Professional Societies Alliance for Life Science Education (PSALSE)

a bright spot for Vision and Change


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Professional Resource Links

vector-human-shape-with-social-icons_fJwFcmIuPSALSE resource inventory 2015

PSALSE member organizations have many programs and resources related to education, Vision & Change, and professional development. It’s difficult to know what each organization is offering, which can make it hard for educators and students to find the resources they are looking for, or for other society professionals to find components to help organize or manage life science education initiatives.

PSALSE is pleased to offer an inventory that distills how PSALSE affiliates organize and conduct their priorities. The spreadsheet lists program categories and activities with specific links (URLS or emails, where available) for more information that offers practical help to society professionals and easy access to resources for educators and students.


Examples of possible inventory use:

Student 

An undergraduate student (or her advisor) looking for financial support for undergraduate research or travel to a professional conference may use the PSALSE inventory to directly assess which societies provide research fellowships or travel awards. The societies with available support have also listed direct URLs to each program, providing the student (or her advisor) with more information.

Educator

An educator may be interested in finding vetted classroom resources promoting the principles of Vision & Change to use in their own courses (after all, why reinvent the wheel?). The PSALSE inventory provides direct access to resources from individual PSALSE member organizations as well as access to some of the larger repositories and partnerships (eg. Life Sciences Teaching Resource Community or CourseSource). Educators may also find resources related to the scholarship of teaching and learning via the PSALSE inventory.

Society Professional

If an organization’s leadership is thinking of establishing a new undergraduate faculty teaching award, the PSALSE inventory provides a snapshot of all PSALSE member affiliates offering such an award. Staff or leadership may then examine the award description and application of each currently available award while developing their own, and/or contact staff associated with the organizations offering awards to gather advice and information.


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Tips for Helping Members Find Funding and Write Grants

There are many different funding mechanisms available, and it can be time consuming for members to identify which are applicable to their research. In addition, grant application success is low, and members need and want resources for developing their grant writing skills. Professional societies are uniquely positioned to address both issues.

Objective:  Clearly communicate funding opportunities to members and provide them with resources to improve their grant writing skills.

Tips:

  • Developing and executing a grant writing workshop:
    • Determine the goals of your workshop, your target participants and the budget.
      • Do you want participants to develop grant ideas at the workshop or come ready to receive critiques of their pre-written proposals?
      • The NIH and the NSF have many funding mechanisms. Do not try to cover every type of grant or funding agency during a single workshop.
      • How many participants can you support?
    • Form a selection committee and determine how applications will be evaluated.
      • Develop a scoring rubric before evaluating the applications.
      • Pair attendees with potential mentors as you select them.
    • Develop the agenda.
      • Recruit speakers to address different aspects of the grant process (e.g. elements of a successful proposal, the review process).
      • Vary the session formats, rather than lecturing all day.
      • If mentors will be critiquing applications, we recommend that participants have 20min to present their specific aims and 10min for questions. We recommend one mentor for every 3-4 participants.
      • Ensure the agenda encourages peer-peer mentorship and feedback.
      • Recruit speakers from different perspectives (e.g. program officer, successful PI).
    • Market the workshop to target participants.
      • Begin marketing well before the application deadline.
      • Develop a website, which clearly explains the cost, participant expectations (including any pre-workshop requirements) and travel details.
      • Utilize past participants and speakers to further your marketing campaign.
      • In our experience, most candidates are advised to attend by their department chair or mentor.
    • Share workshop materials with participants.
      • Google Drive or Dropbox are good methods of sharing.
      • Develop a confidentiality policy and inform all participants and speakers of it before the workshop since speakers may be presenting unpublished data.
    • Establish an evaluation strategy before the workshop.
      • At a minimum, we recommend pre- and post-workshop surveys.
      • Establish a system for tracking attendees and recording their successes.
  • Publicize funding opportunities to members.
    • Follow and re-tweet @NIHFunding on Twitter.
    • Notify members about funding opportunities through your website, social media, newsletters or other platforms well before the deadlines.
      • Consider establishing a dedicated page on your website if this can be maintained on a regular basis.
    • Target these announcements to members’ career levels and research interests.
    • For society-sponsored funding, list staff contact information.

Contributed by Erica Siebrasse and Andrew Macintyre