Doctoral competencies and graduate research education: focus and fit with the knowledge economy?
Buckley, Finian and Brogan, John and Flynn, Jason and Monks, Kathy and Hogan, Teresa and Alexopoulos, Angelos (2009) Doctoral competencies and graduate research education: focus and fit with the knowledge economy? LInK Working Paper Series. (Paper No. 01-09). The Learning, Innovation and Knowledge Research Centre, Dublin City University, Ireland.
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The paper considers the evidence on the types of skills and abilities that are needed by doctoral students. In particular, it examines whether doctoral competencies can be
differentiated from general undergraduate/postgraduate-level competencies and whether employers value the skills and abilities that doctoral graduates bring to work organisations. Surprisingly, given the cost of fourth level education, there is a dearth
of existing work regarding graduate and doctoral students’ experiences (Cryer, 1997). In addition, where lists of doctoral competencies are proposed, there is little evidence
of a theoretical or empirical basis for the choice of these competencies, and the lists appear to have emerged through a process of speculation, or the prior experience of
students and faculty, rather than through any coherent analysis. Many commentators (Allen, 2002; Park, 2005; Mitchell, 2007) consider that PhD and other doctoral
programmes must adapt and become more flexible, as students’ requirements and preferences change and that the personal skills and attributes that a doctoral student
possesses are as important as any specialist knowledge or skills. The paper suggests that current conceptualisations of doctoral competencies are inadequate and puts
forward a model to reframe the way in which these competencies are understood and labelled. The paper has implications for the education and training of doctoral
students and for the graduate research education programmes (GREPS) that are emerging as part of the reconceptualisation of graduate education.
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