Assisting Ph.D. Completion Following a Natural Disaster

Lucy Johnston, Thomas M Wilson, Alexander MacKenzie
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 367-382
This article describes the experiences and outcomes for 761 doctoral students enrolled at the University of Canterbury who had their research disrupted by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake on 22nd February 2011. We describe the measures that were put in place to assist the students to continue their studies through continued disruption from aftershocks, dislocation, building demolition and remediation, equipment failure, and limited access to resources. We used data from a number of University databases and student surveys to assess the impact of the disruption on student outcomes, considering measures such as completion rates and times, attrition rates, and student satisfaction. Overall the findings showed little impact of the disruption on completion rates or student satisfaction and only a slight increase in completion times. We consider the impact of additional factors, such as temporary relocation, and draw attention to key lessons learned that may assist those confronted with similar situations in the future.
doctoral studies, doctoral completion, attrition, disasters, supervision
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