Temple University CST and Professional Development:
While graduate students in the participating departments are well trained in the traditional aspects of their discipline, they typically have not had enough opportunities to develop other skills required to be successful in their future careers. These skills include the ability to communicate their research findings to an audience of different disciplines, apply and interview for jobs, obtain grants, publish their findings, give effective research seminars, teach courses, and manage a research team.
Additionally, scientific research has become a significantly more expensive and complex enterprise, where collaboration is a significant factor in success. Current and future scientists need to develop collaboration and team building skills. They need to be able to communicate with audiences that vary in knowledge and interest.
SAT-TAS enables participating graduate students to develop and improve the above mentioned skills, ultimately preparing them for virtually any STEM career. Finally, there is an increased concern about scientific misconduct and the need for scientists to be more involved in public policy issues. Increasing communication, collaboration, and leadership skills of graduate students who represent the future of science is one way to meet current and future individual and societal needs.
The School District of Philadelphia:
The district recently designed and introduced a new high school science curriculum that charges teachers to develop their own lessons and laboratory assignments needed to support the curriculum. The director of the District's secondary science education office, along with the administrators and teachers of the schools partnering in this program, strongly support this project to help develop the classroom activities.
Further, the required Pennsylvania state science assessments now include "scenarios" where students are expected to go beyond basic concepts and apply and extend their content knowledge. In addition, they are expected to write explanations for facts presented in the 1-2 page scenarios. Thus the teachers need to "think more like scientists" when they plan and execute their lessons.