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Educational policy analysis archives
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 3, no. 16 (November 08, 1995).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c November 08, 1995
Pursuit of the Ph.D. : "survival of the fittest," or is it time for a new approach? / Scott P. Kerlin.
x Research
v Periodicals.
2 710
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
1 773
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
4 856


1 of 28 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 3 Number 16November 8, 1995ISSN 1068-2341A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal. Editor: Gene V Glass Glass@ASU.EDU. College of Ed ucation, Arizona State University,Tempe AZ 85287-2411 Copyright 1995, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES.Permission is hereby granted to copy any a rticle provided that EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES is credited and copies are not sold.Pursuit of the Ph.D.: "Survival of the Fittest," Or Is It Time for a New Approach? Scott P. KerlinCo-Host, AERA-GSL Graduate Studies Discussion List Portland, Oregon Abstract: The thesis is put forward that changes in public p olicy which originally promoted broad access to higher education are leading to the dimin ished likelihood that minorities, those from low-income backgrounds and females in underrepresen ted disciplines will pursue, or be able to complete, the doctorate. By reviewing a wide range of research literature and statistical reports on the status of doctoral education in the U.S. & C anada, a detailed sociological portrait of those who pursue the Ph.D. is presented. Recommendations are given for further research on doctoral education, particularly in areas of attrition,reten tion, student indebtedness, social stratification, and post-doctoral career plans.Introduction The purpose of this two-part study (the second par t is published as Number 17 of Volume 3 of this journal) is to provide a contemporary ove rview of the status of doctoral education in the U.S. and Canada. In "Pursuit of the Ph.D.", a compr ehensive review of published research studies on trends in doctoral education is provided. Then, "Surviving the Doctoral Years: Critical Perspectives", I present the results of my own surv ey research into conditions affecting the progress and career development objectives of today 's doctoral students, as well as a critical analysis of social, economic, and political issues shaping the academic labor market for today's


2 of 28doctoral recipients.Why "Survival of the Fittest"? Much of my research focuses on students' "survival through the doctoral education process. This raises questions as to the functions of doctoral study in universities. Historically the doctorate has represented an elite award, reserved for students who were selected for further study by graduate faculty because they were thought to offer the greatest academic promise. Ph.D. study by its very nature is arduous and timeconsuming because it reflects a student's acquisition of expertise in a significant body of r esearch theory and practice. To a considerable extent, the Ph.D. is an institut ion's "stamp of approval" of the student's ability to conduct original research in at least on e academic discipline. It is recognized as the "union card" for obtaining an assistant professorsh ip in most colleges and universities (Smith, 1990). But as Smith points out, the doctorate is no t without its critics: William James was dismayed at what he called 'the M andarin disease' of the Ph.D., a 'Teutonic' invention, completely foreign to America n ways... It seems to me hard to improve on James' jeremiad on the Ph.D. We have bec ome so accustomed to it, it is so ingrained in our ways of thinking about higher e ducation, that we consider it part of the natural order of the universe. It is difficu lt to perceive its absurdity or fully understand the damage it has done to the intellectu al and moral basis of higher education. To take only the most obvious example, t he Ph.D. has shifted the responsibility for making the decision about the ap pointment of a junior faculty member from the institution doing the hiring (where of course, the responsibility should lie) to the institution doing the certifying It is rather like USDA-certified Grade A beef. Beef is inspected and graded on the w ell-grounded assumption that the consumer is not qualified to make such a judgme nt himself/herself. But does any hiring institution wish to make such a claim in reg ard to a future colleague? As between two Ph.D. holders of equal academic abil ity, is anyone prepared to argue that the one stamped and certified by Harvard Unive rsity is not going to be preferred, except in rare instances, to one certified by Weste rn Illinois University? Or poor Slippery Rock, if it now grants Ph.D.s? As the hold er of a prized (and generally, I regret to say, overrated) Harvard Ph.D., I am acute ly aware of the lead I had over equally qualified rivals for the better academic pr izes; the more insecure an upscale university feels, the more disposed it is to opt fo r those prestigious degrees (Smith, P., 1990, pp. 108-09). Because it validates a student's advanced research capabilities, the Ph.D. is a possession prized by most who hold it and a symbol of an as-ye t unattained academic recognition by both those who are currently pursuing and those who have withdrawn from formal doctoral study. It is, at its best, both a personal reflection of an i ndividual's intellectual development and growth and an external recognition of that same individual 's research capabilities. The doctoral dissertation is viewed by faculty as serving two pr incipal goals: (1) to demonstrate skills; and (2) to train in research skills (Isaac, Quinlan, & Walk er, 1992). Nevertheless, faculty who teach in doctoral programs may also strive to impart other p rofessional skills to their students, such as "human relations competency" and "reflective thinki ng competency" in addition to the traditional capacity for conducting quality doctoral research ( Smart & Hagedorn, 1994). But what does pursuit of the doctorate mean to tod ay's students? What expectations and hopes do doctoral students carry into the education al process, and what personal feelings result


3 of 28from having pursued the doctorate? Do most doctoral recipients emerge from their educational experiences with greater feelings of "worth", "inte lligence," and "ability"? And what about students who begin but do not comple te the doctorate? Does non-completion have lasting negative consequences f or students? Are some students more likely to withdraw before finishing, and why? This last qu estion is particularly critical because, according to many sources, approximately half of th e students in the U.S. and Canada who begin doctoral study will never receive the degree (Baird 1993; Bowen & Rudenstine, 1992; Canadian Association of Graduate Studies, 1994; Tinto, 1993) It is also critical because of the high financial cost to society of doctoral education. Dr op-out of 50 percent of doctoral candidates suggests substantial waste of precious institutiona l resources in an era of tremendous fiscal austerity for U.S. and Canadian universities. It is the main thesis of my study that, in many wa ys, the learning experiences and educational environments for contemporary doctoral students in U.S. and Canadian universities reflect a "survival of the fittest" ethic (Hawley, 1993; Moore, 1985; Rudestam & Newton, 1992; Sternberg, 1981). The combined effects of shrinking institutional resources, rising tuition and student indebtedness, eroding public support for hi gher education, downward economic mobility in American society, deteriorating faculty morale a nd declining job opportunities for doctoral recipients--particularly those graduating from nonelite public universities--are the factors chiefly responsible for this outcome (Brodie, 1995; Burke, 1995; Ehrenreich, 1989; Horwitz, 1994; Kerlin & Dunlap, 1993; Lewis & Altbach, 1994; Magner, 1994; McCloskey, 1994; Newman, 1994; Slaughter, 1993). Central to my thesis is the argument that individu als from groups which made the greatest social gains in the past fifty years (women, minori ties, first-generation college graduates, and individuals from working-class and modest middle cl ass backgrounds) are most vulnerable to these combined effects, and are the most "at risk" of not pursuing, or completing, the Ph.D. I contend that conservative social and fiscal policie s, such as the U.S. Republican party's "Contract for America" and related policies of the Canadian P rogressive Conservative Party, will likely intensify the reversal of the previous social gains for these groups, contributing to intensified competition for shrinking resources and, ultimately a deteriorating climate of teaching and learning conditions for graduate students and facul ty, particularly in the non-elite public universities. While the issue of "who completes the Ph.D." is ce rtainly a critical concern when studies of the academic profession are conducted, the follo w-up question may be even more critical: from which institutions, and backgrounds, will the next generation of university professors evolve? And what are the implications--particularly for regional public universities--if the backgrounds of faculty are increasingly different ( in terms of race, gender, class, institutional origin) than their students? This report is part of a symposium session presente d at the 1995 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Fr ancisco, California. It arose out of my continuing interest in research on critical issues shaping the academic profession on the eve of the twenty-first century. In part, it stems from my professional work with graduate students which spans ten years, including management of an 1 100-member graduate teaching assistants' union and consulting work for the Graduate Dean at the University of Oregon. From 1989 to 1992 I conducted doctoral research as sessing the impact of severe financial retrenchment in public higher education on the recr uitment, retention, and job satisfaction of contemporary American professors (Kerlin, 1992; Ker lin & Dunlap, 1993). Fundamental to my dissertation research was the finding that retrench ment is having negative effects on faculty morale, job satisfaction, academic salaries, and co mmitment to the university, and that declines in the quality of the academic profession are sever ely affecting the learning climate for doctoral students and the academic labor market for recruiti ng new tenure-track professors.


