Emerging Directions in Doctoral Education: Volume 6

Cover of Emerging Directions in Doctoral Education
Subject:

Table of contents

(25 chapters)
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Foreword

Pages xiii-xv
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Part I: Concepts and Principles

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of the challenges, opportunities, and successes facing contemporary doctoral programs. The authors outline the changing dynamics of doctoral studies, including the various degrees that are associated with doctoral programs and the changing demographics of doctoral students. Drawing from aspects of situated learning theory, the authors position the chapters in this volume in relation to learning communities and communities of practice in the ways that reimagine and re-invigorate traditional models of doctoral education.

Abstract

The training of doctoral students has traditionally focused on the academic imperatives associated with research training with less attention accorded to developing other professional skills that are likely to facilitate broader employment opportunities after graduation. The reality is that a lower proportion of PhD graduates than was the case will go on to work in academia (https://go8.edu.au/sites/default/files/docs/the-changing-phd_final.pdf). And increasingly, careers outside of academia which offer alternative career pathways for new graduates encompass roles involving such high level skills as problem-solving, critical thinking, project management, leadership, innovation, and enterprise. Some would argue that the Australian PhD is at risk of failing to meet the employment challenges of the twenty-first century doctoral graduate. But how are doctoral students to acquire transferable abilities if their doctoral program is focused largely on developing research skills? (This is not of course to argue that there aren’t any programs seeking to address these questions. Rutgers University in the United States, for example, has implemented a program with an emphasis on leadership and other transferrable skills.) Indeed the discussion begs the question what is the purpose of the PhD? While this question appears to be under consideration globally, this chapter attempts to address it from within an Australian context.

Abstract

Standard doctoral preparation includes formal training in a specific academic discipline. In some instances, this training includes experience serving on departmental and university-wide committees. Structured leadership education, however, is most often a peripheral concern of the graduate school experience. For a significant number of doctoral students, formal leadership education is simply not considered to be of primary importance to the careers to which they aspire within higher education. Recognizing a need for increased leadership preparation in higher education, this chapter aims to highlight one systematic model for leadership education at the doctoral student level, the Rutgers University PreDoctoral Leadership Development Institute (PLDI).

Abstract

The context of contemporary higher education is changing, with ever-increasing student numbers and escalating demands on academics. In response, developing greater awareness and understanding of doctoral psychological contracts can help mitigate the ‘problem’ of mismatched expectations and their negative consequences. In this chapter, I review literature on doctoral supervisory relationships and highlight the paucity of research on the psychological contract. To address this, I present an autoethnographic, mixed-methods approach exploring expectations and obligations from student and supervisor perspectives. Offering insights into the complexity and diversity of doctoral psychological contracts, I conclude with recommendations for theory and practice.

Part II: Successful Practices

Abstract

Interdisciplinary approaches to doctoral education have been identified as a route towards enhancing research capacity to address pressing technical and socio-technological challenges. Increasingly, technological supports for part-time, distance, and flexible access to doctoral programmes are bringing together international groups of supervisors and students. Doctoral programmes in the field of educational technology often include academic staff and doctoral candidates from a fairly wide range of originating undergraduate and graduate disciplines. While technologies provide these diverse, dispersed doctoral students and their supervisors with digital connectivity, theoretical continuity remains a challenge for both new and established contributors to the field. This chapter reports results of a grounded theory informed study of doctoral supervisors’ experiences in dealing with disciplinary issues in educational technology. Resultant supervisory challenges and practices are reported. We posit a conceptual framework for examining perspectives on disciplinarity within educational technology and present an argument that the field provides fertile trans-disciplinary ground for represented disciplines to influence and potentially be reoriented by others. Trans-disciplinary reorientation provides a promising avenue towards developing shared discourses and theoretical underpinnings for at least broadly uniting the field and could make a substantive contribution to resolving persistent concerns in educational technology doctoral supervision and perhaps beyond.

Abstract

Educational researchers and practitioners work in dynamic and diverse arenas, informed by various political, social, and cultural discourses. The complexity of the human relationships that underlie these dialogues necessitate a new vision of how we prepare the next generation of educational researchers. This different vision is grounded in collaboration, creativity, and institutional flexibility as it seeks to foster the development of those interdisciplinary approaches that reflect both holistic and comprehensive views for emerging doctor-level programs. This chapter introduces an interdisciplinary PhD in Educational Studies program which focuses on nurturing the educational researcher mindset to address the increasing complexity of educational issues, concerns, and needs. What we share in this chapter is a glimpse at the tremendous potential of a PhD program that has been built on an openness to change. Ours is a program with explicit assumptions that undergird our actions, and also a program that is responsive to changes in the environments within which our candidates and graduates will work. Thus, our vision remains current and fresh, which serves as an unmistakably powerful motivator for both our doctoral students and faculty.

