Pre-enrollment goals v. post-program outcomes of doctoral students in the College of Education at Tennessee State University

Roger William Wiemers, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to provide a current student demographic analysis of the doctoral programs in the College of Education at Tennessee State University and to provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of these programs in retaining students and helping those students to attain career goals. The current demographic summary also shows changes that have occurred over the last ten years (August 1987 through July 1997), thus providing the College with avenues for seeking and retaining doctoral starts. The study further reveals the students' perspectives of program effectiveness in light of their current status and career fulfillment. Two hundred forty-six present and former students provided essential data on the Study of Doctoral Education questionnaire. Five research questions and five hypotheses were analyzed by several descriptive and inferential statistical methods: frequency distributions, cross tabulation contingency tables, and t tests. The major demographic changes that surfaced as a result of this study were in the areas of age, gender, ethnicity, and marital status. Doctoral entrants were younger in later enrollments. A larger percentage of females enrolled. Ethnic diversity increased in doctoral programs during later enrollments. More single students entered doctoral programs. The vast majority of students who exited doctoral programs attained their pre-enrollment career goals, though graduates perceived the programs as being relevant to career attainment and drop-outs did not. Most of the significant differences (.05 level) discovered were between graduates and drop-outs. Females were most susceptible to discontinuance of doctoral studies. Perceptions of drop-outs were negative concerning advisor relations. Graduation rates were influenced by mentoring relationships. The doctoral student population in the College of Education was becoming more diverse. Career goal attainment was reached by a majority of post-program students. Graduates and drop-outs had differing perceptions of program relevancy, advisor relations, and mentoring relationships. Recommendations forthcoming from this study were: (1) Doctoral program administrators should examine this study to assess individual program goals and objectives. (2) Current recruitment practices should be protracted to allow for continued diversity in the student body. (3) Mentoring programs should be developed in all doctoral degree departments. (4) Program relevancy to careers must be enhanced to retain "at-risk" students. (5) Higher Education Administration should be developed as a doctoral degree program in the College of Education.

Subject Area

School administration|Higher education|Social studies education

Recommended Citation

Roger William Wiemers, "Pre-enrollment goals v. post-program outcomes of doctoral students in the College of Education at Tennessee State University" (1998). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9907865.