Dissertation process

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A qualitative study conducted by Cynthia Strite (2007) on Completing the Doctoral Dissertation was deigned to determine the learning strategies, knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are required by participants in order to complete their doctoral dissertation. Cynthia Strite (2007) also looked at exploring the differences between participants who completed their programs within stipulated four to five years (Group A) and students who took longer than stipulated time (Group B).  Through in-depth interviews, focused group discussions, and critical incident questionnaire, the study delved on understanding specific skills, knowledge, and attitudes participants deemed necessary for them to complete their dissertations and how they acquired these values. Cynthia Strite (2007) also inquired about factors that facilitated or hindered progress in their programs.

It was found out that most students learned through information learning in their class work. Participants learned through past experiences, reading already completed dissertations, trial and error, and critical reflection. Cynthia Strite (2007) also found out that doctoral students learned through others including their advisors, graduates, faculty, colleagues, and the librarians. The mentor-protégé relationship played a critical role in graduate program completion. All Group A participants identified positive relationship with their advisors while students in Group B cited troubled relationships with their advisors making their dissertation process quite difficult. Most of the students in Group B did not complete their program and stopped the program for a period of time for many reasons, one being the troubled relationship with their advisors.

Cynthia Strite (2007) also documented that cohort colleagues played a critical role in the dissertation process. About seven in every twenty graduate participating in in-depth interviews had worked with small group cohort members throughout their dissertation programs. Participants highlighted their cohort group as one of the key factors for their success. Other participants also recorded success by being close to one or two members from their group cohorts throughout their study.

It was also revealed that participants were faced by challenges which are common to any doctoral student. Doctoral students had personal and professional responsibilities and at the same time were required to complete their studies and for most students, it was quite difficult to strike a rightful balance between educational and life demands. Students had to deal with events like job loss, illnesses, death, and others. At the end of their dissertation programs, most students felt isolated since students had to leave their campus and returned to geographical homes far away from their campus colleagues. Despite these challenges, students were able to successful complete their programs Most of them described positive attitudes encompassing resilience, perseverance, discipline, focus, tenacity, and others as important in dissertation process. Cynthia Strite (2007) concluded that success in dissertation process can be achieved only when the student take total responsibility and accountability of the process.

Leadership in higher education

According to Bruce (2009) one of the recent events in post secondary institution in the United States has been efforts to operate in the international environment. The changes taking place in the external environment and the global forces has affected the global labor market of education leading to competition between education systems. To compete effectively, colleges and universities have been forced to expand their market base and the international market offers more resources, with internationalization now becoming a major agenda for higher education institutions. Bruce (2009) looked into organization structures that assist in internationalization process, looking at specific role played by organizational structure and design. Using a random sample of 157 universities, the study found out that there are some organizational structures which are associated with internationalization process including presence of specialized leadership, shared governance, adequate staffing, and the size of international network.

Another qualitative study by Ganzen (2006) examined the systematic approach to internationalization for private university in United States. Ganzen (2006) focuses on organizational transformation which is base for comprehensive internationalization of university as a system. It looked into different methods that are used by universities to deliver global citizenship education. In the literature review, the study looked into the conceptual framework for internationalization process and the components therein. Ganzen (2006) collected data from 30 interviews using open ended interview protocols. A number of steps were identified as important in internationalization process including leadership and administration, resource allocation, curriculum, faculty internationalization, and holistic approach to internationalization.

In dissertation on campus internationalization initiatives, Espiritu (2009) found out that as higher education institutions ventured in the global society, the need to produce globally competent and culturally sensitive students is on the rise. This has led most campuses to participate in campus internationalization initiatives. It looked into how one campus moved from internationalization policy to integrated practices. Espiritu (2009) carried out in-depth analysis of the university using qualitative interviews, on-sites observation, and document analysis and information gathered was important in developing Stage-Factor Model for campus internationalization process which can be used by other universities as well.

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Dissertation process

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This article was published on 2011/06/09