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Article

Alexandra Coso Strong and Dia Sekayi

The purpose of this study is to examine how doctoral students navigate preparing for an academic career, particularly through instructional professional development, in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how doctoral students navigate preparing for an academic career, particularly through instructional professional development, in the context of the entire doctoral program. For doctoral students pursuing an academic position, the dissertation process provides one avenue for developing their skills and identities as independent researchers. Yet, research shows a need to provide support for student’ instructional professional development and to understand how they are shaped into educators and researchers.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple case study methodology was designed to capture the perceptions and experiences of 21 alumni of an academic career preparation program at a large, public university. In this exploratory, qualitative study, semi-structured interviews and final reports from program coursework were analyzed using a modified analytic induction methodology.

Findings

This study employs elements of self-determination theory and transition theory to interpret doctoral students’ transitions into and through the instructional professional development program under study. The participants sought competence in their teaching by participating in this voluntary and supplemental program. These students exercised autonomy in the pursuit of this professional development and in overcoming challenges to relatedness in the form of non-supportive program structures, including curriculum and faculty.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the graduate education literature on the experiences of doctoral students as they prepare for and transition into their future academic careers.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

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Article

Gerlese S. Åkerlind

Discussions of the nature and purpose of postdoctoral contract research positions is an area where assumptions and stereotypes tend to predominate. This is due to (a…

Abstract

Discussions of the nature and purpose of postdoctoral contract research positions is an area where assumptions and stereotypes tend to predominate. This is due to (a) recent changes in the higher education sector that have impacted on postdoctoral positions in a way that conflicts with traditional expectations, and (b) a relative lack of data and publications on postdoctoral positions, which creates a climate in which stereotypes can continue relatively unchallenged. This is unfortunate, because it limits the ability of supervisors to provide sound career advice to their postdocs as well as the ability of postdocs to make informed career decisions. Based on an extensive study of PDRs in Australia, this paper challenges four commonly held assumptions: 1. that postdoctoral researchers want an academic career; 2. that postdoctoral research positions provide a stepping stone to academic careers; 3. that postdoctoral research positions provide an opportunity for novice researchers to become increasingly independent; and 4. that postdoctoral research positions provide an opportunity for the incumbents to concentrate solely on research.

Details

International Journal for Researcher Development, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2048-8696

Keywords

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Article

Sherrie Human, Thomas Clark, Charles H. Matthews, Julie Stewart and Candace Gunnarsson

Relatively few comparative studies have examined how perceptions across cultures might converge or diverge regarding careers in general and new venture careers in…

Abstract

Relatively few comparative studies have examined how perceptions across cultures might converge or diverge regarding careers in general and new venture careers in particular. Our research addresses this gap by providing a comparative study of career perceptions among undergraduate business students in three countries with different levels of experience with capitalism: Ukraine, South Korea, and the United States. Results suggest both surprising differences and interesting similarities between undergraduate students in the three countries with regard to how they perceive characteristics associated with entrepreneurial careers. Findings are discussed in the context of distinct differences and commonalities across cultures and implications for future research provided.

Details

New England Journal of Entrepreneurship, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2574-8904

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Article

Stephanie Miller and Raquel Liciardi

Responding to the relatively poor employment outcomes of university graduates, Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia has embarked on a strategy of investment in…

Abstract

Responding to the relatively poor employment outcomes of university graduates, Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia has embarked on a strategy of investment in career development for all students. One part of this strategy is to implement a career development subject as an elective for all students. The subject was developed in the School of Management with significant input from staff in the Student Career Development Unit. It is designed to extend job search skills, self‐awareness, and strategies for the achievement of employment goals. Students evaluated the subject in June and in October of 2002 – the first year of its delivery. The results showed that students perceived the subject to be extremely valuable to their career prospects.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 8 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Book part

Marguerite Bonous-Hammarth

Within the next decade, countries like the U.S. will face a daunting challenge to increase the preparation of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics…

Abstract

Within the next decade, countries like the U.S. will face a daunting challenge to increase the preparation of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to meet expected workforce demands for nearly 2.2 million more trained professionals in these fields (National Science Board, 2004, pp. 3–7). The U.S. also needs to ensure that its STEM workforce also represents women and students from African American, Chicano and Latino origins – individuals who historically have been underrepresented in the sciences but who now comprise a growing percent of the K-12 pipeline and of the diverse population who will use STEM knowledge and applications in the future.

