The Review of higheR educaTion
not among the most elite or most selective, funding can be a slippery slope. If the institution’s mission is to serve its state (in the case of a land grant university) or to serve particular populations (in the case of a historically Black university), does institutional selectivity really equal successful stu- dents? Aligning funding and resource allocation to institutional mission in this regard would be particularly important, although none of the faculty interviewees mentioned it.
Finally, from the perspective of research, this study advanced the explora- tion of cultural constructions of success in doctoral education; however, it had four limitations. My status as a faculty member may have played several conflicting roles in the study’s limitations. My disciplinary and departmen- tal affiliations were different from those included in the study, which may have impeded a true disciplinary understanding of the cultures at work and limited my access to a true account of these cultures. Second, this study was limited to a few departments at one institution. While the socio-cultural make-up of the department’s students was part of the larger study, the faculty interviewees were those with whom the majority of students in the department worked. Future research, therefore, should explore how faculty and student perceptions of success align. Third, comparisons among other institutions and other disciplines should also be explored, as should differ- ences among race, gender, and socioeconomic status. Fourth, this institu- tion’s completion rates were quite different from those cited in national studies (Council of Graduate Schools, 2008), meriting further exploration of the intersection between discipline and institutional setting. With these understandings of success in doctoral education, higher education may be better able to structure for success among all of its students in the future.
1.Tell me a little bit about yourself—your background,how you came to academe, how you became a faculty member.
2. When and where did you complete your doctorate? How long did it take you at the time?
3. What do you feel your role is in relation to graduate studies in the depart- ment?
4. What type of training or orientation did you receive to advise doctoral stu- dents?
5. How are faculty informed about department and graduate school require- ments, deadlines, guidelines, etc.? Do you feel these guidelines are followed?
6. What are your departmental standards for milestones such as the program of study, comprehensive exams, and the dissertation phase?
7. Tell me about a “typical” doctoral student in your department. How does he or she begin, what is the general course followed, etc.?