Leaving the Ivory Tower: The Causes and Consequences of Departure from Doctoral Study

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2001 - Education - 307 pages
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Graduate schools have faced attrition rates of approximately 50 percent for the past 40 years. They have tried to address the problem by focusing on student characteristics and by assuming that if they could make better, more informed admissions decisions, attrition rates would drop. Yet high attrition rates persist and may in fact be increasing. Leaving the Ivory Tower thus turns the issue around and asks what is wrong with the structure and process of graduate education. Based on hard evidence drawn from a survey of 816 completers and noncompleters and on interviews with noncompleters, high- and low-Ph.D productive faculty, and directors of graduate study, this book locates the root cause of attrition in the social structure and cultural organization of graduate education.

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Helped me feel like I was not crazy when I was in the throes of grad school. The book does an excellent job of describing how other people experienced the same things I did. Helped me believe that I was not crazy or deficient but that the graduate school system is designed in a way that systematically disadvantages grad students, especially in the social sciences and humanities. Top four on my "how to survive grad school" list. 


The Invisible Problem
Explaining the High and Persistent Rate of Attrition
Explaining Departure
The Lack of Information
The Absence of Community
Disappointment with the Learning Experience
The Quality of the AdviserAdvisee Relationship
The Decision to Leave
Chapter 9 Personal Consequences of Departure
Labor Market Consequences of Departure
Conclusions and Recommendations
Most and Least Successful AdviserAdvisee Relationships from the Point of View of the Faculty
About the Author

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Page 290 - Bean,J. (1980). Dropouts and turnover: The synthesis and test of a causal model of student attrition.
Page 290 - The relation of graduate students' role relations to their stage of academic career, employment, and academic success. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 7, 428-441 . . (1976).
Page 290 - P 1982. Conceptual models of student attrition: How theory can help the institutional researcher. In ET Pascarella (ed.), Studying student attrition, pp. 17-33. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Bean, J.

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About the author (2001)

Barbara E. Lovitts received her Ph D. in sociology from the University of Maryland. She is currently a senior research analyst at the Pelavin Research Center of the American Institutes for Research.

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