International Conference on Doctoral Education:
Promises and Doubts

March 24 - 26, 2015
Orlando, Florida, USA


The University of Central Florida, College of Education and Human Performance, Orlando, Florida
Morgridge International Reading Center and UCF Teaching Academy will provide 21st century venues and technology for presentations and poster sessions for the 2015 International Conference on Doctoral Education.


This international conference is jointly organised by the University of Central Florida, College of Education and Human Performance and the International Association of Professional and Practice-led Doctorates.


December 1, 2014 Deadline for proposal abstracts of up to 500 words
January 30, 2015 Notification of proposal abstracts accepted for the conference
February 20, 2015 Deadline for Conference Registration to be included in the program
March 9, 2015

Option for those who would like to submit a paper

Deadline for receipt of conference papers (3000-5000 words) or posters

Note: ALL presenters must register and pay the conference registration fee


Extended abstracts of 1200 words must be presented with a cover page that includes the title, author(s), contact information, affiliated institutions, discipline, and type of session–poster or paper Please send extended abstracts as an attachment for paper sessions or poster sessions to:
Rosemarye Taylor: by February 28, 2015.


Paper sessions will be 45 minutes for presentation and questions.  Multiple sessions will occur simultaneously.  Presenters of paper sessions may be asked to present more than one time.


We encourage doctoral students to submit posters of their work in progress or completed work. We also accept posters from academics who wish to provide case studies or other work on their professional and practice–led research.

  • Authors of papers accepted for the conference should submit a 1,200 word paper
  • Authors of posters accepted for the conference should submit their posters:  1 or 2 A3 posters explaining their work in text, diagramme or other form, plus the original 500 word abstract


This conference will provide a forum for international debate concerned with diversity and difference in doctoral education.  It is designed to gather together understandings of the diversity of organisational contexts, experiences and motivations of candidates involved in doctoral education programmes, and to critically examine the different experiences in practice that characterise  international doctoral provision.  Current debates about doctoral education are mostly centered around the functions of doctoral education in enhancing economic growth and competitiveness in the global economy and involve governments urging creative approaches to accomplish these aims.  Doctoral graduates are regarded as agents of innovation and diversification in the `knowledge economy’.

Often regarded as a mainstay of university research activities, doctoral activity has been the subject of contemporary debates about whether the claims for its privileged status in the `knowledge economy’, its role as the nexus of global knowledge production, can be sustained or not.  In this context, the conference seeks to open a larger debate concerned with the possible emergence of a possible network of globalised systems of research-based doctoral education.  It opens the possibility of not only responding to debates placing  greater emphasis on the importance of doctoral education in a global economy, but also providing a focus upon how doctoral education is shaping new academic practices resulting in significant impact. There are also notable debates concerned with global patterns of change in doctoral education and on-going agendas for innovation and research in doctoral pedagogies and education to further improve the relevance and creativity of the degree. Thus far, the critiques of current doctoral education practices have been concerned with their alleged commodification of knowledge; the erosion of academic judgment in considering what knowledge is prioritised and recognised in higher education; the end of knowledge for its own sake; and with what constitutes the public good in education.

We would like to look closely at these debates in relation to difference and diversity in the following broad THEMES:

  1. Different models of doctoral education 
    There are many different doctorate models with a range of specific characteristics.  By sharing our practices from different regions of the world, it will be possible to consider how these are organised; the different types of doctoral programmes available on the international and national markets; and their respective particular benefits and challenges. 

    The conference will be convened at a juncture where universities are diversifying their doctoral education curricula and many new kinds of doctoral programmes are encountering different possibilities and challenges.  The conference aims to explore further by contextualizing some of the systems thinking, policy frameworks and knowledge-based strategies that take place in different national settings.  The approach to doctoral education in different countries of the world can be viewed through differing quality maintenance systems as well as the various models that are offered to students.  How can we enhance our thinking about doctoral education?  Is there a need to undertake more internationally cooperative and comparative research on doctoral education?

  2. Doctorate education as on-going development of practitioners
    As well as a preparation for professional work at high levels, many doctorates are designed for continuing development for people who already have significant experience in professional or community-based fields.  These kinds of doctorates, for example the Ed D., D.B.A., DPsyc., Arts D. and many others, provide an opportunity for the development of advanced professional practice through the doctoral education of high-flying and motivated professionals.  How do doctorates that are designed for continuing professional and Organisational development contribute to the debates about the forms and production of knowledge, and what is their contribution to practices in relation to diversity and difference?

  3. Widening participation and doctoral education
    There is also an emerging widening participation focus on doctoral education.  An international understanding of doctoral research requires acknowledgement of the interests of a range of stakeholders involved in different ways in the research process.  For example, the perspectives of local people in particular situated environments can be crucial if knowledge arising out of the research being conducted is to be inclusive, serve the good of a variety of different interests and peoples, and make an impact on poverty, different forms of exclusion, places of work, voluntary organisations and communities.  Is the oft quoted maxim ‘Think globally and act locally’ one that has significance in these debates?  How does doctoral education employ itself in the widening participation arena? Does doctoral education reach out to prospective doctoral candidates that may represent a variety of communities hitherto unreached or neglected?

  4. The place of knowledge production in reflecting societal needs
    Research-based doctoral education has the power to help communities and societies reach their goals within our globalised multi-cultural community.  Doctoral education nourishes the roots of this global research community; doctoral candidates comprise the most mobile element of this community because of the quality and quantity of the knowledge they produce.  And crucially, doctoral education is central to the sustainability of universities’ research and teaching missions. The global research community thrives by recognising diversity.  It is therefore necessary to emphasise and promote the multi-polar nature of this community by securing broad access to knowledge globally as well as disseminating local knowledge and local paradigms of thinking, which could well challenge current dominant academic thinking.  To what extent does collaboration between institutions increase capacity building?  What is needed for doctorate educators to generate systems and processes that facilitate the impact of global research in communities and organisations?

The above THEMES are suggested as a focus of further investigation, which we hope the conference will generate. It will be held at a time of great transition in some national education systems to a more market oriented higher education system and new regimes of funding. In others, especially in the emerging economic power centers of the 21st Century, there is an increased need for doctoral programmes to address new issues arising out of industrial policy and its social consequences. What may unite these trends is the need for further serious reflection on the nature of doctoral education with a view to learning from and theorising its rich regional and national ecologies.

Questions regarding proposals and selection should be directed to Rosemarye Taylor: .

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