4 of 28 My post-doctoral research (Kerlin & Smith, 1994) e xtends this inquiry about the status of the academic profession into the realm of doctoral education. It questions both the validity of recent predictions of faculty shortages (Bowen & Ru denstine, 1992; Bowen & Sosa, 1989) and the adequacy of conditions under which current Ph.D candidates are obtaining their education. It also addresses many of the critical issues that con tribute to completion and non-completion of the doctorate. Finally, my current research seeks to dr aw implications about the impact of growing social inequality upon the potential demographic di fferences (in terms of race, gender, and class background) between faculty newly-hired during the next decade and those professors first hired in the 1960s and 1970s.TRENDS IN GRADUATE AND DOCTORAL EDUCATION With their publication of In Pursuit of the Ph.D. William Bowen and Neil Rudenstine (1992) filled a major gap in the research literatur e on doctoral education in the United States. Studies of the doctorate have not been unavailable, as Baird (1990, 1993) and Malaney (1988) have acknowledged, but few have as broad a scope as Bowen & Rudenstine's examination of doctoral education at ten of America's leading doct oral-granting institutions. Critics have suggested that Bowen & Rudenstine's text suffers fr om over-dependence upon data from a few, highlyselective institutions that do not represen t the vast majority of graduate programs or students (McCloskey, 1994), while supporters have h ailed the authors' calls for improvements in the quality of academic departments and the levels of faculty support for graduate students. D'Arms (1994) argues in his defense of Bowen & Rude nstine that doctoral faculty need to see themselves less as gatekeepers to the profession an d more as educational "partners" with their doctoral students.Literature and Statistics on Students in Doctoral P rograms In his broad review of the research literature pub lished on graduate education, Malaney (1988) found that the majority of research studies about doctoral education have focused exclusively upon students, especially statistical m easures of enrollment and matriculation trends and predictions of student performance in graduate school. The journal with the greatest number of research articles about graduate education is Re search in Higher Education, the official journal of AIR--the Association for Institutional Research (Gillingham, Seneca, & Taussig, 1991; Kallio, 1995; Ott, Markewich, & Ochsner, 1984). But in spit e of these many studies, Malaney notes that little systematic research has been conducted on st udent retention and attrition at the graduate level, largely due to problems with developing appr opriate research designs. Much of the available research on nationwide trend s of doctoral candidates is limited to statistical portraits of graduate enrollments and d egree recipients. The standard report on doctoral recipients in the U.S., Summary Report, Doctorate R ecipients from United States Universities is produced annually by the National Research Council (NRC) based upon a survey of doctoral recipients during each academic year (see National Research Council, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995). Based on annual surveys conducted with all recipien ts of research doctorates from U.S. institutions, this report presents an exhaustive st atistical overview of demographic trends among doctoral graduates and includes data on discipline of study, gender, age, nationality, race, and institutions. In the NRC reports, statistics descri be length of enrollment, post-doctoral plans, level of indebtedness, and changing trends in docto ral recipients during the past 30 years. Occasional issues of the report contain additional data, such as the 1991 study (NRC, 1993) which has a special section on female doctoral reci pients. U.S. Doctorates Awarded Since 1963 by Field and Cit izenship


5 of 28 According to the latest (1993 doctoral recipients) report from the NRC (published in 1995), the total number of annual research doctorat es granted by U.S. universities grew from 12,278 in 1963 to 39,754 in 1993, an increase of 22 4 percent in 30 years. The graph on the following page depicts broad changes in doctorates received in U.S. institutions since 1963, including statistics on citizenship and gender. The period of greatest increase in doctorates received was clearly between 1963 and 1973, when th e annual numbers of doctorates grew by 165 percent for all doctorates and 156 percent for doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens. Interestingly, the rate of growth of faculty positi ons in U.S. colleges and universities during this same ten-year period was only 88 percent (Ryan & Sa ckrey, 1984). Since 1973, there has been minimal growth in annua l numbers of doctorates received by U.S. citizens in most disciplines, and some fields such as humanities, education, and the physical sciences have shown declines (NRC, 1995, p. 21). Be tween 1978 and 1993, the annual number of U.S. citizens earning doctorates averaged less than 25,000. Among 1993 doctoral recipients, approximately 26,400 U.S. citizens were included (N RC, 1995). Among non-citizens, 12,173 (32 percent of the total) doctorates were awarded in 19 93. The nations of China (People's Republic and Taiwan), Korea, and India accounted for 52 perc ent of non-U.S. citizens receiving doctorates, and Canadian citizens represented an ad ditional 4 percent. Smith & Tang (1995) note that the total number of science and engineering do ctorates granted to U.S. citizens between 1975 and 1990 has grown by only one percent, but the num ber of U.S. minorities earning science/engineering doctorates during this same per iod grew by 104 percent. Among broad fields, the 30 year changes in doctora tes received were as follows:___________________________________________________ _____________ DOCTORATES GRANTED BY UNITED STATES UNIVERSITIES, 1 963 TO 1993 Field of Study 1963 1973 1983 1993 All Fields 12,728 33,755 31,282 39,754 Physical Sciences 2,910 5,311 4,426 6,496 Engineering 1,357 3,364 2,781 5,696 Life Sciences 2,083 5,168 5,554 7,397 Social Sciences 2,027 5,757 6,095 6,545 Humanities 1,842 5,414 3,500 4,481 Education 2,137 7,238 7,174 6,647 Professional/Other 372 1,503 1,752 2,492 U.S. Citizens 10,925 27,914 24,359 26,386 ___________________________________________________ _____________ Source: National Research Council, _Summary Report 1993: Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities_, 1995. Among all fields examined, life sciences and socia l sciences are the only ones which showed continued growth in doctorates earned betwee n 1963 and 1993. The period of 1973 to 1983 showed a relative decline in doctorates receiv ed among many fields as well as significant declines in total doctorates awarded to U.S. citize ns. However, since 1983, these trends reversed for most fields, and by 1993 fields such as physica l sciences, engineering, and life sciences exceeded total doctorates received in these fields in 1973. Another recent statistical portrait of graduate st udents in U.S. institutions is available from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS): _Graduate En rollment and Degrees, 1986 to 1992_ (1994). The data in this publication presents a com parative look at master's and doctoral recipients in terms of gender, ethnicity, type of i nstitution, discipline, and geographic region of the U.S. The CGS report includes figures organized by Carnegie institutional classification as


