Forces of change in doctoral education : a perspective from four early-career researchers Chapter uri icon

Book Title

  • Globalization and its impacts on the quality of PhD education : forces and forms in doctoral education worldwide


  • This chapter, as its title suggests, examines the forces affecting doctoral education from the shared perspective of four early-career researchers (ECRs).1 We define the term early-career researchers as denoting current doctoral students as well as individuals who have completed doctoral study within the past three years and who may now be working in academic settings as well as in a variety of other employment sectors. As such, the ECR cohort may include advanced doctoral students, postdoctoral students, assistant professors, and other beginning researchers. As a complement to the other chapters in this volume, this chapter stresses the importance of understanding the forces of change not just in terms of their ramifications for nation building, the nature of the PhD, research and data, evaluation, quality management, and so on, but also in terms of how these forces affect doctoral students and junior faculty. In a volume focused on the changing nature of doctoral education, it is important to examine the forces of change from the ECR perspective, since the future of doctoral education will be in the hands of those ECRs who remain in academia. We want to emphasize, however, that this chapter is not a review of the literature on the future of doctoral education, or on new models of doctoral education as implemented at various universities. First, there is a paucity of such literature. Second, and more important, what we present here is our own vision for the future, a vision based to a great extent on our personal experiences of doctoral education. We do not claim to speak for all doctoral students in every country and every type of degree program. What we are sharing here is our own joint reflection on the issues that we find important as we confront, absorb, and accommodate the global forces of change that are acting on doctoral education. We hope that our perspective will become a point of departure for future discussion among administrators, faculty, and ECRs from a wider variety of settings.

publication date

  • 2014