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vol. 54, no. 1, 2012 Published by NTEU

ISSN 0818–8068

Special Issue

Contemporary issues in doctoral education

AUR

Australian Universities’Review

AUR Editor Dr Ian R Dobson, University of Helsinki

Special Issue Editors Dr Anita Devos, Monash University Dr Catherine Manathunga, Victoria University, Aotearoa NZ

AUR Editorial Board Dr Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President Dr Timo Aarrevaara, University of Helsinki Professor Walter Bloom, Murdoch University Dr Anita Devos, Monash University Dr Jamie Doughney, Victoria University Dr Leo Goedegebuure, University of Melbourne Professor Ralph Hall, University of New South Wales Professor Dr Simon Marginson, University of Melbourne Mr Grahame McCulloch, NTEU General Secretary Dr Alex Millmow, University of Ballarat Dr Neil Mudford, UNSW@ADFA Professor Paul Rodan, Swinburne University of Technology Dr Leesa Wheelahan, University of Melbourne

Production Design & layout: Paul Clifton Editorial support: Anastasia Kotaidis Cover photograph: Graduation Ceremony 2011, Charles Sturt University. © Dirk HR Spennemann 2011. Used with permission.

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vol. 54, no. 1, 2012 Published by NTEU

ISSN 0818–8068

Special Issue

Contemporary issues in doctoral education

Australian Universities’ Review 2

Letter from the editors Anita Devos & Catherine Manathunga

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On doctoral education: How to supervise a PhD, 1985-2011 Raewyn Connell & Catherine Manathunga

10 Addressing the curriculum problem in doctoral education Bill Green

In this paper, the author reflects on the 1995 Special Issue of AUR on postgraduate supervision/pedagogy, bringing a contemporary set of perspectives to bear in thinking about the contested idea of ‘curriculum’ in doctoral education. 19 Researching doctoral pedagogy close up: Design and action in two doctoral programmes Susan Danby & Alison Lee

In this paper, we present two cases of doctoral pedagogical work being undertaken within different disciplinary and institutional settings to describe how learning opportunities were designed and to theorise what it means to be engaged in doing doctoral pedagogy. 29 Supervisors watching supervisors Catherine Manathunga

This paper focuses on one particular aspect of the operations of power within team supervision – the issue of how power circulates between supervisors. 38 Identity-trajectories Lynn McAlpine

This paper draws on evidence from a five-year research programme into doctoral experience to argue for a view of identity, identity-trajectory, that attends particularly to individual agency, interweaving the academic within the personal, and incorporating students’ pasts and imagined futures. 47 What constitutes doctoral knowledge? Anita Devos & Margaret Somerville

This paper explores a recent contested doctoral thesis examination process, focusing in particular on the implications for innovation and difference in doctoral work. 55 Internationalisation of doctoral education Janette Ryan

With a rapid increase in the number of international students undertaking doctorates in Australia and the UK, the postgraduate research student cohort has radically changed as these students have brought with them different academic cultures and intellectual traditions. 64 Up and coming? Doctoral education in China Rui Yang

In view of a lack of literature in English on Chinese doctoral education, this article attempts to provide an analytical review of China’s current practices as well as some issues and challenges faced by the system in meeting societal needs and future development.

72 Assessing international (post)graduate education: A research agenda Tami Blumenfield & Maresi Nerad

Despite the rapid expansion of international campuses and programmes, and the increasing acceptance and encouragement of international experiences for [post]graduate students, little comprehensive evaluative work has been done to assess their efficacy on a broad scale and to determine what types and models of international work can be most effective. 83 A new era for research education in Australia? Helene Marsh, Bradley Smith, Max King & Terry Evans

In this article the authors argue that the use of the Australian research assessment exercise, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), to influence the policy and practice of research education is inappropriate and with potentially negative consequences, as ERA is a retrospective measure of research quality while research education is prospective. 94 PhDs in Australia, from the beginning Ian R Dobson

The Australian PhD is a relatively recent phenomenon, the first three being awarded in 1948. The aim of this research note is to provide a brief statistical history of the Australian PhD, noting changes over time between study fields, universities, genders and citizenship groups. REVIEWS 102 Thanks to the Yanks! A Cohort of Pioneers: Australian postgraduate students and American postgraduate degrees 1949-1964 by Sally Ninham Review by Paul Rodan

103 Gender, power, management... and higher education Gender, Power and Management – A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Higher Education, by Barbara Bagilhole & Kate White (eds). Review by Michelle Wallace

105 It’s one for the money, two for the show Australian Higher Education Research Policies and Performance 1987-2010 by Frank Larkins Review by Pam Herman

107 Us and them: multiculturalism in the classroom Negotiating Political Identities: Multiethnic Schools and Youth in Europe by Daniel Faas Review by Neil Mudford

109 South-east of the border, down Asia way Education in South-East Asia, by Colin Brock & Lorraine Pe Symaco (eds). Review by Andrys Onsman

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Letter from the editors Anita Devos Monash University, Victoria

Catherine Manathunga Victoria University, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

This Special Issue on doctoral education emerged out

to energetically take up Connell’s call to reframe postgrad-

of an Australian Association for Research in Education

uate supervision as teaching, interpreted later by Lee and

(AARE) symposium in 2009 that brought together a small

Green as a ‘call to pedagogy’. In our view, it is timely now

number of Australian researchers, sharing a common

to devote another issue of AUR to this topic. The field has

interest in the ongoing development of the theoretical

grown considerably in the intervening years, and shifts in

foundations of research into doctoral education. Entitled

the policy and global environments of higher education

‘Doctoral education, new pedagogies and the possibilities

foreground the importance of maintaining a critical and

of new knowledges’, the symposium aimed to ‘explore

engaged commentary.

what happens when we start to think and theorise about

In this Special Issue, we have sought to reflect on the

doctoral education differently’. Our interest was in ‘the

1985 article, and 1995 issue and its goals, and to consider

generative possibilities of re-theorising the space of doc-

current directions and questions in the field of what we

toral education…’. Many of the questions that concerned

now refer to as doctoral education. This shift in nomen-

the presenters centred on issues of knowledge, power

clature from postgraduate supervision and pedagogy to

and identity in doctoral education and pedagogy.

doctoral education – now widely referred to in policy cir-

Following this symposium, we approached the Board

cles as research training – reflects a greater harnessing of

of the Australian Universities’ Review (AUR), which

this form of higher education to the knowledge economy,

agreed to a Special Issue of the journal on doctoral educa-

and a sharper focus on the doctorate in its various forms

tion. We felt that this journal was a particularly appropri-

as opposed to Masters by Research degrees. The question

ate forum through which to disseminate our calls for a

of what’s in a name is taken up in some of the articles in

review of doctoral education research. Not only is AUR

this present issue, and in other recent publications (Boud

a long standing academic journal and source of commen-

& Lee 2009 for example).

tary on higher education in Australia and internationally,

This Special Issue sits within a lively field of scholarship

but it also has a long track record of publishing ground-

and commentary, in Australasia and globally. Doctoral edu-

breaking articles on doctoral education. It was in AUR’s

cation has emerged since the seminal 1995 AUR issue as

predecessor journal, Vestes, that R W Connell’s piece ‘How

a burgeoning international sub-field of higher education

to supervise a PhD’ first appeared in 1985. This article

research. Just a few of the recent and emerging contribu-

generated considerable discussion over the following

tions to this field include a Special Issue of Innovations in

decade and prompted a Special Issue of AUR in 1995 on

Education and Teaching International on ‘Supervision

‘Postgraduate Studies/ Postgraduate Pedagogy’, edited by

and Cultural Difference’ guest edited by Barbara Grant

Alison Lee & Bill Green.

and Catherine Manathunga (2011); an edited book by

The 1995 Special Issue has been one of the most popular in AUR’s history, reflecting a pressing need at the time

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Letter from the editors, Anita Devos & Catherine Manathunga

Boud and Lee (2009); and a forthcoming edited book by Lee and Danby (in press, 2012). vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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There have also been a number of dedicated interna-

athunga then explores team supervision pedagogy using

tional conference series on doctoral education such as the

a Foucauldian lens, highlighting how team supervision

Quality in Postgraduate Education Conference, held bien-

opens up new pedagogical possibilities and challenging

nially in Adelaide since 1994; and the Global Forces and

tensions. Lynn McAlpine’s paper investigates instances of

Forms of Doctoral Education conference series developed

student agency and identity trajectories during their doc-

by the Center for Innovations and Research in Graduate

toral studies. Anita Devos and Margaret Somerville’s article

Education, University of Washington, Seattle that has pro-

concludes this section, with a contribution that interro-

duced a number of edited books since 2005. Another

gates the challenges to knowledge domains and academic

international grouping of scholars investigating doc-

identities confronted at the point of thesis examination

toral education is the International Doctoral Education

by the incorporation of new, non-Western knowledge and

Research Network (IDERN), which held its first confer-

methodologies in contemporary scholarship.

ence in Canada in 2007. IDERN’s most recent conference

The final section of this Special Issue explores some

was held in Malaysia in 2010 and produced a Special Issue

of the key contextual changes that have increasingly

of the Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humani-

come to frame doctoral education since 1995. In par-

ties (2011) and an edited book (Kumar & Lee 2011). This

ticular, this section includes a suite of papers that inves-

reflects attempts to shift away from an Anglo-American

tigate various aspects of internationalisation that have

orientation to the field, to engage with scholars and schol-

come to dominate the educational environment within

arly traditions from Malaysia and other parts of Asia. Two

which doctoral education takes place. Janette Ryan’s

of the papers in this present Special Issue also focus on

article on Western and Confucian scholarship demon-

doctoral education in China and Hong Kong.

strates the similarities and differences between these

This Special Issue does not aim to be comprehensive

two knowledge systems and the ways in which these are

but rather to draw out some interesting research from the

also changing in the face of attempts to engage during

field that might contribute to attempts to rethink doctoral

doctoral education in intercultural dialogue and mutual

education pedagogies and the impacts of contexts on this

learning. Rui Yang then explores the recent exponential

field. We have sought an international spread of authors

development of doctoral education in China, tracing

from Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, the UK, the US and

the issues and challenges emerging from China’s cur-

Hong Kong.

rent doctoral education practices and the role doctoral

We have grouped the papers into three broad sections.

education is likely to play in China’s rising global power.

In the introductory section, we build a bridge from Con-

Tami Blumenfeld and Maresi Nerad investigate US inter-

nell’s 1985 article and the 1995 Special Issue, with an

national (post)graduate education and collaboration in

article based on an edited interview with Raewyn Con-

the sciences and engineering, proposing a model for

nell, conducted by Catherine Manathunga. In this article,

evaluating the effectiveness of these doctoral education

Connell reflects on what prompted her to write the 1985

programmes and making a series of recommendations

paper, and how doctoral education pedagogies and con-

about how they might be improved.

texts have changed since that time. This piece is followed

The penultimate paper by Helene Marsh, Bradley

by an article by one of the editors of the 1995 Special

Smith, Max King and Terry Evans shifts the focus to

Issue, Bill Green, where he reflects on the arguments he

the policy context of Australian doctoral education and

and Alison Lee made in 1995 about ‘supervision as peda-

research, investigating the potentially negative impli-

gogy’ based upon the ‘educational orientation’ of Con-

cations of linking the funding of research education

nell’s piece. His current contribution focuses attention

places to institutions which score at ‘world standard or

on the question of curriculum in doctoral education.

above’ in particular fields of research in the Excellence

The second section represents a group of papers

in Research Australia (ERA) research assessment exer-

exploring aspects of pedagogy that were less well cov-

cise. The Special Issue concludes with a research note

ered in the 1995 Special Issue. These shifts reflect

by Ian Dobson, which provides an historical, statistical

changes in the ways in which supervision and doctoral

snapshot of the changes in the study fields, universities,

education are conducted in the present era. This section

gender and citizenship groups of doctorates in Australia

commences with an article by Susan Danby and Alison

since the late 1940s.

Lee where they extend Lee’s earlier work on supervision

In this Special Issue, we have sought to challenge some

as pedagogy by writing about pedagogy as social action

of the normative assumptions about doctoral supervision

within the broader doctoral programme. Catherine Man-

and pedagogy that persist in current discourses and schol-

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Letter from the editors, Anita Devos & Catherine Manathunga

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arship, and to foreground theoretically informed work about the pedagogies and contexts of doctoral education.

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References

We frame this issue through a reflection on earlier schol-

Boud, D. & Lee, A. (eds) (2009). Changing practices of doctoral education. Abingdon UK: Routledge.

arship in AUR and its predecessor Vestes, and build from

Connell, R. (1985). How to supervise a PhD. Vestes, 28(2), 38-42.

that to reflect the changed and changing landscapes of doctoral education scholarship today. It is our hope the articles published here will stimulate further discussion and debate, and promote doctoral education and scholarship as a space of imagination and possibility.

Acknowledgments We would especially like to highlight the high levels of commitment by the authors of this Special Issue and the

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Lee, A. & Danby, S. (eds) (in press, 2012). Reshaping Doctoral Education: Changing programs and pedagogies. Abingdon UK: Routledge Grant, B. & Manathunga, C. (2011). Supervision and cultural difference: institutional rethinking institutional pedagogies. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 48:4, 351-354. Lee, A. & Green, B. (1995). Introduction: Postgraduate studies/postgraduate pedagogy? Australian Universities’ Review, 38(2) 1-4. Kumar, V. & Lee, A. (eds) (2011). Doctoral education in international context. Serdang: Penerbit Universiti Putra Malaysia. Kumar, V. & Lee, A. (eds) (2011). Special Issue. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities. 19:2.

generosity of the reviewers of these papers. Our reviewers were drawn from the UK, Europe, North America, China, Hong Kong, South Africa, Sweden, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and we extend our sincere thanks for your excellent feedback and responsiveness to our timetable. Anita Devos is Senior Lecturer and Graduate Coordinator Research Degrees in the Faculty of Education, Monash University, and Editorial Board member of AUR. Dr Catherine Manathunga is an Associate Professor in Education, Victoria University Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Letter from the editors, Anita Devos & Catherine Manathunga

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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On doctoral education How to supervise a PhD, 1985–2011 Raewyn Connell University of Sydney, NSW

Catherine Manathunga Victoria University, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

It’s more than 25 years ago now since I wrote that piece

basically gave them nothing, just expected them to get

on postgraduate supervision for Vestes (Connell 1985)1.

on with it and a few years later produce this magnificent

I wrote it about 15 years after I’d finished my own PhD.

thesis. So there was a lot of really bad practice because

I believe I was the first person to be awarded a PhD in

departments got kudos for having graduate students

my department at the end of the 1960s. So I came into

and invested very little in return. They didn’t count PhD

the system at the time Australian universities were just

supervision as any part of an academic’s workload either.

building up a research capability, and particularly a higher

It was as if you did this by a kind of divine aura around

degree capability.

you as a scholar, and the student would stand close and

Prior to the late 1940s, Australian universities, which

get warmed by this.

had first been founded in the Gold Rush days of the

This approach was all very well if the student already

1850s, had basically been undergraduate institutions and

knew how to do it, which a few did. I was lucky in that

finishing schools for the children of the local bourgeoisie,

respect because I did know how to do it more or less. I

training places for lawyers and doctors, and some teach-

had a good honours undergraduate programme and I had

ers.They’d set up the Australian National University at the

role models within my family and so forth. My relation-

end of the 1940s in order to have a graduate element in

ship with my supervisor was very benign, and he was very

the Australian university system. That arrangement didn’t

supportive, but it was largely me kicking on and doing

last long because other Australian universities introduced

it, without any interaction with the other students in the

graduate education as well. Because Australian universities

department about our theses. Also, when I was a doctoral

were basically a colonial outpost for the British univer-

student, I was involved in the student protest movement

sities, they took the model of higher degree study from

of the 1960s, which had a pretty sharp critique of univer-

Britain, not from Germany or the United States.

sities, and quite rightly so, as degree factories and tired

Therefore, the PhD was an independent piece of

bureaucratic institutions.

research, with a supervisor who was supposed to be a

When I wrote the paper in 1985, I’d become a head

learned scholar in the field giving you guidance. No one

of department. I was the professor of sociology at Mac-

really thought very much about what this involved as a

quarie at the time. I was supervising a number of graduate

form of education. And the result was a lot of very poor

students, so I’d had to work this out from the other side.

supervision, a lot of really badly planned PhD projects,

I also had a commitment to a democratic notion of educa-

and a very high dropout rate. You had departments that

tion, an interactive notion of how you did education at

enrolled quite significant numbers of PhD students and

this level, rather than a top-down one. And that certainly

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

On doctoral education, Raewyn Connell and Catherine Manathunga

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was one of the things that stimulated me to think about

student point of view. I can’t now remember but I might

supervision as important and as a quite difficult piece of

have shown them the 1998 paper and asked for their reac-

educational work.

tion to the paper.

So I sat down one day and thought about my discus-

Bill Connell, my father, also influenced my thinking

sions with my PhD students. They seemed to like my

about supervision a great deal. Bill had been a school

practice reasonably well; and here’s this whole university

teacher and then became an academic and a professor of

system that’s now putting through increasing numbers of

education. He was a very good teacher, a gentle person,

PhD students, but doesn’t actually have a thought-out way

who was really interested in students as people, not just

of doing it. It wasn’t a piece of research; it was really just a

as bums on seats or figures on a printout. I never had a

reflection on practice.As an active unionist, I thought that

supervision relationship with him of course, but I did give

Vestes (now the Australian Universities’ Review) would

him drafts to look at, and he did the same for me, so we

be a good forum for this piece.

exchanged papers and he could always be counted on for

In the article, I was trying to think about supervision

thoughtful and constructive comments. I guess that was

as a human relationship, not as a technical exercise.

something I needed to learn about: how as a supervisor,

There’s a tendency now to talk about supervision as if it’s

you need to read your student’s work closely, and not just

a technical process you need to learn the rules of. I was really urging my academic colleagues to think about this as a human educational relationship, which has all the ups and downs that any human

relationship

does.

There are times when you

say ‘this bit is wrong’, but

There’s a tendency now to talk about supervision as if it’s a technical process you need to learn the rules of. I was really urging my academic colleagues to think about this as a human educational relationship, which has all the ups and downs that any human relationship does.

get cross with your student,

give them constructive comments showing how they could make it right. Sheila Shaver was a colleague of mine – in fact the first person appointed in sociology at Macquarie. I had also talked with her about supervision, not that I ever

there are times when you

supervised her work, but she

have to be incredibly patient, and there are times when

was completing her PhD at the time and talked with me

it’s very upsetting. I mean I’ve had some harrowing stories

about the experience of being supervised. Later we talked

told to me by my students. (One of the nastiest was the

about her beginning to be a supervisor, so seeing it from

doctoral student who’d been working for several years,

both sides. Sheila is still a good friend of mine, and I learnt

split up with her husband, and the husband sneaked in

a lot from her conversations. So those are the people that

one day when she was out of the house and destroyed

I acknowledged. And I also acknowledged the typists,

her drafts and her notes, the whole works, as an act of

Hilary Lewis and Val Bennett – how things have changed!

revenge. She very impressively did it again, got the PhD

Those jobs have practically all gone.

and went on to establish an academic career.)

I think that my article generated conversations about

In the essay I used slightly jokey, humorous language,

supervision, which was very much what I wanted to

even quoting from Shakespeare (‘lending an ear’), to try

happen. The initial reaction wasn’t critical and it wasn’t

to get people to think in a rounded way about supervi-

agreeing or disagreeing particularly with my line. It was

sion. It’s not just a technical matter. I wanted people to

more a reaction of surprise and recognition that super-

be reflective about what they were doing in supervision.

vision was something people could have a conversation

I also wanted graduate students to be thinking about the

about.

nature of this relationship, to see the supervisor not just

Quite soon after that, something else happened that

as the authority figure or the bureaucratic figure, but as

really did surprise me. People began using my article in

someone who is engaged in an educational interchange.

graduate induction programmes. And graduate student

Some of the people who had influenced my thinking

groups began reprinting it in the handbooks that they pro-

about supervision are listed in my acknowledgements.

duced for new graduate students. So the students picked

Meredith Burgmann and Carol O’Donnell were doctoral

it up, not just my academic colleagues. I guess I shouldn’t

students of mine at the time. I was fairly up front about my

have been surprised as there were a lot of disgruntled

thoughts about supervision with my students, and talked

graduate students around. I think some picked it up as a

about these issues, and in effect got their advice from a

statement about the attitudes or practices of a supervisor

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On doctoral education, Raewyn Connell and Catherine Manathunga

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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that they would like to see in their departments. So my

You can’t predict the outcomes of research. So there is

article became a statement about a standard of supervi-

always a certain tension, uncertainty, risk in research. This

sion that you might want to see in Australian universities.

cult of the great mind is perhaps one of the ways research-

Although Bill Green and Alison Lee (1995, p. 40) called

ers deal with that uncertainty and likelihood of failure,

my piece a ‘call to action’, that’s not quite the way I

given that most good research does fail one way or another,

thought of it. I wanted it to be a call to conversation. I

or gets imperfect results. The students can be innocent

certainly wasn’t proposing an organisational agenda about

bystanders of the drama that happens among researchers

supervision. I was calling for a more thoughtful and more

who are meant to be their teachers, but who can become

supportive use of the resources we had. I even suggested

so caught up in the rest of their academic work.

a few ways supervisors could help students after they’d

My attitude is that higher degree supervision is teach-

finished their PhDs – such as stealing some paper from

ing, but it’s a very distinctive kind of teaching, and it’s

the departmental stationery cupboard or sneaking a bit of

quite a complex and difficult kind of teaching.

clerical support so that they could disseminate their work.

It necessarily extends over a number of years before

By 1995, when the special issue on doctoral education

there are any results at all. It’s got a high rate of effective

was published, things hadn’t shifted yet very far. Indeed,

failure, a lot of students drop out or the projects don’t

you might say that the ethos of universities was beginning

turn out well. It’s highly individualised, extremely difficult

to change away from the direction in which I encouraged

to do in a team. It’s high stakes for students because if

people to move. It was becoming more difficult to invest

the student’s relationship with the supervisor goes sour,

a lot of time and human energy in a supervisory relation-

for any reason, then several years of the student’s life are

ship because everyone was becoming more pressured,

down the drain.

more scrutinised and surveilled. In 1995, as it happened, I

So it’s a tricky, difficult kind of educational enterprise to

was teaching in the United States so I wasn’t actually here

bring off, and therefore it needs thought and attention. If

in Australia.

supervisors as a group don’t give supervision thought and

I wrote the article in a somewhat informal style, trying

attention, then what happens is that many of the students

to put my money where my mouth was, because I was

will fall by the wayside.The ones who will keep going are

suggesting this was a human relationship and you don’t

usually those who have some kind of privilege to start

want to treat it as a technical thing. So I didn’t want to

with. And that’s not a good outcome. In my forty years

use education jargon, like ‘pedagogy’. In any case, many

as a university teacher I have witnessed plenty of bad

people in universities didn’t like thinking about them-

practice, ranging from laziness, to sexual exploitation, to

selves as educators, because that meant being a school

appropriation of students’ work. My original article, how-

teacher. I’m very happy to compare myself to a school

ever, was not intended to document the trouble; it was to

teacher! I work a lot with school teachers and admire

show how to do better. Bad practice should be criticised,

them and learn from them. But many people in universi-

of course, and I have tried to prevent it when I could.

ties do draw a fairly sharp distinction.

But the main enemy of bad practice is good practice. I

There’s also a mystique about research. It was preva-

don’t mind codes of ethics but I don’t think they have very

lent then and I think it is still prevalent, and may even

much impact. What does have an impact, I think, is democ-

be encouraged by all the bullshit about ‘excellence’ in

ratisation of the institution in which supervision occurs, so

research. The researcher is portrayed as a great mind,

that people know what is happening around them, people

greater than other mortals, and you are privileged to have

in less powerful positions have organised encouragement

anything to do with him [it is usually a him]. And so what

to assert their own interests, and practices of respect and

you do as an academic is carry on with your great thoughts

support become normative. Student organisations are

and do your great laboratory work, or your marvellous

important for this; so are staff unions. I worry that the

field work, or your deep literary thinking; and any gradu-

drift towards managerialism, producing new forms of hier-

ate students in the neighbourhood will just be inspired

archy in the university and new pressures for ‘success’ and

by your example, and go on and do it themselves. So you

output, has already reversed the limited democratisation

don’t do anything that would distract yourself from your

that was achieved a generation ago.

own marvellous research. Now I’m caricaturing of course,

By the time I returned from the US, the neoliberal shift

but I think this easily provides a rationale for not commit-

in Australian universities was in full blast. Like everything

ting real resources and time and thought to supervising

else in the universities, higher degrees began to be treated

graduate students.

as a market exercise, so fees for higher degrees went up

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

On doctoral education, Raewyn Connell and Catherine Manathunga

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and, in the case of overseas students, to appalling levels.

Whereas once Australian universities were very free

The only people who could come to Australia from over-

floating about supervision and people could wander

seas were students who were either rich people, children

across disciplinary boundaries and do publishable work,

of rich people, or people who won scholarships where an

now we have moved significantly towards the North Amer-

organisation would pay for it. And that really did change

ican model of disciplinary silos. Students are increasingly

the culture. It was no longer something that more or less

scrutinised at the start as to whether they are properly

anyone with a yearning to do research could come and

in this discipline, or that discipline. There’s now pressure

do. It was now a major investment, and that necessarily

on students to design their project practically before they

produced a more calculative approach by many students,

begin their enrolment.They’re certainly under pressure to

including those paying high fees, who wanted a guaranteed

get on with it quickly, because the government, having

return for their money, and the return in minimum time.

agreed that the higher degree work is part of what they’re

However, there are many positive effects of increasing the numbers of international PhD students in Australia.

funding universities for, have put on the screws to try and make it more efficient.

There is great excitement in introducing a student from

So now they fund 3.5 years for a higher degree student,

another culture to the research culture I know, and I’m

and if you’re not done by then, the government doesn’t

willing to spend a lot of effort to do so. The result isn’t

fund the university for you anymore. So departments are

always happy. My pedagogy sometimes fails, and not all

under pressure to push everyone through in quick time,

students manage to understand what I’m asking them to do. But sometimes it works very well, and that is a great experience. There are a lot of debates about where the boundaries are when providing feedback

and supervisors in turn are

Whereas once Australian universities were very free floating about supervision and people could wander across disciplinary boundaries and do publishable work, now we have moved significantly towards the North American model of disciplinary silos.

on students’ writing for stu-

under pressure, and put pressure on the students. Because students are being asked to commit to a research design very early, and are under pressure to finish in minimum time, under financial pressure as well as social

dents whose first language is

pressure, there has to be an

not English. When I am working with a student on a draft

impact on the character and quality of PhD projects.What

that they have written in my language, I am willing to cor-

the new managerialist pressures on supervision amount

rect their work in a lot of detail – at first. My limits are:

to is an attempt to standardise and downgrade the PhD.

(a) I am trying to help them express their ideas in good

The immediate effects are to de-skill the supervisors,

academic English, not my ideas, so I don’t re-cast their

institute fake accountability, and make the students’ work

argument, only their prose. I will separately point out

more hasty and formulaic, in the name of faster ‘comple-

problems in the argument, that’s my job as supervisor, but

tions’, more control and greater output. It is much more

I won’t rewrite the text to solve the problems; (b) I will

difficult for someone to take the time and do the deep

do this for some of their text, to show them how it is done;

thinking and make mistakes, and work out new directions,

but not for all the text. They have to become autonomous

and bring off a genuinely innovative project, under the

writers at some stage, and this is when it should happen.

current PhD regimen. I think this is, to be blunt, stupid

Unfortunately, universities and the Federal Govern-

policy, whose long-term effect is to undermine the qual-

ment now focus on international higher degree students

ity of intellectual life in Australia. It is so stupid, its effect

as fee-generating. One good part of this was that higher

so predictable, that one wonders if this consequence is

degree supervision was now treated as part of the teach-

intended. Other attacks on universities suggest our gov-

ing workload. I think that’s an excellent move, and should

ernment and corporate elite want a tamer, more predict-

have been the case all along. So there was a recognition

able and more controllable intelligentsia

that this took time and resources and should count for

The main effect on my supervision practice, therefore,

part of the teaching load. But because it happened within

is to reinforce the idea that a supervisor’s role is to pro-

the corporate logic that the universities increasingly fol-

tect the student from the institution, as far as one can,

lowed, higher degree work was subject to the same kind

and encourage originality and radical thinking. I will help

of rationalisation and managerial intervention as other

students to publish their work during their candidature

areas of the university.

but I will never pressure them to do so. As far as I can, I

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On doctoral education, Raewyn Connell and Catherine Manathunga

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will support their taking the time they need to do a really

Making space for creativity is a crucial problem, as we

good job of research, rather than cutting the project short

develop higher degree systems. The safest and quickest,

to meet an organisational deadline. Of course this faces

but also the most deadening, form of PhD work is where

practical limits, especially those of cost, now that higher

students effectively reproduce the methods of their

degrees cost so much.

supervisor. Indeed students should learn their supervi-

So there are contradictory trends here. The fact that

sor’s attitudes and methods. But this should be critical

higher degree supervision takes time and energy and

learning, and the supervisor’s methods should be a base

resources is now recognised. That has to be a good thing,

for the students to be doing something genuinely their

as it creates a little institutional space for supervision.

own. The more that students get support to do original

However, there is also a counter-tendency pushing aca-

and unconventional, unexpected work, the more exciting

demics to teach more students, get more grants, publish

it will be for the academics involved too.

more papers. There is a performance/productivity drive

I still have terrific doctoral students and have really

in the neoliberal university, which very much worries

fascinating and interesting relationships with them. I get

me because I think it’s fundamentally an anti-intellectual

frustrated with them and cross with them, but I also learn

trend, something that must undermine the quality of edu-

from them and get excited by conversations with them. I

cation in universities. So where you’ve got two contradic-

think it’s a great privilege to be involved in supervision.

tory trends how do they balance out, or what new things

It is a tough form of teaching, but it’s also a wonderfully

will come out of them?

inspiring teaching experience.

One result is an increasing tendency to organise higher degree supervision through formal programmes, to intro-

Raewyn Connell is University Professor at the University of

duce training programmes for supervisors, and to convey

Sydney, Faculty of Education & Social Work.

the idea that there are best practices for doing this, which have to be discovered, and then implemented.There is an

Dr Catherine Manathunga is an Associate Professor in Educa-

attempt to rationalise and routinise higher degree super-

tion, Victoria University Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.

vision. Again, there are pluses and minuses to this. The big plus is that supervision is getting attention now at a policy level and a programme level, where beforehand it could be incredibly slack. The downside is that when you

Endnote 1. This piece is the edited product of a conversation between Raewyn Connell and Catherine Manathunga.

implement programme rules and formalise things, you may get a routinised result that is not particularly exciting for anyone involved. You can create a lot of unnecessary work, and unnecessary anxiety among the students, by setting up formal ‘accountability’ mechanisms that don’t do much for real accountability. Our contemporary ‘ethics’ procedures are a case in point, a classic example

References Connell, R. (1985). How to supervise a PhD. Vestes, 28(2), 38-42. Green, B. & Lee, A. (1995). Theorising postgraduate pedagogy. Australian Universities’ Review, 38(2), 40-45.

of badly designed bureaucracy.

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Addressing the curriculum problem in doctoral education Bill Green Charles Sturt University, NSW

How best to understand the curriculum problem in doctoral research education: that is the question that this paper engages. It begins by noting that curriculum as such is little referenced and inadequately theorised in higher education and certainly in doctoral education, and indeed has been described as a ‘missing term’. The paper then reviews a now longstanding research programme in the latter field addressed specifically to research supervision, focusing on notions of pedagogy, textuality, subjectivity and knowledge. Over more than a decade and a half, a body of work has been produced in this regard, informed by literary and cultural studies, feminism and poststructuralist theory and philosophy, thereby opening up the field to new theoretical resources and perspectives. Following this, the paper goes on to draw more directly on contemporary curriculum thought and on what is called post-Reconceptualist curriculum inquiry to outline a curriculum-theoretical perspective on doctoral studies and research education, bringing together notions of representation, emergence, practice and futurity. It does so here with reference to both the PhD and the professional doctorate, but arguably has relevance for doctoral education more generally.

When Alison Lee and I put together the Australian Uni-

level of teaching in our education system’, and further, as

versities’ Review Special Issue on ‘Postgraduate Studies/

‘a genuinely complex teaching task’. In our 1995 Special

Postgraduate Pedagogy’ in 1995, it was the formal inaugu-

Issue and subsequently, we have argued that understand-

ration of a collaborative research programme that we have

ing supervision as pedagogy is far from straightforward,

now been working on for over 15 years. Of course that

or uncontroversial. Indeed, a deep-seated prejudice exists

work has been rather more spasmodic and even oppor-

in the modern university, which systematically privileges

tunistic than we would have liked, for all sorts of reasons.

research over teaching, disciplinarity over pedagogy (Lee

Even so, a considerable record of publications in the area

& Green 1997). In this regard, Connell’s early intervention

exists, and there have been presentations of various kinds

was and remains particularly important, because it put on

in a range of forums – a substantive contribution, in terms

the agenda a distinctively educational orientation, that is,

of its principal focus on the assertion of supervision as

a language and a perspective drawn specifically from the

pedagogy, that is, doctoral research supervision as a dis-

disciplinary discourse of educational research, as a signifi-

tinctive form of pedagogy.A key stepping-off point for the

cant form of inquiry in its own right. I see this paper as an

work was Connell’s article a decade earlier in the then

opportunity to continue that work.

current manifestation of this very journal, entitled ‘How

I’ve recently re-read Connell’s article. It remains as

to Supervise a PhD?’ Connell (1985, p. 38) aptly described

arresting and engaging as ever, and as useful, even though

higher degree research supervision as ‘the most advanced

times have certainly changed. The Australian university in

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Addressing the curriculum problem in doctoral education, Bill Green

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the early 21st century is highly corporatised and strikingly

absence has contributed to a history of disjointed and

performative in its orientation and conduct, and desper-

untheorised activity in higher education. There are signs,

ately underfunded. Even though teaching has been re-

in fact, of a new interest in notions of ‘curriculum renewal’

valued, research has become more and more central to

and the like, although much of this is technically oriented,

institutional identity, mission statements and the like, and

and quite narrow. Such work is, however, most commonly

a fraught matter of high status combined with ever-scarce

and characteristically addressed to undergraduate educa-

opportunity. Relatedly, there has been a proliferation of

tion; it hardly ever touches on postgraduate research stud-

doctorates over the period in question, here and else-

ies, or more particularly doctoral education.

where (Park 2005). In research management terms, we

Re-reading Connell (1985), and vaguely recalling in it

are more likely to refer to doctoral education these days,

some sort of reference to curriculum, I was especially

accordingly, than to simply assume that higher degree

attuned to how it was being addressed. It was in fact much

work equals the PhD. Even so, old habits linger…

more limited than I had recalled, although suggestive all

A crucial issue in higher education is the distinctive

the same. Having described ‘[PhD supervision]’ as ‘a form

nature of its characteristic forms of curriculum, peda-

of teaching’, it went on to assert that ‘[l]ike other forms,

gogy and literacy. These can be considered in an inte-

it raises questions about curriculum, method, teacher/stu-

grated fashion, as an exemplary expression of what can

dent interaction, and educational environment’ (Connell

be called the academic-dominant, a term I am adapting

1985, p. 38). Doctoral research is described as character-

from Jameson’s (1984) celebrated account of postmod-

istically sui generis:

ernism as a ‘cultural dominant’.This ‘academic dominant’ refers to the organised, hegemonic form of how the university operates in terms of, respectively, what to teach, how to teach, and which textual practices constitute appropriate and authorised forms of learning, study and

[O]ne of the problems of being a supervisor is that each [i.e. PhD project] has to be worked out separately. It seems as if one is always starting from scratch. And the students usually have little idea what is in store for them (Connell 1985, p. 38-39).

research. Broadly, and all too briefly, the first engages the

That is, there is no set curriculum, no established

whole question of disciplinarity; the second involves

course of study. Hence, as Connell (1985, p. 39) contin-

what can be described as the time-honoured traditional

ues, ‘… there can be no formula for PhD supervision,

practices of transmission and charisma (the ‘lecture’);

no fixed course of events. The ‘curriculum’ cannot be

while the third privileges commentary and what has

planned in the way it is for undergraduate courses’. This

been called the ‘(print-)essayistic’ mode – exposition,

is a particular way of talking and thinking about curricu-

or the ‘essay’. The focus in this paper is on the first of

lum, as a ‘course’, something to be followed or to run, a

these – that is, curriculum. Properly speaking, however,

‘track’. It is usually understood as a course of study, that is,

they should be considered together, as I believe they are

a set sequence of engagements and experiences with …

profoundly related. My particular concern here is what

knowledge, on the part of students, under the guidance of

all this means for doctoral education.

their teacher(s).

