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2000 Conference: Selected Bibliography

Selected Bibliography on the topic of Enrollment, Recruitment, and Retention

Other Topics

Enrollment and Recruitment
Attracting and Retaining Diverse Populations of Graduate Students

Enrollment and Recruitment

Bowen, H. R., & Schuster, J. H. (1986). American professors: A national resource imperiled. New York: Oxford University Press.

Specifically, the chapter called "The flow of exceptional talent to academe" addresses the quality of persons being attracted to academic careers as of the mid-80s&emdash;asking whether academe will be able to compete for exceptional talent given disheartening trends in compensation and tenure practices. The chapter examines the career plans of under-graduates, the quality of junior faculty, especially those employed in top-rated departments, and the career choices, over time, of highly able populations. Based on the predictors they examine, the authors warn that the exceptional talent currently flowing into academia seems likely to thin dangerously in the coming years. Of particular concern will be a predicted scarcity of interested, talented minority-group members.

Geiger, R. (1997). Doctoral education: The short-term crisis vs. long-term challenge. The Review of Higher Education, 20(3), 239-251.

This is a discussion of doctoral education that looks at current trends in supply and demand, the role of international students in U.S. graduate education, expansion and contraction in doctoral degrees awarded, by discipline group, and structural features of doctoral education such as competition, departmental control, and student financial aid. The article also discusses the need for three structural changes if graduate education is to expand.

Magner, D. K. (1997, March 21). 'Small is beautiful' for its Ph.D. programs, Washington U. decides: With fewer students, grants are bigger and degrees take less time. Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A14-A15.

Going against conventional wisdom, Washington University (Missouri) reports that it scaled back its doctoral enrollment. It was able to recruit more selectively, provide every student with full financial support for six years, and increase contact between faculty and doctoral students. This approach is attracting more and better applicants and reducing time to degree.

Robinson, S. & Golde, C. M. (1999, November). Waffling and flailing: Undergraduates in pursuit of a Ph.D. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, San Antonio, TX.

This paper reports on a qualitative study of the academic decision-making process of 11 college seniors who anticipated enrolling in a doctoral program within one year of graduation. Overall findings include recognition that many students choose to opt out of graduate school at some point in the decision-making process, and that those students most savvy about process details were the ones who ended up enrolling in doctoral programs. In choosing a specific doctoral program, students found the web to be a valuable resource; faculty and graduate students were invaluable resources to those student who perceived access to them. Top reasons cited for pursuing a Ph.D. were not related to career outcomes: they included love of learning, enjoyment of research, desire to attain expertise, and Ph.D.-related status. Findings underscore the importance of undergraduate research experiences and relationships with graduate students, the importance of savvy information-seeking strategies, and the entrepreneurial and persistent demands of decision processes in the face of opaque academic systems.

Syverson, P. D., & Bagley, L. R. (1997). Graduate enrollment and degrees: 1986 to 1997. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools and Graduate Examinations Board. [On-line]. Available:

This report presents a summary of the Survey of Graduate Enrollment carried out by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Graduate Record Examinations Board. Doctoral institutions are divided into two categories: Research I and Doctorate-Granting. Tables summarize Fall 1997 graduate enrollment statistics according to academic institution, field of study, gender, ethnicity, citizenship/residency status, region, full-time and part-time enrollment. Findings also summarize graduate applications and acceptances by field, and graduate degrees awarded by field. The report then examines trends in graduate enrollment, awards, and degrees over the period from 1987 to 1997 by field, ethnicity, and first time enrollment. Appendices include a copy of survey questionnaire, a taxonomy of field/degrees for enrollment purposes, and information on survey methodology.


Abedi, J., & Benkin, E. (1987). The effects of students' academic, financial, and demographic variables on time to doctorate. Research in Higher Education, 27(1), 3-14.

This article reports that data from the National Research Council's Doctorate Records File extract prepared for UCLA indicated that source of support was the most important variable in predicting time to doctorate. Other variables were postdoctoral plans, number of dependents, sex, and field of study.

Jacobson, R. (1992, May 27). Fellowships, not assistantships, said to be key to completion of doctorates. Chronicle of Higher Education, 38, A27-28.

A labor economist has reported finding the first definitive evidence that graduate students in the arts and sciences are more likely to complete their doctorates &endash; and in less time &endash; if they receive fellowships instead of research or teaching assistantships. This study marks the first time that the comparative effects of fellowships on completion rates and "time to degree" have been demonstrated through appropriate statistical modeling. Higher education officials say they are encouraged by the research results.