Details

Higher Education in a Global Society: Achieving Diversity, Equity and Excellence
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-182-8

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Article

Keith Hopkins

Much has been written about the theory andpractice of work experience, but mostly inacademic terms and aimed specifically at the“world of education”. What follows…

Abstract

Much has been written about the theory and practice of work experience, but mostly in academic terms and aimed specifically at the “world of education”. What follows is presented in practical terms, and is intended to be of help to industrial colleagues. It has been written by an experienced practitioner who has worked at both the chalk‐face and Local Education Authority (LEA) level providing work experience for thousands of students. Basically, work experience is examined briefly in terms of its origins in the 1960s. The mechanics of its delivery are looked at and an indication of the current picture and the anticipated future expectations is given: a practical approach therefore to a very important curricular development area.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article

Ewan Wright and Haitao Wei

The worldwide expansion of higher education participation has destabilised the value of higher education as a currency of opportunity. An increasing number of graduates…

Abstract

Purpose

The worldwide expansion of higher education participation has destabilised the value of higher education as a currency of opportunity. An increasing number of graduates are experiencing the precarity of unemployment, under-employment and low salaries. This study aimed to investigate how university students in China understand and respond to the changing relationship between higher education and career opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

The research team conducted 100 in-depth interviews with final-year undergraduates at one elite and one lower-tier university in a metropolitan city in Guangdong Province.

Findings

The students were acutely aware of fierce competition in the graduate labour market. When asked “what matters most” for post-graduation career prospects, they identified elite universities and high-status fields of study as “traditional” currencies of opportunity. Nonetheless, to stand out in a competitive environment, they perceived a growing need to supplement higher education credentials through university experiences (internships, student governance, study abroad programmes), party membership, personal connections and (overseas) postgraduate education. Moreover, in a “race to the top”, they discussed how qualitatively distinctive university experiences and elite postgraduate education are “new” currencies of opportunity for high-status professional employment.

Originality/value

The study demonstrates how intensified competition for graduate employment can result in an “opportunity trap”. The students were participating in an “arms race” to accumulate positional advantages for their post-graduation careers. The net impact of such efforts on a systemic level is to create an upward spiral in what students are expected to do in preparation for their post-graduation careers and further destabilise the value of higher education as a currency of opportunity.

Details

Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

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Article

Clifton Campbell

Historically, schools in the United States of America have zealously assumed the task of equipping people with the scholastic abilities to cope with life. Indeed, it is…

Abstract

Historically, schools in the United States of America have zealously assumed the task of equipping people with the scholastic abilities to cope with life. Indeed, it is generally said that one submits to formal schooling “to get an education”. But graduates of traditional secondary school and college curricula are now asking: What work was I prepared for? Clearly something fundamental has gone wrong with the educational system. This is evidenced by US Government statistics which show that more than 2m. students leave school each year without adequate preparation for a working life. At the same time there is a shortage of skilled and semi‐skilled workers. According to the National Advisory Council on Vocational Education, millions of jobs are going begging while:

Details

Education + Training, vol. 22 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article

Kathleen Van Benthem, Mohamad Nadim Adi, Christopher T. Corkery, Jiro Inoue and Nafisa M. Jadavji

The postdoctoral position was originally created as a short training period for PhD holders on the path to becoming university professors; however, the single-purpose…

Abstract

Purpose

The postdoctoral position was originally created as a short training period for PhD holders on the path to becoming university professors; however, the single-purpose paradigm of training has evolved considerably over time. The purpose of this paper is to report on the opportunities and challenges faced by postdocs as they navigate this complex training period.

