The FAARM Team has put together several policy documents to help improve graduate education. Our Core Policy Memo (and Executive Summary) outlines our full set of policy proposals. Two sets of Immediate Needs (for both Federal Funding Agencies and Research Institutions) identify policies that can be implemented quickly and generally at low cost. Our one-pagers on the College Transparency Act, Mandatory Campus Climate Surveys, and Ending Sexual Harassment in Federally-funded Science identify why these measures are necessary to improve graduate education.
The Framework for Accountability in Academic Research and Mentoring (FAARM) is a framework developed by leaders and advocates from graduate student governments and research institutions across the country, urging Federal Research Funding Agencies (FRFAs) and research institution leaders to implement policies and practices to improve research trainee advising and mentorship, with specific attention on doctoral students. Many of these recommendations are in line with those of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
There are several actions that can be taken at both federal funding agencies and research institutions to immediately begin improving the quality of research mentorship. Federal agencies can introduce reporting procedures for conveying information regarding problematic behavior to appropriate authorities as well as student contact policies for trainees regarding mentor behavior. Research institutions should develop program structures that ensure graduate students have the genuine practical ability to leave their research advisor if needed and should implement organizational management and mentorship training for all research advisors.
Other Education Reform Efforts
The FAARM Team supports the efforts of other organizations to address problems in higher education. Specifically, we support the College Transparency Act lifting the prohibition on collecting student-level information for colleges and universities and creating a data system for post-secondary education. We also support efforts to implement Mandatory Campus Climate Surveys for institutions eligible for state of federal funding and to publicly report the results.
We appreciate the efforts undertaken by a selection of FRFAs to reduce the frequency of bullying and harassment in the scientific community. In particular, NIH, NSF, and NASA have implemented effective policies to identify and prevent harassment, and hold federally funded offenders accountable, that should be replicated at other agencies.