Abstract

Historically, a major contributor in the fracture between mainstream individuals and subgroups has been the educational system. For American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), this is substantiated by low graduation rates. AI/AN leaders are in a unique situation due to the distinctive conditions in which they operate that include community challenges as well as federal and tribal legislation. This, combined with limited research regarding AI/AN leadership best practices, provides doctoral programs an inimitable opportunity to partner with AI/AN and tribal communities. Therefore, due to the need to more effectively serve AI/AN peoples, the intent of this chapter is to propose methods to successfully create an AI/AN leadership emphasis within its existing doctoral program. This essay will include a description of the following: (a) the societal call for these types of programs; (b) AI/AN self-identified needs regarding graduate education, including the cultural aspects needed for success; (c) program design, philosophy, and curriculum specific to AI/ANs; and (d) further recommendations. By implementing an AI/AN emphasis, graduate programs can better address the needs of this underserved portion of the population, as well as provide a less ethnocentric perspective in the classroom.

Abstract

This chapter examines the challenges of getting two different systems of doctoral education to interact. The development of the joint PhD agreement between Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and King’s College London is used as an example to illustrate some of the challenges of developing a transnational PhD programme. After an outline of the recent trajectories of doctoral research culture in Germany and the United Kingdom, we will use the two partner institutions as examples to discuss key differences between the two systems in admission, status of the enroled ‘student’, supervision and training and – most challenging – the examination and degree awarding process. In a third step, we will consider the process of developing a shared set of working rules for the Joint PhD programme, preserving as much of the partners’ autonomy whilst at the same time creating a common and transparent framework for doctoral training. It will be argued that this process of balancing respect for local rules and practices with a desire for more integrated systems contains – in a nutshell – important lessons for a future ‘Europeanization’ of the PhD system.

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Abstract

Professional practice doctorates have learning outcomes and capstones that are very different than research doctorates. One type of capstone suited to a professional doctorate is a client-based dissertation in practice (DiP). In this type of capstone, students address a problem of practice faced by an institution or program (the client) in the student’s area of professional practice. Client-based problems of practice have the advantage of being authentic problems whose solution can have a positive impact on the client and those served by the client. For students, the scope of work to be done for the client includes: assessing the current practice; conducting a review of literature to identify best practices; gathering stakeholder perspectives; developing a strategic plan with proposed solutions or interventions; piloting elements of the proposed solution; and maintaining communication with the client. A case is described in which a student work team first authored an invitation to potential clients to propose a problem and then selected a client whose problem of practice was addressed as the DiP.

Abstract

The Lesley University PhD program in Educational Studies offers a new specialization in adult learning and development. This hybrid, interdisciplinary degree is geared toward mid-career professionals in higher education, community services, non-formal adult learning, and a number of other fields. Since 2008, the program has graduated 36 students whose dissertations have a strong focus on practitioner research. This case study covers the planning process of an interdisciplinary faculty team responding to the need for educators to teach and research adult learners. The guiding philosophy of adult learning and the delivery method of this competency-based curriculum are explained. Students present a research interest upon application and begin to develop a dissertation question in their first year. They attend a weeklong campus residency every semester where they work on competencies through workshops and lectures. This is followed by online course completion in dialogue with faculty mentors and peers. Students finish 45 credits before beginning the dissertation. The importance of a cohort learning community, advising as pedagogy, online support, library resources, qualifying examination, pilot study, and dissertation preparation are discussed. Data gathered from a current self-study highlight both the strengths and the challenges posed by this unique program.

Abstract

Non-completion or slow completion of doctoral degrees has been a matter of concern to Australian Universities for many years, as government funding for research students is contingent upon on-time completion. Part-time students are of particular concern as it can be difficult for them to maintain motivation over several years. This chapter discusses the approaches adopted by one Australian university to address this problem in a professional doctorate part-time program.

Our program applies the concepts of Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002), addressing social relatedness (addressed through students taking coursework subjects as a cohort), competence (students learn how to write a literature review, how to develop a conceptual framework, to design and justify a research design, to conduct and analyze quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research, and how to disseminate their research), and autonomy (students choosing a topic relevant to them and are encouraged to take their own decisions as they develop their competence).

