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Innovative Approach to Preparing Trainees for Academic Careers Wins Recognition!
Laurence Clement, PhD, director of research in career education and program director of academic career development in the UC San Francisco Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD), has received a 2019 Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Innovations in Research and Research Education Award. Clement together with two co-innovators, Jennie Dorman, PhD, and Richard McGee, PhD, won the first prize award for developing the Academic Career Readiness Assessment (ACRA). The ACRA study is described in the BioRXiV preprint "The Academic Career Readiness Assessment: Clarifying training expectations for future life sciences faculty."
The ACRA rubric brings transparency to the faculty hiring process for trainees, a first step in leveling the playing field among trainees. It can be used by graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to assess their career readiness, to identify skills and knowledge gaps and, possibly, to guide career conversations with their mentors. It can also be used by institutions to track trainee progress towards program training goals and by faculty hiring committees to mitigate potential bias in the selection of candidates. The ACRA rubric is currently used by R1 institutions around the country to prepare their trainees for faculty positions.
The OCPD is one of the few career development offices in the country conducting research in graduate career education, and the ACRA rubric is a product of a project funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The study involved gathering data from faculty interviews to determine which qualifications are most important to gaining a faculty position in the life sciences at institutions ranging from R1 research institutions to teaching-only institutions. The rubric also lays out four levels of achievement for each qualification and identifies minimal hiring levels for each type of institution.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) awarded a total of four prizes in this – their eighth annual – award. A panel of leaders in education, training and biomedical research reviewed this year’s submissions and selected the OCPD project as the leader in the competition. AAMC’s goal with this award is to “highlight innovations to support the next generation of researchers to launch and maintain scientific careers.”
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