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Friday, June 25, 2010

July Scientiae: Dreamin' Away

This month's Scientiae is hosted by JaneB over at 'Now, what was I doing?', and is a fun topic! She wants us to describe our "fantasy institute": where would it be? what are the codes of conduct? what would be its structure? who would you hire?

This is fantastic, because there has been something I've been dreaming about for the last few years: an institute for science education & outreach research in Canada. Here is my wish list:

Location
  • The institute must be housed in a giant old mansion (in London, of course)!

Structure
  • It will be a relatively small institute, with 1-2 researchers from each major area of science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Earth Science, Health Science, Math, and Computer Science)
  • These researchers won't necessarily have specific training in education research, but a definite passion and enthusiasm is a must!
  • Each researcher will work on projects that they feel are important to their corner of the science world, but all researchers will collaborate on large projects as well
  • We will collaborate with anyone interested in science education research at the university level
  • We will partner with other science outreach programs
  • We will have post-doc and graduate student fellowships, and partner with traditional science departments so students can do both
  • We will host teaching conferences and workshops for our more science-based colleagues that are interested in honing their education skill set
  • We will host day- and summer- camps for school aged children, so they can learn about science in a fun, interactive way
  • We will host tutoring and counseling (career or otherwise) sessions for high school and university students
  • No assholes, know-it-alls, or egotistical maniacs allowed
Benefits
  • There will be free on-site day-care, where everyone is free to visit their child(ren) at any time, and the staff are trained to deal with any request
  • There will a "pumping" suite - complete with relaxing music, comfy chairs, and interesting books/magazines to read
  • There will be a full kitchen, with plenty of seating!
  • There would be a gym and a pool!
  • There will be two coffee breaks and lunch every day
  • There will be no set hours, and all staff are able to work from home
  • All meetings will be scheduled at reasonable times (i.e., after 9am and before 4pm), and staff can telecon in to meetings anytime
  • There will be amazing health care benefits, and one-year paid parental leave
  • There will be many social events, to which all staff will attend not because they have too but because they are truly friends with their co-workers, and significant others and children are always more than welcome to come!
  • Events and milestones will be celebrated! No glossing over a paper being accepted or a new bundle of joy joining a family.
Sigh - now something like that would bring me back into academia.