A Silent Success: Master's Education in the United States

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9780801845086: A Silent Success: Master's Education in the United States
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Master's degrees have often been relegated to "second-class" or "consolation prize" status by administrators and faculty in higher education. But the first major study of master's education in more than thirty years recently made headlines by calling the degree the "silent success" of American higher education. In a lead editorial about the study, the Washington Post agreed that the master's degree is "academia's secret weapon" and an important "bridge to the rest of the world."
In A Silent Success, Clifton Conrad, Jennifer Grant Haworth, and Susan Bolyard Millar present the results of their ground-breaking study of master's education in the United States. Basing their discussion on interviews with nearly 800 people in a variety of fields, the authors identify key decisions that shape master's experiences and develop a typology of master's programs. In doing so, they establish the surprising extent to which students, program alumni, faculty, and employers value master's education. They find widespread agreement about the positive outcomes of master's education: refined analytical skills, "big picture" perspectives, connections between theory and practice, and improved communication and professional skills.
A Silent Success concludes with a discussion of the characteristics of high-quality programs and with specific recommendations for strengthening master's education. The authors urge administrators to recognize the importance of master's education and terminal master's programs. They call on state and federal policymakers to provide greater financial support for master's students - particularly in fields such as nursing, education, and environmental studies. They encourage employers to provide flexible and supportive leave policies, as well as strong financial and in-house support. Finally, they invite students themselves to shape their master's experiences by joining student organizations, organizing colloquia, and nurturing collaborative learning experiences.

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"Proclaims master's degree programs `the silent success' of higher education. From business to nursing, from theater management to urban affairs, master's degree recipients interviewed in the study said the degree had pleased them intellectually, pleased their employers, improved their salaries and made them more employable... Why haven't the universities, hard-pressed for good news, made more of this?" -- Washington Post



"The most wide-ranging work on the master's degree in more than 30 years." -- Debra F. Blum, Chronicle of Higher Education



"The study's findings contradict conventional wisdom about the degree. Rather than being a `consolation prize' to students who don't want to pursue a doctorate degree, the master's degree is actually considered a professional degree valued not only by recipients but employers as well, the results showed." -- College Press Service



"An excellent volume on the master's degree and understanding master's level education in the United States." -- International Admissions Bibliography



"Utilizing a survey and interviewing instrument, Conrad, et al. examine hundreds of institutions where the master's is either terminal, en route to the doctorate, or professional." -- Jean-Pierre V. M. Herubel, Libraries and Culture



"Concludes that master's programs appear to be remarkably successful with stakeholders expressing a high degree of esteem for the programs." -- Resources in Education

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