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Climate Science and Solutions: Update on the National Science Foundation Science Master’s Program Northern Arizona University. November 15, 2013. Presentation Overview. Origins of the Program and Support from the National Science Foundation Learning Objectives Funding the Program

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Climate Science and Solutions: Update on the National Science Foundation Science Master’s ProgramNorthern Arizona University

November 15, 2013

presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • Origins of the Program and Support from the National Science Foundation
  • Learning Objectives
  • Funding the Program
  • Growing Career and Professional Development – Career Coordinator
  • Developing Partnerships with Potential Employers
  • Partnerships to Support Career and Professional Development
  • The Future of the Climate Science and Solutions Program
origins of the program
Origins of the Program
  • In 2009, the National Science Foundation (NSF) solicited proposals to facilitate the creation of Science Master's Programs (SMPs) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
  • They defined Science Master's Program as “a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) based graduate education curriculum broadened with education that provides additional skills, such as through specially tailored courses in business and management, research experiences, and internship experiences, that prepare students to work in business, industry, government agencies, or nonprofit organizations”.
  • An opportunity:
    • NAU strengths in Forestry and Environmental Sciences and commitment to sustainability
    • Contacts with industry and NGOs to develop internships, provide direction, and build professional networks
    • Institutional support and support from faculty in multiple STEM disciplines
    • Workforce survey showed need and demand
climate science and solutions program learning objectives
Climate Science and Solutions Program Learning Objectives
  • Understand and explain the physical nature of global climate change;
  • Apply national and international standards to conduct professional entity-level and or project-based greenhouse gas inventories;
  • Evaluate the social and economic externalities of climate change;
  • Describe the ethical, scientific, and policy strengths and weaknesses of current and proposed mitigation and adaptation strategies; and
  • Identify, analyze, synthesize, and communicate scientific information and uncertainties for public and professional audiences.
investment in climate science and solutions program
  • NSF investment was essential
  • NSF award leveraged $250K from university administration
  • New faculty line
  • Some scholarship support (tuition waivers) from the university
  • Revenue Sources
professional and career development for climate science solutions
Professional And Career Development for Climate Science & Solutions

Goal: To integrate applied, professional skills within the MS program to provide a seamless PSM program with integrated science and professional learning objectives and competencies.

Objective: To successfully place PSM graduates in Climate Careers

self funded program fee career coordinator position
Self Funded (Program Fee) Career Coordinator Position
  • Fee applied over three semesters
  • Provides funding for part time career coordinator (24 hours week) & student need-based stipend
  • Half the cost of MBA program fee, and still keeps the total program cost below many similar programs
  • Allowed new expertise outside of academic training that is industry specific
  • Maximizes and leverages resources within the University (career services, graduate college workshops, financial aid, etc.)
career coordinator benefit to students
Career Coordinator – Benefit to Students

Oversees six credits of professional development curriculum including the three unit internship. (1;1;3;1)

  • Professional Internship
  • Direct industry interactions (one to two each semester including a hiring panel)
  • How they contribute to effective teams (personality, learning style profile)
  • How to research and apply successfully for jobs
  • How to build their professional network
  • Mock interviews
  • How to contract and manage professional projects
  • How to develop a plan for their career , build their career portfolio
career coordinator benefit to the university
Career Coordinator – Benefit to the University
  • Outreach to Business to Learn about Their Needs, Explore Opportunities for Internships, Jobs, Speaking to the Class
  • Outreach to Graduates to Assist them in the Job Search Process and Connect Them to Students in the Program
  • Outreach to Prospective Students to Demonstrate the Value of the Program by Connecting Interested Students to Graduates, Current Students, Faculty and the Advisory Board
career coordinator and growing your advisory board
Career Coordinator and Growing Your Advisory Board
  • One on One Engagement: Hosting Students, Speaking to Class outside of Meetings, Informational Interviews with Students, Introductions to Strategic Partners, Understanding their Industry
  • Clarify the Level of Commitment
  • Recruit New Members
  • Engage through Social Media
  • Foster Direct Connections to Students
  • Clarify the Competencies in the “sweet spot” for the industry
developing partnerships with undergraduate programs
Developing Partnerships with Undergraduate Programs

Outreach to 75 undergraduate science programs in the Western Regional Graduate Program network via email and personal follow-up.

