Doctoral Education Needs an Infusion in Canada

A report on the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies highlights Graduate Studies Professional Development (GSPD) as a solution to the wider marketplace for graduate students and the changes to scholarship brought about by the Information Age.

One problem cited in the report by former a former dean of graduate studies Marilyn Rose, is the glacial speed of change to the ‘reproduction’ model of doctoral education. Instead of tacking on graduate skills for professional development to graduate education as the report recommends, doctoral programs need to examine their pedagogy. Rethinking doctoral curricula with its students, who will be the face of scholarship in the future, to infuse twenty-first century scholarship practices, is imperative.

Carnegie Team

Attrition and long times to completion dog and doom doctoral programs. Canadian deans of graduate studies and doctoral educators need to look at processes for renewal of doctoral education. The Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID) influenced American doctoral programs to rethink the purposes of their practices, the intellectual cultures of their departments and to privilege student voice. The University of Minnesota embraced the CID and developed the Graduate Review and Improvement Process (GRIP). At Stanford, a new Ph. D. program aims for a five year completion rate, instead of seven years, due to insights applied from the CID.

In Canada we need an initiative similar to the Carnegie initiative to bring our doctoral programs into the twenty-first century. We don’t need to tack on skills; we need to infuse skills into doctoral programs. Doctoral education needs an infusion of fresh Canadian thinking.

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