Congratulations to Dr. Tracy Johnson, Professor of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, for receiving the 2017 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award for Faculty Career Commitment to Diversity!

Dr. Johnson, a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator has been instrumental in establishing and supporting the Organization of African-American Students Excelling in STEM (OASES), a program that supports the success of African-American and other minorities in science. She also established a research-based program for first year science majors from underrepresented and underserved groups.

As the Life Sciences Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence, and Co-Chair of the Life Sciences Diversity Advisory Committee, Dr. Johnson has played a major role in making Life Sciences a campus and national leader in diversity and inclusive excellence. Her work has been the driving force for the requirement of a statement on contributions to diversity and inclusion in all faculty merit and promotion dossiers.

Finally, Dr. Johnson has developed strategies to achieve excellence in pedagogy and scholarship through diversity and inclusion and was part of a small group of campus faculty who contributed to the passage of the College of Letters and Science Diversity Course requirement.

Will more studies of biomedical training and careers create change in graduate education?

Across the biomedical research community, people agree that something is seriously wrong with the academic labor market. Thousands of Ph.D. holders unable to obtain faculty jobs search for other opportunities despite lack of training for nonacademic employment, while many faculty investigators struggle, often futilely, to win funding amid intense competition.

But if jobs and funding opportunities are lacking, reports on the ills of the biomedical enterprise most certainly are not. The already-groaning shelf of studies, analyses, proposals, and recommendations penned over recent decades present strikingly similar conclusions and suggestions from an array of highly credentialed committees, boards, and blue-ribbon commissions. Nonetheless, in January, two ad hoc committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine kicked off projects to add to this literature. But readers familiar with those previous documents—and with the community’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for following the many earnest plans for reform offered therein—may share my skepticism that the newly commissioned reports are more likely than their numerous authoritative predecessors to spur systemic change.


Five Ways to Get Students Thinking about Learning, Not Grades

The past several decades have seen an interest in learning surge. It’s always been part of our educational endeavors, but the recent focus on it has been intense—that is, for teachers. Our interest is not shared by most of our students. They are still pretty much all about grades, preferably those acquired easily. They will work for points, but not very enthusiastically, if at all, without them.

Grades are important; we can’t say they don’t matter. They’re what gets students financial aid, job interviews, and admission to grad school. But in the larger scheme of life, grades don’t matter all that much. When was the last time someone asked about your GPA? It’s the knowledge and skills acquired in college that make a difference in what we do and how we live. Yes, grades are supposed to measure learning and they do, but not all that definitively.

Somehow we’ve got to get students more focused on learning and more accurately understanding what it requires. So many students still cling to the notion that grades measure ability, and that good grades result from big brains, not time and effort devoted to study. How do we make the point that IQ matters far less than the commitment to hard work?


How Administrators can help Prepare Ph.D.s for Nonfaculty Careers

Some institutions are experimenting with ways to prepare students for a range of career opportunities. As institutions build these programs, author L. Maren Wood asks that they keep two important points about the nonfaculty job market in mind:

  1. People find jobs through their networks. Over 70 percent of jobs are never posted. Submitting a résumé to an online job posting, without a contact at that organization, works less than 4 percent of the time.
  2. Employers hire based on a combination of skills, knowledge, and abilities. Candidates must clearly articulate in professional documents and in-person interviews how their background can benefit an organization.

Institutions should build programs to address these two points. Here are a few ideas on how that might happen.


Apply now! Graduate Students and Postdocs – Entering Mentoring Training Program

Thursdays, June 29 – August 31, 2017 | 9:00 – 10:30am

This program seeks to develop a mentoring ethos by providing leadership, mentorship and diversity sensitivity training to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. In addition, the UCLA Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), provides professional development and training for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Although this course if not for credit, those who complete the seminar course will receive a certificate of completion as part of UCLA CIRTL engagement.


RSVP to attend by May 22nd at


– For more information about the EMT program, see the website:
– For questions please contact Rachel Kennison ( or Diana Azurdia ( .
– To register for CIRTL, please go to

Six Reasons You May Not Graduate on Time

There’s at least one issue that Americans aren’t divided on – going to college has become both more necessary and less affordable for most students over the last several years. And cost is one of the major reasons that only 41 percent of students actually earn a four-year degree within four years.

But finishing in four years matters, because research shows that the longer it takes, the less likely a student is to make it to graduation. A quarter of students drop out after four years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.


Three Scholarship Opportunities to the 2017 Case Study Teaching Fall Conference

This year the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science is pleased to offer three (3) scholarships to our 2017 Case Study Teaching Fall Conference held on September 15-16, 2017 in Buffalo, NY. Each scholarship includes: complimentary registration, meals served at the conference that are included in the conference registration, lunch both days and dinner on Friday), and up to a $300 stipend towards travel/room-and-board expenses, which will be reimbursed after the conference, with proof of expenses. For more information on the conference including registration, lodging and the conference schedule, please visit the conference website at:

Scholarship Opportunities: (one scholarship in each category) 1. Post-Doctoral Fellow/Graduate Student, 2. K-12 Teacher, 3. College Faculty Member at a school tied to the following documented official designations (these are federally-designated): Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), Historically Black College/University (HBCU), Tribal College/University (TCU), or Minority Postsecondary Institution (MPI). Please provide documentation that your school meets these criteria by way of a website link or other document.

To apply for a scholarship, please submit an email application to Carolyn Wright by 5/1/17.

Submission Guidelines: Your application must be submitted according to the following requirements: One (1) PDF, Times New Roman, 11 pt. font, 3 page maximum, with the following pdf file name: category_lastname (ex: postdoc_wright). Only one application/category per person even if you might fall under several categories. The pdf document should contain the following information in the order/line breaks listed below:

1. Last Name, First Name
2. Category (select only one category)
3. Academic Title, Department
4. Institution name
5. Institution address
6. Email address, Phone number
7. What are your goals for teaching?
8. Why do you want to attend our conference?
9. How would you apply what you learn at our conference?
10. How would you share with colleagues what you learn at our conference?
11. If you are applying as a Graduate Student award, please give your expected degree and graduation year.
12. A copy of your CV (curriculum vitae) which is a professional resume. Your CV must be part of the 3 page limit pdf submission. For our purposes, we would like to know your: relevant science/teaching work experience (including related work at a school or private industry, e.g., work experience at a lab), your education, any science/teaching professional organizations you belong to, any publications, courses taught, awards/honors, etc.

UCLA Undergrads and Faculty Attends Conference on STEM Education Research

(Left to Right: Shanna Shaked, Such Amin, David Ho, Ronnel Azizollahi, Nguyen Nguyen, Nikhil Shah; Photo credit: Deb Pires)

On March 24, 2017, a group of UCLA faculty and undergraduates enjoyed taking part in SoCal PKAL 2017 – the regional meeting of the Association of American Colleges & Universities Project Kaleidoscope, held at the University of California, San Diego. Some of UCLA’s recent efforts in physics education research were presented in poster form by the undergraduate learning assistants and researchers pictured here.