Scientific communication or SciComm, both written and oral, is the cornerstone of success in biomedical research, yet formal instruction is rarely provided. Trainees who engage in SciComm (including writing, conversational speaking, and rehearsed presenting) and who have positive expectations about doing so will be more likely to stay in an academic research career. Furthermore, by empowering mentors to be responsive to trainees in their SciComm skills, trainees will be more likely to persist in research careers and be more productive scientists.
Based on extensive SciComm research, we have developed training opportunities such as, funded training programs for postdoctoral and predoctoral trainees, trainee forums to learn best practices in SciComm and the job search, mentor workshops to get practice inevidence-based approaches toSciComm mentoring, individual consultations for mentors and/or trainees, and online resources and tips to help trainees and mentors.
Download the Scientific Communication Advances Research Excellence (SCOARE) faculty workshop flier. This workshop will provide practical strategies with mentors to help improve communication.
- External support includes mentoring style and practices
- Self-eﬀicacy is the sense of competence at SciComm tasks
- Outcome expectations include the sense that SciComm is worthwhile
- SciComm productivity includes past/emerging performance in SciComm
- SciComm task interest comprises enjoyment of writing, presenting, conversing
Outcome expectations, productivity, and task interest directly predict intent to remain in a research career.
Based on decades of SciComm research, we have developed the following training opportunities:
- Mentor workshops to get practice in evidence-based approaches to SciComm mentoring
- Funded training programs for postdoctoral and predoctoral trainees
- Trainee forums to learn best practices in SciComm and the job search
- Individual consultations for mentors and/or trainees
- Online resources and tips to help trainees and mentors
The SCOARE project consists of a workshop for mentors of doctoral and postdoctoral research trainees and a companion research study of workshop participants and their research trainees.
The companion research study involves pre- and post-workshop surveys to mentors and up to 2 of their trainees. Compensation for mentors is offered for completion of a post-workshop assessment survey. Compensation for trainees is offered for completion of each of the pre- and post- assessment surveys. The study is funded by the National Cancer Institutes of General Medical Sciences (R25 GM125640, Carrie Cameron and Shine Chang, MPIs) and has received approval from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Institutional Review Board (Protocol #2018-0206).
There are two ways to participate: 1) attend the workshop and participate in the study, or 2) only attend the workshop. During these free workshops on scientific communication skills, mentors will learn how to:
- Accommodate trainee linguistic differences
- Set expectations
- Give actionable feedback on SciComm
- Develop strategies to increase trainee SciComm productivity
Visit https://is.gd/SCOARE2019 to register for any of the following upcoming workshops facilitated by Carrie Cameron, Ph.D. and Shine Chang, Ph.D.
- Atlanta, Georgia (Georgia State University) - Tuesday, August 13, 2019
- Boulder, Colorado (University of Colorado Boulder) - Thursday, August 22, 2019
- Madison, Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin-Madison) - Tuesday, October 15, 2019
- Chicago, Illinois (Big Ten Academic Alliance) - Thursday, October 17, 2019
- Houston, Texas (Gulf Coast Consortia) - Tuesday, December 10, 2019
- Houston, Texas (Gulf Coast Consortia) - Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Over the last five years, we have completed two phases of our research in SciComm and we are now beginning the intervention phase:
- Unmatched data of predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees and mentors at MD Anderson and the Texas Medical Center area
- Focus groups with mentors (N = 50) and trainees (N = 43)
- Cross-sectional survey of mentors (N = 174) and unrelated trainees (N = 510)
- Matched mentor-trainee dyads, longitudinal data (4 time points over 18 months) National survey (33 states, N = 153)
In an effort to strengthen research career intention and help our diverse trainees, we now provide training for mentors. We guide mentors on how to develop their own best practices for SciComm mentoring by providing a highly interactive workshop and follow-up resources. As part of the project, we will be assessing the effectiveness of the workshop over the next 5 years.
- Sign up for SciComm training
- Learning resources for mentors
- SciComm facilitator training
- Give trainees feedback on their scientific communication
- Give responsive, constructive feedback on a continual basis (not just when there are deadlines)
- Guide mentees in asking questions during meetings
- Make sure mentees understand feedback and clarify concerns
- Established high expectations for practicing oral presentations
- Work on SciComm goals
- Practice SciComm (in front of non-expert and lay audiences)
- Ask for targeted feedback from mentor and colleagues on SciComm tasks
Carrie Cameron, Ph.D. (Associate Director, CPRTP, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, MD Anderson Cancer Center), mentors diverse student & trainee populations, & in cross-cultural communication, linguistics, & language training.
Shine Chang, Ph.D. (Director, CPRTP and Professor, Epidemiology, MD Anderson Cancer Center), specializes in cancer prevention training, cancer epidemiology, & retention of women & minorities in academic research careers.
Hwa Young Lee, Ph.D. (Program Manager, MD Anderson Cancer Center), specializes in educational psychology & quantitative analysis.
Cheryl Anderson, Ph.D. (Senior Research Scientist, MD Anderson Cancer Center), specializes in social psychology, identity research, & psychometric measurement of survey instruments.
Jordan Trachtenberg, Ph.D. (Director of Assessment at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) specializes in science communication pedagogy, engineering education, and biomedical engineering.