Degree Granting Department
Adult, Career, and Higher Education
James A. Eison, Ph.D.
Graduate student socialization, Preparing future faculty, Doctoral education, Professoriate, Teaching, Research, Service
Calls for reform in doctoral education are not new. However, the past decade has experienced renewed interest and discussion in preparing the future professoriate. Whereas most studies of graduate student socialization and preparation for faculty roles have focused on doctoral students or new faculty, this study examined the perceptions of senior faculty members involved in doctoral education. All senior faculty (n=4970) in biological sciences, English, mathematics, and non-clinical psychology from a stratified sample of 69 research universities nationwide were invited to participate. More than 1150 faculty completed a web-based survey. Respondents rated the importance of 18 competencies (based on a framework by Austin and McDaniels) and 24 roles during 1) the first three years of faculty work and 2) doctoral education. Additionally, participants identified persons having primary responsibility for introducing doctoral students to each competency or role.
Faculty respondents rated general competencies and research roles as more important than teaching and service roles for both new faculty and doctoral students. Whereas nearly all items were rated higher in importance for faculty than students, mean difference scores showed great variability. Results also varied by discipline. In general, most respondents viewed the doctoral student advisor or all faculty members in the academic unit as having primary responsibility for introducing specific roles and competencies to doctoral students; other common responses included the student and nobody. Results of the study have important implications for doctoral education at the national, institutional, and unit levels. First, consideration of disciplinary differences in priorities for doctoral training and new faculty development programs is vital. Additionally, multiple stakeholders can impact the preparation of future faculty.
Training institutions, hiring institutions, and students can play a role in narrowing the gap between doctoral student preparation and the work required of new faculty. Suggestions for future research include expanding the sample to include a broader array of academic disciplines and incorporating qualitative methods to discern reasons for disparities in the importance assigned to specific competencies and roles. Research should also explore the perceptions of senior faculty concerning the worth and feasibility of recent recommendations aimed at better preparing future faculty.
Scholar Commons Citation
Purcell, Jennifer M., "Perceptions of senior faculty concerning doctoral student preparation for faculty roles" (2007). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.