SRHE 2021 Symposia Presentation

Navigating power in doctoral education

I gave a presentation as part of the symposia ‘Doctoral Borderlands: A guided tour’. You can watch the presentation via the imbedded You Tube video (at 31:09min). You can also download my presentation slides (PDF) and a copy of the abstract (PDF). Information about the Symposia is below.

Symposia Title
Doctoral borderlands: A guided tour

The April 2021 (26:3), Teaching in Higher Education Special Issue on doctoral education was underpinned by the premise that borderlands theory, trail-blazed by Gloria Andzaldúa (1987), could provide a frame for considering doctoral pedagogy. The resulting contributions, comprising an editorial, thirteen full papers and two points of departure, took the borderlands’ metaphor on different journeys, speaking from six continents and twelve different countries. The papers were loosely bound into three themes: doctoral students’ multiple identities; the contestations of doctoral pedagogy; and the dual roles of student/teachers, teacher/student and student/author (Carter, Smith & Harrison, 2021). This joint two-part symposium brings together virtually some of the contributing authors to re-examine the future of doctoral education.

Part 1 opens with Susan Carter’s overview of how the borderlands’ metaphor was usefully applied to doctoral education, what directions it offered, and what tensions and ambiguities it unearthed. Rafi Rashid argues the current urgent need for doctoral students to be competent disciplinary boundary crossers; drawing on his work in Singapore, he proposes instructional strategies for cultivating interdisciplinarity as an independent skill at the doctoral level. Harry G. Rolf offers a data feminism approach (D’Ignazio & Klein, 2020) to research publication expectations of doctoral candidates. Data from 1216 research students’ publication is used to reveal, critique and challenge power brokerage within academic publication.

In Part 2, Karen Gravett challenges the notion that doctoral journeys are linear, arguing that doctoral students experience multiple and messy becomings, within rhizomes of learning (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987). Aided by the new mobilities’ paradigm, Rebekah Smith McGloin explores the doctoral interplay of fixed institutional structures with individual agency and creativity. Namrata Rao, Anesa Hosein and Rille Raaper focus in on the temporary and liminal state of doctoral students who teach. They demonstrate the differential support offered to doctoral students between institutions within the UK and the impact this has on teacher identity development. Stephanie Masta, focusing specifically on US higher education, positions the classroom as a counterspace where experiences of Black and Brown doctoral students are considered valid and critical knowledge. She calls for a reconsideration of doctoral possibilities.

Within each part of the symposium, contributors will share short overviews of their Papers that pose questions as starting points for discussion between symposium contributors and attendees regarding the borderlands of doctoral education, its complexities, challenges, and possibilities. This discussion seeks possible future directions for doctoral pedagogy, research and development.