In July 1998, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, two research assistants and I initiated an "environmental scan" of current concerns as well as promising practices in doctoral education, as identified by institutions preparing Ph.D.s, by graduate students, and by those who hire Ph.D.s. Very quickly, we discovered that even though U.S. doctoral education is considered the world's best, with international students vying for admission, concerns about its future were being expressed by many groups. These groups included research-intensive universities, comprehensive and doctoral universities, liberal arts and community colleges, doctoral students, business and industry, foundations, government, disciplinary and educational associations, K-12 education, and accrediting agencies. Under the rubric of Re-envisioning the Ph.D., we interviewed more than 375 individuals, conducted numerous focus groups, compiled an impressive bibliography related to doctoral preparation, and inventoried numerous ways that each of the groups was using to respond to criticisms and concerns in very creative and innovative ways.
We labeled this on-line compilation of projects and programs Promising Practices in Doctoral Education. The Selected Bibliography has also been
posted on the web site.
It has also been published in monograph form. Additionally, a brief analysis of the concerns that we identified has been published in a companion monograph entitled Re-envisioning the Ph.D.: What Concerns Do We Have?
From the beginning of the project, enormous interest developed for an on-line compilation to highlight strategies for implementing change and innovation in doctoral education. The research team members created these pages to enable institutions, organizations, agencies and corporations to display descriptions of promising practices occurring across the nation and abroad. Thus, this web site serves as an on-line, "living" resource for everyone interested in sharing ideas and shaping the future of doctoral education. As you investigate the compilation, I am certain that you will be impressed with the more than 300 entries representing innovative strategies and action for change. The legacy of collecting these ideas will continue long after the grant is completed.
We hope that the project's three products, the Selected Bibliography, the Concerns Brief, and these Promising Practices, will assist in answering the question of "How can we re-envision the Ph.D. to meet the needs of the society of the 21st Century?" We also hope these contributions will aid in strengthening the Ph.D., which is the pinnacle of academic accomplishment, and whose recipients offer so much to the knowledge society of the 21st Century.
Jody D. Nyquist