Framing doctoral pedagogy as design and action: Susan Danby and Alison Lee
In the last forty years or so, the doctorate has moved from a small, elite endeavour, designed primarily to replenish an academic-disciplinary workforce, to a strong and growing international enterprise and market. There is a growing momentum of international debate about the future and shape of the doctorate, which is rapidly expanding and diversifying. In Australia, as in many European countries and in the UK, numbers almost doubled in a ten-year period. In the USA, there are more than 40,000 doctoral graduates each year. China, India, South East Asia and countries in South America and Africa are developing doctoral education programs at a rapid pace as part of plans for economic growth (Cyranoski et al., 2011). This expansion is associated with the doctorate’s strong connection to policy rationalities associated with a globalised ‘knowledge economy’, where doctoral education is understood as producing knowledge workers to replenish national or regional innovation systems and develop human capital in knowledge industries (Callejo Pérez et al., 2011). Along with the increasing numbers of doctoral students have come policies and regulations designed to maintain and improve the quality of doctoral programs, to increase efficiency in completions, reduce attrition and enhance the relevance of doctoral education to the needs of industry and the professions, as well as to the university sector. Furthermore, developments in bringing doctoral qualifications into ‘harmony’ across the boundaries of national systems, such as the Bologna Process in Europe, have engendered the need for greater visibility, explicitness and comparability of forms of provision. These developments have, in general, shifted the nature and status of doctoral work from largely private and implicit forms of one-to-one practice to more public and debatable ones. Alongside the interest in explicitness and structure has been expansion and diversification of the demands of the doctorate to deliver an expanded range of outcomes (Bitusikova, 2009). A key element of these developments is the move, across national systems, to describe and to develop ‘generic capabilities’ in doctoral graduates, in addition to disciplinary knowledge and expertise. These pressures create tensions within disciplinary communities in relation to
the specific knowledge and expertise required and gained through undertaking a doctorate in a particular discipline or specialist field, and impact on the capacity to engage in inter-and transdisciplinary research work.