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CHAPTER VI Manpower and Eclucation INTRODUCTION This report focusses on the U.S. research enterprise in the chemical sciences. It shows decisively that the vitality of this enterprise is essential to our economic competitiveness, our national security, our ability to respond to society's needs, and our understanding of the universe and our place in it. The wellspring of this vitality is and always will be the continued entrance of an adequate number of brilliant young scientists to the field. Thus, we are inevitably drawn to consider the health of the educational system that attracts top calibre individuals, that nurtures their creativity, and that effectively prepares them for their professional careers. There is no room for doubt that the higher levels of professional activity in chemistry depend directly on the educational experiences embodied in the Ph.D. program. The dependence is rooted in the rapid pace of scientific progress over the span of a professional chemists's career. This pace requires ability to cope with and develop new ideas the heart of Ph.D. thesis work in chemistry. Hence our prime concern will be with the factors that determine the effectiveness of our doctoral educational system. Of course, the technical manpower issue also raises questions about the requisite predoctoral educational levels. Obviously the individuals who elect to enter a Ph.D. program in chemistry decide to do so on the basis of their baccalaureate and earlier experiences. Thus we must be sure that the bacca- laureate educational system is attracting a cadre of excellent candidates to the doctoral programs and preparing them well for it. At the precollege level, we need much more effort to ensure that some of our brightest young people become seriously interested in science with a good fraction looking toward chemistry. 279
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280 MANPOWER AND EDUCATION DOCTORAL EDUCATION IN CHEMISTRY Graduate education in chemistry provides a valuable, career-molding inter- action with a mature scientist who is working productively at an active research frontier. There is a significant one-on-one aspect to the research director- graduate student interaction. In a highly personalized way, the faculty member will encourage individuality and creativity while directing the student toward problems likely to be soluble, interpretable, and significant to the advancement of existing frontiers. As the student matures, he/she assumes more and more responsibility for selecting the next question to be addressed and the experi- mental approach to be followed, for eliminating obstacles as they appear, and for interpreting results as they are obtained. At the same time, the typical chemistry graduate student will be a member of a group of peers working with the same faculty research director on problems of related character based on similar experimental and theoretical techniques. This group might include several other graduate students and one or two postdoctoral students. The transfer of ideas and techniques within this peer group is another vital and rewarding part of graduate study in chemistry. Currently, a large proportion of Ph.D. degree recipients continue their educational preparation by conducting 1 or 2 years of postdoctoral study at another institution. This, too, has become an important part of the chemist's career development. It lets the student broaden horizons by venturing into a field different from the thesis work, by interacting with other productive researchers at a different locale, and by assuming more complete responsibility for the course of the research program. The combination of close collegial collaboration with a research-active faculty research director followed by more independent postdoctoral research work identifies chemistry as an excellent prescription for the encouragement and nurturing of individual creativity in talented young scientists. Thus, graduate education in the sciences can be likened to the time-tested, traditional apprenticejourneyman-master system. In chemistry, we have an educational process that electively furnishes the stream of talented and well prepared young scientists essential to the continued vitality of the nation's technology enterprise. Herein lies a substantial basis for the investment of federal resources in the fundamental chemical research cond acted in the nation's . . . unzoersztzes. Chemistry Doctorates in U.S. Table VI-1 shows for the period 1960 to 1981 the number of U.S. degrees awarded in chemistry. It is not to be assumed that most of the Ph.D.s have progressed through the master's degree; quite the opposite, the M.S. is for many the terminal graduate degree, usually received 2 to 3 years after the baccalaure- ate. The larger fraction of the Ph.D. candidates enter graduate school with a
