Funded by the Virginia Tech Graduate School, this program is one of several Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Programs (IGEPs). These programs address a variety of complex societal issues requiring interdisciplinary teams of scholars. Participants (Ph.D. Fellows) typically enter the program at the beginning of their graduate studies and continue to participate throughout their time at Virginia Tech.
GOALS OF THE INTERFACES OF GLOBAL CHANGE IGEP ARE TO PROVIDE EACH PH.D. FELLOW WITH COMPETENCIES IN:
Students acquire understanding of these broad topics through a variety of mechanisms including: their dissertation research and supporting degree-related course work; weekly IGC seminar courses; the 3-credit “IGC breadth elective” required outside a student’s disciplinary home; the annual IGC graduate student symposium; disciplinary and problem-based flash talks occurring in the seminar courses; exposure to experts hosted by the GCC for distinguished lectures, seminars, workshops, etc.
The IGC seminars, invited speakers, and professional development workshops emphasize the roles that science and scientists play in society, including informing public understanding, engaging with other stakeholders, designing sound environmental policy, and effectively communicating science to diverse audiences. Example sessions from the seminars include advocacy versus honest broker; communicating science; science arbitration; joint fact finding; wicked problems and adaptive management, science policy; science advisory boards; government people and process; climate denial; decline of expertise; stakeholder analysis and transdisciplinarity.
The capstone project emphasizes the purpose and practice of collaborative, team-based, interdisciplinary research. Our IGC seminar courses also build skills in this thematic space. Example sessions include: team formation and function, conflict resolution, project management, differences of disciplinary, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary research; case studies from the literature; case studies of global change faculty.
Topics covered in seminars related to professional development tools and career success include: career planning, CV writing, individual development plan, teaching versus research paths in academia, work-life balance, and psychological resilience.
THE INTERFACES OF GLOBAL CHANGE DOES NOT GRANT DEGREES
Students still receive their Ph.D. degree from their home department. The IGC program provides students with a unique intellectual focus and additional training beyond the disciplinary expertise they develop in their home department. Our goal is for each student to gain depth in their specific area of expertise while simultaneously gaining breadth in the multifaceted realm of global change, leadership, collaboration, and the role they can play in the science-society-policy interfaces.
WHAT STUDENTS CAN EXPECT
Ph.D. Fellows in the IGC IGEP will be part of a campus-wide network and community of scholars studying diverse facets of global change. During their tenure at Virginia Tech, they will have unique access to visiting scholars, workshops, and other professional development opportunities. After graduating, they will become part of our community of diverse alumni solving global challenges around the globe.
Our interdisciplinary curriculum requires that each IGC Fellow take at least 8 hrs of core coursework and complete a collaborative, student-led capstone project. Program and curriculum requirements are detailed on the IGC Education page here. Ph.D. Fellows enrolled in the IGC IGEP will receive training in four areas above by integrating the training they receive in their home departments with the additional resources and opportunities provided by the IGC IGEP.