Implementing a Doctoral Program in the Role of Professor

Implementing a Doctoral Program in the Role of Professor

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2656-9.ch015
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This chapter discusses some of the roles of the doctoral faculty. As seen through the four aspects of the proposed framework, this includes roles in coursework, advising, mentoring, encouraging professional experiences, and service on doctoral committees. Although these topics were introduced in earlier chapters, this chapter examines them from the perspective of the doctoral faculty member.
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How To Be A Professor In A Robust Doctoral Program

I will begin by assuming that you are working within the context of a doctoral program that is designed to accomplish the ideals outlined in the book up to this point.

  • Establishing coursework that represents both the basic expected elements of doctoral program, including the development of expertise within the specialized field

  • Keeping in mind the goals of the doctoral students as they enter and exit the program

  • Setting goals for in-course or beyond-course experiences in joining professional communities of practice

  • Balancing the work of the doctoral program in such a way as to encourage the development of adaptive expertise


Your Role In Coursework

Once a program is designed and being implemented, a large part of your job is simply being the expert in your field. The program should have coursework that lets you shine by leading the doctoral students down that path introduces them to your personal area of expertise. Some of them may pursue the path following in your footsteps and eventually forge forward. Many of them will not. Your job is to get them thinking, to understand why your area of expertise is so exciting, and to get them to see how it supports the rest of your larger field of specialization. Have them read the literature enough that they understand the basic language of the specific community of scholars that study your niche in the specialization. Make sure they know what organizations you participate in and share with them how to get started. Do all of these things during your lessons (whether face-to-face or online) and include them in their readings and writing. By the end of your course, challenge them to become peripheral participants in the communities of practice that you have shown them throughout the course.

As an example, I will share some details of my favorite course. When I was at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, I taught a course called Research Trends in Mathematics Teacher Education. This was the focus of my expertise at that time. I had them read many journal articles and book chapters to learn the current knowledge base, the language used, and the current norms of the community of teachers of preservice and in-service preK-16 mathematics teachers. I also shared my research and publication agenda. I displayed my spreadsheet tracking all of my manuscripts I had ever worked on up to that point. The spreadsheet tracked the progress and date of each step of each concept. It tracked It from initial idea, to conference presentation, to rough draft of a manuscript. It also included the date I submitted it to a journal and when it was rejected, earned a revise and resubmit, and when it was accepted. I explained that when I had an idea for a manuscript, I very often made a conference presentation on the topic before writing the manuscript. It forced me to have a deadline for pulling my ideas together and gave me feedback from colleagues who were both interested and often well-informed. I still do that. In fact, I made three presentations at professional conferences before starting to write this book. Of course, many of the original ideas represented on the spreadsheet did not make it all the way to publication. Some did not even make it to a conference presentation. That spreadsheet tracked every idea that I thought might be publishable no matter what the final outcome. I created it for myself, but it became a valuable teaching tool.

I talked my doctoral students through each experience represented on the spreadsheet including details such as who I was talking to or what I had been reading when I initially thought of the concept. I talked about the influences of individuals at conferences and/or committee meetings of professional organizations. I talked about why each one was rejected or accepted and what I learned through the process. I pointed out that the average time from initial concept to a fully published article or chapter was about two full years.

For those doctoral students wanting to follow the path to becoming a published author in journals and books, this experience taught them about the process, what to expect, and how to emotionally handle it. I also taught them the value of collaboration with colleagues locally and in professional groups in making the journey to publication.

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