ASU Graduate College awarded grant to study doctoral career pathways


September 5, 2017

Arizona State University’s Graduate College has been selected to participate in a $2 million multi-institutional grant, aimed at studying doctoral career pathways for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and humanities. The ASU Graduate College’s "Understanding PhD Career Pathways" research will receive $80,000 to understand students’ career aspirations, levels of academic training for versatile careers and improve professional development for doctoral students.

“We know that diverse career preparation is a problem across disciplines and job markets, but there’s a gap in the literature about what careers students pursue after they earn a PhD. Some PhD-to-career paths are well-worn, for other fields the road is not as clear,” explained Jennifer Cason, a co-principal investigator on the grant. “With this study, we aim to understand connections between career aspirations academic training, and PhD career outcomes.” ASU Graduate College is one of 29 universities to participate in Understanding PhD Career Pathways grant New research aims to shed light on what types of careers students pursue after they earn a doctorate, a topic that remains understudied. Download Full Image

PhD Career Pathways is a best practice project led by the Council of Graduate Schools, a national organization that supports graduate education and research. The research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The council has selected 29 universities to participate in the three-year project, and 18 affiliate partners. These universities collectively awarded over 8,000 doctoral degrees in 2013–14 alone.

"ASU is the perfect setting for this research," said Graduate College Dean Alfredo J. Artiles, who serves as principal investigator. "We are one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the country, training around 4,100 doctoral students in Fall 2016. ASU is also the most innovative university in the nation, aggressively enabling student success, conducting use-inspired research and being engaged globally."

The Graduate College will survey current graduate students at years one, two and five, and track alumni who received doctorates three, eight and 15 years ago. Results from collected data will help gain insight into the understudied professional landscape for doctoral students in academic and nonacademic careers. The survey begins in the fall of 2017, and the Council of Graduate Schools intends to publish the first set of cumulative results the following fall.

Additionally, the Graduate College has built benefits into the project to support doctoral education right away. Twenty-five participants will be awarded funding for career development activities. As a means to strengthen links with industry, a doctoral career advisory board will be created. An additional outcome of this project will be the production of educational videos on career preparation and transition between multiple employment sectors.

Researchers believe that gathering career pathways information at the program level will ensure doctoral students are prepared for the multiple careers they’re likely to encounter.

“Historically, students pursue PhDs to become tenured faculty at a university or develop scholarship in a specific discipline, but tenure track positions have not increased at the same rate as graduates and research is becoming more interdisciplinary in nature,” Cason said. “PhD graduates now land jobs in industry, non-profits, government, public service, and become entrepreneurs, yet the route to these varied types of employment has gone largely unstudied.”

The lack of information can prevent graduate students from understanding their potential career opportunities, and hinders educational institutions from tailoring their curricula to the changing marketplace.

The Graduate College, alongside academic units, shares the responsibility to ensure graduate students have the skills critical for exploring multiple career pathways by infusing communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity into structured professional development programs. The Understanding PhD Career Pathways research will amplify programs like these.

An informational session aimed at recruiting participants for the "Understanding PhD Career Pathway" study will take place on Tempe campus from 3 to 4 p.m. Sept. 8, at Discovery Hall (DISCVRY), room 250, 250 E. Lemon St., Tempe, AZ 85281.

ABC15 general manager named president of ASU's Cronkite Endowment Board


September 5, 2017

Anita Helt, a veteran television executive who leads the highly-rated ABC affiliate in Phoenix, is the new president of the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Helt, who has been the vice president and general manager of ABC15, KNXV-TV, since 2011, is succeeding Kristin Bloomquist, former executive vice president and general manager at LaneTerralever. Helt previously was a member of the Cronkite board’s executive committee, and led the board’s outreach and diversity efforts for the last several years. Anita Helt ABC15 general manager Anita Helt is the new president of the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees at the Cronkite School. Download Full Image

The Cronkite Endowment Board is comprised of top local media and business executives who advise and assist Cronkite School leadership. They also help plan the annual Cronkite Award Luncheon, the largest gathering of media professionals in the Valley, at which the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism is presented to a nationally renowned journalist. The year’s Cronkite Award recipients are Judy Woodruff and the late Gwen Ifill, the award-winning co-anchors and managing editors of the “PBS NewsHour.”

“I believe the need for responsible journalism has never been higher, and I am inspired by the next generation of journalists and communications professionals in training under Dean Christopher Callahan and his team,” Helt said. “It is a privilege to serve alongside my fellow board members in support of the school.”

At ABC15, Helt leads one of the nation’s largest ABC affiliates. Previously, she served as president and general manager of KXTV-TV, the ABC station in Sacramento, California.

From 1995-2010, she worked for Phoenix’s NBC affiliate 12 News, KPNX-TV, starting as executive producer of special projects and ultimately becoming vice president of marketing and programming. She started her career in news as an anchor and reporter in Kansas and Washington. She received her degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Washington.

Helt also currently serves as chair of the Arizona Broadcasters Association board of directors and president of the Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Journalism board of directors.

“Anita is one of the Valley’s top media leaders and has been a tremendous supporter of our school for many years,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “We are thrilled to have her leading the most-talented and hardest-working board in journalism education.”

The Cronkite Endowment Board was established in 1983 to provide the dean with important counsel and advice on a variety of university-related issues. Board members also mentor students and provide internship opportunities.

The board is comprised of more than 50 members with a diverse collection of professional backgrounds, including leading newspaper editors and publishers, radio station general managers, magazine editors and publishers, public relations executives and other communications industry leaders from across Arizona.