Biology and Marine Biology

(Axel Boer) #1

Most years we tend to have more females enroll than males (Table 5). Since 2008, 7 international
students and 10 Hispanic students have enrolled in our program. No African Americans or Native
Americans have enrolled. Each year, efforts are made to increase African-American enrollment by sending
program information to all McNair Scholars who list biology or marine biology as their prospective
graduate school majors. The Graduate Dean and Graduate Coordinator for Biology and Marine Biology
have also participated in student fairs and outreach activities to better publicize our program to minority
students. In addition, the Graduate Coordinator and other members of the department have hosted a group
of undergraduate African American biology students from NC A&T University for a day each summer.
The students are part of an accelerated curriculum and our meeting is part of an effort to expose them to
the graduate program in our department early in their undergraduate careers. Such opportunities offer
potential future graduate applicants the opportunity to get to know UNCW. We believe that there is much
promise for enhancing the diversity of our student body, as well as the diversity of research experiences all
students receive at UNCW, by such focused efforts with a UNC sister institution. Our ability to diversify
the student body would also be greatly enhanced by more attractive recruitment packages for students (see

Table 5. Demographics of graduate students enrolling from 2008-2014.

# female # male #International # Hispanic

Spring 2008 1 1
2008 - 09 15 7 3 2
2009 - 10 14 8
2010 - 11 5 12 2
2011 - 12 13 11 1
2012 - 13 12 10 1
2013 - 14 12 6 2 2
Fall 2014 17 5 4
TOTAL 89 60 7 10

As stated above, our department takes very seriously its role of academic mentoring and teaching
training. These processes are supported throughout the student’s tenure with a series of planned events.
We officially meet our new graduate students during a morning orientation session and distribute the
Graduate Student Handbook, where all major facets of their academic life are touched upon (see Appendix
3 for agenda, and a copy of the Student Handbook). The orientation ends with a lunch with current
graduate students and faculty. Later that afternoon, “TA Boot Camp”, run primarily by veteran TAs, offers
them a supportive but realistic view of their new profession as graduate Teaching Assistants. In addition to
these departmental functions for new students, the Graduate School also sponsors a complimentary
orientation session as well as a TA Institute. While the departmental support sessions are focused on
information specific to our students, the graduate school functions cover information that is relevant to all
new graduate students.
In support of their teaching training TAs have weekly meetings with their lab coordinators and
faculty members evaluate all TAs each spring. The Graduate Coordinator also meets with TAs as needed
to address specific concerns or problems. In addition, BIO 694: Teaching Practicum is offered biennially
to permit interested master’s and all doctoral students the opportunity to explore methods and theory of
There are also a series of events and goals that are planned to support the research training of our

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