Posts Tagged ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’

Ethics and the NIH

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

In 2008, Emory University ruled that Charles Nemeroff, a professor of psychiatry, was ineligible to apply for NIH grants for two years. Dr. Nemeroff had failed to disclose over $1 million in payments from pharmaceutical companies whose products he promoted in academic journals.

Now, a Chronicle of Higher Education investigation has revealed that Dr. Nemeroff ducked punishment by applying for a jot at the University of Miami Medical Center. One of his recommenders was none other than the National Institute of Mental Health director who wrote the ethics rule that Nemeroff violated. While Nemeroff was accepting drug company donations, he was also cultivating friends at the NIH, who returned his favors.

Revealing conflicts of interest is not just some nicety that applies to researchers with little clout. It is integral to the research process itself. Unsurprisingly, Nemeroff promoted drugs in which he had a financial stake, consistently downplaying their serious side effects. Penalties should follow a researcher from institution to institution, pointing to the need for better oversight at the NIH.

Empathic Education

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

When I was a college student, I took some memorable lecture classes. Though they could not address individual student concerns, the professors gave compelling lectures illustrated (in those days) with relevant slides and memorable anecdotes.

Lectures are an efficient way to communicate content. It's a brain dump from the expert to the novice. But there is no way to ensure that the recipient of the material understands the core concepts or can implement them in novel ways. Increasingly, pedagogical theory has turned to more dynamic, learner-centered teaching.

The Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece by Jeremy Rifkin that made me reflect on good teaching practices. He points out that the traditional system stifles collaboration--it's considered cheating to work with others. Yet, studies have shown that when medical students work together, they diagnose patients more quickly and accurately.

If the goal of medical education is to train empathetic physicians, we should consider replacing lectures with small group projects that prepare students for the kind of work they will be doing as practicing doctors.

Vital Vitae

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Because so much of professional advancement hinges on the academic biography, for my first post,  I'd like to focus on what makes for a strong CV. This serves a secondary purpose of introducing myself.

Curriculum vitae translates to "course of life" and should provide a snapshot of the accomplishments over your professional life. Like a good biography, it should be told chronologically but without too much emphasis on dates. On my CV, I group my activities by importance so that publications appear on the first page and service last.

CVs can be any length and typically grow as a career advances. Resumes, on the other present a one-page snapshot. They should display more visual flair than CVs, including bullet points, bold text, and action verbs. When I transitioned from traditional faculty to administrator, I converted my CV into a more succinct resume.

For more examples, I recommend the CV Doctor on the career site of the Chronicle of Higher Education.