A ‘missing term’? On knowledge, curriculum, and doctoral education

lurking behind the notion of ‘course’ is the Latin currere,

Two points are worth noting here. First, somewhere which the North American curriculum theorist Bill Pinar (2004) has proposed as a central concept for curriculum A burgeoning field has emerged, addressed specifically

scholarship. In Pinar’s work, this is understood in part as

to doctoral education, and to a reconceptualised view of

pertaining to the experience of the course, that is, the

research supervision, among much else. Something that

student’s experience, or that of whoever experiences

is quite striking however is how little reference there is to

the course in question, and this is often associated with

curriculum, both as a distinctively educational phenom-

autobiography. Second, the question of knowledge is fore-

enon and as a field of scholarship in its own right. This

grounded, or what is being studied. This is usually linked

is the case in higher education more generally, of course.

to what has been described as the key curriculum ques-

Indeed, curriculum has been described as the ‘missing

tion What knowledge is of most worth? In conventional

term’ in higher education reform discourse (Barnett &

educational contexts, that in turn becomes, What should

Coates 2005). It has been asserted that ‘[c]urriculum is,

the schools teach? which is clearly inappropriate for doc-

or should be, one of the major terms in the language of

toral education. Or is it? It is worth asking indeed what is

higher education’ (Barnett & Coates 2005, p. 25), and its

it that doctoral education does – what is it for?

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The answer is two-fold. On the one hand, it is about

futurity, becoming, and the New. Something similar is hap-

knowledge generation: producing (new) knowledge, as a

pening with other forms of doctoral education, although

result or outcome of systematic inquiry made public. It has

there is also an increasing secularisation to be observed,

in fact been widely noted, of late, how much of Australia’s

across the doctoral field more generally, which perhaps

research output is associated with doctoral work. On the

goes hand-in-hand with a new democratisation, a growing

other hand, the emphasis is on research training, as it is

massification.

still commonly described: producing researchers – par-

But that immediately presents a problem, however.

ticular kinds of personnel, or appropriately skilled, capa-

Firstly, to point to ‘knowledge’ as a focus for the profes-

ble research subjects, docile and disciplined, productive

sional doctorate in this fashion is immediately to run up

bodies.This knowledge/identity coupling is indeed crucial

against what has often been posed to date as its more

to an informed view of curriculum, which might be suc-

appropriate and proper focus on ‘practice’. A perhaps

cinctly defined as the pedagogic structuring of knowledge

fatal binary comes into play, then: knowledge/practice.

and identity.This means, in short, mapping knowledge and

This links up programmatically with other formulations,

identity onto teaching and learning, as follows:

with ‘knowledge’ seen as congruent with notions such as ‘research’, ‘theory’ and even ‘scholarship’ – all set up,

Figure 1

equally problematically, against the only quite recently privileged category of ‘practice’. Secondly, however, the

knowledge

problem we are confronted with is one of fundamental conceptualisation (or, perhaps more precisely, ‘reconceptualisation’). How then is doctoral curriculum to be (re)

teaching

learning

conceptualised? Is it, as implied in our brief account of the academic-dominant, to be equated with knowledge, or (at its simplest) the ‘what’ of teaching? There is a long tradition in the fields of educational research and curriculum

identity

studies that does just that, especially that which is shaped and influenced by Anglo-American scholarship (Reid 1999), although it is also a feature of Bernstein’s (1971)

That is, curriculum can be understood as the field out-

account of educational knowledge. Or is curriculum also

lined here. One value of this formulation is that it brings

to be understood as the organised expression of teaching-

pedagogy, or teaching for learning, within the ambit of

learning experience, thus incorporating and generating

curriculum, properly conceived.The larger point however

particular understandings of knowledge, identity and tex-

is that knowledge is to be acknowledged as crucial in ade-

tuality? Bringing these views all together is precisely what

quately thinking of curriculum. What kind of knowledge

I aim to do here.

project is the doctorate, whether it be in the form of the

The professional doctorate has still only relatively

PhD or any other higher research degree at this level? We

recently emerged as an alternative form of doctoral study

are accustomed to seeing the PhD as constituting a dis-

in Australian universities, not uncontroversially (Lee, Bren-

tinctive form of knowledge work, indeed the highest and

nan & Green 2009). To date, however, this phenomenon

most prestigious in the university.This is partly where the

has been largely policy and market-driven, and conse-

traditional ‘mystique’ associated with the PhD, which Con-

quently there is considerable range in terms of the quality

nell noted, surely comes from. There is something special

both of educational provision and of academic-scholarly

about the knowledge produced in and by a PhD, or there

understanding as well as rigour. Further to this, its devel-

should be. Something happens in the work of a PhD that

opment and consolidation has been inseparable from

is distinctive and significant, with regard to its knowledge

mounting concerns about the PhD and about postgraduate

project. Ideally, perhaps impossibly, something is changed

research education more generally, and accordingly there

in the world, and in the doctoral scholar him- or herself;

continues to be widespread confusion and controversy

s/he becomes, in effect, the Subject of Knowledge. Con-

in this regard. Much of this concern focuses on the role

nell rightly seeks to play down the mystique. The point

and status of the professional doctorate. What research

remains, however: an extraordinary promise is arguably at

there is, however, still tends to be more or less instrumen-

issue in doctoral work – the promise of natality (Arendt

tal and/or bureaucratic in nature, although there are signs

1958), itself related in important ways to the notion of

of growing sophistication, and hence the professional

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doctorate remains seriously under-theorised, in terms

& Brennan 2000), in continuing to explore such themes.

both of curriculum and pedagogy, research and teaching.

Regarding the former concern, Barnett (2009, pp. 431-

Hence, in the long-term programme I have been engaged

432) rightly observes that knowledge needs to be under-

in, with Alison Lee, we have been principally concerned

stood far more widely and flexibly than it usually is in

to explore various issues of research and theory, with a

such circumstances and debates.

view to informing both policy and practice. This requires,

Originally our reference was to distinctive ‘discipli-

among other things, a specific engagement – what I want

nary’ and ‘professional’ orientations in the doctorate. At

to describe here as the curriculum problem – that is, I

the time we were thinking of the PhD as more or less

ask about how curriculum is to be conceptualised here

a ‘disciplinary’ doctorate, set against the (then) new pro-

in relation to doctoral research education. To begin with,

fessional doctorate, which seemed to involve a rather dif-

however, it is appropriate to consider something of the

ferent knowledge project. That original formulation soon

history of doctoral study and the modern university.

became recognisably inadequate, and misleading. After all, PhD work, at least potentially, can be interdisciplinary in

Addressing the curriculum problem

nature, or multi-disciplinary, as much as anything else. Disciplinarity itself is a dynamic concept (Messer-Davidow,

In our 1995 introductory paper, we posited a distinction

Shumway & Sylvan 1993). Somewhat ironically, Hodge’s

between ‘professional’ knowledge and ‘disciplinary’

(1995) typically iconoclastic account of doctoral educa-

knowledge. This distinction was made in specific relation

tion, the new humanities, and what he called ‘monstrous

to ‘the appearance on the Australian scene of new kinds

knowledge’, had provided the basis for the distinction in

of doctoral research and accreditation’, a development we

question here. As he wrote, apropos of the ‘PhD’:

suggested was ‘fuelled and generated by, on the one hand, the emergence of different kinds of universities [...]’, and on the other, what we described as ‘an increasing secularisation of university work’ (Lee & Green 1995, p. 3). What we were referring to in the latter formulation was what we saw as ‘the increased emphasis on professional studies of one kind or another, and what might be called the vocationalising of higher education’ in Australia. Our reference to ‘secularisation’ was intended (albeit ironically) to set in train a binary play, with the key terms in opposition

The single term refers to theses in all disciplines, including sciences as well as social sciences and humanities, proclaiming an abstract unity of all knowledge, ‘sophia’, which seemingly is loved equally in different ways by all people who receive their doctorate. Until recently in the Australian University system, that unity was carefully parcelled out into various ‘disciplines’, so that people graduated with a PhD in Sociology, History, etc., relatively autonomous fields or provinces in a single, hierarchically organised system of knowledges. This is the system of what can be called disciplinary doctorates (Hodge 1995, p. 35).

here being ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’ (or ‘profane’...). In regard to this, we pointed to the implications of this ‘seemingly

His concern was with research and supervision in

inexorable push ... towards vocational education’ for ‘uni-

the context of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinar-

versities, traditionally oriented more towards knowledge

ity, where ‘disciplinarity’ itself becomes problematised.

and inquiry in its own right, as an end in itself’ (Lee &

Further, his focus was on work in Cultural Studies and

Green 1995, p. 3). In one sense, this was seen as a matter

the New Humanities, as a specific manifestation of post-

of the ‘high’ knowledge of the Academy set against the

modernity in higher education. Such work remains typi-

‘low’ culture of the Popular – or rather, the sacredness

cally highly theoretical and often abstract and ‘difficult’,

of the ‘inside’ and the profanity of the ‘outside’. Here,

and indeed some (e.g. Culler 1983) have seen it as an

though, there was another difference-relation in effect,

emergent and distinctive ‘(anti-)discipline’ in its own

with the world of Study (or ‘Learning’) set against the

right (‘Theory’). From the perspective of the traditional,

world of Work. What was conceived as secular, then, in

modern(ist) university, however, organised as it is in terms

this instance, was the worldly realm of production, com-

of the meta-principle of disciplinarity, such work’s pro-

merce and employment: at once the object and the very

ductions are literally ‘monstrous’, outside the norm, and in

end of academic-scholarly endeavour and its more or

recent decades accordingly there has been much debate

less radical antithesis – the ‘worldliness’ of the one, that

and indeed conflict in higher education as a result. In this

is, and the ‘unworldliness’ of the other. Later, specifically

light, the professional doctorate might well similarly be

apropos the professional doctorate, we drew in work on

seen as ‘monstrous’ or at least aberrant, and as a manifes-

the new production of knowledge, ‘Mode 1/Mode 2’, and

tation of danger and difference. But it is differently so,

the (potential) displacement of the University (Lee, Green

which is an important point, because these doctorates

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Addressing the curriculum problem in doctoral education, Bill Green

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involve quite different and distinctive intellectual and

it must be said, as indicated in the following:‘Viewing the

textual undertakings. Nonetheless, there is something in

doctorate as curriculum directs attention to the forms of

the new knowledge projects associated with such doc-

knowledge in which it is grounded, and how these are

toral work, across the range, that makes them seem often

articulated in the documentation of the degree’ (Gilbert

counter-normative, or perhaps simply unintelligible, or at

2009, p. 54; my added emphasis).That is, this is a view ori-

least ‘eccentric’.

ented more to the material or ‘written’ curriculum. Moreo-

Elsewhere (Lee & Green 1997) we sought to describe

ver, the focus of his account, as he made clear, was on

the complex, contradictory relationship between peda-

the so-called ‘intended curriculum’ (Gilbert 2009, p. 59).

gogy and disciplinarity in the (post)modern university. Up

The link between knowledge and curriculum has been

until quite recently, what seemed the unassailable norm

noted elsewhere, with specific reference to higher educa-

in university research and advanced graduate education

tion (e.g. Barnett, Parry & Coate 2001/2004). How best to

was the disciplinary structure of knowledge (re)produc-

understand the knowledge project of doctoral education

tion. Yet, as we argued, that needed to be re-assessed his-

is precisely what I mean by the curriculum problem.

torically, and understood therefore as arising out of quite

I have discussed elsewhere how curriculum is to be

specific and delimited historical conditions and configura-

(re)conceptualised with reference to notions of represen-

tions. At issue, accordingly, was the need to re-think ‘a set

tation, conceived within a poststructuralist frame (Green

of taken-for-granted assumptions concerning the relations between disciplinarity and pedagogy’ in the university, and more specifically ‘the primacy of the former over the latter and the relegation of pedagogy – matters

2010). It is at this point, then,

Up until quite recently, what seemed the unassailable norm in university research and advanced graduate education was the disciplinary structure of knowledge (re) production. Yet, as we argued, that needed to be re-assessed historically...

of teaching and learning, and

expressly from the point of view of curriculum theory, that questions can be asked about the forms of selection and abstraction, and also the processes of de- and recontextualisation, that are involved in doctoral work.

education more broadly – to

An important early account

the margins’ (Lee & Green 1997, p. 3). Our particular con-

in this regard, Lundgren (1983, 1991) proposed that the

cern, following important work by Hoskin (1993), was

curriculum problem par excellence was what he called

to draw attention to ‘the historical nexus of modernity

‘the representation problem’. As he wrote, curriculum

and disciplinarity’ (Lee & Green 1997, p. 9), and to assert

becomes problematic ‘when production processes and

and affirm the significance of educational practice in

reproduction processes are divided from each other’:

this regard. More recently we returned to such historical inquiry with specific regard this time to doctoral supervision and the research university (Lee & Green 2009). However, having emphasised pedagogy over disciplinarity in this previous work, it would now seem appropriate and timely to shift the focus back, as it were. This means

The moment production processes are separated from reproduction processes, the representation problem arises, that is the problem of how to represent production processes so that they can be reproduced. The representation problem is the object for educational discourse, and is the eternal problem of pedagogy as a field of study (Lundgren 1983, p. 11).

addressing more specifically and explicitly what I am calling here the curriculum problem. As Gilbert (2009, p. 56)

(I pass over, here, the reference in this instance to ‘peda-

has put it,‘there is value in considering doctoral training as

gogy’, save simply to note that he is using the term in its

a matter of curriculum as well as pedagogy’. This is partic-

European sense.) What needs to be identified and isolated

ularly important if, as seems to be the case, more explicit

in the formulation above is precisely the problematic of

account needs to be made of what has been described as

representation. As various commentators such as Lund-

the knowledge question, in seeking to address doctoral

gren (1991, p. 293) and Hindess (1995) observe, represen-

curriculum. As Gilbert observed,‘… studies of supervision

tation is in fact foundational with regard to disciplinarity,

and pedagogy have not directly addressed what might be

social theory and the modern university. In Hindess’s

called the doctoral curriculum – what it is that students

(1995, p. 42) terms:

learn in their courses of study, as distinct from how they learn or issues of programme delivery’ (Gilbert 2009, p. 56). He was working with a particular view of curriculum,

14

[O]nce a ‘relationship to truth’ (or whatever) is seen as involving more than an isolated individual (and perhaps even then), it will be caught up in the problem of

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vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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representation: what is known has also to be shown to others, and it must therefore be represented, in speech, writing, or other kinds of sign, or in some appropriate reaction on the part of those who perceive it.

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Representation, emergence and (the) doctoral curriculum Here, however, I want to present what may be a far

That is to say, representation becomes an issue when the full force of the social is recognised. Moreover:

too schematic account, a sketch perhaps, of a potential curriculum-theoretical framework for doctoral research

[R]epresentation, of whatever kind, can always be seen as, on the one hand, capturing (or at least as representing) the essentials of what is to be represented and, on the other hand, as artifice. Representation, however successful it appears to be in part, is always misrepresentation (Hindess 1995, p. 42).

education. I have already suggested that a reconceptualised concept of representation is a key feature of such a formulation. How this view of curriculum and representation is to be understood has been laid out elsewhere, introducing notions of ‘impossibility’ and ‘in(ter)vention’ (Green 2010). Briefly, I have argued that rethinking

Hence, for Lundgren and others working in this tradi-

representation as itself a form of practice, as at once

tion (e.g. Kemmis 1993), curriculum transformations of

‘invention and ‘intervention’, is useful in that it allows

knowledge and identity are always problematic, precisely

a properly (material-)semiotic view of curriculum. That

because they must introduce due and unavoidable con-

argument involved an engagement not only with decon-

sideration of matters of textuality, rhetoric and representa-

struction, and poststructuralism more generally, but also

tion – the Symbolic. As such, I have argued that theoretical

with complexity theory.

work of this kind is transitional with regard to what has

On the one hand, this means asking what gets rep-

been called the ‘modernism-postmodernism’ debate, and

resented in and through (the) curriculum – what

that, further, curriculum theory in this regard needs to

gets included, and thus made available for pedagogy

take more explicit account of poststructuralist theory and

and study – bearing in mind always the thesis of the

philosophy, particularly concerning what has been identi-

impossibility of representation. On the other hand, a

fied here as a key organising relationship between cur-

crucial consideration becomes the concept of emer-

riculum and representation. What this enables, in turn, is

gence, a fundamental category in the discourse of com-

a better understanding of matters such as hybridity and

plexity (Osberg, Biesta & Cilliers 2008). Of particular

undecidability. To my way of thinking, such concepts are

interest is the notion of an ‘emergentist’ curriculum, or

necessary concepts in developing a richer, more adequate

an ‘emergentist’ view of curriculum (Osberg & Biesta

account of the specific curriculum issues and challenges

2008). Curriculum is posited as ‘a space of emergence’

associated with contemporary doctoral education, both

(Osberg & Biesta 2008, p. 324). While this is contrasted

generally and with specific regard to the professional doc-

with a ‘representationalist’ perspective, I argue that a

torate as it has been developed in Australia. At the same

reconceptualised, post-critical view of representation

time, I argue that this argument serves usefully to prob-

remains productive, and powerfully so. (That is, a dis-

lematise doctoral research education more generally, and

tinction is to be posited between ‘representationalism’

hence also the institution of the PhD, and thereby contrib-

and ‘representation’ per se.) Indeed, representation and

ute to their ongoing critique and renewal.

emergence might consequently be seen as integral,

What kind of knowledge work is at issue in doctoral education? How is research to be understood in this con-

reciprocating aspects of a reconceptualised view of curriculum (Figure 2).

text? How is knowledge work structured pedagogically, or educationally? How does one learn to engage in knowl-

Figure 2

edge work, in the very course of doing so? What kinds of (subject-)formation are involved? These are just some of the questions that arise. Among matters still needing to be explored are: the relationships between ‘subjects’ and ‘objects’ of research and knowledge – the latter touched on elsewhere (Green 2009a) – and between ‘knowledge

representation

emergence

objects’ and ‘epistemic practices’ (Knorr-Cetina 2001), which are usefully addressed with reference to recent work in practice theory and philosophy, appropriately supplemented.All this remains still to be fully worked out. vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Addressing the curriculum problem in doctoral education, Bill Green

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This formulation has particular implications, it seems to

open, question-generating and complex. They are pro-

me, for doctoral research education. It is to be differently

cesses and projections rather than definitive things’

understood with regard to different forms of doctoral

(Knorr-Cetina 2001, p. 181). They are unfinished, partial,

work – the PhD, for instance, and the professional doctor-

imaginary (‘an imagined object’), future-oriented, virtual.

ate, or any of the other doctoral forms now appearing on

‘From a theoretical point of view, the defining character-

the scene (Park 2005). Each, however, involves a particular

istic of an epistemic object is this changing, unfolding

and distinctive kind of knowledge work, a research pro-

character – or its lack of ‘objectivity’ and completeness

ject, conceived both in terms of candidature, or appren-

of being, and its non-identity with itself’ (Knorr-Cetina

ticeship into an epistemic community, and as productive

2001, p. 182).

in its own right, as a formalised and authoritative contri-

In the case of the professional doctorate, the aim from

bution to knowledge. Here I will focus on the PhD and the

the outset was precisely to provide more structure, more

professional doctorate.

guidance. If the PhD tended to be constituted as intense

As Connell (1985) noted, the PhD characteristically and

work in isolation, over a long stretch of time, an extended

certainly traditionally seems to operate without (a) cur-

duration, the professional doctorate ideally would be at

riculum. Indeed, it may be difficult even to think of it in

least initially more communal, undertaken in the company

curriculum terms.There is clearly no established pathway,

of like others, with more articulated and explicit forms of

no course of ‘instruction’ or ‘study’. Rather, each work in

induction and preparation, and less abrupt sink-or-swim

this regard unfolds within a more or less loosely defined

liminality. Moreover, the professional doctorate tended to

space. Connell (1985) evoked the notion of a ‘dialectic’

realise this process in the form of a more explicit, tangi-

in what was identified as a ‘creative research project’,

ble curriculum. It was typically organised in the form of

observing that this dialectic (‘an argument between the

a staged course structure, including preliminary course-

general conception and particular investigations, a back-

work, with the ‘project’ delayed, and often prescribed in

and-forth between data and theory, and between formula-

some fashion (e.g. ‘three small-scale studies plus an exe-

tion and critique’) had ‘to follow its own logic. If we knew

gesis’). The curriculum seemed clearer, as such. (There

its course in advance, the research would not be worth

are of course moves currently underway towards a more

doing. A good research project opens up new questions

structured programme for the PhD.)

as much as it answers questions already posed’ (Connell

In this way, and expressly from a curriculum-theoret-

1985, p. 39). That is, doctoral work has a crucial aspect of

ical point of view, it becomes immediately pertinent to

‘discovery’ about it, an orientation to and indeed an invest-

think of it in terms of the representation problem (Green

ment in the ‘new’ – it is always-already emergent.

2010). If professional practice is at the very heart of the

Nonetheless, Connell suggests, there are ‘moments’

professional doctorate, as an advanced research degree,

one can discern, or look for, various characteristic ‘tasks’,

how is it to be represented? How to bring it, in all its

a certain ‘rhythm’ – a temporality. The project unfolds,

complexity and mystery, within a curriculum, a structure

the dissertation builds, knowledge emerges. It is only ret-

of knowledge, identity and pedagogy? What to include,

rospectively, in real terms, that one can trace the journey

for instance? What is possible to take account of, to seek

that has been made, much like the explorer narratives

to draw in, to (re)contextualise? What cannot be repre-

that Paul Carter (1992) sees as exemplifying what he

sented? What must be left out, omitted, jettisoned? What

calls spatial history. This is curriculum, but thought dif-

happens when this becomes that, when it is moved from

ferently. What is foregrounded, lived through, is the pas-

here to there, and inescapably transformed in its passage?

sage (Green 2009b). Meaning emerges, in the writing, in

Much work is now available theorising and researching

the pedagogic exchanges of supervision, and elsewhere

(professional) practice as such. The practice turn in con-

and when something new is produced, something differ-

temporary theory is well documented (Schatzki, Knorr-

ent, distinctive. ‘One does not know, cannot know, what

Cetina & Savigny 2001; Green 2009). The representation

will happen, only that something will happen’ (Osberg

problem is the curriculum problem par excellence. The

& Biesta 2008, p. 325; my added emphasis). Importantly,

task and the challenge of attending to the curriculum

this ‘space of emergence’ pertains to both knowledge and

problem is, therefore, particularly pertinent to something

subjectivity – the object of research and the researcher

like the professional doctorate.

as subject. Regarding this ‘object’, an exemplary ‘knowl-

However, the point is that this kind of argument can

edge object’, as Knorr-Cetina’s (2001) describes it, she

be seen as applying to the PhD as well, and that, con-

writes: ‘Objects of knowledge are characteristically

versely, the notion of an emergent curriculum may not

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be at all inappropriate for the professional doctorate.

rience profoundly invested in and organised by the nature

There is a crucial sense in which a PhD has long been

and pursuit of knowledge. In the case of doctoral research

understood as a dialogue with disciplinarity, or at least

studies, this includes, at a minimum, what is involved in

with a particular discipline or disciplinary complex. It

‘becoming-researcher’, or what it means to become, as

has been well documented how the PhD emerged out

it were, the putative Subject of Knowledge, to say noth-

of the history of the modern research university, the his-

ing for the moment about knowledge per se. If doctoral

tory of disciplinarity, as the degree of preference, and

education does indeed have its own distinctive curricu-

the one with the highest status, the greatest prestige,

lum problem, along the lines outlined here, then much

even as it became the key marker of academicity, of

remains open to investigation if we are to understand

licensed academic identity. The recent work of the Carn-

what it really means to engage in doctoral work, in both

egie Foundation in the United States has introduced the

its practice and its pedagogy.

notion of ‘stewardship’ into the debate (Golde & Walker 2006), arguing that the award of a PhD brings with it

Bill Green is Professor of Education and Strategic Research

a responsibility to operate henceforth as a ‘steward’ for

Professor at Charles Sturt University.

the discipline, a ‘custodian’ – a designated, delegated representative. The same might be said for the professional doctorate. Indeed, this seems to be built into its very concept, given that it is often marketed as being for established, experienced practitioners, who might see it as providing a scholarly basis for professional leadership. This is surely a matter of stewardship for the profession, and for the field at large. At the same time, the hallmark of genuine research, genuine inquiry, whether it be in the context of the PhD or that of the professional doctorate, is that it results in the production of new knowledge. Something emerges, something different, new, which is more than the sum of the elements making up the total process and the various

References Arendt, H. (1958). The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Barnett, R. (2009). Knowing and Becoming in the Higher Education Curriculum. Studies in Higher Education, 34(4), 429-440. Barnett, R., & Coate, K. (2005). Engaging the Curriculum in Higher Education. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press. Barnett, R., Parry, G., & Coate, K. (2001). Conceptualising Curriculum Change. Teaching in Higher Education, 6(4), 435-449. Reprinted in M. Tight (ed.), The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Higher Education (2004, pp. 141-54). London & New York: RoutledgeFalmer. Bernstein, B. (1971). On the Classification and Framing of Educational Knowledge. (In M. F. D. Young (ed.), Knowledge and Control: New Directions for the Sociology of Education (pp. 47-69). London: Macmillan.

aspects of doctoral study. This is in line with Osberg and

Carter, P. (1992). Making Contact: History and Performance. Living in a New Country: History, Travelling and Language. London & Boston: Faber & Faber.

Biesta’s (2008, p. 315) view of what they describe as ‘a

Connell, R. F. (1985). How to Supervise a PhD? Vestes, 2, 38-41.

strict interpretation of emergence’ – that is,‘what emerges

Culler, J. (1983). On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

is more than the sum of its parts and therefore not predictable from the ‘ground’ it emerges from’. Here it is appropriate to evoke Grosz’s (1999a, 1999b) sense of futurity, of the production of the New, ‘the endless unfolding of the new’ (p. 5), and ‘the joyous open-endedness of the future’ (pp. 21-22). She is concerned too with notions of emergence, time and becoming, and with Deleuzian concepts of difference and actualisation, all of which seem at least consistent with the discussion earlier, drawing from Knorr-Cetina and others, about research and knowledge as unfolding and emergent. In this way, it is always structured by desire, open-ended, future-oriented, and ontologically, radically virtual. In closing, then, I want to reiterate that these are curriculum issues and insights, and fundamentally so. Curriculum inquiry is, as Pinar (2004, p. 2) writes, ‘the interdisciplinary study of educational experience’ – for him, informed significantly by the arts and humanities, theory and philosophy.This is, above all, educational expevol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Gilbert, R. (2009). The Doctorate as Curriculum: A Perspective on Goals and Outcomes of Doctoral Education. In D. Boud & A. Lee (Eds), Changing Practices of Doctoral Education (pp. 54-68). London & New York: Routledge. Golde, C., & Walker, G. E. (eds). (2006). Envisioning the Future of Doctoral Education: Preparing Stewards of the Discipline. San Francisco: Jossey-Brass. Green, B. (ed.). (2009). Understanding and Researching Professional Practice. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Green, B. (2009a). Challenging Perspectives, Changing Practices: Doctoral Education in Transition. In D. Boud & A. Lee (eds), Changing Practices of Doctoral Education (pp. 239-48). London & New York: Routledge. Green, B. (2009b). From Communication Theory to Curriculum Inquiry. Curriculum Perspectives, 29(3), 14-23. Green, B. (2010). Rethinking the Representation Problem in Curriculum Inquiry. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 42(4), 451-69. Grosz, E. (1999a). Becoming… An Introduction. In Elisabeth Grosz (ed.), Becoming: Explorations in Time, Memory, and Futures (pp. 1-11). Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press. Grosz, E. (1999b). Thinking the New: Of Futures Yet Unthought. In E. Grosz (ed.), Becoming: Explorations in Time, Memory, and Futures (pp. 15-28). Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press.

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Hindess, B. (1995). Great Expectations: Freedom and Authority in the Idea of a Modern University. Oxford Literary Review, 17(1-2), 29-49.

Lundgren, U. (1991). Between Education and Schooling: Outlines of a Diachronic Curriculum Theory. Geelong, Victoria: Deakin University.

Hodge, B. (1995). Monstrous Knowledge: Doing PhDs in the New Humanities. Australian Universities’ Review, 38(2), 35-9.

Lundgren, U. (1983). Between Hope and Happening: Text and Context in Curriculum. Geelong Victoria: Deakin University.

Hoskin, K. (1993). Education and the Genesis of Disciplinarity: The Unexpected Reversal. In E. Messer-Davidow, D. R. Shumway & D. S. Sylvan (eds), Knowledges: Historical and Critical Studies in Disciplinarity (pp. 271-304). Charlottesville & London: University Press of Virginia.

Messer-Davidow, E., Shumway, D. R., & Sylvan, D. J. (eds). (1993). Knowledges: Historical and Critical Studies in Disciplinarity. Charlottesville & London: University of Virgina Press.

Jameson, F. (1984). Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. New Left Review, 146, 59-92. Kemmis, S. (1993). Curriculum as Text. In B. Green (ed.), Curriculum, Technology and Textual Practice (pp. 35-52). Geelong, Victoria: Deakin University. Knorr-Cetina, K. (2001). Objectual Practice. In T. R. Schatzki, K. Knorr-Cetina & E. von Savigny (eds), The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory (pp. 175-88). London & New York: Routledge.

Osberg, D. & Biesta, G. (2008). The Emergent Curriculum: Navigating a Complex Course between Unguided Learning and Planned Enculturation. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 40(3), 313-28. Osberg, D., Biesta, G. & Cilliers, P. (2008). From Representation to Emergence: Complexity’s Challenge to the Epistemology of Schooling. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40(1), 213-227. Park, C. (2005). New Variant PhDs: The Changing Nature of the Doctorate in the UK. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 27(2), 189-207.

Lee, A. & Green, B. (1995). Introduction: Postgraduate Studies/Postgraduate Pedagogy. Australian Universities’ Review, 38(2), 2-4.

Pinar, W. F. (2004). What is Curriculum Theory? Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lee, A. & Green, B. (1997). Pedagogy and Disciplinarity in the ‘New University’, UTS Review, 3(1), 1-25.

Reid, W. (1999). Curriculum as Institution and Practice: Essays in the Deliberative Tradition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lee, A. & Green, B. (2009). Metaphor as Supervision. Studies in Higher Education, 34(6), 615-30.

Schatzki, T. R., Knorr-Cetina, K., & von Savigny, E. (eds). (2001). The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London & New York: Routledge.

Lee, A., Brennan, M., & Green, B. (2009). Re-imagining Doctoral Education: professional doctorates and Beyond. Higher Education Research and Development, 28(3), 275-287. Lee, A., Green, B., & Brennan, M. (2000). Organisational Knowledge, Professional Practice and the professional doctorate at Work. In J. Garrick & C. Rhodes (eds), Legitimations of Knowledge and the New Production of Meaning (pp 117-36). London & New York: Routledge.

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Researching doctoral pedagogy close up Design and action in two doctoral programmes Susan Danby Queensland University of Technology, Queensland

Alison Lee University of Technology, Sydney, NSW

With growing international interest in diversifying sites for pedagogical work within the doctorate, doctoral programmes of different kinds are being developed in different disciplinary, institutional and national settings. However, little is known about how the pedagogical work of these programmes is designed and enacted, and with what effects. In this paper, we present two cases of doctoral pedagogical work being undertaken within different disciplinary and institutional settings to describe how learning opportunities were designed and to theorise what it means to be engaged in doing doctoral pedagogy. Starting from the position that working from a design model supports systematic and rigorous documentation and development of pedagogy, we employ the twin concepts of design and action, drawing broadly on rhetorical and ethnomethodological understandings of pedagogy as social action. Of particular interest within the concept of design itself is the concept of enactment, the translation of designs into the practices of doctoral work. Together, the two cases become a resource for ‘slowing down’ and making visible the practices of doctoral pedagogy that often go unrecognised because they appear so ordinary and everyday. This call for examining close-up existing doctoral education practices and relationships is attending to the ‘next challenge for doctoral education’ (Green 2009).

work in this paper. Closely observing and ‘slowing down’

Introduction

the process of studying a phenomenon offers opportunities to see what is happening in the ‘doing’ of the prac-

I would play 33 rpm records at 45 rpm and hear the bass parts revealed, rescued from the bowels of the arrangement an octave higher, and the fast sections of the upper octaves on forty-fives so that they could be learned at a slower speed. I realised from these experiments that anything, no matter how complex, could be deconstructed and learned if you slowed it down enough to really hear it. (Sting, Broken Music, 2003, p. 17)

tice in ways that are not readily available in the flow of

In his 2003 autobiography, Broken Music, Sting’s

and practice environment, in line with economically

description of how he went about learning music offers

driven pressures internationally, we are seeing a growing

a way to understand a key methodological principle at

demand for the development of doctoral programmes that

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

real-time events, particularly if these appear ordinary, unexceptional, already brought together and present in a seemingly self-evident way. Our purpose in taking a close look at the work of doctoral pedagogy is to contribute new knowledge and insight to a field undergoing rapid change and reshaping of policy and practice. In the Australian doctoral policy

Researching doctoral pedagogy close up, Susan Danby & Alison Lee

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meet a diverse and increasingly complex array of require-

up the challenge of contributing to a documentation of

ments.These include preparation of doctoral graduates to

some of the practices and dynamics of doctoral pedago-

research in environments within and outside the univer-

gies, understood and framed as forms of social practice.

sity that are increasingly entrepreneurial (Adkins 2012);

We have drawn on and extrapolated from our recent work

building capacities to research in interdisciplinary teams

a set of principles that constitute a conceptual frame for

and to form researching partnerships across sectors (Wil-

engaging with pedagogical work in doctoral education.

letts 2012); and more recently, a rather belated realisation,

This frame is constituted through the twin concepts of

within the USA at least, that success in a global knowl-

design and action, drawing broadly on rhetorical and eth-

edge economy for advanced nations involves attending

nomethodological understandings of pedagogy as social

carefully to the ‘pipeline’ of potential doctoral students;

action (Danby & Lee 2012).

hence the need to attend afresh to teaching at under-

The focus on doctoral pedagogy attends to the work of

graduate levels (Austin 2011). This latter move connects

bringing together, and enacting, practices of doing doc-

doctoral education back to academic preparation in the

toral research and doing doctoral education. Some sets of

fullest sense, not just to facilitate individual career paths

activities within the bundle of activities recognisable as

but to replenish a sector where the academic workforce

doctoral education are specifically educational, focusing

is aging and the field of higher education is undergoing

on the learning or training of doctoral students, such as

major shifts internationally.

seminars and workshops. Other sets of activities are more

In Australia, these changes translate into increasing

recognisable as related to the core activity of participating

interest and focus upon expanding and diversifying sites

in research, through labwork, fieldwork, datawork, infor-

for pedagogical work within the doctorate (e.g. Boud &

mation work, textwork, and so on, and what happens is

Lee 2009, Aitchison, Kamler & Lee 2010). By ‘pedagogical

that the pedagogic work of those activities often remains

work,’ we are referring both to explicit programmes of

invisible or is treated as incidental.

structured activity such as courses and workshops, and

In the following sections we first outline some con-

to the more incidental and everyday educational work

ceptual resources for considering pedagogy in terms of

embedded in research activities.The term pedagogy draws

two related concepts: design and action. We then present

attention to how learning and teaching are often embed-

two cases of pedagogical work being undertaken within

ded in activities and relationships not always explicitly

different disciplinary and institutional settings. Each case

designated as educational. We are interested in turning a

is elaborated elsewhere (Abrandt Dahlgren et al. 2012;

more explicitly pedagogical gaze upon these activities to

Harris et al. 2012); each is deeply embedded in research

see how they develop the experiences and capabilities in

activity and demonstrates how educational work can be

doctoral students to become the kind of future research

explicitly designed and foregrounded. Both sites illustrate

workforce described above, and supplement the formal

the pedagogic work of configuring and enacting doc-

supervisor-student relationship.

toral practices, knowledge, skills and understandings. The

In our recent work we have been investigating doctoral

discussion in the final section draws through the impli-

programmes across a range of disciplines and sites in a

cations for research and scholarly inquiry into doctoral

number of countries around the world, seeking to tease

pedagogy that enable opening up the growing complex-

out principles and frameworks, as well as specifying sets

ity of the field and its potential for change.

of activity that engage doctoral students and researchers in modelling and developing the target experiences, practices and capabilities (Lee & Danby 2012). We have undertaken this investigation of pedagogical practices in

‘If you slowed it down enough to really hear it’: understanding pedagogy as design and action

an environment where the close-up focus on what goes on ‘in the swamp’ of the daily life of doctoral work is still

Starting from the position that working from a design

remarkably undocumented.While there is a growing body

model supports systematic and rigorous documenta-

of work attending to students’ and supervisors’ accounts

tion and development of pedagogy, we look ‘up close’ to

of their experiences of doctoral programmes of one kind

explore what happens between a design plan and a prac-

or another, little is known of how such programmes are

tice, in order to better understand what it means to be

played out in situ. Yet, as Green (2009) points out, an

engaged in doing doctoral pedagogy.

examination of these practices and relationships is the

The case studies in the following two sections are,

‘next challenge for doctoral education’. This paper takes

first, of Doctoralnet, an international network of doctoral

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students and researchers engaging in online and face-to-

offices, books, information and social media, and so on.

face interactions and, second, a transcript analysis group

This feature of design recognises that the particular social

where a group of researchers – including supervisors and

and institutional orders are made and remade through

research students – meet regularly to discuss a selected

participation in these relationships.

transcript of an audio or video recording. Each case dem-

Third, design entails within it the associated concept

onstrates, in different ways, key features of how doctoral

of enactment – the translation of ideas into the practices

pedagogies are designed, brought together and accom-

and products of doctoral work. These enactments occur

plished. We deploy two inter-related conceptual fram-

within particular scholarly contexts, shaped by and shape

ings: the first conceptualises pedagogy as design, and the

the research and knowledge domains of which they are

second as practice-in-action.

a part. In doctoral pedagogy, these enactments involve

According to Kamler and Thomson (2006, p. 18), doctoral pedagogy is above all a question of design:

certain recognisable performances – of being a student, a scholar, a supervisor, a peer reviewer etc, as well as a

The pedagogue deliberately designs experiences, tasks, events, conversations which create the opportunity for the student to … move both identity and knowledge simultaneously.

re-invention of familiar modes of action such as seminars

We take up and develop Kamler and Thomson’s (2006)

objects (Green 2009) as the outcomes of doctoral work.

point that design is a multi-faceted and orderly action.

