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NNCI Scholars Program

The founding goal of the NNCI was to improve the teaching of neuroscience for psychiatry residents. Across the years, we have come to appreciate that our residents are also one of our greatest resources – they have helped create an extraordinary collection of educational materials, from clinical commentaries to brief talks to novel classroom exercises.  

We are looking to identify the next cohort of exceptional residents who are interested in medical education and have the potential to serve as ambassadors of psychiatry and neuroscience.

Residents selected to be NNCI Scholars will engage in a yearlong experience that will include participating in a longitudinal course on principles of adult learning, teaching, and core skills for effective scientific communication. Scholars will work with a mentor to create educational resources with the goal of publishing and disseminating their project. We also expect that NNCI scholars will help teach neuroscience in their local institutions — as such, they represent a key means of disseminating and implementing NNCI teaching approaches. We anticipate that this experience will require at least two hours per week. After their year as an NNCI scholar, successful awardees will be encouraged to remain engaged with the NNCI and help mentor future residents.

We are requesting nominations from training directors and plan to select 4-6 residents based on their skill and enthusiasm for teaching neuroscience, their previous accomplishments, and their potential as leaders in neuroscience education. Nominations are due June 15th, 2021 and should be submitted as a single (zipped) file to the Dropbox link below. 

Nomination Process

The major component of the application is a teaching sample that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to make a complex neuroscience topic accessible for a broad audience. Submissions could include:

  1. A creative, new approach to teaching and learning. Our favorite NNCI resources are ones that bring neuroscience to life through experiential exercises (e.g. Example 1 or Example 2). Surprise us with something awesome!
  2. An outline / sketch for a potential clinical commentary. Each piece is designed to take one core concept in neuroscience and bring it to life using a narrative approach. Warning! These pieces are deceptively difficult and time-consuming to write. Please do not try to submit a finished/polished column (invariably, this leads to wasted time/effort). If you’re planning this type of submission, please show enough work that we can get a sense of your writing skill and we can imagine what the full piece would look like (Example 1 or Example 2).
  3. A “This ‘Stuff’ is Really Cool” video. These are brief talks that are designed to each take one core concept in neuroscience and make it clear, relevant, and accessible for a broad audience (Example 1 or Example 2).
  4. A brief teaching video. There’s a reason that Khan Academy has become one of the leading education platforms in the world. This style of video can be incredibly powerful at deconstructing complex topics and making them accessible. Please note: your submission does not have to be a polished, final product – we have a team that can help with that. However, you need to include enough details that we can clearly visualize what the final product would be (we recommend including either a rough-cut production and/or a script that includes explicit descriptions of what the visuals would be) (Example 1).
  5. A new teaching session using one of our pre-developed modules (e.g. creating a new neuroscience in the media session with contemporary content).
  6. We also intend to select at least one NNCI Scholar to work on our Assessment Task Force. If you’re interested in this position, please submit three original assessment questions relating to an NNCI resource (see writing guide and sample question here).

The primary factor in our selection process will be the quality and creativity of the teaching sample. Additional factors will include demonstrated interest and commitment to teaching neuroscience and previous educational experience (including innovation and leadership).

In addition to the teaching sample, the application should include the following components in a single PDF file:

  1. Cover letter from the applicant briefly outlining prior relevant teaching activities, their vision for how they will use the NNCI Scholar experience, and how this relates to their career goals (800 word limit);
  2. Curriculum vitae;
  3. Nominating letter from Training Director reflecting on the applicant’s relevant skills and abilities (as described in the selection criteria above). Please also specify how the program will support this resident’s teaching of neuroscience within their host institution and facilitate their participation in the NNCI Scholar program (including by protecting at least 2 hours / week of the resident’s time).

Completed applications should be uploaded to this folder as a single (zipped) file.

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