skip to main content


Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1821008

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. An intrinsic case study explores the challenges shared by international engineering postdoctoral scholars working in the United States (US). Little research has been devoted to their experiences despite their stark increase in the postdoctoral labor force over the last decade. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight engineering postdoctoral scholars hailing from Canada, China, Colombia, Iran, Italy, and Thailand. Participant interviews were analyzed inductively and resulted in four themes: (1) Immigration concerns; (2) Strains to find a community; (3) Pressure to publish and secure funding; and (4) Inadequate career counseling. The identified themes could be particularly instructive to Ph.D. advisors outside the US whose students may pursue postdoctoral positions in the US, Ph.D. recipients, US postdoctoral advisors, and US college and university international offices. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. This phenomenological study explores the mentoring needs of 13 Black and Latinx engineering postdoctoral scholars who aspire to the professoriate. An adaptation of the ideal mentoring model (Zambrana et al., 2015) is employed as the conceptual framework. Moustakas’ (1994) four-stage process of phenomenological data analysis was utilized to examine the interview data: epoché, horizontalization, imaginative variation, and synthesis. The phenomenon’s essence is: Black and Latinx engineering postdoctoral scholars have primary and secondary mentoring needs pertaining to their immediate career acquisition of a tenure-track faculty position. Primary mentoring needs include expanding their professional network and receiving support in being a competitive faculty applicant, as well as coaching on work-life balance. Secondary needs consist of enhancing and promoting their technical skills and acquiring political guidance on racial/ethnic bias in academia. The findings of this study reveal the importance of higher education institutions and postdoctoral advisors assuming greater responsibility for ensuring postdoctoral scholars receive the mentorship and career support they desire, which may require a systematic change in the postdoctoral training environment. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 4, 2024
  3. An instrumental case study (Stake, 1995) explored the messages STEM postdoctoral scholar women receive about balancing an academic career with a family. Concerningly, women with children are less likely than men with children, or women and men without children, to be offered tenure-track positions or to be promoted (Bird & Rhoton, 2021; Cech & Blair-Lory, 2019; Gregor et al., 2021; Williams & Ceci, 2012; Ysseldyk et al., 2019). This reality suggests that motherhood is in opposition to professional legitimacy in academia (Hill et al., 2014; Thébaud & Taylor, 2021). Furthermore, postdoctoral scholar mothers are more likely than their peers to cite children as their primary reason for not entering the faculty job market (NPA ADVANCE, 2011). Interviews were conducted with 22 demographically diverse STEM postdoctoral scholar women to explore how messages about balancing career and family are considered. Using inductive and deductive methods (Silverman, 1993; Stake, 1995), interview transcripts were analyzed using the ideal worker conceptual framework (Kossek et al., 2021). Two themes arose: (1) STEM postdoctoral women receive messages suggesting they must sacrifice family pursuits for an academic career, and (2) positive modeling and support for balancing career and family are vital for retaining STEM postdoctoral women in the professoriate pathway. These findings illustrate a systemic conflict for STEM postdoctoral scholar women. They describe a necessity to sacrifice family desires, yet positive modeling and support for balancing career and family send messages suggesting it is possible to plan for both. This research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP; award #1821008). 
    more » « less
  4. Purpose This study aims to explore the perceptions of a diverse set of 16 engineering postdoctoral scholars regarding their fit for the professoriate. The professoriate speaks to the body of tenured/tenure-track faculty within higher education institutions. Design/methodology/approach An intrinsic case study design was conducted to provide an in-depth understanding of the factors influencing engineering postdoctoral scholars’ perceived professorial fit using person–job fit theory. Findings As a result of inductive and deductive data analyses techniques, four themes emerged: the professoriate is perceived as a calling for those who desire to teach and mentor the upcoming generation of engineers; research autonomy in the professoriate is highly attractive; the work demands of the professoriate are contrary to the work–life balance sought; and the professoriate appears daunting due to the competitive nature of the job market and the academic environment. Originality/value This study is critical for those invested in possessing a deeper understanding of the postdoctoral career stage, its relationship to the professoriate as a career choice and broadening participation in engineering academia. 
