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Reviewed by:
  • On Becoming a Scholar: Socialization and Development in Doctoral Education
  • Vasti Torres and Sarah B. Zahl
On Becoming a Scholar: Socialization and Development in Doctoral Education. Susan K. Gardner & Pilar Mendoza (Editors) Sterling, VA: Stylus Press, 2010, 296 pages, $29.95 (softcover)

The fact that only 57% of all doctoral students complete their degrees makes research on doctoral education and success rates necessary. The clearly articulated purpose of this book, edited by Drs. Susan Gardner and Pilar Mendoza, is to expand and critique the existing [End Page 761] models of doctoral education while providing alternative views of the student socialization process, especially the developmental processes involved. In some of the chapters in this text the editors clearly accomplish their goals and truly provide new research and alternative views.

The chapters in the book are grouped into five parts: (a) Setting the Con text; (b) Socialization for the Profession; (c) Con textualizing Socialization; (d) Intersecting Socialization and Demographics; and (e) Beyond Socialization. This review will walk through the five parts rather than provide a chapter by chapter discussion.

The first section provides an overview of the how the book is organized and includes historical aspects of doctoral education in the United States. This section serves as a primer, rather than presenting new research. The second section focuses on the student socialization process and is presented through the traditional three pillars of faculty work: teaching, research, and service. The chapter on service by Kelly Ward provides a more nuanced treatment of service than other books on doctoral education and could be of interest to some readers.

The third section on contextual socialization provides chapters on topics not comprehensively covered in other volumes on doctoral education. The chapter on socialization into disciplinary communities by Chris Golde provides a more nuanced view of the socialization process as less monolithic and more dominated by disciplinary culture. The next chapter is focused on interdisciplinary degree fields, which has received little attention in the doctoral education literature. This chapter by Karri Holley provides new information on this topic and may be particularly useful for faculty and/or advisors who work with doctoral students pursuing interdisciplinary degrees. The final chapter in this section is on academic capitalism by Pilar Mendoza. This chapter presents the changing role of faculty and how these changes may not be reflected in graduate training. This is a relevant issue in academe and seldom discussed in-depth within doctoral education.

The fourth section focuses on different populations and many of the chapters in this section provide results from research studies that can inform doctoral education. Of note in this section are the chapters on marriage and doctoral work by Catherine Millett and Michael Nettles, as well as the chapter on the experiences of doctoral students of color (authored by Rachelle Winkle-Wagner, Susan Johnson, Carla Morelon-Quainoo, and Lilia Santiague).

The final section goes beyond the socialization process and examines what might be considered alternative views. Most of the literature on the doctoral student experience combines the socialization into the roles of doctoral student and professional (Antony, 2002; Gardner, 2007; Golde, 1998, 2000; Weidman, Twale, & Stein, 2001), but the chapter by Susan Gardner focuses specifically on socialization into the role of a doctoral student and the developmental processes that occur. The chapter on differing epistemological viewpoints by Dawn Shinew and Tami Moore provides research results from a study focused on a research seminar. Parts of this section relied on literature that is not as current as it could be and as a result is missing some more contemporary and important literature.

Although this edited book provides new material on doctoral education, it did not cover some topics that are included in other volumes that focus on the doctoral pathways for students of color (Castellanos, Gloria, & Kaminmura, 2006). The contemporary focus of several chapters was not well represented in the chapter on doctoral student development in which most of the theories considered were dated and new theories on adult students were [End Page 762] not well integrated. It would also be helpful to consider that not all students pursuing doctoral education will seek out faculty roles—this focus limits the application of the...


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