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Perceptions of Strengths and Deficiencies: Disconnects between Graduate Students and Prospective Employers

Marshall D. Sundberg, Patricia DeAngelis, Kayri Havens, Barbara Zorn-Arnold, Andrea T. Kramer, Kent Holsinger, Kathryn Kennedy, Rachel Muir, Peggy Olwell, Kristina Schierenbeck and Larry Stritch
BioScience
Vol. 61, No. 2 (February 2011), pp. 133-138
DOI: 10.1525/bio.2011.61.2.8
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/bio.2011.61.2.8
Page Count: 6
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Perceptions of Strengths and Deficiencies: Disconnects between Graduate Students and Prospective Employers
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Abstract

The US Botanical Capacity Assessment Project (BCAP) was initiated as a first step to gauge the nation's collective ability to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century. The project, in which the authors of this article are involved, specifically aimed to identify multisector contributions to and gaps in botanical capacity in order to develop growth opportunities to address research and management problems. One of the primary gaps revealed by the BCAP surveys was that the skills graduate students identified as their greatest strengths closely matched the areas future employers (government and private sectors) identified as needing greatest improvement. Although our survey focused on only one discipline (botany), we suspect that the results are applicable throughout the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. We suggest that it is critical for university faculty and administrators to team with professionals from government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations to identify critical and desired knowledge and skill sets and implement the necessary curriculum changes to provide graduates with the tools they need.

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