    more » « less
  5. A descriptive phenomenological research design using a socialization theoretical framework is employed to describe the lived experience of socialization and its influence in the career pathways of 16 engineering postdoctoral scholars. Descriptive phenomenological data analysis strategies resulted in four constituents regarding effective postdoctoral socialization: (1) academic identity is nurtured, (2) disciplinary belonging is reinforced, (3) scholarly performance is strengthened, and (4) career development is essential for pursuing the professoriate. The essential structure was conceptualized as follows: Effective socialization of engineering postdoctoral scholars includes the enhancement of their academic identity, disciplinary belonging, and scholarly performance, as well as attention to the career development needs of those aspiring to be a professor. These findings shed light on the importance of the supervisor-supervisee relationship in the socialization process and the role of supervisors in shaping postdoctoral scholars’ career trajectories. 
    more » « less
  6. This study employs an instrumental case study design to explore the environmental context of Latinx postdoctoral scholars in relation to their STEM identity and intended STEM career pathway. Interviews were conducted using an interactionist approach to STEM identity development. Deductive data analysis techniques reveal the impact of supervisor relationships on the work environment, the importance of fostering a mentoring atmosphere for others, and the value of seeking and creating safe and supportive spaces. 
    more » « less
  7. This research study uses multilevel modeling to investigate the relationship between the academic affiliation and demographics of engineering PhD recipients and their post-graduation plans. Using signaling theory, this study, explores the question: controlling for graduate covariates, is there a statistically significant difference in the odds of a PhD recipient choosing to pursue postdoctoral training as a post-graduation plan, based on the research level of the academic institution awarding the degree? Results indicate those who earned a degree from a very high research activity institution, Asian recipients, and women were significantly more likely to purse postdoctoral training than employment. This nuanced understanding of post-graduation plans provides points of consideration for the future of the engineering professoriate and broader workforce. 
    more » « less
  8. This phenomenological study (Moustakas, 1994) explores the mentoring needs of 11 engineering postdoctoral scholars of color with an adaptation of the ideal mentoring model (Zambrana et al., 2015) used as the conceptual framework. A critical theory lens (Morrow & Brown, 1994) is applied to Moustakas’ (1994) four-stage process of phenomenological data analysis to examine the interview data: epoché, horizontalization, imaginative variation, and synthesis. The essence of the phenomenon is engineering postdoctoral scholars of color have primary and secondary mentoring needs pertaining to their immediate career acquisition of a tenure-track faculty position. Primary mentoring needs include expanding professional networks for the tenure-track faculty job search and receiving guidance on work-life balance and enhancing technical skills. Secondary needs consist of refining research directions and research expertise promotion, as well as acquiring political guidance on matters of race/ethnicity in academia. These findings reveal the importance of higher education institutions and postdoctoral supervisors assuming greater responsibility for ensuring postdoctoral scholars receive the mentorship and career support they desire, which may require a systematic change in the postdoctoral training environment. 
    more » « less
  9. Through an embedded, multiple-case study design, this interpretivist research paper explores the ways in which 22 engineering postdoctoral scholars describe the appeal of pursuing a career in the professoriate. Interviews, grounded by social cognitive career theory (SCCT) (Lent et al., 1994), offered an in-depth understanding of the nature, meaning, and ways in which their postdoctoral scholars’ learning experiences influence their view of the professoriate and, consequently, their career decision-making process. Data analysis strategies established by Silverman (1993) and Stake (1995) were utilized to examine the interview data, employing both inductive and deductive analysis techniques. Four themes emerged: (1) the professoriate appears daunting due to the competitive nature of the job market and the academic environment, (2) the work demands of the professoriate are contrary to the work-life balance sought, (3) possessing research autonomy in the professoriate is highly attractive, and (4) the professoriate is perceived as a calling for those who desire to teach and mentor the upcoming generation of engineers. A more nuanced understanding of the appeal of the professoriate and the career decision-making process of postdoctoral scholars may be an avenue to aid in diversifying the engineering professoriate. The preferred presentation method is a traditional lecture. 
    more » « less