Coming Together: Diverse disciplines with clear focus
Our NSF-IGERT in Genetic Pest Management encompasses of a number of research efforts by North Carolina State University faculty and students. We have identified many target or potential target systems for student research. They can be explored in more depth by clicking on the links above.
A unique aspect of our training program is that we bring together a group of students who enter our program in the same year (Student Cohort) and have them address one target pest system from diverse perspectives. The program, first, focuses students and faculty on the target pest system which acts as a clear point of concentrated and collaborative effort. As each cohort of students progresses through the required GES courses as a unit, the program concurrently provides each student with achievement criteria designed to ensure that integrative education is accompanied by disciplinary depth.
One Size Fits None: Individualized education and research
In our program, students work with mentors to design individualized education paths expected to result in a knowledge base that integrates Policy, Ethics, & Society; Molecular Biology; and Population Genetics & Ecology. Our program does not expect student expertise in all three distinct fields of study. Rather, we expect some proficiency in all areas, with strong advances made in one or two areas.
The research focus of a Graduate Fellow is defined in part by her/his graduate mentors, in part by the target system of the student cohort, and in part by the student’s unique interests. A requirement for all Graduate Fellows is that at least one major dissertation chapter focus on the student cohort’s focal system.
Having It All: Trade-off between breadth and depth?
Classical PhD programs recognize a trade-off between breadth and depth, and often aim almost exclusively for depth. We recognize that no single student could develop true expertise in all areas of our program because of this trade-off. However, the premise of our program is that there is not a simple linear trade-off, and that individual students, provided multiple paths toward achieving integrative education, will choose a path that fits their unique interests, and they will accumulate more breadth and depth than expected from the linear assumption.