Envisioning the Future of Doctoral Education: Preparing Stewards of the Discipline
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The development of students as “stewards of the discipline” should be the purpose of doctoral education.  A steward is a scholar in the fullest sense of the term—someone who can imaginatively generate new knowledge, critically conserve valuable and useful ideas, and responsibly transform those understandings through writing, teaching, and application. Stewardship also has an ethical and moral dimension; it is a role that transcends a collection of accomplishments and skills. A steward is someone to whom the vigor, quality, and integrity of the field can be entrusted. The most important period of a steward’s formation occurs during formal doctoral education.

  Envisioning the Future of Doctoral Education is a collection of essays commissioned for the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate. The question posed to the essayists in this volume was, “If you could start de novo, what would be the best way to structure doctoral education in your field to prepare stewards of the discipline?” The authors of the essays are respected thinkers, researchers, and scholars who are experienced with and thoughtful about doctoral education.



Chris M. Golde is a senior scholar at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where she is research director for the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate.

George E. Walker is a senior scholar at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where he directs the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate.


The Authors.

PART ONE: Introduction.

1. Preparing Stewards of the Discipline (Chris M. Golde).

PART TWO: Commentaries.

2. Who Should Do What: Implications for Institutional and National Leaders (Kenneth Prewitt).

3. Vectors of Change (David Damrosch).

4. Heeding the Voices of Graduate Students and Postdocs (Crispin Taylor).

PART THREE: The Essays.

5. Unmasking Uncertainties and Embracing Contradictions: Graduate Education in the Sciences (Yehuda Elkana).

Doctoral Education in Mathematics.

6. Developing Scholars and Professionals: The Case of Mathematics (Hyman Bass).

7. A Time for Change? The Mathematics Doctorate (Tony F. Chan).

Doctoral Education in Chemistry.

8. Time for Reform? (Alvin L. Kwiram).

9. Developing Breadth and Depth of Knowledge: The Doctorate in Chemistry (Ronald Breslow).

10. Training Future Leaders (Angelica M. Stacy).

Doctoral Education in Neuroscience.

11. Maintaining Vitality Through Change: Graduate Education in Neuroscience (Zach W. Hall).

12. The Challenges of Multidisciplinarity: Neuroscience and the Doctorate (Steven E. Hyman).

Doctoral Education in Education.

13. Stewards of a Field, Stewards of an Enterprise: The Doctorate in Education (Virginia Richardson).

14. Toward a Future as Rich as Our Past (David C. Berliner).

Doctoral Education in History.

15. Expanding the Domain of History (Thomas Bender).

16. Historians, the Historical Forces They Have Fostered, and the Doctorate in History (Joyce Appleby).

17. Getting Ready to Do History (William Cronon).

Doctoral Education in English.

18. Rethinking the Ph.D. in English (Andrea Abernethy Lunsford).

19. Toward a New Consensus: The Ph.D. in English (Gerald Graff).

20. Words and Responsibilities: Graduate Education and the Humanities (Catharine R. Stimpson).

PART FOUR: Conclusion.

21. The Questions in the Back of the Book (George E. Walker).

Name Index.

Subject Index.


"Anyone who cares about the next generation of the professoriate must read this book! Its thesis—that Ph.D.'s are "stewards of their disciplines" as well as experts in their field—produces insightful essays with critiques of current doctoral education and suggestions for change. Walker's four-step approach outlines the way departments can redesign doctoral education to enhance both professional expertise and the 'stewardship' of future Ph.D.'s."
--Katharine Lyall, president emeritus, University of Wisconsin System

"It has been 102 years since William James described doctoral education as 'the Ph.D. octopus.' Calls for reform have come repeatedly in the intervening years, but none, regrettably, have evaluated the problem and sought solutions by working with and through disciplines and departments. This book proposes ways to do just that by suggesting goals for making the doctoral experience more meaningful to those who deliver it and those who receive it."
--Donald Kennedy, president emeritus, Stanford University, and editor-in-chief, Science magazine

"The doctorate must be regarded as a great success story in American education, and yet it is continuously being subjected to serious questioning, if not outright condemnation. Maybe it is too important not to be constantly subject to efforts to improve it. Maybe the questioning is truly an expression of the spirit that should infuse doctoral education--the spirit of questioning, of skepticism. Maybe the current wave of questioning is another indication that we are living in times of great change--as of course we are. The Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID) is a notable effort in terms of the truly fundamental questions that drive its conception--questions ranging from what constitutes knowledge in the discipline, to what it really is that the students will need from their doctorates to enter professional lives based on it, to the importance of stewardship of the discipline both in intellectual and moral terms. In this volume of essays, commissioned for the CID, the authors focus on these questions and offer suggestions to guide thoughtful reform."
--Nils Hasselmo, president, Association of American Universities