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Title:Formation of scholars: socialization of doctoral students of color in one summer program
Author(s):Congleton, Randi Michelle
Director of Research:Haas Dyson, Anne
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Haas Dyson, Anne
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Baber, Lorenzo; George- Jackson, Casey; Zamani-Gallaher, Eboni; Zerai, Assata
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Graduate students of color
Graduate education
Summer programs
Abstract:This case study examines socialization to and through the first-year for new doctoral students of color through the lens of a summer transition program for these students. The first year of graduate study remains an important focus of research for addressing challenges in the socialization to and through PhD programs. Forty to seventy per cent of all students leave their doctoral program; and up to 40% of those exit within the first year (Gardner, 2009). As such, a focus on the challenges of acclimating to graduate life and subsequent improvement strategies during students’ first year is warranted. Recent work points to the role of graduate student centers and equity administrators in the recruitment and retention of students of color (Baber, 2015; Griffin & Muniz, 2011; Mastroieni, 2014). Through recruitment initiatives, many students of color engage in programs (e.g., conferences, graduate school fairs, and institution-sponsored recruitment weekends) aimed at assisting them through the application process and helping them to develop a connection at the university of their graduate study (Griffin & Muniz, 2011). The Summer Doctoral Transition Initiative (SDTI) at Mid-West State University (MSU) is a summer orientation program that provides a 9-week orientation to graduate school life and seeks to address many of the transition challenges faced by doctoral students of color at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). Moving beyond studies that analyze the preparation for graduate school and support enacted once a degree program formally begins in the fall, this study adds to the socialization literature for doctoral students of color by closely examining a university-wide summer program for doctoral students of color. In particular, this work examines the experiences and perceptions of the 2014 cohort of students—the cohort to most recently complete their first year of study. Utilizing Weidman, Twale, and Stein's (2006) Graduate Student Socialization theory as a framework, this study sheds light on the history and evolution of the SDTI program, analyzes the role of SDTI in the socialization of doctoral students of color to and through the first year, and examines the ways students are acclimated to the values, expectations, and culture of graduate education. To this end, case study interviews of 17 students, 6 staff members, and 3 faculty members were conducted over a 5 month period. Analysis of program documents occurred over a 5 month period. Findings suggest that how faculty and staff view SDTI influences the ways in which the program is carried out. Staff utilized the program as a conduit to pass on information, especially that related to the hidden curriculum in graduate education. Faculty and staff both saw SDTI as an opportunity for students to build a network or community of peers to support each other. Findings suggest that prior to the summer, students perceived that interaction with faculty would be high; however, experiences among Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Social Science, Humanities, Education, and Business (SHEB) students varied. In thinking about impact, students in the program reported experiencing a shift in many forms of identity that challenged who they thought they were, and how they negotiated the new environment and academic space. As students reflected on their journey during the first year of study, they discussed the importance of having peers who understood the doctoral journey and that the support they received could mean the difference between leaving and staying. While not all students felt that they developed a strong sense of community, all student participants reported appreciating their time in the program and enjoyed positive outcomes as a result. Recommendations and implications are offered for the institution, SDTI, and the field as a whole.
Issue Date:2017-03-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Randi Congleton
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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