Past Call to Action

The ACS study “Advancing Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences” presented five major conclusions and approximately thirty recommendations. However, outside the twenty-two members of the commission that drafted the report, the community had not been queried as to whether they agree with the recommendations. Our first Call to Action asked the community – faculty, students, and policy-makers – to evaluate the recommendations and provide feedback, including a prioritization of the recommendations.  The survey was available from August 15, 2017 to February 28, 2018. Approximately 1,200 responses were received. The results of the survey were published on this website in June 2018.


Current Call to Action

The survey reveals reveals some consensus, but also sharp differences in opinion regarding the recommendations of the 2012 ACS study that can be attributed to the pains and values of the various demographic groups that are impacted by the proposed changes. To develop a consensus path forward to reform graduate education, the survey results clearly speak to the need for further conversations that include the entire community of stakeholders, not just those who write the reports. While it is attractive to focus on addressing issues that have broad support, we cannot ignore divisive issues that threaten the underpinnings of reform. The survey revealed disagreement, but not necessarily the reasons behind the disagreement. The second (current) Call to Action focusses on two key recommendation in the 2012 ACS study (and most national studies of graduate education):

1) There is a need for broader instructional options for the majority of Ph.D. students who do not pursue careers in academics.

2) The current time-to-degree (TTD) should be shortened.

A natural tension exists in these recommendations where more (content) is to be delivered with less(time). More subtile tensions exists in that various stakeholders are impacted differently by the recommendations. To continue the conversation, we have created a brief survey that explores challenges and possible solutions to implement the recommendations. The results of the survey will be available in real time and the opportunity exists to update and revise responses, thereby facilitating discussion.