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ERIC Number: ED529089
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 308
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1246-3150-9
Learning to Be in Graduate School: The Interconnections of Academic Work, Scholarly Identity Formation, and Lived Experience
van Frank, Jennifer R.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
What does it mean to be a graduate student and to "do" graduate school? What happens when we shift our focus away from learning as a process of gaining expertise in a field or being socialized into the literacy conventions of a discipline and instead consider the ontological component of learning--the idea that learning entails becoming a certain kind of person in a certain community of practice? What do we see if we look at graduate school as an integrated, holistic experience that entwines both the personal and the professional? My dissertation addresses such questions by, first, reconceptualizing graduate school as an ongoing process of self-fashioning and, second, by foregrounding students' voices and subjective understandings about their own experiences. Using data gleaned from written reflections, group discussions, and one-on-one interviews, I offer the situated, nuanced "stories of being" of a cohort of advanced doctoral students in the humanities. Through the theoretical frames I bring to bear on the research--an ideological model of literacy, a social theory of learning in communities of practice, and an epistemology of the personal and positional--I examine four interlacing facets of experience that were especially relevant to these students' graduate training: (1) Learning from social relationships; (2) Transforming the self from student to scholar; (3) Constructing the personal and professional, and (4) Performing the professional. Methodologically, I draw from postpositivist research and theory that supports a general belief in insider knowledge and argues for the epistemological integrity of the researcher. I call attention to the ways my experiential knowledge, theoretical sympathies, and ideological commitments have shaped this project; thus, my approach to data collection and analysis is congruent with contemporary ethnographic and feminist research paradigms as well as with practitioner inquiry. In addition to its contribution to scholarship in literacy studies and in higher education, this research has implications for practice, and I reflect on some of the challenges and possibilities I imagine for practitioner inquiry within higher education administration, based on my own experiences in academic support. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A