The Professional Doctorate – A Case study at GCU Professor Bonnie Steves Director, The GCU Graduate School Dr Sheena Blair, ProfD Programme Leader, GCU Dr Brian Ellis, ProfD Developer, GCU International Benchmarking – research degrees QAA Scotland & SHEEC, 30 April 2010 1. What makes a ProfD? Differences between PhD and ProfD PhD ProfD Professional researchers Researching professionals Gold standard route to academia Entry from selected professionals Individual study Cohort based Focused study that tends not to Study directly related to change practice. Emphasis more on professional practice with emphasis academic knowledge. on constructive change. Starting to include a taught element Taught element. Credit rated Employment related skills may be part of study but are not a prerequisite. Focuses upon more discrete methodology Employment related skills are a key element. Offers broader scholarship History of Prof D’s Limitation of the PhD to change practice Established in Education, Business, psychology, Engineering & more recently Allied Health Professions and Nursing. Survey of Prof D awards in the UK (Powell and Long, 2005) – EdD, DClin, DEng, DBA... Purpose of the Prof D To enhance professional practice To carry out a research project based on professional practice To improve clinical/public services To contribute to the professional knowledge base Is this research? Yes, if it is evidence-based and work is carried out at Doctoral level. Doctoral Work – Makes a significant original contribution to the development of the subject/discipline 2. A Case Study – The GCU Experience Glasgow Caledonian University Origins date back to 1875 One of UK’s largest modern universities 1500 academic/research staff 17000 students - 400 PGR’s from over 100 countries Over 4000 mature students Largest # of PT students in Scotland International student satisfaction Top in Scotland 4 years in a row GCU’s Professional Doctorate • Recruiting ave. - 18 students/yr • Total - 61 students, 16% of PGR’s • 90% retention rate • Strong cohort and community • Over 60 staff teach/supervise on it from all Schools What is it like to be a “professional” at the moment? It’s like: “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” “at the end of the day, the pawn and the king go back into the same box” “feeling like the Ranger’s supporter at the Celtic end and vice versa!” “its like a juggle presently – survival of the fittest” “its like a computer game and you can see the action but you do not know the purpose of the game!” “I am an ever-changing person, in an ever-changing world!” GCU design – Who is it for? “A unique opportunity to undertake an advanced research and practice development programme that is professionally relevant” Marketing material for GCU Prof Doc Key characteristics of the GCU Prof Doc: Focus mainly on public sector employees Developing and enhancing services Educating future leaders/current leaders Developing the professional knowledge base Enhancing personal effectiveness and resilience Motivation for doing a Prof D To make a difference in professional practice that will help people To contribute new knowledge based on rigorous research To learn with a cohort of like-minded professionals To engage in life-long learning/CPD To gain additional skills and qualifications To further professional career Key features of the GCU ProfD GCU Design - Admissions 3 years work experience Upper 2nd class Honours Clear rationale for application to Prof D Evidence of support from employer No credit given for existing academic qualifications Degree Structure 4 years part-time Stage 1 (2 yrs) modules: Research Methods RM (70 M-level) Professional Development PD (50 M-level) Project Development, Design and Management (60 D-level) Stage 2 (2 yrs) Research project and thesis (360 D-level) Metaphors used to describe experience Selections from the three diaries concerning the first four days of the taught element: “Start of a journey” “First steps of the marathon” “A rollercoaster - when the rollercoaster ride has begun there is nothing to do but cling on!” “Pennies dropping and things beginning to make sense” “Its like discovering a whole new view – yet in a strangely familiar continent” “Really thorough preparation for the challenge ahead – tools are in the rucksack for the expedition” My sense of journey I had a route map – the design was there and I had to interpret it - but my feelings concerning the start of the programme resonated with the notions of journey, expedition, progression along a pathway…………….. I shared the values underpinning the programme design and was entirely committed to this form of doctoral study Understood the structure and rationale, and acknowledged the complexity……… “if you are going to change the world its better not to do it with a group of flying monkeys!” The Graduate School Working together to develop researchers and research community GCU Design - Some local complexities The ProfD programme framework is hosted by the Graduate School. The Programme is designed and led in partnership with the Schools of Health and Life Sciences Soon to also include new ProfD programmes from Schools of Law and Social Science and the Business School. ProfD for Health, Social Care and Nursing Professionals + DBA, DMan, D App Psych, ProfD for Justice, Welfare and Policy Professionals. The teaching/supervisory teams are drawn from throughout the university – Health, Business School, Law and Social Science, Life Science, Engineering and Computing, Graduate School. Our frequent thought is: “It’s like herding cats!” Students experience of a cross School approach “Lots of different perspectives – really enjoyable” “Yesterday’s lectures felt like I had walked through the wrong door!” “Great series of master classes” “strategic thinking in business terms may be different from health and social care” “I know some of this stuff – but by other names!” “The variety of perspectives have been exciting – new languages to learn” Student Experience Students’ reflections “Really appreciate the support given from the cohort” “Minimal competition and lots of sharing” “Feel part of the programme and not just a student on it” “Appreciated the availability of staff to help with ideas and paradigms that I did not understand” “People took time with me to explore the crushing work responsibilities, personal lives and study and how this can produce conflict” Some final reflections from the diaries (First cohort/Stage 2) “My ontological stance is more of a slouch!” “9.05 and I’m overwhelmed already!” “So good to be back together again – need to get back on track” “The need for rigour is so overwhelming that I am beginning to think that this is a course designed for undertakers!” “Learning to defend the project proposal at a basic level is so helpful and being open to that criticism – a journey within itself” Final thought! In the diary of the third cohort, there is an Entry in the reflective diary: “By the end of the day my anxiety had given way to excitement………….bring it on!” So the challenge for us at GCU and elsewhere is: • How to sustain the conditions for learning and the learning climate that nurtures this excitement to become a scholarly professional.