Predictive Relationships among Learner Characteristics, Academic Involvement, and Doctoral Education Outcomes

Description:

The literature identifies multiple factors pertinent to learner characteristics and learning experiences that may promote doctoral education outcomes, and yet little quantitative research has examined relationships between those factors deemed important in the effectiveness of doctoral education. This study sought to examine predictive relationships among doctoral students’ learner characteristics, their involvement in mentorship and intellectual community, and doctoral education outcomes. Using Astin’s theory of involvement and the literature on signature pedagogies in doctoral education as conceptual guides, a survey instrument was constructed for the purpose of measuring variables identified as relevant to the effective formation of scholars. Central to the conceptualization of this study was academic involvement as represented by mentorship and intellectual community. The instrument was validated in a two-stage pilot testing process and administered to doctoral candidates at three public Texas higher education institutions. Of the 217 participants, the majority were female, White (Non-Hispanic), US citizens, and were pursuing education doctorates. Data were analyzed using multivariate statistical analyses. Reliability and validity estimates indicated psychometric integrity of the 20 observed variables measured to represent the constructs of mentorship and intellectual community. Results indicated that doctoral students’ learner characteristics were not notably predictive of doctoral students’ degree of involvement in mentorship and intellectual community (p < .05, R2 = .23). Doctoral students’ degree of academic involvement was strongly predictive of outcomes (p < .001, R2 = .58), particularly student satisfaction with the doctoral education experience and self-efficacy in conducting various forms of scholarly work. Of this effect, more tangible outcomes such as scholarly productivity and degree progress were not meaningfully related to academic involvement. Regardless of the frequency of academic involvement, students perceived faculty mentorship and intellectual community as very important. The predictive value and perceived importance of faculty mentorship and intellectual community highlight the critical role faculty and peer support plays in the doctoral learning experience, and imply that such teaching and learning practices should be promoted in doctoral education. Considering that satisfaction and self-efficacy tend to be related to other educational outcomes, those concerned with the overall quality of doctoral education should focus increased attention on building collegial, effective, productive relationships among and within program communities.

Creator(s): Anderson, Baaska
Creation Date: December 2011
Partner(s):
UNT Libraries
Collection(s):
UNT Theses and Dissertations
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Publisher Info:
Publisher Name: University of North Texas
Publisher Info: www.unt.edu
Place of Publication: Denton, Texas
Date(s):
  • Creation: December 2011
Description:

The literature identifies multiple factors pertinent to learner characteristics and learning experiences that may promote doctoral education outcomes, and yet little quantitative research has examined relationships between those factors deemed important in the effectiveness of doctoral education. This study sought to examine predictive relationships among doctoral students’ learner characteristics, their involvement in mentorship and intellectual community, and doctoral education outcomes. Using Astin’s theory of involvement and the literature on signature pedagogies in doctoral education as conceptual guides, a survey instrument was constructed for the purpose of measuring variables identified as relevant to the effective formation of scholars. Central to the conceptualization of this study was academic involvement as represented by mentorship and intellectual community. The instrument was validated in a two-stage pilot testing process and administered to doctoral candidates at three public Texas higher education institutions. Of the 217 participants, the majority were female, White (Non-Hispanic), US citizens, and were pursuing education doctorates. Data were analyzed using multivariate statistical analyses. Reliability and validity estimates indicated psychometric integrity of the 20 observed variables measured to represent the constructs of mentorship and intellectual community. Results indicated that doctoral students’ learner characteristics were not notably predictive of doctoral students’ degree of involvement in mentorship and intellectual community (p < .05, R2 = .23). Doctoral students’ degree of academic involvement was strongly predictive of outcomes (p < .001, R2 = .58), particularly student satisfaction with the doctoral education experience and self-efficacy in conducting various forms of scholarly work. Of this effect, more tangible outcomes such as scholarly productivity and degree progress were not meaningfully related to academic involvement. Regardless of the frequency of academic involvement, students perceived faculty mentorship and intellectual community as very important. The predictive value and perceived importance of faculty mentorship and intellectual community highlight the critical role faculty and peer support plays in the doctoral learning experience, and imply that such teaching and learning practices should be promoted in doctoral education. Considering that satisfaction and self-efficacy tend to be related to other educational outcomes, those concerned with the overall quality of doctoral education should focus increased attention on building collegial, effective, productive relationships among and within program communities.

Degree:
Discipline: Higher Education
Level: Doctoral
PublicationType: Doctoral Dissertation
Language(s):
Subject(s):
Keyword(s): Doctoral education | academic involvement | mentorship | intellectual community
Contributor(s):
Partner:
UNT Libraries
Collection:
UNT Theses and Dissertations
Identifier:
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc103286
Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Format: Text
Rights:
Access: Public
Holder: Anderson, Baaska
License: Copyright
Statement: Copyright is held by the author, unless otherwise noted. All rights Reserved.