Design/methodology/approach

To better understand the changes in postdoctoral training the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars – l’Association Canadienne des Stagiaires Postdoctoraux (CAPS-ACSP) conducted three professional national surveys of postdocs working in Canada and Canadian postdocs working internationally. Using the data from each survey, the authors investigated demographics, career goals and mental health and developed a theory-based path model for predicting postdoctoral training satisfaction, using structural equation modeling.

Findings

The analysis revealed that during their training postdocs face mental health symptoms, which play a role in job satisfaction. Additionally, predictors of satisfaction with career training were opportunities for skills development and encouragement from supervisors. Predictors of satisfaction with compensation were salary, skills training, mental health and encouragement from supervisors.

Originality/value

This first in-depth analysis of mental health symptoms illuminates the postdoc experience in academia. The study highlights the need for substantive changes to address the challenges facing postdoctoral training in the current research model in North America.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

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Article

Casey E. George, Evthokia Stephanie Saclarides and Sarah Theule Lubienski

This study aims to focus on survey reports of doctoral students’ experiences in the USA, providing a look at factors influencing “in the moment” decisions students make…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to focus on survey reports of doctoral students’ experiences in the USA, providing a look at factors influencing “in the moment” decisions students make about persistence. Specifically, the authors investigate the reasons doctoral students consider leaving their programs, and how these reasons may differ for international and domestic students. The authors also examine international–domestic patterns by sex and by program of study.

Design/methodology/approach

As part of a campus-wide doctoral program assessment, doctoral students and recent graduates at a large, public, Research I institution in the Midwest region of the USA are asked to complete a program satisfaction survey. Content analysis of open-ended survey responses is the basis of the analysis. Next, a code by committee approach is used whereby two members of the research team coded all open-ended responses and discussed discrepancies to reach consensus on all codes assigned, and to reduce individual biases. Each open-ended response is assigned at least one of 16 codes, with more than one code used as necessary.

Findings

The results suggest that, although both academic and social factors are important influences of doctoral departure in general, academic concerns – specifically, alignment with goals, career preparation and program structure – may be particularly important for international students, whereas social aspects – faculty relationships and program climate – may be more important for domestic US students.

Research limitations/implications

Researchers should consider conducting larger, multi-institutional studies in the USA, which would reflect a diversity of perspectives and experiences within the American context. Parallel studies of doctoral programs in other countries may be useful in identifying whether similar factors are found for international and domestic students attending those programs. Follow-up interviews could be used to further delve into and understand the emergent patterns from the surveys. The findings of such future studies have the power to inform programs and policies designed to increase the retention of both domestic and international doctoral students.

Practical implications

Given that faculty/advising is one of the most important factors cited by both domestic and international students, our findings suggest that US faculty members may need to give more attention to nurturing supportive relationships with their advisees. Furthermore, American university administrators might consider changing tenure requirements and reward systems for professors to place more emphasis on cultivating positive relationships with advisees, publishing, presenting and writing grants with advisees, and providing high-quality mentoring for doctoral students. Doctoral-granting institutions should consider implementing regular program reviews that include surveys from doctoral students to help programs identify and meet their students’ needs.

Originality/value

Likewise, while other research on international students’ doctoral experiences has been conducted, such as the relationship with their faculty advisor (Kim, 2007; Rice et al., 2009), single studies that focus on factors affecting the attrition of domestic versus that of international students’ remain limited. The purpose of this study is to address the following research questions: What factors contribute to doctoral students’ considerations of departure in the USA? How might these factors differ between domestic and international students? We seek to expand understandings of doctoral attrition by using larger-scale qualitative data to address limitations of existing studies that focus on the experiences of only a few students.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

Keywords

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