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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recommendations from 20 Years of Professional Development of Early-Career Scientists and Engineers

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

The Professional Development Program (PDP) was a highly impactful and innovative program that was run by the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators for twenty years, from 2001–2020. The program trained early-career scientists and engineers to teach effectively and inclusively, while also developing participants’ skills in leadership, collaboration, and teamwork. In this paper, we summarize important aspects of the PDP and some of the program’s major outcomes, describe legacies of the program, and share recommendations based on two decades of experience. A large section of this paper details aspects of the PDP that we consider essential to the program but that might not be apparent from other documentation of the program. Recommendations for others interested in professional development of STEM graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are: 1) invest in establishing program culture; 2) prepare participants pursuing all STEM career paths for inclusive teaching; 3) focus on teaching and learning authentic STEM practices of participants’ fields; 4) provide authentic and challenging contexts for practicing professional skills; 5) model all aspects of what participants are expected to do; and 6) provide opportunities for growth and becoming a collaborator within the community.

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