These enactments draw attention to the key feature of all

In order to do this, we focus on three salient elements

designs: that they are co-configured through the enact-

that, we argue, articulate the concept of design in rela-

ments of participants within particular disciplinary and

tion to doctoral pedagogy. First, the arrangement of form

institutional environments. Here the non-deterministic

and appearance make visible the pedagogical work of set-

characteristic of design is made visible through a kind of

ting up the circumstances and conditions under which

moving forward in time, through process, sequencing and

students may engage in activities conducive to advanced

co-production of the activities and events.

as more explicitly pedagogical modes, and the invention of new ones, such as posting live to YouTube, videoconferencing or the production of different kinds of knowledge

doctoral research learning. Doctoral educators ‘enable’

Developing the element of enactment to an articula-

learning through setting up opportunities for critical

tion of our concern with pedagogical work is our use of

exchange and action relevant to disciplines and research

the concept of ‘pedagogy-in-action’. This term is closely

fields. Decisions about pedagogical design in doctoral

tied to the conceptualisation of culture in action (Baker

education involve reconciling competing demands: this

2000; Danby 2005) in that ‘members use culture to do

rather than that, this before that, and so on. Such consider-

things, but that culture is constituted in, and only exists in,

ations attend to the craft of designing pedagogical spaces

action’ (Hester & Eglin 1997, p. 20-21). In the case of doc-

that afford such possibilities.

toral pedagogy, the idea of pedagogy-in-action suggests

Second, the concept of design draws attention to the

and allows an investigation of how pedagogical design

social and collective nature of the endeavour of doing

is enacted and how doctoral work is ‘done’ – how doc-

doctoral work, making visible regularities, patterns,

toral practices happen moment by moment, and across

freedoms and constraints that are produced as the accom-

contexts and relationships. Because these practices are

plishment of ongoing actions. Design has no meaning

so much part of the everyday mundane work of ‘doing’

in a social vacuum; it invokes particular, intelligible pat-

doctoral work, they can be overlooked as a set of actions

terns of relationships among elements. These patterns

and events that constitute what have been termed, more

are neither overly determined, in the sense that they do

generally, ‘doctoral practices’ (Lee & Boud 2009). A focus

not dictate action in a closed or deterministic manner;

on the practices of everyday life shows the social, pro-

nor are they arbitrary; rather, in the case of doctoral peda-

fessional and institutional interactions as they unfold

gogy, they are shaped with reference to the actual prac-

among participants. By close looking at these practices,

tices of the research environments of the disciplines and

we can show the embedded local work of social actions

fields in which they are embedded. The elements of the

to produce identities (Hester & Eglin 1997), such as that

design entail relationships among human participants

of being a doctoral supervisor and a doctoral candidate,

that are institutionally prefigured yet supple enough to

or a laboratory research team leader, or a member of an

be inventively re-configured and remade. They also entail

ethnographic fieldwork team or a data analysis group. In

different kinds of relationships of time, duration, proxim-

working from a standpoint that recognises pedagogy in

ity, distance and the material artefacts of doctoral work:

action, we can also conceptualise pedagogy as action in

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that our discussion of pedagogy begins with a description

who are engaged in research in one extended, multi-dis-

of what is going on in the doctoral activity being exam-

ciplinary field: education in post- and non-school settings.

ined, whether a data analysis group or a virtual research

Doctoralnet (www.doctoralnet.net) includes researchers

network meeting, as our two cases show, or other forms of

and doctoral students engaged in research in workplace

doctoral activity, such as supervisor-student interactions,

and organisational learning and higher, professional and

research and doctoral seminars, or laboratory talk. The

vocational education, including online and e-learning

description of these practices captures what happens in

research.The common themes connecting these research

these interactions as they unfold, involving a close obser-

fields are the critical importance of learning within con-

vation of those practices to show how the participants

temporary social and organisational life and the need to

themselves co-configure and enact doctoral pedagogy.

theorise learning in socially situated ways.

After identifying ‘what’s going on’, the next step is to

The network was established in order to address a prob-

make sense of those activities and relationships through

lem of geographical dispersal and isolation, where sites and

examining them within the contexts of local and embed-

circumstances of learning are changing rapidly and where

ded cultures of doctoral practices. An investigation of

renewal through international networking and through

these practices can show how those involved in doctoral

linking doctoral research to larger programmes of col-

education, such as doctoral students and supervisors,

laborative research is considered necessary for the field

orient to the local practices and, through this orienta-

to thrive. Universities in all nine countries were originally

tion, constantly make and remake these local practices of

involved in the design and development of the network,

doctoral pedagogy. We can see this orientation by close

the stated goal and purpose of which was to build oppor-

looking at what members say and do to show that the

tunities for collaboration across the geographical, linguistic,

practices constantly make and remake who they are as

cultural, institutional and disciplinary borders that shape

members within these practices. Interaction does not

the field. Doctoralnet operates largely as an online network,

construct a static set of roles or relationships, such as

linked through a virtual research environment with a range

supervisor and student, but these are constantly being

of Web 2 affordances: online discussion, chat, videoconfer-

remade through the already underway action, and are

encing, blogs, linked homepages and collaborative writing

always ‘in flux’ (Danby 2000). Looking closely at ‘live per-

spaces such as wikis. Audio and video materials are linked

formances’ of the work of doctoral pedagogy makes vis-

through home university websites and through YouTube.

ible the dynamics of this remaking.

Supplementing the online work is a commitment to face-to-

A close examination of the practices of doctoral engage-

face meetings at key international conferences.

ment brings to the fore ways to look at the identity work

A key design feature of the network was the aim to

happening through the everyday, ordinary activities of

build links between research and pedagogy that would

doing doctoral work, such as Danby’s (2005) analysis of

inform all of the network’s activities. That is, in contrast

a chain of email exchanges as the shaping and reshaping

to undergraduate or Masters-level educational networks,

of identity between a student and her supervisors over

Doctoralnet activities were designed to involve students

the course of the doctoral study. The traditional image of

and established researchers working together in activi-

‘an essentially privatised and personalised’ (Lee & Green

ties that would build research collaborations among

1997, p. 5) doctoral student can be recast now to present

network members. At the same time, explicitly pedagogi-

alternative identities of doctoral student, supervisor or

cal activities were developed aiming to build capacities

researcher. In the two cases presented in this paper, we

and knowledge among doctoral students in collaborative

call attention to the everyday work of members as they

international exchange. It is this dual focus that shaped

make connections, build relationships and do activities, as

the particular activities and pedagogical principles under-

they engage in the work of doctoral pedagogy.

pinning the network. This focus also led to the aspiration of Doctoralnet becoming a network of member univer-

Case 1: Doctoralnet: an international doctoral education network

sities’ graduate schools, populated by doctoral students and researchers, each of whom would also be networked through their respective research communities.

The first case study is an account of a network bringing

Two examples of how Doctoralnet has worked in

together students and experienced researchers from nine

action are detailed briefly here. The first is an explicitly

countries around the world (Australia, Canada, Denmark,

pedagogical event. In 2009, a dedicated Doctoralnet mini-

Korea, Norway, Poland, Sweden, South Africa and Scotland)

conference was held in conjunction with an international

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research conference on ‘Researching Work and Learning’

the development of joint programmes of funded research

(RWL6) at Roskilde, Denmark, which attracted many of

that exploit the international links, enhance the strategic

the original senior members of the network. Eleven stu-

positioning of research initiatives, and tap into wider inter-

dents from five member institutions in five countries

national research networks to secure funding and build

presented papers and acted as discussants to student

sustainability. One such programme is a developing col-

research presentations. Three months before the confer-

laboration between Linköping University and University

ence, an online workshop was held for all students plan-

of Technology, Sydney (UTS), in the area of interprofes-

ning to present at the mini-conference. Two late-stage

sional education and collaborative practice in health. This

doctoral students from UTS posted a clip on YouTube and

collaboration has built in opportunities for doctoral stu-

moderated the discussion (see http://www.youtube.com/

dents within the larger programme of research, through

watch?v=91iMn54S0CY).At the mini-conference, a group

co-tutelle enrolment, joint supervision, shared resources,

of first-semester doctoral students from Linköping Univer-

jointly developed theoretical and methodological framings

sity, Sweden, acted as discussants for papers presented by

and, in one case at least, joint fieldwork.A network member

doctoral students from other universities in the network.

from one university has developed a methodological

Each presentation received a response from two discus-

framework for undertaking collaborative cross-national

sants: a senior researcher in the network and a student

ethnographic fieldwork in health service settings and is

member. The Linköping students had engaged closely

working with doctoral student members from the other

with the paper they were to respond to prior to travelling

university in the joint trialling of the methods. Student

to Denmark and had prepared written responses, as part

members are thus simultaneously being trained in ethno-

of their early research training. A meeting on ‘being a dis-

graphic methods and co-researching on the joint project,

cussant’ was held in a café in Copenhagen the day before

involving both face-to-face work and online support, build-

the conference to rehearse strategies the students could

ing strong international and methodological networks.

utilise in their first experience of responding publicly to a

Most recently, students are travelling to partner universi-

research paper. During this meeting, these students asked

ties for a period of immersion in fieldwork and on-campus

if they could present their responses first as they were

research activity, as part of their doctoral study.At the same

concerned that, if they went as second respondent, they

time, further cross-international research training opportu-

would run out of questions and comments. A number of

nities are being pursued by linking Doctoralnet members

explicit pedagogical purposes were served: in addition to

to EU and other professional learning research networks

providing explicit scaffolding and role modelling through

such as ProPEL at the University of Stirling (www.propel.

senior researchers and student members undertaking par-

stir.ac.uk), an original member of Doctoralnet.

allel tasks, there were opportunities to manage the inter-

One key aim in the original design of the network

actions so that the pedagogical role of senior researchers

has been to generate a ‘distributed’ pedagogy – where

was foregrounded. This offered particular support for

the emphasis is not always, or only, ‘vertical’: students to

those students whose first language was other than Eng-

supervisors or senior researchers. In practice, the network

lish and who were presenting their discussions in English.

has offered a set of opportunities for doctoral students to

These activities were in one sense prefigured and ena-

undertake a range of activities with each other – in the more

bled through the explicit design of Doctoralnet. At the

‘horizontal’ relationships associated with peer learning and

same time, they exceeded the imaginings of the original

research collaboration (e.g. Boud & Lee 2005, Pilbeam &

designers. The network’s practices were made in action,

Denyer 2009). Some of these were pre-planned – part of

with elaboration and redesign becoming hallmarks of the

the original design – and some were not and have emerged

enactments in particular instances.

in the accumulated interactions associated with the history

The second example illustrates how international

of the management of the network. For example, the online

research collaborations began to develop through the

interactions through Skype and other social media have

affordances of the network, thus demonstrating the unin-

made visible many more opportunities for transnational

tended effects of the cumulative experiences and enact-

knowledge exchange than originally imagined. The pos-

ments over time. One of the first outcomes of the work

sibilities for innovative contributions to knowledge made

within the international network was the recognition

possible through national boundary crossing and access to

of the opportunity to engage external examiners and

wider communities and resources (MacGregor 2011; Singh

examination committee members among the member

& Cui 2011) were somewhat unpredictable and remain

universities. These links have developed further through

emergent. There are many challenges to these attempts to

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bring research and pedagogy together, which are explored

doctoral students and their supervisors doing doctoral

further in Abrandt Dahlgren et al. (2012). These attempts

work in these methodologies.

warrant close documentation, to build practical under-

By looking at the data analysis practices of the group

standings of what is required to achieve aspirational goals

through the lens of pedagogy, we make several observa-

such as networked doctoral education.

tions about pedagogic design, and pedagogy-in-action. It is through close looking, by audio-recording the group’s

Case 2: Transcript Analysis Group

practices and making available for examination and reexamination these recorded practices, that we are able to

The second case study presents an account of how one

show TAG as a site for pedagogic design and action.

transcript analysis group (TAG), consisting of experienced

A key feature of the design is that there is a clear sense

and novice researchers and doctoral students, is a site

of the work of the group – doing collaborative data

for doctoral pedagogy. While undertaking data analysis

analysis. While the group can be described as having a

is often part of learning how to be a scholar, there has

relatively open and informal design framework, there is

been little showing how data analysis actually occurs in

a clear orientation to the purpose of the group; there is

practice. Some guides are available that present detailed

order in how the meetings operate, beginning with one

insights and guidelines into analysing data, such as Silver-

invited or self-nominated researcher each time leading

man’s (2000, 2007, 2011) texts on analysing qualitative

the session. That person brings along an audio or video

data. However, little is known about how data analysis ses-

recording of data, such as an audio-recorded interview or

sions unfold over the course of a data analysis session, and

a videorecording of, for example, classroom or meeting

hence how less experienced researchers, such as doctoral

talk, or client/professional talk, and the transcript of that

students, learn the ‘tools of the trade’ through participa-

data, and introduces this to the group. The main activ-

tion in the group with skilled and experienced members

ity of the group, then, is to listen to, and investigate the

of the particular research community.

data by focusing on how the interactions are produced,

The Transcript Analysis Group (TAG) was designed ini-

in order to discuss how particular social meanings and

tially as a doctoral teaching resource by Carolyn Baker,

orders are being constructed and maintained within that

from the University of Queensland, who initiated the

particular situation.

group to bring together her current and graduated stu-

Another key feature of the design is that there is a dem-

dents to engage in shared collaborative data analysis. Fol-

ocratic process involved in that core members have a say

lowing her death in 2003, the group continued, although

in determining the activities of the group. While, initially,

the structure around the group has changed over time,

it was possible to make some assumptions about what

circumstances, membership and personal and institu-

was going on in the meetings in terms of who has the

tional agendas. The leadership is now distributed across

expert knowledge and who is a novice learner, a reflexive

the three Brisbane universities (Queensland University

account that closely observes those interactions shows a

of Technology, University of Queensland, and Griffith

far more complex set of relationships and activities under-

University). The group currently has a membership of

way. Harris et al. (2012) show that the relationships of

approximately 10-20 members, including expert and

supervisor-doctoral student, learner-teacher, or novice-

novice researchers, postgraduate research students and

expert are not clear-cut. Rather, there is a blurring of these

postgraduate research supervisors, who meet every two

relationships as there is little or no orientation to the titles

weeks within semester time to analyse transcripts using

or authority of specific relationships, but rather an orien-

the methodologies of ethnomethodology, conversation

tation to the unfolding interactions of the group members

analysis and membership categorisation analysis. Group

as they make sense of the data they are examining. For

members analyse data that have been audio or video-

example, as discussed in Harris et al. (2012), a novice

recorded and then transcribed using a method of tran-

doctoral student can notice and identify within the data

scription that takes into account what was said, how it

a phenomenon that brings new knowledge and under-

was said, and accompanying features such as the silences,

standing of that data, which the experienced researcher

gaze and gestures of the participants.This group does not

working with that data over several years acknowledges

hold any ‘formal’ university position within any of the uni-

that he had not considered before.

versities, and often may be seen to be ‘under the radar’ of

Being part of the transcript analysis group means being

what constitutes doctoral training. Nevertheless, it does

part of a scholarly community where everyone is exposed

hold an important position for many researchers, and for

to, and participates in, doing noticing of interactional fea-

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tures within the data.This is pedagogy-in-action. Everyone

new understandings about what is happening in the vide-

at various times is both novice and expert – such as expert

orecorded and transcribed data as well as how to go about

at undertaking transcript analysis, and expert at ‘noticing.’

undertaking such analysis.

All participants within the transcript analysis session are

A key feature of this group is that the practices have

immersed into a scholarly context that we describe as a

emerged from the members themselves seeing a need

pedagogic practice. As Herzfeld suggests, the participants

not just for doctoral students to learn how to do meth-

of the transcript group are doing what the ‘natives’ (ie,

odology but also for themselves as participants in a schol-

researchers using conversation analysis) expect. Analytic

arly community of data analysts. It is now not possible

expertise is one pedagogic factor, and so is learning how to behave within this discourse

community.

It

is about ‘culture in action’ (Baker 2000; Hester & Eglin 1997). It is also about making visible what is invisible; in this instance the pedagogic work, as it unfolds moment

to consider the practices of

These activities were in one sense prefigured and enabled through the explicit design of Doctoralnet. At the same time, they exceeded the imaginings of the original designers. The networks practices were made in action, with elaboration and redesign becoming hallmarks of the enactments in particular instances.

by moment, often going

the group without considering this activity through a lens that sees these practices as pedagogic activities. Through writing about the group’s practices as pedagogy, it is possible to rethink and reconstitute what counts in terms of pedagogic design and activity.

unrecognised as a forum for a ‘distributed’ pedagogy in which the boundaries between novice and expert members are blurred, unless explicit

Discussion: pedagogical designs and enactments

attention is drawn to it. The design of TAG as a pedagogic site is one where the

There are difficulties associated with undertaking close-

practices of the group have come about through collegial

up work to understand doctoral practices. One difficulty

networking, and it has an organic ground-up design in

is that close observation of practices means being able to

that the core members, representatives from each univer-

have access to those practices. Being an insider, looking

sity, regularly discuss how the group will be run and the

at one’s own practices, can overcome some access issues

focus of activity from semester to semester, year to year.

but it also can be more difficult when observing upfront

At first glance, it appears that the person who most ben-

our own practices, or the practices of the institution and

efits from these sessions is the person whose data is being

organisations of which we are part.As Woolgar (1988) and

discussed. However, the design of the data sessions, with a

Atkinson (1981) point out, analysing close-up aspects of

focus on members’ action, is such that the sessions offer all

our practices means a suspension of commonsense and

members the opportunity to participate in the discussion

taken for granted practices. In many ways, an anthropolo-

about the transcript and to be immersed in a pedagogic

gist in an alien cultural environment can more easily make

context where they are exposed to, and can participate in,

observations of that culture because they have the capac-

talk about the methodology of doing conversation analy-

ity to see it as ‘exotic’ and observe it without the burden

sis. This approach shows a pedagogic device in action for

of being an everyday member within that environment.

developing analytic expertise in data analysis for all mem-

(Woolgar 1988). Delaying acceptance of commonsense

bers, and not just for doctoral candidates.

assumptions allows for a consideration of the context in

The pedagogic work can be shown through how mem-

new ways (Atkinson 1981).We call for a reflexive position

bers interact to each other, introduce new ideas and display

that aims to recover and sustain the uncertainty of the

new understandings of how to undertake data analysis or

enquiry, as we interrogate and find strange the practices,

display new understandings about what is observed in the

in order to engage in a study of those practices.

data. Within this understanding, investigating how mem-

In this section, we tease out some of the pedagogical

bers participate in the work of doing data analysis is also

principles informing the design of the work in the two

investigating pedagogy in action, as the practices of doing

case studies. While each case study has given varying

data analysis can also be understood as doing pedagogic

degrees of emphasis to particular design elements, and

work (Harris et al. 2012). Researchers, both novice and

enactment of those, there are three overarching princi-

expert, engage in pedagogic work by informing others of

ples underpinning both cases. The first is that doctoral

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Researching doctoral pedagogy close up, Susan Danby & Alison Lee

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pedagogy is a set of everyday practices that enact a dis-

writing-based to talk-based interactions across network

tributional, or ‘horizontalising,’ intention, positioning the

members. A further set of design strategies involves the

doctoral student alongside more knowledgeable and

creation of opportunities for students early in their doc-

experienced colleagues, in research activities that orient

toral candidature to articulate their research intentions in

to the work rather than to their respective institutional

an international setting of peer students and researchers in

positionings. A second principle is that there is inten-

the field. Relatedly, doctoral students are brought into colle-

tion within design and flexibility of pedagogic practices

gial working forms such as work-in-progress seminars with

that takes into account changing relationships and con-

research peers, both senior and more junior, in respective

texts, such as the nuanced work of scaffolding pedagogic

member universities.These strategies provide opportunity

moments through design and action. A third pedagogic

for shifting positions, as experienced researchers present

principle is the recognition of the ineluctably social and

their working manuscripts and invite doctoral students to

collective nature of ‘doing’ doctoral work. Such culture-

question and critique. When deliberately designed, these

in-action requires an orientation to devising activities

strategies have offered important role-modelling opportu-

to make possible opportunities for dialogue within net-

nities within an explicitly scaffolded environment, where

works that span countries, senior researchers and doc-

students are coached in forms of elaborative and critical

toral students, and research fields.

exchange with seniors as peers sharing their own develop-

The pedagogical intentions for case study 1, Doctoral-

ing writing.

net, were enacted out of three broad design principles,

The pedagogic intentions for case study 2, the Transcript

elaborated in more detail in Abrandt Dahlgren et al.

Analysis Group, are enacted out of three broad pedagogic

(2012). First, activities are devised that facilitate the build-

design principles.The first is that pedagogic practices are

ing of dialogue among senior researcher/doctoral student

made possible when there is immersion within everyday

members; institutions, countries and research interests.

research contexts that make visible, through enactment,

Second, the activities seek to enact a horisontalising

ways of doing analysis. A second design principle is that

pedagogical design, positioning the doctoral student as

pedagogic practices are both systematic and opportun-

a knowledgeable colleague-to-be, albeit with a different

istic, in that there are both planned and serendipitous

knowledge, experience, and intention from those of the

events that cannot be foreseen or anticipated, but which

more experienced researchers. The third, related princi-

generate pedagogic moments. A third design principle,

ple involves fostering senior researchers’ sensitivity to the

which encompasses the first two, is that doctoral design

incompleteness – or ‘becoming-ness’ of the students’ con-

and enactment requires as an essential element the social

ceptualisations of their research, teasing out what kind of

and collective nature of ‘culture-in-action.’ Knowledge

scaffolding the students need in order to be able to artic-

production requires a set of social conditions, and valuing

ulate their intention more clearly and coherently. These

and designing a pedagogic order is not possible if done

principles inform a range of the key strategies, of which

in isolation.

the following are some examples.

The case of the transcript analysis group contributes

Many strategies enact a horisontalising, boundary-cross-

one approach to understanding social practices associ-

ing principle along a number of different lines: institu-

ated with pedagogy-in-action. We show that, rather than

tional, national, linguistic, theoretical and methodological.

being pre-determined by institutional roles or strict invo-

The developing discussions about international research

cations of the roles of expert and learner, concepts of

collaborations have rendered visible a range of chal-

expertise and learning can be built through contributing

lenges: communicating in English for students of different

to collaborative talk and analysis, and stances of learner

member countries; the different doctoral systems with dif-

and expert are enacted.

ferent practices and cultural politics; the spatio-temporal

Being a participant and engaging in analytic practice

and practical complexities of geographical and regional

where participants’ learning can be supported through

distances; the politics and practices of connecting students

their membership and participation is a form of doctoral

from diverse linguistic communities to the anglophone

pedagogic practice. In considering how the transcript

world of international scholarship. Increasingly, strategies

analysis sessions were designed and enacted, there was

have involved design multi-format modes of participating:

a clear awareness that this type of activity represents

online a-synchronous written discussion, conferencing,

a move away from more traditional assumptions of

face-to-face meetings, and so on. One of the hallmarks of

experts and learners, as the participation space becomes

Web-2 technologies is the almost seamless move from

blurred between roles of participant and analyst, novice

26

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vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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doctoral student and senior researcher.

The two cases presented here deviate in certain

Pedagogical practice has to be sufficiently articulated to

respects from many of the doctoral training programmes

show how these practices can be named as examples of

currently being put into place in university contexts. One

doctoral practices and, at the same time, be sufficiently

key difference is that the first case study opens up the

flexible to manage emerging and sometimes competing

affordances of digital media to facilitate an international

issues and agendas, changing contexts, both local and

doctoral network, still a rare and new environment for

globally, and a recognition that outcomes are not pre-

doctoral education well beyond the structures of super-

determined and set up as goals. Rather, while design is

vision (see, for example, the discussion of the Africa-EU

deliberate, the practices themselves offer multiple pos-

network; MacGregor 2011). Another key difference is that

sibilities of enactment.

the second case represents an example of activity that might routinely be framed as located with the core busi-

Conclusion

ness of doing research rather than doing education, training, or pedagogy. However, such practices are not solely

This paper contributes to an emerging body of work

the domain of a research enterprise, but legitimately can

that present accounts of doctoral pedagogies beyond the

be reframed as having an educational agenda in terms

supervision relationship. We have outlined conceptual

of learning through participation. The types of activity

resources for making visible aspects of doctoral prac-

discussed in the two cases presented in this paper, we

tices that typically are invisible or given scant attention

believe, will be recognised increasingly as pedagogical

in guidelines for doctoral practices, and illustrated these

within university postgraduate contexts, and no doubt the

through two brief case studies. Together, the two cases

list of what counts as doctoral pedagogy will also encom-

open up discussion by recognising and valuing that the

pass a broader definition and enactment.

doctoral practices we describe here are no longer ‘add-

It has not been usual practice to give attention to docu-

ons’ to the doctoral experience for students but rather

menting the pedagogic work that we do in doctoral edu-

are being understood increasingly as the ‘new basics’.

cation, perhaps because the everyday practices of ‘doing’

This shift brings growing credibility to practices that

a doctorate have both become so prevalent and yet still

once were considered marginal or ‘extra-curricular’ – sets

draw from older, more elite, forms of pedagogy that are

of practices increasingly valued as fundamental and core

taken for granted. There are difficulties in making current

doctoral experiences for all doctoral students.

practices sufficiently ‘strange’ to reflexively consider what

We began the paper by referring to Sting’s account of

is happening within them. We suggest becoming aware of

close looking and ‘slowing it down enough ’ to make a

what is already happening by close-up observations of the

case for studying existing pedagogical practices (our own

pedagogical work across universities and doctoral pro-

and others), as a strategy to find the pedagogy within

grammes that are meeting specific core needs of specific

everyday practices and to inform us how those practices

groups involved in doctoral education. We propose that

work. Within the two case studies we presented, we took

the field is ready to attend to the ‘next challenge for doc-

up some aspects of observing and understanding ‘live

toral education’ (Green 2009), a closer empirical examina-

performance’, such as the talk and interaction of research

tion of these practices and relationships.

groups, which we had to gloss here for reasons of space. These descriptions showed the texture of relationships

Susan Danby is Professor of Education at the Queensland

and how they were assembled out of, and within, doc-

University of Technology.

toral practices. Both cases describe programmes that are built on strong conceptual underpinnings and we show

Alison Lee is Professor of Education and Director of the

that they have emerged through a reflexive examination

Centre for Research in Learning and Change at the University

of practices strongly grounded in theoretical and meth-

of Technology, Sydney.

odological research understandings. In this way, these programmes cannot be generic models dropped into place; rather, they have come about as a consequence of local doctoral practices designed to take up identified specific ‘gaps’. What can be taken from them is the articulation of the pedagogical principles and the broad set of relations between design and action in doctoral pedagogy. vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

References Abrandt Dahlgren, M., Grosjean, G., Lee, A. & Nyström, S. (2012). The Graduate School in the Sky: Emerging pedagogies in an international network for doctoral education and research, in A. Lee & S. Danby (eds) Reshaping Doctoral Education: international perspectives and pedagogies, London. Routledge, pp 173-186.

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Adkins, B., Summerville, J., Danby, S., & Matthews, J. (2012/in press). In A. Lee & S. Danby (eds) Reshaping Doctoral Education: international perspectives and pedagogies, London. Routledge. Atkinson, P. (1981). Inspecting classroom talk. In C. Adelman (ed.), Uttering, Muttering (pp. 98-113). London: Grant McIntyre. Austin, A. E. (2011). Preparing doctoral students for promising careers in a changing context: implications for supervision, institutional planning, and cross-institutional opportunities, in V. Kumar & A. Lee (eds) Doctoral Education in International Context: Connecting local, regional and global perspectives, Serdang, Malaysia: Universiti Putra Malaysia Press, pp 1-18. Baker, C. D. (2000). Locating culture in action: Membership categorisation in texts and talk. In A. Lee & C. Poynton (eds), Culture and text: Discourse and methodology in social research and cultural studies (pp. 99-113). St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. Bitusikova, S, (2009). New Challenges in Doctoral Education in Europe, in D. Boud & A. Lee (eds) Changing Practices of Doctoral Education, London, Routledge, pp 200-210. Boud, D. & Lee, A. (eds) (2009). Changing Practices of Doctoral Education, London, Routledge. Danby, S. (2005). The supervisory experience : Culture in action. In J. Yamanashi & I. Milojevic (eds), Researching Identity, Diversity and Education : Surpassing the Norm (pp. 1-16). Teneriffe, Qld: Post Pressed. Danby, S. & Baker, C. (2000). Unravelling the fabric of social order in block area. In S. Hester and D. Francis, Local educational order: Ethnomethodological Studies of Knowledge in Action (pp. 91-140). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins (Pragmatics and Beyond Series). Danby, S. & Lee, A. (2012). Framing doctoral pedagogy as design and action. In A. Lee & S. Danby (eds), Reshaping doctoral education: International Approaches and Pedagogies (pp. 3-11). London: Routledge. Gherardi, S. (2009). Community of Practice or Practices of a Community? In S. Armstrong, C. Fukami, The Sage Handbook of Management Learning, Education, and Development, London, Sage Green, B. (2009). Changing perspectives, changing practices: doctoral education in transition. In D. Boud & A. Lee (eds). (2009). Changing Practices of Doctoral Education (pp. 239-248), London: Routledge. Green, B. (2005). Unfinished business: subjectivity and supervision. Higher Education Research & Development 24(2), 151-163. Harris, J., Theobald, M., Danby, S., Reynolds, E., Rintell, E. S. & Transcript Analysis Group (TAG). (2012). ‘What’s going on here?’ The pedagogy of a data analysis session In A. Lee & S. Danby (eds), Reshaping doctoral education: International Approaches and Pedagogies. London, Routledge, pp 81-95.

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Herzfeld, M. (1983). Looking both ways: The ethnographer in the text. Semiotica, 2(4), 151-166. Hester, S., & Eglin, P. (1997). Membership categorization analysis: An introduction. In S. Hester & P. Eglin (eds), Culture in action: Studies in membership categorization analysis (pp. 1-23). Washington, DC: International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis & University Press of America. Kamler, B., & Thomson, P. (2006). Helping doctoral students write: Pedagogies for supervision. Oxon: Routledge. Lee, A. & Boud, D. (2009). Framing Doctoral Education as Practice, in D. Boud and A. Lee (eds) Changing Practices of Doctoral Education, Abingdon, Routledge, pp, 6-19. Lee, A. & Danby, S. (eds) (2012). Reshaping doctoral education: International Approaches and Pedagogies. Routledge. London. Lee, A & Green, B (1997). Pedagogy and Disciplinarity in the ‘New’ University. UTS Review 3 no 1: pp. 1-25. Lee, A. & Green, B. (2009). Supervision as Metaphor, Studies in Higher Education 34, No. 6, pp 615-630 MacGregor, K. (2011). AFRICA-EU: New virtual network for PhD students, University World News, Issue 196, 06 November 2011, http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20111105112935374 Psathas, G. (1995). Conversation analysis: The study of talk-in-interaction (Vol. 35). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Silverman, D. (ed.). (1997). Qualitative research: Theory, method and practice. London: Sage Silverman, D. (2000). Analyzing talk and text. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (eds), Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd ed., pp. 821-834). Thousand Oaks: Sage. Silverman, D. (2007). A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about qualitative research. London: Sage. Silverman, D. (2011). Interpreting qualitative data (4th ed.). London: Sage. Sting (2003). Broken Music, London: Pocket Books. Willetts, J., Mitchell, C., Abeysuriya, K. & Fam, D. (2012). Creative tensions: negotiating the multiple tensions of a transdisciplinary doctorate, in A. Lee & S. Danby (eds) Reshaping Doctoral Education: international perspectives and pedagogies (pp. 128-143), London. Routledge. Woolgar, S. (1988). Reflexivity is the ethnographer of the text. In S. Woolgar (ed.), Knowledge and reflexivity: new frontiers in the sociology of knowledge (pp. 14-34). London: Sage.

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Supervisors watching supervisors The deconstructive possibilities and tensions of team supervision Catherine Manathunga Victoria University, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Many universities have introduced team supervision as a means of intervening in the intensity of the traditional supervisor-student dyad. This policy is intended to provide students with a great support during their candidature and to share the burden of sole supervision. It is also a pedagogy that seeks to support students’ engagement with new knowledges that cross institutional and epistemic boundaries. However, few researchers have studied the effects of team supervision on doctoral pedagogical practices and on the already complicated fields of power circulating in supervision. This paper focuses on one particular aspect of the operations of power within team supervision – the issue of how power circulates between supervisors. Drawing on Foucault’s notions of governmentality, technologies of self and surveillance, I seek to track supervisors’ self-regulation and peer-regulation when they co-supervise doctoral students with one or more colleagues. I conclude by arguing that the need for more post structural research into supervision pedagogy remains just as urgent as it was when Green and Lee first made their call for theorising postgraduate pedagogy in 1995.

Introduction

in most universities across the Western world. It is this form of team supervision (i.e. one student working with

In their seminal special issue on postgraduate pedagogy,

two or more supervisors) that is the focus of this article

Green and Lee (1995), building upon early assertions by

rather than group supervision (where several students

Connell (1985) that supervision was a form of teaching,

work together with one or several supervisors). North

made a passionate plea for supervision to be regarded

America has a longer tradition of panel supervision. For

as a form of pedagogy involving complex power rela-

the countries that adopted the English model of doctoral

tions circulating between the supervisor, the student

education, team supervision is a more recent develop-

and knowledge. The special issue contained a number

ment. Patterns of supervision also vary across disciplines,

of ground-breaking, critical explorations of supervision

with much longer traditions of team supervision common

pedagogy. However, team supervision had not yet come

in the Sciences and far less common in the Humanities

to prominence and, as a result, the special issue focused

and some of the Social Sciences.

only upon uncovering the complexities and possibilities inherent in sole supervision.

