Delaware State University has recently announced a new doctoral program it will offer in the field of Integrative Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
The new program aims to develop researchers and teachers so that they will be capable of conducting scholarly, independent research, acquire multidisciplinary skills and become efficient decision makers. The goal is that program participants will be able to contribute original and novel information to various bodies of scientific knowledge in the areas of agriculture, food and environmental science.
A multidisciplinary team of faculty in various departments of the College of Agriculture, Sciences and Technology (CAST) will provide mentorship and training to the Ph.D. candidates. By making the doctoral program integrative, it also will be inclusive of all research faculty in CAST. Prior to this program, those research disciplines were not providing Ph.D.-level research and training to students.
Another aspect of the program is that each student will be mentored by two advisors, each of whom are from different but related science disciplines.
The interdisciplinary team of CAST faculty members who developed the Ph.D. program were led by Dr. Venu Kalavacharla, Professor and Associate Dean for Research in CAST. Dr. Kalavacharla said this doctoral program was years in the making.
A unique feature of this doctoral program is students will be required to spend time in other University units such as housing, finance, student services and budget and finance to gain a better understanding of how those administrative areas work. Students will also be required to do an internship outside of their dissertation research.
“Our goal is to develop the next generation of Ph.Ds. who not only have expertise in the sciences, but in how the business of the academic institution works,” Dr. Kalavacharla said.
Additionally, Dr. Kalavacharla and the team have collaborated with Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, Dean of the School of Graduate and Adult Continuing Studies, and her team to follow best practices in developing the Ph.D. program. This program has been modeled after the integrative Ph.D. programs at Tuskegee University and North Carolina Central University.
“The authorization to implement the Ph.D. program in Integrative Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is a milestone achievement to CAST and the Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources,” said Dr. Mingxin Guo, the Interim Chair of the Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources (AGNR).
“We have put our hearts and late nights to work on this program. I think it makes a big difference when the faculty and administrators volunteer, they really dedicate themselves for something they believe in,” said Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, professor and extension specialist, AGNR. “The program will help us grow as an institution in research and workforce development.”
The new doctoral program was developed in the University’s College of Agriculture, Sciences and Technology, which is under the leadership of its Dean, Dr. Dyremple Marsh. The Ph.D. program will be launched in the Fall of 2021. Students will be able to begin applying for enrollment in the program soon.