6 of 28well as average annual changes in enrollment and gr aduation by degree type from 1986 to 1992. The National Research Council has also completed a detailed study of doctoral programs in U.S. universities (see Magner, 1995) entitled _R esearch-Doctorate Programs in the United States: Continuity and Change_. Four years in the m aking, this report analyzes peer-reviewed doctoral programs in 274 U.S. universities represen ting 41 distinct fields of study. Ratings of each program in terms of "quality" and 'effectivene ss in educating research scholars" are included. The published study based its findings on surveys that were administered to approximately 8000 graduate faculty across the U.S. and reportedly contains "objective" statistics on 19 different characteristics for each program, as well as an overall ranking for each institution offering the course of study. Compariso ns between the current study (conducted in 1992-93) and an earlier NRC survey of doctoral prog rams (1982) are included in the final report. The Aging of Doctoral Students Although not as much information is available on t he age of doctoral recipients, there is evidence that the median age of recipients has incr eased in the past 20 years. In 1993, the median age of all doctoral recipients was 34.1 years. The field with highest median age was Education, at 43.0 years, while Chemistry recipients were the you ngest with a median age of 29.7 years. For all men, the median age at graduation in 1993 was 33.2 years while for women it was 36.1 years. By comparison, in 1987, the median age of all doctoral recipients was 33.6 years, and 32.8 years for men and 35.4 years for women (NRC, 1989, 1995). Equally important as the changing ages of doctoral recipients is the fact that increasing numbers of older (i.e. beyond age 25) individuals a re entering and completing doctoral study in U.S. universities (Brazziel, 1992). Pauley (1994) u tilized the NRC study of 1992 doctoral recipients (NRC, 1993) to focus his dissertation re search on doctoral recipients with "non-traditional baccalaureate origins" (i.e. age 2 5 or older when receiving the bachelor's degree). His research compared the characteristics and educational experiences of 4,296 nontraditional bachelor's recipients from the U.S. wit h those of the remaining 23,226 U.S. citizens who received their doctorates in 1992 but who obtai ned their baccalaureate before age 25. Pauley found that the "non-traditional" class was an avera ge of 42.5 years old (versus 35.5 years for traditionals), more ethnically diverse, and less li kely to receive assistantships and fellowships than their traditional doctoral colleagues.Family Backgrounds of Doctoral Recipients The doctorate symbolizes for many students a kind o f "rite of passage". It is instructive to inquire what proportion of doctoral recipients are the first in their families to graduate from college. While not an adequate indicator of true "s ocial class" (about which more will be discussed later in this paper) by itself, completio n of a college education has been recognized historically as a form of acceptance into the profe ssional world (Ryan & Sackrey, 1984), and completion of the Ph.D. represents a kind of "vocat ional license" to practice in the middle class academic profession (Bledstein, 1978). In this sect ion I will briefly examine the educational backgrounds of doctoral recipients. Among 1993 graduates who are U.S. citizens, fully half could be classified as "first-generation college graduates." When parents' educational backgrounds for 1993 doctoral recipients were examined by the NRC, 49 percent of fathers and 62 percent of mothers had not graduated from colleges, while 19 percent of father s and 21 percent of mothers held bachelor's degrees as their highest level of educational attai nment. Nearly 20 percent of 1993 recipients' fathers and 6 percent of mothers held doctoral or p rofessional degrees. In comparison, over 80 percent of fathers and mothers of 1968 doctoral rec ipients held no college degree (1).


7 of 28Doctoral Attrition and Degree Progress While statistical portraits are readily available on doctoral recipients, less information exists on students who have not yet completed their doctoral programs of study. We have no central database indicating what portion of total d octoral students across the U.S. have dropped out of graduate school prior to completing their wo rk (see Baird, 1993). However, a number of published sources have noted that attrition rates o f 50 percent or higher are common among doctoral candidates across the U.S., and reportedly have been on the increase during the past three decades (Baird, 1993; Bowen & Rudenstine, 199 2; Tinto, 1993). Retention and attrition data disaggregated in terms of gender, ethnicity, o r class backgrounds are usually unavailable for doctoral students. During the doctoral years, numerous issues may sur face in a student's own life as well as the educational process which can lead to withdrawa l from a doctoral program. These issues need to be researched and discussed more broadly at the departmental, institutional, and regional policy-making levels. Tinto (1993) has called for m ore comprehensive theories and research on the factors which contribute to completion of and a ttrition from doctoral programs. I would add that due to the tremendous costs of graduate educat ion--to the students, their institutions, and the society--institutions and researchers have a profou nd obligation to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of high rates of doctoral s tudent attrition and to pursue policy changes aimed at increasing student success and reducing do ctoral student dropout. Perhaps no other issue is as critical in a doctora l student's professional development as the question of whether to withdraw from a program prio r to completion (Golde, 1994). The "ABD phenomenon" typically describes students who have p assed their qualifying examinations and formally "advanced to doctoral candidacy" but who h ave not yet completed their doctoral dissertation requirements (Hanson, 1982; Jacks, Chu bin, Porter, & Connolly, 1983). Some of these students will eventually complete their studi es; others will formally withdraw; still others will simply "disappear" from academic institutions, leaving no clear indication to faculty or administrators of their decisions. Among the chief causes of dropout are inadequate financial resources, poor relations between students and facu lty, and dissatisfaction with the doctoral program (Jacks et al., 1983). For a variety of reas ons, research on ABDs is still quite limited. Recent studies that focus on identifying factors m ost often cited by students who withdraw from formal doctoral studies include two dissertati ons completed during 1994 that studied ABD students. Ramos (1994) examined 12 ABD doctoral can didates in the School of Education at the University of Kansas in order to understand factors that influenced their degree progress. He found that structure, or lack of it, was especially critical during the "post-comprehensive" period of doctoral study, when many students were basicall y "on their own" in making progress toward degree completion. Ramos recommends that institutio ns provide some form of support structure and ongoing contact with doctoral advisers during t he postcomprehensive phase as a method of sustaining students' momentum to the point of degre e completion. His second recommendation is that doctoral programs should operate "within a fir m developmental context" (p. 84) in that programs should sufficiently match the developmenta l stages of their students based on the ages of most program enrollees. Ramos argues adult learn ing theories should be studied in all doctoral programs to recognize the interrelations between pe rsonal and professional life among adult doctoral students. In her dissertation on doctoral students enrolled i n the Instructional Technology program at Wayne State University, Tluczek (1994) identified obstacles, factors, and circumstances associated with the ABD phenomenon that may hinder doctoral students from completing their dissertations" (p. 19) and offered suggestions for reducing barriers to successful completion of the dissertation. She found that the single most co mmon obstacle reported by the ABDs, doctoral recipients, and committee members she interviewed w as "the need to be selfdisciplined and


