Professional Seminar: Valuing a One-Credit Course Through the Lens of Doctoral Students

Naina (Tina) A. Bhandari
Virginia Tech

Beth L. MacDonald
Virginia Tech

Jenny Martin
Virginia Tech

Windi D. Turner
Virginia Tech

Amanda C. Modena
Virginia Tech

Jamie M. Simmons
Virginia Tech

Susan B. Asselin
Virginia Tech
(sasselin@vt.edu )

Professional seminar for doctoral students at a Research I University is a 1-credit course, 2 below the conventional courses. However, the course content covers at least 3 years’ worth of experiences, knowledge, and processes compressed into a single school year. The course typically extends over 16 weeks and 24 actual contact hours with 1 professor to 7 students on average. Assignments expose students to professional jobs in academia, resources available on campus, grant writing procedures, and facilitate the trajectory and purpose of the doctoral process. The purpose of this study is to investigate doctoral students’ narratives on the value they hold for seminar. Findings indicate an overarching theme of value among 5 categories: opportunities, cohort, departmental support, overcoming obstacles, and vested interest.

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