Much of graduate training is influenced by the apprenticeship model, where the master–novice relationship dominates (see Long et al., 1996
; Stewart and Lagowski, 2003
). This model may be effective in producing a journeyman but not necessarily effective in preparing and producing future faculty and emerging leaders in academia. Indeed, Bogue et al. (2010)
recently asserted that many trainees in science are “prepared for work, not the career,” acknowledging that academic training equips graduates with the technical skills for job success but provides comparatively no preparation for developing one's career, balancing work–life matters, or managing professional challenges. Effective graduate education, therefore, necessitates a focus on graduate students’ professional development “beyond the apprenticeship” that adopts the collegial model, wherein graduate students are engaged as active, reflective participants in their own graduate education and professional preparation (Long et al., 1996
). Simply put, we must broaden the focus of professionalization and rectify the imbalance between training for research and training for a career. In this vein, F-CGRT provides a theoretically informed structured training approach through which URM graduate students, in collaboration with their research advisors and career coaches, can transform their preprofessional academic activities into purposeful preparation for a research career in BBS.
Although our experience with the F-CGRT through the TEAM-Science program illustrates a translation of theory into practice, our work to date has a number of limitations in assessing the impact of the program and predicting its replication. The program is new, so the academic outcomes of the students remain unknown; the students are active participants in TEAM-Science for only two years of their full doctoral degree program; and the faculty who serve as research advisors and career coaches were carefully selected. Students’ evaluations of the TEAM-Science program components were generally favorable, but we recognize that individual learning styles, unique mentoring needs, and the developmental status of the students all influence how they use the program components. For instance, discussing topics like “life beyond graduate school” (e.g., finding a postdoc position) and crafting a specific career plan using the ICDP may take on a different meaning for TEAM-Science students who have reached dissertator status than for students who are in their first or second year of doctoral study. By offering a variety of theory-based program components, like research mentoring, career coaching, and several career development tools—as articulated in the F-CGRT—we expect that the diversity of students’ needs can be better met than in traditional programs. In spite of these limitations, our experience to date favors our predictions that graduate education programs aimed at increasing URM students’ pursuit of academic BBS careers may be well-served to 1) incorporate formal career development interventions, such as the ones described in this paper, as well as 2) utilize career coaches to facilitate reflection on and integration of career-related exploration.
Practice implications from application of the F-CGRT include, foremost, the increased ability of programs to articulate their intended outcomes and assumptions regarding how program components or strategies are expected to impact those outcomes. For instance, in the logic model for the F-CGRT, as applied to TEAM-Science, clearly operationalizes what short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes are anticipated as a consequence of implementing the core program components. A second practice implication is the value of required training for faculty mentors serving as research advisors and for those serving as career coaches. Mentors seldom receive training on the mentoring process and therefore may be ill-equipped to assume mentoring roles and functions. White women and URM men and women in the sciences are especially at risk for inadequate mentoring relationships (Chew et al., 2003
). Thus, incorporating formal training for faculty who serve as research advisors, mentors, and career coaches may build their mentoring and coaching efficacy, as well as their cultural competence, in working with URM graduate students. A third practice implication is use of the consensus-derived eight fundamental competencies, which may provide a useful roadmap toward the professoriate for graduate students in BBS beyond the UW. Moreover, the extant program outcome data illustrate students’ reported value of the structured career development activities, including the ICDP and the SWOT personal career analysis, with the most highly rated program component being meetings with career coaches. Thus, other research training support programs may do well to consider that the career coaches are not necessarily matched with a TEAM-Science student based on shared disciplinary background. Since the career coach is likely to be outside the students’ discipline, the coach is particularly helpful in getting graduate students to think “outside of the box” of common career paths and positions for their field and to consider alternative settings in which to pursue a research career and leadership positions in BBS. Finally, another potential practice implication is the inclusion of open discussion of how group stereotypes can influence the evaluation of oneself, one's work, and even one's performance and evidence-based strategies to mitigate the negative impact of these cognitive processes. There is considerable research that such discussion itself is beneficial to members of URM groups (see www.reducingstereotypethreat.org
), but it is not routinely integrated into the curricula of graduate programs.
Several research implications extend from the F-CGRT. The theoretically derived conceptual model that underlies the F-CGRT (see ) may enable programs to empirically identify the strategies that contribute to desired participant outcomes. Notably, the F-CGRT uses psychometrically valid measures that are theoretically consistent with the F-CGRT. Therefore, research can be conducted to determine which strategies are statistically related to the measured variables (e.g., self-efficacy beliefs) hypothesized to inform participants’ persistence in the doctoral degree or their commitment to a research career, for instance. The conceptual model of the F-CGRT allows for further and fuller testing of the framework that can determine causal relationships between program elements and intended behavioral outcomes. In this vein, research using the F-CGRT has the potential to empirically identify effective strategies that are consequently appropriate for institutionalization. If further evaluation of the F-CGRT continues to be positive, its first dissemination will be to the other GRS communities supporting URM graduate students at UW. As a large, public, research university, UW shares many similarities with other such institutions, particularly those in the Midwest. We expect that the F-CGRT would be successful at other institutions besides the UW.