8 of 28motivated to work independently" (p. 86). Many resp ondents indicated a need for greater structure in their programs during the dissertation -writing phase, as well as additional incentives and support to keep them motivated. They also noted that the pressures of balancing among multiple roles, including family, job, and other ac ademic responsibilities were often so demanding that it was easy to put the dissertation (if not a daily requirement for making progress) aside. Tluczek concludes that departments would ben efit from conducting periodic needs analyses of their students in order to (1) better u nderstand the unique needs and requirements of each student; and (2) improve the student's overall research skills. Additionally, she notes that all respondents recognized poor advisor and committee r elationships as major obstacles to the progress toward completing the dissertation. She al so observed that the factor most indicative of a student's likelihood of completion was the answer to her question, "how badly do you want this degree?" (2). An issue in doctoral education that has received g reater attention by researchers is the "time-to-degree" (the length of time from receipt o f the bachelor's degree to receipt of the doctorate). In recent years, the time-to-degree (bo th registered and total time) has become longer for doctoral students in most disciplines (Bowen & Rudenstine, 1992; NRC, 1995; Tuckman, Coyle, & Bae, 1989). The data provided by the NRC f or 1993 doctoral recipients show that time-to-degree (TTD) varies widely by discipline of study. For all disciplines, the median total TTD was 10.5 years among 1993 graduates compared wi th 8.6 years in 1963; the field with shortest TTD (physical sciences) rose from a median of 6.3 years in 1963 to 8.3 years in 1993, while the field with longest TTD (education) rose f rom 13.2 years in 1963 to 19.2 years in 1993 (NRC, 1995). Other researchers have sought to identify predictor s of TTD based on statistical analyses of economic factors (Gillingham, Seneca, & Taussig, 19 91), departmental and institutional characteristics (Baird, 1990; Stricker, 1994), and the interrelationship among student characteristics, departmental characteristics, and financial circumstances (Sheridan & Pyke, 1994). In turn, they have made efforts to develop s tatistical models of graduate degree progress (Girves & Wemmerus, 1988; Ott, Markewich, & Ochsner 1984; Pyke & Sheridan, 1993). Tinto's research (1993) posits a "longitudinal model of gra duate persistence", suggesting that doctoral students go through various "stages" of persistence some more defined by the student's own characteristics and others by more external factors (such as financial assistance). But Tinto also points out that much more research is needed on iss ues affecting doctoral students' progress at various stages of their educational paths, particul arly for women and minority students (3). One particular area of research urged by Tinto (199 3) and Lipschutz (1993) is to examine the quality of the graduate experience from the per spective of the students themselves, using a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods. Toward the goal of obtaining greater feedback from students, McKeown, McDonell, & Bowman (1993) have developed attrition research for college students that focuses upon the centrality of the student experience as a means for better explaining the causes of student attriti on in higher education. Similar studies need to be conducted with doctoral students at specific stages such as the end of first year course work, following comprehensive examinations, and during th e dissertation proposal and later stages. Further, department faculty who work with doctoral students, with the assistance of central offices of Institutional Research and Graduate Stud ies, need to maintain up-to-date information on the progress of each doctoral student and on rat es and causes of attrition from their programs. Faculty also need to periodically assess the qualit y of their own work with doctoral candidates in order to determine new and improved methods of assi sting the progress and ultimate success of their students.The Status of Women in Doctoral Education


9 of 28 In 1963, women were scarce among graduate students receiving only 11 percent of doctorates. However, by 1993 women received 38 perc ent of total doctorates granted by U.S. universities, and among U.S. citizens receiving doc torates women accounted for 45 percent of the 1993 graduating class (NRC, 1995). The percenta ge of doctorates awarded to women by discipline since 1963 is displayed below.___________________________________________________ _____________ PERCENTAGES OF DOCTORATES GRANTED BY UNITED ST ATES UNIVERSITIES TO FEMALES, BY DISCIPLINE, 1963 TO 1993 Field of Study 1963 1973 1983 1993 All Fields 10.9 18.0 33.7 38.0 Physical Sciences 4.3 7.2 13.9 20.7 Engineering 0.7 1.4 4.5 9.1 Life Sciences 9.9 17.8 31.0 41.7 Social Sciences 13.0 21.0 39.5 49.3 Humanities 16.5 28.6 43.7 47.5 Education 19.5 24.6 50.4 58.7 Professional/Other 17.7 12.7 29.4 35.9 ___________________________________________________ _____________ Source: National Research Council, _Summary Report 1993: Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities_, 1995 These statistics suggest that women, though still a minority of doctoral recipients in most disciplines, have made significant progress since 1 963. Further data available from the National Center for Education Statistics projects that by th e year 2005, women will be earning more than 20,000 doctorates annually while men's rates are pr ojected to decline to equivalent or even lower numbers (NCES Report, "Projections of Education Sta tistics to 2005," 1995, p. 63 Table 30). A wide range of research on the status of women in doctoral education has sought to identify the variety of factors shaping women's edu cational experiences in pursuit of the doctorate (for examples, see Acker, 1977; Holmstrom & Holmstrom, 1974; Solmon, 1976; Vartuli, 1982; Wong & Sanders, 1983). One of the fi rst significant studies of female doctorates was Helen S. Astin's The Woman Doctorate in America : Origins, Career, and Family (1969). Astin's research found evidence that female attriti on from doctoral studies was substantially higher than that of males but recognized the inadeq uacy of nationwide statistical data on women's progress and attrition in doctoral programs In the early 1980s, the Project on the Status and Education of Women for the Association of American Colleges published "The Classroom Clima te: A Chilly One for Women?" (see Hall & Sandler, 1982). This report focused on the ways a cademic institutions may construct barriers to female students' and faculty members' success an d on strategies for removing the barriers and improving the teaching and learning climate for wom en. Among graduate students, the report noted that even though graduate women are highly se lf-selected and often have higher grades than their male classmates, many women in graduate studies encountered faculty who seriously doubted their commitments to completing the require ments for their degrees (p. 10). Faculty--particularly males--were often known to gi ve preferential treatment to the male graduate students, especially when determining the recipient s of research assistantships or fellowship awards. Female students reportedly often felt "left out" of informal communication networks within their departments and were denied acceptance as "professional colleagues" by faculty in the same manner as male students. This study subseq uently spawned research on the status of women in universities of Canada (Dagg & Thompson, 1 988; Chilly Editorial Collective, 1995).


