Doctor of Philosophy
Robin Hurst, Ed.D.
THE ROLE OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES, SUPPORTS AND BARRIERS FOR THE DOCTORAL STUDENT
By Madeline B. Goldman, DDS, MEd
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Virginia Commonwealth University, 2018
Major Director: Robin Hurst, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning
This study seeks to understand the role of career development classes offered by the graduate school at a large public research university as part of its Leadership and Entrepreneurs for Professional Development (LEAPD) program and the LEAPD program effects on doctoral students’ career development and choices. The study also aims to understand the contextual influences on doctoral students, specifically the perceived supports and barriers that influence their career choices. The study’s goal in understanding these issues is to discover how the LEAPD courses impact these students as well as identify perceived supports and barriers in career development for doctoral students. The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) serves as a theoretical foundation for the study. This qualitative interview study involved students from different STEM programs at the doctoral level. Results of this study showed that the LEAPD program raised the career development confidence and inferred self-efficacy of these students. Furthermore, performance accomplishments were a significant factor in the persistence of these students to the doctoral level. Teachers and professors were most frequently reported as sources of support for these doctoral students, and the presence of supports seemed to minimize barrier perceptions.
Keywords: doctoral students, career development, learning experiences, SCCT, supports, barriers, performance accomplishments, vicarious learning, teacher support, STEM
© Madeline B Goldman
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