Program

Overview: 

The aim of the IRACDA program, as explained by NIGMS, is to “develop a diverse group of highly trained scientists to address the nation’s biomedical research needs.” More information about the national program is here.

The overall goal of the University of Michigan IRACDA program “Diversifying the Future Academic Workforce in STEM” (Science/ Technology/ Engineering/ Math) is an innovative training program that brings together faculty from the Medical School; College of  Engineering (CoE); College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA); and the School of Dentistry with the goal of training and preparing a diverse group of biomedical scientists to lead successful and independent academic research and teaching careers. Building upon the more than 200-year history of world-class research and education, this training program prepares a new generation of scientist-educators with the skills and experience they require to be effective and successful faculty members that will serve diverse students and promote equitable and inclusive education.

At the same time, through interactions with our partner institutions, Henry Ford College and Wayne County Community College District, we work to inspire a cohort of undergraduate students to pursue science and engineering careers that are vital to both our local and the national economy.  We recruit a diverse and talented group of IRACDA fellows and provide them with exceptional, mentored teaching and research experiences.  These fellows, as did our initial group, can then successfully move on to scientific and academic careers.

The postdoctoral fellows, who are specialists in various fields of science, engineering, medicine and related computational/analytical disciplines, hone their teaching skills with the help of partner-college faculty mentors over the course of four years. By planning and teaching a course with their teaching mentors, the postdocs gain the necessary preparation to teach and mentor students when they obtain their first faculty jobs.

Meanwhile, the partner-college students receive team-based teaching from the U-M postdoc and the partner college’s faculty member in their science and engineering classes. These interactions provides students the chance to learn about scientific careers directly from a working research scientist, and to apply for summer research experiences working with the postdoctoral fellows at U-M.

A major aim of the program is to address a longstanding lack of diversity in scientific careers. Both colleges in the Michigan partnership have a high percentage of students from backgrounds underrepresented in science. As such, an essential criteria for selecting U-M postdoctoral fellows is a commitment to careers working with such students.  (Michigan Medicine Blog)

Who can apply?

  • US Citizen or Permanent resident 
  • Graduate or near graduate of Ph.D. program in Science, Technology. Engineering, or Medicine.
  • Interesting in pursuing a career path in Academia.

Sample Training Timeline:   The actual progression of work in the training program is flexible, in order to best foster growth of those mentored by the program. 

Year 1
(IRACDA supported)
Year 2
(IRACDA supported)
Year 3
(IRACDA supported)
Year 4
(optional, research mentor supported)

Identify a teaching mentor at a partner institution based on subject area expertise.

Create a training plan with mentor, including observation and guest lecturing.

Participate in online and in-person sessions through the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) on teaching methods in STEM fields, including a semester long short course in STEM teaching for postdoctoral fellows.

Participate in monthly IRACDA ‘journal clubs.’ Present proposed research project aims.

Attend the annual IRACDA conference.

Present your ‘Career Path’ seminar at partner institutions.

Mentor a summer research fellow from a partner institution for a 12 week research project.

 

Continue to develop research project. Present data at a scientific meeting.

Determine appropriate training plan for teaching, possibly including: identify an additional teaching mentor, take up a teaching research project, teach an entire course at a partner institution.

Participate in online and in-person CRLT workshops on teaching methods in STEM fields as individually identified.

Participate in monthly IRACDA ‘journal clubs.’ Present current research project findings.

Attend the annual IRACDA conference.

Present your ‘Career Path’ seminar at partner institutions.

Mentor a summer research fellow from a partner institution for a 12 week research project.

Prepare manuscript(s) and submit research data for peer-review. Present data at a scientific meeting

Determine appropriate training plan for teaching, including teaching a course at a partner institution.

Participate in monthly IRACDA ‘journal clubs.’ Present current research project findings.

Assemble job application materials, including a teaching statement, diversity statement, and research plan as needed. Apply for jobs. Participate in job search activities.

Attend the annual IRACDA conference.

Continuation of Year 3 activities for those who chose a 4th year of training.

Outreach activities:

  • Annual Symposium for Partner Institutions:  Annual symposia for students and teaching partners are held to provide information about and create interest in higher education opportunities at the University of Michigan.  Through these symposia, students learn about the various options for STEM degrees at the University of Michigan, and importantly, the necessary steps for transitioning from their current institutions to those career paths.
  • Mentoring of summer research undergrads:  To maximize the impact on our partner institutions, students from HFC and WCCCD are supported for a 12-week research internship at the University of Michigan. Students are placed in the labs of our IRACDA research mentors, and when possible, work directly with our IRACDA fellows. Each fellowship includes a stipend as well as room and board for the full 12 weeks. This program provides the opportunity for first- and second-year students to get hands-on experience in a research lab.

Partner Institutions:  

Henry Ford College (HFC) was established in 1938 as a junior college.  It now offers not only occupational and career programs, and traditional transfer programs, but in 2014 began offering its first bachelor degree program in Culinary Arts. HFC also has a University Center program that offers several degrees by partnering with nearby universities. HFC primarily serves Dearborn and Wayne County, with a small percentage of students coming from other areas.
Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD), established in 1967, has five campuses located in industrial, rural and metropolitan areas where a major share of Michigan’s technical and skilled occupations are located. As WCCCD serves the city of Detroit and the surrounding tri-county area, it places a strong emphasis on occupational and career programs, and traditional college and university transfer programs.