CCHD Predoctoral Fellowship

Announcement:  The mentor faculty of the Carolina Consortium on Human Development (CCHD) are pleased to announce a call for applications for predoctoral fellowships at the Center for Developmental Science.  This is a very competitive program and only those applications that are submitted with a CCHD faculty nomination will be considered. Please note that this is a 2-year training opportunity.

In Year 1 of the predoctoral program (2015-2016), trainees will receive training in Developmental Science through the CCHD program and have the opportunity to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP), participate in the CCHD consortium and class, and prepare and submit a focused research paper (not the dissertation, comps or MA) that will involve collaboration with two CCHD mentors.  Trainees in the first year will have access to CDS resources to support their work and receive a modest travel and research award.

In Year 2 of the program (2016-2017), the predoctoral trainees will carry out their dissertation work, continue participation in the CCHD consortium series, and become involved in our professional development training series as they prepare for postdoctoral training or the job market.  In addition, trainees in both years are invited to participate in CCHD training opportunities in targeted methodologies and topics as relevant to their IDP.  Given acceptable progress in the first year and the availability of funds, second year predoctoral trainees will also receive an NRSA stipend (in addition to a travel and research stipend) as they expand their work and training in Developmental Science.

We expect that candidates entering the two-year program should be post-MA (or the equivalent) but not yet in the dissertation phase of their program of studies.  We anticipate that the funded second year will support students during their dissertation work and likely last year on campus.

An online application is available at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1622446/Predoctoral-Fellowship-Application-CCHD.

The online application requires basic information along with a letter of interest, a 1-2 page summary of proposed research and training activities during the fellowship period, and a curriculum vitae. The research proposal should outline the applicant’s research interests and program as well as provide a description of a possible collaborative project with two CCHD mentor faculty members (one of whom may be the applicant’s mentor) and a description of their anticipated dissertation project and career goals.

Additionally, one letter of nomination from a CCHD faculty member and a copy of the student’s graduate transcripts should be sent to the attention of Jennifer Coffman at the Center for Developmental Science (Coffman@unc.edu).

Materials will be reviewed beginning June 1, 2015. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents in accordance with NIH regulations.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Jennifer Coffman at coffman@unc.edu regarding their research plans and applications.

Carolina Consortium on Human Development is not a degree-granting unit. Predoctoral Trainees are recruited and selected from participating doctoral programs at the constituent universities. Cooperative arrangements have been established with each of the affiliated academic units to ensure that the CCHD program guidelines are compatible with the policies and practices of each of these institutions and departments.

Our Predoctoral Fellowship Program is unique in that it typically provides formal support (i.e., NICHD sponsored Fellowships) for one year in the final years of doctoral training. We find that this is an optimal point for involvement in the program because after several years of study the graduate students are well prepared for the undertaking, and they have time for the intense participation of our demanding program. However, participation in CCHD training activities (i.e., Consortium Proseminars, developmental seminars, CCHD sponsored workshops, and involvement in research activities conducted by the Mentor faculty) is available to promising candidates throughout their graduate studies (including the initial years). Typically, this leads to a mutual selection process such that by the time a possible candidate reaches the final stages of his or her predoctoral training (i.e., completing the qualifying exams, developing a dissertation proposal), it is apparent to the faculty which individuals best fit the program. The selection of candidates is based, therefore, not only on their academic record, but also on their interest in developmental science and opportunities for interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration.  For a quick guide to the program, see CCHD Predoctoral Fellowship Quick Facts.

There are four key features to the Consortium Predoctoral Training Program

  • Consortium Predoctoral Advisory Committee
  • Consortium Proseminars
  • Supervised/Collaborative Research
  • Consortium and Individual Courses. Each of these components is outlined below

Consortium Predoctoral Advisory Committee

Each predoctoral Fellow establishes an Advisory Committee upon entry into the program. The functions of this committee are to provide support, direction, and evaluation during the planning and completion of the dissertation project and to give additional guidance on career development issues. The Advisory Committee must consist of at least three members of the Mentor faculty as well as one of the Training Directors. Usually, there is considerable overlap between this committee and the doctoral dissertation committee formed in the Fellow’s home school or department. In keeping with the collaborative spirit of the Consortium, no requirement of the training program or the Fellow’s Advisory Committee can be inconsistent with the standing regulations and practices of the cooperating schools and departments. Therefore, the Fellow’s home department and the dissertation committee determine all degree requirements.

Consortium Proseminar

Predoctoral Fellows are required to participate in all semesters that they are enrolled in the program. Indeed, many students take part in the Proseminar prior to their tenure as NICHD appointees. The high level of voluntary participation by students is indicative of the popularity of the Proseminars. Debates and heated discussions among faculty, Fellows, and visiting speakers are not infrequent and naturally help to maintain the high levels of engagement among our young scholars. To provide a forum for extensive Fellow-centered discussion, the predoctoral Fellows meet with the postdoctoral Fellows in a companion class with each week’s speaker prior to his or her presentation at the Consortium Proseminar. This afternoon class provides a context for Fellows to explore theoretical and methodological questions within the context of the work of each week’s speakers. Each semester begins with two sessions devoted to reading and discussion of basic tenets of developmental science. From our evaluations over the years, we have found that this class has been highly successful for both Fellows and speakers alike.

Supervised/Collaborative Research

The Consortium strongly encourages predoctoral Fellows to have significant research experience in two laboratories (following the postdoctoral training model), and the predoctoral Fellows are encouraged to become involved in the collaborative interdisciplinary research at the Center. However, rigid adherence to the requirement for breadth can impede the Trainee’s progress toward completion of the dissertation. The Advisory Committee assists each Fellow in the development of a research training program that is consistent with his or her knowledge base and prior experiences. In line with the aims of the program and the expertise of the training faculty, it is expected that the dissertation will reflect the experiences and/or issues raised in the specialized advanced training in human development. The Advisory Committees monitor and evaluate the students’ research progress. Such efforts require the careful balancing of the spirit of free intellectual inquiry, the rigors of ensuring the timely completion of departmental requirements, and the additional demands of preparing students to be placed successfully in postdoctoral and/or faculty positions.

Consortium and Individual Courses

In addition to the Proseminar and developmental seminar meetings, Fellows may elect to participate in advanced seminars that are taught by Consortium faculty members. Again, the Mentor faculty is sensitive to the fact that an overload of coursework can impede rather than facilitate scientific training. The decisions on course enrollment are made jointly by each Fellow, the Trainee’s faculty Mentor, and the Advisory Committee.