Revisiting the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate Trials, successes and failures

M.E. Estevez, K.C. Dominick, P.R. Bergethon, T. Hoagland, M. Moss Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Boston University Schools of Medicine

Background -2004
The Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID) was a multi-year research and action project intended to support departments' efforts to more purposefully structure their doctoral programs. The initiative had three interacting elements: a conceptual analysis of doctoral education, the design of experiments in departments, and dissemination of research results. In 2004 during the initiation of the CID project within the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine, a student survey was distributed to all graduate students within the department as a descriptive assessment of the state of the department. Student opinions on topics including curriculum, professional development, career guidance, time to completion of degree, advisor mentorship, and department climate were measured. Based on the results of this survey as well as participation in many dialogues with partnering CID departments, five focused changes were made to improve the doctoral program in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology. These changes included: •  revision of the qualifying exam process. •  formalization and refinement of the Vesalius Program. •  development of a professional skills course for first year graduate students. •  the development of a student representative organization. •  the development of an alumni network. The Qualifying Examination was changed from a high stakes content-summative assessment to an authentic assessment model using an NRSA grant format with oral defense as the evaluation procedure. Formative feedback is provided to students during the QE process.

Vesalius Program Development

Student Representation and Communication
Student representation has a three formal structures: •  GMSSO Graduate Medical Sciences Student Organization) – with representation at the Division Level •  Departmental Omsbudsman for all graduate students •  Student representation (2) on the Graduate Advisory Committee

…and the survey says!!
Query: I found my qualifier exam a good tool for assessing my progress/knowledge in the field. Agree Disagree 2004 2008 27% 27% 19% 9%

…and the survey says!!
Query: There are adequate resources in the

Professional Skills Course
The overall goal of this new course is to provide a formal opportunity to address two topics that had been left to the discretion of individual graduate advisors. The first is to provide students with training in some of the professional skills. The second is to provide a forum for discussions of research ethics in the specific context of their work.
All Students:
-serve as teaching assistants 1 semester per year in the medical and dental school courses of anatomy, histology, or neurosciences. -Attend annual T.A. orientation* -Receive mid- and end-semester written evaluations to include in teaching portfolio* - Receive opportunities to teach formal lectures in the medical or dental school courses.

Department in case of perceived abuse or misconduct towards graduate students.
Vesalius Students:
In addition to the regular requirements, students on the Vesalius track take the following two courses: - GMS AN804: “Teaching in the Biomedical Sciences I”, 2 credits, methods and theory - GMS AN805: “Teaching in the Biomedical Sciences II Practicum”, 4 credits, mentored teaching practicum experience*

Agree Disagree 2004 41% 26% 2008 82% 18% . Query: Students in the Department are treated with respect. Agree Disagree 2004 69% 23% 2008 91% 9% Query: I feel my voice is heard when I have concerns or issues within the Department. Agree Disagree 2004 37% 56% 2008 64% 27%

…and the survey says!!
Query: Students in the Department receive training in professional ethics via coursework or seminars. Agree Disagree 2004 65% 23% 2008 82% 9% . Query: Students in the Department receive training in professional skills such as public speaking, grant writing, and publications. Agree Disagree 2004 31% 62% 2008 64% 27%

…and the survey says!!
Query: Teaching experience available through the department is adequate preparation for an academic/ teaching career. Agree Disagree 2004 69% 12% 2008 64% 9% .

Now, in 2008 we have assessed the relative short term results of these changes that were inspired by our participation in the CID by resurveying students. All members of the current PhD program were invited to participate in this survey that Measured satisfaction in a variety of areas of PhD Student life.

The successful implementation and some change in satisfaction indices to over 80% of the CID initiatives suggests an enduring effect of the CID. We believe that there may be value for continued longitudinal characterization in the future.