The overarching goal of the NIH IRACDA program is to train a diverse group of postdocs in college level teaching and research to fulfill national workforce needs in STEM. Therefore, effective training in teaching and research as well as career development are essential. Emphasis also is on learning effective mentoring strategies and gaining experience doing outreach activities.
UCLA is a member of the CIRTL (Center for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning) network, whose online seminars (including the CIRTL Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs) are integral components of our training curriculum. As IRACDA scholars, you will be awarded CIRTL certificates, documenting your achievements at multiple stages in the training curriculum.
Notably, in addition to preparing you for teaching at the college or university level, this elite educational experience supports your research through strong and consistent faculty mentoring.
The four-year training curriculum for IRACDA scholars at UCLA includes the following components:
- All years. Participation in the CIRTL@UCLA onsite learning community.
- Years 1 and 2: Begin training in teaching and mentoring.
- Complete two in-person courses: Introduction to Evidence-based Undergraduate Teaching (Grad PD 496A) and Teaching-as-Research (Grad PD 496B), and one additional online CIRTL courses, Diversity in the College Classroom.
- The schedules for online CIRTL courses are posted on the CIRTL website. These asynchronous courses allow you to complete most of the online coursework at your leisure.
- Complete the Entering Mentoring Training seminar.
- Years 2 and 3: Continue teaching and mentoring.
- Complete teaching practicum at CSULA with faculty mentors (two semesters total, one in year 2 and another in year 3).
- In collaboration with other IRACDA scholars, contribute as an undergraduate journal club seminar course co-instructor at CSULA during the fall term.
- At UCLA, mentor 1-2 undergraduate students from the Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences (PEERS) or other approved program.
- Years 1-3. Attend select pedagogy workshops and teaching seminars presented by UCLA’s Center for Education Innovation & Learning in the Sciences (CEILS) such as the bi-monthly STEM Education Research Journal Club and other related events as recommended by the program directors.
- All years. Participate in appropriate career preparation opportunities listed through Handshake via the UCLA Career Center.
- All years. Participate in outreach activities and scientific conferences aligned with your research. These endeavors are not funded by IRACDA but are strongly encouraged as they are recognized by NIH and future employers as critical to your professional development as biomedical research scientists.
- All years. Engage in scheduled meetings with IRACDA Co-Directors, IRACDA program coordinator, CSULA faculty mentors, UCLA research mentors, and CIRTL@UCLA teaching program coordinator.
- Years 2-4. Attend annual national IRACDA conference (this is required but fun!). Travel is funded through IRACDA.