News and Events

Competing for Future Economies

Dean's Musings

This article was originally printed in the March 2006 issue of CLASnotes.

The effect of globalization in evening out the field of competition between emerging nations and the economic giants has been faster than many of our “experts” had predicted. The high technology sectors are now aggressively expanding in many growth areas around the world, including India, Finland, Ireland, Indonesia and Australia. These areas are focusing on scientific and technical building blocks that have been the foundation for US economies in areas of electronics, pharmacology and space technologies.

Unfortunately, today’s top candidates for graduate study in science and math are electing to stay home and train in their own countries. The effects of losing students and graduates in advanced technology will keenly be felt in Florida. The future of the state depends on our ability to develop new industrial technologies (e.g. the space sciences, biomedical applications, new agricultures) that will underpin the state’s future. The training of advanced students, especially those in the critical areas of technology, who also are well prepared in writing, languages and inter-personal skills is vital.

The training of future teachers in the core areas of science and mathematics is also critical for building the scientific workforce. Without skilled teachers in middle and high schools, students turn too easily away from the difficult subjects and develop a lack of appreciation or understanding of the career opportunities they will later be denied. Early experiences and exposure to the technical world is important if we are to turn the current trend around. A first step will be to find the means necessary to address the critical shortage of science and math teachers. We need to encourage bright students to enter this field and provide the support to make their careers meaningful, so that in turn they can help us build the next generation of technology leaders.

Credits

Writer

Neil Sullivan

Photo

Jane Dominguez

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