Integration of Educational and Research Objectives

The interdisciplinary education activities are organized around four stems  of an integrated structure individualized curriculum; IGERT water colloquium and negotiation simulation; work on real-world water problems with external partners; and integrative group activities to develop and sustain a community of interdisciplinary students.


Common IGERT Curriculum

IGERT students will have an academic home in one of the seven participating departments.
Students have the flexibility to follow an individualized educational path that builds on depth in their chosen major, a foundation in negotiating water conflicts, and a working knowledge in water science and systems (for policy and diplomacy undergraduate majors) or in policy sciences and ecological economics (for natural sciences and engineering undergraduate majors).

Water Colloquium and Negotiation Simulation

The water colloquium and negotiation simulation will form an integrative core of research and educational activities of IGERT community (student, faculty and partners). Each semester a real world water case study will be chosen and will bring together three aspects of our research agenda with contextual examples and involvement of outside partners. Each case study will require students to produce actionable knowledge through appropriate formulation and framing of the problem.

Problem Solving with Partner Organizations

Each student will work with an advisor and IGERT Program Committee to define meaningful independent study goals, consistent with the identified thematic research areas in Section 3. This exploratory research period will: (a) provide the freedom to choose a topic from real world examples of water conflicts; and (b) allow a maturing phase before specializing into the dissertation topic. Under guidance from the advisor and the IGERT Program Committee, and working with partner organizations, the fellows will spend at least one semester during their second year at a national or international site. Real-world field work experience is an integral part of the IGERT initiative. Fellows will choose their field work site from a range of domestic and international water issues based on their interests and expertise. Under guidance from the IGERT Program Committee and discussion with partner organizations, each student will select an emerging area of water issue for internship.

The fellows will spend at least one semester (during their second year at Tufts) at their field work site – working with our partners and relevant stakeholders – to develop a solution strategy for their jointly defined water dispute. The idea is to send students to different water regimes to participate in organizational and institutional learning by directly interacting with real-world stakeholders. Students will use a consistent information collection framework to enable the administrators of water regimes to reflect systematically on their experience as adaptive resource managers. These interview results will then be pooled and compiled to develop actionable research methods in direct collaboration with the stakeholders. Periodic water management practice reports will be produced and sent to our partner institutions and a set of corresponding water regime managers for review and reaction.

Integrative Group Activities

To encourage interaction across a diverse group of students and faculty, special structural features need to be designed and integrated into an interdisciplinary program. We have put considerable effort into designing structural program features with the goal of generating excitement about interdisciplinary research in water issues, and illuminating ideas and ways of thinking that otherwise would remain hidden. In our case, these interactions span not only disciplines but also traditional university departmental and school boundaries as well as physical and political boundaries. These interdisciplinary group activities are designed to strengthen existing interdisciplinary linkages, build new connections, encourage multi-faceted thinking, and create a self-sustaining culture of graduate education beyond the duration of this award.  Most importantly, we expect to create a common experience for participants and encourage cohesiveness among program scholars.  Activities will include team building, local networking, working in a shared office space, and sharing computing resources in the IGERT Computational Facility (ICF).