The Professional Development Hub (pd|hub) is a multi-stakeholder initiative to advance the career and professional development of scientists. Our goals are to: disseminate career and professional development approaches in ways that support adaptation, implementation, and innovation in the community; build capacity for research and evaluation to enhance the evidence basis for career and professional development approaches; connect stakeholders across diverse networks to leverage expertise and support coordinated action to advance graduate and postdoctoral education; and, advocate for career and professional development to amplify the impact of ongoing efforts and accelerate change.
Enhancing Dissemination of Evidence-Based Models for STEM PhD Career Development; a Stakeholder Workshop Report
Ryan Bixenmann, Barbara J. Natalizio, Yasmeen Hussain, and Cynthia N. Fuhrmann
Sustainability of the scientific enterprise requires being able to recruit, retain, and prepare ongoing generations of PhD-trained scientists ready to adapt with the evolving needs of the scientific workforce and society. This necessitates a broadened, trainee-centered view in doctoral and postdoctoral training—including a prominent focus on career planning, science across sectors, and development of professional skills. Although there is energy and movement to enhance graduate and postdoctoral training, actions remain disparate, leading to inefficiencies in implementation and lack of systemic change. In 2019, an emerging national initiative, Professional Development Hub (pd|hub), hosted a workshop to bring organizations and individuals together across stakeholder groups to discuss enhancing the development, dissemination, and widespread implementation of evidence-based practices for STEM graduate and postdoctoral education, with specific emphasis on career and professional development for PhD scientists. The fifty workshop participants represented nine key stakeholder groups: career development practitioners, scientific societies, disseminators, education researchers and evaluators, employers of PhD scientists, funders, professional associations, trainees, and university leaders and faculty. In addition, participants spanned different races, ethnicities, genders, disciplines, sectors, geographic locations, career stages, and levels of institutional resources. This report presents cross-cutting themes identified at the workshop, examples of stakeholder-specific perspectives, and recommended next steps. As part of the collective effort to develop a foundation for sustainable solutions, several actions were defined, including: incentivizing change at institutions and programs, curating and disseminating resources for evidence-based career and professional development educational practices, expanding evidence for effective training and mentoring, establishing expectations for STEM career and professional development, and improving communication across all stakeholders in STEM PhD education. Furthermore, the report describes national-level actions already moving forward via pd|hub in the months following the workshop. Building on a decade of reports and gatherings advocating for a shift in graduate and postdoctoral education, this workshop represented a key step and catalyst for change toward a more impactful future.