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Doctoral Education and the Faculty of the Future

Doctoral Education and the Faculty of the Future

Ronald G. Ehrenberg
Charlotte V. Kuh
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Doctoral Education and the Faculty of the Future
    Book Description:

    American colleges and universities simultaneously face large numbers of faculty retirements and expanding enrollments. Budget constraints have led colleges and universities to substitute part-time and full-time non-tenure-track faculty for tenure-track faculty, and the demand for faculty members will likely be high in the decade ahead.

    This heightened demand is coming at a time when the share of American college graduates who go on for PhD study is far below its historic high. The declining interest of American students in doctoral programs is due to many factors, including long completion times, low completion rates, the high cost of doctoral education, and the decline in the share of faculty positions that are tenured or on the tenure track. In short, doctoral education is in crisis because the impediments are many and the rewards are few; students often choose instead to enroll in professional programs that result in more marketable credentials.

    In Doctoral Education and the Faculty of the Future, scientists, social scientists, academic administrators, and policymakers describe their efforts to increase and improve the supply of future faculty. They cover topics ranging from increasing undergraduate interest in doctoral study to improving the doctoral experience and the participation of underrepresented groups in doctoral education.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6156-9
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    Ronald G. Ehrenberg and Charlotte V. Kuh

    American colleges and universities are simultaneously facing large numbers of faculty retirements and expanding enrollments. Budget constraints, especially those at public higher education institutions, have led colleges and universities to substitute part-time and full-time non-tenure-track faculty for tenure-track faculty. Although this substitution will reduce the demand for new full-time tenure-track faculty, the demand for faculty members will likely be high in the decade ahead.

    This heightened demand is coming at a time when the share of American college graduates who go on for PhD study is far below its historic high. Moreover, groups that historically have been underrepresented in PhD...

  4. I. Improving Doctoral Education

    • 1 Changing the Education of Scholars: An Introduction to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Graduate Education Initiative
      (pp. 15-34)
      Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Harriet Zuckerman, Jeffrey A. Groen and Sharon M. Brucker

      In 1991 the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation launched the Graduate Education Initiative (GEI) to improve the structure and organization of PhD programs in the humanities and social sciences and to combat the high rates of student attrition and long time to degree completion prevailing in these fields. While attrition and time to completion were deemed to be important in and of themselves, and of great significance to degree seekers, they were also seen more broadly as indicators of the effectiveness of graduate programs. An array of characteristics of doctoral programs was earmarked as likely contributors to high attrition and long...

    • 2 The Council of Graduate Schools’ PhD Completion Project
      (pp. 35-52)
      Daniel D. Denecke, Helen S. Frasier and Kenneth E. Redd

      John Houseman earned an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a National Board of Review award for best supporting actor as the uncompromising Professor Kingsfield in James Bridges’s The Paper Chase, the 1973 movie based on John Jay Osborne’s novel dramatizing his experiences at Harvard Law School. The movie provides what is still probably American culture’s most famous reference to attrition in graduate programs when Kingsfield welcomes the incoming class by stating, “Look to your left. Look to your right. One of you will not be here on graduation day.” The professor’s orientation speech is intended not so much...

    • 3 Advocating Apprenticeship and Intellectual Community: Lessons from the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate
      (pp. 53-64)
      Chris M. Golde, Andrea Conklin Bueschel, Laura Jones and George E. Walker

      Despite a well-established reputation for excellence internationally, doctoral education in the United States faces growing competition from emerging centers of educational innovation abroad. Recent reform efforts have addressed the ability of doctoral programs to serve the development of their students and their preparation for various professional positions, or to contribute to society more broadly. A growing chorus is calling for increased attention to disciplinary boundaries, collaboration within and across fields, and the ability to integrate knowledge in new ways (see, for example, Golde and Walker 2006). It is within this context that we redefine apprenticeship and ground it within intellectual...

    • 4 Three Ways of Winning Doctoral Education: Rate of Progress, Degree Completion, and Time to Degree
      (pp. 65-79)
      Catherine M. Millett and Michael T. Nettles

      The timeliness with which students progress through and complete doctoral programs has been frequently studied and debated (Hartnett and Willingham 1979; Spurr 1970; Wright 1957). As doctoral degrees are the least prescriptive of higher education degrees, the amount of time that students are expected to take to complete them has never been established. Since doctoral education has the unique function of preparing scholars, researchers, and university faculty, some tolerance on time to degree may have more to do with universities placing more emphasis on ensuring that candidates are adequately prepared, at the expense of focusing on the speed at which...

