Preparing Chemists for the 21st Century

What Do You Need To Get a Job? Are We Serious about Preparing Chemists for the 21st Century Workplace or Are We Just Teaching Chemistry? Abstract: What characteristics of employees do you value in the workplace? Sixteen leaders from world-class chemistry-based industries responded: “We want competent scientists who have high-level communication skills, cultural competencies, knowledge of how for-profit organizations function, excellent team problem-solving skills, broad backgrounds, strong work ethics, the ability to move effortlessly from science to business to humanitarian issues, and data-analysis skills.” A wish list of 16 valued characteristics was generated. In response to the concern of industrial leaders and as a result of a National Science Foundation grant the Hamline University–3M Project was initiated. This unique project brought 3M professionals and Hamline University faculty members together in teams to address the concerns of industry leaders and to design and initiate curricular changes to better prepare students for the 21st century technological workplace. Each of five teams focused on one of five skill areas: namely, communications, team problem solving, data analysis, cultural competency, business, and economics. The Hamline–3M Project demonstrated a model for utilizing the industrial intellectual community to enhance undergraduate science education.

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