Academics with Professional Doctorate Degrees in Ghanaian Universities

Academics with Professional Doctorate Degrees in Ghanaian Universities

Joseph Ezale Cobbinah (University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana) and Abigail Ayorkor Aryeh-Adjei (University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAVET.2018070103
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Over the years, entry into the academia in any Ghanaian university requires an advanced research degree, more preferably traditional doctorate. In the last ten years, a reasonable number of academics entering Ghanaian universities enter with professional doctorate degrees. This article seeks to investigate the acceptability of professional doctorate degree holders in Ghanaian universities, how they are perceived by their counterparts in the academia and their suitability in the universities. The data was gathered from respondents in public universities using interview schedule. The study concluded that since university education is not only to prepare students to enter the academia the involvement of professional doctorate holders in university teaching and learning would also help universities to effectively train students to acquire skills that will make them versatile in the present world of work.
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The introduction professional doctorate alongside traditional PhD has created an opportunity for those who are working and wish to advance their careers and individuals who are ‘seeking development, in forms of professional practice’ and cannot embark on full-time doctoral studies also to gain doctorial education and award (Wellington & Sikes, 2006; Pratt, Tedder, Boyask, & Kelly, 2015:43; Wildy, Peden, & Chan, 2015). The growing demand of doctoral education and universities efforts to increase their fee revenue has also made several universities introducing professional doctorates (Bourner, Bowden, & Laing, 2001; Neumann, 2005). However, over the years many universities have introduced professional doctorates although ‘several reasons have contributed to the spread of professional doctorates’ (Wildy et al., 2015:763). Award of professional doctorate (EdD) started in USA by Harvard University in 1921 (Bourner et al., 2001), countries like the UK, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and China are also awarding professional doctorates in different fields of study (Chiteng Kot & Hendel 2011 as cited in Widly et al., 2015). In Ghana, University of Education in Winneba is currently running professional doctorate degrees in Education (EdD) with specializations in Educational Leadership and Social Studies (University of Education, 2015); Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is also running professional doctorate degree in Business Administration (DBA). Professional doctorates are not common qualifications awarded by universities in Ghana, but some university academics who seek to remain in the academia but do not have a PhD are embarking on professional doctoral studies.

Proliferation of professional doctorates emanated from a number of reasons; industries’ dissatisfaction with traditional doctorate (PhD) which they argue did not meet their requirements, because its focus is more on research leaving little focus on industrial practice (Bourner, Bowden, & Laing 2000; Green, Maxwell, & Sanahan, 2001 cited in Wildy, Peden & Chan, 2015); it provides an alternative route for those who by virtue of their work commitments cannot study and gain a traditional PhD through full time education (Gallagher, 2000; Neumann, 2002; Morley & Petty, 2010); prestige, for career progression, increased self-esteem and confidence and improved salaries (Wellington & Sikes, 2006); as an avenue to increase university revenue (Neumann, 2005); new market demands (Chiteng Kot, & Hendel, 2012); ‘expansion of knowledge and skills as researchers of professional practice’ (Wildy et al., 2015: 761); due to government policy for institutions to train highly educated society to enhance economic competition in countries such as Australia, USA, UK and Canada (McWilliam et al., 2002 as cited in Wildy et al., 2015).

However, some critics also argue that professional doctorates lack adequate research skills which could be applicable in industry (Green & Powell 2005 as cited in Morley & Petty, 2010).

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