It is believed that team supervision will provide students with a broader range of intellectual and social

If we fast forward to contemporary times, team supervi-

support during their candidature. In particular, team

sion, or the supervision of one doctoral student by two

supervision seeks to address concerns that the sole super-

or more supervisors, has come to be regarded as effective

visor model, in which supervision was regarded as a pri-

supervision pedagogy and has become standard policy

vate space (Manathunga 2005b), could be a problematic

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Supervisors watching supervisors, Catherine Manathunga

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method of inducting research students into academic dis-

This paper seeks to rise to this challenge by discuss-

ciplines. This apprenticeship/protégé model of supervi-

ing a post structuralist study of team supervision in the

sion involved the development of an intense relationship

Humanities and Social Sciences. In particular, I focus on

between one supervisor (master) and a research student

exploring the operations of power circulating between

(apprentice/protégé). Grant (2008) has also characterised

supervisors in team supervision. After exploring the exist-

this relationship as master/slave, drawing upon Hegel’s

ing studies of team supervision, which can be located

construct to highlight the complex and contradictory

in a liberal theoretical paradigm, this paper outlines the

mutual relations of domination and subordination inher-

role of power, desire and governmentality in supervision

ent in these types of relationships.

pedagogy. I then highlight the additional complexities

In this model of supervision, the student learnt to

team supervision brings to what Grant (2003, p. 189) has

become an independent researcher by observing their

already characterised as a ‘chaotic pedagogy’. This sets

supervisor. This acculturation into the discipline and

the scene for the contextual details of my study. Adopt-

into the role of scholar was believed to occur by osmo-

ing a poststructuralist discourse analysis methodology, I

sis. In some cases, this model of supervision worked for

outline how team supervision produces self-regulation

research students or they at least survived it. As Lee and

and peer-regulation between supervisors and how inter-

William’s (1999, p 20) research has suggested, it was more

sections of gender and power emerge in my data. Finally,

a case of survival; a kind of brutal, ‘bizarre and barbaric

I explore how the operations of power between supervi-

initiation’; a ‘trial by fire’. This model of supervision was

sors can be both generative and problematic and call for

often characterised by exploitation or abuse at worst or

more post structuralist investigations of team supervision

neglect at best. It worked best if the supervisor and stu-

that might continue the work that Green and Lee (1995, p.

dent were able to develop good rapport. It also worked

44) described as ‘needing urgent and rigorous attention’.

if the student came from a similar social class and ethnic background to the supervisor or was able to imitate these

Team supervision as a universal good

attitudes, modes of dress, forms of speech and behaviour. Very often the supervisor guarded their student as if they

Although there is now a substantial literature on supervi-

personally owned them, becoming hostile to the notion

sion pedagogy, much of it remains silent about how team

of their student talking to other colleagues. In this intense

supervision alters the character of supervisory practice.

private space, students sometimes became cheap quasi

Even those that mention team supervision usually do so

research assistants. Even in the Sciences where there is

to recommend it as a highly effective form of supervision

a longer tradition of team-based research, students were

pedagogy rather than to investigate it. For example, Con-

often consigned to the role of cheap laboratory assistant.

rad’s (2003) pilot study of research students at one Austral-

Not only did this model expose students to potential

ian university only contains a few comments about team

exploitation or abuse, but it also ensured that the burden

supervision and concentrates instead on group supervi-

of the student’s success rested heavily on the shoulders of

sion where one supervisor meets with a group of students.

the lone supervisor. So it is now assumed that team super-

Grigg et al.’s (2003) report on cross-disciplinary research

vision shares the significant and often demanding peda-

indicates that some students experience difficulties in

gogical responsibility of working with doctoral candidates

interdisciplinary team supervision but made no further

among several supervisors and may enable junior super-

recommendations on this issue. Sutcliffe (1999) reports

visors to gain supervision mentoring from more experi-

that the dynamics of team supervision and the need to

enced colleagues. Increasingly, as students engage with

establish effective team working practice have been high-

new knowledges that cross institutional and epistemic

lighted in his supervisor academic development sessions

boundaries, team supervision also provides students with

and Andresen (1999, p. 34) also recommends team supervi-

broader interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary support.

sion as an approach that could ‘balance the inherently frag-

However, few researchers have actually studied the

ile and vulnerable dyadic supervisor-student relationship’.

effects of team supervision on doctoral pedagogical

The most detailed exploration of team supervision has

practices. Even fewer researchers have taken up Lee and

been conducted by Pang (1999), writing from the per-

Green’s (1995, p. 2) challenge to subject team supervi-

spective of a recent PhD graduate. He recommends five

sion to alternative lines of inquiry that might critique the

key principles for developing effective team supervision:

‘rational Science model of … supervision’ that has indeed

1. A good start: establishing explicit expectations in the

come to dominate, as Lee and Green warned it would.

group and allowing the student to be honest about

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their fear of being confused by so many supervisors

pedagogy, supervisors guide and facilitate their students’

2. Trust and respect: especially when diverse views and

gradual development into independent researchers. This

perspectives come up. It is usually the student who

mentoring discourse represents supervisor/s-student

must work out a compromise or take a stand support-

interactions unproblematically as dialogues between ‘col-

ing one perspective or the other.

legial equals’ (Wisker 2003 quoted in Grant 2008). Dis-

3. Avoid the politics: supervisors should try to keep students insulated from departmental politics 4. Distinguish between supervisors and friends: try to keep work and social times in the team separate

courses about the ‘dirty’ concepts of ‘power, desire and difference’ (Grant 2001, p. 13) within the supervisory relationship remain absent from this acceptable view of supervision pedagogy. So, within this framing of super-

5. Be sensible, reasonable and supportive: supervisors

vision, it is assumed that team supervision simply gives

need to recognise the extra pressures team supervi-

students access to additional mentors and provides super-

sion puts on students and be particularly sensible and

visors with more collegial support.

supportive (Pang 1999). One of the few articles that draws upon some empirical evidence (300 interviews of students and supervisors in the Social and natural Sciences in the UK) to discuss joint supervision argues that

There is one recent study

...team supervision represents both an increase in the intensity of surveillance and disciplining of students by several supervisors and a diffusion of this intensity as supervisors are engaged in watching (and at times disciplining) each other.

joint supervision can be suc-

by Guerin and others (2011), however, that provides an exception to this. Guerin and her colleagues interviewed research students about team supervision and challenged the positioning of students as ‘passive novices’ (Guerin

cessful but it can also be

et al. 2011, p.10). Instead,

plagued with difficulties, ambiguities and tensions (Pole

they argued that students engaged proactively in manag-

1998). Pole warns about the dangers of regarding team

ing team supervisory relationships, conflict, feedback and

supervision as a panacea for all supervision ills. Rather

communication. Using the metaphor of polygamous mar-

than regarding it as a ‘safety net’, he suggests that team

riage, they suggested that students, like the husband of

supervision ‘if used cautiously may be an effective way of

many wives, actively ‘skilfully and sensitively manage mul-

cushioning a fall’ (Pole 1998, p. 270).

tiple relationships with very different partners’ (Guerin et

However, none of this small body of research on team

al. 2011, p. 3).

supervision has sought to investigate the highly complicated fields of power circulating in team supervision. Watts (2010) emphasises this continuing dearth of criti-

Power, desire and governmentality in supervision

cal investigation of team supervision. Summarising Delamont and others’ (2004) list of concerns about team

There are, however, an increasing number of studies that

supervision, Watts (2010) argues that communication can

deploy critical and poststructuralist paradigms to inves-

become problematic within team supervision and that

tigate supervision pedagogy, particularly following Lee

there is a risk that no one supervisor will take responsibil-

and Green’s 1995 call for action. These scholars have

ity for the oversight of the whole PhD project. However,

sought to unearth the complexities, operations of power,

she outlines her personal experience that disagreement

and hidden constructions inherent in supervision rela-

between supervisors can provide students with opportu-

tionships (Grant 2001; 2003; Green & Lee 1995; Lee &

nities for more critical insights into research issues and

Williams 1999). Grant’s (2003; 2008) work in particular

that it can provide students with continuity in the face of

demonstrates just how complex the operations of power

an unexpected departure of one supervisor.

within supervision pedagogy are.

Indeed, most of the existing studies of team supervision

Grant (2003) maps out four complex, interwoven layers

come from a liberal paradigm, which suggests that post-

of relations that operate within supervision.The first layer

graduate supervision is based on rationality, logic, and the

constructs supervision between a supervisor and a student

intellect. The current dominant liberal discourse circulat-

as an ‘institutionally prescribed relationship with stable

ing about postgraduate supervision constructs effective

[supervisor and student] positions’ (Grant 2003, p. 178).

supervision as mentoring research students (Manathunga

This is the layer acknowledged in policy documents and

2007). According to this understanding of supervisory

in studies of supervision drawing on a liberal paradigm.

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Supervisors watching supervisors, Catherine Manathunga

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Grant (2003) argues that the second layer of supervision is the pedagogical power relations that circulate between the supervisor, the student and the thesis or knowledge

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digms, drafting ideas and gaining expert feedback, so that they will become credentialed as wise scholars (Manathunga 2007, p. 211).

along the lines proposed by Lusted (1986).The third layer

Supervisors achieve this through a complex mix of

of relations includes the ‘diverse social positions’ adopted

support, guidance and facilitation; modelling their own

by the supervisor and student, producing complicated

research practices; and surveillance and disciplining

and changeable interactions (Grant 2003, p. 182). Finally,

(Manathunga 2007).

the fourth layer is the inexplicable yet powerful opera-

However, in team supervision, both (or many) supervi-

tion of supervisors’ and students’ ‘conscious and uncon-

sors are not only encouraging students to develop cer-

scious knowing and desires’ (Grant 2003, p. 185). Grant

tain technologies of self and watching and disciplining

(2003; 2008) demonstrates how much potential there is

students. They are also watching each other and caus-

in supervision for supervisors and students to misunder-

ing each other to display particular supervisory tech-

stand each other or talk past each other. Communication

nologies of self. So, team supervision represents both an

in supervision where there is only one supervisor and one

increase in the intensity of surveillance and disciplining

student is a complicated personal and pedagogical space

of students by several supervisors and a diffusion of this

as Grant’s (2003) work has shown. Adding one or more

intensity as supervisors are engaged in watching (and

additional supervisors into the mix has the effect of mul-

at times disciplining) each other. Supervisors become

tiplying these complexities exponentially. As far as I am

simultaneously more powerful and less powerful when

aware, most of these poststructuralist studies are yet to

subjected to the scrutiny of their colleagues as well as

explore power and desire in team supervision pedagogy.

that of their students. So too, students also become both

Supervision pedagogy is also a site of governmentality,

less and more powerful in these team interactions. All of

as I argued in my article investigating notions of mentor-

this ensures that communication and pedagogical pat-

ing in supervision (Manathunga 2007). This article drew

terns in supervision become even more complex and it

upon Devos’ (2004) characterisation of general mentor-

can be difficult to determine who is actually addressing

ing programmes for women as sites of governmentality,

who in team supervision interactions. Each member of

which require the production of two contradictory sub-

the team is managing their relations with and through

ject positions for those being mentored. These subject

each other as well as through the thesis (Grant 2003).

positions include being simultaneously an active subject

As a result, studies that seek to trace the operations of

and a subject that desires to be acted upon (Devos 2004).

power, desire and governmentality in team supervision

Devos (2004, p. 77) thereby demonstrated how mentor-

are a vital addition to existing understandings of supervi-

ing includes both ‘a form of paternalism and … ‘sup-

sion pedagogy.

ported self-direction’’. I argued that these contradictions within supervision, where the student desires both ‘auton-

Context and methodologies

omy and regulation’ (Manathunga 2007, pp. 211-212), were even more pronounced because supervisors (unlike

I collected data from four supervision teams at an Australian

mentors in most formal programmes) have ‘additional

research-intensive university; two in the Humanities and

surveillance mechanisms [e.g. annual progress reports or

two in the Social Sciences.The team supervision meetings

milestone reports], which demonstrate the institutional

for each team were recorded for four consecutive team

power and responsibility invested in them’ and because

meetings, except in the case of one team in the Humani-

they are helping students to ‘achieve particular identifi-

ties where two meetings were recorded. After each meet-

able outcomes (the thesis) within a fairly prescribed form

ing, supervisors and students were emailed some short

and timeline’.

reflection questions, which they responded to separately

Supervisors are also seeking to socialise students into a

on email.These reflections provide valuable indications of

disciplinary way of being, thinking and acting or, to draw

each participant’s thoughts, feelings and experiences of

on the work of Foucault (1988), to develop particular

each meeting. Attempts were made to collect reflections

technologies of self. As I argued previously,

from all of the participants but, in some cases, not all of the

supervisors encourage students to shape their minds (and bodies) through a range of self-disciplining techniques, such as reflective practice, engaging in thinking and writing tasks within disciplinary para-

32

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Table 1: Research participants

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and one male joint Principal Supervisor

Teams

Student

Supervisors

General research topic

were less experienced but not entirely

1

Natalie – domestic student; confirmed; Anglo-Australian

Principal S (PS): Diana Assoc. S (AS) 1: Paul AS 2: Tim All Anglo-Australian

Vietnamese film studies

new to supervision. I have deliber-

Melanie – domestic student; confirmed; Anglo-Australian

PS: Bill AS: Eva Both Anglo-Australian

Education and technology

Maria – international; new candidate; South American (+ 1 Fred – domestic student; new candidate; AngloAustralian participates in 1 meeting)

PS: Christina AS: Peter Both Anglo-Australian

Philosophy

Margaret – domestic student; confirmed; Anglo-Australian

PS: Alice AS: Sue Both Anglo-Australian

2

3

4

ately changed the topic areas they are researching a little in order to preserve their harmonious supervisory relationships and to offer them some anonymity. In this paper, I will particularly draw on data from Teams 1 and 2. The interview transcripts and notes produced by supervisors and students were analysed using poststructuralist discourse analysis (Threadgold 2000). This form of discourse analysis was selected because it foregrounds the

Social work

‘context of culture’.

Broader disci-

plinary cultural norms and practices are particularly important in studying supervision pedagogy because they

Table 1 provides a summary of the details of each team,

shape supervisor-student interactions in many significant

using pseudonyms and slightly modified research topics

explicit and implicit ways. In particular, these contextual

to protect participants’ identities and supervisory rela-

factors play out in the unconscious knowings and desires

tionships.

that complicate and enrich supervision relationships,

The four students in this study were all women, with

both between supervisors and students and between

one of them being international and one of them mature

co-supervisors. Poststructuralist discourse analysis also

aged. Three of the students were from Anglo-Australian

enables the researcher to engage in a form of textual

backgrounds and one student was from South America.

analysis intimately located within poststructuralist theory

Three of the students were in the mid-candidature stage,

(Poynton & Lee 2000). Indeed, as Threadgold (2000, p. 40)

while one was in the early stages of candidature. As it

argues,‘the binary separation of metalanguage (or theory)

happened, another male student was included in two

and data … is already an impossible separation’. Foucault’s

meetings of one team in the Humanities because he was

political notion of discourse as a body of knowledge and

studying a similar PhD topic.

practices was adopted in order to uncover the political

A total of nine supervisors participated in this study,

aspects of team supervision.

including 5 women and 4 men. All of these supervisors

In particular, the following linguistic devices were

were from Anglo-Australian backgrounds. In one team

tracked in transcripts of team supervision meetings in

in the Humanities, there was joint Principal Supervision

order to identify some of the displays of power and uncon-

provided by the female and male supervisors, although

scious knowings and desires of supervisors and students:

the team acknowledged the greater role and seniority of

• dominance in the conversation

the female supervisor. In the three other teams, there was

• turn taking and length of turns

one Principal Supervisor (2 females and 1 male) and up

• repairs and hesitations in the dialogue

to two Associate Supervisors. As also indicated in Pole’s

• strength or tentativeness of the language

(1998) study of joint supervision in the Social Sciences,

• laughter and other audible non-verbal communication

these teams had been formed according to the individual

• unexplained ambivalences and contradictions.

expertise of each supervisor, with one team adding an addi-

I also sought to track moments when both the supervi-

tional Associate Supervisor during the study because they

sors seem to act as one against the student or when one

recognised a gap in the expertise of the existing supervi-

supervisor seems to help the student respond to some

sion team. Although team supervision is often used in the

of the comments of the other supervisor or when the

Humanities and Social Sciences to provide mentoring for

student seemed to align themselves with either of the

new supervisors (Pole 1998), in this study 7 of the supervi-

supervisors. I paid particular attention to the strength

sors were experienced and one female Principal Supervisor

of the student’s voice and how frequently they entered

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Supervisors watching supervisors, Catherine Manathunga

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the conversation and the length and nature of their turns.

This also played out in a tendency of the Principal

Identifying these discourses and some of their linguis-

Supervisor to answer the Associate Supervisor’s questions

tic markers enabled me to investigate how supervisory

that were clearly directed at the student.This is illustrated

teams wrestle with the inherent tension in supervision

in the following excerpt:

that comes from the desire for intellectual, collegial dia-

Paul (AS1): Because I remember you were talking about you know, ideas about ‘Vietnamese’2 women or even if wasn’t in films. And there is a whole, really that underpins your methodology, you know. Actually how you go about it, and how you should be doing it. Those issues will be relevant here as well.

logue within a pedagogical practice invested with governmentality and power (Grant 2003; Manathunga 2007). For the purposes of this paper I have selected one example of self-regulation from Team 1, one of peer-regulation as represented in Teams 1 and 2 and I have then included a longer analysis of the gender and power dynamics playing out in Team 1. Interestingly, these gender dynamics do not appear to be present in Teams 2 and 3.

Self-regulation

Diana (PS): You mean who [unclear word] is it? To analyse Vietnamese women as a non-Vietnamese woman? Paul: Not specifically. In your honours thesis you talked about the appropriateness of various approaches or same works? (Team 1, Meeting, 1, 31/5/06) The ‘you’ Paul is referring to here is clearly the student, but it is the Principal Supervisor who responds seeking

There were a number of instances of careful self-regu-

clarification. What is interesting is that Principal Supervi-

lation by supervisors in these data. I have included the

sor becomes aware of this tendency in her post-meeting

example that provides the most striking evidence of the

reflections – ‘in fact I have a problem of having to make

ways in which supervisors censor themselves and chose

myself stop answering on the student’s behalf when Paul

their words more carefully in team supervision situations.

raises an issue’ (PS,Team 1, email 31/5/06).

It is also indicative of the pressure some Principal Super-

The First Associate Supervisor (Paul) seems to make

visors can experience in team supervision. This example

a conscious effort to support the feedback given by the

comes from Team 1. The female principal supervisor in

Principal Supervisor, which she found ‘reassuring … [this]

this Humanities team whom we will call Diana1, com-

gives me confidence that my judgement/critical skills are

mented in her email reflections that, ‘as principal advi-

ok’ (PS, Team 1 email 31/5/06). However, he does not

sor and person most responsible for the supervision … I

comment explicitly on any of this and assumes that his

felt a bit ‘under scrutiny’ myself and, hence, slightly nerv-

comments were ‘well received by student and co-advisors

ous’ (Principal Supervisor (PS), Team 1, email 13/12/06).

alike’ (AS1, Team 1, email 13/12/06). The second male

Although she seeks to modify the extent of her nervous-

Associate Supervisor, whom we will call Tim, seems to

ness (a bit … slightly), the team interactions clearly indi-

pick up on Diana’s nervousness:

cate that she feels under surveillance. She comments after the first meeting that she was also ‘nervous at first about structuring the meeting effectively and presenting comments coherently’ (PS,Team 1, email 31/5/06) This is played out in a number of ways. As she herself

being the principal advisor, [Diana] might have been worried that I was too critical, and that my comments were indirect criticisms of her advising, which of course they weren’t. I saw [Paul] later, though, and he seemed to think my comments were fine’ (AS2, Team 1, email 14/12/06).

suggests,‘I wasn’t sure how much I was talking to the student about her writing and how much I was talking to the

Tim is sufficiently worried about this that he seeks out

other advisors about her writing’ (Principal Supervisor

feedback from the other Associate Supervisor, who has

(PS), Team 1, email 13/12/06). As a result, in both meet-

been in the team longer than he has. Therefore, there are

ings, she spends a lot of time giving her feedback and it

clear instances in these two meetings of careful self-reg-

seems to be the Associate Supervisor who is attending to

ulation mainly by the Principal Supervisor but also, to a

the student’s feelings and seeking to draw her opinions

lesser extent, by one of the Associate Supervisors.

out by asking facilitative, prompting questions (lines 289306, Team 1, Meeting 1, 31/5/06). In other words, these

Peer-regulation

feelings of being under surveillance result in the Principal Supervisor focusing a lot more on herself and how she is

There were also a number of instances of peer-regulation

managing the meeting, rather than on how the student is

evident in the data. I will focus on two examples from

responding to the feedback or gaining opportunities to

Teams 2 and 1 where one of the Associate Supervisors

contribute to the conversation.

intervenes to try and soften the comments of the Principal

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vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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chapters are written:

might respond to the other supervisor’s line of questioning. Bill, the Principal Supervisor from the Social Sciences (Team 2) is asking the student to explain how she has approached data collection.The student’s (Eva) responses and nervous laughter suggest a defensiveness that is not characteristic of her usual contributions in the other team meetings recorded in this study. Eventually the Associate Supervisor (Melanie) inserts a hint about how to respond (see italicised line) and Eva regains her momentum and composure: Bill (PS): But yeah, I just wanted you to help me recall where that’s coming from? What’s that all about? Because it’s very very obvious when you’re looking at those diagrams and you need to talk about it and you need to make a case about why it’s set up and done that way. Eva (St): Well, really I think some people find it really annoying but I was doing it to somehow flesh out sometimes by saying what you don’t like about something is giving you more information about what, I mean if you don’t like something or what belief isn’t so useful is giving you more information about what you believe …3 Bill: Have you got anything in the literature that you’ve read? That backs that? Eva: No … Melanie (AS): People could choose what they want to [write?], and they didn’t use it? Eva: Some didn’t use it. The only thing that people were compelled to use was the central, overarching concept. The blue one.

Diana PS: goes to that the idea of, you know, in, in Vietnamese, um, film studies, and and feminist, women studies, there is this debate about how can you use the western theories to look at Vietnamese contexts, and, I don’t see whether you have to accept totally Vietnamese definition of female consciousness in order to examine female consciousness as displayed in Vietnamese films, cause what you’re looking at does not necessarily have to be the same as what Vietnamese critics [looking at] … Diana: ...a bit more defensive against um, um, examiner // Paul: //yer Diana: particular (of) cultural contexts or something, and reading most of your chapters and thinking, well, ((not clear)), is there, and then finding out throughout your chapters your are in fact doing that ( ) and probably stated them// Paul: [I’d keep an eye on that … it could be hard to write Tim: [a lot of work] ((very weak sound)) Diana: It will cause, it would require a substantial rewriting of the chapter Tim AS2: …the Vietnamese …keep that down, and then what you are going to say, um, well, (actually, ….) ((weak voice)) Paul: I guess, [I guess, um] Tim: [seems a bit clumsy, that’s all] Paul: it could be, it could be, it// Diana: //what if (through some) sign [posting (more)

Melanie: Just teaching and learning.

Tim: What’s the sign posting an [(alternative)]?

Eva: So here’s John4 saying, checking all the [unclear word] and learning and teaching. That was the only one they were compelled to use. And in some cases for example Elizabeth, her map on [teaching5], that’s the only concept she uses …

Diana: something like [that]

In the second example, this time from Team 1, the Principal Supervisor (Diana) and Associate Supervisor 2 (Tim) engage in sustained and quite critical feedback about the student’s draft chapter. Associate Supervisor 1 (Paul) asks some clarifying questions of Diana in this excerpt and the student’s (Natalie) responses are limited to soft ‘yeahs’.

Tim: yer] Diana: I am aware of these arguments, and this is coming later on, something to show// Tim: //yer Diana: to show, and// Tim: //yer, you can do that with sign posting that paragraph, it just means (you’ll take) more work to start with the Vietnamese perspective …

Diana even refers to Natalie in the third person as if she

What is intriguing about this is that, after this interven-

is not there. Eventually, Paul intervenes suggesting that it

tion, Tim’s comments become far more positive and less

would be hard to rewrite this section along the lines that

critical for the remainder of the meeting.As we saw in the

the other two supervisors are suggesting (see first italics).

example of self-regulation above, Tim did seem to realise

This prompts Diana to suggest some more sign-posting

that he had been too critical at first.Although Paul doesn’t

instead (second italics) and then she and Tim seem to

explicitly comment about this in his post-meeting reflec-

back away from their suggestions, agreeing finally that

tions or admit to Tim that he did regard his critique as too

any of these changes should be made after the next three

strong, his actions in the meeting clearly seek to regulate

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Supervisors watching supervisors, Catherine Manathunga

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the behaviour of the other supervisors in the team.

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alike’ (AS1, Team 1, email 15/12/06). Instead he seems to use his responses within supervision team meetings to reg-

Gender and power in team supervision

ulate the comments of his peers. There is not the space in this article to tease out any further the complicated strands

Although Teams 1, 2 and 3 have a mixture of male and

of gender, rank and experience operating within this team,

female supervisors and the Principal Supervisors of

but that could be a subject for future analysis.

Teams 1 and 3 are women, the intersections of gender and power that are already evident in these examples of

Implications for supervision pedagogy

self- and peer-regulation appear most strongly in Team 1. There are possibly a number of reasons for this. Whereas

This study of supervisors watching supervisors in team

in Team 3, the First Principal Supervisor (in this case

supervision highlights the complexities introduced to the

she and her colleague are Joint Principal Supervisors) is

already ‘chaotic’ pedagogy (Grant 2003, p. 189) of super-

senior to the Second Principal Supervisor and has more

vision. In particular, its findings have significant implica-

supervisory experience, in Team 1, although the Princi-

tions for understandings of supervisor subjectivities and

pal Supervisor has a more senior rank than the Associate

pedagogies as team supervision increasingly becomes

Supervisors, she has less supervisory experience than

the norm across most disciplines. As Foucault reminds us,

they do. Undoubtedly, personality factors probably come

power operates both generatively and oppressively and,

into it too, as the Principal Supervisor (Diana) in Team 1

therefore, the acts of surveillance and regulation supervi-

is a quiet, gentle and self-deprecating person (some might

sors perform on each other in team supervision have both

argue an ‘acceptable’ subjectivity for women academics!).

positive and problematic consequences. So there is a need

I am particularly intrigued by the Second Associate

to recognise both the positive and negative operations of

Supervisor’s (Tim) comment that he thought that ‘[Diana],

self- and peer-regulation that operate in team supervision.

being the principal advisor, might have been worried that I

Firstly, as this study demonstrates, team supervision causes

was too critical and that my comments were indirect criti-

an increase in supervisory self-regulation as supervisors

cisms of her advising, which of course they weren’t’ (AS2,

monitor their own words and actions more carefully in

Team 1, email 14/12/06). Tim is trying to account for his

team supervision meetings than they might do in private

behaviour in the supervision meeting. The way in which

meetings with their student.

he states this may signal that he may have intended some

Team supervision also provides opportunities for direct

criticism of Diana’ supervision even unconsciously. What is

peer-regulation during meetings. In both of the instances

clear, though, in this whole interaction and the post-meet-

reported in this paper, one of the supervisors is able to

ing reflections of each of the supervisors, is that Diana felt

intervene in the conversation in order to offer the stu-

particularly defensive about her supervision and critical

dent a hint about how they might respond to the critique

judgement in front of the other supervisors, although she

of their other supervisor or to gently challenge the other

constructs herself as more confident after interacting with

supervisors’ requests that the student complete a major

the First Associate Supervisor (Paul) in the first meeting.

rewrite of a chapter. This peer-regulation has the effect

It is also intriguing that both Diana and Tim seek to con-

of reducing the student’s defensiveness or confusion in

struct themselves as reflective supervisors in their post-

each of the cases respectively and allows them to regain

meeting email comments perhaps to account for their

their composure or their understanding of the feedback

performances in the supervision meetings. In addition to

being given. Therefore, through the self and peer regula-

the reflections quoted above, Diana resolves after meeting

tion made possible by team supervision, the intensity and

2 that ‘next time we should perhaps circulate each other’s

operations of power evident in sole supervision, where

comments to the whole group so that more productive

students are subjected to all of the surveillance and disci-

group interaction and discussion can take place’ (PS, Team

plining, is reduced.

1, email 13/12/06). In Tim’s case, his concern centres on

However, team supervision also produces some com-

being too critical and he checks this out with the First Asso-

plex and challenging tensions. In particular, it becomes

ciate Supervisor (Paul). He seems quite reassured by Paul’s

difficult for supervisors and students to understand who

response, though, as if that puts the matter to rest. Intrigu-

is addressing who. Not only are the relations of the super-

ingly, Paul does not seem interested in constructing himself

visor and student being managed through the thesis as

as a reflective supervisor indicating that he thought his

in sole supervision (Grant 2003), but the relations of

comments were ‘well received by student and co-advisors

each of the supervisors and the student are being man-

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aged through each other as well as the thesis. Guerin and others’ (2011) work also emphasises this point. This increases the possibilities for misunderstanding and miscommunication exponentially. So too, gender and power can intersect in difficult ways in team supervision. This is particularly evident in this study in the meetings and reflections of Team 1. A lack of experience and confidence on the part of the female Principal Supervisor causes her to focus more on defending her supervision in team meetings than on attending to the student’s feelings or allowing more space for the student to respond to each of the supervisors’ comments. While this has the effect of making her very self-conscious, in the end she is able to draw comfort from the affirmation of her approach offered by the First Associate Supervisor in the first meeting and she constructs herself as a reflective supervisor seeking to continuously enhance her supervisory practice. Therefore, Foucault’s notions of governmentality and technologies of self allow us to open up new ways of understanding and theorising team supervision subjectivities and pedagogies. In this way, I have sought to apply Lee and Green’s 1995 call for more critical, alternative explorations of supervision pedagogy to team supervision. One of the most important effects of this kind of post structuralist scrutiny of supervision is that it foregrounds both the generative possibilities created through team supervision and the problematic tensions it produces for students and for supervisors. In this way, I hope to challenge dominant

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References Andresen, L (1999). Supervision revisited: thoughts on scholarship, pedagogy and postgraduate research. In Wisker, G. & Sutcliffe, N. (eds) Good practice in postgraduate supervision. Birmingham: SEDA, pp. 25-38. Connell, R. (1985). How to supervise a PhD. Vestes, 28(2), 38-42. Conrad, L. (2003). Five ways of enhancing the postgraduate community: student perceptions of effective supervision and support. Paper presented at the Learning for an unknown future: 26th Annual HERDSA Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand, 6-9 July 2003. Devos, A. (2004). The project of self, the project of others: mentoring, women and the fashioning of the academic subject. Studies in Continuing Education, 26:1, 67-80. Foucault, M. (1988). Technologies of self. In L. Martin; H. Gutman & P. Hutton. (eds) The Foucault effect: studies in governmentality. Hertfordshire: Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 87-104. Grant, B. (2001). Dirty work: ‘a code for supervision’ read against the grain. In A. Bartlett & G. Mercer (eds), Postgraduate Research Supervision: transforming (R)Elations. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 13-24. Grant, B. (2003). Mapping the pleasures and risks of supervision. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education 24(2): 175-190. Grant, B. (2008). Agonistic struggles: master-slave dialogues in humanities supervision. Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, 7:1, 9-27. Green, B., & Lee, A. (1995). Theorising postgraduate pedagogy. Australian Universities’ Review, 38:2, 40-45. Grigg, L.; Johnston, R. & Milson, N. (2003). Emerging issues for cross-disiciplinary research: conceptual and empirical dimensions. Canberra: DEST. Guerin, C., Green, I. & Bastalich, W. (2011). Big love: Managing a team of research supervisors. In Mallan, V. & Lee, A. (eds) Doctoral education in international context. Serdang: Penerbit Universiti Putra Malaysia, pp. 138-153. Lee, A. & Green, B. (1995). Introduction: postgraduate studies/postgraduate pedagogy? Australian Universities’ Review, 38:2, 2-4.

rational, Science accounts of team supervision as a uni-

Lee, A., & Williams, C. (1999). ‘Forged in fire’. Narratives of trauma in PhD supervision pedagogy. Southern Review, 32(1), 6-26.

versal good and demonstrate the ongoing need for post

Lusted, D. (1986). Why pedagogy? Screen, 27:5, 2-14.

structuralist investigations of the productive and oppres-

Manathunga, C. (2005). The development of research supervision: ‘turning the light on a private space’. International Journal for Academic Development, 10:1, 17-30.

sive operations of power in team supervision. Sixteen years after Green and Lee’s (1995) seminal special issue on postgraduate pedagogy, the need for more critical, alternative research on new forms of supervision remains just as urgent. Dr Catherine Manathunga is an Associate Professor in Education, Victoria University Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Endnotes 1. All names have been changed. 2. Country changed to protect anonymity of participants. 3. … indicates text deleted in the interests of word length – conversations continue in the same vein; // indicates overlapping voices; [ ] indicates softer text or an aside; (( )) indicates transcriber’s explanation about soft or unclear text. 4. All names changed to protect anonymity of participants. 5. Word changed to protect anonymity of participants. vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Manathunga, C. (2007). Supervision as mentoring: the role of power and boundary crossing. Studies in Continuing Education, 29:2, 207-221. Pang, N. Sun-Keung (1999). The plain truth is out there. In A. Holbrook & S. Johnson (eds). Supervision of postgraduate research in education (pp. 157161). Coldstream, Victoria: AARE. Pole, C. (1998). Joint supervision and the PhD: safety net or panacea? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 23:3, 259-271. Poynton, C. & Lee, A. (2000) (eds) Culture and Text: discourse and methodology in social research and cultural studies. London: Allen & Unwin. Sutcliffe, N. (1999). Preparing supervisors: a model of research awards supervision training. In Wisker, G. & Sutcliffe, N. (eds) Good practice in pg supervision. Birmingham: SEDA, pp. 139-147. Threadgold, T. (2000). Poststructuralism and discourse analysis. In Poynton, C. & Lee, A. (2000) (eds) Culture and Text: discourse and methodology in social research and cultural studies. London: Allen & Unwin, pp. 40-58. Watts, J. (2010). Team supervision of the doctorate: managing roles, responsibilities and contradictions. Teaching in Higher Education, 15:3, 335339.

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Identity-trajectories Doctoral journeys from past to present to future Lynn McAlpine University of Oxford, UK and McGill University, Canada

Despite much research into doctoral education over the past two decades, theorising the field remains challenging. Recently, identity has been taken up as a conceptualising frame. Views of identity vary but often privilege the reproductive features of society, downplaying how individuals can be intentional in pursuing their desires – with the doctorate but one feature of a broader life. Further, many focus on the experience of the doctorate only rather than the doctorate as situated within earlier experiences and intentions and future imagined careers. This paper draws on evidence from a five-year research programme into doctoral experience to argue for a view of identity, identity-trajectory, that attends particularly to individual agency, interweaving the academic within the personal, and incorporating students’ pasts and imagined futures. By re-focusing attention on the agency, resourcefulness and independence of doctoral students, identity-trajectory contributes pedagogically and conceptually distinct ways of framing doctoral experience.

Context

ing students’ pasts as well as imagined futures. Focusing attention on the agency, resourcefulness and independ-

Despite much research into doctoral education over the

ence of the individual at the heart of the doctoral endeav-

past two decades, theorising the field remains challeng-

our – the student – contributes alternate ways of framing

ing. Recently, identity has emerged as a conceptual frame

doctoral experience.

(Green 2005) though conceptualisations vary, emphasising, for instance, multiply identities (Barnacle & Mewburn

Research programme

2010); embodied, raced and classed identities (Archer 2008); or identities constructed through community mem-

Since 2006, two research teams1, one in Canada and the

bership (Carlone & Johnson 2007). These studies largely

other in the UK, have researched the experiences of

emphasise experience of the doctorate only, rather than

over 80 doctoral students in four universities, initially in

the doctorate as situated within earlier experiences and

the social sciences and more recently in the sciences2.

intentions, future imagined careers, and just one aspect of

Methodologically, the team takes a narrative approach

a fuller life. As well, many tend to emphasise socialisation

viewing participant information as stories of identity

and acculturation (e.g. Gardner 2008) or post-modernist

(Sfard & Prusak 2005).The underlying premise is that

(neo-liberal) perspectives (e.g. Archer 2008) – highlight-

narrative can provide a means to make sense of both the

ing the reproductive features of society rather than how

constancy of an individual’s perception of identity com-

individuals can be intentional in pursuing their desires

bined with the perception of identity change through

(Archer 2000). In this paper, I draw on evidence from a

time (Elliott 2005).

five-year research programme to argue the value of a com-

For about 60 participants in the social sciences and the

plementary view of identity, identity-trajectory (McAlpine

sciences, narratives of different kinds have been collected

et al. 2010), that attends particularly to individual agency,

over at least a year: an initial biographic questionnaire,

nesting the academic within the personal and incorporat-

weekly activity logs completed every month or two, fol-

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lowed by a pre-interview questionnaire and interview. We recruited another 20 individuals who characterised their

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• Horizons for action: the options for action seen as personally viable at any particular time.

stories as particularly troublesome when we noticed that

Doctoral-academic work experience is conceived as

despite difficulties and emotional ups and downs, those

three distinct yet interwoven strands that develop some-

participating in the first group reported moving forward.

what independently:

The 20 completed pre-interview questionnaires and inter-

• Networking: present and past relationships which serve

views only. As regards the 60, the activity log captures the experiences of a particular week (Agosto & Hughes-Hassell

as resources as well as carry responsibilities. • Intellectual: written and oral contributions to the field leading to recognition.

2005). The pre-interview questionnaire provides other

• Institutional:

information related to the total time period, and the infor-

resources.

mation in the logs and pre-interview questionnaire are

These constructs are elaborated below through Sam’s

probed in the interview. Of the 60, a) 20 social sciences

story to emphasise that while the discrete constructs offer

students have continued the same data collection cycle in

analytic power, they collectively constitute embodied expe-

succeeding years so at this point they have been followed

riences.While Sam’s experiences are particular to him, they

for three years (with many now graduated) and b) 10 of

evoke the kinds of relationships, emotions and intentions

the sciences students have just begun their second year of

reported by the others. Thus, his story is interspersed with

the data collection cycle.

descriptions linking his account to the stories across the 60

After the first interview, we construct case summaries

organisational

responsibilities

and

cases as well as the study of students with difficult journeys.

through successive re-reading of all data for each indi-

Sam’s story is told in his own words (with some edits).

vidual: short texts with minimal interpretation, capturing

It draws on the biographic information, the pre-interview

a comprehensive, but reduced, narrative. Each narrative:

questionnaire and interview, and in particular two activity

a) makes connections between events; b) represents the

logs as a way to demonstrate their value in capturing a

passage of time; and c) shows the intentions of individuals

different perspective on experience than in an interview

(Coulter & Smith 2009). As each cycle of data collection

alone. Font is used to differentiate reference to Sam’s story

is completed, the summary is extended. The summaries

from the more general descriptions.

ensure familiarity with each case yet allow us to look across the cases for themes and patterns (Stake 2006).

Agency, the personal and the past

The construct of identity-trajectory emerged about two years after the team had begun the research (having completed more than one cycle of data collection) and had been reviewing the cases. Since the notion of identitytrajectory first emerged, subsequent data collection and analyses have refined its characterisation. This paper conceptually integrates the empirically-based interpretations of identity-trajectory that have informed its construction.

Introducing identity-trajectory The following key constructs underpin identity-trajectory: • Agency: efforts to be intentional, to plan, to construct a way forward given constraints (whether expected or unexpected) – though not always successfully. • The personal: the embedding of doctoral and academic experience within broader lives. • The past: the influence of past experience including relationships on present intentions and imagined futures.

