Academic Involvement in Doctoral Education: Predictive Value of Faculty Mentorship and Intellectual Community on Doctoral Education Outcomes

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International Journal of Doctoral Studies

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This study examined doctoral students’ perceptions of importance of academic involvement, the frequency of experience with academic involvement in doctoral education, and the relationship between perceived frequency of academic involvement and key doctoral educational outcomes. Using Astin’s theory of involvement and the body of literature on doctoral signature pedagogies as conceptual guides, a survey instrument was developed, pilot-tested, and validated with doctoral candidates at three universities in the USA. The constructs faculty mentorship and intellectual community were operationalized and measured using ten items each; participants were asked to indicate the frequency of their experience with, and the importance of, mentorship and intellectual community in their doctoral education experience. Educational outcomes including satisfaction, self-efficacy as scholars, scholarly productivity, and time-to-candidacy were also measured. Data from 217 respondents were analyzed using multivariate statistics, with results suggesting that participants perceived faculty mentorship and intellectual community as very important aspects of doctoral education. Participants’ perceived experience with academic involvement strongly predicted doctoral educational outcomes, particularly satisfaction with the doctoral education experience and self-efficacy as scholars, and highlights the importance of academic involvement.