Although student numbers are small, we believe that applying the concepts of Self-Determination Theory to our professional doctorate program has improved on-time completion rates.

Abstract

We review the two dominant models of doctoral education, and argue that both of them are limited in their effectiveness by excessive differentiation. The traditional doctoral model is characterized by highly specialized faculty training new academics; the new wave of professional doctorates is characterized by disaggregated faculty roles, standardized curricula, and a managerial culture. Both models overemphasize differentiation, albeit for different reasons, with negative impacts on student completion, faculty engagement, and needs of the larger society. Differentiation is an antagonistic force to effective integration, and in this chapter we describe how one program, Antioch University’s PhD in Leadership & Change, intentionally holds this essential tension by: (1) optimizing faculty’s professional expertise while nurturing collective responsibility; (2) ensuring both individual and organizational efficacy; and (3) nurturing a culture of critical reflection. By intentionally restoring equilibrium through effective integrating devices, doctoral programs can mediate the excesses of extreme differentiation in ways that benefit individual and organizational health, student learning, and ultimately society as a whole.

Abstract

Riviere’s article questions qualifying exams in US graduate education, completed after 1–2 year of PhD coursework and before submitting a dissertation proposal, as an assessment tool for graduate students’ preparedness as “stewards of the discipline” (Golde, Walker & Associates, 2006). A qualifying portfolio containing examples of professional work and reflections by the student on her own progress assesses disciplinary and professional knowledge. Graduate coursework prepares students to produce research in two important genres: the journal article and the monograph (practiced as seminar papers and the dissertation, respectively). Other professional genres of writing, such as the scholarly book review, the course syllabus, and the peer review process are rarely explicitly taught. All three are a required element of an academic career, and indicative of the kinds of lines of inquiry demanded of a scholar in the humanities. Beyond the preparation for an academic career, the chapter suggests that a portfolio would also be useful evidence of qualifications for careers outside the university. Riviere focuses specifically on graduate students in the humanities, but the suggestions for can be usefully extrapolated to other disciplines.

Abstract

Many universities international activities have increased enormously in volume, scope, and complexity in recent years (Altbach & Knight, 2007; Altbach, 2015) with education providers seeking more innovative ways to provide education across boundaries. Joint doctoral degrees are one example of such an initiative, focusing on international collaboration between institutions. Joint doctorates can provide richer and more rewarding learning experiences for PhD students, supervisors and collaborating institutions. However, all the parties involved also need to be aware of the potential challenges and considerations that underpin effective outcomes, as well as the key differences between joint degree doctorates and doctorates with more traditional approaches. It has been pointed out that the literature on joint degree programmes is ‘thin’ providing limited information for institutional leaders (and other parties involved in their setting up and conduct) who may be contemplating joint degree initiatives (Michael & Balraj, 2003). This chapter draws on a unique case study of a joint doctoral programme that operates across continents and academic cultures to illustrate the challenges and considerations that should be borne in mind prior to entering into joint doctoral arrangements. Various ways in which the associated challenges may be overcome are also suggested in order to support effective outcomes for all the parties involved.

Abstract

This chapter examines a recently launched initiative for developing institutional leadership for scholarly approaches to and the Scholarship of Graduate Student Supervision (SoGSS) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). This initiative is led by the Dean, Associate Dean, and former Associate Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and is supported by a team of National Teaching Fellows and a graduate student. It involves a customized graduate student supervision (GSS) leaders’ cohort within the International Faculty SoTL Leadership Program at UBC. The initiative arose from institutional concerns about quality assurance and strategic supports for the enhancement of GSS in UBC’s multidisciplinary research-intensive context. The following were noted: (1) widespread discrepancies in the ways that GSS (sometimes referred to as mentoring) is being taken up and exercised across campus; (2) lack of strategic leadership for GSS within units and related professional development initiatives; and (3) inadequate faculty assessment and evaluation protocols (e.g., formative for professional development purposes or summative for tenure, promotion and reappointment purposes) for discipline-specific GSS practices.

About the Authors

Pages 301-312
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Author Index

Pages 313-320
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Subject Index

Pages 321-327
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Cover of Emerging Directions in Doctoral Education
DOI
10.1108/S2055-364120166
Publication date
2016-03-30
Book series
Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78560-135-4
eISBN
978-1-78560-134-7
Book series ISSN
2055-3641