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Summer/Fall Issue 2007

SOT Education Committee Focuses on Undergraduates

Over the last year the Education Committee, a standing committee elected by SOT membership, has focused their efforts on several initiatives directed towards undergraduate recruitment and education in toxicology.  One of the programs is in its second year, the Toxicology Scholar Campus Visits program.  This activity is directed at recruiting SOT members to visit undergraduate campuses to encourage undergraduate students to pursue post-graduate training and careers in toxicology. The Education Committee has worked with the SOT’s Regional Chapters and individuals to increase awareness of toxicology among undergraduate students by funding travel costs of professional toxicologists and/or advanced graduate toxicology students to visit campuses that do not offer toxicology in their curricula. The Education Committee continues to request proposals, review them, and provide travel support and materials.  The Committee on Diversity Initiatives has a similar program.  Deadlines for applications for both programs are the first of January, May, and September.  Over the past year there have been 12 visits by members of the Society.  Reports of their visits are posted to provide ideas for others who are considering making career visits.  An Introduction to Toxicology slide set (PPT large file size—please allow a few minutes for download) was also developed and is available for member use.

The Pfizer Undergraduate Student Travel Award is to foster an interest in graduate studies in the field of toxicology by bringing promising undergraduate students to the Society of Toxicology Annual Meetings.  The Education Committee selects the recipients, all of whom have submitted abstracts for presentation at the meeting.  In 2007, a second group of five students was selected and provided funding for the meeting in Charlotte.  Applications are being accepted now for 2008 awards.  Visit the on-line Awards and Fellowships for more information and the list of previous recipients.

A new initiative underway is the Undergraduate Focus Group, formed to explore with undergraduate educators the ways that SOT can support the education of undergraduate students and the faculty who teach toxicology to undergraduates.  Eight participants will be selected to make recommendations concerning ways that SOT can assist with the teaching of undergraduate toxicology.  These faculty members will review materials currently available in and out of toxicology and programs and materials offered by other scientific societies.  Participants will have the assignment in advance of attending a meeting in Dallas October 12–14, 2007, and providing follow up information after the event.  SOT will provide travel costs, meals, and lodging.  Nominations for participants have been solicited and applications from undergraduate teaching faculty from liberal arts colleges, predominantly minority institutions and regional universities with current courses and/or programs in toxicology, will be considered. 

The Education Committee issued a call for undergraduate curriculum resources this summer and will be reviewing, organizing, and posting to the SOT Web site for reference a collection of those selected. SOT continues to collect academic program listings and information for the Resource Guide to Careers in Toxicology.  We maintain a list of all toxicology programs in the U.S. and Canada; programs can subscribe so that they may have a more detailed program description and a link from the SOT Web site.  In another project, the ToxLearn work group is preparing modules to update the National Library of Medicine’s ToxTutor materials, a resource for the general public and presented at the undergraduate level. The beta test version of Module I will be available in Fall 2007.  Resources for undergraduate education, including a section on the SOT Web site and an undergraduate insert for the Toxicology Career Brochure, have also been completed.




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