Sam, late 20s, is in his 5th year in biology in Canada. In choosing his university programme, he was leaving his partner behind in another city, depending on ‘long-distance contact …for the usual moral support.’ When he began the degree with a 3-year external fellowship, he imagined a future in academia. Since the end of his fellowship, he has been funded through research and teaching assistantships –– and part-time work for his supervisor on a government contract. The past eight months, he has been processing data, doing data analysis and writing his thesis. While he is at the point in his doctorate where he feels he should be with his partner while writing, he has deadlines to meet for his supervisor that make him feel he should remain at the university. Sam’s account demonstrates how past experiences are influencing his present experience of the doctorate, and how the academic is situated within his personal life. He has left his partner elsewhere to do the degree, and is managing multiple forms of paid employment while working on his thesis. When asked about his work-life balance, despite occasional visits with ‘friends for a wine tasting’, he responds:

Two constructs link the personal and the academic: • Opportunity structures: what is understood or known to be the available career opportunities at any point in time. vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

My work-life balance is relatively low now, as most of my time is spent working. This is largely due to deadlines approachIdentity-trajectories, Lynn McAlpine

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ing, and much work left …to achieve them. I feel this may be partly due to … early on in my PhD … not having a clear direction and spending too much time making decisions, rather than making progress towards deadlines. In retrospect, I might have been able to maintain more balance throughout, but motivation was sometimes difficult to maintain. However, these days, I am strongly motivated to finish, and although there is much to do, it is also easier to find something productive to do that is appealing, whether it be writing, data entry, data analysis, or lab work. Sam is not particularly happy with the present state of affairs, neither personal nor academic. As a result of not making progress earlier on, he is now under pressure. Shifts in his motivation have influenced his work patterns. He is presently more focused and willing at least temporarily to reduce his quality of life in order to finish. Like Sam, students consistently reported the importance of the personal in their doctoral journeys. Individuals made decisions about where to study and how

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in making sense of doctoral intentions, motivations, and decision-making.

Opportunity structures and horizons for action As regards Sam’s imagined future, this has changed since he began the degree, given his greater awareness of opportunity structures, the career possibilities he understands to be available: Currently, I imagine maybe a post-doc, but frankly, I think [I] will be more likely to …get a job with the government or nonprofit, particularly in a location closer to my partner. …postdoc and academic positions are …increasingly competitive, and often require re-locating to different cities or countries, which I am not willing to do for a 1 or 2-year post. I do not believe any university that I would be satisfied with would ever hire me for a tenure-track position immediately after finishing my PhD.

to invest in their work based on personal relationships – sometimes sacrificing these relationships (like Sam) and sometimes sacrificing their own desires, e.g., choosing a programme which would ensure they could support sick parents or not disrupt children’s routines.These responsibilities constrained their time and motivation as regards doctoral work. They also experienced life changing

Sam’s horizons for action are clear. In negotiating his future he is influenced by personal relationships (his desire to be near his partner) and unwillingness to relocate for the short periods of time required in a post-doc. Still, while Sam is hoping for a job closer to his partner his recognition of the opportunity structures means he will likely end up accepting one in a nearby city rather than the same one.

events, e.g., child birth, marriage break-up, illness. Most, on a weekly basis, reported engaging with personal net-

All students developed a more robust understanding

works: friends for emotional support and family/partner

of opportunity structures as they progressed through

for both emotional and practical support (Jazvac-Martek

their degrees, particularly as they neared the end (McAlp-

et al. 2011). All had prior experiences, relationships, and

ine & Turner 2011). Applying for jobs, described as time-

intentions which influenced the decisions leading to their

consuming, was reported only in the last 6-12 months

present investment in the doctorate as well as their imag-

of the degree. Since most imagined academic careers

ined futures.And, like Sam, nearly all consistently reported

when they began, what was evident in their dawning

difficulties in work-life balance. A number reported shifts

awareness of opportunity structures was the limited

in their intentions regarding their futures during the doc-

number of full-time pre-tenure positions; what was on

toral journey (McAlpine & Turner 2011). While those in

offer tended to be researcher posts – either funded

the longitudinal study appeared on the whole to navigate

through fellowships on or someone else’s grant. In the

these challenges, it was apparent that those characteris-

sciences, often two post-docs were expected – each of

ing themselves as having more difficult journeys were

one or two years’ duration. In the social sciences, these

different, often confronting a multitude of upsets concur-

positions were often extremely short – only six months.

rently and sometimes in situations where their personal

Students’ horizons for action represented a subset of

networks were not easily available, e.g., concurrent illness,

the opportunity structures – the viable options in light

lack of funding, with geographically distant family and

of personal intentions. As with Sam, horizons often

friends (McAlpine et al, in press).

changed from beginning the degree to nearing the end,

The essential point is that students’ academic invest-

as personal circumstance and perceived opportunity

ment and progress need to be situated within personal

structures changed. Only one of those who completed

intentions and lives that can support but also add diffi-

went directly into a tenure-track position; others took on

culties to the doctoral journey. The nesting of the aca-

post-PhD posts to build their profiles and others chose

demic within the personal, a central characteristic of

professional posts for security, in one case, negotiating

identity-trajectory, ensures a comprehensive perspective

an ‘academic’ position within a hospital appointment in

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order to have the permanence that would enable having a family and still sustain academic potential. Lastly, some

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met senior administrators from several universities that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

students concluded that academic life was not for them, e.g., too intense, too political. Opportunity structures and horizons for action offer a means to conceptualise the interaction of agency and structure – in particular highlighting a) how individual understanding of structures was continually under revision, and b) how the personal influenced the use of this knowledge.

Sam recognises that networking, getting to know others in his area of interest, is important – not only for his present work but also in expanding his opportunity structures. In this instance, given the lack of supervisory support, Sam drew on his present peer network to help him. The academic networking strand (not students’ personal relationships though these may occasionally overlap) represents contemporary and historical relationships

Networking, intellectual and institutional strands of the academic

which individuals build up, draw on and contribute to. The other students, like Sam, engaged with local, national and international contemporary networks on a day-to-

I focus now on the representation of doctoral-academic

day basis (Jazvac-Martek et al. 2011). They demonstrated

work within identity-trajectory: the interweaving of

resourcefulness in drawing on individual peers, more

three developing strands – networking (relationships),

senior academics, student teams/groups in addition to

intellectual (contributions to the field) and institutional

their supervisors for different kinds of support, e.g. peers

(resources and responsibilities). Two weekly activity

for advice, other academics for scholarly and career advice.

logs provided by Sam embody the experience of these

As with personal relationships, academic networking

strands – the ways in which investment or disruption in

sometimes carried responsibilities, e.g. future reciprocity.

the strands influences doctoral work – with the academic

A few students expressed discomfort with building aca-

remaining nested in the personal.

demic networks, describing the activity as too strategic. And a number did not realise until near the end of their

One week: I attended a 3-day conference on science policy since I am exploring the possibility of transitioning from a research PhD into a career in policy (given the paucity and highly contested nature of research jobs). So, I viewed this as a worthwhile personal career investment. But, since it wasn’t directly related to my research, my supervisor wouldn’t support me financially (even though he was an invited speaker at the ‘non-relevant’ conference). He suggested I use income from my part-time contract work to pay for the conference … For me, this meant using my credit card (hoping to pay off the charge and interest by the end of the semester with a strict personal financial management plan). My supervisor’s response also meant not receiving any acknowledgement of the value of this event. Now that Sam is imagining a non-academic future, he is intentionally seeking to understand the opportunity structures available, despite his supervisor’s lack of support, and this investment has negative implications on his financial resources. Sam continued:

Nor did [my supervisor] introduce me to any colleagues or help me to network. I overcame this …by relying on fellow students and colleagues at the conference who know me and took the time to introduce me to people and expand my network. Connected to the conference was a 1-day workshop on knowledge transfer. Although I doubt I will ever do knowledge transfer as a career, I realised that, whether I am in research or policy, becoming familiar with this field and its language was beneficial, and I also vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

degrees the importance of networking to their identity and career development.

Interestingly, attending the conference definitely made me feel more like an academic than a policy-maker …I began to question my plans to move into a career in policy, and wondered if I would be happier doing pure research. While I’m still not sure, I feel it’s important to explore these possible paths before committing to one. Overall, much of what I learned will still be applicable in a pure research career, in terms of ‘soft skills’ and activities that may not be directly related to research performance, but certainly to social engagement and job fulfilment (at least that is my hope). The event, in fact, led Sam to rethink policy as a potential career. At the same time, the experience provided valuable knowledge related to his desire for a personally fulfilling job. Another day, I prepared a job application for a policy job …. Applying for jobs was important given that Sam was nearing the end of the degree. He never reported seeking supervisory help in this task, drawing instead on his extended network for advice. …and Monday was spent in meetings, working as a Teaching Assistant, and a few hours actually reading material related to my research. I was also in touch with a doctoral student in Europe about my research methods. … I spent 5 hours on data collection and analysis that contributed to actually making progress on my PhD. I see my #1 priority Identity-trajectories, Lynn McAlpine

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as getting back to data collection and analysis, so I can then write. While Sam reports many activities here, I focus on his reference to ‘actually reading’ – something he appears to perceive as important but spends little time at. In identity-trajectory, reading is conceived as a feature of the networking strand. Thus, while networking can be intuitively understood as involving inter-personal interaction with contemporary individuals, in identity-trajectory networking is conceived more broadly to include intertextual networking – engaging in the historical, epistemological, and methodological networks that are constructed through reading as well as conversation (McAlpine 2011). The work creates a network of key scholars and ideas pertinent to the thinking underlying the thesis, and academic thinking more broadly. What was striking across the 60 students was that reading was reported as frequently as writing. Generally, there was more day-to-day reference to reading in the sciences than the social sciences; this may have been influenced by the fact that these students were all nearing completion, whereas the social sciences students were at a range of different places in their degrees. Still, reading as an activity was not straightforward: like Sam, often ‘squeezed in’ among other activities or not possible due to time constraints. In the social sciences, individuals’ were reading to find epistemological links that might underpin their work. Such links could be historical or contemporary. In the sciences, rather than epistemological links, reading related to empirical findings in recently published papers representing the most up-to-date experimental results. There was a sense at times particularly in the social sciences that reading was not always done purposively, e.g., being done when experiencing writing block. And students sometimes wanted supervisory help as regards what and

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strand – writing and other forms of communicating that contribute to one’s specialism.

Returning to Sam’s story: As part of my regular routine to stay healthy and sane, I ran 2 days, played Ultimate Frisbee 1 evening, and worked out in a gym 3 days. With neither the time nor the money, I don’t engage in many other social activities. As on most weekends, I cooked, cleaned, did grocery shopping and laundry - all the things I typically don’t have time for after a day in the office or lab. I saw myself as the most significant individual in my progress this week, since I chose to invest time in activities not directly related to my thesis, with the hope they would translate into long-term career benefits. Sam creates a routine to maintain a work-life balance. Again we see clearly his commitment to situating thesis work within what is for him the present issue of finding a job. Another log looks quite different. I spent approximately 40 hours this week on work contributing to my study, most of it processing about 80 samples in a gas chromatograph (GC). Each sample required a minimum of 8 minutes. So …to feel productive, I set up my laptop beside the GC and organised data files and wrote analysis scripts while waiting. …The samples occasionally took a little longer than they needed to because I would get distracted by these other tasks, but it meant the work was less boring and I got a lot more done. I also had a 1-hour weekly meeting with my supervisor to discuss progress and deadlines; we talked in the lab next to the GC, so I could continue to process samples. We see here that Sam is resourceful in organising himself so that he both uses his time well and stays motivated. His location enables him to develop his institutional strand; this strand carries responsibilities yet provides resources to progress intentions. He has access to a lab and research tools, but he also is charged with working with the lab technician to ensure supplies are adequate as well as teaching. Further, he meets with his supervisor, another form of institutional resource.

how to read yet rarely received it.This contrasted with the

University and departmental location, not surprisingly,

sciences where reading was connected to daily research

influenced the development of the institutional strand,

practices in which experiments are run countless times

organisational responsibilities and resources, as well as the

attempting to replicate or extend previous findings. Thus,

other academic strands of identity-trajectory. I begin by

individuals might set themselves goals as to the number of

examining the supervisory relationship as a responsibility-

papers to read each week.

resource and then move on to other examples. In entering

While students were intentional in doing reading, rare

a PhD programme, individuals assumed a role with respon-

was the student able to articulate the nature and role

sibilities and began to interact with another individual, the

of the process. However, one social sciences student

supervisor, also holding an institutional role. In other words,

noted that ‘when one is writing, one is never alone’.

while supervisors are generally conceived as involved in

And in the sciences, one recent graduate described

the development of students’ intellectual and networking

how reading (and subsequently writing) linked him to

strands, in fact, the supervisor can also be conceived as

the broader community. The development of academic

an institutional and regulated resource. In drawing on this

inter-personal and inter-textual networks precedes

resource, students at various points in the degree generally

and contributes to the development of the intellectual

wanted advice or support from their supervisors less than

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half of the weeks surveyed, tending to seek more support

Lastly, students had chosen a doctoral programme based

near the beginning and end of their degrees (McAlpine &

on their own desires and personal commitments in relation

Mckinnon, in press – an analysis focused on 16 students’

to what they understood to be on offer. This had implica-

supervisory wants and needs).While they wanted feedback

tions not just in their personal lives but also in the insti-

on particular tasks they also wanted and did not always

tutional resources and responsibilities available to them

get feedback on their overall progress. Interestingly, a con-

– though they were not always fully aware of this until they

siderable number of times, the help sought was related to

had begun their doctorate. For some students this meant

institutional issues – university requirements, form filling,

not finding the intellectual and networking resources they

institutional access to resources – as well their networking

had hoped for in their departmental locations. In such

and intellectual strands.The reasons students gave for seek-

cases, students were often agentive and resourceful in seek-

ing help from their supervisors rather than others were con-

ing support in other departments within their universities

sistently one or more of the following: a) the supervisor was

and even going to other universities to join networks or

more experienced in research, networking and institutional

attend seminars (McAlpine & Lucas 2011).

regulations; b) the supervisor had the necessary disciplinary

Developing the institutional strand of academic identity

expertise including methodology; and c) the supervisor

is critical to understanding university governance – essen-

was the ‘most informed about my work’. In this study and

tial if students wish academic careers (McAlpine & Asghar

the one about those with difficult doctoral journeys, three

2010). While many students engaged in activities that

issues emerged as disruptive of student progress – supervi-

helped them learn how academic institutions functioned,

sory unavailability, lack of intellectual investment, and inter-

others did not report this kind of academic work. Given

personal conflict. In the case of the students in the latter

increasing pressure for ‘timely’ completion, it may be that

study, as noted earlier, their academic difficulties were usu-

some students received advice to avoid such involvement

ally combined with personal concurrent challenges.

– strategic in the short-term but potentially detrimental

Overall, while the supervisor could enable institutional

in the long-term for students intending academic careers.

connectedness, offer networking opportunities, and encourage intellectual development, when this was not

Returning now to Sam’s story in his second log:

the case most students were agentive in seeking support elsewhere given their extensive networks both academic and personal. Students appeared to understand that the basis for the supervisory relationship was ultimately an institutionally defined role assigned for the duration of the doctorate.They all expected the relationship to be professional, but not all expected or wanted more than that. Moving now to other aspects of the institutional strand, students generally reported drawing on libraries and librar-

I spent a lot of time on-line reading about an open-source document-preparation system, learning to use it to write my first thesis chapter / publication, and emailed technical questions about the software to some colleagues in the lab who had already used it. …Exploring this resource was the most important experience this week since it provided the specific information I wanted, helped me solve problems and make progress on my goals …I also wrote the bulk of the methods section for a publication, which is also a chapter in my thesis.

ians, office space and office equipment, lab equipment and technicians, computers and software to progress their work. Additionally, they drew on intellectual resources such as seminars, workshops, and more senior academic colleagues for advice. And, they benefited from university funds, not only university fellowships but also teaching contracts and TA-ships which enabled them to contribute to an aspect of the institution’s mission. Such responsibilities were often perceived as opportunities since they afforded students useful experiences of academic work and also led to satisfaction in contributing to institutional decision-making (McAlpine & Amundsen 2009). Unfortunately, students also reported difficulties in finding pertinent policies and services which they reported disrupted progress; even seeking help in their departments was an ad-hoc affair (McAlpine et al, in press). vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Here, reading supports Sam’s use of another institutional resource designed to facilitate his writing, though he also calls on his colleagues for help. As a result, he is able to move forward on his writing goal. And, I spent about an hour looking into a conference I want to attend …I will have to complete a couple of travel grant applications over the next couple of weeks. I also spent 4 hours organising committee work and a meeting for a science policy conference …later in the year, a couple of hours organising an EndNote database for a contract job, and attended a statistics workshop. I checked with computer staff about backup options, and also coordinated with technical support staff for installation of software on lab computers for microscope cameras. I felt like an academic the whole time I was in the lab, and especially while learning to use the arcane (but effective!) document preparation system. Identity-trajectories, Lynn McAlpine

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Evident here are multiple forms of academic work which collectively constitute academic life, and glimpses of additional institutional resources, e.g, lab staff, available to Sam and other students.

Here Sam is working outside the university, in fact, representing it and being recognised as someone with expertise rather than a student.

Beginning the writing process was also important, because it is usually the most difficult, but seeing the product gave me a sense of accomplishment. I was reminded how much I can enjoy writing, and was motivated to continue writing late into some nights, once beyond the initial overwhelming feeling of starting.

in the same range of networking, intellectual and institu-

While Sam has mentioned writing four times already, this is his first extended reference to what in identity-trajectory is referred to as the intellectual strand – communicating in ways that make a contribution to one’s specialism or field.

that directly related to doctoral work. Further, they viewed

Not surprisingly, given the focus on completing a doctoral

tity-trajectory contribute a distinct structure by which to

thesis, whether in the social sciences or the sciences, indi-

analyse the ways in which students developed their identi-

viduals reported writing on a regular basis – with the more

ties through engaging in doctoral-academic work.

The other students consistently reported being engaged tional activities as Sam. While noting that not all were directly related to completing their degrees, they described the motivating power of both contributing to and being recognised for their involvement in academic work beyond these activities as valuable in better preparing them for a possible academic life (McAlpine & Amundsen 2009). The networking, intellectual and institutional strands in iden-

common dissertation genre in the social sciences being a monograph and in the sciences a series of papers. Many experienced difficulties in getting started and reported writing blocks as they developed their ideas through writing and then tried to clearly represent their ideas to others (Boggs & McAlpine 2010). Students also reported tensions around how much time to dedicate to writing given competing demands. Still, a number, like Sam, reported enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment when their writing was flowing. Students were drawing on the ‘knowledgemaking’ practices of their specialism (developed through their inter-textual networking, reading) to develop the intellectual strand (contributing to their scholarly community). They wrote both for themselves (e.g., lab and field notes, code, Endnote summaries), for others (e.g., manuscript

I like to set daily goals, keeping a To-Do list to help me remember small things, particularly administrative details. In this way, I can get more small tasks accomplished in between the bigger ones that actually occupy most of my attention. But to meet the goals I sometimes have to stay very late in the lab which interferes with my eating and sleeping schedule. And this makes me feel crummy and cranky – until the weekend, when I start to feel more satisfied with my overall progress. This weekend I had a welcome break skiing, and realised how out-of-shape I was after hours in the lab. I also cooked a lot; the leftovers meant I could spend more time in the lab this coming week. Sam’s resilience and resourcefulness are evident – he intentionally uses his organisational skills to maintain momentum and ensures ‘downtime’ to sustain motivation.

reviews, journal manuscripts, departmental annual reports),

Sam’s story ends where it began with a reference to bal-

and occasionally with others (e.g., co-authored papers).

ancing the academic within the personal. This was a con-

Lastly, students generally reported valuing feedback on their

stant in the lives of all students. While usually investing in

writing and seeking it out in a range of venues beyond their

and finding doctoral work interesting, most struggled to

supervisors describing feedback as clarifying thinking and

find a way to balance the demands of doctoral-academic

enhancing fluency in communicating.

work within their broader lives. Rare was the individual who had made the decision to treat academic work as a 9

I also felt like an academic when I was invited to a meeting about statistics workshops with two academics, another graduate student, and a research professional from a government research centre. I am helping to organise such grad workshops in the department. During the meeting I realised I had relevant experience and suggestions to contribute: I didn’t feel like a lowly, passive grad student who needed help, but like someone with applicable experience, an academic peer, with a vision for provincial-scale initiatives. This was particularly true when I realised that the professional had only recently finished his PhD, so the quality of the PhD degree seemed somewhat inflated, relative to the quantity of experience that separated the two of us.

to 5 proposition – something to be left at the office.

Conceptualising and researching doctoral experience I argued initially that identity-trajectory offered a complementary perspective to those which emphasise the reproductive features of society. While a structural perspective is necessary to understand the influence of factors beyond our individual perspectives, a focus on individual intention, as in identity-trajectory, highlights the individual’s sense of agency in navigating some of these structural fac-

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tors. It thus offers a means to re-think how we conceive of

• Use the admissions process to explore students’ inten-

and research doctoral experience: giving greater attention

tions, personal relationships and related horizons for

to how the academic is embedded in personal intentions3;

action, enabling the potential student and the institu-

how varied past intentions and responsibilities as well

tion to assess whether doctoral work is the best means

as resources are brought into the academic context; and how negotiating these with what is on offer contributes to doctoral experiences and imagined futures.

to achieve the individual’s goals. • Incorporate strategies early on for students to gain a more textured knowledge of opportunity structures (academic

Conceiving doctoral experience in this way links

as well as non-academic), critical given the difficulty of

personal agency and resourcefulness over time to a

finding academic positions (Nerad et al. 2007). Students

frequently noted doctoral characteristic – increasing

can use this knowledge in deciding the kinds of learning

independence (e.g., Gardner 2008). Students’ invest-

activities they should engage in during the degree.

ment in developing and drawing on their academic

As regards the networking strand, while students were

networks emphasises the importance of independence

intentional, the evidence directs us to consider how stu-

from the supervisor as well as interdependence among

dents’ inter-personal and inter-textual networks can be

colleagues (Jones 2008; Hakala 2009). Further, students’

more fully incorporated into doctoral pedagogies, impor-

reported agency focuses attention on the individual’s

tant not only to intellectual and career development, but

desire to deal with the challenges (personal and struc-

also potentially completion of the doctorate (Wright

tural) as well as the pleasures experienced in doctoral

2003). Possible strategies:

work. Still, while identity-trajectory foregrounds agency,

• Make visible within the curriculum the importance of

the inter-play of agency with structure is integral. The

developing inter-personal academic networks – par-

role of structure is particularly strong in the institutional

ticularly given the expectation that future scholars will

strand: resources are on offer but are accompanied by

work collaboratively (Henkel 2000).

responsibilities which can constrain as well as support

• Explicitly focus on how to read strategically, as well as

intentions as well as the development of the network-

the purpose of reading (this may require advice from

ing and intellectual strands. Further, the interaction of

those with expertise in academic literacy).

horizons for action with opportunity structures demon-

As regards the intellectual strand, again students

strates the tensions around negotiating personal desires

invested heavily in their intellectual work, but recognised

within available structures.

their need for support, preferably offered within their spe-

Additionally, much previous research has focused only

cialism rather than generically. Implications:

on doctoral experience alone and has not followed indi-

• Embed an explicit curriculum about the disciplinary

viduals as they graduate and move on. Collecting data

genres in pro-seminars or other contexts in which dis-

longitudinally, which Schlosser & Kahn (2007) have

ciplinary epistemologies and methodologies are under

called for, enables tracking the futures that individu-

discussion.

als construct – whether staying in academia, stopping

• Make writing-as-a-process visible, e.g., offering writing

out, or leaving. Thus, this work addresses a gap in the

retreats, writing feedback sessions (academic literacy

literature, the transition from doctoral education to work

expertise may be helpful here).

(Leonard et al. 2006). Still, since data collection occurs

As for the institutional strand, while all drew on the

at discrete points in time it is only possible to approxi-

resources and most had some responsibilities many of

mate (Hounsell 2011) the progression of identities and

which they enjoyed, these engagements were rarely

careers in the making.

framed pedagogically; reinforcing student agency in this regards should be central to doctoral pedagogies: position

Pedagogical and policy implications

the student as able and willing to a) act independently of the supervisor, and b) draw on a range of resources often

Nevertheless, identity-trajectory provides a basis for

beyond the university. Some strategies:

reframing practice and policy (McAlpine & Amundsen,

• Create a website that links to resources, policies and

in press). Students are engaged in their doctoral journeys

practices related to financial, health and other non-

while purposefully striving to achieve life goals in relation

academic concerns. Such a structure creates equity of

to past and present experiences, relationships and respon-

support for both students and supervisors, particularly

sibilities.Thus, their investment in doctoral work will vary.

for new supervisors who struggle to find supervisory

Implications of this finding include:

resources (Amundsen & McAlpine 2009).

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Identity-trajectories, Lynn McAlpine

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• Ensure, if not already the case, that students have membership on departmental, faculty and university committees. • Provide financial and physical resources for students to collectively create their own development opportunities, e.g., writing workshops. Lynn McAlpine is Professor of Higher Education Development at the University of Oxford, UK, and Professor Emerita at McGill University, Canada.

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Education Research and Development, 24(2), 151-164. Hakala, J. (2009). Socialization of junior researchers in new academic research environments: Two case studies from Finland. Studies in Higher Education, 35(5), 501-516. Jazvac-Martek, M., Chen, S. & McAlpine, L. (2011). Tracking doctoral student experience over time: Cultivating agency in diverse spaces. In L. McAlpine & C. Amundsen (eds.). Doctoral education: Research-based strategies for doctoral students, supervisors and administrators. Amsterdam: Springer, 17-36. Jones, L. (2008). Converging paradigms for doctoral training in the sciences and humanities. In D. Boud & A. Lee (eds), Changing Practices in Doctoral Education. London: Routledge, 29-41.

Acknowledgement

Leonard, D., Metcalfe, J., Becker, R. & Evans, J. (2006). Review of literature on the impact of working context and support on the postgraduate research student learning experience. London: Higher Education Academy.

This research has been supported in part by the Social

McAlpine, L. (2011). The doctorate: What role reading? Paper presented at the Academic Literacies Conference, London, UK.

Science Research Council of Canada and the Centre for Excellence Preparing for Academic Practice.

Endnotes 1. While there have been many team members, three in particular have been involved for lengthy periods and made substantial contributions: Cheryl Amundsen, Nick Hopwood, and Gill Turner. 2. These 80 represent a portion of the overall research program which has also followed 50 post-PhD researchers and pre-tenure lecturers. 3. I am not suggesting that others ignore the personal; for instance, Mowbray & Halse (2010) refer to students seeing their personal and professional lives as intertwined. However, in identity-trajectory, the personal (and agency) are starting points and the personal is a constant point of reference in the analyses.

References Agosto, D., & Hughes- Hassell, S. (2005). People, places, and questions: An investigation of the everyday life information-seeking behaviours of urban young adults. Library and Information Science Research, 27, 141-163. Amundsen, C. & McAlpine, L. (2009). Learning supervision: Trial by fire? Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 46(3), 331-342. Archer, L. (2008). Younger academics’ constructions of authenticity’, ‘success’, and professional identity. Studies in Higher Education, 33(4), 385-403. Archer, M. (2000). Being Human: The Problem of Agency. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Barnacle, R., & Mewburn, I. (2010). Learning networks and the journey of ‘becoming doctor’. Studies in Higher Education, 35(4), 433-444. Boggs., A., & McAlpine, L. (2010). The myth of ‘writing it up’. Paper presented at the Society for Research in Higher Education, Wales, UK. Carlone, H., & Johnson, A. (2007). Understanding the science experiences of successful women of colour: Science identity as an analytic lens. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(8), 1187-1218. Coulter, C., & Smith, M. (2009). The construction zone: Literary elements in narrative research. Educational Researcher, 38(8), 577-590. Elliott, Jane. (2005). Using narrative in social research: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. London, UK: Sage. Hounsell, D. (2011, Aug.). Personal communication. Gardner, S. (2008). Fitting the mold of graduate school: A qualitative study of socialization in doctoral education. Innovative Higher Education, 33, 125-138. Green, B. (2005). Unfinished business: subjectivity and supervision, Higher

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McAlpine, L. & Amundsen, C. (2009). Identity and agency: Pleasures and collegiality among the challenges of the doctoral journey. Studies in Continuing Education, 31(2), 107-123. McAlpine, L. & Amundsen, C. (2011). Challenging the taken-for-granted: How research analysis might inform pedagogical practices and institutional policies related to doctoral education. Studies in Higher Education, 37, 7, Published iFirst July 6, 2011. McAlpine, L., Amundsen, C. & Jazvac-Martek, M. (2010). Living and imagining academic careers: Perceptions of doctoral students and pre-tenure academics. In L. McAlpine & G. Akerlind (eds). Becoming an academic: International Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 125-154. McAlpine, L. & Asghar, A. (2010). Enhancing academic climate: Doctoral students as their own developers. International Journal of Academic Development, 15(2), 167-178. McAlpine, L. & Lucas, L. (2011). Different places, different specialisms: Similar questions of doctoral identities under construction. Teaching in Higher Education, 16(6), 695-706. McAlpine, L. & McKinnon, M. (in press). Supervision – the most variable of variables: Student perspectives. Studies in Continuing Education. McAlpine, L., Paulson, J., Gonsalves, A. & Jazvac-Martek, M. (in press). ‘Untold’ doctoral stories in the social sciences: Can we move beyond cultural narratives of neglect? Higher Education Research and Development. McAlpine, L. & Turner, G. (2011). Imagined and emerging career patterns: Perceptions of doctoral students and research staff. Journal of Further and Continuing Education.Published iFirst, 20 December 2011. Mowbray, S., & Halse, C. (2010). The purpose of the PhD: Theorizing the skills acquired by students. Higher Education Research and Development, 29(6), 653-664. Nerad, M., Rudd, E., Morrison, E., & Picciano, J. (2007). Social science PhDs five+ years out: a national survey of PhDs in six fields (Highlights Report). Seattle: Centre for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education, University of Washington. Schlosser, L. Z. & Kahn, J. H. (2007). Dyadic Perspectives on Advisor–Advisee Relationships in Counseling Psychology Doctoral Programs. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54(2), 211-217. Sfard, A., & Prusak, A. (2005). Telling identities: In search of an analytic tool for investigating learning as a culturally shaped activity. Educational Researcher, 34(4), 14-22. Stake, R. (2006). Multiple Case Study Analysis. New York: The Guilford Press. Wright, T. (2003). Postgraduate research students: people in context? British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 31(2), 209-227. vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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What constitutes doctoral knowledge? Exploring issues of power and subjectivity in doctoral examination Anita Devos Monash University, Victoria

Margaret Somerville University of Western Sydney, NSW

Globalisation has brought increasing diversity in student populations and therefore the potential for different sorts of knowledge to enter the academy. At the same time there is heightened surveillance brought about in response to the pressures of global competition, including increasing standardisation, marketisation and performativity measures. A corollary of these larger processes is the increasing surveillance and control of knowledge and knowledge production in universities, to ensure the position of nation states in global economic competition. This paper considers how these tensions are enacted at the site of doctoral examination with the potential for opening up or closing down the possibilities of new knowledge being generated through doctoral research. This is a significant issue for universities, for future graduates, and for the nation’s economic competitiveness, because new and diverse forms of knowledge are critical for the future. In the article, we explore how doctoral knowledge and subjectivities are constituted in the doctoral examination process, with reference to a recent thesis examination in our Faculty. We draw on the Adjudicator’s report produced in the case, and the experiences of the second author as the candidate’s supervisor, in an effort to make explicit the invisible pedagogies of doctoral examination. In the process we raise issues of the relations of power exercised through the intersection of different epistemologies and ontologies, and the inevitable negotiation and production of knowledge-making subjectivities of those involved. We conclude that doctoral knowledge and knowledge subjectivities are constituted within this power/knowledge assemblage, and challenge the boundaries of institutional knowledge production. We propose generative ways of understanding the possibilities for the production of alternative forms of knowledge in doctoral work that may confront and extend conventional notions of (doctoral) knowledge production, and what it means to make ‘an original contribution to knowledge’.

Introduction

of the economy (see Australian Government 2011; Marginson & van der Wende 2007). In the context of government

Doctoral education is increasingly being driven by percep-

and institutional investments in particular kinds of doctoral

tions of what counts as worthwhile in knowledge economy

education it is timely to consider what counts as worth-

discourses.The recurring themes in the doctoral education

while knowledge and to whom, and how that knowledge

research literature reinforce an assumed shared global nar-

might be produced and represented.

rative of the need for change in doctoral education towards

In order to do this we examine the processes of knowl-

the closer alignment of doctoral graduates with the needs

edge production by reviewing a recent doctoral exami-

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

What constitutes doctoral knowledge?, Anita Devos & Margaret Somerville

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nation case in which a thesis by a Cambodian candidate

theorisation of alternative methodologies and knowledge

received two divergent examination results. Under our

in doctoral research (Somerville 2007, 2008), which is

university’s policy, an adjudicator was appointed to

underpinned by feminist psychoanalytic and postcolonial

read the examiners’ reports and the candidate’s written

theory. The role of the examination process is considered

defence of her thesis, to assess the merits of the examin-

through the lens of Foucault’s theorisation of the subject

ers’ reports, and to recommend a result. The adjudicator

and power (Devos 2008; Foucault 1983).We ask how were

recommended the candidate be awarded the degree of

doctoral knowledge and knowledge subjectivities negoti-

Doctor of Philosophy subject to minor amendments being

ated in this process? And what are the implications for how

made to the satisfaction of the Faculty’s research degrees

we supervise, examine and administer research degrees?

administrator. The stakeholders directly involved in this process included the candidate, the supervisor, the exam-

The case study

iners, the adjudicator, and the research degrees administrator. In this paper we examine how doctoral knowledge,

In 2009, a doctoral candidate in education submitted

and the knowledge subjectivities of these actors were

her PhD for examination. It was an unusual thesis in the

constituted within the examination process examina-

form of a memoir by a member of the Cambodian Royal

tion, in particular the role of the adjudicator’s reports in

Family, deposed and exiled during the Pol Pot regime in

accommodating the respective actors’ subjectivities.

the 1970s. The memoir itself is unconventional and does

We begin the paper with an outline of the case follow-

not fit within the usual methodologies of memoir and life

ing which we discuss the examination process as a tech-

history writing because it is in fact the memoir of the can-

nology for disciplining the parties involved (see Foucault

didate’s grandmother, memorised in Cambodian language

1983, 1991). We then analyse the adjudicator’s report

before the candidate left Cambodia in exile. During the Pol

produced in the case, reflecting on our own stories and

Pot regime, the candidate lost everything, including her

positioning within this assemblage of actors and adminis-

two children, so the act of writing her thesis represented

trative procedures.The paper concludes with a discussion

a highly emotionally charged commitment to intergenera-

of the ways in which the examination process, as a feature

tional and transcontinental identity work. Piphal arrived

of doctoral pedagogies, shapes practices that direct what

in Australia in 1975 in exile. Now an Australian citizen she

counts as worthwhile doctoral knowledge.

continues the work of her grandmother in practising and

We note that issues associated with thesis examination

teaching Cambodian cultural traditions, particularly from

were not considered explicitly in the 1995 Special Issue

the perspective of the Cambodian Royal Family. While

of Australian Universities’ Review to which this current

the candidate’s story is unique, in the larger context of

issue relates, yet thesis examination is a critical juncture

global social processes and mobilities, conflicts and refu-

in the doctoral education process, with serious implica-

gee movements, the knowledge problem presented here

tions for candidate, supervisor and institution, and for

is not uncommon.

how we understand the fields in which we work. Our article takes up key issues raised by this case, to do with the

The candidate’s story

nature of knowledge in doctoral education; how doctoral

The following is quoted from the candidate’s thesis (Engly

knowledge and researcher subjectivities are constituted

2010), selected for its relevance to the focus of this paper.

in the supervision and examination process; of what con-

On the 27th of March, I packed up every beautiful and expensive souvenir that was given to me since I was young by Prince Sihanouk, Princess Monique, the Queen Mother and King Suramarith (the father of Prince Sihanouk). I passed them to be under the care of the Samdech Preah Sangha Niyaka Huot Tat, a top ranking Buddhist monk then who stayed at the Ohnalom Pagoda which was located by the Mekong River near the public market Phsar Kandal. Samdech Preah Sangha Niyaka Huot Tat advised me to bring other rare objects to him if I wanted to when there was still time.

stitutes an original contribution to knowledge; and why we should encompass the necessity to produce alternative forms of knowledge and knowledge subjectivities. In this process we resist the temptation to make more of the thesis at the heart of our case. Its subject matter is indeed compelling yet to elaborate further on the thesis and its contribution to new knowledge, distracts us from our core focus here on the pedagogical dimensions of the examination process. As authors we represent the roles of supervisor (Somerville) and research degrees administrator (Devos). The issues presented are framed conceptually by Somerville’s

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After we came back from the temple, my husband and I started burning every other priceless thing while an army helicopter hovered and patrolled above our

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house. Among all the rare and expensive gifts, my favourites were huge Chinese silk paintings. These were given to me by my late father who received them as presents from the former Prime Minster Zhou En Lai while he was in China during the 1950s. I understood the serious circumstance well enough that I had to burn those rare collections. I could not take them to the Samdech Huot Tat because he would not have enough room for those special souvenirs and the lives of my family were obviously in grave danger if they were found. Our families were then placed under house arrest for eight months. Two soldiers always guarded our front and back doors and watched every single movement. A soldier drove my children to school every day while another checked the shopping baskets when my cook returned from the market every morning. They took everything out of the basket and spread them out on the floor because they wanted to find if there was any paper or message meant for our family that could have been hidden among the cakes and vegetables. We were not allowed to see our parents, our siblings or anyone else and we lived in hell during those eight months. Whatever we did or spoke, we took extreme care of our actions and choice of words. In the lounge room, I saw everyone still in their hiding places under an armchair or in the corner of a big cupboard display. I took a pair of thongs from my maid and struggled to return to my bedroom because my little niece was still trapped inside and was crying out for help. I held her under my left arm tightly and found my way back outside to be with the others. As soon as I was out of my bedroom, a door and a wall which were burning down suddenly collapsed behind my back. ‘All of you go to the last car’, I shouted, and everyone quickly packed up into a single small car which was one of the four cars parked in the garage. We did not take anything with us except my handbag, which was on a chair in the lounge, because the house had already burnt and fell down in pieces. I drove to my mother’s house and dropped the children off there. After that tragic event, we moved into my mother’s house. On the same day at 5 o’clock, after dinner, I sat quietly near my mother who was lying down on the sofa. I listened to the news on the television that reported the ‘destruction of a house by a large rocket which was launched from the other side of the Mekong River, across Island Chruoy Changva, and the Cambodian Army could not find launch sites’. After the news, the children went to bed. My dear mother went into her room and came back with a large brown thick envelope in her hands. She then handed it to me and said: ‘Arlette (my nickname at home), this is a book that I have kept so many years with extreme care. I have read it thoroughly but some parts have now worn out. You will find it very important. I know you like reading and you like books but for this one, you have to take extra care as it is not just any ordinary book.’ vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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She suggested me to read it several times, even hundreds of times, until I have memorised the memoir by heart since our country could not warn us of any danger or doom. She sighed and said that she could not keep that memoir with her anymore. Some writing was faded away because they were almost a hundred years old and the quality of paper was poor because they were produced by an ancient technical procedure back in the old days. Wherever she has moved with my father, she had always kept it close to her heart. When I came to Australia, I came to a medical conference and it was during my time in Australia that I lost my two children and everything I owned in the Pol Pot regime. I never saw those memoirs again. I recall the memoirs as I memorised them and write them down in Cambodian and then translate them into English. The English translation is sometimes difficult because the ideas are difficult to communicate in English so there is another layer of editing required to help to make sense of the cultural meanings of this record of Cambodian history. I have used my inherited knowledge of royal custom and dress, and of traditional Cambodian cultural practices and meanings, to assist in the communication of the sense of the preservation of Cambodian history and culture that occurred through the Nationalist Movement. Such techniques as dressing contemporary Australians in aspects of royal dress, and then photographing them, assists to communicate the lost meanings of Cambodian cultural practice.

