In a project partially funded by the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, ten of the country's major universities will partner with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in an effort to reform doctoral education in the United States.
Based on the findings of several recent studies, the project, dubbed "The Responsive PhD," will promote practices that encourage students "to undertake more adventuresome scholarship, to develop their career options more boldly, and to achieve a versatile excellence as potential teachers in settings as varied as classrooms, laboratories, boardrooms, and museums." The project will also work to help universities attract more students of color to Ph.D. programs.
"A score of studies have sung the praises of doctoral education yet called for substantive reform," notes project director Earl Lewis, graduate dean and vice provost at the University of Michigan and a scholar of African American History. "By taking a focused approach and involving a cross section of schools, programs, deans, students, and employers, we hope to match the call for reform with concrete examples of what can work."
The Responsive Ph.D. initiative is an outgrowth, in part, of the in Princeton-based foundation's Humanities at Work program, which is designed to expand career opportunities for Ph.Ds in the humanities both inside and outside the academy.