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Doctoral student support programs in diverse national contexts

Doctoral student support programs in diverse national contexts PurposeThe growing demand for doctoral education and the role of the doctoral degree to advance nations socially, economically, and culturally forces countries and individual institutions to respond to concerns stemming from the doctoral process. Numerous initiatives to support doctoral students have been adopted with varying features across countries. The purpose of this paper is to examine doctoral student support programs in two countries: the USA and Turkey. These countries offer higher education systems at different stages of maturity and stability.Design/methodology/approachThe data for this study came from a comparative case study analysis of doctoral student experiences in support programs at two research universities, one in the USA and one in Turkey. Ten American doctoral students and eight Turkish doctoral students were interviewed, for a total of 18 interviews. The study utilized the conceptual framework specified by the PhD Completion Project initiated by the US Council of Graduate Schools.FindingsThe two national systems featured in this study are at different points of their development. These developmental starting points influence the rationale and construction of a student support program, particularly one focused on advanced degrees, research activity, and knowledge production. The Turkish higher education system faces the challenge of building its infrastructure to be responsive to national needs in future decades, including producing qualified faculty as teachers and researchers. The American model of doctoral student support concentrates on increasing diversity within the academy. By focusing on first-generation students, students of color, and women in STEM disciplines, efforts are directed toward not just improving the quantity of graduates, but also the diversity of those graduates.Originality/valueWhile doctoral student support programs are increasingly common in multiple national contexts, analyses of these programs are rare, and comparative analyses even more so. The emergence of new academic disciplines, the trend toward interdisciplinary research, and the prevalence of neo-liberal policies has made the doctoral experience increasingly complex. The data presented here reveal that while doctoral education is influenced by country-specific contexts, doctoral students from multiple countries share many of the same experiences. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

Doctoral student support programs in diverse national contexts

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2050-7003
DOI
10.1108/JARHE-12-2016-0095
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe growing demand for doctoral education and the role of the doctoral degree to advance nations socially, economically, and culturally forces countries and individual institutions to respond to concerns stemming from the doctoral process. Numerous initiatives to support doctoral students have been adopted with varying features across countries. The purpose of this paper is to examine doctoral student support programs in two countries: the USA and Turkey. These countries offer higher education systems at different stages of maturity and stability.Design/methodology/approachThe data for this study came from a comparative case study analysis of doctoral student experiences in support programs at two research universities, one in the USA and one in Turkey. Ten American doctoral students and eight Turkish doctoral students were interviewed, for a total of 18 interviews. The study utilized the conceptual framework specified by the PhD Completion Project initiated by the US Council of Graduate Schools.FindingsThe two national systems featured in this study are at different points of their development. These developmental starting points influence the rationale and construction of a student support program, particularly one focused on advanced degrees, research activity, and knowledge production. The Turkish higher education system faces the challenge of building its infrastructure to be responsive to national needs in future decades, including producing qualified faculty as teachers and researchers. The American model of doctoral student support concentrates on increasing diversity within the academy. By focusing on first-generation students, students of color, and women in STEM disciplines, efforts are directed toward not just improving the quantity of graduates, but also the diversity of those graduates.Originality/valueWhile doctoral student support programs are increasingly common in multiple national contexts, analyses of these programs are rare, and comparative analyses even more so. The emergence of new academic disciplines, the trend toward interdisciplinary research, and the prevalence of neo-liberal policies has made the doctoral experience increasingly complex. The data presented here reveal that while doctoral education is influenced by country-specific contexts, doctoral students from multiple countries share many of the same experiences.

Journal

Journal of Applied Research in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 9, 2017

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