Emerging Research and Opportunities

Emerging Research and Opportunities

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2656-9.ch023


This chapter discusses how the proposed framework for examining doctoral programs might be used to generate discussion about and study doctoral programs. Specific ideas are addressed for researching and assessing an existing doctoral program. The book ends with encouragement and ideas for using the framework for studying across institutional boundaries.
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Studying Our Own Programs

As a profession, we are getting better at evaluating our own programs with our own goals and frameworks. National accrediting agencies such as

Figure 1.


Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and regional accrediting agencies such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) are holding institutions to follow through cycles of continuous evaluation and improvement. These can be exhausting and time-consuming. It is possible to look at these accreditation cycles as necessary processes to survive periodically. On the other hand, if your doctoral faculty take these opportunities to also examine the program holistically through the lens of more complex frameworks such as the one proposed in this book, greater lessons might be learned. The depth of analysis that these opportunities afford can fundamentally change the way we operate, the way we think, and the opportunities we support as our students graduate.


Studying Doctoral Programs Across Institutional Boundaries: An Example From The Field Of Mathematics Education

Some excellent scholarly work came of out the conferences on doctoral programs in mathematics education. In fact, there was an ongoing research agenda at the University of Missouri led by Dr. Robert E. Reys and supported by other colleagues at major research universities as well as the work of his doctoral students. In one line of inquiry, Reys (2002) studied the shortage of doctoral graduates in the field of mathematics education and generated several publications and inspiring newspaper articles as well. Dr. Reys, along with Dr. Jermey Kilpatrick, hosted two national conferences on doctoral programs. A product of the first conference was the book, “One Field, Many Paths: U. S. Doctoral Programs in Mathematics Education” (Reys & Kilpatrick, 2001). The contents of the book include perspectives on doctoral programs across the U.S. and abroad, common elements across mathematics education doctoral programs, common issues facing programs, and reactions and reflections of recent graduates and leaders. The book finishes by offering suggestions for an agenda for actions that might be taken by individuals, programs, and the community of mathematics education doctoral programs as a whole. Periodic presentations, discussions, and publications have continued in the trajectory set forth by this effort. Most recently, Robert Reys and Barbara Reys published an article updating the information on the field of doctoral programs in mathematics education (2019).

Other fields have begun similar work. This research agenda is given as an example of what it might look like when we carry our sense of responsibility across institutional boundaries and have collaborative research projects examining our disciplines. Whether the research agenda is a new one or an existing one, applying a framework such as the one listed earlier holds the opportunity to fine-tune our perspective. Moreover, it may help us become more productive in the way we design and implement doctoral programs within the specialized field being studied.

Here are a few examples emerging research on doctoral programs in education that come from other fields within education:

  • Orellana, M. L., Darder, A., Pérez, A., & Salinas, J. (2016). Improving doctoral success by matching PhD students with supervisors. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 11, 87-103. Retrieved from http://ijds.org/Volume11/IJDSv11p087-103Orellana1629.pdf

  • Perry, J. (2016), “Foreword”, Emerging Directions in Doctoral Education (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. xiii-xv. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-364120160000006002

  • Ward, P. (2016): Policies, agendas, and practices: Influencing doctoral education in physical education teacher education. Quest. DOI:10.1080/00336297.2016.1234964

  • Wildy, H., Peden, S., & Chan, K (2015) The rise of professional doctorates: Case studies of the doctorate in education in China, Iceland and Australia. Studies in Higher Education, 40:5, 761-774, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2013.842968

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