Welcome! Doctor Tales is a new blog to help doctoral students succeed during and beyond their academic journeys. We are Dr. Bessie DiDomenica (PhD) and Dr. Patricia Mason (DBA), two doctors who took the journey. We recently earned our doctoral degrees and offer our strategies for other doctoral candidates to succeed.
We also embrace our new roles as scholar-practitioners, and encourage others to take their education beyond the classroom.
What is a scholar-practitioner?
The role of a scholar-practitioner is honed over the course of her or his doctorate degree to go out into the world and make a difference after graduation. After the Commencement parties, the congratulations cards, and when you realize that you can call yourself “Doctor”, it’s time to put your hard work to good use.
We are expected to pay it forward, give something back to the world. Your role as a scholar-practitioner includes service as a change agent and a person who contributes to others. You also become a lifelong learner and more communicative. Evolving into scholar-practitioners has helped us be more perceptive, think in complex ways, see multiple perspectives on a subject – we appreciate research and theory, exploring and searching for answers. Our scholar-practitioner awareness keeps us learning and moving forwarding.
Challenges and changing times
When you graduate with your doctorate, what are the expectations? Some think that research and teaching at university are the next logical steps. But times have changed. The new reality is that there are fewer full-time, tenured jobs. Your challenge is to be creative.
Continue your research, make presentations at conferences and local groups, write a book, start a blog, write articles for journals, teach, collaborate with colleagues and alumni. Find creative ways to make yourself relevant and to keep learning new ideas. Just put yourself out there and stay on the radar, is our best advice.
Curiosity + creativity
One of the hardest things to do is stay on top of the latest research in your field. As lifelong learners, your curiosity should guide your research and passionate to explore solutions. Your original ideas can build a bridge between academia and real world solutions. Find ways to make a difference in your community. Share your ideas at professional conferences or give a presentation at schools or your local library. Volunteer as a guest speaker for college courses in your specialty.
Think about a project plan for yourself. For example, find opportunities to publish chapters of your dissertation – look at peer-reviewed journals, trade journals. Plan to share your research and knowledge as much as possible.
As we see it, we invested too much time, energy, money, and tears to let our brains sit idle based on our academic success. There are opportunities to collaborate and develop new research ideas. Create a webinar and attend professional events – you can find ways to be a subject matter expert in your field.
Finally, be creative. Take your academic success beyond your comfort zone and find ways to evolve your career, grow your experiences, and give back to the world. Think of your scholar-practitioner role as leadership, teaching, and service to others.
Looking in and out
It’s funny that in our doctoral programs, we had to look inward, figure out the research design, collect data, analyze and interpret the data. We had to take an idea in our head and make it reality. We had to understand it, explain it to others, and defend our dissertations.
But now on the other side of our academic success, we have to look outward – decide how we can be those change agents, people who work to make the world a better place.
So we hope you enjoy our Doctor Tales blog. As adult learners, we understand the challenges of juggling family obligations, work, school, and the curve balls of life. We have also learned to be more confident and trusting in ourselves.
We are no different from you – maybe just a little more stubborn to never give up or give in. Your academic success is possible, believe in yourself!
All I want is an education, and I am afraid of no one.
~~~ Malala Yousafzai ~~~
Dr. Bessie and Dr. Patti