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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2021

John A. Gonzalez, Heeyun Kim and Allyson Flaster

The purpose of this study is to examine doctoral students’ developmental trajectories in well-being and disciplinary identity during the first three years of doctoral study.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine doctoral students’ developmental trajectories in well-being and disciplinary identity during the first three years of doctoral study.

Design/methodology/approach

This study relies on data from a longitudinal study of PhD students enrolled at a large, research-intensive university in the USA. A group-based trajectory modeling approach is used to examine varying trajectories of well-being and disciplinary identity.

Findings

The authors find that students’ physical health, mental health and disciplinary identity generally decline during the first few years of doctoral study. Despite this common downward trend, the results suggest that six different developmental trajectories exist. Students’ backgrounds and levels of stress, psychological needs satisfaction, anticipatory socialization experiences and prior academic success predict group membership.

Originality/value

Although there is emergent evidence of a mental health crisis in graduate education scant evidence exists about the way in which well-being changes over time as students progress through their doctoral studies. There is also little evidence of how these changes might be related to academic processes such as the development of disciplinary identity. This study reported varying baseline degrees of well-being and disciplinary identity and offers that stress and unmet psychological needs might be partially responsible for varying trajectories.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 July 2020

Allyson Flaster, Kristen M. Glasener and John A. Gonzalez

The purpose of this study is to examine whether there are differences in beginning doctoral students’ perceptions of the disciplinary knowledge required to be successful…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine whether there are differences in beginning doctoral students’ perceptions of the disciplinary knowledge required to be successful in doctoral education and identify pre-doctoral characteristics and experiences that explain these differences.

Design/methodology/approach

This study relied on survey data of first-year PhD students enrolled at a large, research-intensive university. Survey responses were matched to institutional information, missing data were imputed and responses were weighted to account for groups’ differential probabilities of being included in the analytical sample. The authors used regression analysis to examine the relationship between students’ background characteristics, anticipatory socialization experiences, academic performance and perceived levels of disciplinary knowledge.

Findings

The study findings indicated significant differences in doctoral students’ perceived levels of disciplinary knowledge. Students who identify as female or URM had significantly lower levels of perceived disciplinary knowledge than students who identify as male or non-URM. Moreover, several anticipatory socialization experiences were significantly and positively related to perceived disciplinary knowledge.

Originality/value

While there is evidence that doctoral students start graduate school with varying identities and experiences, little is known about how students perceive their abilities and knowledge. This study reported that students differ in their self-assessment of disciplinary knowledge as they embark on doctoral work with implications for academic identity development and student success.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 October 2022

Deborah S. Willis and Laura N. Schram

Recent research on graduate students’ diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) socialization found that graduate colleges play a role in supporting graduate students’ DEI…

Abstract

Purpose

Recent research on graduate students’ diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) socialization found that graduate colleges play a role in supporting graduate students’ DEI professional development (Perez et al., 2020), but more studies are needed about how graduate colleges facilitate DEI socialization. One graduate college at a large, selective, research-intensive, public university in the Midwestern US created a graduate certificate for professional development in DEI to expand graduate students’ capacities to contribute to inclusion and equity in higher education. The purpose of this multi-method program evaluation is to assess whether the certificate program created significant learning about DEI and developed intercultural competence among graduate students.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors rely on multiple methods to evaluate the impact of the professional development DEI certificate. First, the authors used the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) pre and postassessment to measure the growth of participants in the first three years of the program. Second, the authors designed a reflection tool to assess significant learning after each component of the program. Finally, we conducted focus groups with graduates of the program to understand what program components were most valuable for DEI-related significant learning.

Findings

The authors found that the DEI professional development program increased students’ intercultural competence as measured by the IDI. Students reported perceptions of significant learning in every domain of learning we assessed using a self-reflection tool and in focus groups.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that demonstrates how graduate colleges contribute to DEI socialization by preparing graduate students to interact across differences and contribute to inclusive climates both within and beyond academe.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

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