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2015 Annual Meeting - Friday Workshops
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Friday, March 13

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Careers in Technology Commercialization

All audiences

Technology commercialization is a potential career path for scientists interested in transferring to the marketplace technologies developed in the lab for the benefits of society. Such careers lead to jobs within intellectual property (IP) law firms, business consulting firms, academic transfer technology offices, startup companies, and medical writing firms, among others. To obtain a good grasp of what these career paths entail, it is important to understand what technology commercialization is and how it works. The goal of the workshop is to familiarize the audience with (1) the core elements of technology commercialization, (2) the various career paths in technology commercialization, and (3) how to position one for such career paths. The workshop will provide an overview of the technology transfer process in academic settings, including an in-depth discussion of various types of transfer methods, such as licensing, startups, corporate alliances, and sponsored research. Since universities do not develop products their main technology commercialization asset is intellectual property. The workshop will provide an overview of intellectual property protection mechanisms, and will engage the audience with examples. Patents are the most common type of IP. It is important to understand the difference between a basic research and a patentable invention. The latter pertain to patentable subject matter (e.g., a method or composition) and need to be novel, nonobvious, and useful. Know-how and copyrights are two other IP types that are especially important for postdocs. All these types of IP will be reviewed and examples will be presented. The workshop includes a mock commercialization review: an example of a technology disclosure will be presented, and the participants will engage in an interactive discussion of its commercialization potential. The second part of the session will focus on career paths in technology commercialization. We will provide an overview of what it means to work in an intellectual property law firm, in an academic technology transfer office, and in a technology consulting firm. This will lead to a discussion of positioning oneself as a candidate for such jobs. Various strategies for gaining experience in tech commercialization will be discussed. These include internships, formal programs, and volunteer activities. In addition, pointers will be given for structuring CVs and preparing for job interviews.

Presenters: Carole J. Burns, Ph.D., Associate Director, Penn Center for Innovation, University of Pennsylvania; Vladimir M. Popov, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Radiation Oncology, PCI Fellow, Penn Center for Innovation, University of Pennsylvania

Moderator: Mary Anne Timmins, M.Ed., Administrative Director, Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs, University of Pennsylvania

Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Laying the Groundwork for Recruitment and Retention

All audiences

Creating a diverse and inclusive climate needs to happen in an ongoing way, and certainly prior to hosting new people in our work environments. This is especially true if we wish to diversify our staff and faculty by dimensions of difference such as race, gender, sexual identity, religion, ability, socioeconomic class, etc. Proactive engagement of these issues provides needed cues to marginalized communities about an environment's preparedness to host them. This workshop engages with participants to explore the subtle cultural dynamics that infuse every workplace that can inadvertently create messages of exclusion. By exploring these dynamics, participants will then have an opportunity to practice engagement strategies, often in the form of a crucial conversation with colleagues, to begin to make the climate more welcoming. Presenters will examine real-life scenarios with the participants, spending significant time on race, gender, sexuality, and religion. Participants need not have significant experience with diversity programming. All levels of knowledge of the topic are welcome.

Presenters: Mary Graham-Fisher, Manager of Education and Training Programs, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, University of Maryland; Shaunna Payne Gold, Ed.D., Associate Director for Assessment & Student Development, Office Multi-ethnic Student Education, University of Maryland; Timea Webster, Training, Program and Administration Specialist, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, University of Maryland

Facilitating Teaching-focused Professional Development Among Postdocs

All audiences

Many science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) postdocs hope for full-time faculty work. However, most postdocs are not prepared for the full range of academic work, including teaching responsibilities. Because their positions focus on research productivity, postdocs have few opportunities to develop teaching skills. Although some future faculty engage in college teaching during graduate school, many postdocs still seek teaching development (TD) opportunities, either because they did not participate during graduate school or because applications for faculty positions require teaching experience.