10 of 28 On the heels of the chilly climate study in the U. S., a number of other studies of female graduate students were published in the 1980s and b eyond. Berg & Ferber (1983) suggested that females in graduate school tend to be more timid, s et lower goals for themselves, and are likely to be given less encouragement than males. In their examination of graduate students enrolled at a single midwestern university between 1968 and 197 5, they found that only 11 percent of females had earned doctorates by 1979 while 26 perc ent of men had done so. Hite (1985) examined female doctoral students' likelihood of su ccess based on three criteria: role congruence (level of integration of the various roles within o ne's life), perceived faculty support, and perceived peer support. She found that men perceive d more role congruity and faculty support than women, while peer support did not differ on th e basis of sex. Academic departments in which women are subjected to sexual harassment or other forms of unsupportive behaviors by faculty or graduate st udents introduce an especially negative impact on the progress of female doctoral students (Morris 1989; Schneider, 1987). Heinrich (1991) found that relatively few women doctoral students i n her study experienced advising relationships with male faculty that qualified as mentoring relationships". She noted that male faculty who adopted "androgynous" approaches to adv isement were the most beneficial in helping female doctoral students to be successful a nd to emerge from their experiences with high levels of selfconfidence. Mentoring has often been related to students' succ ess in graduate studies (Osborne, 1995), but mentoring can also have negative consequences f or both female and male proteges if the mentor (regardless of gender) (1) betrays the trust of the student; (2) loses power, resulting in diminished career possibilities for the protege; (3 ) has a destructive personality; (4) guides the protege toward the mentor's own ends, and uses the relationship for fame and fortune; (5) experiences conflict or sexual exploitation with an opposite sex protege (Braun, 1990). High levels of faculty support for women's (and, in fact for all students') development in graduate studies are indeed necessary for them to be success ful. Shroeder & Mynatt (1993) found that female graduate students reported higher levels of concern for their welfare and higher quality interactions from female faculty who were their maj or advisors than from male major advisers, but that levels of difference with male faculty wer e relatively small. Nevertheless, increasing numbers of female faculty in graduate programs will likely improve the quality of all women's educational experiences. Research on females in graduate education has also focused on the overall patterns of career development and working conditions for women faculty in higher education (Clark & Corcoran, 1986; Reynolds, 1992; Tack & Patitu, 1992 ) and sought to identify factors that may cause what Clark & Corcoran call "a case of accumul ative disadvantage." These authors point out that women in doctoral programs are inevitably affe cted by women's patterns of stratification in the academic hierarchy. Dunlap (1995), in examining the transition from Ph.D. recipient to new professor for women, found that nearly all of the w omen in her study expressed the feeling that in order to be successful at both graduate studies and faculty work, they had to work harder and be more assertive than would have been necessary if th ey were males. Although women's numbers in doctoral studies refle ct in 1995 an overall improvement in their status within the academic profession, resear ch on the issues affecting females' enrollment trends, degree progress and degree completion in do ctoral programs is still needed, in order to identify the principal factors influencing women's retention and attrition. Research such as that by Bobbi Smith (1995) that examines critical turnin g points in female doctoral students' educational experiences enables a better understand ing of the needs and concerns expressed by the students themselves. Further research is needed in which doctoral women's voices play an integral part.Minority Doctoral Students


11 of 28 The National Research Council's latest annual repo rt (1995) on 1993 doctoral recipients points out that reliable data on minority doctoral students has only been maintained since 1975, so analysis of long-term trends is more limited tha n what is available based on gender. The NRC and the American Council on Education (ACE) are the two agencies which maintain the most substantial data on minority doctoral students acro ss the U.S. According to the ACE analysis of 10-year trends from 1982 to 1992 (Ottinger, Sikula, & Washington, 1993), the number of minority doctorates granted by U.S. universities gr ew by 27 percent between 1982 and 1992 while the overall number of U.S. doctorates grew by only 6 percent during the same period. However, these total increases mask declines among certain groups, such as African-American females, whose completion of doctorates declined by 20 percent by 1992. Overall, AfricanAmericans' receipt of doctorates declined by 9 perc ent between 1982 and 1992, while Native Americans and Asian-Americans each doubled their nu mbers of doctorates earned during this period and Hispanics' rates increased by approximat ely 50 percent. In 1992, minority students had significantly diver sified in terms of the fields from which they received doctorates. Ottinger et al. show that in 1992, education accounted for only 29 percent of minority doctorates while physical scien ces and life sciences represented an additional 26 percent, natural sciences and engineering repres ented 38 percent, and social sciences represented 17 percent of minority doctorates. Smit h & Tang (1995) studied trends for science/engineering doctorates, noting that Native Americans had the largest increase between 1975 and 1990 among minority recipients, followed b y Hispanics and Asians. African-Americans' share of doctorates in science/e ngineering grew only slightly, from 1.9 to 2.1 percent. The 1995 NRC report contrasts ethnicity of doctora l recipients during the years of 1978 to 1993. The table below lists relative changes in tot al doctorates received by minority students during these years.___________________________________________________ _____________ PERCENT OF DOCTORATES EARNED BY U.S. MINORITIES, 1 978 AND 1993 1978 1 993 Native Americans 0.3 0.5 Asians 1.6 3.4 Hispanics 2.0 3.2 African-Americans 4.3 4.2 TOTAL MINORITIES 8.2 1 1.3 ___________________________________________________ _____________ Source: National Research Council, _Summary Report 1993: Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities_, 1995. Research on the progress of minority students in d octoral programs is not as extensive as for women, but there are reports published regularl y by the American Council on Education (1995) that include doctoral students in their asse ssment of minority student issues in higher education. Additionally, the Minority Graduate Educ ation Project of the Educational Testing Service has released an update of its research agen da (Brown et al., 1994), and urges further research on these issues: (1) factors limiting the supply of minority students who have completed college and are potential clients for graduate educ ation; (2) the ways in which minority students develop aspirations for graduate education and thei r perceptions of the obstacles that may keep them from applying or enrolling in graduate educati on; (3) the impact of indebtedness and costs of graduate education on minority students' enrollm ent and persistence rates; (4) the impact of departmental and institutional climate on minority students; and (5) factors shaping minority


12 of 28graduate students' persistence, attrition, and degr ee completion rates. Many researchers of minority issues have addressed the impersonal and sometimes hostile climate experienced by Hispanic, African-American, and Native American students on predominantly white college and university campuses (Kerlin, 1993). This is particularly true at the doctoral level because the pool of qualified mi nority students who complete their baccalaureates and wish to advance to graduate stud y is typically small (Vaughn, 1985). Nettles (1990) found that among the minority doctoral stude nts in his study of four university campuses, both Hispanic and black students reported feelings of racial discrimination on their campuses. Black students came from the lowest economic strata of all doctoral students in Nettles' study, yet they also received the fewest teaching and research assistantships. Turner & Thompson (1993) contributed to the research on women doctoral stude nts by contrasting the socialization experiences of minority and white females at a midw estern university. Minority women were again less likely to hold research or teaching assi stantships and also reported less help from faculty with publishing and few opportunities to re ceive mentoring and career guidance. More research is needed on the factors which shape minority students' decisions and opportunities for pursuing graduate study. In order to understand the factors influencing the "minority pipeline" and to forward improved policie s for assisting the success of African-American, Native American, and Hispanic gra duate students (Smith, E., 1995), it is also essential to examine the adequacy of existing insti tutional efforts to attract and retain talented minority graduate students. Efforts at improving th e racial climate for minority students on predominantly white university campuses should incl ude substantial commitment from graduate deans and graduate faculty campus-wide.Class and Social Stratification in Higher Education Though much research exists on women and minority g roup members in academe, there is a dearth of studies focusing on the impact of socia l class background and upward mobility on individuals' academic careers. However, research on social stratification and class inequality (Grusky, 1994; Szymanski, 1983) has many applicatio ns in the world of higher education because ultimately this is one of the announced mis sions of American higher education: to provide access to individuals from all class backgr ounds. However, evidence has long suggested that individuals from lower-income backgrounds tend to fare less well in higher education, often for reasons of ability to pay the rates of tuition charged. We know far less about the impact of class than of race or gender in higher education be cause American society and higher education tend to perpetuate the myths of a "classless societ y." Evidence suggests that higher education institutions have done surprisingly little in recen t years to fulfill the needs of working-class and lower middleclass individuals (Karen, 1991). For a variety of reasons, individuals from lower-i ncome backgrounds are often limited to attending graduate school in a regional state unive rsity, being unable to afford the higher cost tuition of out-of-state universities or private ins titutions as well as the costs of relocating one's family to another region where such a university mi ght be located. Hence, America's public universities have often been the only reasonable op tion available for large numbers of individuals who wish to pursue the Ph.D. There is evidence that one's social class has a gr eat bearing on the institution in which one can pursue a doctoral education. Lang's studies (19 84, 1987) point out that the academy sustains a meritocratic system with persistent status divisi ons which often make it difficult for individuals from modest backgrounds to enter the top private un iversities. Lang states, The distribution of students to different-ranked in stitutions is linked to their social class and sex background, regardless of undergradua te achievement and rank of