The supervisor’s story Towards the end of Piphal’s candidature, the supervisor organised for a colleague in Piphal’s home city to meet with Piphal on a regular basis to discuss her work in progress. The supervisor felt that this face-to-face support would be beneficial for the progress of the PhD. The following is an excerpt from the supervisor’s correspondence with this colleague at the time of making this arrangement. 4/10/2008 It is the voice of Piphal as the narrator that will hold the whole story together and will be a continuing thread throughout. It is the story of her resilience and the qualities that have given her that resilience, how ‘the memoir’ is a symbol of continuity to a past that has now gone irretrievably from her life because of her migration and the events of Pol Pot. There is such a lot of violence and it also seems to be about this tension between the violence of personal and cultural erasure and the persistence of cultural story and embodied cultural practice (like gesture, dress, fabric). There were some beautiful instances of storytelling from Piphal at our residential school. In one related to a free writing exercise she talked about seeing the patterns in the clouds as like lace flowers and the lace flowers became the gestures of the hands in the dances of the royal ballet. Her chapter about the royal ballet starts with some of the memoir and that is where the ritual of the dressing comes in to the

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story. Madame Doumer was taught the meaning of the gestures, bodily comportment and so on. So that free writing might be a good way to begin that chapter. Piphal dressed me as Madame Doumer who was in the memoir dressed in Cambodian Royal dress by Bophaphuong, Piphal’s grandmother so she could take photos for her thesis. A kind of doubled identity transformation from French to Cambodian in 19th century Cambodia to Australian to French to Cambodian in 21st century Australia. Piphal brought the royal clothes along to a doctoral school and the other candidates helped to dress me once Piphal and I had privately donned the under and most of the outer garments. Her care and gentility in the dressing was as of a maid to royalty but with Piphal’s position reversed; Piphal as handmaiden. It was the Wednesday morning dress for a Cambodian princess – a cream lace silk blouse, emerald green silk wrap-around skirt held in place by an ornate gold belt, a green silk shoulder sash and then layers of ritual jewellery. There were several heavy gold bangles around my wrists and ankles, a large gold broach on my shoulder to hold the sash in place and rings that did not fit my fingers. Each item of gold jewellery had ornate patterns of ritual significance in Cambodian Buddhist culture and each was placed in the correct order on my body. I felt weighed down by the gold jewellery and how it constrained my body movements. Once dressed I was instructed in how to walk, sit, hold my head, my hands, where my eyes should be directed, that is in how to become the body of a Cambodian royal princess. I was photographed by Piphal. She included the photograph in her thesis as a form of mimesis. At the time I felt extremely uncomfortable in all of the sense of bodily comportment, as if my body was tightly held in place and I failed miserably to reproduce the body of a Cambodian princess. In the photos, however, I can see a remarkable translation and I understood so much more of Piphal’s subjectivity. The memoir is such an elusive object. Is it one object or several? Does it exist as an object or only in Piphal’s mind? Was it taught to her orally, or shown to her in writing, or both? What is the process through which the memoir comes into being as a piece of writing and what are the constraints around that - political, language, personal, etc. For example, I have suggested to Piphal at times that the language is too slanderous (against the French), but for Piphal it is a literal translation of her Grandfather’s (and Grandmother’s) memoir and how can one change a memoir quote? On the other hand it is already translated from written to oral and back to written, from Cambodian script to English language and script, so it is already changed. What is the relation to Piphal’s own stories and storytelling and to the continuity of traditions? There is also the sense that Piphal believes that the writing, and indeed all that happens around it, is directed by the hands of the ancestors, so in that sense too it is a record beyond the person who carries it.

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Piphal tells me about how she carried the memoir in her head for over 20 years and during all this time she was in ‘the abyss’ because she did not know how to get the story out. When she met me, she says, I ‘hooked her from the depths of the abyss so that she could bring the story to light’. She believes that she was guided to meet me by her grandmother – I cannot for the life of me work out how it happened – why or how did a person from another city who had connections to both universities in that city end up enrolling in a PhD at my University? By what process did she come to choose me who has no experience or knowledge of Cambodian history or cultural practice? Piphal acquired all of the artefacts involved in this ritual of dressing after her arrival in Australia. The dressing in traditional clothing acts as a metaphor for the complex and varied subjectivities Piphal’s supervisor negotiates in this supervision, as she assumes one or other position within the relationship. The heavy jewellery symbolises too the mantle she assumes in taking on responsibility for assisting Piphal to bring her grandmother’s story to light through the doctorate.

The research degrees administrator One of my roles in the Faculty is to participate in advisory panels convened when there is a significant discrepancy between thesis examiners’ reports. From time to time, new academic staff are invited to attend these panels as part of their supervisor training. I first became aware of the sensitivity surrounding Piphal’s examination in the lead up to the panel meeting, when I was told that the supervisor was concerned about the advisory panel being opened to new supervisors. Her wishes for a closed panel meeting, in light of the unusual nature of the thesis and the risks inherent in its production, were not respected, and three to four new supervisors attended the confidential proceedings in addition to the official panel members. The incident made explicit the investments of supervisors in the examination of their students’ theses, and the challenge to supervisor subjectivities in this particular case. The issues raised by this thesis were clear on reading the examiners’ reports, each appearing well founded, but clearly written from such different standpoints. How were we to make sense of them? The Supervisor was asked by the panel to recommend an Adjudicator to assess the case. The panel in doing this ‘outsourced’ the intellectual work needed to resolve the case. At this stage I was worried, as the reports seemed irreconcilable, speaking from such different positions about how knowledge is produced, what constitutes acceptable doctoral work, and how it might be represented in a thesis. The adjudicator’s report received, the advisory panel was reconvened to consider and make a recommendation for a result. The adjudicator’s report ‘resolved’

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the examination process and the candidate asked to make minor amendments. My role then was to sign off on the amendments once made. In carrying out this role, I am mindful of the power invested in determining what constitutes acceptable amendments as the changes recommended by examiners and panels in contested cases are usually subject to interpretation. Given the diversity of disciplines and thesis work in our Faculty, this kind of flexibility is necessary for the candidate and supervisor to act in any meaningful way to develop the work. When I ‘check’ the amendments made, my practice is guided by the advisory panel’s analysis of the combined reports, together with my own, and the supervisor’s interpretation of those reports and panel’s recommendations. The case highlighted my problematic position as gatekeeper, an agent in a series of pedagogical moves designed, from an institutional perspective, to license new doctorate holders. This case in particular was significant, as it was apparent that the challenges the thesis posed sat outside the bounds of the panel members’ experiences. Who judges what makes new knowledge? What language do we use to speak about things we don’t understand? The case had particular meanings for me given my commitment to developing a dialogue amongst colleagues about alternative forms of thesis work, as a means to extend our thinking about how we support innovation in doctoral work.

The production of knowledge and knowledge subjectivities

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knowledge production. It materialised an aspect of the supervisor’s role as it existed in the candidate’s imagination and made evident the different way the supervisory relationship was constituted in the space between eastern and western epistemologies, language, ethnicities, and class. In articulating a methodology of ‘postmodern emergence’ as the nature of such radical alternative methodologies, Somerville writes about an ontology of becoming-other-to-ourselves through our research (2007, 2008). In this paper we identify the process of becoming-otherto-oneself as a characteristic of the necessarily relational and intersubjective pedagogical processes of producing knowledge through doctoral supervision. The thesis represents ten years of close engagement between candidate and supervisor with several intermissions for major upheavals in the candidate’s life. When the thesis was finally completed the task of finding examiners was difficult, due to increasing pressures of academic work for potential examiners, the unusual nature of the thesis, and the challenge of specifying ‘a field’ for this research.

Thesis examination as a technology of disciplining The point at which claims to make ‘a contribution to new knowledge’ are tested is in the thesis examination process. At our university, two examiners are asked to comment on

In doctoral supervision, supervisor and candidate are

whether a thesis:

co-implicated in knowledge production. Both will enter

1. ‘Constitutes a significant contribution to knowledge

and be changed through the process. Piphal, steeped in a

and understanding of the field concerned;

different set of understandings and interpretation of the

2. Contains material worthy of publication; and whether

teacher-student relationship, believed that the Supervisor

3. The format and literary presentation of the thesis are

was sent by the candidate’s long deceased grandmother

satisfactory’.

to achieve the release of her knowledge into the world.

Examiner A agreed with all three, while examiner B

Despite the supervisor’s gentle protests, discussion, expla-

ticked no for the first two, and yes for the third (presenta-

nation and resistance this did not change at any point

tion). Examiner A described the thesis as an ‘impressive

during the supervision or afterwards. On one hand, the

and unique contribution to knowledge’, and ‘a remarkable

Candidate was in a position of upper class superiority as

work of personal and academic scholarship’. Examiner B

a member of the Royal family in relation to the supervi-

pointed out ‘the strength of the work [lies] in its detailed

sor’s non-royal class positioning. On the other, the super-

and fascinating primary research’ but went on to recom-

visor was revered as a knowledgeable teacher with great

mend substantial further work mainly to develop the his-

power in relation to the publication of the memoirs. This

torical and political contexts of the narrative, with a view

complex set of embodied beliefs framed the pedagogi-

to resubmission and re-examination. A Faculty Advisory

cal relationship enacted through the identity translation

Panel was convened and an adjudicator appointed .

work and symbolised by the inclusion of photographs of the supervisor dressed as Madame Doumer.

From time to time, examiners recommend very different grades for a thesis. What distinguishes this case is the chal-

This act of dressing in a mimetic performance of her

lenge this thesis posed to conceptions of what constitutes

grandmother’s relationship with Madame Doumer, and

an original contribution to knowledge and how that knowl-

then adding the photo to the thesis, illustrates the incor-

edge might be produced and represented. As Somerville

poration of the supervisor(’s) body in the process of

points out (2007), many candidates do not choose alterna-

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

What constitutes doctoral knowledge?, Anita Devos & Margaret Somerville

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tive methodologies but take them up because ‘…there are

particular sorts of subjectivities and dispositions towards

no other ways for that research to be undertaken or rep-

what counts as new and worthwhile knowledge. This is

resented’ (240). These may include methodologies not yet

indeed paradoxical if we are to view doctoral education

developed that will evolve through the work of the candi-

as about expanding the fields of knowledge and knowl-

date, meaning that there will be no examiner experienced

edge making in ways we cannot at this point imagine.The

in the particular methodology of the thesis. At best it may

disciplinary apparatus creates a web of constraints over

be possible to locate examiners who are open to new and

which we may feel we have no choice. Academics may

emergent forms of knowledge representation.

experience what McWilliam refers to as a heightened ‘risk

In their study of ‘consistency’ in examiner recommen-

consciousness’ (2007) whereby they become focused on

dations on the same thesis, Holbrook et al. (2008) found

risk management, and averse to risk-taking. Within con-

that only 33 of the 804 theses they studied (4 per cent)

temporary universities, the pedagogies of the doctorate, in

had one or more discrepant reports, and only 37 examin-

this case analysed at the point of thesis examination, and

ers (less than 2 per cent) showed a marked discrepancy

framed through distinct disciplinary traditions and wider

from the other examiners and committees (45).They sug-

performative pressures, may steer us towards safe options

gest that despite the highly subjective nature of thesis

and away from the goals of the doctorate to make an origi-

examination, their findings point to ‘the ‘innate robust-

nal and significant contribution to new knowledge.

ness’ of the ‘invisible’ doctoral curriculum and evidence of consistently applied standards’ (45). Alternatively, the

The adjudicator’s report

evidence of high levels of consistency can indicate the highly effective disciplining and normalising role of doc-

The adjudicator’s report was a concise document that

toral pedagogies. Citing Kwiram (2006,142) writing in a

operates at the level of meta-narrative, viewing the two

Carnegie volume on the future of the doctorate in the

examiners’ reports from the perspective of what they

US, Holbrook et al. (2008) note that ‘while there are dif-

each reflect about the nature of scholarship and of disci-

ferences in expectations, quality and performance across

plines. Of her role as an arbiter, requested to pronounce

candidates, disciplines, departments and nations ‘there

on the relative soundness, correctness or appropriate-

seems to be a tacit understanding of what constitutes

ness of the two examiners recommendations, the adju-

a well-prepared PhD student’ and that in the complete

dicator commented that both examiners were competent

absence of any central repository or rules or a cosmic

and fair from the perspectives of the disciplinary and

accrediting agency there is ‘extraordinary stability’’ (46).

research spaces in which they were each located. Because

Holbrook et al. take heart from their study results, sug-

of its unique qualities, the thesis, she argued, could not be

gesting the same applies in Australia. Yet these results

judged in the usual ways following normalised academic

raise questions about the inherent worthiness of stand-

procedures of text productions. She went on to argue

ardisation (see Devos 2010), and about the relationship

that when examiner B asked for the work to be connected

between ‘a well-prepared PhD candidate’ and the produc-

to other research projects and studies, s/he was missing

tion of new knowledge, pointing to different understand-

the point that the thesis is enough on its own. In other

ings of the purpose of the doctorate.The issue presented

words, the thesis should be judged on its own terms; the

in our paper turns on how we articulate those invisible

work stands alone, in its own genre.

pedagogies of the doctorate that lead to such high levels

New and inexperienced examiners approach the

of consistency in examination. Our intention in doing

marking of doctoral theses with some trepidation, often

this is to promote debate about the implications of this

because they have little to go on other than their own

‘invisible curriculum’ for innovation in doctoral work

experience of having been examined. Yet there is an

leading to the production of new knowledge.

implied discourse that we know and agree on what a

Our account of the thesis examination process illus-

PhD is, what it might look like, and what constitutes a

trates the disciplining role performed in the production

significant contribution to knowledge. While Holbrook et

of new knowledge in doctoral education. Thesis examina-

al.’s research (2008) reports on remarkable consistency

tion is the final stage of the roll out of a suite of doctoral

amongst examiners, a scan of education theses in our

pedagogies, its power effects in shaping new knowledge

libraries points to quite different understandings across

rendered invisible within a discourse of standards (see

sub-fields, or at least that different sorts of evidence may

Devos 2010). It shows the ways in which technologies

be acceptable for demonstrating the same achievements

of examination discipline those involved and construct

amongst candidates. How and from where is our episte-

52

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mology of the doctorate derived? Is it a private epistemol-

of new and generative ways of expressing difference. The

ogy or a collectively held one, perhaps acquired through

adjudicator’s report is remarkable because it encapsulates

induction into a sub disciplinary field? How does it

the issues at stake in working across different domains of

acquire its normalising powers?

knowledge, theory and text. It is the space within which

The kind of scholarship examiner B recommended be

the subjectivities of the actors came together, not in an

conducted in order to be awarded a Pass, the adjudicator

effort or act of reconciliation, as the positions are ‘irrecon-

suggested, was not mandatory for the form of innova-

cilable’, but as a space within which those subjectivities

tive scholarship the candidate was undertaking in the

could be respected and managed.

work. The adjudicator argued the thesis is the constitution of an outstanding documentation of an epistemology and ontology.

Concluding comments: What counts as doctoral knowledge?

The adjudicator observed the difficulties facing PhD examiners, in so doing refraining from casting judgment

A Doctor of Philosophy is underpinned by ontology and

on one or other examiner, because universities are

epistemology (which are in turn related to methodology)

not set up to produce PhD examiners who can move

because it primarily addresses the philosophy of knowl-

across disciplinary fields, see possibilities of excellence

edge production. This means it is necessarily framed in relation to knowledge in a

in difference and be open to research innovations they themselves have never seen and never imagined. How then, we ask, does important new knowledge enter the system?

Thesis examination is the final stage of the roll out of a suite of doctoral pedagogies, its power effects in shaping new knowledge rendered invisible within a discourse of standards.

The adjudicator alludes to

particular field. In this case, the object of the candidate’s inquiry was her grandmother’s memoirs, which are located within a Cambodian ontology and epistemology. The work of her doctorate

the failure of a whole system,

was to preserve her sense of

a failure of both innovation and imagination, which limits

the integrity of a Cambodian epistemology while simulta-

our capacities and inclinations to make assessments of

neously translating that into English within an Australian

merit for which we have no benchmarks. When asked to

location. Her relationship to her supervisor, as supervisor

report on possible bias in the reports, she commented

and as collaborator in that knowledge production, was

that there is no evidence of bias in the reports of the two

understood through that lens.

examiners, although one must wonder how much we as

While most supervisions demand the negotiation of

senior academics colonise others and want new schol-

boundaries – of class, gender, epistemology, researcher

arship to be like ours. In this she draws attention to our

subjectivities, priorities – this case raised a particular set

inclinations towards reproduction in scholarship rather

of issues due to the non-traditional forms of inquiry and

than innovation, emphasising her overall commentary

representation. These issues must be understood and

on the nature of knowledge and of knowledge making in

theorised not as an isolated and specific example, but as

doctoral research.The adjudicator defined the issue not as

an instance on a continuum of all knowledge production.

a question of a level appropriate to that of a doctoral

The risk here was that the thesis would fail – a poten-

candidate; rather it is about a thesis of difference and

tially huge risk, of death to the knowledge and to the

innovation. In closing she concurred with examiner B’s

identity of the producer of that knowledge. For the can-

assessment of the thesis as a remarkable piece of per-

didate who had lost so much, that was the ultimate risk,

sonal and academic scholarship.

but it was her choice and not one the supervisor could

This report closed the examination effectively and

choose not to take.The risk to the supervisor was a risk to

opened a discourse of ‘difference and innovation’ in

reputation, of subjectivity as co-producer of knowledge,

regard to doctoral research and pedagogies, theorised by

and of many years of hard work going unrecognised. The

Somerville as founded on a methodology of postmodern

risk for the administrator concerned the challenge to her

emergence (2007, 2008). In this context, the term suggests

researcher and administrator subjectivities: what does it

a capacity and preparedness to work outside of ‘normal-

mean when a highly original thesis fails – for students

ised’ frameworks for evaluating merit in doctoral research

coming along behind, for supervision quality, for institu-

in order to recognise what is ‘the other’ in the creation

tional reputation?

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It is in some respects strange to be suggesting we must

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Anita Devos is Senior Lecturer and Graduate Coordinator

encompass the necessity to produce alternative forms of

Research Degrees in the Faculty of Education, Monash Univer-

knowledge and knowledge subjectivities in our doctoral

sity, and Editorial Board member of AUR.

pedagogies, as this is really asking why should we produce new knowledge at all. New knowledge constitutes

Margaret Somerville is a Professor of Education and Senior

difference and without difference new knowledge cannot

Researcher in the School of Education, University of Western

exist. The question then becomes how much difference

Sydney.

we can embrace without risking the erasure of the boundaries that define us. The case challenges us to think about

Acknowledgements

how, while providing form, structure and guidance to all of the parties in this process (or, a frame on the chaos of

Thank you to the candidate and adjudicator for giving us

the world (Grosz 2008) which makes knowledge produc-

permission to use their texts, knowing we would not be

tion possible, we also need to be mindful of the dangers

able to ensure their anonymity. In this regard the paper

of those structures.

is a contribution to discussions of intellectual property

In making this case the subject of an academic paper,

in doctoral work. For ethical reasons, we do not draw on

we seek to make explicit the invisible pedagogies of doc-

the initial examiners’ reports except to paraphrase their

toral examination, offering a different theorisation of that

key concerns. As authors, we are sensitive of the ways in

process to other researchers in this field. Thesis exami-

which scholarly and other identities are at risk in the pro-

nation is regarded as a private matter; it has conventions

duction and official recognition of new knowledge, and of

and practices that exercise normalising effects produc-

the imperative to avoid harm in our commentary.

ing high levels of consistency in marking as others have noted; and governed by protocols of which we may only be vaguely aware. Making explicit these protocols or conventions allows us to examine their foundation in the context of a wider debate about doctoral work and its place in contemporary universities and in society, and provides a platform to consider the ways in which pedagogical power is exercised at the point of entry into the disciplinary field. It further provides a platform for engaging new academics in these debates. In conclusion, we note how candidate, supervisor and administrator subjectivities are constituted within complex webs of institutional and discipline-based regimes of power. Through our elaboration of these webs we begin to articulate their constraining and productive capacities. Beginning with the ethical issues of who owns the text of the reports, who owns the knowledge produced in supervision, and how we can articulate these issues, we understand this as fraught territory. Relations in this territory tend to remain invisible to the different players and to others who need to learn, and the operations of power and relational production of knowledge not well explored or theorised in the literature. While this case may represent an extremity of difference, doctoral education must make room for the messy, unfolding, emergent nature of doctoral knowledge and subjectivities that are produced within this space. Making these relations of power and production visible will enable those involved to take the risks necessary to name and learn.

54

References Australian Government (2011). Research Skills for an Innovative Future: A Research Workforce Strategy to cover the Decade to 2020 and Beyond. Canberra: Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. Devos, A. (2010). New teachers, mentoring and the formation of professional identities. Teaching and Teacher Education 261219-1223. Devos, A. (2008). Where enterprise and equity meet: The rise of mentoring for women in Australian universities. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 29, No. 2: 195-205. Engly, P. (2010). The secret nationalist movement: memoirs of a Cambodian princess. Unpublished PhD thesis. Monash University. Foucault, M. (1983). The subject and power. In H.L.Dreyfus & P. Rabinow (eds) Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuraliusm and Hermeneutics. (second edition) Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 208-226. Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell, C. Gordon & P. Miller (eds) The Foucault effect: Studies in governmentality. Herfordhsire: Harvester Wheatsheaf. 87-104. Grosz, E. (2008). Chaos, territory, art: Deleuze and the framing of the earth. New York: Columbia University Press. Holbrook, A., Bourke, S., Lovat, T. & Fairbairn, H. (2008). Consistency and inconsistency in PhD thesis examination. Australian Journal of Education 52, No. 1: 36-48. Marginson, S. & van der Wende, M. (2007). Globalisation and Higher Education. Paris: OECD. McWilliam, E. (2007). Managing ‘nearly’ reasonable risk in the contemporary university. Studies in Higher Education 32, No. 3: 311-321. Somerville, M. (2007). Postmodern emergence. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 20, No. 2: 225-243. Somerville, M. (2008). Waiting in the chaotic place of unknowing: articulating postmodern emergence, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 21, No: 3: 209-220.

What constitutes doctoral knowledge?, Anita Devos & Margaret Somerville

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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Internationalisation of doctoral education Possibilities for new knowledge and understandings Janette Ryan University of Oxford, UK

The past decade has seen a rapid increase in the number of international students undertaking doctorates in Anglophone universities such as Australia and the UK. In 2009, 11,500 international students were undertaking postgraduate research in Australia, with a 20 per cent increase in doctoral enrolments over the previous year (AEI 2011). In the UK, international students comprise 50 per cent of full-time research degree students (UKCISA 2011). The postgraduate research student cohort in these countries has thus radically changed as these students have brought with them different academic cultures and intellectual traditions. Although distinct phases can be identified in the responses of Australian and British universities to increases in international students, with the current phase aligned to internationalisation agendas, there still appears to be a lack of recognition of the potential to take advantage of these global flows of people, ideas and perspectives by engaging with the knowledge and academic values that international doctoral students bring. Are we taking advantage of these opportunities for the generation of new knowledge and skills or do we risk being complacent about the superiority of ‘Western’ academic ways? Using theories of cross-cultural pedagogy, this paper reports on a qualitative study of views of scholarship and learning in Western and Confucian-heritage higher education, using Australia and the UK, and China and Hong Kong as case studies. Interviews with expert scholars in these contexts demonstrate that although there are differences and similarities towards knowledge and scholarship between these higher education systems, these are changing as contemporary teaching and learning conditions and imperatives become more closely tied to discourses of internationalisation and globalisation. This demonstrates recognition of the changes occurring in higher education and an understanding of the need for genuine intercultural dialogue so that international education is not just based on the legitimisation of Western knowledge but becomes an enterprise of mutual learning.

Introduction

programmes in both countries and can be the majority in many courses with Chinese students being the largest

Radical shifts have occurred in doctoral student cohorts

single national group in both Australia and the UK. The

in Anglophone universities in the past decade due to

numbers of Chinese doctoral students in both countries

significant increases in the number of international stu-

has steadily risen yet the supervision of Chinese doctoral

dents, most notably in Australia and the UK. International

students has received little attention (Chung & Ingleby

students comprise 21 per cent of students in Australia

2011; Singh 2009).

(AEI 2010a) and 15 per cent in the UK (UKCISA 2011).

Most Anglophone universities espouse ‘internationalisa-

They comprise significant proportions of postgraduate

tion’ as part of their mission as well as the development

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Internationalisation of doctoral education, Janette Ryan

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of intercultural skills amongst their graduates, yet moves

in Anglophone universities seem to be content with the

towards the internationalisation of teaching and learn-

quality and appeal of their higher education and have

ing have been modest, particularly at postgraduate level

not made similar attempts to learn from other academic

(Singh 2009). It is therefore timely that not only the vision

cultures, especially those of the fast-developing economic

of internationalisation needs to be articulated, but also

powerhouses of India and China. According to the OECD

how new knowledge and skills can arise from truly inter-

(2011), for example, 11 international students travel

nationalised learning. The doctoral relationship provides

to study in the UK for each British student who travels

an ideal vehicle for the exchange of cultural intellectual

abroad to study, and for Australia, the ratio is 24:1, the high-

ideas and the development of new epistemologies. These

est of any country.

spaces enable deep conversation and debate and explora-

There is much debate in Australian and British univer-

tion of alternative paradigms to generate new knowledge

sities about the need to ‘internationalise’ the curriculum,

and fashion new attitudes and perspectives that cross

yet few shared views of what this entails in concrete

cultural boundaries. The new knowledge that arises can

terms. Further, these initiatives tend to focus on under-

be transformative for all parties in changed and changing

graduate programmes and graduate attributes rather

higher education contexts.

than the postgraduate level. These debates occur along-

To date, however, responses to international doctoral

side broader discourses about the internationalisation of

students are mainly characterised by ‘one-way’ learning

university operations, and the proliferation of relation-

where the student is expected to conform to Western

ships with overseas partners and transnational education

notions of scholarship and learning. Turner and Robson

programmes. These discourses usually place the onus

(2008) describe current pedagogical approaches as ‘eth-

on international students to adapt to their new learning

nocentric’ rather than ‘ethnorelative’ (p. 40). Going further,

environment rather than considering whether and how

and using Rancière’s notion of ‘ignorance’, Singh (2009)

universities also need to adapt and change (Gu & Schwe-

argues that relationships between Western supervisors

isfurth 2006; Ryan & Viete 2009; Turner & Robson 2008).

and Chinese doctoral students are based on ‘ignorance’

Internationalisation debates focus on developing an

of the students’ backgrounds (p. 185). Chung and Ingleby

‘international dimension’ (Knight 2004) into all university

(2011) believe that the lack of attention to the supervi-

operations, generally without articulating what this entails

sion needs of Chinese students is based on ‘simple igno-

or what domains are involved. At the level of curriculum,

rance of the large cultural differences between Chinese

they can involve the superficial inclusion of international

and Westerners’ (p. 173). Singh (2009) believes, however,

examples rather than genuine attempts to pluralise the

that this ‘ignorance’ can be used as a platform for learn-

epistemological knowledge base (Webb 2005).

ing: ‘This means bringing this intellectual capital to bear

Analysis of Australian and British universities’ responses

in the production and flow of research-based knowledge

to increased numbers of international students over the

as much as the dialogic education of transnational educa-

past two decades shows that there are three distinct

tional researchers’ (Singh 2009, p. 187).

(but overlapping) phases. These have moved from ethnocentric responses (Ryan 2011b: Turner & Robson 2008),

International education ‘flows’

where international students are expected to conform to the requirements of Western academe, to more recent

The flow of international students from China to Anglo-

approaches where intercultural learning is seen as a desir-

phone universities is part of China’s ‘brain gain’ policy

able attribute for all students in globalised contexts (Gu

to improve the nation’s human capital through mobility

& Schweisfurth 2006; Ryan & Viete 2009). The first two

of its students and scholars (Pan 2011). The reform of

phases involved a shift from a ‘skills deficit’ (Ballard &

higher education in China has been achieved through

Clancy 1997) located within the international student to a

both internal means such as massive increases in expendi-

focus on adapting teaching and learning to ‘accommodate’

ture to create a number of world-class universities, and

international students and both these approaches con-

external means such as sending students and scholars

tinue to co-exist.These approaches are based on essential-

abroad (Ryan 2011a). This ‘strategic dependence’ on for-

ising ‘whole culture’ explanations (Clarke & Gieve 2006)

eign higher education resources to develop human capi-

for student differences despite diversity amongst national

tal to drive its education reform and economic progress

groups and radical changes within the major source coun-

has ‘enabled education abroad to become a source of

tries of international students such as China.These adjust-

brain gain’ for China (Pan 2011, p. 106). In contrast, those

ment/accommodation models position Western academe

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and Anglophone countries as dominant and hegemonic.

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Moving beyond Western paradigms

They offer few sustainable or innovative ways to move beyond ‘deficit’ debates to new approaches to teaching in

The ‘universalism’ of Western academic paradigms as

cross cultural contexts.

well as what constitutes ‘Western’ (or ‘Eastern’) are con-

Research during the first phase (in the 1990s) focused

tested however. Labelling students (or academics) on

on differences between ‘international’ and ‘local’ students

the basis of whole systems of cultural practice ignores

and the skills that international students need remedi-

the considerable diversity within cultures as well as

ated (Ryan & Viete 2009). This saw the proliferation of

between them (Ryan & Louie 2007). Nevertheless, these

‘front loading’ or ‘add on’ programmes such as founda-

terms are commonly used, and the term ‘Western’ edu-

tion courses, English for Academic Purposes courses and

cation is generally used to refer to the ‘Anglo-American

academic skills services. These programmes take respon-

model’ (Klitgård 2011a).

sibility away from supervisors for their international stu-

The dominance of ‘Western’ academe and its assumed

dents’ academic skills learning, although they do reduce

superiority continues to permeate academic research and

the sometimes heavy burden for academics that this can

literature. According to Connell (2007) not only is West-

entail.These programmes have benefits for a whole range

ern social science research Eurocentric but it is usually

of students (not just international ones) but they can be

situated within an Anglophone context, in what Klitgård

disconnected from the students’ discipline area and can

(2011a) calls the ‘tyranny of the Anglosphere’. Margin-

focus on narrow academic skills such as drills in para-

son (2010) argues that ‘equal cultural respect is hard to

phrasing and referencing techniques.

secure in Anglo-American countries in which systems are

Over the recent decade, as international student num-

monocultural; there is usually an innate belief in Western

bers accelerated, the ‘gaze’ has shifted to how lecturers

superiority’. ‘Internationalisation’ needs to be more than

should ‘accommodate’ international students and make

inclusion of international examples in courses or the

their teaching practices more explicit so that interna-

inclusion of an international ‘dimension’ into university

tional students can adjust their learning behaviours to

operations (Knight 2004). It needs to extend to engage-

Western contexts. The need to make explicit the ‘rules of

ment with intellectual traditions around the world so that

the game’ for international students (Carroll & Ryan 2005)

international knowledge and perspectives are available for

- Western modes of expression, norms for interactions

debate and learning by both academics and students. This

between teachers and students, and the rules for refer-

view of internationalisation sees it as a mutual enterprise:

ring to the work of others - can be seen in a plethora of

The internationalisation of education can be expressed in the exchange of culture and values, mutual understanding and a respect for difference…The internationalisation of education does not simply mean the integration of different national cultures or the suppression of one national culture by another culture. (Gu 2001, p. 105)

information provided to international students. Research on problems experienced by international students tends to result in calls for better induction, increased language skills, or more academic support programmes, that is, for the further ‘improvement’ of international students. ‘Internationalisation’ agendas in the current phase include ‘internationalisation of the curriculum’ for both

This definition of internationalisation views interna-

home and international students. Universities are look-

tionalisation not within a single system, but rather as an

ing beyond their borders for opportunities for inter-

endeavour between civilisations. Implicit in Gu’s defini-

national partnerships to expand their operations and

tion is a reaction to internationalisation as a Western aca-

export their education programmes. Although univer-

demic imperialist endeavour and the ‘one way’ nature

sities are exploring how to respond to more diverse

of the traffic. As Singh (2009) argues, there is still much

students, policy responses are still typified by the ‘aug-

ignorance between Western and Chinese or ‘Confucian-

mentation’ of students’ learning and thus continue the

heritage culture’ (CHC) intellectual paradigms and this is

onus on international students alone to adapt (Gu & Sch-

inhibiting two-way or transcultural learning.‘Western’ and

weisfurth 2006). Internationalisation debates generally

‘CHC’ paradigms of scholarship and learning are gener-

ignore the ‘cultural dynamics’ of teaching and learning

ally described as dichotomies and debates on the ‘Chinese

(Huisman 2010) and the potential for taking advantage

learner’ are inaccurate and unhelpful (Ryan & Louie 2007).

of the flows of international students in ways that move

This ‘ignorance’ about supposed differences between aca-

beyond integration into, or adaptation to, the dominant

demic cultures and individuals within them inhibits the

academic culture.

mutual and respectful exchange of ideas (as Gu advo-

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cates) rather than the simple integration of knowledge

be recognised. Trahar (2011) relates how her views radi-

from one culture into another.

cally changed during the intimate and close discussions

While supervision practices often ignore the poten-

with her international doctoral students where she could

tial for mutual learning (Rizvi 2010; Robinson-Pant 2009;

explore other cultures and values. Transcultural knowl-

Sillitoe, Webb & Zhang 2005), something even less posi-

edge can develop from contact between cultures which

tive often happens in international student supervision.

results in ‘a new, composite culture in which some exist-

Instead of learning being two-way, the behaviours of inter-

ing cultural features are combined, while some are lost,

national doctoral students are often misinterpreted and

and new features are generated’ (Murray 2010).

pathologised (Chung & Ingleby 2011). Supervisors can

Socio-cultural theories of learning explain the impor-

misinterpret their lack of English language proficiency as

tance of the cultural milieu of learning but also its poten-

lack of ability; their initial lack of sophisticated language

tial for redefining learning communities as transcultural

as lack of intellect; their quest to find the ‘correct’ answer

spaces. Transcultural approaches recognise that modern

dependent learning rather than an active process to find

societies are no longer monolithic and that ‘we are in an

out what is expected of them; their reluctance to ques-

era where interculturality, transculturalism and the even-

tion as lacking criticality rather than modesty or respect

tual prospect of identifying a cosmopolitan citizenship

for their supervisor; and their relative silence in supervi-

can become a reality’ (Cuccioletta 2002, p. 2). According

sion meetings as lack of connection with ideas rather than internal engagement. Supervisors may view ‘acts of textual borrowing’ (Schmitt 2005) as plagiarism rather than a necessary step in their learning development (Klitgård

2011b). Without

attempts by supervisors to understand what is unfamiliar for them, and the impact

to Sillitoe, Webb and Zhang

...working with doctoral students from Confucian cultures can bring new insights: they generate knowledge that is different from Western researchers; ...and they help to clarify the ‘normative’ structures and practices of the Western supervision model for Western supervisors which in turn assists both home and international students

of their previous learning

(2005) working with doctoral students from Confucian cultures can bring new insights: they generate knowledge that is different from Western researchers; can penetrate and interpret Confucian cultures as ‘insiders’ but are skilled in ‘Western’ research methods; their more ‘holistic’ views of the world are useful when inves-

experiences, international students may be viewed as

tigating issues such as sustainable development; and they

dependent learners lacking in criticality (Ryan & Louie

help to clarify the ‘normative’ structures and practices of

2007). They not only have to learn new approaches and

the Western supervision model for Western supervisors

skills but also ‘unlearn’ their old ones. Recognition of these

which in turn assists both home and international stu-

issues by the supervisor can be a catalyst for engagement

dents.

in mutual learning which can be more productive for the supervisor and the student. Supervisors can help interna-

Moving towards cross cultural teaching

tional doctoral students to not just ‘bridge the gap’ but to meet on the bridge (Ryan & Viete 2009). However, inter-

The work of theorists such as Lave and Wenger (1999)

national doctoral students sometimes report that they are

highlights the social and cultural situatedness of teaching

required to conduct research only within their country

and learning and the ‘communities of practice’ that exist

of study rather than undertake comparative studies. This

through the co-construction of knowledge by teachers

can occur because the supervisor may feel they lack

and learners. The importance of the social context can

knowledge of the overseas context or the subject area.

be seen through the adoption of teaching strategies such

International doctoral students are also generally not per-

as group work and collaborative learning. The cultural

mitted to use foreign language sources as supervisors and

‘boundedness’ of such approaches, however - the ways

examiners are unable to check them. This question needs

they operate, whose voice is heard and whose knowledge

further debate as these students want to ensure that their

is valued - and how these norms came to be is hard for

doctoral study has relevance for their future work.

those within that culture to recognise. Being an ‘outsider’

Lingard (2006) believes that the agency that interna-

to a culture brings a ‘surplus of seeing’ (Bakhtin 1986, p. 7)

tional students bring to the research encounter should

that makes academic norms visible; it can ‘‘make strange”

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the present, in order to begin to provide a vocabulary for

tional, but that there are sufficient commonalities for the

questioning the apparent naturalness and givenness of

engagement with what are merely different approaches to

contemporary practices in postgraduate education’ (Lee

be both possible and fruitful.