The outlook for postdocs who wish to become tenure-track (TT) faculty is grim. In 2006, less than 15 percent of biosciences doctorate recipients held a tenure-track position within six years of earning their doctoral degree. As research funding dries up, the odds of landing a TT position shrinks, leaving many postdocs who are unable to find a faculty job trapped in serial postdoc placements. For those looking to escape “postdoc purgatory,” TD programs help them gain skills, knowledge, and social connections that may expand their employment options.

In light of the barriers to TD that postdocs face, the goals of this session are to (1) examine findings from a longitudinal study of the short- and long-term effects of TD on STEM doctorate recipients (many of whom are now postdocs); and (2) provide self-assessment tools useful to both postdocs and those who support their TD. The session will review a longitudinal study that tracked a panel of late-stage STEM doctoral students (initial N ~ 3,000) through three surveys over five years (2009, ’11, ‘13) as they moved from graduate education to employment; present findings about doctoral students who moved into postdoc positions, including teaching activities, participation in TD, and confidence in their teaching; and share self-assessment tools adapted from instruments developed for the study. These resources will allow postdocs seeking self-improvement and programmers providing targeted development experiences to assess their use of evidence-based teaching strategies, and are accompanied by summary data and reference guides. Because successful postdoc appointments are characterized by meaningful professional development, including training in teaching skills, this session will provide participants with knowledge and tools that will advance the next generation of STEM scholars.

Presenters: Lucas Hill, M.A., Graduate Research Assistant, Michigan State University (MSU); You-Geon Lee, Ph.D., Assistant Researcher, Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), University of Wisconsin-Madison; Julia N. Savoy, M. S., Assistant Researcher, WCER, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Moderator: Mark R. Connolly, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist, WCER, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Institutional Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowships: Growing Your Own Faculty Pipeline

Postdoctoral offices (PDOs)

Motivated by the goal of diversifying their faculty population, university senior leadership have created institutional postdoctoral fellowship programs funded by the offices of the Chancellor/President or Provost. These postdoctoral fellows serve in roles similar to visiting faculty with the expectation that home departments hire them for full-time tenure-track positions. Similar fellowships are created through external funds such as from the National Science Foundation (NSF). PDO administrators can serve a central role in marketing and coordinating such fellowship programs to ensure a diversity of applicants as well as to create a supportive community for underrepresented minorities. The panel speakers represent the spectrum of such institutional programs including a system-wide campus (UC), a flagship school’s PDO (UNC Chapel Hill), and an NSF-funded fellowship (University of Maryland, Baltimore County). Attendees will learn how these institutional fellowships are created, funded, and administered. In addition, participants will learn about the career outcomes of fellowship postdoctoral alumni. Finally, we will describe national resources aggregating all such institutional fellowships ( as well as efforts to coordinate the administration of these programs between institution.

Presenters: Sibby Anderson Thompkins, Ph.D., Director of Postdoctoral Affairs, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill; Renetta Garrison Tull, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Student Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Caroline M. Kane, Ph.D., Interim Director, University of California (UC) President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, UC Berkeley; Alberto I. Roca, Ph.D., Founding Editor,, Advisory Council, NPA

Learning Analytics for Career Development Programs

All audiences

Recent trends in career and professional development programming (e.g., workshops, courses, and seminars) emphasize obtaining both qualitative and quantitative data for analyzing educational effectiveness. For example, recipients of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) awards will be required to evaluate whether or not their proposed, novel approaches to career training and workforce development are successful, and PDOs/PDAs need proven methods to evaluate and improve their career development offerings. Having solid analytics and evidence of learning outcomes can be used to gain increased funding and resources for future programming. This session will cover the process of creating learning goals and outcomes that can be measured and evaluated, introduce a model for doing predictive analysis of collected data, and cover the steps for implementing program improvement based upon student/postdoc outcomes and success. Finally, participants will be guided through applying learning analytics to the NPA Core Competencies as an interactive example.

Presenters: Garth Fowler, Ph.D., Associate Executive Director, Education, American Psychological Association

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