13 of 28undergraduate institution attended. This inequality confers on certain groups and classes clear advantages in participation within th e academic hierarchy. Working-class students, from highly-ranked undergra duate institutions and with high achievement levels, cannot expect to attend the sam e-ranked graduate school as students with similar merit backgrounds from the mi ddle and upper middle classes. Meritorious middle class students can also expect t o attend lower-ranked schools than upper-middle-class students with similar merit backgrounds, while the upper-middle-class students with high levels of mer it can look forward to attending the highest-ranked graduate schools This structure appears to allocate individuals to various levels of the academic hierarchy on the bas is of social class distinctions and backgrounds (Lang, 1987, pp. 456-7). Some researchers have examined the impact of class backgrounds on career development paths of university faculty. The best-known book on working-class academics' career paths is published by Ryan & Sackrey (1984). Their analysis of the influence of class inequality and stratification as well as patterns of social mobili ty through higher education is groundbreaking, in that it seeks to debunk many myths about higher edu cation's capacity to facilitate genuine "upward mobility" among the members of the lower cl asses in society. More recent studies by Tokarczyk & Fay (1993) and Dews & Law (1995) offer essays by working class women and men who have pursued academic careers, a number of them conveying stories of their graduate years and the impact of their working-class circumstances on socialization into the academic profession. Abel (1986) demonstrates, however, that access and mobility for previously underrepresented groups are inadequate when institu tions in effect create oversupplies of Ph.D.s who are unable to obtain quality academic positions She argues that the Ph.D. recipients most likely to obtain low-pay and part-time positions in higher education have tended to be individuals from underrepresented groups within the university, such as women, minorities, and working-class graduates. Class backgrounds undeniably play a major role in t he progress of students through the "academic hierarchy", yet we have only limited rese arch on class issues in higher education. To a large extent, it is likely that class backgrounds w ill play an increasingly substantial role in the years ahead in determining who will be able to atte nd and complete doctoral studies and, ultimately, who will enter the academic labor marke t for the college and university faculty of the 21st century. For this reason, research on class is sues in higher education needs to be significantly expanded.Doctoral Education: Financial Considerations During the 1980s, there were numerous investigation s into the rising cost of graduate education in the U.S. that called for a greater fed eral government role in financially assisting graduate students and institutions (Brademas, 1984; National Commission on Student Financial Assistance, 1983; Rosenzweig, 1984). Hauptman (1986 ) published a report under the auspices of the Association of American Universities (AAU) warn ing that graduate students were incurring levels of indebtedness from their graduate studies that not only would be increasingly difficult to repay, but also threatened the ability of many pros pective graduate and professional students to pursue and complete their studies. Further, Hauptma n pointed out there is no level of national commitment toward providing sufficient aid to meet the real needs of all qualified applicants (p. 57). Other researchers have noted that total supplies of financial aid for graduate students have


14 of 28been difficult to measure because of the sheer vari ety of sources available to students. In his proposed model for tracking the progress of doctora l students, Tinto (1993) acknowledges that the cost issue often becomes most critical for doct oral students in the later years of their studies, after institutional aid such as fellowships and ass istantships have ended. Many students take more than five years to complete their doctoral dis sertations, and often in the last years of study it is necessary to devote all of one's time to complet ing the dissertation. Yet this is often when the financial strains become the worst for doctoral stu dents. A key source of information on graduate students' f inancial aid in the U.S. is the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), published periodically by the National Center for Education Statistics. In a summary of the graduate and professional student data from the 1989-90 NPSAS report, the NCES examined a host of f actors including types of aid, levels of indebtedness by program of study, and changing tren ds in student indebtedness since 1981. For doctoral candidates, 57 percent were enrolled on a full-time basis and 59.9 percent received some form of financial aid for the 1990-91 academic year Annual distribution of income was reported for all financially independent doctoral students, and annual expenses related to pursuit of doctoral education was reported for all students en rolled in the 1989-90 academic year. These figures appear in the next table.___________________________________________________ _____________ DISTRIBUTION OF ANNUAL INCOME* AND AVERAGE ANNUA L EXPENSES FOR DOCTORAL STUDENTS IN U.S. UNIVERSITIES, 1989-90 ----Percent Distribution by Annual Income -----Income: 500010,00020,00030, 00050,000 <$5000 9999 19,999 29,999 49, 999 or more Total Students 12.5 17.1 24.0 15.6 1 7.9 12.8 Public Univ 11.3 18.0 21.9 16.9 1 8.5 13.3 Private Univ 15.0 15.4 28.4 12.9 1 6.5 11.8 TOTAL TUITION FOOD & BOOKS & OTHER Expenses: & FEES HOUSING SUPPL IES EXPENSES All Students $15,580 5,191 6,006 8 34 3,549 Public Univ 13,468 3,079 6,049 8 05 3,536 Private Univ 19,244 8,858 5,931 8 85 3,570 Listed only for students who are independent of t heir parents. ___________________________________________________ _____________ Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Student Financing of Graduate and First-Professional Education", Report No. NCES 93-0 76, 1993. According to the NCES, among doctoral students, th e chief source of financial aid in 1989-90 was grants, which were awarded to nearly 40 percent of doctoral students. Nearly 20 percent of doctoral students also received loans an d 18.3 percent received some form of tuition waivers. The average annual aid received by part-ti me students was $8,961 and among full-time doctoral students was $13,395 for the 1990-91 year across all disciplines, with amounts awarded to students in private institutions being somewhat higher. Preliminary results have been presented from the f ollowup NPSAS study, conducted with students enrolled during the 1992-93 academic year (NPSAS: 93). They show the following: Approximately 55% of all doctoral students (150,000 net students) were receiving financial aid, with an average annual award (among both private an d public university students) of $10,800


