Through a new five-year federal grant totaling $3.6 million from the National Institutes of Health, both Henry Ford College in Dearborn and the Wayne County Community College District have signed on to allow University of Michigan Medical School and College of Engineering postdoctoral fellows to co-teach in their classrooms alongside their faculty.
Through the grant-funded program, called Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA), each year U-M will be able to select three postdocs, who specialize in the field of physiology and biomedical engineering, for a four-year stint that will involve teaching, research, and mentoring by participating faculty.
Associate degree students will receive team-based teaching from the U-M postdocs and the partner college’s faculty member in their engineering and science classes. The students will also have a chance to learn about scientific careers directly from a working research scientist, and to apply for summer experiences working in the same U-M research laboratory as the postdoc.
“For any postdoctoral fellow, having extra training in teaching skills gives them a leg up as they go on the job market,” says Bishr Omary, chair of the U-M Medical School Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and one of the leaders of the IRACDA effort. “Through this program, they’ll not only develop those skills, but have a chance to inspire the next generation of potential biomedical researchers and research staff.”
Candidate trainees at U-M and other institutions nationally will be able to apply for enrollment for the program on an annual basis.
Henry Ford College and Wayne County Community College District faculty taking part in the IRACDA effort will also have an opportunity to participate in professional development activities at U-M, such as those offered through its Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.
The new grant makes U-M the 22nd site in a nationwide network of IRACDA centers funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences over the past 15 years. The program builds on initial seed funding provided by U-M’s Provost Office and the Deans of the College of Engineering and the Medical School coupled with a pilot program at Henry Ford College and Wayne County Community College District.