August 27, 1999

Time management key for new graduate students

Featured Image

Dean Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., congratulated student Stephen Miller at the Nursing School's pinning ceremony.
(photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

Time management key for new graduate students

One of the first things Roger Chalkley, Ph.D., tells students entering the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program is "shoot your television."

"We're very up front about the time commitment faced by graduate students," said Chalkley, senior associate dean for Biomedical Research Education and Training.

Earlier this week, the IGP welcomed its largest class ever. Eighty-four new students will participate in the core courses offered by the program. Of these, 65 are supported by the IGP and will "rotate" through several laboratories during the year before making a decision about where to pursue their dissertation research. The rest of the students are directly supported by specific departments or laboratories they have already selected.

The previous high was 53 students. Chalkley attributes the increase to use of the world-wide web as a recruiting tool. Applicants had access to personalized web pages that included interview schedules and links to faculty member home pages.

"Sixty percent of the students we made offers to actually matriculated. That's really high, and I believe it reflects our recruiting process," Chalkley said. "Also, the IGP has become well known, and it is highly regarded. Many college advisors are recommending Vanderbilt's program."

Although class size is on the rise, it still has room to grow.

"As big as this class is, it's half as big as it should be to meet the needs of the faculty," said Louis J. DeFelice, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology. DeFelice serves as an advisor to IGP and MSTP (M.D./Ph.D.) students and was on hand at a welcome dinner earlier this week.

The incoming IGP class includes students from around the country and world. Notably, four students are from Eastern European countries, a first for the program which has counted only one Eastern European student in its seven year history. Another first is an entering student from Tennessee State University.

While he pursued a Biology degree at TSU, Hugh Fentress gained research experience through the MARC–Minority Access to Research Careers–program. He completed summer projects at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis and at the University of Minnesota.

Fentress chose Vanderbilt for the reputation and strength of its research programs, he said. He plans to participate in recruiting future graduate students from TSU.