Who Cares About Postdocs Anyway? valuating the National Science Foundation's Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education


Abstract. In 1997 the National Science Foundation offered a novel postdoctoral training program in education research -- The Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education (PFSMETE). In 1999, after funding three cohorts of postdoctoral Fellows, the program was cancelled. This paper reports on the structure and initial success of the PFSMETE program. Data from surveys of participants in PFSMETE, both Fellows and mentors, and analysis of PFSMETE structure suggest structural themes which affect the outcome of the post-doctoral experience. These include: institutional support, interdisciplinary boundary crossing, and cultural shifts within disciplines. Analysis of these data begins to describe the PFSMETE experience and suggests several characteristics necessary for the success of other postdoctoral programs.


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