Doctoral Student Agency

Organizational Influences

These papers examine the specific ways in which departments influence graduate student agency in career advancement. In order to deepen understanding of the kinds of agency departments might influence, we also examine the agentic perspectives and actions exhibited by graduate students. We utilized quantitative (survey) data from two research institutions to understand the extent of graduate student agentic perspectives and actions but then emphasized qualitative data (in the form of interviews) to understand how departments enhanced graduate student agency in career advancement. We also considered the role of gender and race and ethnicity in graduate student experiences of agency and support for it.


 

Published Studies

The Influence of Race/Ethnicity on Agency in Doctoral Student Career Choice.

Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.

By Design: How departments influence graduate student agency in career advancement.

International Journal of Doctoral Studies. 9, 155-179.

This mixed methods study explored how departments enhanced graduate student agency in career advancement for doctoral students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Departments positively influenced graduate student agency by (1) encouraging and legitimizing multiple career paths, (2) providing structured opportunities for students to practice skills and experience different work environments, (3) providing resources (financial support and information), (4) facilitating networking, and (5) offering mentoring and guidance. Because agency in career advancement is important to students’ motivation, completion, and career placement, departments should consider implementing concrete strategies to support graduate student agency.

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