    • 5 Confronting Common Assumptions: Designing Future-Oriented Doctoral Education
      (pp. 80-90)
      Maresi Nerad

      Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis; one would think that this Latin proverb—“The times are changing and we are changing with them”—applies to all sectors of life and all societies. However, in the United States, doctoral education is, for the most part, still structured as if it were meant to prepare students for life as university professors—as if times have not changed and graduate students have stayed the same. This outdated assumption is one of a number of common erroneous assumptions that are still in the minds of faculty and higher education policymakers and are perpetuated...

  5. II. Attracting Undergraduates to PhD Study

    • 6 Generating Doctoral Degree Candidates at Liberal Arts Colleges
      (pp. 93-108)
      Robert J. Lemke

      Liberal arts colleges are an important source of PhD candidates. While these colleges award about 11 percent of all undergraduate degrees in the United States, almost 17 percent of all PhDs awarded to American students are to graduates of liberal arts colleges. The most recent data suggest that about 5.3 percent of all graduates from the best liberal arts colleges eventually earn a PhD, while only 2.2 percent of all graduates from the best universities do. There is also a substantial difference across liberal arts colleges, with the best colleges producing PhD candidates at three times the rate of lower-ranked...

    • 7 Undergraduate STEM Research Experiences: Impact on Student Interest in Doing Graduate Work in STEM Fields
      (pp. 109-120)
      Myles Boylan

      Does participation in undergraduate research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) affect the likelihood that participants will enter STEM graduate programs and succeed? This is one of many questions addressed in the literature on the effects of undergraduate research (UGR). Typically such studies examine the impact of UGR on a number of factors: the completion of a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field; the probability of transitioning to graduate school after earning the bachelor’s degree; changes in the depth of commitment to or level of interest in continuing into graduate school (because many UGR participants have already planned to...

  6. III. Increasing the Representation of People of Color in the PhD Pool

    • 8 Minority Students in Science and Math: What Universities Still Do Not Understand about Race in America
      (pp. 123-134)
      Richard Tapia and Cynthia Johnson

      Why do so few Hispanics and African Americans enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, which are essential to the economic and social health of the nation? Simply put, the educational system grows increasingly unresponsive to America’s Hispanic and black populations as the degree stakes go up. Borrowing the pipeline analogy, the STEM faculty pipeline is just the last, smallest-diameter section of a system that eliminates large numbers of Hispanic and black students all along the way while providing little support to those who try to stay the course. Some universities are beginning to complain not only of a...

    • 9 The Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute: A Successful Model for Increasing Minority Representation in the Mathematical Sciences
      (pp. 135-145)
      Carlos Castillo-Chavez and Carlos Castillo-Garsow

      William Yslas Velez—a distinguished professor of mathematics at the University of Arizona, a past president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and a recipient of a White House President’s Award for his documented efforts to mentor and support minority students—has often challenged elite institutions to find ways of increasing minority representation in the mathematical sciences.¹ At Cornell University we have taken up this challenge. In 1996 Velez introduced us to James Schatz, who was at that time the chief of the Division of the Mathematical Sciences at the National Security Agency,...

    • 10 Curriculum Intensity in Graduate Preparatory Programs: The Impact on Performance and Progression to Graduate Study among Minority Students in Economics
      (pp. 146-159)
      Charles Becker and Gregory Price

      Considerable resources are devoted to preparing students for doctoral study, particularly in quantitative disciplines. This is especially true in the United States, where most domestic students come from the liberal arts, which have not given them the complete background necessary for success in doctoral programs with substantial prerequisites. The United States also suffers from a legacy of discrimination against many minority groups, especially African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics. American minorities continue to experience inferior primary and secondary education on average, and are disproportionately likely to attend nonresearch, largely noncompetitive colleges and universities that neither encourage nor prepare students for...

    • 11 Assessing Programs to Improve Minority Participation in the STEM Fields: What We Know and What We Need to Know
      (pp. 160-172)
      Cheryl Leggon and Willie Pearson Jr.

      In this chapter we focus on evaluations of programs designed to improve the participation of underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities (URMs) in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in the United States (U.S.). Our goal is to review selected published studies and unpublished reports about the most effective and promising programs in increasing STEM diversity at the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and junior faculty levels. We seek to identify what is known and what needs to be known about programs, practices, and policies that are effective in diversifying workers in the STEM disciplines.

      Within the past fifty years, the U.S. economic...

