Over and over, studies have concluded that the doctoral experience is a monumental challenge in higher education, particularly for women. This book, Women Scholars: Navigating the Doctoral Journey, provides an enlightening ethnographic look at women and their doctoral developmental experiences. The book’s aim is to empower women to be able to contextualize their experience while also offering support and inspiring readers to consider alternative ways to successfully approach the doctoral process. Women anticipating and entering the life of academia will benefit from the voices and experiences shared by the women scholars in this book.
The essay writers in this volume offer an examination of critical incidents in their doctoral experiences and offer strategies they have found helpful in managing those incidents. The book also addresses challenges presented by the transition from doctoral study to post-doc employment. The volume presents 46 essays from 40 women representing a range of ages, ethnicities, academic disciplines, sexual orientations, family circumstances, and family educational histories. Their stories are told in five stages:
Stage 1: Preadmission to Enrollment
Stage 2: First Year of Program
Stage 3: Second Year Through Candidacy
Stage 4: The Dissertation Stage
Stage 5: Completion and Transition to Employment
These are stories of empowerment, of pitfalls and barriers overcome, of successful negotiations of the graduate school process, of the joys and challenges of scholarly pursuits, of positive help-seeking behaviors and strategies, and of life after the dissertation is completed.
Potential applicants for doctoral studies will walk away with a sense that graduate education is possible and that one can be successful. Higher educators in doctoral programs, as well, will acquire a deeper understanding and appreciation for the idiosyncratic challenges facing their female students and, one hopes, develop policies and/or strategies and behaviors that empower and encourage these students’ completion of their doctoral studies.