Kerlin, S. P. (1995, November 8). Surviving the doctoral years: Critical perspectives. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 3(17), 1-23. [On-line]. Available:

This article examines the effects of "neo-conservative" public education policy on the future of the academic profession, focusing on the current experience of doctoral education in the U.S. and Canada &endash; particularly institutional and social factors, such as the backlash against affirmative action and women's advancement, and the declining employment opportunities in the academy. Findings reported from a survey of doctoral students' perspectives on "surviving the doctorate" reveal the impact of low morale due to poor employment prospects in the academic profession, and difficulties with finances. The author concludes that renewed public interest in the doctoral experience can lead to improvements in conditions for students and in program quality.

Kerlin, S. P. (1995, November 8). Pursuit of the Ph.D.: "Survival of the fittest," or is it time for a new approach? Education Policy Analysis Archives, 3(16), 1-20. [On-line]. Available:

This article proposes that changes in public policy, originally intended to increase opportunities in higher education for minorities and women, now decrease the likelihood that these groups can pursue and complete doctorates. A sociological portrait of those who pursue Ph.D.s in the U.S. and Canada is presented. For example, half of the students in the U.S. and Canada who start a doctoral program never receive the degree, and the median age of doctoral recipients is increasing.Recommendations for further research with regard to doctoral education include examinations of social stratification, retention in programs, student debt and post-doctoral career choices.

Leatherman, C. (1998, December 4). Graduate students push for reforms. Chronicle of Higher Education,45(15), pp. A12-13.

This article reports on reforms passed at the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students' 1998 conference. Included were resolutions to increase their health care, to make professors and institutions accountable for better faculty advising, and to support collective bargaining rights for teaching assistants. The meeting included a session aimed at helping graduate student associations and graduate students unions get along; typically, those two groups have had some animosity toward each other, with unions organizing to fill a perceived lack of action on the part of the associations.Concerns about the mental health of graduate students were frequently voiced at the conference in the wake of the recent suicide of a Ph.D. student at Harvard. Conferees called for a resolution to "promote the psychological well-being of graduate and professional students," asking universities to acknowledge and help alleviate the unique pressures students face. To hold faculty members accountable for better advising, the conferees passed a resolution urging universities to explicitly include advising as a faculty responsibility and to evaluate professors on their advising along with their research and teaching. Finding jobs was also the topic of many of the sessions.

Nerad, M., & Miller, D. S. (1996, Winter). Increasing student retention in graduate and professional programs. New Directions for Institutional Research, 92, 61-76.

This article demonstrates how Berkeley investigated doctoral student attrition and describes activities which were implemented in an effort to increase student retention. Institutional data revealed that completion rates vary depending on field of study, gender, and race. Departments surveyed tended to view attrition as a result of external forces rather than structural of programmatic practices. Student interviews identified differences between early and late (post-candidacy) leavers. Early leavers never intended to obtain a Ph.D., or switched fields or institutions due to mismatched interests or frustrated expectations. Late leavers struggled with refining academic focus, poor advising relationships, lack of financial support, and chilly departmental climates. To address these issues, Berkeley instituted various programs at institutional, departmental, and individual student levels

Nerad, M. (1997). The institution that cares: Berkeley's efforts to support dissertation writing in the humanities and social sciences. New Directions for Higher Education, 25(3), 75-90.

Nerad suggests that, in humanities and social sciences, completion of a doctoral degree, especially dissertation writing, can be enhanced if students work in a collaborative environment, are not isolated in their work, interact with advisors, have information about academic publishing, and have a suitable financial aid package. The University of California at Berkeley has instituted a program to address these needs.

U. C. Berkeley. (1997, Spring). Communities of scholars: Dissertation accelerators. The Graduate, 13(1). [On-line]. Available:

Noting that Ph.D. completion rates tend to accelerate when students form peer support groups, this article reports on two unique Berkeley dissertation support projects. Their goal is to provide ways for graduate students with research interests in common to find one another and lessen their isolation. One project organizes a thematic dissertation workshop each semester, locating and gathering together small groups of scholars from the humanities, social sciences, and professional schools. A second project offers students the opportunity to search a database of in-progress Berkeley dissertation abstracts, in order to locate students working on similar topics in different disciplines and schools. An additional benefit of the support communities fostered by these projects is the possibility for long-term interdisciplinary academic partnerships and collaboration.