  7. IV. Increasing the Representation of Women in Academia

    • 12 First a Glass Ceiling, Now a Glass Cliff? The Changing Picture for Women in Science and Higher Education Careers
      (pp. 175-181)
      M. R. C. Greenwood

      Fifty years ago very few women chose careers in academic science or as leaders in higher education. Almost without exception, pictures and reports of major scientific events or societies depicted men—and mostly Caucasian men. Consequently there were few role models or exemplars for young women to emulate. Of course, there were some extraordinary exceptions such as physicist Marie Curie, astronomer Maria Mitchell, and, more recently, Nobel Prize–winning biologist Rosalyn Yalow. It is hardly surprising then that most women scientists at the full professorial level, now in their midfifties, sixties, or older, can easily recount experiences of being actively...

    • 13 Increasing Women’s Representation in the Life Sciences
      (pp. 182-191)
      Jong-on Hahm

      In academic employment, women are not yet present in numbers that would be expected given the level of degree attainment over the past few decades. According to the 2003 Survey of Doctorate Recipients, women constituted 45 percent of junior faculty (assistant professors) and 29 percent of senior faculty, which included the associate and full professor ranks (survey data reported in National Science Board 2006). Among fifty research universities that receive that highest level of government research funding, the percentage of assistant professors is 30 percent, associate professors 25 percent, and full professors 15 percent (Nelson 2004).

      The life sciences—including...

    • 14 Attracting and Retaining Women in Engineering: The Tufts University Experience
      (pp. 192-206)
      Linda Abriola and Margery Davies

      In the United States, engineering is an academic field that has been, and continues to be, predominantly male. In recent years, only about one in five PhD recipients has been a woman. As the Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development notes,

      Now, more than ever, the nation needs to cultivate the scientific and technical talents of all its citizens, not just those from groups that have traditionally worked in SET [science, engineering, and technology] fields. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities currently constitute more than two-thirds of the U.S. workforce. It...

  8. V. The Internationalization of Doctoral Education

    • 15 Do Foreign Doctorate Recipients Displace U.S. Doctorate Recipients at U.S. Universities?
      (pp. 209-223)
      Liang Zhang

      Many people believe that foreign students are crowding out U.S.-citizen students from graduate—especially doctoral—programs at U.S. universities. Borjas (2003) has documented that the share of nonresident aliens enrolled in graduate programs in the United States rose from 5.5 percent in 1976 to 12.4 percent in 1999. In science and engineering (SE) fields, the increase was even more pronounced. In the 1999–2000 academic year, nonresident aliens received 38.2 percent of the doctorates awarded in the physical sciences, 52.1 percent in engineering, 26.6 percent in the life sciences, and 22.8 percent in the social sciences. Data show that in...

    • 16 Opening (and Closing) Doors: Country-Specific Shocks in U.S. Doctoral Education
      (pp. 224-248)
      Emily Blanchard, John Bound and Sarah Turner

      The representation of students from abroad among doctorate recipients—particularly in science and engineering—in U.S. universities has increased dramatically in recent decades, rising from 27 percent in 1973 to over 50 percent in 2005. This growth has not been uniform across source countries, and increases in doctorate attainment have been particularly large among those countries where the rate of growth in undergraduate degree attainment has exceeded that in the United States (Bound, Turner, and Walsh, forthcoming).

      Although some of the changes in doctorate attainment by country of origin reflect relatively smooth adjustments in the choices of students from nations...

    • 17 What the “War on Terror” Has Meant for U.S. Colleges and Universities
      (pp. 249-258)
      Michael A. Olivas

      A number of the chapters in this volume have directly addressed the perceived decline in the attractiveness of graduate professional education in the United States, offering a multitude of observations and proposing a number of solutions. As is the case with so many complex problems, virtually all of the diagnoses and prescriptions are correct in their own ways, and completely wrongheaded in others. In the crowded Chinese city, a young girl only vaguely senses her possibilities as a chemist, medical researcher, or legal scholar; the young boy in the Mexican milpa (field) only understands the study of physics or the...

  9. Looking to the Future
    (pp. 259-262)
    Ronald G. Ehrenberg and Charlotte V. Kuh

    The chapters in Doctoral Education have provided a road map for improving the functioning of doctoral education programs in the United States. Money matters, but it is not the only thing that matters; even well-funded doctoral programs have dropout rates that are higher than desirable. Efforts to improve doctoral education should focus on the characteristics of the curriculum, the advising provided to students, clearly articulating objectives and requirements, and integrating faculty and students into a community of scholars. Because the success of a doctoral program often depends heavily on the leadership of a few concerned faculty members, faculty leadership must...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 263-276)
  11. References
    (pp. 277-292)
  12. Contributors
    (pp. 293-296)
  13. Author Index
    (pp. 297-300)
  14. Subject Index
    (pp. 301-308)