Postdoctoral students seek academic jobs at Philadelphia chemistry meeting

08/16/04

There's little doubt that the name of an Ivy League school on a postdoctoral student's résumé will catch the eye of a collegiate faculty recruiter, but what happens to the highly qualified candidate from a small, lesser-known rural college?

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, concerned that too many bright young people from lesser known schools are being overlooked, is doing something about the situation. It has created an Academic Employment Initiative (AEI) to broaden the process by which colleges and universities recruit faculty into the chemical sciences.

Some 130 postdoctoral students interested in careers in academia will present their research and teaching philosophies at the first AEI poster session Monday, Aug. 23, at the ACS's 228th national meeting in Philadelphia.

The session, a special presidential event sponsored by ACS President Charles P. Casey, Ph.D., is designed to expose college and university recruiters to a larger pool of candidates for faculty positions than is possible through current recruitment practices.

ACS has invited members of academic search committees to attend the event to meet informally with the students. The program, part of the SciMix interdisciplinary poster session, will be held from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. in Hall D at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street.

"Our hiring process needs to cast a wider net." Casey says. "The difficulties that research universities are having recruiting women and minorities suggest that our recruitment process could be improved."

The problem, says Casey, is that in today's hiring process, chemistry departments rely largely on applicants' paper portfolios. Often, there is too strong a bias in favor of those applying from the most prestigious departments, while other candidates are given less attention. This can discourage young people, especially women and those from underrepresented communities, from applying for academic appointments if they have not attended one of the top-rated graduate schools, according to the ACS president.

Departments seeking more information about AEI candidates should contact the ACS Office of Graduate Education at GradEd@acs.org.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization, chartered by the U.S. Congress, with a multidisciplinary membership of more than 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers. It publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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