15 of 28(combining part-time and full-time students). Nearl y 35 percent of all doctoral students received some sort of grant aid, while 16 percent received l oans and 21 percent received assistantships. A summary report entitled "Financing of Graduate and Professional Education, 1992-93" is forthcoming from the National Center for Education Statistics, as well as a longitudinal study entitled "Trends in Postsecondary Student Financial Aid, 1987-93". One measure of students' accumulated debt burdens resulting from doctoral study is available in the annual NRC reports and displayed i n the table below. Each year, the survey of doctoral recipients asks graduates to indicate (1) their principal sources of funding for their doctorates; and (2) the amounts of indebtedness the y have incurred directly from their doctoral studies. The next table shows that nearly 78 percen t of 1993 physical sciences doctoral recipients were funded primarily by university forms of aid, i ncluding federally-funded research assistantships, while only 12 percent of physical s cience graduates paid for their education principally out of personal resources. For educatio n doctorates, these figures were essentially inverted, with most students paying principally wit h their own resources. Furthermore, the table shows that levels of indebtedness varied widely amo ng different fields of study. In total, 26 percent of doctoral recipients from all fields who had debts related to their doctorates held debt loads of $20,000 or greater, and these percentages were much higher for graduates in the social sciences. It is notable that among women across dis ciplines, personal funding was the most common source of financial support, while among men university funding was the largest source. Much evidence shows that rising levels of indebted ness are characteristic of today's doctoral students and may be preventing some studen ts from completing their studies due to the simple fact that, upon graduation, they are require d to begin repaying their loans and educational debts (Boyd, 1993; Galloway & Hartle, 1995; Hartle, 1994). As plans for eliminating the "grace period" after graduation for loan repayment are con sidered in the U.S. Congress, graduate students are bracing themselves for tuition increas es of 5-20 percent per year or more during the coming years.___________________________________________________ _____________ SOURCES OF PRIMARY FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND LEVE LS OF DOCTORAL-RELATED INDEBTEDNESS OF 1993 DOCTORAL RE CIPIENTS Phys. Life Soc. Field of Study: Sci. Engin. Sci. Sci. Human. Educ. Primary Support(%) University 77.9 69.3 56.8 41.6 50.5 13.9 Personal 12.1 14.7 21.4 47.8 43.3 79.8 Federal 4.5 4.9 14.4 5.0 2.2 1.1 Other 5.4 11.1 7.4 5.6 3.9 5.2 Median Level of ** Post-Doctoral Debt $8,500 9,300 9,800 14,500 10,000 10,100 Percent with Debt: 42.6 38.5 50.0 61.9 55.2 38.1 Doctoral Debt Load(%) $1 to $10,000 57.5 52.9 50.9 36.5 49.8 49.6 > $10K to $20K 26.3 23.8 27.4 27.5 28.0 25.3 > $20K to $30K 9.0 10.8 11.1 27.5 28.0 13.5 > $30 K 7.1 12.4 10.4 19.9 9.1 11.5 Includes federal aid administered through univer sity sources ** Based only on students who reported levels of do ctoral debt ___________________________________________________ _____________


16 of 28Source: National Research Council, _Summary Report 1993: Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities_, 1995. Galloway and Hartle (1995) note that between 198889 and 1993-94, graduate tuition rose 55 percent across the U.S., but much more dramatica lly in states such as Massachusetts (110 percent) and California (75 percent between 1990-91 and 199293). In the 1993-94 academic year, nationwide tuition in the U.S. averaged $5766 for all institutions, $2916 for public universities, and $10,578 for private universities (National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1994, Table 306). There is reason to believe that in light of massiv e increases in student borrowing during the 1990s, these debt loads will dramatically incre ase for future doctoral recipients. While real salaries of U.S. college graduates actually fell by 2.6 percent between 1987 and 1991, the volume of student borrowing among both undergraduates and graduate/professional students jumped dramatically between 1985 and 1991. Additionally, b etween the fiscal years of 1992 and 1994 alone, the total amount borrowed by students jumped from $14.7 billion nationwide to $23.1 billion--a 57 percent increase. What is also troubl ing is that under current financial aid policies, graduate and professional students are able to borr ow as much as $138,000 toward their graduate studies, yet most post-graduation positions for Ph. D. recipients will offer insufficient salaries to repay large loans. Among graduate and professional students in the U. S., the number of loans grew by 47 percent and the amount borrowed grew by 31 percent between 1985 and 1991. Galloway & Hartle note that students enrolled in public univer sities are almost totally bearing the burden of debt from their education, with little assistance f rom parents. They express concerns that borrowing levels are growing out of proportion with students' long-term abilities to repay their loans, noting that increasing numbers of students a re incurring major debt burdens from their undergraduate years that make it harder than ever t o pursue graduate studies. Boyd (1993) reported a 197 percent increase in the mean level o f total educational loans among samples of borrowers who were doctoral students in 1985 and 19 91. For the 1991 doctoral recipients in his study, the mean level of loan repayment represented 17.59 percent of their net income levels, a dramatic increase from the 8.51 percent of net inco me paid by 1985 doctoral recipients toward student loans. Evidence suggests that the growth of loan debt for many doctoral recipients is rapidly outpacing ability to repay, causing serious potential for increasing numbers of students to face loan defaults. As serious as the cost of doctoral studies is for students, the larger society must also pay a significant price to support graduate education. Th e result has been increasing concern in recent years about the cost of doctoral study for taxpayer s. An example comes from the state of Ohio, where the State Board of Regents moved recently to recommend placing a cap on doctoral enrollments in the state's public universities duri ng the next two years (Chronicle of Higher Education, January 27, 1995). Citing evidence that the enrollments of doctoral students had climbed by 40 percent since 1990 in the state's pub lic universities while overall college student enrollment growth in that state during the same per iod was just three percent, the Board's recommendation was reportedly in response to calls for reducing the costs to taxpayers. In Ohio, the annual cost of educating a single doctoral stud ent in a public university is reportedly $13,000, though estimates in some states have run much highe r. While the Ohio policy raises questions about facto rs influencing supply and demand for doctoral education and doctoral recipients, the bro ader implication is clear: there are limits to the numbers of doctoral students a state is willing to support. And it suggests that institutions may well have become caught in a "numbers game" where d octoral students are being admitted to provide sources of ready cash for institutions whic h, in turn, may be less committed to sustaining the quality of doctoral studies and student outcome s than in maintaining a steady flow of tuition revenues. This raises serious questions about the a dequacy of many universities' efforts to match


17 of 28the supply of doctoral program spaces to some type of realistic labor market demand (both inside and outside of academic institutions) for Ph.D. rec ipients. Post-Doctoral Education and Career Plans of Doctora l Recipients In addition to rises in levels of indebtedness, th e professional job market is also having a serious impact on graduate students' post-education plans (Magner, 1994). Since 1973, the NRC has collected data on doctoral recipients' postdo ctoral plans. The highlights of its findings on students' plans are listed in the next table.___________________________________________________ _____________ POSTDOCTORAL PLANS FOR U.S. CITIZEN DOCTORAL RE CIPIENTS, 1973 TO 1993 Percent of Respond ents 1973 1978 1983 1988 1993 Pursue Employment All Fields 83.8 80.3 79.3 73.6 71.1 Physical Sciences 60.9 60.5 62.0 51.4 50.3 Engineering 87.1 84.8 87.5 80.2 74.8 Life Sciences 58.1 47.4 44.8 39.4 35.9 Social Sciences 91.9 87.0 86.3 84.2 80.0 Humanities 96.2 95.2 95.4 93.1 93.1 Education 98.0 97.7 97.4 95.6 97.1 Prof/Other 98.6 98.4 97.2 97.5 97.2 Employment Sector ** Academe 64.3 56.4 50.2 49.7 52.5 Industry/Self Employed 11.5 15.3 19.8 20.4 18.7 Government 11.6 12.5 11.1 10.8 10.0 Other (Schools/ Non-Profits) 12.5 15.9 18.9 19.1 18.8 Lists proportions who chose "employment" over "s tudy" for post-doctoral plans. ** Limited to respondents who chose "employment" in previous question; listed in terms of all fields of docto ral recipients. ___________________________________________________ _____________ Source: National Research Council, _Summary Report 1993: Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities_, 1995. What we can see from this table is that over the p ast 20 years, the proportions of doctoral recipients who have postdoctoral intentions of im mediate employment have significantly declined in most fields of study, and the overall p roportion has declined from 84 percent to just 71 percent of graduates who answered this question. The NRC reports that this question, regarding post-doctoral plans, has the highest nonresponse rate among its survey completers, and the proportion who did not respond in 1993 was nearly one-third, an increase over previous years (see NRC, 1995, p. 91). This increase undoubt edly reflects the uncertainty felt by many of today's doctoral recipients about their future care er options. Among respondents who did indicate plans of employm ent after completing the doctorate, the proportion who have chosen academe as their emp loyment sector declined from 1973 to 1988, rising only slightly (but among a smaller res ponse sample) in 1993. One way of interpreting these statistics is that contemporary doctoral recipients are experiencing greater uncertainty and ambivalence about their future care ers. These findings suggest that academia may no longer be seen even by the students who have been successful at doctoral completion as a


