Educating the Interdisciplinary Ecologist: Assessing Educational Ecosystems to Help PhD Students Succeed, Get Hired, and Push Boundaries
Saturday, August 8, 2015: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
306, Baltimore Convention Center
Sierra Woodruff, UNC Chapel Hill
Dennis Tarasi, University of North Carolina; and
Clare Fieseler, UNC Chapel Hill
Clare Fieseler, University of North Carolina
Interdisciplinary research is increasingly important to address today’s most pressing ecological issues. While interdisciplinary research has become more common, it remains challenging and undervalued. A major challenge is that ecology within academia remains largely disciplinary, particularly hindering early career ecologists and students pursuits of interdisciplinary research. Participants will work collaboratively on a paper to assess and communicate where interdisciplinary ecology is today, why, and future directions to encourage the success of student-level entrants to the field. The workshop will focus on novel approaches of creating interdisciplinarity within the academy and educating the next generation of ecologists working at disciplinary interfaces. The speakers and workshop organizers represent diverse interdisciplinary ecology programs including public and private universities and established and nascent programs. For the first half of the workshop, six presentations will broadly 1) take stock of the current state of interdisciplinary ecology and interdisciplinary ecology education; 2) identify barriers and opportunities to foster interdisciplinary ecology; and 3) propose improvements and a long-term vision that can benefit interdisciplinary research and help young ecologists succeed in an interdisciplinary career track. After sharing illustrative case studies, history, lessons learned, and their own experiences, the speakers will invite workshop participants to do the same in writing-focused break-out sessions. PLEASE NOTE: The second half of the workshop is highly work-oriented, requiring participants to do writing and/or readings prior to the workshop. Bringing together multiple perspectives on the critical issue of interdisciplinary scholarship, the workshop organizers and presenters honor the 100-year ESA anniversary by addressing the past, current, and future training of ecologists for 21st century problems.