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20 November 2015

Report: The “Public Scholars Initiative” at the University of British Columbia is one way Canadian graduate schools are rethinking the PhD.


pic This new paper explores the goals, benefits and challenges of the program. Prepared by UBC Dean and Vice-Provost of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Susan Porter and Assistant Dean Jennifer Phelps, the work outlines an integrated approach to doctoral student scholarship and career development that is being piloted at the institution. A major feature is that students are supported in their efforts to incorporate various threads of application-oriented scholarship relevant to potential future careers into their thesis, and to purposefully orient their work to contributing to the public good.

“Innovative, rigorous scholarship oriented to making a positive impact in the world should be a legitimate pathway for any field, and assessed and valued as part of the university’s highest degree,” the authors say. They are encouraged by the engagement and enthusiasm for an approach where dissertations take diverse forms relevant to both academic and non-academic contexts. Collaboration with and mentorship by partners outside the academy are important to this approach.

This paper is available in English only. Read it here.