The overarching goal of the NIH IRACDA program is to train a diverse group of postdocs in college level teaching and biomedical research to fulfill national workforce needs in STEM. Therefore, effective training in teaching and research as well as career development are essential. We are in the initial years of the program and UCLA just became 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 UPLIFT 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 training curriculum for UPLIFT scholars at UCLA includes the following components:

  1. All years. Participation in the CIRTL@UCLA onsite learning community.
  2. Years 1 and 2: Begin training in teaching and mentoring.
    1. Complete MOOC1 on evidence-based undergraduate STEM teaching and two additional online CIRTL courses such as Diversity in the College Classroom and Designing Teaching-as-Research Projects. The schedules for these courses are posted on the CIRTL website. These asynchronous courses allow you to complete most of the online coursework at your leisure. Some on-campus meetings are also required (no more than once per week during the same timeframe as the online CIRTL course offering), providing time for discussion with teaching experts about different instructional methods coupled to opportunities for putting theory into practice.
    2. Complete the Entering Mentoring Training seminar.
  3. Years 2 and 3: Continue teaching and mentoring.
    1. Complete teaching practicum at CSULA with faculty mentors (two semesters total, one in year 2 and another in year 3).
    2. In collaboration with other UPLIFT scholars, contribute as an undergraduate journal club seminar course co-instructor at CSULA.
    3. At UCLA, mentor 1-2 undergraduate students from the Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences (PEERS) or other approved program.
  4. 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 CEILS Director.
  5. All years. Participate in appropriate career preparation opportunities listed on CIRTL@UCLA’s Career Zone. Be sure to subscribe to UCLA’s Career Hub for updates on courses and events.
  6. All years. Participate in outreach activities and scientific conferences aligned with your research. These endeavors are not funded by UPLIFT but are strongly encouraged as they are recognized by NIH and future employers as critical to your professional development as biomedical research scientists.
  7. All years. Engage in scheduled meetings with UPLIFT Co-Directors, CSULA faculty mentors, UCLA research mentors, CIRTL@UCLA program coordinator, and CEILS Director.
  8. All years. Attend annual national IRACDA conference (this is required but fun!).  Travel is funded through UPLIFT.