Biology and Marine Biology

(Axel Boer) #1

our faculty and graduate students are research-active, and these activities add to the level of responsibilities
of our departmental staff, the work loads of our staff are high.
Mr. D. Mark Gay is the Laboratory Research Specialist who oversees the operation of the
microscopy facility, maintains the departmental teaching microscopes, assists faculty and graduate students
with their microscopy research projects, and assists with audiovisual production. Our graduate program
relies very heavily upon Mr. Gay’s technical expertise. Ms. Jennifer Abernethy Messer is the Greenhouse
Manager, who helps maintain the research and teaching botanical collections, and assists with preparations
for the Plant Biology Labs. Ms. Melanie Canfield is the departmental Undergraduate Academic Advisor,
and advises all the incoming biology majors and biology transfer students until they are assigned to a
faculty member as juniors. We have just received approval to hire an additional Advising Coordinator,
who will share that load and take on additional responsibilities as we adjust workloads.
As stated above in Section 6.b., we feel strongly that as we continue to grow our department’s
extramurally funded research efforts, which involves and supports both our undergraduate and graduate
students, our department would benefit from the addition of both administrative and technical support


There are currently 6 5 graduate students enrolled in our department’s graduate programs, 3 0 males
and 33 females. These include 1 4 M.S. Biology students, 3 4 M.S. Marine Biology students and 1 7 Ph.D.
Marine Biology students. Forty-eight of these students are currently classified as N.C. residents for tuition
purposes. However, many of these students have been granted N.C. residency after beginning their
graduate studies, and over the past 7 years 60% of our new enrollees have been from out of state. There
are three current international students (from Ecuador, Belize and Egypt), and six of our graduate students
are Hispanic.

Admission to our M.S. graduate programs is a two-step process. The first step is an initial
screening of the applicant by the Graduate Coordinator based upon the evaluation of their performance on
the General Test of the GRE, undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, and research and work
experience. An initial decision regarding the eligibility of an applicant is based upon a composite
numerical score employing a ranking of each of the above criteria. The current protocol is appended as
Appendix 2.
The second step in the process is that an eligible applicant must be accepted by a graduate faculty
member to be admitted to the program. Thus, once an application is deemed eligible, it is made available
to the faculty for their consideration. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty members with whom
they are interested in working to facilitate matching of applicants with advisors, but this is not a
requirement for acceptance. Once a faculty member has decided that they would like to accept an
applicant, they contact the Graduate Coordinator to discuss departmental and extramural support for the
student. The student is then notified by the Graduate Coordinator that they have been accepted, and they
are offered either a TA or RA and an out-of-state tuition waiver (if applicable). In some cases, applicants
may have fellowships that cover tuition and/or a stipend, and these cases are handled on a case-by-case
Numbers of applications to the M.S. Marine Biology program have remained relatively stable over
the past 7 years (mean 96 ; range 81 - 112 ) (Table 1). These numbers have remained high despite the
presence of the interdisciplinary M.S. in Marine Science, which might be expected to compete for
applicants. The number of applicants to our M.S. Biology program is considerably lower than that for the

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