& Green 1995, p. 3). Morris and Hudson (1995) argue that international education ‘helps to problematise inherited notions of ideal pedagogic order’ (p. 72).

Western and CHC scholarship and learning

Negative views of international students and Chinese students in particular are still prevalent (Singh 2009) as

In order to understand the contemporary realities of West-

lecturers and supervisors misinterpret the behaviours of

ern and Chinese or CHC approaches to scholarship and

their newly-arrived students as passive and lacking criti-

learning, the research reported here investigated how

cal thinking (Grimshaw 2007). Those with more intimate

these terms are understood and practised within both

knowledge of Chinese learners refute these assumptions

contexts. Rather than basing judgements about different

(Clark & Gieve 2006; Grimshaw 2007; Gu & Schweisfurth

systems on the behaviours of international students strug-

2006; Jin & Cortazzi 2006; Louie 2005; Shi 2006). Accord-

gling to adapt and thus making assumptions about their

ing to Grimshaw (2007):

previous educational contexts, this research examines

empirical studies reveal that, contrary to the Western stereotype, Chinese societies do value an exploratory and reflective approach to learning; that Chinese teachers do not rely exclusively upon the transmission mode of delivery; and that Chinese students can be seen to engage in autonomous, problem solving activities. (p. 302).

understandings and practices by experienced academics within and across those systems. Interviews were conducted amongst a purposive sample of senior academics in a range of disciplines in universities in two Western and two Confucian-heritage countries: Australia and the UK, and China and Hong Kong. Participants had at least 10 years’ experience and were at Associate Professor or

Academics continue, however, to report the same dif-

equivalent level or above.

ficulties and ‘pedagogical uncertainties’ with teaching

To date, 24 interviews have been conducted with schol-

international students reported over a decade ago (Singh

ars in the disciplines of Education or the Humanities.This

2009;Turner & Robson 2008). If these issues remain unad-

comprises six interviews each in Australia and the UK

dressed, there is a risk of continued negative attitudes by

with equal numbers from both disciplines (only two of

lecturers about international students (Deumert, Margin-

the 12 participants had significant experience in China

son, Nyland, Ramia & Sawir 2005; DeVos 2003; Rizvi 2010).

and none were of Chinese descent). Five interviews in

Many academics remain unwilling or unconvinced of the

each discipline have been conducted in mainland China

need to change and adapt and see their role as educating

(all with Chinese scholars, five never having been out of

students in ‘Western ways’ and ‘Western values’ (Trahar

China), and one in each discipline in Hong Kong (one of

2011).

Chinese descent and one of European descent, both with

Lack of knowledge about the cultural situatedness of

experience of Western and Chinese higher education).

learning and teaching and different academic paradigms

As this is a work in progress, findings are tentative and

is inhibiting the development of cross cultural teach-

are discussed here for illustrative purposes. The total final

ing that draws on an international range of approaches.

number of interviews will be 54.

This ‘ignorance’ means a lack of understanding of con-

The participants were asked (in English or Chinese):

temporary realities in countries such as China which is

• How do you define characteristics of ‘good’ scholarship

undergoing fundamental change as well as the enormous

and ‘effective’ learning?

diversity amongst individuals within them (Jin & Cortazzi

• What differences and commonalities do you believe

2006; Ryan 2011a; Ryan, Kang, Mitchell & Erickson 2009).

exist between Western and CHC paradigms of scholar-

Rather than focusing on ‘differences’ between cultures, changing contexts and imperatives call for recognition of the potential for common ground and mutual learning.

ship and learning? • Do you believe that these paradigms are changing or should change?

To date, however, there has been little informed debate

No attempt was made to define these terms; partici-

about differences between Western and CHC paradigms

pants were invited to respond in any way they chose.

and even less debate about the diversities within them.

Case study methodology (Stake 2006) and a constant

Evidence from the study reported below shows that adap-

comparative method of analysis (Maykut & Morehouse

tation between academic cultures is currently unidirec-

1994) were used to identify commonalities and differ-

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Table 1: Definitions of ‘good scholarship and ‘effective learning’

‘Good’ scholarship

‘Effective’ learning

Western

Chinese

Original, original ideas

Original, innovative

Imaginative

Uses imagination

Creative

Creative, passion for pursuing knowledge

Adds value, makes a difference

Has some value, beneficial

Advances knowledge or thinking, application to existing knowledge

Contribution to knowledge, application of knowledge

Rigorous, questioning, systematic

Systematic inquiry

Sound theories and methods, innovative methodologies

Includes theory, methodology and subject knowledge, innovative methodologies

Understanding and applying knowledge

Deep and broad knowledge framework, applying knowledge

Think for yourself

Critical thinking

Work independently

Independent learner

Challenge and interrogate authorities

Challenge authorities’ views

Think about what they learn and ask new questions

Know why you want to learn and what you should learn

Build on what’s known, develop new schema

[Combines] old and new academic knowledge

ences in participants’ responses. Participants were iden-

practices between systems, almost all respondents who

tified via email contact with Deans or equivalent at 18

answered this question (from both paradigms) empha-

universities which included larger and smaller institu-

sised the essential commonalities of ideas and concepts

tions, ones with longer and shorter histories, and urban

of scholarship and learning. Those with experience in

and rural locations.

both systems were more likely to report that features

From the interviews conducted to date, it is clear that

were more common than different as can be seen from

there are diverse and competing discourses within uni-

the quotes below. A Chinese Professor of Humanities at

versities in both systems and amongst individuals, and

a university in southern China (with experience in both

scholars in different contexts have both shared and differ-

systems) commented:

ent views on scholarship and learning. The scholars’ defi-

participants’ responses to the first question and are repre-

There are commonalities that good scholarship and effective learning share in both paradigms. An oftcited belief in China is that the Western paradigm emphasises critical thinking whereas the CHC paradigm emphasises rote learning, memorisation and breadth of knowledge. I believe that differences exist only amongst individual scholars whether they are Eastern or Western.

sentative of overall responses.

An American-born Professor of Literature working in

nitions of scholarship and research are strikingly similar across the two systems. Similar understandings of ‘good’ scholarship and ‘effective’ learning can be seen from the vocabulary used to describe these terms (see Table 1). These words and phrases have been taken verbatim from

The high degree of commonality amongst respondents’

Hong Kong who had considerable experience in China

responses may be due in part to the influence that West-

noted similar concepts and aspirations in both systems

ern pedagogy is having in China, although even the Chi-

but sometimes different methods of arriving at these:

nese respondents who had never left China used these

The participants who were able to venture an opinion

I don’t see any real difference in scholarship in China and in the West insofar as people want to have an understanding and an idea and represent their own understanding of the idea but I think that the way that you begin to arrive at that knowledge, the ‘patterns of respect’, the ways that you put yourself forward might be different in both places but the final results would likely be the same.

had worked in China or had Chinese colleagues. While

The final question about changes or the desirability of

acknowledging that differences do occur in academic

change in these paradigms also elicited similar and differ-

same terms. Few Western participants could answer the second question about differences and commonalities between paradigms and freely admitted their ignorance of Chinese or CHC paradigms, often expressing regret about this.

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ent responses between and within the two groups. Aca-

Some Western participants noted that while paradigms

demics on both sides reported that significant change is

are changing in China, this is mainly one-way learning, from

occurring within their own paradigm. Respondents from

the West. The statement below from the American Profes-

China and those with experience of China often com-

sor of Literature quoted above shows that while China is

mented on the pace and magnitude of change in China, as

learning from the West, it is trying to do this in a way that

seen in the comment from a European Senior Lecturer in

maintains the best of Confucian education traditions, that

Linguistics with experience in China:

is, that combines the best features of both systems:

In CHC things are currently changing so fast that it I don’t think that the West is radically changing their is breathtaking. The CHC views on the educational scholars and learners are process but I do think that ... although there are differences and eager to catch up with the China is Westernising. It is West, which has meant trying to understand difsimilarities towards knowledge and eagerness, openness, ferent kinds of skill sets scholarship both within and across hard work in such measto give their students an ures that today the Westopportunity to feel comfortthese contexts these are changing as ern scholars and learners able with Western styles of contemporary conditions and imperatives seem to be meandering learning, with Western styles become more closely tied to discourses of along leisurely in comof knowledge and they’re parison. incorporating that within internationalisation and globalisation. the classroom in their own way... they don’t lose what The American Professor of is quintessentially Confucian Literature mentioned above further commented: or quintessentially Chinese. Confucian-heritage cultures are giving way to a certain kind of individuality and this is creating a different kind of learning environment… Oftentimes people will say that within Confucian-heritage cultures you are expected to parrot back what the teachers will say to you but that hasn’t been my experience.

These interviews demonstrate that although there are differences and similarities towards knowledge and scholarship both within and across these contexts these are changing as contemporary conditions and imperatives become more closely tied to discourses of internation-

CHC academics generally expressed positive views

alisation and globalisation. The data also demonstrate that

about changes within their system and an enthusiasm

negative views about ‘Chinese learners’ are not based on

for further change, while Western academics tended to

contemporary expectations and practices of educators

comment on negative changes in their systems especially

within Chinese contexts.

towards more managerialist approaches: Paradigms of scholarship and learning are becoming more market-driven in both the West and CHC countries. (History academic at a Russell Group university in London)

Potential for mutual learning This research shows not only that each system holds much in common but also points to the potential for

The statement below by a European lecturer in English

mutual learning when assumptions are critically exam-

with experience in China shows that there are perhaps

ined and the possibilities for reciprocal learning are

more commonalities between systems than is generally

identified. Reciprocal learning in the doctoral sphere

thought while at the same time there is potential for ben-

can occur through broadening the scope and topics for

eficial learning between the systems:

doctoral study, drawing on different cultural epistemolo-

The freedom of research is an ideal that I think both paradigms ascribe to, but for both the real world sets limits. CHC scholarship is less/has been less open to Western scrutiny, perhaps less global…When it comes to learning [in China], I find that there perhaps has been a lack in confidence, a lack of belief in the individual, and also a lack of awareness of individual needs in order to learn best. In the West, on the other hand, there has been a lack of understanding that some learning requires hard work, and that not all learning comes automatically.

gies and intellectual traditions, and considering how to assess unfamiliar modes of expression, argumentation and organisation of the dissertation. It also requires consideration of the inclusion of foreign language sources and on this point, and in general, international colleagues or examiners may be useful sources of expertise. As China becomes a major player in world affairs, universities and academics need to understand the contexts with which they are engaging and be prepared to adapt and change so that they too can reinvigorate their own

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cultures of learning. As international student mobility

and to issues of gender, sexuality and disability to name

worldwide accelerates, many non-Anglophone countries

but a few; ‘many different cultures appear within single

are offering programmes in English, often at less cost, so

geographical cultures’ (Morris & Hudson 1995, p. 73). It

universities enjoying traditional comparative advantages

is timely to look back on the issues highlighted in this

need to ensure that their education continues to be of

journal in 1995 and note Morris and Hudson’s aspirations

high quality and relevance in the global education envi-

for moving beyond ‘monocultural chauvinism’ towards a

ronment.The UK International Unit cautions against com-

‘new international academic ethos’.The editors of the spe-

placency in this regard:

cial issue (Lee & Green 1995) pointed to the connection

Patterns and flows of international students may start to change… mobile students are increasingly likely to choose destinations within their own regions, and thus we may begin to see less of an ‘East-West’ movement. (International Unit 2011)

between postgraduate education and national concerns.

And equally, emerging countries need to avoid the slav-

knowledge that international students bring to encounters

ish adoption of foreign ideas and practices and instead

between supervisors and students can be tapped to create

examine them for how they can enrich and rejuvenate

this ‘international academic ethos’. Universities are spaces

their own.

where intercultural connections occur and can be at the

Since then, debates have moved to the global level and the relevance of postgraduate education for global knowledge economies. Imperatives for new forms of knowledge and skills have become more urgent. The experience and

The large numbers of international students at Aus-

forefront of global knowledge generation. Drawing from

tralian and British universities provide opportunities

both traditions means that new knowledge can be created

for the development of more globalised paradigms and

through more holistic approaches and a more reflective

practices better suited to changing contexts around the

than adversarial orientation to knowledge. Supervisors can

world. Universities that limit their interactions with inter-

recognise the collaborative and respectful learning styles

national students to one-way transmission of knowledge

of their students rather than problematise them.

risk stagnation and lack of appeal to students, both home

The evidence of the study reported here although lim-

and international, who now have more choices available.

ited does indicate that there are sufficient underlying simi-

A transcultural focus can better equip all students to live

larities and aspirations to enable mutual adaptation and

and work in globalised contexts and in ways that make

engagement between academic cultures. This stance can

labels such as ‘home’ or ‘international’ obsolete.

provide access to not only 5,000 years of Chinese intel-

Transcultural approaches can provide the vehicle for

lectual development but also an opportunity to engage

such changes in pedagogy and curriculum; they move

with China in its future trajectory as a world superpower.

beyond interactions between cultures with one culture positioned as more powerful or ‘legitimate’, to a stance

Janette Ryan is a Research Associate at the China Centre at the

which arises from mutual dialogue and respect amongst

University of Oxford, Director of the University of Oxford’s

academic cultures and knowledge traditions. Postgraduate

International Students Teaching and Support Project and

supervisors and lecturers need to not just engage in rheto-

Director of the UK Higher Education Academy’s Teaching

ric about internationalisation but also to listen to others’

International Students Project.

views of internationalisation; universities need to not just be institutions of learning but learning institutions. Individual supervisors need to develop ‘meta awareness’ of their students’ backgrounds and needs (Louie 2005) and universities and nations need to recognise the ‘necessity for sharing knowledge, building intellectual capacity, and remaining competitive in the global economy’ through global academic mobility (UK International Unit 2011). Sixteen years ago, Morris and Hudson (1995) noted ‘the moment of intense change and complexity’ of the times; few could have predicted the pace and acceleration of change and complexity of those trends. Diversity of student cohorts extends beyond national citizenship but

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Up and coming? Doctoral education in China Rui Yang University of Hong Kong, China

In line with China’s massive leap forward in higher education since the late 1990s and its ambitious bid for world-class universities within decades, doctoral education has been strongly, and arguable strategically, promoted by the Chinese government. During the past four decades, China quickly established a national system of academic degrees and postgraduate education since the early 1980s. Its doctoral education has since grown fast to become one of the largest in the world. While the developmental process deserves much commendation, it was never short of twists and turns. The extraordinarily fast growth has particularly led to a variety of problems that have evoked controversy in China, especially over the widely perceived decline of quality in doctoral training. In view of a lack of literature in English on Chinese doctoral education, this article attempts to provide an analytical review of China’s current practices as well as some issues and challenges faced by the system in meeting societal needs and future development.

Introduction

Dasheng Deng (2011), respectively on the educational aspirations and occupational orientation of Chinese doc-

Doctorate holders represent a crucial human resource

toral students.Aiming to delineate a detailed picture of the

for research and innovation. As a site for the production

current practices of China’s doctoral education, this article

of new knowledge and new knowledge making prac-

covers its stages of developments; disciplinary, institutional

tices, doctoral education has recently become ‘a matter

and regional distributions; thesis quality; supervisory prac-

of increasing interest and concern’ in many parts of the

tices; and the employment of doctorate holders.

world (Lee & Green 1995, p. 2), as a consequence of educational reforms. In China, postgraduate education is

Development

a borrowed concept from overseas (Wu 2009). The Chinese system of academic degrees and postgraduate edu-

Immediately after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976),

1

cation was only formally established in the early 1980s.

China faced devastating shortage of professionals. With

Their growth, however, has been by leaps and bounds.The

strong support from the central government, postgraduate

Chinese doctoral education system has swiftly become

education was quickly resumed in 1978. By 1980, enrolled

one of the largest in the world. Within this fast growing

postgraduate students totalled 22,000. Meanwhile discus-

period, there has been no shortage of twists and turns, as

sions on establishing China’s academic degree system

well as costs and benefits, from institutional arrangement,

were underway. A work committee was set up in March

administration and procedure, protocol and policy, finance

1979, chaired by the then Minister for Education, Jiang

and governance, to supervisory practice, and learning

Nanxiang. The Regulations on Academic Degrees of

experience. While there has been an increasing body of

the People’s Republic of China was issued in February

literature within China on doctoral education, few studies

1980. The first batch of 18 doctorates was conferred on

have appeared in English. Recent exceptions are by Peter

27 May 1983. Since then, doctoral education has grown

S Li, Liming Li and Li Zong (2007) and Yandong Zhao and

significantly in China (Wu 2009). While higher educa-

64

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vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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tion institutions are the mainstay, doctoral training is also

1999 to 49,000 in 2003, 53,000 in 2004 and 58,000 in

practiced at academies of research at national, provincial

2007 (Department of Development and Planning, Minis-

and regional city levels, in some military institutions and

try of Education 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007). The supervisor-

at Party schools. The past three decades could be divided

student ratio reached its peak, of 1:15.32 in the higher

into different stages of development.

education institutions under direct jurisdiction of the

The first was between the end of the 1970s and the

Ministry of Education (Xie 2006, p. 28).

early 1990s, centred on making full use of the limited

There were three additions to the approved doctoral

number of the nation’s experts including returned schol-

degree granting institutions and programmes respectively:

ars from overseas and those who received highly spe-

7 and 442 in 2000, 35 and 728 in 2003 (mainly in provin-

cialised training during the 1950s to establish a doctoral

cial higher education institutions), and 19 and 605 in 2006

training system. Delegations were sent overseas to gain

(Wu 2009). According to Chinese Ministry of Education’s

external experience. It was reiterated that Chinese doctor-

(2011, July 6) latest statistics, in 2010 China recruited

ates should have similar quality with their foreign equiva-

538,200 postgraduate students with 63,800 at doctoral

lents. Among the first batch of applications for doctoral

level, total enrolment of postgraduate students reached

programmes and supervisors, only 3/5 and 1/2 of them

1,538,400 with 258,900 at doctoral level, and granted

respectively were approved.There was tight control from

388,600 postgraduate degrees including 49,000 doctor-

the central government over quality. For example, the

ates. The number of doctorates conferred in 2010 was

first batch approved nationwide in 1981 included 151

behind that of the United States of 57,599 in academic

institutions, 812 programmes and 1,151 supervisors. The

year 2008-2009 (Bell 2010, p. 16).

second batch in 1984 only added 45 institutions, 316 pro-

In retrospect, the developmental path of China’s doctoral

grammes, and 183 supervisors. The third batch in 1986

education shows strong promotion and tight control by

and the fourth in 1990 added respectively 41 and 10 insti-

the central government, which decides which institutions

tutions, 675 and 277 programmes and 1,791 and 1,509

are qualified to offer doctoral training and in what scale.

supervisors (Guo 2009, p. 22). Thirty-three universities

However, the government after all is a political rather than

were allowed to experiment by the Ministry of Education

academic organisation. Its actions in doctoral education are

to build their graduate schools.

based on its ideo-political considerations (Wu 2009). While

The second stage ranged almost the entire 1990s. Doc-

it has guaranteed a fast growth of doctoral training, its tight

toral education continued to grow during this period,

control could stifle even denature the nation’s doctoral

based on the perceived need for highly trained profes-

education. For instance, in order to show its equal treat-

sionals, especially by the central government. During

ment to various ethnicities, the central government des-

1992-1999, an annual increase rate of doctoral students

ignated a few universities of nationalities doctoral degree

averaged 20.6 per cent, surpassing that of Master’s stu-

granting capacity without seriously considering their aca-

dents (12.3 per cent) (Research Team on Analyses of

demic achievements (H Q Wang 2008). The high control

Educational Statistics of China’s Academic Degrees and

has also caused strong, unhealthy competitions among

Graduate Education 2009, p. 38). The fifth, sixth and sev-

local governments to win central government’s favour to

enth batches of approved institutions and programmes

set up doctoral programmes within their jurisdictions, lead-

were respectively 24 and 274, 5 and 145, and 49 and 341

ing to insufficient attention to local needs.

(Guo 2009). Another major change during this period was that those universities allowed earlier to experiment

Distribution

graduate schools were formally approved. They could select doctoral supervisors based on their assessment

In China, academic disciplines are generally divided into

conducted within their own institutions.

Arts and Sciences. The former includes literature, history,

The third stage was in line with China’s most recent

philosophy, economics, law, and management, while the

massive university enrolment. An average of 26.6 per

latter covers natural sciences, engineering, medicine,

cent annual increase rate was recorded during 1999-2003

and agriculture. Since China borrowed the former Soviet

(Research Team on Analyses of Educational Statistics of

experience in the 1950s, there has always been an imbal-

China’s Academic Degrees and Graduate Education 2009,

ance between Arts and Sciences. This is also the case in

p. 38). In 2000, another twenty-two universities were

doctoral training, as shown in the distribution of doctor-

approved to set up graduate schools. During this period,

ates. In 1996, the proportion of doctorates in Arts and Sci-

doctoral enrolments increased from around 20,000 in

ences were 15 per cent and 84.4 per cent respectively.

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

Up and coming?, Rui Yang

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Table 1: Doctorates Conferred Nationwide: 1996-2006 Year

Philosophy

Economics

Law

Education

Literature

History

Science

Engineering

Agriculture

Medicine

Management

1996

78

196

135

49

143

117

1441

2199

223

846

117

1997

95

260

201

751

197

146

1642

2636

286

1036

169

1998

112

388

241

117

248

190

2095

3276

373

1211

194

1999

148

513

290

145

349

198

2168

3769

383

1251

324

2000

199

514

330

144

387

257

2306

4484

462

1757

410

2001

218

621

444

199

491

269

3452

4746

551

2130

493

2002

263

855

615

213

648

310

2736

5020

651

2450

766

2003

323

1040

683

283

829

428

3496

6306

742

3085

1096

2004

370

1266

917

360

995

467

4293

7886

899

3714

1434

2005

439

1508

1122

437

1162

527

5269

9792

1102

4583

1843

2006

516

2030

1624

596

1590

562

6669

11643

1366

5792

2498

Source: Li & Zhan 2008a, p. 29.

Such imbalance continued to be 26.5 per cent and 71.5

in the nation’s major universities, which are designated

per cent in 2006. From the mid-1990s, the distribution of

by the government as ‘key-point’ higher education insti-

doctorates conferred in various disciplines has shown

tutions. When the first batch of doctoral programmes

some interesting changes during 1996-2006, as shown

were approved in 1987, 174 (91.5 per cent) of them

below by Table 1: Engineering, Science and Medicine have

were located in those key institutions (Wu 2000, p. 45).

remained unchanged as the top three; while Management

Resulted from some long-term features of China’s higher

jumped from the 8th in 1996 to the 4th in 2006; Agricul-

education growth, such major institutions have the

ture was just the opposite, dropping from the 4th in 1996

nation’s strongest academic staff, the majority of research

to the 8th in 2006 (Li & Zhan 2008a, p. 31).

funding, and the best equipments and facilities. This also

The emphasis on scientific, technological and medical

means that these elite institutions have much better and

research is also shown by the annual national outstand-

larger student pool to select their doctoral candidates. As

ing doctoral thesis awards. As shown by Table 2 below,

reported by a teacher training institution in the north-

while medicine, science and agriculture were all over-

west, only 8 per cent of its doctoral students enrolled

represented, social sciences, without exception, were all

in ‘key-point’ institutions during their undergraduate and

underrepresented.

Master’s studies (China’s Doctoral Education Quality

Another sort of distribution imbalance is institutional

Research Team 2010).

and regional: doctoral programmes concentrate overwhelmingly in key institutions in major industrialised areas. By 2007, for example, Peking and Tsinghua Universities had 201 and 181 doctoral programmes respectively. In contrast, by 2002, Guizhou had 2, while Qinghai,

Table 2: National Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Awards during 1999-2007 and Disciplinary Proportion of Doctorates Conferred in 2006 to the National Total Discipline

Ningxia and Tibet had none (Guo 2009). Resulted from

Annual Average of Awards (%)

China’s shortage of a broad-based distribution of research

Proportion of Doctorates to the National (%)

capacity, 55 per cent of the nation’s doctoral programmes

Management

1.7

7

were in north and east China by June 2001. Major con-

Economics

2.1

5.7

centrations included Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shaanxi

Law

2.8

4.6

and Sichuan (Lin 2005), with an evident dominant role

Medicine

10.4

16.3

Science

played by Beijing: in 2006, Beijing had 11,731 doctorates conferred, while Shanghai came as the second with 3,249, and all other provinces had fewer than 80 (Guo 2009). Institutionally, as elsewhere such as Australia (Pearson et al. 2008), China’s doctoral programmes concentrate

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Up and coming?, Rui Yang

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18.7

Agriculture

4.9

3.8

History

2.8

1.6

Source: Li & Zhan 2008a, p. 31. vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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Education Quality Research Team 2010). The width and depth of theoretical foundations and subject knowledge

There have been various understandings of the quality of

respectively scored poorly in social sciences, only slightly

doctoral education and its assessment. Suggested indica-

better in management, and apparently better in agriculture

tors include the length between graduation and employ-

and medicine. When asked whether or not to meet inter-

ment, nature and level of employment, starting salary,

national standards for argument and presentation, only

professional development and workplace performance.

sciences scored highly, while others all substantially lower

A national investigation on quality of doctoral training

than the perceived international practice, with social sci-

jointly commissioned by the Academic Degrees Com-

ences at the bottom. Overall, the quality of China’s doctoral

mittee of the State Council, Ministry of Education, and

theses in sciences was well recognised, engineering did

Personnel Ministry in September 2007 collected com-

reasonably well, while management was just passable and

prehensive data from virtually all institutions involved in

social sciences quite poorly (Guo 2009, pp. 31-32).

doctoral training (including 257 higher education insti-

Although such assessments were only based on the

tutions, 31 research institutes and one Party school) and

(indeed quite subjective) judgments of Chinese doctoral

selected organisations that employ doctorate holders. In

supervisors and administrators, and their comparability

addition to the data collected through questionnaires and

between Chinese and Western performances could be

interviews, the study also compared domestic and over-

open to question, these findings can still shed light on

seas doctoral theses, analysed academic contributions by

the quality of Chinese doctoral theses. For example, prob-

doctoral projects and workplace performance by doctoral

lems in doctoral training in China’s social sciences, such

degree holders. The study covered nine aspects includ-

as political, sociological, law and educational studies, have

ing basic and professional knowledge, research capacity,

been well documented within the Chinese academic cir-

morality, thesis quality, relevant subject knowledge, for-

cles and internationally (Chen 2006). Over-general topics,

eign languages proficiency, sense of (social) responsibility,

shortage of empirical and/or first-hand data, loose argu-

creativity, and organisational skills. Respondents included

mentation, and highly subjective conclusions remain

doctoral students, their supervisors and administrators. It

commonplace. Students in these disciplines usually lack

found that more than 80 per cent respondents reported

a basic understanding of the latest international achieve-

positively in all those areas (China’s Doctoral Education

ments in their subject areas, let alone engagement with

Quality Research Team 2010).

them. They also often receive little methodological train-

However, the large-scale questionnaire survey and the

ing (Yang & Zhang 2008).

assessment of doctoral theses relied heavily on respond-

In universities of science and technology, a common

ents’ personal judgments. It remains difficult to compare

arrangement in China is that doctoral students take on

the quality of doctoral education in different institutions

their supervisors’ research, partially or in total, as their

(Zhou 2010). In comparison with some other criteria

doctoral projects. A survey at the Beijing Forestry Univer-

that often generate debates, the quality of doctoral theses

sity reported that 14.6 per cent of students independently

has been recognised globally as a relatively much more

chaired their supervisors’ research projects, 72.9 per cent

reliable indicator (Ji et al. 2009).The aforementioned pro-

participated and devoted most of their study time to the

ject received highly positive comments about the overall

research projects originally granted to their supervisors,

development from supervisors and the administrators

only 12.5 per cent of students, who were usually part-time

who were directly involved in doctoral training, especially

students with full-time jobs, reported that their theses

in dimensions including foreign languages proficiency,

were rarely or never part of their supervisors’ research

quality of theses, and research capacity. In comparison

work (Liu & Wang 2011, p. 143). Similar to Beijing Forestry

with the situation thirty years ago, the study reported sub-

University’s situation, such experience, for both supervi-

stantial improvement in the quality of doctoral work. The

sors and students, has been largely well perceived with

international comparison showed an overall shrinking

each side gaining what they desired. This is the normal

gap between domestic and overseas doctoral theses, with

way for China’s doctoral students to receive financial sup-

some domestic work already at international cutting edge.

ports to conduct their projects. It also helps them to have

While recognising remarkable achievements within a

actual research experience. However, based on a survey

relatively short period of time, the study acknowledged a

of three 985 universities,2 10.3 per cent of all the doc-

considerable lag behind the practices in the higher educa-

toral students never participated in any research projects,

tion systems of major Western countries (China’s Doctoral

while in social sciences 24.6 per cent students reported

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Up and coming?, Rui Yang

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Table 3: Disciplinary Distribution of National Outstanding Doctoral Theses, 1999-2009 Discipline

Number of theses

Percentage of the national total

Philosophy

17

1.57

Economics

24

2.22

Law

29

2.68

Education

24

2.22

Literature

47

4.34

History

30

2.77

Science

316

29.21

Engineering

395

36.51

Agriculture

55

5.08

113

10.44

Military science

12

1.11

Management

20

1.85

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Table 4: Regional Distribution of National Outstanding Doctoral Theses, 1999-2009 Province

Number of theses

Percentage of the national total

Ranking

Beijing

370

34.20

1

Shanghai

171

15.80

2

Jiangsu

89

8.23

3

Shaanxi

57

5.27

4

Hubei

49

4.53

5

Zhejiang

38

3.51

6

Hunan

37

3.42

7

Guangdong

35

3.23

8

Tianjin

32

2.96

9

Anhui

31

2.87

10

Sichuan

28

2.59

11

Liaoning

23

2.13

12

Heilongjiang

23

2.13

12

and social sciences denied strong correlation between

Jilin

22

2.03

14

their studies and their supervisors’ research projects (Luo

Shandong

22

2.03

14

et al. 2009).

Chongqing

17

1.57

16

Gansu

11

1.02

17

Fujian

8

0.74

18

tions were awarded. As shown by Table 3, engineering, sci-

Yunnan

5

0.46

19

ences and medicine have been the dominant disciplines.

Henan

4

0.37

20

Table 4 further confirms the regional disparities in doc-

Hebei

3

0.28

21

toral education in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shaanxi

Shanxi

3

0.28

21

Inner Mongolia

2

0.18

23

Qinghai

1

0.09

24

Medicine

Source: Zhou et al. 2011, p. 75.

so. Nearly a quarter of doctoral students in the humanities

Each year around 100 outstanding doctoral theses are selected to be awarded as the nation’s best theses of that year. During 1999-2009, a total of 1,082 from 145 institu-

and Hubei were the top five positions, occupied 68 per cent of national best theses, while no awards went to Jiangxi, Guizhou, Xinjiang, Ningxia, and Tibet during the time period. As for institutional distributions, the top ten

Source: Zhou et al. 2011, p. 76.

were Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University,

the other hand, it is also particularly valued. As reported

University of Science and Technology of China, Nanjing

by Liu and Wang (2011, p. 143), the doctoral students at

University, Renmin University of China, Shanghai Jiaotong

Beijing Forestry University ranked supervision the second

University, and Xi’an Jiaotong University respectively with

most important factor in deciding their completion of

171, 85, 72, 48, 36, 30, 29, 25, 23, and 21 awards (Zhou et

studies, only behind their own professional foundations

al. 2011). Except for the national academy, all the higher

and research capacity.Their majority (84.4 per cent) were

education institutions are on the 985 Project list.

happy with the supervision they had received, while 13.5 per cent thought it was ‘just ok’, and only 2.0 per cent

Supervision

considered the supervision was not acceptable. Similarly, 89.7 per cent of them reported that their supervisors

In China, doctoral supervision is on one hand highly

attached much importance to their doctoral work, only

debated, especially over issues such as the most impor-

one per cent were negative. As for how often they met

tant qualities for good supervision and whether or not

their supervisors, 33 per cent answered ‘monthly’, 27.8

there is a Chinese way to supervise doctoral students. On

per cent ‘fortnightly’, and 25.8 per cent ‘weekly’, with 7.3

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Table 5: Increase of Doctoral Supervisors

per cent reported ‘twice a week’ and 6.3 per cent said they rarely met. A survey of three major research universi-

I

Year

ties by Luo et al. (2009) reported that 51.3 per cent of

Number of Supervisors

doctoral students met their supervisors at least fortnightly,

Doctoral Degrees Conferred

StudentSupervisor Ratio

while 18.6 had such meetings weekly. In terms of the fre-

1996

3478

5578

1.6

quency of supervision meetings between supervisors

1997

4149

6793

1.6

and students, there lacks clear disciplinary differentiation

1998

5067

8518

1.7

between social, natural and engineering sciences.

1999

5895

9593

1.6

2000

6919

11378

1.6

was still a common feeling among doctoral students that

2001

8049

13744

1.7

they did not have sufficient communication with their

2002

8772

14706

1.7

supervisors. The most cited complaints included over-

2003

10507

18625

1.8

generalised advices, group supervision without targeting

2004

12315

22936

1.9

2005

14874

28318

1.9

2006

17800

35628

2.0

However, frequency alone does not tell the entire story. Some studies based on in-depth interviews found that it

at their specific problems, and too much formality (W H Wang 2008). This echoes an earlier study at Tsinghua University, which found that 42.9 per cent doctoral students reported that their supervisors were not directing at their

Source: Li & Zhan 2008b, p. 14.

real issues, and 43.9 per cent complained about their supervisors’ unavailability (Jiang et al. 2005).According to

types of employment, career mobility, income, and career

another even earlier study conducted at Shanghai which

satisfaction (Auriol 2007).

further confirmed such findings, 40.9 per cent doctoral

In China, national surveys repeatedly confirm a general

students said their supervisors just ‘let things drift’ (Song

satisfaction of doctorate holders with their employment

& Zhang 2001, p. 3).

after doctoral studies, although with the seemingly ever-

However, unlike Australia where lack of emotional sup-

growing number of doctorates, their advantaged posi-

port and insufficient social interactions between supervi-

tion in the labour market will be challenged more in the

sors and students are commonly cited areas of discontent

years to come (Li et al. 2007). The majority of Chinese

by students (Leder 1995; Shannon 1995), national surveys

doctorate holders choose to work in higher education

find that while the assessment of doctoral supervisors was

and research institutions, in scientific and research-related

much poorer, positive response still reached 50 per cent

jobs, although as the Chinese society becomes more

(China’s Doctoral Education Quality Research Team 2010).

diversified, the proportion of those with doctorates work-

Yet, the situation could become worse in the years to come

ing in research and teaching environment in China has

as China has more and younger doctoral supervisors, as

declined, for example, from 77.7 per cent in 1996 to 46

indicated by Table 5.Younger supervisors have been widely

per cent in 2006 (Li & Zhan 2008b). Generally, there is a

reported to be more focused on their own research and

clear match between doctorate holders’ occupational ori-

publications rather than on their interactions with doctoral

entation and their actual choice-making behaviours (Zhao

students. Indeed, both their commitment and academic

& Deng 2011).

3

quality have been seriously questioned (Xu 2005).

