Innovative Approaches to Interdisciplinary Graduate Research and Training
Innovative Approaches toInterdisciplinary GraduateResearch and TrainingHannah CovertMary RisnerCenter for Latin American StudiesUniversity of FloridaLASA 2006San Juan, Puerto Rico
Introduction What makes a research and trainingprogram innovative? Practical, real-world focus Recognition that graduates will pursuecareers outside academia Multiple learning activities outside theclassroom
Overview Case descriptionsLatin American Business EnvironmentProgram (LABE)Tropical Conservation and DevelopmentProgram (TCD) Challenges Program development –group/individual work
Latin American Business EnvironmentProgram (LABE) Mission Administrative Structure Concentration Requirements Affiliate Faculty/Departments Student Profiles Program Components Alumni
MissionEstablished in 1998 by Dr. Terry McCoy, Professor ofPolitical Science/Latin AmericanistMission: Provide interdisciplinary training thatintegrates business knowledge, expertise onregional issues, language fluency and culturalsensitivity to prepare students for the unique andoften difficult Latin American business climate.Funding: Core support from federal CIBER grant Other grants from private, state and federal sources
Administrative Structure Program/Concentration within the Center for LatinAmerican Studies with support from UF CIBER (Centerfor International Business Education and Research) Director Assistant Director 8 Affiliate Faculty in 7 departments Graduate Assistants
Concentration Requirements 30 credits Interdisciplinary thesis Proficiency in one Latin American language Required Credits (8): Latin AmericanBusiness, Latin American Economics, DataAnalysis, Business-related (15) Elective Credits (7)
Affiliate Departments Economics Political Science Public Relations Finance Law Advertising Food and Resource Economics
Student Background/Profiles Economics Latin American Studies Marketing Spanish Anthropology International Studies World Politics International Affairs
Program ComponentsStudy Abroad Summer Business in Rio FIPSE Semester Exchange Study Tour (Brazil, Argentina, Chile)Internships Prudential in Brazil Motorola Local firms working with Latin America
Language Training Business Spanish Business PortugueseCorporate Career ConferenceBusiness faculty and corporate speakers
Tropical Conservation and DevelopmentProgram (TCD) Established in 1980s by an interdisciplinary groupof UF faculty Mission To advance biodiversity conservation, sustainableresources management, and the welfare of ruralpeople in the tropics through interdisciplinarygraduate education, research, and collaborativelearning and practice. Funding State, federal, and private foundation support Endowment that provides funds for fellowships,research grants and other program activities
Administrative Structure Housed in the UF Center for LatinAmerican Studies Director Associate Director Program Coordinator (part-time) 6 Core Faculty (Executive Committee) 80 Affiliate Faculty in 21 departments Curriculum Committee Graduate Assistants
Concentration Requirements MA level – 12 credits PhD level – 15 credits Core Courses Tropical Conservation and Development Seminar Interdisciplinary Methods and Research Design Practical Skills Tropical Ecology course Social Science course Thesis/Dissertation related to biodiversityconservation and/or sustainable development
Program ChallengesLABE and TCD Acquiring and maintaining funding University bureaucracy can cause serious headacheswhen hosting foreign visitors and conductinginternational researchLABE Finding colleagues from other departments who arewilling to participate Recruiting business students willing to learn a foreignlanguage Developing new business programs in Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America (due topolitical/economic instability)
Program Challenges con’t.Internships/Study Abroad Transfer of credits Course equivalencies Visas Housing Mentoring and Supervision Company placement
Program Challenges con’t.TCD Requires a lot of service from untenured (andtenured!) faculty – need strong professional supportfor advising, budget management, and programimplementation How do we engage all of our affiliate faculty? How do we balance current program managementand commitments with strategic planning for thefuture? Quite a few affiliate departments with zero or veryfew students enrolled – Is this a problem?
Program Challenges con’t. Not all faculty support students toundertake interdisciplinarystudy/work Many of our potential students inLatin America have limited access toEnglish-language training
How to Initiate a New Program? Choose region of interest according to yourexisting institutional strengths (academicresources and geographical location) Recruit interested/supportive faculty andadministration Seek potential sources of funding Focus your activities on what others don’t have Find university partners in area/region with whichto work…and communicate often Establish relationships with alumni and businessesto assist in program development and support Be willing to put forth much effort and havepatience
Program Development: Group/IndividualWorkWant to create a new program? What are your institutional strengths thatmight indicate a focus? Potential partners, challenges? What are your goals for the next five years? Do you have departmental oradministrative support? Or can you get it?
Program Development:Group/Individual WorkExisting Program? What new activities would you like toimplement? What would you change about existingactivities? Do you need to recruit students and/or affiliatefaculty? What’s your plan? What are your goals for the next five years? Do you know where your alumni are? Is your governance structure representative?