Building relationships to market the program to potential students that would qualify for in-state tuition rates.

developing partnerships with potential employers
Developing Partnerships with Potential Employers

Find Employers that are looking to grow their Workforce and Make them Aware of Baby Boomer Trends and Retirement.

  • How many of their workforce already qualify for retirement?
  • What workforce development programs do they have in place?
  • What do they need from graduate students with science backgrounds?
  • What are their policies and programs for internships?

If workforce is not on their mind – understand what is and what it means for future graduates.

what employers are looking for from students
What Employers Are Looking For From Students

A study of their hiring priorities this year by the Association of American Colleges and Universities revealed that 75% of hiring managers say they need professionals who are proficient in five key areas:

  • Critical thinking
  • Complex problem solving
  • Written communication
  • Oral communication
  • Applied knowledge in real-world settings
developing partnerships to provide career development services
Developing Partnerships To Provide Career Development Services

Gateway Career Development –Tools and support for resumes, interviews, job identification and job search strategies.

Graduate College – NAU leadership from the graduate college in areas of leadership and professional development.

Industry Panels and Presentations –

Industry specific speakers and panels to show what matters to the industry and helps students build their network.

Career Development Associations & Training Programs

Alumni – Eager to mentor current students, make professional introductions and advise the program on skills they use as professionals

Faculty – Want to see their students successfully employed and are often eager to have real world speakers or presentations as part of their coursework

Administrators –Support for professional conferences, associations and stipends.

Community One Stop and Service Centers – Support with finding local employment, provide another perspective to resumes and application materials

career coordinator competencies
Career Coordinator Competencies
  • Match Making – help students to improve their marketing materials, their personal presence and identify the right fit with a potential employer. Help them build their professional network
  • Partnerships and Collaboration – develop internal and external strategic partnerships that are mutually beneficial and galvanizes allies throughout the university from the president’s office to alumni, faculty, administration, graduate college, professional development associations, etc.
  • Entrepreneurial Sense – work with the board to build the value proposition of your program, identify and market to your target audience, generate non-traditional funding support
next steps engaging alumni in developing career services
Next Steps: Engaging Alumni in Developing Career Services

“The Climate Science and Solutions program has given me a unique suite of tools, enabling me to serve as an interface between the science community and the business sector.  My goal is to apply a science-based approach to the major standards and initiatives driving water management in the private sector.”


CSS Graduate 2011

future of the climate science and solutions program
Future of the Climate Science and Solutions Program
  • Continuing to engage the climate industry of all sectors in applied learning
  • Developing tracks within the program for students to specialize in areas of strength to NAU – specifically renewable energy & forest carbon offsets
  • Expanded marketing to students that see the return on investment for PSM Programs
future of the climate science and solutions program1
Future of the Climate Science and Solutions Program
  • Fundraising for student stipends and support to attend industry conferences, etc.
  • Integration of the professional development skills such as project management and communications into existing coursework
  • Fully engaging alumni with the Advisory Board and current students and outreach to alumni to use the career development services and support
  • Developing career pathways for students in each sector (business, non profit and government) to understand the experience and competencies they are looking for
in summary
In Summary
  • NSF Funding made it possible to develop an interdisciplinary program focused on the needs of business
  • The academic system can benefit from a non-academic perspective to preparing PSM students for future careers (hire from industry or people who are used to working with them!)
  • Some programs can be very broad and need to focus on intersection of the needs of employers and the strengths of their academic institution
  • Help students market their value and what they can bring to an employer (meaning they should know something about the employers business before the interview)
  • Build internal and external strategic partnerships!
thank you
Thank you

Sheila Tobias

- support for PSM programs and my involvement in the larger PSM conversation

Ramona Mellot

- terrific mentor and guide to the world of academia