Transforming doctoral education: preparing multidimensional and adaptive scholars Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose Concerning trends in graduate education, such as high attrition and underdeveloped skills, drive toward a new doctoral education approach. This paper aims to describe and propose a transformative doctoral education model (TDEM), incorporating elements that potentially address these challenges and expand the current practice. The model envisions discipline-specific knowledge coupled with a broader interdisciplinary perspective and addresses the transferable skills necessary to successfully navigate an ever-changing workforce and global landscape. The overarching goal of TDEM is to transform the doctoral student into a multi-dimensional and adaptive scholar, so the students of today can effectively and meaningfully solve the problems of tomorrow. Design/methodology/approach The foundation of TDEM is transformative learning theory, supporting the notion learner transformation occurs throughout the doctoral educational experience. Findings Current global doctoral education models and literature were reviewed. These findings informed the new TDEM. Practical implications Designed as a customizable framework for learner-centered doctoral education, TDEM promotes a mentor network on and off-campus, interdisciplinarity and agile career scope preparedness. Social implications Within the TDEM framework, doctoral students develop valuable knowledge and transferable skills. These developments increase doctoral student career adaptability and preparedness, as well as enables graduates to appropriately respond to global and societal complex problems. Originality/value This proposed doctoral education framework was formulated through a review of the literature and experiences with curricular design and pedagogical practices at a research-intensive universitys teaching and learning center. TDEM answers the call to develop frameworks that address issues in doctoral education and present a flexible and more personalized training. TDEM encourages doctoral student transformation into adaptive, forward-thinking scholars and thriving in an ever-changing workforce.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Patterson, C. A., Chang, C., Lavadia, C. N., Pardo, M. L., Fowler, D. A., & Butler-Purry, K.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Patterson, Clinton A||Chang, Chi-Ning||Lavadia, Courtney N||Pardo, Marta L||Fowler, Debra A||Butler-Purry, Karen

publication date

  • August 2020