Daring the Doctorate: The Journey at Mid-Career

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9781610486941: Daring the Doctorate: The Journey at Mid-Career
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One of the best kept secrets about doctoral education is the large proportion of students who are mid-career. Yet, few researchers focus on these students. Daring the Doctorate is the first major work to address the life circumstances of these mid-career doctoral students. Based on the experiences of fifteen successful graduates, the author develops perspectives and frameworks to assist those contemplating doctoral study, as well as faculty and staff advisors and even recent graduates who wonder whether only they found the road to graduation so complicated.

In this thorough guide to the doctorate degree, study participants speak freely about their reasons for pursuing doctorates, as well as the financial, personal, intellectual and professional challenges they faced. Their circumstances reflect a variety of situations: single, married and partnered; some mothers and fathers; male and female; some as young as twenty-six, and others approaching their middle ages. We learn about their passion for learning, about guilt and isolation, the time pressures, the exhilaration, and key supporting roles played by family, peers, advisors, mentors, Wizards and Guardians. We come away with a profound appreciation of the courage and tenacity of these talented individuals and a better understanding of how to help others like them succeed.

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About the Author:

An associate professor in the Higher Education & Student Affairs Program at The Ohio State University since 1992 (now Emeritus), Ada Demb has supervised twenty-one doctoral students to completion and has taught courses about strategy and leadership, academic affairs, internationalization, and technology. She earned her Ed.D. at Harvard University. For more than thirty years, she has focused on the policies, procedures, and structures that affect human behavior in organizations. This is her fourth book.

Review:

This book is essential reading for faculty who teach doctoral students, administrators at institutions with doctoral programs and people who are considering becoming doctoral students. I have taught doctoral students for nearly 20 years and this book provided me with an education I wish I had two decades ago. (Arthur Levine, PhD, President, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation)

This book captures the essence of the mid-career doctoral experience, including its challenges and epiphanies. It describes the journey in context of a tapestry of support systems that are indispensable for successfully reaching the goal. I wish this book had been published while I was living the experience; it would have served as an invaluable compass. (Jacqueline Loversidge, Director of The Transformational Learning Academy in Nursing & Health, The Ohio State University College of Nursing)

Dr. Demb skillfully integrates statistics, theory, and student narratives to construct an amazingly accurate portrayal of the experiences of mid-career doctoral students. The risks and challenges associated with pursuing an advanced degree at this pivotal period in one’s life have been largely neglected in adult learning literature and Demb expertly fills this void. This book is a must read for midcareer professionals considering doctoral study, as well as those currently in pursuit of doctoral degrees and their faculty advisors. (Colleen McDonough, Academic Advisor, Michigan State University, College of Engineering, Chair, Doctoral Student Interest Group, NACADA (National Academic Advising Association))

This significant book shows the experiences of midcareer professionals who return to graduate school to obtain their doctorates. It follows their hesitations, challenges, coping strategies, satisfactions and triumphs through the voices of a talented group of professionals as they become researchers and scholars. The book is full of insights, perspectives, and practical advice that would be helpful to anyone contemplating a similar goal. Perhaps its greatest contribution is the description of the internal and external changes the doctorate makes in the lives of these lively people. (Leonard Baird, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University, and Former Editor, The Journal of Higher Education (1994-2010))

Demb takes us skillfully into the "living room" of the mid-career doctoral student experience. In this very personal epicenter, a perfect storm of constraints and supports are brought into view. Here we see students negotiating egos, hierarchy, politics, time away from spouses and children, demanding work roles, and their own commitment and recommitment to the goal of achieving their doctorate. We also see them putting in sweat equity, taking risks, learning deeply, proving themselves and breaking through to the other side of issues. Daring the Doctorate takes us inside this mostly unmapped territory. She listens deeply to student voices and stories, reveals paradoxes, frames these lived experiences with relevant theory, and provides insightful recommendations for both students and for faculty. (KerryAnn O’Meara, Associate Professor of Higher Education, University of Maryland and Associate Editor of the Journal of the Professoriate)

This book is beneficial for academic advisors that are considering doctoral studies. The experiences, perspectives, and stories shared in this book provide a deeper understanding of the various pathways during the journey to a doctorate for prospective doctorate students in education. (NACADA Journal)

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