This spring, thousands of students will receive diplomas in various fields of science, at all levels and subject matter, and with varying degrees of success. There is at least one thing they will all have in common: the lack of formal exposure in managing the many science interfaces that they will encounter in their careers.
Various studies have shown that about one half of all those who have received a science degree have left the science arena without any knowledge in managing one or more science interfaces. To my own satisfaction, I have defined a science interface as successfully interacting with finance, regulatory matters, legislative matters, marketing, intellectual property, and legal issues, to name a few.
For most of us, knowledge and experience came from “on the job training,” with no formal academic exposure. The situation is more complicated in academia than in Industry, but there is an opportunity for academic institutions to provide formal exposure in the classroom. If academic institutions took advantage of retirees who have extensive working backgrounds, they would discover a valuable resource. Further, the overhead would be low, as the retiree would not require an expensive lab, but rather would be able to accomplish his or her goals in the classroom. It would be a win/win, as the students would be better prepared, and the institutions would gain a reputation for this innovative approach.
The Classroom photo is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to commons.wikimedia.org