SRS Professional Society Workshop



Thank you very much. I am delighted to have this chance to again welcome those of you who have been here for the prior two workshops, and to extend our cordial welcome to those for whom this might be the first workshop. I'm also sure this will not be the last of these workshops, because as Dr. Brown has noted, the Foundation has to be concerned with keeping its hands on the pulse of science and engineering. We need to know what is taking place -- particularly the information likely to be important for shaping policy directions. The Foundation cannot gather all the needed information by itself, but has to work in partnership with all of the other organizations that share our interest in the health of the science and engineering enterprise.

This particular workshop, with its focus on graduate education and evolving trends in the labor force, fits quite squarely on the agenda of the Foundation at the present time, and not just the Foundation, but we think the nation's concerns about graduate education, science, and engineering trends.

Many of you might be familiar with the fact that the National Science Board, the governing body for the Foundation, created a task force on graduate education concerned with a number of issues. One of those it highlighted was asking about the trends in the modes of support for graduate education and the implications of those modes of support for graduate education. There was a recommendation for experimental efforts to determine how different modes of support could affect, for example, employment possibilities and the length of time to degree. They also asked us to look closely at the quality of the data that we have on graduate education -- what is taking place now and what the trends are likely to be.

Those matters remain on our agenda. The Board Task Force completed its work, but asked that the Foundation take up these broad issues about graduation education. As a result, NSF has established a staff task force to look at these issues. People are here today who can tell you more about that task force -- Ellie Thomas in particular. Mary Golladay is also serving on the subgroup concerned with data needs.

Thus, the issues with which you will be grappling today on graduate education are extremely timely from our perspective. We have assembled around the room the kinds of experts whom we can rely upon to help us examine these issues. We also hope that you will find this dialogue of use to you in your own efforts to understand these issues.

Again, we simply want to say thank you for taking this time, thank you for sharing our interest in the idea that we advance through partnerships. I regret that I won't be able to be here for the entire day, but I can assure you I am going to keep as well informed as I can about the deliberations here and any recommendations you might have about how we continue to build on the kind of activity that this represents.

Thank you very much.