Andy, and all that have commented on this thread,
As many other departments, we have had a policy of requiring vouchers for all MS and PhD degrees for many years. This was actually a hard fought battle here years ago. But as Bob points out, the problem is enforcement, particularly in cases in which there is no taxonomist/systematics person on the committee (which is most committees). Theoretically, the Dept. Head could refuse to sign a thesis or dissertation if there was no evidence of voucher specimens, but I doubt that this has ever happened here, at least. Having said this, whenever I served on graduate committees for Entomology degrees, I had a policy of refusing to sign a thesis or disseration until I saw the voucher specimens. I’m afraid that at the end of the day, enforcement is probably up to graduate committees. I have no idea what percentage of graduate students here actually deposit vouchers (Karen and Ed would have a much better idea), and frankly, I am not sure I want to know at this point.
Department of Entomology
Heep Center MS 2475
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2475
(979) 845-9349 office
(979) 845-3699 lab
At NC State as you may remember we have a voucher policy similar to what has been posted here. The problem is enforcing. Over my years here I have seen a general decline in the number of voucher specimens submitted. How does one get the students and PIs to take vouchers seriously? Is the department really going to hold up a student finishing his or her degree because they did not submit vouchers? I refuse to become the voucher specimen police. I have plenty of other specimens to deal with.
Like many university-based insect collections we stand as a repository for vouchers for research done at Penn State and by affiliated projects. Caring for vouchers is one of our many core missions, and it's a service many (but not enough!) students and PIs take seriously. We're in the process of developing an SOP for vouchering that includes information on labeling, prep standards, minimum data required, a spreadsheet template to help us digitize incoming vouchers, etc. Do any of you have such documentation?
It's easy for me to describe the importance of vouchers and the standards we expect of this material to be deposited at the Frost Museum. We have a diverse array of research in our department, however, spanning from genomics (of single species in some cases), to systematics, to IPM, community ecology, vector-borne diseases, etc., that it can be hard to give guidance on what constitutes a *pragmatic* vouchering strategy. Has anyone developed a decision tree or similar tool?
Thanks for any help! Still looking for my copy of Blatchley,
NCSU Insect Museum
Department of Entomology
Box 7613, NC State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7613