June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.802.1 - 11.802.8
Integration of Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Education through the Institutionalization of Diversity Initiatives
This paper presents the University of South Florida's novel and multi-faceted approach to integrating interdisciplinary graduate research and education with an institutional diversity initiative. Beginning with the NSF Integrative Graduate Education Research and Trainee (IGERT) program, USF has developed the infrastructure for interdisciplinary research-training, while focusing on minority graduate recruitment. IGERT provides students with significant financial support to explore interdisciplinary research areas. The program requires a team of advisors from distinct disciplines to co-advise and supervise graduate research. This approach has also been successfully applied with the minority-focused NSF Florida Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FGLSAMP) Bridge to the Doctorate program. The successes have led to certification of mentors in all departments/disciplines at USF’s Colleges of Engineering and Marine Science under the Alfred P. Sloan Foundations’ minority PhD fellowship program.
It is becoming increasingly evident that the next generation of scientists will be required to work in a collaborative and interdisciplinary manner to make significant scientific breakthroughs and solve complex problems. It is also evident that the emerging workplace will not only be dominated by interdisciplinary challenges, but will also be culturally diverse. Given the decline in the enrollment of international students within U.S. science and engineering programs our universities will need to attract and integrate more minority students in our PhD programs, especially if they expect to maintain robust graduate programs.
Current statistics confirm a continuing steep decline in the enrollment of international students in U.S universities. The recent “Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange”1 , published by IIE shows a 6% decrease in overall international student population for AY 2004- 2005 compared to 2.4% in 2003-2004. There is increasing realization among industries, educational institutions and scientific associations that the declining pool of qualified graduate students, can lead to yet another set of challenges in the long term competitiveness of the US economy.
Funding agencies have attempted to address the declining trend in higher education enrollments by launching programs that aim to make graduate education more exciting and rewarding. This effort is manifested in NSF’s IGERT program which encourages research at the intersection of disciplines. Yet another NSF program, Bridge to the Doctorate, facilitates recruitment of students who would traditionally not pursue graduate studies. Critical to the success of these programs is the US academic institutions’ ability to transform themselves and identify the pool of students in order to recruit them.
This paper presents the University of South Florida's novel and multi-faceted approach to integrating interdisciplinary graduate research and education with a set of bottom up,
Bhansali, S., & Pyrtle, A., & Martin-Vega, L., & Betzer, P. (2006, June), Integration Of Interdisciplinary Graduate Research And Education Through The Institutionalization Of Diversity Initiatives Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1405
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