In 2007, a survey of 31,251 respondents from 289 doctoral training institutions, 200 government organisations

Career

and over 100 enterprises showed that on average doctorate holders were promoted to associate and full professor

Since the 1970s, there have been some studies on career

levels at the age of 34.1 and 39.7. It also found evident

development of doctoral degree holders. Earlier research

gender impact on promotion: generally female doctorate

in the United States focused much on academic publica-

holders needed an extra of 7.2 months to become a full

tions and income (Clark & Centra 1982).There have since

professor. The average ages for Chinese doctorate hold-

been further studies in Europe (Mangematin et al. 2000)

ers’ first internationally indexed (Science Citation Index,

and Australia (Kubler & Western 2007). In 2004, OECD ini-

Engineering Index, Social Science Citation Index, and Art

tiated the Project on Careers of Doctorate Holders, which

& Humanities Citation Index) journal articles, first patents,

collected data from Australia, Canada, the United States,

and first research grants in a role of principal investigator

Switzerland, and Germany and used indicators including

were respectively 30.9, 33.2 and 33. Here, once again, it

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Up and coming?, Rui Yang

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took female doctorate holders an average of 2.4 months

nations. Indeed, despite of the relatively short history of

longer to reach the same level (Zhao et al. 2011).

development, China’s doctoral education has had some

Overall, the 2007 study showed clear advantages for doc-

tough problems to tackle. One serious issue is the afore-

torate holders to obtain professional promotions and gain

mentioned imbalances and disparities that could have far-

academic publications. It was also clear that the younger

reaching social and educational consequences, especially

when one received her/his doctorate, the more likely s/he

in terms of equity and justice. Another major issue is the

obtained professional promotions. It is particularly interest-

rampant academic corruption that has deeply penetrated

ing to note that the study revealed that while supervisors’

into China’s doctoral training, seriously affecting its qual-

academic reputation had clear impact on the age of their

ity and international reputation (Shen 2009).

students’ first academic publications, the impact on the

Both the growth and many problems China has echo

ages of their students’ to gain their promotions, patents and

much the international scenario (Pearson et al. 2008).The

research grants was minimal. This is because promotion

Chinese experience is particularly eye-catching for its up-

is mainly decided by length of service and research out-

and-coming positioning in the global doctoral education

puts. Only under special circumstances can one’s academic

landscape. In a society that becomes rapidly knowledge-

achievements lead to her/his accelerated promotion.

based and internationalised, China’s doctoral education

As reported by Zhao and Deng (2011), another study in

needs to respond well to evolving disciplinary practices,

2007 by the Chinese Academy for Science and Technology

industry interactions and the career goals of doctoral stu-

for Development revealed that the chosen occupational

dents. Although a borrowed concept, it has fostered some

categories related closely to their doctoral fields of study:

features of its own. It is interesting to see how further Chi-

those from the humanities and social sciences tended to

na’s doctoral education fares in an unprecedentedly keen

choose the teaching profession primarily (57 per cent);

global competition. While whether or not China’s doc-

those from science often selected basic research fields (20

toral education could live up to the nation’s high expecta-

per cent); while those from engineering favoured applied

tions remains uncertain, doctoral education definitely has

research, and technology development (57 per cent). It

a critical role to play in the rising Chinese power.

also found a high correlation between doctorate holders’ social backgrounds and their occupational choices.

Rui Yang is Associate Professor and Assistant Dean (Research Projects and Centres) at the Faculty of Education of the Uni-

Conclusions

versity of Hong Kong.

During the past four decades when doctoral education

Endnotes

experienced a variety of difficulties in many industrialised societies, China established its national system of academic degrees and postgraduate education, and developed it fast to become one of the largest in the world.This has been in line with China’s massive leap forward in higher education since the late 1990s and its ambitious bid for world-class universities within decades. Doctoral education has been strongly, and arguable strategically, promoted by the Chinese government.Today, China’s domestically trained doctorate holders have become a significant force of the nation’s research and innovation, contributing vigorously to economic construction and social development in the country. As part of China’s higher education, doctoral education shares features and characteristic of the wider national system. The above account has revealed tight control by the central government over doctoral education throughout the entire process of doctoral training. While the Chinese are catching up swiftly in doctoral training, they acknowledge the considerable gap between their achievements and those practiced in major Western

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Up and coming?, Rui Yang

1. China’s earliest practices in postgraduate education started in 1918 at nine research institutions in arts, science and law programmes at Peking University. Before the official establishment of a national system of academic degrees and postgraduate education, China also provided postgraduate education in the 1950s and 1960s (Xu 2005, pp. 47, 51). 2. Project 985 is under President Jiang Zemin’s call at the 100th anniversary of Peking University on 4 May 1998, and code-named after the date Year 98 Month 5. It aims to promote the development of Chinese universities to raise their influence and reputation in the world. To achieve this goal, the Chinese central and local governments have allocated large amount of funding to universities admitted into this project to develop new research centres, improve facilities, hold international conferences, attract world-renowned academic staff and visiting scholars, and to help Chinese academics attend conferences abroad. When it was first announced in 1998, funding was made available to Peking and Tsinghua Universities only and then to an elite group of 9 universities. By the end of the first phase of the project, 34 universities were sponsored. The second phase of the project added 5 more universities, making the total number of universities sponsored by the project to 39. It was announced in September 2007 that the project would not admit other universities. All the listed institutions are recognised as China’s most research-intensive universities. 3. In China, doctoral student supervisor is a prestigious title given by the central government to nationally leading scholars, based on their academic achievement (Gu, 1991). vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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Assessing international (post)graduate education A research agenda Tami Blumenfield Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, USA

Maresi Nerad University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

‘Internationalisation’ has become the new buzzword for universities around the world, with jointly offered degrees as well as smaller-scale exchanges for students. Despite this rapid expansion of international campuses and programmes, and the increasing acceptance and encouragement of international experiences for [post]graduate students, little comprehensive evaluative work has been done to assess their efficacy on a broad scale and to determine what types and models of international work can be most effective. The lack of reliable and comprehensive data is especially problematic for science and engineering fields, where academic staff anxieties about forming students into competent scientists often collide with enthusiasm for encouraging international collaborations. Questions of exactly what makes a competent, or excellent, scientist, and what may benefit the scientific domain, do not have easy – or agreed-upon – answers. This article assesses the current state of internationalisation and international experiences, focusing in particular on science and engineering fields. It discusses initial results from a workshop, sponsored by the US National Science Foundation and organised by the Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education at the University of Washington, to develop an interdisciplinary research agenda aimed at launching and coordinating empirically driven research on international graduate education. It concludes by identifying areas for future research.

radical – like replacing toilets with seatless models – but

Introduction

the rapid expansion of international education and the construction of entire campuses in other countries must

In their article for the 1995 volume of Australia Univer-

be beyond what they imagined.Today, internationalisation

sities’ Review on Postgraduate Studies and Postgraduate

of universities is the new buzzword. As Knight describes

pedagogy, Sid Morris and Wayne Hudson laid out a frame-

(2008), we now witness the internationalisation of higher

work for radically redefining international education in

education on a new level:

Australia by changing teaching methods, expanding languages of instruction and assignment submission, making university infrastructure more inclusive, and generally placing international students at the centre of educational innovation that should spread to Australian students as

‘The number of multilateral university networks for research, teaching and contract project work has exploded; new regional international education organisations have been established; countries are reviewing their national internationalisation strategies and programmes; and new policy actors such as immigration,

well. Sixteen years later, some of their ideas still sound

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vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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industry, trade are engaged and collaborating with education, foreign affairs, science and technology. The increase in volume, scope and scale of cross-border movement of education programmes (franchise, twinning, branch campus, etc.), and providers (commercial companies, non-government organisations, traditional universities), is unprecedented’ (Knight 2008, p. 10).

ated in 1997, also encourages international experience.

This unprecedented expansion of international educa-

work on global problems and in the process help their

tion has seen administrators in many countries scram-

In Europe, the ERASMUS Mundi and the Madame Curie programme support inter-European international education and career development. Individual university departments are also establishing international collaborations with programmes or laboratories from other nations to students and postdocs develop cultural expertise.

bling to sign memoranda of understanding and develop

Many universities – particularly those in Australia, New

joint or dual degree programmes (Berka 2011; Kuder &

Zealand, the UK, as well as some colleges in the US – derive

Obst 2009). International exchanges are becoming requi-

substantial operating income from the tuition and fees

site in many universities at the undergraduate level, and

paid by international students at the undergraduate level.

this trend is quickly extending into the graduate level as

For example, international students (at all levels) provided

well. Not only the physical location and movement of

14.9 per cent of the total income for Australian higher

people but also the nature of many scholars’ academic

education in 2009 (Marginson 2011). International experi-

work has changed dramatically. Over the last two dec-

ences for those beyond the undergraduate level are more

ades knowledge production has changed from Mode

costly, often require subsidisation, and therefore can be

1 research in which scientists solve disciplinary puz-

more difficult to fund. Despite the importance – especially

zles individually to Mode 2 production where research

in the context of shrinking national and regional budgets

occurs in multi-disciplinary, team-based groups who

– of showing accountability for these high expenditures,

tackle real world problems, working effectively in inter-

evidence about the value of international experiences in

national contexts, at the interfaces of academy/industry

graduate education remains largely anecdotal (Kirk 2008).

and academy/society, as well as in academia, industry,

After considering whether universities are becoming new

government, and non-profit sectors (Adams et al. 2007;

incarnations of multinational corporations, Daniel Denecke

Gibbons et al. 1994; Hicks et al. 2001; Nerad 2010; Stokes

of the Council of Graduate Schools concludes,‘Value prop-

1997). Developing a ‘collaborative advantage’ rather than

ositions underlying strategic decisions are not backed by

a ‘competitive advantage’ can be an important way to

evidence, [pointing to] a vital need for real outcomes data

build on the necessity of working together to solve com-

on the efficacy and value of international collaboration for

plex problems (Lynn & Salzman 2006).

students, research staff, and institutions’ (Denecke 2011).

The increased pressure to internationalise must be

Similarly, the Royal Society report on international scien-

seen in the context of globalisation. Governments have

tific collaboration emphasised that while collaborations are

followed the economic theories of the knowledge society:

vital and lead to many positive outcomes, ‘Little is under-

believing in the power of advanced education to spur eco-

stood about the dynamics of networking and the mobility

nomic growth and build national capacity, governments

of scientists, how these affect global science and how best

are allocating substantial funds to increase the research

to harness these networks to catalyse international collabo-

and development capacities of their countries (Nerad

ration’ (Royal Society 2011, p. 6). While international part-

2011). Indeed, ‘the preparation of the next generation

nerships are vital, significant questions remain.

of PhDs needs to include multi-cultural competencies in

An increasing push to demonstrate value is thus giving

order to be able to work collaboratively in international

new urgency to outcomes-based research on international

teams on solving societal problems in multi-national set-

educational experiences. This is particularly true for sci-

tings’ (Nerad 2011). Therefore, in recent years, interna-

ence and engineering fields, in which competition for

tional experiences for doctoral students have become

funding, limited time to degree, and concerns about the

sought after for both their general educational and career

intangible costs of international experiences (e.g., distrac-

preparation values. For instance, in the US the National

tion from primary research projects and delays to degree

Science Foundation (NSF) created a new programme in

caused by ‘cultural’ pursuits) force students and interna-

2005, Partnership for International Research and Edu-

tionally engaged academic staff alike to clearly demon-

cation (PIRE), that emphasises international exchange

strate the value of their international engagement.

experiences for US PhD students. The NSF-funded inno-

It is hoped that international experiences enhance

vative, interdisciplinary doctoral programme, Integrated

students’ knowledge acquisition and contribution to

Graduate Education, Research and Training (IGERT), cre-

research, prepare them for an increasingly international

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Assessing international (post)graduate education, Tami Blumenfield and Maresi Nerad

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employment market, and also establish a cosmopolitan

Among studies of international exchanges among doc-

mind set and revive awareness and obligation of civic

toral students and postdocs, some focus simply on mobil-

engagement. This includes the notion of a citizen who

ity (Ackers et al. 2008; Avveduto 2002;Verbik 2007), while

crosses national boundaries without seeking to assimilate

others examine postdocs as skilled migrants (Cantwell

and to homogenise, but instead to accept differences and

2009). Only a few examine productivity of international

embrace diversity (Guerin & Green 2009; Nerad 2009).

exchanges and the impact on scientific careers. Jöns’

But do and can these experiences fulfil the great expec-

study (2007) of academic mobility to Germany argues

tations that we have for them? This question has proven

that there are typical cultures of academic mobility and

exceedingly complicated to answer. It is to open a dis-

collaboration and that these can be partly explained by

cussion and to build a research agenda with the goal of

spatial relations specific to particular research practices.

assessing and evaluating international experiences that

This study suggests a way to conceptualise what kind of

we write this article. In part, it builds on the authors’ ear-

research would benefit most from international exchange.

lier work to begin dialogues in person through an inter-

It specifically addresses different kinds of international

national workshop supported by the US National Science

interactions and the impacts of these on publication.

Foundation and held in Washington, DC in February 2011.

Glänzel (2000) seeks to quantify the types and impacts of international scientific co-authorship relations in a multi-

Reviewing the literature: what do we know about international experiences of postgraduate students?

national comparison, as the recent Royal Society report (March 2011) has done too. Cantwell (2009) reveals the increasing reliance on international postdocs in academic production and examines the role of international

While detailed research into the exact benefits or hin-

mobility in careers of postdoctoral scientists. This kind of

drances to (post)graduate students undergoing inter-

research provides an empirically based starting point for

national training during their degree is yet incomplete,

thinking about how to maximise the career and scientific

studies of graduate students and even undergraduates

impact for scientists of international collaborations. Nerad

who study abroad may serve usefully as a base for this

(2011a) points to a new conceptual learning model that

new area of inquiry.They explore the role of international

includes international competences.

students in the hosting nation, the effect of mobility on

Assessments of specific programmes in terms of suc-

scientific careers and productivity, and the potential for

cess in training, research, and academic staff exchange

intercultural competence and existing studies of under-

offer useful starting points for research questions lead-

graduate exchange to better inform future research. Here

ing to generalisable results. The study of aspects of the

we review some key studies that can serve as models for

scientific process specific to international collaborations

further research.

and exchanges as well as their scientific impacts is still

Hans de Wit has discussed broad aspects of interna-

an emerging area of inquiry. Sisco and Reinhard (2007)

tionalisation in higher education, taking a historical and

focus their study on academic staff exchange, although

comparative perspective, in two wide-ranging books (de

from a business education context.The Stanford Research

Wit 2002; de Wit 2010). Douglass and Edelstein (2009)

Institute (2002) conducts research on the outcomes of

focus on the role of international students, urging poli-

Fulbright Scholar exchanges, and Universities UK (2009)

cymakers in the United States to pay more attention to

offers a more general overview of researcher mobility,

the strategic importance of international students; Nerad

although their scope is limited to Europe.

(2011a) has likewise pointed to missed opportunities to

Research on the impact of study abroad programmes for

draw on international students as resources for the entire

undergraduate students offers insight into factors impor-

university community. Studies that take the perspectives

tant in international exchange experiences for doctoral

of international students’ experiences in the United States

and postdoctoral students (Dwyer & Peters 2004; Martin,

are increasing, and these newer studies are differentiating

Bradford & Rohrlich 1995; Norris & Gillespie 2009), includ-

among international students, rather than treating them

ing possible negative impacts of international exchange

as one uniform group (e.g., Trice & Yoo 2007; Finley et al.

(Ryan & Twibell 2000). Gullahorn and Gullahorn (1996)

2007). Other studies look at more homogenous groups;

offers an especially useful starting point for characterising

for example, Japanese female students (Mayuzumi et al.

the specificity of the international exchange experience

2007; Yamamoto 1994) or Chinese women (Qin & Lykes

for graduate students because it compares outcomes in

2006) at US universities.

terms of professional and personal development among

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vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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a sample including both graduate and undergraduate stu-

Nerad et al. 2007). In the US, the existing Survey of Earned

dents. Undergraduates tend to experience more personal

Doctorates (SED) does not collect data on international

development gain, while doctoral students report direct

experiences. The Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR),

career benefits. A key lesson of this research is that it is

a subset of the SED, tracks career mobility, but does not

possible and useful to prepare for going abroad and for

allow linking careers to international experiences during

returning home, itself a difficult transition referred to as

doctoral education. The SDR, however, allows for analyses

‘reverse culture shock’ (Storti 1997).

of numbers of international collaborations as well as co-

Existing literature thus offers several models for

authorship with international researchers (Hogan et al.

studying the outcomes of international educational and

2010). The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and

research collaborations for doctoral and postdoctoral

Development (OECD) in collaboration with the Eurostat

students. One source of information is rooted in sub-

project on Careers of Doctorate Holders and the UNESCO

jectivity, including first-person accounts of experiences

Institute for Statistics completed in 2007 (and repeated

as well as scholarly investigations of identity, attitudes,

in 2010) the first survey on international career mobil-

and subjective evaluations. Occupying a key role in

ity of doctorate holders and reasons for mobility in seven

this category is intercultural competence. Defined as a

countries in Europe (http://www.oecd.org/sti/working-

complex concept that broadly deals with effective and

papers). This study is only available for selected European

appropriate

interactions

with those from different backgrounds, cultures, or perspectives

(Deardorff

2009), this capacity has long been understood as critical in business. Efforts to design more effective international

countries.

Postgraduate advisers themselves steered students from diverse cultural backgrounds and female students away from certain opportunities based on perceived fears, even when these perceptions were not matched by actual experiences

exchanges at the doctoral

Methods for measuring the contribution of international exchanges to the vitality of the US scientific enterprise and the quality of PhD graduates need to be developed and refined. Starting points are offered

and postdoctoral level may

by

evaluation

research

benefit from findings in this research area. It offers peda-

of NSF IGERT programmes with strong international

gogical tools and assessment instruments that might

components (Heg & Nerad 2004) and by studies in the

be adapted to purposes of evaluating the impacts of

sociology of science and studies of innovation that use

international exchanges for doctoral and postdoctoral

indicators such as publications and citations and exam-

students. Researchers and practitioners in the area of

ine scientific networks, such as the analyses of data from

intercultural sensitivity and competence offer examples

the SDR mentioned above. Evaluations and assessments

of widely used and tested training techniques, including

of particular programmes offer potential frameworks,

the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) which

methods, and instruments: for instance, Sadrozinski

has been tested for reliability and validity (Paige, Jacobs-

(2005) develops a framework for evaluating the educa-

Cassuto, Yershova & DeJaeghere 2003). In general, the

tional outcomes of international collaborations among

field of intercultural competence offers a diverse set

doctoral students. This framework uses participant

of research approaches and findings, which should be

observation, interviews, focus groups, and materials anal-

synthesised where relevant to the particular types of

ysis to evaluate international collaborations. The report

exchanges undertaken among early career research-

(Sadrozinski 2005, pp. 21-29) also includes interview

ers (e.g., Altshuler, Sussman, & Kachur 2003; Greenholz

protocols for academic staff and students over three

2000; Paige et al. 2003).Thus, one method of studying

phases and an online survey in the appendix, making it

the impact of international exchanges is to examine out-

a useful resource. Finally, Kirk (2008) reports on a NSF

comes in terms of intercultural competence; well-devel-

workshop intended to develop approaches for evaluat-

oped instruments for doing so exist already.

ing international science and engineering-related col-

A final approach is to document the career outcomes

laborations, beginning with an analysis of those funded

of students participating in international exchanges and

by NSF. The workshop suggested examining effects of

collaborations. This can be done by means of retrospec-

these collaborations on individuals, on institutions, and

tive surveys as the Center for Innovation and Research

on what the author termed the ‘knowledge environment

in Graduate Education (CIRGE) has done (Nerad 2009;

level,’ or quality of innovation and research (Kirk 2008, p.

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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4). More specific measures of scientific and technological skill acquisition, the area 2008 workshop participants struggled to define for assessment purposes, still await creation. Taken together, these various areas represent starting points for developing a more cohesive, long-term assessment on the value of international experiences at the postgraduate level.

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• What are the best ways to prepare students for international experiences? • What are the most effective international experiences… to students? To institutions? To international partners? What value do international experiences bring? • How can we measure effectiveness of international experiences? • How do international experiences affect ‘science’? Do they improve it, given the existence of different cul-

Convening an international, interdisciplinary workshop to develop a research agenda

tures of science and approaches to problem solving? • How can we maintain a focus on broader equity issues in all places – gender, ethnicity, class, nationality, and so on?

With financial support from a grant by NSF, an interna-

These themes guided the workshop design. Ten-

tional, interdisciplinary workshop was designed to stim-

minute igniting talks examined existing research and

ulate the research agenda setting on understanding the

shared participant experiences. ‘Perception lenses’ were

value added of international collaboration at the postgrad-

introduced to challenge participants to take unfamiliar

uate level. This workshop was motivated by the CIRGE

perspectives. Early career researchers presented skits to

emphasis on the research of institutional and educational

open conversations about the uneven aspects of inter-

challenges faced by interdisciplinary and increasingly

national collaborations and interdisciplinary encounters

international doctoral programmes and their evaluations,

(Breslow & Blumenfield 2011; Graybill & Shandas 2011).

as well as the commitment to contribute to the prepara-

And working groups developed responses to key ques-

tion of the next generation of researchers for leadership

tions articulated above, often by posing specific ques-

in a global and knowledge-based world. On the practi-

tions or sets of questions for further investigation. The

cal side, CIRGE researchers were inspired by their expe-

framework of identifying elements of research needed to

rience of establishing effective research communities of

understand aspects of international experiences at sev-

international experts in doctoral education and subse-

eral stages – before, during, and after these experiences

quent publications through the CIRGE series of interna-

took place – was explored.

tional research synthesis workshops (see CIRGE website, http://depts.washington.edu/cirgeweb/).

Workshop results

The programme was designed to (a) increase the mutual understanding of essential topics relevant to inves-

One important result of the workshop was coming to

tigating the impact of international collaborations at the

a consensus on key questions as priorities for further

(post) graduate level and beyond, (b) gather information

empirical research. During breakout group discussions

on what we know and should know about assessing inter-

and through discussions on the blog prior to the work-

national experiences and programmes, and (c) move col-

shop in Washington, DC, participants identified the fol-

lectively towards charting research directions for the next

lowing central research questions:

years. A series of short talks (10 minutes) helped ‘ignite’

1. Does international collaboration lead to better sci-

ideas about relevant research topics, ‘fuelled’ awareness

ence/scientists?

of important assessment aspects in international col-

2. Do current institutional and funding structures lead to

laborations, and ‘kept the flames burning’ to enable the

missed opportunities for international collaboration?

participants to identify potential collaborators for future research on international programmes and experiences. A simple conceptual framework was applied, exploring issues of collaboration and assessment before, during and after the international collaboration activity. Prior to the workshop, participants identified the following key concerns through a pre-workshop survey:

If so, how? 3. How can we assess institutional preparedness for international collaborations/experiences? 4. What are the expected outcomes and goals of international experiences/collaborations? How are they established? 5. What are the actual impacts, outcomes, and transforma-

• How can we maximise and measure global/intercultural

tion of the international experiences/collaborations?

competence (as we train students to be researchers)?

The following sections address preliminary efforts to

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pool knowledge regarding these questions and to further

and joint submission of grant proposals, was a constant

refine the questions into concrete research topics.

desire, but diversity-supporting elements like dependent

Planning for international collaboration: the institutional context

support and full inclusion of minority individuals were also priorities on the wish list.

One frequently voiced frustration by the research com-

Internationalisation ‘wish list’

munity is the challenge of obtaining funding for inter-

International collaboration opportunities should:

national collaborators, and the dangerous imbalance of

• Be constraint free: explore joint funding possibilities.

research relationships that could result from a US Con-

• Include increased programme support, funding travel,

gress-funded agency that restricted funding for foreign

personnel, associated research and stipends.

researchers. Timelines for international collaborative

• Fund supplies for offices and laboratory expenses.

work and the structure of doctoral student funding also

• Initiate reactivation transitions earlier: provide support

posed challenges: grants that limited the time to degree

resources for post-doc to return for careers, confer-

funded through the grant discouraged international ven-

ences, and other travel.

tures. For example, students funded for three years faced a

• Address institutional level-challenges: these challenges

ticking clock: adding an international component to their

are particularly acute in institutions facing a budget

research could lengthen their doctoral study period and

crunch, where staffing constraints prevent multiple

potentially extend this stage past the allowable funding

grant submission.

period. Furthermore, the outcomes of international expe-

• Consider missed opportunities: issues of reciprocity

riences should be studied over a longer term than most

relate to problems of under-funding. One person gave

grant evaluations allowed. Structurally, then, existing strict

an example of being picked up in a limo in China and

doctoral programme length in many fields poses barriers

generally being treated like a ‘star’ in other countries.

to international work and to assessing its outcomes.

The reception of international visitors to the US is often

In addition, racial and gender disparities are often magnified by international doctoral education opportunities

less resplendent.

sented a particularly important area of research focus. The

Examining length, timing, and characteristics of effective international experiences

precarious situation of early career researchers received

What length of international experience is most effec-

significant attention from workshop participants, and

tive, and when should the experience occur? Can mul-

models for expanding access to international opportuni-

tiple experiences occur, as preferred by the subjects of

ties without increasing inequalities demanded further

Avedduto (1998) (although they lacked the funding for

attention. Postgraduate advisers themselves steered stu-

multiple experiences)? One researcher emphasises, ‘The

dents from diverse cultural backgrounds and female stu-

greater the culture gap, the longer it may take for mean-

dents away from certain opportunities based on perceived

ingful understanding to develop’ (Bordia 2011). Most

fears, even when these perceptions were not matched by

likely, the answers to questions about duration will vary

actual experiences (Zippel 2011). For example, advisers

based on the goals and context of the particular situation.

discouraged some female students from going to Middle

There may be no single determinant of an ideal, one-size-

Eastern countries where women could face discrimina-

fits-all, length of an international experience. Maintaining

tion in public. These pervasive forms of discrimination

flexibility in the types and lengths of international experi-

should be carefully studied as the role of the postgradu-

ences may help make them more accessible to individuals

ate adviser continues to be crucial in the formation of stu-

with place-based obligations, including family commit-

dents. Compounding the problem, more men than women

ments and other career needs. Furthermore, how do vari-

receive unsolicited invitations to engage in international

ations in the type of international experience affect the

work by another institution. Zippel suggests that develop-

outcomes? It will be important to distinguish in evalua-

ing an application process for women to research abroad

tion research between individual student exchanges and

rather than requiring them to be selected by a mentor or

more complex research collaborations.

(Ackers et al. 2008; Hogan et al. 2010). Thus this area pre-

an academic staff person would help alleviate this disparity (Hogan et al. 2010).

Questions identified by working group members included:

A working group at the workshop developed a ‘wish

• What are the effects of increased Internet access on

list’ for making internationalisation more feasible. Funding,

international collaborations – will this prevent students

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from fully immersing themselves? (Or, conversely, will

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Figure 1: Shifting categorisations

this alleviate some problems of loneliness, etc., and family separation?) • What role can student support services play? Who will advise the student in a partner university? • How well are students integrated into the research community? • What is the role of the individual researcher vs. the institution? • What funding is available locally? • Are the communication channels between the institution, departments, and individuals fit for the purpose of the collaboration? • How much flexibility is allowable? During his presentation, Bordia (2011) explained that ‘effective collaborations have a scientific basis, complementary expertise, and appropriate facilities.’ He also emphasised that for students, having an assigned host is essential. Nagoya University social psychology professor Jiro Takai (2011) offered insights from psychology about fostering effective relationships between students from the host country and students from abroad, an important yet under-studied aspect of the international experience (cf. Nerad 2011a).After explaining that merely bringing groups into contact with each other has been largely discredited as an effective tool for cross-cultural understanding – proximity does not guarantee meaningful interaction – , he drew from social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner 1979) to suggest that optimal results would occur from changing the ways in which students identified. Since social identity theorists have established that groups (ingroups) work hard to assert their superiority over others (outgroups), the key to integrating diverse participants may be to redraw the lines of established groups (Figure 1). Takai’s work points to the potential for universities to draw on recategorisation, decategorisation, and subcategorisation to manipulate whether students identified as international students or whether new identities could be

Diagrams from ‘Cross-cultural Exchange: Intergroup or Intragroup?,’created by Jiro Takai (2011).

forged. These examples show that not merely the length of international experiences, but also the depth of integration into another research community, should be consid-

• What is the value of individual interdisciplinary skills compared with interdisciplinary team skills?

ered as assessments are developed.

• Is the international experience considered and valued

Assessing outcomes following international experiences and developing frameworks for outcomes assessments

• Is there a bias toward people who have engaged in col-

during career planning and job searches? laborative work? • Job opportunities, funding, and reward systems all influ-

Questions about assessing outcomes on an individual

ence potential outcomes. What forms of recognition

level (please consult Nerad & Blumenfield 2011 for addi-

result, if any?

tional questions about assessing outcomes on an institu-

The hope to find a universal framework for assessing

tional level):

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international experiences for postgraduate students and

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for early career researchers is understandable, but not

relationships. For example, one American university sent

realistic. Different lenses can be applied to approach the

several cohorts of doctoral students to collaborate with

finding of a framework. Different frameworks follow

community organisations in another country. However,

different questions. For example, one common question

the students lacked linguistic competence necessary to

would be,‘Does international work lead to better science?

pursue research independently, and overlooked the neces-

Does it form a better scientist?’ An evaluation looking to

sary aspects of nurturing a mutually beneficial long-term

answer these questions would need to first clarify the pro-

relationship. This led to an earlier-than-anticipated end to

gramme objectives and then build an assessment tailored

productive collaboration. One university administrator in

to those objectives. Tools drawing from the intercultural

South Africa described US universities knocking on her

communications field are seldom field-specific. A model

door and assessed them as interested in ‘exotic plants,

from the Engineering Cultures China / Global Hub con-

exotic minerals, and exotic people.’ But, she added, ‘we are

sortium combines disciplinary-specific knowledge (engi-

not exotic, and we are increasingly not interested.’

neering) with intercultural competence training (Jesiek & Beddoes 2010). This programme included several train-

Summary and recommendations

ing modules and several online assessment modules. The flexibility of this tool meant that students could complete

In this article we reviewed recent literature that is useful

assessments during their international engineering intern-

for approaching research on assessing international (post)

ships in China as well as during the training and after the

graduate education and collaboration. We found that the

programme completion.

existing publications focus more on the undergraduate

The

number

of

high-quality, programme-specific

level of international exchanges than the postgraduate

assessments of international experiences for postgradu-

one. At the postgraduate level the focus is on the mobility

ate students is growing. Now, programme directors and

of doctorates, especially within Europe, and on joint publi-

responsible academic staff need to carefully consider how

cations and creation of international networks. We found

to pool this information to contribute to a larger under-

that the intercultural competencies concept offers much

standing of promising practices in international research

for future research at the postgraduate level, and that

and education. Longitudinal, multi-country studies should

insights from intergroup psychology play an additional

be coordinated and supported by national (or interna-

role in building understanding. We also found that atten-

tional) funding agencies. Assessments should be robust,

tion to the effects of international experiences for magni-

incorporating quantitative and qualitative approaches;

fying or minimising inequalities should be an important

they should also be balanced between formative and sum-

component of future research. We further reported from

mative assessment (Pfotenhauer 2010); and they should

findings of an international, interdisciplinary workshop

take advantage of creative assessment tools like data-

on the topic of developing a research agenda for assessing

driven storytelling (Macklin 2011). Assessments should

international postgraduate education and collaboration.

not rely entirely on student self-report, but should gather information from multiple perspectives. For example, host

Results

country collaborators, international student colleagues,

No single uniform conceptual framework will be able to

employers, advisors, and same-university colleagues could

move this nascent field forward. Rather multiple lenses,

all be well-positioned to provide insight into how well

qualitative and quantitative methods, and the multitude

individuals achieved certain outcomes. Depending on

of stakeholders need to be considered. Only with many-

the outcomes to be measured, additional people or units

faceted, complex case studies with mixed methods will

could be included as well.

we arrive at a comprehensive understanding of whether

Examining relationships resulting from international

value has been added to postgraduate education and

research experiences can provide a helpful tool for assess-

research through international experiences and collabo-

ment. Shawn Wilson, author of Research Is Ceremony:

ration or not. Such assessment research will approach

Indigenous Research Methods (2009), emphasises that rela-

studies with a framework of before, during and after the

tionships resulting from the research process, in addition to

international activity, and will distinguish between the

research results themselves, should be highly valued. Writ-

individual or institutional level of analysis and the contri-

ing from the perspective of an indigenous researcher, he

bution to the advancement of science and knowledge per

notes that many attempts at cross-border research fail or

se. Future research will pay attention to gender and race

falter because insufficient attention is paid to interpersonal

issues within international collaboration and to the rel-

vol. 54, no. 1, 2012

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Figure 2: Thinking through Inclusivity

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English language venues. Finally, paying careful attention

Thinking through Inclusivity: Considerations for Before, During and After International Encounters

to the changing carrots and sticks used by universities,

Before:

reform and recalibrate their higher education systems

Inclusiveness can be defined through six terms: gender, ethnicity, geography networks, backgrounds, discipline, institution, bilateral and multilateral programmes, and structure (partnerships and exchanges). How accessible are programmes? Who applies? What is the number of students? Are programmes individual-based, or group-based? What are the potential missed opportunities? Are the programmes transparent? How can IGERT programmes become more inclusive? During: How structured is the programme? Are there mentorship programmes? An effective programme will offer support services for all participants; its infrastructure will encourage integration and provide a community base. After: Questions about inclusivity must be posed: Did it break apart biases? For whom? At what level?

often at the behest of national governments, as countries (e.g., research assessment exercises of the sort recently revamped in Australia (cf.AUR 53:1)), and noting how they affect international collaborations of both junior scholars and postgraduate students, will be critical. We close with a call for collaborators.We hope that this important research agenda may attract new participants and foster connections among those already engaged in similar work. Tami Blumenfield is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, and a specialist in Chinese studies. Maresi Nerad is associate professor of higher education and director of the Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Acknowledgments

evance of length of exchanges or visits to other countries

We would like to thank the US National Science Founda-

and cultures. Future research needs to be particularly alert

tion for funding the grant proposal, Investigating the Inter-

to national funding structures and whether these facilitate

national Experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering

or hinder international national collaborations.

and Mathematics (STEM) Graduate Education and Beyond:

Figure 2 provides an example using the structuring

From Anecdotal to Empirical Evidence (#105029).We also

framework of before, during, after and applying it to the

thank the February 2011 workshop participants for their

issue of inclusiveness.

ongoing engagement with this work.

Recommendations

Endnote

We recommend that national and international funding agencies support, coordinate and pool emerging cases of

Throughout this article, the term ‘academic staff’ is used

individual institution’s assessment studies to help build

to describe research professors and other teaching staff,

a comprehensive understanding of the values of interna-

often those who supervise students. Its equivalent term in

tional engagement and provide critical evidence for the

North American usage is ‘faculty.’

justification of resources allocated to them. We recommend that any new collaborations build elements into international experiences that maximise institutional rewards and support diverse students and researchers, creating a more reciprocal and equitable endeavour. To accomplish these goals will require efforts beyond that which a single research institute in any one nation can muster. It will also require that research results pay attention to ongoing asymmetries in academic knowledge production. Existing measures of international collaboration like citation indices, currently reliant on only Englishlanguage publications, need to be updated in order to accurately reflect the scale and scope of collaboration, and to adequately reward scholars for publishing in non-

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A new era for research education in Australia? Helene Marsh James Cook University, Queensland

Bradley Smith James Cook University, Queensland

Max King Monash University, Victoria

Terry Evans Deakin University, Victoria

Use of the Australian research assessment exercise, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) to influence the policy and practice of research education in Australia will undoubtedly have many consequences, some of them unintended and potentially deleterious. ERA is a retrospective measure of research quality; research education is prospective. There is a lack of alignment between the 2- and especially the 4- digit Fields of Research used for ERA and university organisational units. While numerous Fields of Research were rated as world class in multiple institutions in the capital cities of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, the other states and regional Australia have significant gaps. The Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Medical (STEM) fields were generally rated higher than the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) disciplines. Thus using ERA results to allocate higher degree by research places will have highly variable consequences in different disciplines and locations, given the obstacles to the mobility of the largely mature-aged doctoral cohort and the forecast impending academic skills shortage. ERA provides an incentive for Australian academics to eschew publishing in low impact journals and is likely to disadvantage some research students for whom co-authorship in a lower impact journal is more advantageous than no publication. There are many ways in which ERA results could be used to improve the quality of research education in Australia. Nonetheless, simplistically limiting doctoral education to Fields of Research where an institution scored at or better than national or world averages in ERA is unlikely to be in the national interest because our future research and academic workforce needs to be well prepared to operate across the nation in areas of emerging research, including cross-disciplinary and applied research.

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) is designed to

(RQF) (DEST 2005); an initiative prompted by political

provide a comprehensive review of the quality of research

scepticism about the claims/assertions that universities

undertaken in Australian higher education institutions at

made about the value of and returns on national invest-

regular intervals. The first ERA was conducted in 2010

ment in research. In implementing ERA, Australia follows

(Australian Research Council 2011a), the second will be

several other countries, including the United Kingdom

conducted in 2012 and the third is planned for 2016.

(RAE 2008), New Zealand (PBRF 2012), Hong Kong

ERA was a successor to the Research Quality Framework

(French, Massy & Young 2001), which have conducted

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