In its first funding cycle, the Training and Education to Advance Minority Scholars in Science (TEAM-Science) Program (R25 GM083252) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) has had the twin goals of increasing the number of students from underrepresented ethnic and racial minority groups (URM) entering and completing a Ph.D. in biological or behavioral science (BBS) and increasing the number of these students who pursue academic careers. Informed by social cognitive career theory, TEAM-Science has five core components: 1) mentor-training for the research advisor, 2) eight consensus-derived fundamental competencies required for a successful academic career, 3) career coaching by a senior faculty member, 4) an individualized career development plan that aligns student's activities with the eight fundamental competencies, and 5) a SWOT personal career analysis. The latter three are structured career intervention strategies. Data from the firs 3 years suggest success in translating theory into practice with the desired intermediate outcomes of increasing students'research self-efficacy, positive outcome expectations, and commitment to a research career. In this competing renewal of the TEAM-Science Program we plan to continue the five components and expand our focus to include students with disabilities (SWD), another underrepresented group in BBS. This builds on collaborations with faculty in assistive technology research and education programs aimed at bringing students with disabilities into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In this new funding cycle, we have three specific aims:
Specific Aim 1. To support 30 students for 2 consecutive years each during their doctoral training in a BBS discipline: 12 in years 1&2, 12 in years 3&4, and 6 in years 5&6 including carry-over;so that by the end of the funding cycle 27 URM students and 3 SWD remain in or have completed a BBS PhD program, increasing the overall institutional numbers by 4% for URMS and 12% for SWD.
Specific Aim 2. To have at least 80% of TEAM-Science scholars entering or aspiring to enter an academic career at the completion of their doctoral degree.
Specific Aim 3. To disseminate effective strategies developed and tested in TEAM-Science to other graduate diversity programs at UW and beyond. TEAM-Science remains part of a comprehensive, organizational change approach to increasing scientific workforce diversity using UW as a "living laboratory" with multi-level (i.e. individual and institutional) interventions that are iteratively evaluated and strategically disseminated.
If the U.S. is to maintain its economic vitality in a world that is increasingly knowledge-based, it cannot afford to lose the contribution to the biomedical and behavioral science enterprise of any talented mind. This proposal follows a theoretically-informed approach to support the successful career persistence of individuals who have historically been underrepresented in these research fields.
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