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Does explicitly teaching leadership skills increase student persistence in STEM fields?

Poster on leadership skills presented at the 2019 BioQUEST & QUBES Summer Workshop

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group Evolution of Data in the Classroom: From Data to Data Science (SW 2019)

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Version 1.0 - published on 06 Aug 2019 doi:10.25334/5DF7-DA38 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms


To develop a capable and diverse workforce for STEM innovation, our students need to develop proficiency in both content and transferable skills. Transferable skills related to leadership are essential for both undergraduates and principle investigators. However, while leadership is a skill sought by 55% of employers, only 33% of new graduates demonstrate leadership proficiency (National Association of Colleges and Employers). Developing student leadership skills in an introductory molecular biology course has the potential to increase student learning and build a diverse STEM workforce. Leadership as defined by Northouse is "the process to make decisions that influence others." The ability to lead is influenced by one's belief in their ability to accomplish their goals. I propose that we can facilitate leadership skill development by explicitly teaching strategies of collaboration, time management, planning, organization, facilitation, delegation, and public speaking. These skills will be taught in an introductory molecular biology class that is taken by freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. I hypothesize that as students learn and develop leadership skills, student will 1) persist in STEM fields, 2) increase their identity as a leader, 3) and decrease their anxiety.


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Evolution of Data in the Classroom: From Data to Data Science (SW 2019)

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