News: AAAS News & Notes
25 November 2005
Edited by Edward W. Lempinen
Bold Change, New Energy for Science/AAAS Career Resources
A decade after their first career aids went online, Science and AAAS have moved to dramatically update their programs, retooling them for a mobile, global 21st-century science and technology workforce.
|Readers can find the full menu of Science's job and C.V. listings, career resources, and grant information at the new www.sciencecareers.org.|
The new ScienceCareers.org debuted on 15 November, consolidating its powerful recruitment and job search features with Science's Next Wave, GrantsNet, the Minority Scientists Network, and other features--all at one fresh-looking, easy-to-navigate site.
The changes at ScienceCareers area central part of a sweeping redesign of the Science family of Web sites that has given the sites a clean, integrated look; easier access; and more intuitive navigation. One key change: The ScienceNOW daily news Web site will for the first time be available to all readers, without charge.
At the new ScienceCareers site, visitors will find the single most comprehensive, freely accessible source of online S&T career support in the world, serving scientists, engineers, and others at every level.
"Combining services for those who need to fill jobs with those who need help with their careers is a terrific idea," said Donald Kennedy, editor-in-chief of Science. "Young scientists need the kind of help Next Wave has given them about building their own professional futures, and they will continue to get it in an editorially independent way at the new site. They will also find Science's unmatched inventory of new opportunities."
Added Science Publisher Beth Rosner: "We are enthusiastic that this site will be the most heavily visited career Web site for scientists worldwide and will allow our users to find not only their first job, but the tools and resources to advance in every stage of their careers."
Science has been responsible for bringing together employers and jobseekers through its classified listings for decades, Rosner said, and has long had the largest recruitment section of any scientific journal. But the increasing use of the Internet in the mid-1990s brought new opportunities and new challenges.
Science had a job Web site on the Internet in early 1995; the journal Web site and Next Wave debuted later that year, with GrantsNet following in 1998. NextWave is a career site geared toward young scientists in North America and Europe, while ScienceCareers has offered job listings and materials oriented more to mid-career scientists. Taken together, the sites attract more than three-quarters of a million visitors every month.
The journal's Web site also has been an important vehicle for Science's knowledge environments on signal transduction (STKE) and aging (SAGE), as well as for the journal itself.
Stewart Wills, the online editor of Science, said surveys, focus groups, and usability testing indicated that readers value the information on the sites but are put off by the complex navigation and varying access controls.
ScienceCareers.org Editor Jim Austin and Sales Director Gabrielle Boguslawski led the team that worked for over a year to study how to merge the sites in a way that kept core audiences satisfied while providing content to new audiences. Wills and Science's electronic media manager, Betsy Harman, worked with a group of stakeholders from Careers, Next Wave, and GrantsNet to help shape the new one-stop career shop, and AAAS Technology Director Rose Futchko supervised the process of building a working site out of that vision.
Wills and others suggest that traffic at www.sciencemag.org and at the new careers site will likely increase as a result of the consolidation, the improved ease of use, and the free access to ScienceNOW.
"We also expect that ScienceNOW will enjoy a broad general readership," said Science News Editor Colin Norman. "The stories are accessible accounts of cutting-edge science that should appeal to scientists and high school students alike."
Meanwhile, AAAS named Richard Weibl, a former U.S. editor for Science's Next Wave, as project director of the Center for Careers in Science and Technology. Returning to AAAS after more than 2 years with the Peace Corps in South Africa, Weibl will serve as a linchpin for AAAS's comprehensive efforts to provide career information to students, postdocs, and professionals.
Weibl said the center would propel new collaboration and synergy among different departments and projects at AAAS and Science. The center might seek to develop services that now are in short supply. Among the possibilities: career guidance for pre-college students, their parents, and their teachers and information on new opportunities for late-career scientists.
—Kathy Wren contributed to this report.
Learning to Think Like a Harried News Editor
On a cool autumn evening at the U.S. Capitol, some of Congress's most influential science and technology advocates joined with AAAS officials to mark the 20th anniversary of Project 2061, the AAAS science literacy project.
They used the briefing to celebrate the project's accomplishments and growing global influence. But they also shared a sense of concern at the challenges confronting the nation as it works to nurture new generations of scientists and engineers and to prepare young people to address complex science-related issues.
"We are falling behind the rest of the world in teaching our students math and science concepts," warned Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-MI). "It's urgent that AAAS and Project 2061 continue to do what you are doing."
Ehlers was joined by Representative Mark Udall (D-CO), his partner in launching the bipartisan Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Caucus in 2004. U.S. Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), the chair of the House Science Committee, was there, as were Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ), a physicist and former AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, and Donald Payne (D-NJ).
The anniversary celebration "gave us a chance to look back and to see how far we've come and how much has been accomplished," said Project 2061 Director Jo Ellen Roseman. "At the same time, it renewed our commitment to the work ahead--there is still so much to be done, and Project 2061 clearly has an important role to play."