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MANPOWER AND EDUCATION TABLE VI-1 Number of Degrees Awarded in Chemistry, 1960-1981 Bachelors Masters Ph.D.s Bach tYear N-4) ∑ 100 (go) 1960 7,603 1,228 1,048 17.0 1964 9,724 1,586 1,301 17.1 1968 10,847 2,014 1,757 18.1 1970 11,617 2,146 2,208 22.7 1972 10,721 2,259 1,971 18.2 1974 10,525 2,138 1,828 15.7 1975 10,649 2,006 1,824 16.3 1976 11,107 1,796 1,623 15.2 1977 11,332 1,775 1,571 15.4 1978 11,474 1,892 1,525 14.5 1979 11,643 1,765 1,518 14.0 1980 11,446 1,733 1,551 14.0 1981 11,540 1,667 1,628 14.3 4-year bachelor's degree, and they complete the Ph.D. between 4 and 5 years later. The last column of Table VI-1 shows that for the 5-year period 1977-1981, about one-seventh of those receiving bachelor's degrees continue on to receive the Ph.D. (as is typical of the physical sciences). For the same period, for chemical engineering it would be one-twelfth, for biological sciences, one- thirteenth, and for mathematics, one-twenty-seventh of the bachelor degree recipients who will ultimately receive the doctorate. The larger fraction for chemistry reflects the direct value of and need for graduate education in the chemistry profession. The trend in the annual number of Ph.D. degrees awarded has changed dramatically over the last two decades. During the 1960s, the number of Ph. D . s in chemistry doubled, peaking at 2200 Ph.D.s in 1970. Since then there has been a decline that has seemed to level off by the end of the decade at about 1500 Ph.D.s per year. Now, it seems to be rising again. Physics doctorates followed closely the same pattern ex- cept, perhaps, in most recent years. These long-range trends are, of course, impor- tant from a national man- power point of view even though they are difficult to 281 2000 ~ 1500 a To 000 3 a; 5OO / "A CHEMISTRY / ~ / ~~ ~ / ~ <~ PHYS I CS 1~ I I I I I I I I I I I t I I,,,, I ,.,, 1965 1970 I 975 1980 YEAR Ph.D. DEGREES IN CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS
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282 TABLE VI-2 Field Mobility of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers Employed in Business and Industry, 1977a Field of Doctorate Percent Employed in Field of Doctorate Number Employed in All Fields Computer science Engineering Earth science Chemistry Agricultural sciences Biological sciences Physics/astronomy Mathematics 92 82 82 72 69 41 41 37 600 20,700 2,000 21,200 2,300 5,900 6,800 1,800 a The National Research Council, Ph.D.'s in Business and Industry. MANPOWER AND EDUCATION interpret because they span a period of complicated demographic, social, and economic changes. They do, however, suggest that the decline in Ph.D.s during the 1970s has ended, and Ph.D. entry into chemistry is again rising, presumably in response to positive career perceptions. Career Opportunities for Chemistry Ph.D.s If that is the perception, it is a reasonable one. Appendix Table A-5 shows that in 1981 business and industry employed more doctoral chemists than the sum of those employed with doctorates in the biological sciences, mathematics, physics, and astronomy combined. Furthermore, Table VI-2 shows that chemistry has a "field mobility" that is quite favorable, one of the higher among doctoral scientists of various disciplines (1977 fig- ures). The "field mobility" ex- presses the percentage of doc- toral recipients employed by business and industry who are actually engaged in pro- fessional activities in their own doctoral field. The 1977 data show that 72 percent of the doctorate chemists in in- dustry are finding jobs based in their doctorate field. This can be compared, for example, to 82 percent for engineering and 41 percent for physics. Post-Baccalaureate Educational Patterns for Chemists While considerable variation exists, a typical chemistry Ph.D. graduate experience involves three essential elements: teaching, course work, and thesis research. In many graduate schools, teaching is required for 1 year, sometimes including fellowship holders. The rationale for this element involves several components: teaching is an invaluable educational experience for the graduate, it helps him/her evaluate an academic career as a career goal, it provides stipend support in advance of selection of a research director, and it aids chemistry departments in meeting their large service role in undergraduate education for contiguous disciplines. From the point of view of financial support, teaching can thus provide approximately 20 percent of the stipend support usually received by a chemistry graduate student. There are several qualifying steps that may be required for successful completion of doctoral study in chemistry: entrance examinations, course grades, cumulative examinations, preliminary examinations, thesis submis- sion, and final defense of thesis. Few schools would use all of these and of those
