I was so excited to see that Adrian Smith is continuing his "Age of Discovery" series of podcast interviews with biologists--it's been a dry spell since February, but he's returned with a fascinating and fast-paced interview http://www.aodpod.com/episode-8-marlene-zuk/ (also available on iTunes) with evolutionary biologist, Dr. Marlene Zuk from the University of Minnesota. She's written four popular science books that I'm looking forward to exploring.
This interview is wide-ranging (favorite quote about insects: "They aren't little people in chitin suits") and touches on a serious topic worthy of discussion here, that of structured vs. unstructured graduate studies.
How much should grad students be the ones to decide the course of their research or should they be expected to only do projects already funded through their advisors?
What do you think? Would having one or the other have encouraged or discouraged you from your current path? How would you have structured things differently (or do you structure them now) for students?