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International Developments in Doctoral Education Implications (Lawson)

International Developments in Doctoral Education (PHD): IMPLICATIONS FOR THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTIONS

A Summary Report to the ICETE Doctoral Initiative Steering Committee Version 1.1, October 2021


The following report was developed for the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE) Doctoral Initiative Steering Committee (DISC). It is based on a review of a wide range of recent publications, including 83 journal articles and book chapters addressing doctoral education issues (see Bibliography). In addition, the following four recent books provide helpful collections of chapters on what is happening in doctoral education internationally in terms of country, regional, and global trends. They are excellent resources for those wanting to dig into these trends themselves.

Blessinger, Patrick, and Denise Stockley, (Eds.). (2016). Emerging Directions in Doctoral Education. (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 6). Emerald. Cassuto, Leonard, and Robert Weisbuch. (2021). The New PhD: How to Build a Better Graduate Education. Johns Hopkins University Press. Nerad, Maresi, & Mimi Heggelund, (Eds.). (2008). Toward a Global PhD? Forces and Forms in Doctoral Education Worldwide. University of Washington Press. Yudkevich, Maria, Philip G. Altbach, and Hans de Wit, (Eds.). (2020). Trends and Issues in Doctoral Education: A Global Perspective. SAGE.

Together, these readings present a clear and fairly consistent picture of several forces impacting doctoral education internationally and changes in doctoral education over the last twenty years and more that can be seen either generally or within particular regions of the world. They are helpful for understanding how doctoral education is developing and how theological education institutions may want to consider strengthening and adapting their programs in light of changing approaches and models in the academic communities around them. The report is organized as follows:

  • I. Issues Impacting Doctoral Education Globally
  • II. Doctoral Education Developments in Light of These Issues: Revising the Models
  • III. Implications for Doctoral Education Development in Theological Education Institutions

It is my hope that this brief review can help members of DISC and theological education institution leaders consider important issues in the design and support of quality doctoral education efforts to serve the church in their regions better. School leaders considering beginning new doctoral programs or in the midst of evaluating current programs may find this a particularly helpful orientation.

Respectfully submitted, Dr. Kevin E. Lawson Co-Chair, ICETE Doctoral Initiative Steering Committee Director, ICETE Consulting Senior Affiliate Professor of Educational Studies Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA, USA

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