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Students weigh in on education that have been successful and of areas where curricula are lacking. The PCSA developed a 34 multiplechoice question survey to determine the students’ backgrounds and survey their opinions on academic curricula and workforce preparation. We distributed the survey online, sending an invitation email to current and former PCSA delegates, ACerS Young Professionals Network, ACerS student newsletter subscribers, and Materials Advantage chapter presidents and advisors with the request to forward the invitation along to other students. The survey was, therefore, neither entirely scientific nor explicitly representative, but we feel that the 193 responses representing 42 universities are informative and provide, at the very least, food for thought. Based on the size of the distribution list and estimates of further forwarding, we estimate that the response rate was roughly 15–30 percent of total recipients. All responses received were used in this survey report. Whereas most responses were from students currently enrolled in a materials related program, a few responses were from recent graduates (within seven years of their last-earned degree) currently working full-time. Specifically, 60 percent of responses were from undergraduate students, 36 percent from graduate students, and 4 percent from full-time employees. Students and employees were associated with 42 universities or colleges at the time they responded to the survey—36 in the U.S. and the rest in the United Kingdom, Finland, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Germany. The responses have led us to make several assertions about current education policies. First, students believe their education in terms of the uses of materials science has been broad (Figure 1). Breadth is desirable because it prepares students for a variety of careers and improves their ability to work with others of various backgrounds. Second, their education and experiences have led students to believe that there is considerable demand in the job market and that ceramics is a rising field, even though most are not pursuing a strictly ceramics-focused degree. Many have interaction with materials- and ceramics-related programs, and about half have had an internship or co-op (Figure 2). This implies an awareness of ceramics and considerable perceived value in the field, although focused education in ceramics may be lacking, particularly for undergraduates. Third, education has placed a focus on public interaction and technical skills: More than half of respondents had given four or more presentations in class or at conferences (less than 11 percent had given none), and almost all respondents felt comfortable making complex analytical calculations. (We believe that, regardless of intended career path, all students should be comfortable presenting by the time they have completed their education, so further emphasis should be put on presentations for future curriculum development). By Liangfa Hu and Bradley Richards Hu Richards I mproving and evolving the curricula of ceramics and materials science and engineering programs is challenging. Such improvement is invaluable in developing students’ academic careers and in preparing students for the workforce. One way to improve is to know the students’ perspectives. However, there are few metrics available for what students themselves believe is needed. To meet the needs for student metrics, The American Ceramic Society’s President’s Council of Student Advisors conducted a survey of graduate and undergraduate students from numerous schools to identify how current students view their education. The analysis gives us a fresh and modern perspective of the facets of United States education in ceramics and materials fields American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 93, No. 5 | www.ceramics.org 33 Credit: L. Hu Figure 1. Educational focus of student respondents. Figure 2. Students’ involvement with and opinions of the ceramics field. Credit: L. Hu


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