Attracting and Retaining Diverse Populations of Graduate Students

Antony, J. S. & Taylor, E. (in press). Graduate student socialization and its implications for the recruitment of African American education faculty. In W. G. Tierney (Ed.), Faculty roles and rewards in schools and colleges of education: Radical redesign or tinkering with reform? Columbia University: Teachers College Press.

Based on a qualitative study, this report discusses how African American doctoral students' conceptions of a professional career, particularly in education and academe, are formed and shaped by interactions and observations of faculty and faculty culture. Emphasized is the importance of faculty mentors who understand the pressures and anxieties experienced by many students of color.

Bok, D. & Bowen, W. G. (1998). The shape of the river: Long-term consequences of considering race in college and university admissions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

By analyzing the academic, employment, and personal histories of more than 45,000 students of all races who attended academically selective universities between the 1970s and the early 1990s, this work focuses on how race-sensitive admissions policies actually work and their effects on students. It argues that informed judgment on the wisdom of race-sensitive admissions can only be made after understanding the college careers and the subsequent lives of students. The book reveals the extent to which race-sensitive admissions increase the likelihood black students will be admitted to selective universities and demonstrates the effect of terminating these policies on minority students at different kinds of selective institutions. Also discussed are the academic performances of black students, their careers, and their participation in civic and community affairs.

Burgess, D. R. (1997, October 10). Barriers to graduate school for minority group students. Chronicle of Higher Education, B7-8.

Burgess focuses on the problem of low enrolment of minority students in graduate schools, and notes that for every one U.S. minority student who earns a doctorate, 10 are awarded to non-U.S. citizens. He highlights programs that are succeeding at encouraging more minority students to pursue advanced degrees, of which he believes "Project 3000 by 2000" is one (Association of American Medical Colleges). University chancellors, presidents and deans, Burgess believes, should involve themselves more in minority student graduate admissions so as to counterbalance the forces of department faculty who traditionally seek to recruit students from abroad.

Ginorio, A. (1995). Warming the Climate for Women in Academic Science. Paper presented to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Project on the Status and Education of Women, Washington, DC.

This paper reports on the problem of a persisting chilly climate for women in science, math and engineering by reviewing research on women's' pre-college experiences their undergraduate enrolment in these fields, and how they fare in graduate school and as faculty members. The author also reviews institutional responses to these concerns, and provides recommendations and a resources section.

Malcom, S. M., Van Horne, V. V., Gaddy, C. D., & George, Y. S. (1998). Losing ground: Science and engineering graduate education of Black and Hispanic Americans. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This publication examines the effects of changing affirmative action policies on entering black and Hispanic graduate students in science and engineering (S&E) at 93 research universities. A 20% drop in entering black S&E graduate students occurred between 1996 and 1997. After three years of increases, the enrollment of entering Hispanic S&E graduate students fell 16% during the same time period. Information was requested on the application, admission, financial aid, and enrollment of U.S. citizens and permanent residents by race and by ethnicity for the years 1994 - 1997. Although there are many possible explanations for these declines, visits to 10 institutions convinced the authors that legal challenges to programs have a chilling effect on black and Hispanic students as well as on other under-represented minorities. A coordinated response is needed to address structural barriers in the current graduate education system as well as the specific barriers to minority students. Tabular statistical data is included.

McDonald, D. (1994). New frontiers in clinical training: The UND Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education (InPsyDE) Program. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 5(3), 52-56.

This report describes the InPsyDE program, which focuses on mentoring students through the achievement of a Ph.D., as well as providing culturally appropriate training to all UND students. It points out that despite several pioneering efforts on the part of some university graduate psychology training programs in recent years, there still exists a dearth of Indian psychologists. Factors contributing to the alarmingly low representation of Indian college students at the graduate level may include self-confidence, cultural compatibility/incompatibility with college life, family issues and finances, anxiety, and the availability of effective mentors and advisors.

Nerad, M., & Cerny, J. (1999, August). Widening the circle: Another look at women graduate students. CGS Communicator, 32(6), 1-7.

This article compares the situation reported by graduate women in the 1990's with experiences reported in 1905, summarizing contemporary explanations for why women graduate (especially doctoral) students lag behind male counterparts in certain ways and suggesting ideas for what university administrators (particularly graduate deans) can do to support women doctoral students at various stages. The authors find that although many of the negative attitudes and gross obstacles to achievement have been eliminated over time, women still endure an academic climate that is often less than supportive and sometimes subtly discriminatory.

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