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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

Giving life to possible

IRACDA

The IRACDA Program

The Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) is a combination of a traditional postdoctoral research mentoring experience and an opportunity to develop teaching skills through mentored assignments at a minority-serving institution. The program is expected to facilitate the progress of postdoctoral candidates toward research and teaching careers in academia. 

Mission

The Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) is a combination of a traditional postdoctoral research mentoring experience and an opportunity to develop teaching skills through mentored assignments at a minority-serving institution. The program is expected to facilitate the progress of postdoctoral candidates toward research and teaching careers in academia.

The mission of the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award, or IRACDA, is to combine a traditional mentored postdoctoral research experience with an opportunity to develop teaching skills through mentored assignments at a minority-serving institution. The program is expected to facilitate the progress of postdoctoral candidates toward research and teaching careers in academia.

Other goals are to provide a resource to motivate the next generation of scientists at minority-serving institutions, and to promote linkages between research-intensive institutions and minority-serving institutions that can lead to further collaborations in research and teaching. 

Research Education and Career Horizon

The three major components of the Research Education and Career Horizon, or REACH, Postdoctoral Fellowship Program include:

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Professional Development

Research

REACH fellows do everything traditional research postdoctoral students do and more including:

  • Performing original, independent research in the lab setting of their choice at Baylor
  • Working closely with principal investigators who provide guidance and mentoring on research projects
  • Publishing in peer-reviewed journals, presenting research findings at national and international conferences
  • Managing an annual research budget for project-related research materials and travel

Teaching

  • Engaging in the REACH workshops on the theory of modern college science teaching
  • Teaching courses and mentoring students at one of the three minority-serving institutions in Houston that partner with REACH
  • Working closely with faculty partners, who provide guidance and mentoring on teaching and undergraduate advising
  • Incorporating technology-supported learning into the classroom at minority-serving institutions

Partner Institutions

The Houston Research Education Career Horizon Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (REACH IRACDA, K12 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program) attracts Ph.D.'s from across the country and different scientific backgrounds. In addition to their normal cutting-edge research at Baylor College of Medicine, IRACDA Scholars also receive the opportunities to implement new instructional techniques at undergraduate institutions. The current Houston-area institutions in collaboration with the Houston REACH IRACDA Program are:

  • Prairie View A&M University
  • University of Houston
  • University of St. Thomas

Courses Developed

At these institutions, IRACDA scholars are allowed to teach various courses in which each IRACDA scholar is allowed to implement teaching methods that not only enrich their skills, but greatly benefit the students they . Some of the courses that they have updated and/or developed include: Biochemistry (general and advanced), Bioinformatics, Biophysics (Developed by IRACDA Scholars),  Cancer (Developed by IRACDA Scholars); Introduction to Population Biology and Evolution, Evolution, Genetics, Introductory Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Techniques (Developed by IRACDA Scholars), Neuroscience (Developed by IRACDA Scholars), Immunology, and Organic Chemistry.

Learning Strategies

Within these courses and activities, IRACDA Scholars have developed cutting-edge learning strategies, such as:

  • Case studies or debates
  • Clickers
  • Creation of mind-maps
  • Games that teach scientific principles and facts
  • Group projects and papers
  • Inclusion of scientific literature (often their own results) and interactive discussion of the papers
  • Original research in lab classes
  • PyMol movies of molecules
  • Web-based animation tools/videos and social media
  • Videos of student presentations

Activities

In addition to courses, IRACDA scholars have also developed a series of activities that further enhance learning experiences, such as:

  • Graduate Application Workshops
  • Journal Clubs
  • The REACH IRACDA Symposium (held annually, and 50-70 undergraduates attend per year)

Professional Development

REACH Fellows participate in various professional development activities and workshops. These opportunities provide the groundwork for developing life-long professional skills and include:

  • Professional Development Workshops
  • Annual REACH Distinguished Scholar Seminar
  • Annual REACH Research Symposium
  • Annual IRACDA Conference
  • Budget Management

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