Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 80

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 79
# ~ ~ ' ~ Eleanor L. Babco, Executive Director Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST) INTRODUCTION The Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST) was founded by eight scientific societies in 1953 as the Scientific Man- power Commission. The founding members were concerned by the lack of institutional focus on issues of scientific "manpower" supply and de- mand, particularly as related to utilization and apportionment of scien- tists and engineers between military and other needs. Specifically, the Commission was charged with collecting, analyzing, and disseminating reliable information about the human resources of the United States in the fields of science and tech- nology; promoting the best possible programs of education and training for potential scientists, engineers, and technicians; and developing policies for utilization of scientific and technological human resources by educational institutions, industry, and government for optimum benefit to the nation. iAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Geological Institute, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Institute of Physics, American Psychological Association, Policy Committee for Mathematics (later renamed the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences), and the Federation of Ameri- can Societies for Experimental Biology.

OCR for page 79
PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT Although there were three charges, there was only one goal to work together to build and maintain a strong U.S. science and engineering (S&E) workforce. Throughout its existence, CPST focused on different aspects of this charge. In the 1960s, the Commission was primarily involved in the utilization phase how do we best utilize the scientific and engineering talent for optimum benefit to the nation, both in the military and in the civilian workplace? Do we allow those preparing for careers in science and engineering to continue on that path? Do we provide for those scien- tists and engineers already employed in industry, academe, or govern- ment to continue their work? Or is there a greater current need i.e., pro- tecting and serving our nation and is there more than one way to protect and serve our nation? Since the 1970s, the Commission, continuing its mission to assure an adequate U.S. science and engineering workforce, began its efforts to make the S&E workforce more inclusive. It began to urge that collection of hu- man resources data be broken out by gender and race/ethnicity. In 1975, it published its first compendium of data of scientific and engineering "manpower," data broken out by gender, race/ethnicity and citizenship- well before the Congress mandated that the National Science Foundation provide such information in a biennial report. The CPST publications is now in its 14th biennial edition. Our concerns about the gender/race/ ethnicity/citizenship issues have only intensified since the 1970s, for how can we gauge our progress as a nation toward having an inclusive U.S. science and engineering workforce if we have insufficient data to do so? FINDINGS Today, the U.S. is leading the global S&E enterprise, but challenges are coming from many directions, just as the demand for technically trained workers is expected to grow dramatically from 2000 to 2010. For example, the number of job openings for computer specialists is projected to grow by nearly 69 percent to about 4.9 million jobs. lob openings for physical scientists, life scientists, and engineers are also expected to show substantial growth of 44 percent, 18 percent, and 9 percent, respectively.3 Accompanying this increased demand are changes in the composition: Traditionally, in the U.S., the majority of the S&E workforce has been white, non-Hispanic men, but that is changing. The proportion of 2Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology, Professional Women and Minori- ties A Complete Human Resources Data Compendium, July 2002. 3Daniel Hecker, "Occupational Employment Projections to 2010," Monthly Labor Review November 2001, pp. 65-66.

