ERIC Number: EJ1078363
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 66
Disciplinary Logics in Doctoral Admissions: Understanding Patterns of Faculty Evaluation
Posselt, Julie R.
Journal of Higher Education, v86 n6 p807-833 Nov-Dec 2015
Ph.D. attainment rates by race and gender vary widely across the disciplines, and previous research has found disciplinary variation in graduate admissions criteria and practices. To better understand how disciplines shape admissions preferences and practices, which in turn may shape student access to graduate education, this article uncovers disciplinary patterns of faculty evaluation in doctoral admissions. Building on our knowledge of disciplinary cultures, I conducted comparative ethnographic case studies of doctoral admissions in ten highly selective programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, including 86 interviews with 68 participants and 22 hours of admissions committee observations. In this article, I analyze patterns of faculty evaluation evident in three programs representing two high-consensus disciplines, economics and philosophy. Their prevailing theories, epistemologies, methodologies, and practical priorities each have a formative influence on judgments of applicants and the conduct of admissions decision making. I propose that institutionalized disciplinary assumptions are the basis for disciplinary logics: models of rationality by which faculty legitimize in-group standards of quality and evaluative practice that outsiders may deem contestable.
Descriptors: Doctoral Programs, College Admission, Intellectual Disciplines, College Faculty, Ethnography, Case Studies, Interviews, Admission Criteria, Economics, Philosophy, Decision Making, Theories, Epistemology, Grounded Theory
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A