The I501/I502 Course Series
This series addresses professional development in interdisciplinary STEM research, from both the quantitative and human-centered perspectives, perfecting skills necessary for both academic and industrial careers. The syllabi include explicit training and structure evaluation on effective communication of the broader impacts of the students’ own research to a wide range of stakeholders.
Trainees present their research in talks and by writing research proposals. During the first year, students participate in a Grant Writing Training Workshop in partnership with Indiana University's GradGrants Center on effective writing techniques focused on developing an NSF GRFP proposal. This proposal exercise goes through several cycles of submission and oral communication that include an oral elevator pitch proposal to faculty and trainees, and a final written proposal, both of which receive detailed structured feedback from the instructor and a panel of more advanced PhD students on a number of variables:
- Hook: grabs the audience attention;
- Intellectual Merit: potential to advance knowledge;
- Broader Impacts: potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes;
- Communication: proposal was clearly communicated;
- Enthusiasm: deliver the pitch with enthusiasm;
- Reasonableness: is the plan for carrying out proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale?;
- Evaluation: does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?;
- Team: how well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?, and;
- Resources: available to the PI at the home organization to carry out the proposed activities?
After I501 is completed, trainees are encouraged to continue working on their proposals with the GradGrants Center and submit it at the next GRFP cycle. I502, students are trained to compose biosketches appropriate to the research or professional context pursued (e.g. academia vs industry and quantitative vs human-centered).
Effective Communication Training
Effective communication skills training is built into other courses in the domain-specific programs as well. They provide substantial professional development training and evaluation, especially tailored to empower trainees with these essential skills for both academia and industry from a “bidisciplinary” perspective. Courses such as SRP and S500 in Sociology, Y570 and Y575-7 in Political Science, P595 and P660 in Psychology and Brain Sciences, and Q510 in Cognitive Science provide disciplinary focus to professional development, including teaching and communication skills.
Improv Theater for Scientists Workshop
Professor Jonathan R. Michaelsen, director of Graduate Studies of the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance at IU, leads a workshop as part of the NRT Professional Development. The goal of this workshop is to improve presentation and speaking skills so trainees are more confident explaining and projecting their work. The workshop consists of:
- Warm-up games;
- Brief lecture on preparation, presentation organization, vocal projection, warming up before a presentation, use of technology;
- A few brief clips of TED Talks;
- 90 second “elevator pitch” fellows and affiliates;
- Q&A session.
Writing a Journal Review Workshop
The workshop Writing a Journal Review is offered yearly to trainees by Dr. Ann McCranie, from IUNI and managing editor of the Network Science journal. In this workshop trainees learn about the mechanics and strategies of reviewing: accepting invitations, reading and giving timely & specific constructive feedback.
Extended Colloquium series
Trainees are also exposed to the very best CNS researchers in academia and industry via the extended colloquium series, summer research internships and conference attendance. These are designed to provide extended interaction with speakers and researchers beyond IU, whereby trainees both listen and communicate their research.
The extended colloquium series is designed to broaden their experience by receiving feedback from top scientists and developers to receive additional skills and global perspectives beyond those of their advisors and professors. See the full list of present and past speakers.
Annual Research Showcase
Trainees also practice their presentation skills in the annual research showcase by presenting posters about their research to all faculty and students in the PhD programs involved, as well an external keynote speaker. Furthermore, students receive structured feedback on their posters from NRT faculty, including a best poster award.
As part of the annual showcase, we also organized an Entrepreneurship Presentation to present to trainees the opportunities, mechanisms, and facilities for Entrepreneurship at Indiana University. The basics of intellectual property on how to license Technology were also presented in this talk by Travis Brown, NRT Advisory Board Member and Assistant Dean for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, & Commercialization, SICE.
Graduate Evaluation Day
In the SICE/CNS program, all trainees (like all students in program) undergo an annual evaluation exercise: the Graduate Evaluation Day (GED). Trainees submit a report of their research and academic progress and receive a detailed, structured feedback letter that integrates comments from faculty in their committee as well as the graduate office. The feedback provided includes an evaluation of progress in program milestones, as well as research progress and success (including feedback on study development, research drive, and communication skills).