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MANPOWER AND EDUCATION used, there is considerable variation in relative importance. Generally, the most significant screening instruments are cumulative examinations taken during the first 2 years (if used) and the preliminary examination taken during the second or third year. Of course, the ultimate completion of Ph.D. study depends upon submission of an acceptable research-based thesis. However, to a first approximation, the preliminary examination determines who receives the Ph.D., while completion of the thesis determines how long it takes a given student to receive the Ph.D. In addition to reimbursement for teaching duties (as teaching assistants (TA) paid by the university), chemistry graduate students who do not have fellowship financial aid (NSF, NTH, etc.) can receive research assistantship (RA) stipends. There are a small number of these supported by industrial grants, often to a particular department but sometimes in the name of a particular faculty member, and not uncommonly with some stipulation on the area of chemical research in which the recipient's thesis work must fall. But the majority of RA stipends are drawn from federal grants to an individual faculty member to support the graduate students under his/her direction. Table VI-3 shows for the TABLE VI-3 Chemistry Graduate and Postdoctoral Students in U.S. Doctoral- Granting Institutions, 1974-1980 Graduate Students Postdoctoral Students Number R.A. s Number Total Numbera Number "/Research Federally Total NumberC Federally Year (do Foreign)a Assistantshipsb Supportedb (% Foreign) Supported 1974 11,700 (20) 3111 2388 2379 1789 1975 11,965 (20) 3233 2864 2522 1889 1976 12,360 (20) 3521 2827 2610 2035 1977 12,575 (20) 3597 2883 2658 (47) 2111 1978 1979 12,790 (21) 4085 3285 2604 (54) 2147 1980 4541 3733 2710 2255 a NSF Publication 81-316, Tables B-3 and B-4. Graduate student totals include both Masters and Ph.D. candidates. b "National Patterns of Science and Technology Resources, 1982" NSF 82-319, Tables 62 and 63. c Ref.b, Tables 59 and 60. Ref.a, Table B-13. period 1974 to 1980 the number of such RAs and also the number derived from federal grants. Over the 6 years shown, 80 percent of the RAs were federally supported. Taking account of the number of Ph.D. degrees received for each of the years shown in Table VI-3 and the approximate number of years needed to receive the Ph.D., the data indicate that between two-thirds and three-fourths of U.S. doctoral students in chemistry receive either TA or RA stipends. State resources provide almost all of the TA support, and federal resources provide 80 percent of the RA stipends built into individual research grants. 283
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284 MANPOWER AND EDUCATION Table VI-3 also shows the number of chemistry postdoctoral students and the number of them who were federally supported. Just as for graduate RAs, about 80 percent of the postdoctoral students are federally supported, and, again, the majority of their stipends are built into individual research grants. Tnterest- ingly, for the years 1976 to 1980 the number of postdoctoral stipends each year exceeded the number of Ph.D.s granted that same year by a factor of 1.7 on the average. Since the average postdoctoral tenure is about 2 years, this implies that approximately 70 to 80 percent of the chemistry Ph.D.s are presently entering postdoctoral study. Thus it has become a norm that most Ph.D. chemists engage in a period of postdoctoral training whatever their ultimate employment. The magnitude of a stipend for a postdoctoral student engaged in university research and supported through a federal grant is generally decided by the university or, even more locally, by the department. These stipends vary from university to university but for a new Ph.D., most of them currently fall in the range $16,000 to $21,000. In contrast, 1984 postdoctoral stipends for new chemistry Ph.D.s at National Laboratories averaged around $25K to $27K while at industrial laboratories, it tended to fall in the range $30 to $32K. Thus university stipends for postdoctoral students are only three-fourths as large as those paid by National Laboratories (also from federal funds) and two-thirds as large as those paid by industry. Remembering that competitive market forces determine industrial stipends and that a postdoctoral student has already invested about 9 years in college and university education, it is reasonable for university postdoctoral stipends to fall in the range defined by those National Laboratories and industries that over term postdoctoral appointments. It is recommended that universities raise their postdoctoral salaries for chemists to bring them into the range established by National Laboratory clnd industrial postdoctoral programs. PRECOLLEGE CHEMISTRY EDUCATION In January 1983, the American Chemical Society assembled a committee of eminent chemists and educators under the chairmanship of Peter E. Yankwich. The charge to the committee was to 'examine the state of chemistry ed ucation in the United States today and make such recommendations as seem appropriate in light of the findings." The existence of this current and authoritative assessment of chemistry education makes it unnecessary for us to examine in depth the science educational system from which our future chemists will be drawn. Nevertheless, the importance, indeed the urgency, of the recommendations proposed by that committee demands that we summarize here some of its findings. In so doing, we hope to direct wide attention to this important document and to encourage support of its recommendations. Released in June 1984, the Yankwich Report Tomorrow The Report of the Task Force for the Study of Chemistry Education in the United States can be obtained from the American Chemical Society, 1155 Sixteenth St., NW, Washington DC 20036.
