Perspectives on Historically Marginalized Doctoral Students in the United States and South Africa

Pamela Felder
InSITE 2019  •  2019  •  pp. 093-094
[This Proceedings paper was revised and published in the 2019 issue of the International Journal of Doctoral Studies, Volume 14]

Aim/Purpose: This work expands discussions on the application of cultural frameworks on research in doctoral education in the United States and South Africa. There is an emphasis on identifying and reinterpreting the doctoral process where racial and cultural aspects have been marginalized by way of legacies of exclusions in both contexts. An underlying premise of this work is to support representation of marginalized students within the context of higher education internationalization.

Background: Decades of reporting provide evidence of statistical portraits on degree attainment. Yet, some large-scale reporting does not include representation of historically marginalized groups until the 1970’s in the United States, and the 2000’s for South Africa. With the growth of internationalization in higher education, examination of the impact of marginalization serves to support representation of diversity-focused discussions in the development of regional international education organizations, multilateral networks, and cross-collaborative teaching and research projects.

Methodology: Qualitative research synthesis of literature focused on a dimensional framework of diversity provides a basis for this discussion paper regarding the potential of Sankofa as a cultural framework for examining the historically marginalized doctoral experience in the United States and South Africa.

Contribution: A major contribution of this work offers critical questions on the use of cultural frameworks in doctoral education in the US and South Africa and broader dynamics of higher education internationalization.

Findings: Sankofa reveals critical insight for reinterpretation of the doctoral process through comparison of perspectives on the historically marginalized doctoral experience in the United States and South Africa. They include consideration of the social developments leading to the current predicament of marginalization for students; awareness of the different reporting strategies of data; implementation of cultural frameworks to broaden the focus on how to understand student experiences; and, an understanding of the differences in student-faculty relationships.

Recommendations for Practitioners: Recommendations for practitioners highlight the application of cultural frameworks in the development and implementation of practical strategies in the support of historically marginalized doctoral students.

Recommendations for Researchers: Recommendations for researchers consider the application of cultural frameworks in the development of scholarship supporting historically marginalized doctoral students within a global context.

Impact on Society: Intended outcomes for this work include increasing awareness about historically marginalized doctoral students. Recommendations are focused on improving their academic and career experiences in the United States and South Africa with global implications for this student population.

Future Research: Future research should consider the application of cultural frameworks when examining the historically marginalized doctoral experience within global, national, and local contexts.
doctoral studies, internationalization; racial and cultural diversity
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