OCR for page 79
COMM~:~N ON PROFESSIO~S I:N SC~E AND TECHNOLOGY U.S. white non-Hispanic men earning degrees in S&E declined at every level in the decade of the l990s at the baccalaureate level, from 79 to 70 percent; at the master's level, from 61 to 52 percent; and at the doctorate, from 56 to 52 percent.4 These declines are, of course, impacting their pro- portion of the S&E workforce, with the proportion of white, non-Hispanic males in the S&E workforce dropping two percentage points from 1993 to 1999. While some progress has been shown in increasing the proportion of S&E degrees earned by underrepresented minorities (African-Ameri- can, Hispanic, and Native American), much more needs to be done. Dur- ing the decade of the l990s, underrepresented minorities increased their proportion of S&E degrees from 10 to 16 percent at the bachelor's level, from 6 to 9 percent at the master's level, and from 4 to 6 percent at the doctoral level.5 But, despite these gains, their representation in the S&E workforce continues to be small. Women have increased their proportion of the degrees earned in S&E at every level so that, by 2000, they earned over 50 percent of the bachelor's, 43 percent of the master's, and 36 percent of the doctorates.6 Can this kind of dramatic growth be expected to continue when there are signs of plateaus being reached in some fields such as engineering? While the absolute number of women enrolled in undergraduate engineering programs continues to increase, their proportion of the total has been de- clining since 1999. Non-U.S. citizens have become a growing part of the S&E workforce, particularly at the doctoral level, and in some high-demand fields such as computer science. As a national policy, however, depen- dence on foreign talent has many drawbacks, especially if the dependence is long term and large scale. The nation's scientific and engineering workforce is critical. As the country faces the challenges of globalization, technology, equity, and eco- nomic uncertainties, it will be the scientists and engineers who determine the nation's ability to provide for its citizens, compete effectively in the global marketplace, and continue to improve the quality of life. But to build and maintain such an S&E workforce requires the efforts of many and attention to all points along the educational and career path. 4Susan T. Hill, Science and Engineering Degrees by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients: 1991-2000, August 2000, p. 13. 5Ibid, p. 13 6Susan T. Hill, Science and Engineering Degrees, 1966-2000, July 200, p. 15

OCR for page 79
PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT In addition, it is important to understand the processes and mecha- nisms that produce the changing supply and demand in the scientific workforce. Without that, we have little understanding of the differential outcomes for different groups participating in this workforce. ACTION STEPS Since its incorporation, the Commission has worked toward the re- cruitment, retention, and utilization of all students and practitioners in science and engineering. It specifically urges that all the stakeholders- educational institutions at all levels, businesses, government agencies, professional societies, policymakers, and individuals work together to effect systemic changes that would accomplish the following: Provide a pre-college education (K-12) for all of its citizens, regard- less of gender, race/ethnicity, and disability that allows this talent to pur- sue careers in science and technology occupations. Students should be exposed to rigorous math and science courses in seventh through twelfth grade from experienced, certified teachers. Many students currently are afforded this opportunity, but as a nation, we must make certain all stu- dents are. Provide sufficient financial support so that any qualified student can pursue S&E studies at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Encourage further research on how to identify, attract, mentor, and retain talent in all the S&E disciplines. Make universities and colleges bear the responsibility for carrying out national goals to increase the participation of students from underrepresented groups. Since they are the major recipients of federally funded research and as such generate knowledge and bear the responsibility for training the next generation of researchers, they should also take on the additional responsibil- ity, and be rewarded if they do so. These institutions must be encouraged to track student outcomes to measure their success. Reexamine the large-scale importation of foreign-born talent to fill our S&E needs. Dependence on imported talent makes our economy vul- nerable to shifts in political, economic, and military events in other coun- tries. We must concentrate more resources to developing the domestic S&E workforce and lessening our dependence on imported labor. Continue the robust support to the National Science Foundation for collection of data to provide indicators of participation in science and engineering by gender, race/ethnicity, and disability status so that our progress toward an inclusive S&E workforce can be measured.

OCR for page 79
COMM~:~N ON PROFESSIO~S IN SC~E AND TECHNOLOGY CONCLUSION ~3 Why do barriers of prejudice and custom continue to impede the preparation and progress of some of our citizens in science and engineer- ing? This question has been asked numerous times over CPST's history. Will it be asked a decade hence? Betty M. Vetter, the former executive director of the Commission, in addressing how to change the barriers, noted, "If employers wanted them changed, if the government wanted them changed, if academic administrators or faculties wanted them changed," no matter how entrenched the patterns,7 the barriers would be changed. Working together, all the stakeholders can make things change. Wetter, Betty M. The Equity Equation: Fostering the Advancement of Women in the Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering, pp. 29-55. (1996~: Jossey-Bass Inc., San Francisco, CA.