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MANPOWER AND EDUCATION The ACS initiation of this activity was one of many responses to a mounting public concern that the state of science and mathematics education at the precollege level had declined seriously in quality over the decade of the 1970s. Another important such study was that produced by the National Commission on Excellence in Education led by David P. Gardner. This study, published in 1983, expressed alarm that is epitomized in its title A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. This is one of the more than 1982 and 1983 bibliographic entries collected in the Yankwich Reportóreports, 25 articles, and commission studies that see problems of crisis proportions in precollege mathematics and science education. These problems are presented concisely in the Executive Summary of the Yankwich Report. The part referring to precollege education is quoted below: "Executive Summary. The American Chemical Society Chemistry Education Task Force finds that: Misunderstanding of science is widespread and the public understanding of chemistry is poor. Too little science is taught in the elementary schools, possibly because too few teachers are well qualified to teach it; neither programs to assist improvement of teacher qualification nor good teaching materials are readily available. Too few teachers of chemistry in high schools are well grounded in the subject; those that are are spread too thin, have too few mechanisms available for maintaining and improving their qualifica- tions, and are too easily wooed away to more satisfying and more remuner- ative employment. Laboratory exercises are slowly disappearing from gen- eral chemistry education in both high schools and colleges...." We will not address further the critical issues thus placed before us concern- ing precollege education. However, we emphatically endorse the view that improvement of science education for all students at the precollege level must be a matter of high national priority. A substantial improvement there will benefit all citizens because everyone is affected by the rapid techological changes that are inescapably part of our modern society. Hence every individual has both the right and obligation to participate in deciding society's technological course. A generally raised scientific literacy is necessary. It is the basis by which a democratic citizenry can participate wisely in choosing among the technical options that will determine its economic well-being and quality of life. Baccalaureate Chemistry Education Because of the basic character of chemistry and its centrality among the sciences, introductory chemistry courses fulfill a crucial service role. A knowI- edge of the atomic makeup of the world around us is requisite in most of the advanced courses to be taken by the student entering the health and the biological sciences, physics, engineering, geology, oceanography, and even astronomy. Thus, the typical first-year chemistry class is not dominated by majors in chemistry but rather by students entering a variety of fields contiguous to chemistry. This complicates selection of the curricular content of 285
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286 MANPOWER AND EDUCATION first- and second-year chemistry courses. Surely the instructor cannot focus this content solely on the needs of the smaller number who see themselves moving toward a professional career in chemistry. The complication is not entirely unfortunate. The reflex response to segre- gate introductory courses into several specialty courses aimed at different disciplinary constituencies- may well be the wrong one. It is an extreme version of the Tong-term trends in higher education toward ever earlier specialization. In our zeal to help our young people toward their announced goals, we may be forcing them to select those goals before they have the breadth of experience and maturity to do so wisely. If so, we should not at the same time add obstacles to change of direction if student experience so dictates. Nor should we configure curricula so that the student gets no exposure to new intellectual horizons out of which such a decision might have evolved. There is one significant consideration that crosses the disciplinary bound- aries, viz., the essential role of laboratory experience in introductory science courses, including chemistry. The importance of this element is persuasively argued in the Yankwich Report and is embodied in their recommendation U5: Whether they are taught to nonscientists, science majors, or chemistry majors, foundational courses in chemistry at the college level must include a substan- tial component of significant laboratory work. The third- and fourth-year courses strive to over the optimum content for a student aspiring to a career in chemistry. It is not necessary for us to expound on detailed curricular content here. That has been a subject of ongoing healthy debate. Mechanisms for evaluation and accreditation exist, including, most particularly, the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemi- cal Society. Issues currently under active discussion are enumerated in the Yankwich Report item US "The Approved Curriculum in Chemistry." One of the crucial issues identified in the Yankwich study is the need for a substantial introduction to modern instrumental methods (item US). Fulfilling this educational goal requires adequate resources. Consistent with a theme repeated over and over in the present report is that meeting this need is not only a matter of capital investment. Even after up-to-date instrumentation is in place, its cost-e~ective use requires resources for maintenance and repair. This is a pervasive problem in undergraduate education because resources for chemistry education have not been adequate for development of the infrastruc- ture necessary for maintenance. It is important to remember that this is not a problem restricted to graduate research. Even if it is solved at the research- oriented universities with the primary aim of increasing research productivity, the 4-year colleges have similar needs. In fact, the key role of the 4-year colleges in meeting our national technical manpower needs must be recognized. A significant fraction of the entering graduate students in chemistry, possibly one-third, receive excellent baccalau- reate preparation at institutions that do not offer doctoral chemistry programs.
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MANPOWER AND EDUCATION At these institutions, undergraduate research is a specially valuable experience for any student who is considering whether to enter graduate work in chemis- try. To have this opportunity available, the 4-year colleges must be able to maintain a sufficient level of research readiness and faculty interest. A variety of support mechanisms can be effective in strengthening this educational . . c .lmenslon. ∑ Both research universities and industrial laboratories should welcome summer or sabbatical visiting researchers from nearby college faculties. ∑ Industries should consider passing on serviceable but less than state-of-the art instrumentation to college departments for both educational and research use. Industrial support services (electronics, machining, glassblowing) might be made available for occasional maintenance attention to such equipment. ∑ Federal tax incentives would provide impetus to such industrial equipment gift and maintenance programs. ∑ The federal research-funding agencies, in particular, the National Science Foundation, should play an active role by providing competitive awarded research grants of appropriate size and number of research-active faculty at 4-year colleges. A mode] is suggested in Chapter VII (see Tables VII-S and VII-9). 287
Representative terms from entire chapter: