The basic medical sciences, like all science, are built upon a foundation of facts, observations, and broadly accepted concepts and theories, which are taught in the programs and curricula of the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences. Unlike the foundation of a building, however, this scientific foundation is dynamic. New facts and observations are continually added to the knowledge base, requiring frequent refinement and occasional replacement of the governing concepts and theories. Therefore, our educational programs also strive to develop in our students the intellectual tools for objective analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual synthesis that will allow them to adapt to these changes and serve as the basis for life-long learning. We are career-oriented. Our programs also strive, therefore, to develop in our students the essential tools of scholarship, communication skills, and professionalism that will prepare them for their ensuing careers as innovators and leaders in academia, industry or the health professions.
Underlying and supporting these goals and efforts are the following key values:
- Intellectual Curiosity and Scientific Inquiry – Scientists are expected to probe the frontiers of what is currently known or, when faced with apparent inconsistencies, to question whether accepted explanations need to be re-examined. Understanding the scientific method and being able to employ it in systematic inquiry are hallmarks of the Ph.D. and Master of Science.
- Achievement and Aspiration – We work with our students to help them define and then achieve their goals – in the classroom, in the research lab, and in their careers and professional lives. At the same time, we encourage them to aim high and aspire to fulfill their greatest potential.
- Effective Communication – A scientific discovery that is not effectively communicated to the scientific community has no impact. We expect our students to be able to present well-organized, coherent, persuasive arguments on their own research or on other scientific topics in oral, written, and graphic formats. We also expect our students to be able to translate complex scientific concepts into language that lay audiences can understand and appreciate. Furthermore, since communication is a two-way street, we expect our students to be able to participate in effective dialogue and accept constructive criticism in a receptive fashion.
- Teaching and Mentoring – Our educational programs use a variety of instructional and learning formats, including lectures, small groups, peer learning, seminars, student presentations, independent study, and laboratory training. Whatever the educational mode, however, our faculty are dedicated to the intellectual development of each individual student. Outside the classroom, faculty mentor students regarding their individual career and professional development plans and challenges.
- Integrity – Integrity, honesty, and truthfulness are expected in all interactions between faculty and students, among students, and in all academic and research activities. Cultivating in our students an understanding of the principles and the importance of the responsible conduct of research is a vital part of our educational program, and is a responsibility of our entire faculty.
- Collegiality – Modern science is a collaborative process, so students are encouraged to work together on group assignments and collaborative research projects. Our Accelerated Master’s Program and Integrated Ph.D. Program use cohort and modified cohort structures to provide students with peer support during the crucial classroom stages of those programs.
- Diversity – Individuals from different backgrounds bring fresh perspectives to analyzing problems, which is valuable in finding innovative solutions. Moreover, as science increasingly becomes embodied as a driver of our modern economy, we cannot afford to exclude large portions of our population from entering the scientific workforce, even those from populations traditionally underrepresented therein. Hence, we seek to attract and nurture students from diverse ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds, both women and men, in all our graduate programs.
- Community and Outreach – We are also cognizant of the important role we have to play in our broader community. Through our outreach to students via our summer research program (STAR), numerous interactions with school groups from our area, and a variety of community service projects organized by our students, we strive to contribute to our local community beyond the walls of our labs and classrooms.