be covered by the research mentors and is expected to allow the scholars to complete their research projects, carry out some teaching and work towards securing a faculty position. HFC and WCCCD have 18,000-20,000 students each, with science class sizes of 24-36, and a large number of underrepresented minority students (46% at HFC, >80% at WCCCD). Both colleges will provide several courses for our scholars to teach including anatomy and physiology, biology, engineering and mathematics. The full-time teaching experience of the six mentors from HFC and WCCCD is 7-20 years per mentor, and the mentors were selected because of their outstanding teaching. Highlights and unique features of our proposal include the outstanding record of the research and teaching mentors, our scholar evaluation and selection process, the focus on college students with diverse backgrounds where we anticipate making a huge impact on the trajectory of the students, the program oversight, an institutional commitment that has already allowed recruiting two Michigan IRACDA scholars, full engagement of the renowned UM Center for Research on Learning and Teaching to provide training modules and opportunities for both the scholars and their teaching mentors, and the institutional support to provide summer research fellowships for up to 20 students from HFC and WCCCD. We are confident that our program will be successful in preparing a new generation of scientist-educators to be highly effective and successful faculty members and mentors, and that we will inspire an up-and-coming cohort of students to pursue science and engineering careers.
We anticipate that our program will make an important positive impact on the number of students in two State of Michigan large community colleges who will continue to pursue science and engineering disciplines. We also envision that we will be able to select and train an elite group of future scientists who will excel not only in research but also in mentoring and teaching, and will appreciate the importance of diversity in the STEM disciplines.
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