Effects of academic-industry relations on the professional socialization graduate science students
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study asks if there has been a change in graduate student socialization in the biological sciences given the increased commercialism of life sciences. Drawing on the work of Steven Brint (1994) and Sheila Slaughter and Larry Leslie (1997) and Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades (2004), this study asks if graduate student socialization has shifted emphasis from the social and moral dimensions of work (social trustee professionalism) to the practical, technical, and commercial dimensions (expert professionalism). Building on the survey results of the Acadia Project (Swazey, Louis, & Anderson, 1994; Louis, Anderson & Rosenberg, 1995), this qualitative study uses interviews with 25 graduate science students at two A.A.U. research universities that have been heavily involved in academic-industry relations to see how the students were professionally socialized throughout their educational careers. The student configuration compares males and females, U.S. and international students, and those funded by the government versus those receiving at least partial support from industry. It uses critical professionalization theory as a framework. The study found that students' career goals and values were usually set before graduate school primarily by females in non-elite institutions, such as community colleges, women's and liberal arts colleges, and non-flagship state universities. Also, university science faculty tend to continue to socialize students--even those planning to go into industry--for the professoriate, as their prestige is based on placing proteges into other elite schools. U.S. females and most students going into academics or government labs had the values of social trustee professionals while those going into industry held those of expert professionals. The former were more likely to recognize situations involving conflicts of interest or commitment. Almost all the students were disillusioned by the grants and promotion and tenure systems. They feel both tend to erode scientific norms. Both also require mentors to maintain large labs. International students tend not to get training in research ethics. In the conclusion, recommendations are made about recruiting more students into science careers, changing the mentoring and grants processes, and requiring ethics classes and work in undergraduate labs.
Degree ProgramGraduate College