As its core mission, Project 2061 advocates that science education is essential for all students, not just for those going on to technical or research careers. The arrival of Halley's Comet in 1985 served as an inspiration to the founders, who envisioned a reform of K-12 education so that broad science, mathematics, and technology literacy is a reality when the comet reappears in 2061.
"No organization had previously addressed the issue of what was needed in K-12 schooling by putting aside the traditional curriculum and starting by debating and deciding what every adult citizen needed to know and be able to do," said AAAS President Gilbert S. Omenn, a member of Project 2061's original advisory group.
Project 2061's Science for All Americans, published in 1989, and its 1993 Benchmarks for Science Literacy have set standards and goals that have had a deep influence on education not just in the U.S., but as far away as China and Japan. In addition to setting goals for science and mathematics learning, Project 2061 is equally committed to helping educators use those goals to make changes in what and how they teach.
One recent project that showcases the Project's ambition is a study of middle-school mathematics now under way in Delaware and Texas.
The study, involving 9 school districts and 85 middle-school math teachers and their students, is exploring how to improve teachers' classroom instruction through the use of professional development that is tied closely to specific learning goals and the lessons in their textbooks that target those goals. By watching videotapes of themselves teaching selected lessons, teachers are able to judge whether they and their students are progressing toward the goals.
"It was extremely enlightening," said Laura Conner, a sixth-grade math teacher in Middletown, Delaware.
The anniversary events from 17 to 19 October also included a workshop for teachers and a program of speakers from science and science education. The events brought former and current staff members, past collaborators, and current Project 2061 postdoctoral fellows to Washington, D.C., for a look at the project's past and its future challenges.
Project 2061 founder F. James Rutherford was honored with a framed poster displaying the covers of Project books that were published during his tenure as director. He is currently a distinguished visiting professor at Mills College in Oakland, California, and is working on several projects involving science and environmental education.
"Project 2061 can be proud of the unrivaled contributions it made to the advancement of science education during its first 20 years," Rutherford said, "and now, in the next 20, it must continue to press forward with the same strategy, energy, and inventiveness in its crucial effort to make nationwide science literacy a reality in America."
—Lonnie Shekhtman and Pam George contributed to this report.
Learning to Think Like a Harried News Editor
The space devoted to news in most American newspapers is shrinking. Television often seems uninterested in science news. In any given day, thousands of messages are competing for the attention of consumers, and attention spans seem to be getting shorter.
That's the difficult environment that news editors face. And when it comes time to get news or ideas to the public, science and medical researchers would do well to think like news editors.
That was a central message of the third annual EurekAlert! seminar for public information officers, "Communicating Science & Health News Across the Media Spectrum." The seminar was short on sugarcoating but rich with advice for navigating the hypercompetitive media landscape.
"The media is very much like a prom queen," quipped moderator and TV show host Rea Blakey. "You must seek us. We have 600 e-mails a day, we have 200 people calling, we are bombarded with your press releases.... We need immediacy, we need timeliness, we need you to respond to our needs."
A panel of six journalists joined Blakey, detailing strategies for capturing a news editor's interest. John Timpane, op-ed editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, said it's helpful to focus on subjects that are high on the national news agenda--avian flu or evolution, for example. Others expressed an interest in scientists who are good storytellers, or in good photo or video options.
Blakey is president and founder of TV Talks Inc.; host of a national medical show, "Discovery Health CME," which airs on the Discovery Health Channel; and a media training consultant for Spectrum Science Communications, which co-sponsored the event. The event was organized by Cathy O'Malley, project director of EurekAlert! at AAAS, in collaboration with Spectrum President John Seng.
EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS, is the premier service of its kind in the world, a site where journalists, educators, students, and others come for the latest science and engineering news. EurekAlert! counts 5,000 reporters from 50 countries as registered users and receives 900,000 visits every month from 500,000 unique visitors.
To access seminar materials and presentations, visit www.eurekalert.org/seminar.
A Call for Nominations
AAAS members may suggest nominees (including themselves) for president-elect and the Board of Directors for election in the fall of 2006. For a list of this year's candidates, see "AAAS News and Notes" in the 29 July 2005 issue of Science; for a list of current Board members, see the masthead page of any recent issue of Science. Please send the suggested nominee's curriculum vitae no later than 30 December to Gretchen Seiler, AAAS Executive Office, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005. Suggested nominees will be considered by the AAAS Committee on Nominations at their winter meeting.
2006 Annual Meeting
An Affair to Remember
The AAAS Annual Meeting will convene on 16 February in St. Louis, Missouri. Over the course of 5 days, the meeting will feature more than 200 symposia, lectures, seminars, and other sessions. For more information about the program and registration, see www.aaasmeeting.org.
AAAS 2005 Election of Officers
The deadline for return of ballots has been extended to 16 December.