Forces of change in doctoral education : a perspective from four early-career researchers
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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.