18 of 28dependable employment choice upon graduation. As I suggest later in this paper, this finding may be related to the increasingly competitive environm ent inside many doctoral programs and academic departments.Comparative Trends of Doctoral Students in Canadian Universities In Canada, statistical reports on graduate studies in 55 Canadian universities are produced by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (C AGS-1994). Some advantages exist in the Canadian data report in that it displays enrollment trend information disaggregated by type of program (master's or doctorate). Because of the ove rly high levels of dropout prior to degree completion, enrollment data for graduate students p rovides a more representative look at the true number of individuals pursuing graduate degrees in Canada. By comparison, the NRC reports are limited to doctoral recipients and the Council of G raduate Schools report (1993) does not disaggregate enrollment data on the basis of Master 's versus doctorateseeking students. Examining the detailed data sets presented in the 1994 CAGS report, one sees that enrollment growth in Canadian doctoral programs ess entially doubled between 1973 and 1993. The figures, based on gender, were as follows:___________________________________________________ _____________ CHANGES IN DOCTORAL ENROLLMENTS IN CANADIAN UNIV ERSITIES, 1973 TO 1993 Year: 1973 1978 1983 198 8 1993 Males 10,469 9,396 10,295 12,78 3 16,239 % of Total 77.6 72.5 67.3 64. 7 62.3 Females 2,895 3,559 5,000 6,97 6 9,842 % of Total 22.4 27.5 32.7 35. 3 37.7 Total Students 13,364 12,955 15,295 19,75 9 26,081 ___________________________________________________ _____________Source: Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, _Statistical Report 1994_. This table demonstrates that, as in U.S. universiti es, women's enrollments at the doctoral level have grown in the past twenty years, reaching nearly 38 percent of all doctoral enrollments (regardless of field) by 1993-94. Exploring the actual awarding of doctorates in Can adian universities during 1993-94 turns up the following information based on broad fields of study:___________________________________________________ _____________ TOTAL DOCTORATES AWARDED BY CANADIAN UNIVERSIT IES, 1993-94 BY BROAD FIELD OF STUDY Field: Doctorates Humanities 403 Social Sciences (including Education) 967


19 of 28Natural and Applied Sciences 1,148 Life Sciences 816 TOTAL DOCTORATES AWARDED 3,334 ___________________________________________________ _____________ Source: Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, _Statistical Report 1994_. One particularly valuable data source in the CAGS report for 1994 is a tracking study of the cohort of graduate students who entered Canadia n universities in 1986. Although only 30 of the 55 member institutions supplied data for this p ortion of the study, the information is highly beneficial to policy researchers interested in meas uring the rates of retention, degree completion, time to degree, and rates of withdrawal of doctoral students. The table below displays selected data on degree progress among the 1986 entering cla ss of doctoral students: ___________________________________________________ _____________ PROGRESS OF ENTERING COHORT OF DOCTORAL STUDENTS IN CANADIAN UNIVERSITIES, 1986 TO 1994 Field: Human Soc Sci Nat Sci Life Sci Students Entering '86 Males (Full-time) 170 229 449 313 Females (Full-time) 167 319 68 143 Total (Full-time) 337 548 517 456 % Completed by '94 Males (Full-time) 47.6 33.6 73.7 73.5 Females (Full-time) 44.9 50.8 67.6 70.6 Total (Full-time) 46.3 43.6 72.9 72.6 % Withdrawn by '94 Males (Full-time) 41.2 52.8 22.9 8.9 Females (Full-time) 41.3 35.7 32.4 21.7 Total (Full-time) 41.2 42.9 24.2 12.9 Mean Time to Degree (Months) Males (Full-time) 59.5 57.6 53.0 52.9 Females (Full-time) 64.9 61.2 56.1 57.7 Total (Full-time) 63.0 60.1 54.2 55.9 Note: Data are based on responses from only 30 of the 55 institution members of the CAGS ___________________________________________________ _____________ Source: Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, _Statistical Report 1994_. The data in the table above demonstrate significan t differences in doctoral degree completion rates and dropout rates on the basis of broad field of study. Students in the natural


20 of 28and life sciences--both men and women--have higher rates of completion and lower rates of withdrawal (non-completion) within the span of 8 ye ars during which this tracking study was conducted. Overall, females' rates of withdrawal ar e somewhat higher (except in the field of social sciences) than are males', and women typical ly require 3 to 5 more months than males (on average) to complete their doctoral program require ments. Holdaway (1994) points out that no publication wit h a national focus exists in Canada that synthesizes graduate student statistics along with policies, opinions, and discussions of critical issues facing graduate studies. Cude (1991) notes a serious lack of solid, dependable statistics on doctoral education across the nation, and urges ins titutions to make more efforts at gathering and maintaining data on the progress and dropout of gra duate students. Currently, the most beneficial report currently available is published by the Onta rio Council on Graduate Studies (1991): Doctoral Graduation Rates in Ontario Universities: A Discussion Paper. This paper has presented a wide range of research studies on the status of doctoral education and student trends in U.S. and Canadian u niversities. However, statistics are less effective in describing the experiences of individu al students who pursue the doctorate. In "Surviving the Doctoral Years: Critical Perspective s", I provide preliminary results from my own survey of doctoral students and draw some important implications for the future.NotesI wish to thank Lori Thurgood, Doctorate Records Pr oject at the National Research Council, Washington, D.C. for her assistance in col lecting the data for this section. 1. Telephone conversation with Judy Tluczek, April 3, 1995. 2. Author's interview with Vincent Tinto, May, 1994. 3. An earlier version of this paper was presented at t he Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, Ca lifornia, April 18-22, 1995. 4. Acknowledgments: I would like to thank the followin g people for sharing information and ideas that assisted in the development of this arti cle: Mr. Kevin Boyer National Association of Graduate and Professional S tudents Dr. Mary Frank FoxGeorgia Institute of Technology Dr. Fred GallowayAmerican Council on Education Mr. Peter SyversonCouncil of Graduate Schools Ms. Lori Thurgood Doctorate Records Project, National Research Counci l Dr. Vincent Tinto Syracuse University 5.REFERENCESAcker, S. (1977). Sex differences in graduate stude nt ambition: Do men publish while women perish? Sex Roles, 3, 285-299.American Council on Education. (1995). Thirteenth a nnual status report, 1995: Minorities in higher education. Office of Minorities in Higher Ed ucation: American Council on Education. Astin, H. S. (1969). The woman doctorate in America : Origins, career, and family. New York,


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28 of 28Alan Davis Mark E. Thomas F. Alison I. Arlen Gullickson Ernest R. Aimee Craig B. Howley u56e3@wvnvm.bitnet William Richard M. Jaeger Benjamin Thomas Dewayne Mary P. Les Susan Bobbitt Anne L. Hugh G. Richard C. Anthony G. Rud Dennis Jay Robert Robert T.

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