Prompt: In the article “Stage-Based Challenges and Strategies for Support in Doctoral Education: A Practical Guide for Students, Faculty Members, and Administrators,” Pifer and Baker (2016) identified three stages of doctoral education, explaining each one and suggesting strategies to overcome challenges that arise in each stage. The excerpted reading below includes the explanations and strategies aimed at doctoral students in the first two stages of doctoral education: knowledge consumption and knowledge creation. Read through these paragraphs from Pifer and Baker (2016), and then compose an essay in response to these questions: Based on the challenges and strategies discussed by Pifer and Baker (2016), what challenges do you anticipate you will face in your doctoral program? What strategies will you apply to work through these challenges in your doctoral journey? Stage 1: Knowledge Consumption In the first stage of doctoral education, the admission process through the first year of coursework, students begin to cultivate their identities as doctoral-level learners. The early stage of the doctoral journey may include a rough transition into the learner role. This initial transition may bring challenges related to identity shifts from professional to student, changes in geographic locations, and generally adjusting to their new roles as nascent disciplinary members (Gardner, 2009b; Sweitzer, 2009; Vekkaila, Pyhältö, & Lonka, 2013). At this stage, students with career experience shed their prior professional identities. This may present a challenge as students do away with, or put on hold, hard-earned status and expertise and assume the identity of the novice and the new entrant into departmental, institutional, and disciplinary cultures (J. Austin et al., 2009; Gardner, 2009b; Sweitzer, 2009). In addition, the magnitude of the scholarly pursuit may come with feelings of fear, doubt, and isolation (Brill, Balcanoff, Land, Gogarty, & Turner, 2014), in addition to exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficiency (Vekkaila et al., 2013). Also at this time, students learn the sociocultural norms and expectations of their fields, as well as the requirements and structural guidelines of their programs. First-year coursework provides foundational content knowledge, and communicates faculty expectations for student engagement and performance. Students engage in the traditional approach to learning, whereby the professor imparts foundational knowledge through classroom instruction. Acquiring this knowledge is the first step towards legitimacy in their chosen fields. Curricular expectations and disciplinary knowledge norms as communicated through coursework may challenge students considerably (Gardner, 2009b). Stage 1 strategies for students We suggest that students conduct a needs assessment to identify the areas for which they need support, as well as the types of relationships that can provide that support (Baker, Pifer, & Griffin, 2014; Martinsuo & Turkulainen, 2011). This process, once implemented, can be repeated as needed across the stages of students’ doctoral programs. This is an important stage to establish the advising, mentoring, and peer support relationships that will be instrumental throughout the doctoral journey (J. Austin et al., 2009; Baker & Pifer, 2011; Stubb, Pyhältö, & Lonka, 2014). Students and their doctoral supervisors don’t always share perceptions and expectations of their own and each other’s roles (Holbrook et al., 2014; Wade-Benzoni, Rousseau, & Li, 2006; Woolderink, Putnik, van der Boom, & Klabbers, 2015); taking the initiative to inquire with their supervisors at this stage of the journey may help establish a shared understanding that reduces ambiguity and provides structure to that key relationship (Main, 2014). Additionally, this is a good time for students to become familiar with key disciplinary associations as they seek to become familiar with disciplinary norms and cross-institutional networks. E…

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