The mentoring and doctoral experience of Asian arts educators in western universities

Year: 2006

Author: Leong, Samuel

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The attrition rates of doctoral students in Australia, British, and North American universities average between 30% and 50% depending on the disciplines (McAlpin & Norton, 2006). In Australia, satisfaction ratings of supervision were about 54% for part-time and 64% for full-time doctoral students (Harman, 2002). While the difficulties encountered by minority students have been identified in some studies, research into completion rates have largely failed to recognise or differentiate the diverse experiences of minority groups.

This paper attempts to sheds some light into the doctoral experience of twelve Asian arts educators who have undertaken research training in British, American and Australian universities and are currently working in Asian tertiary institutions. Their perspectives on the key roles which their supervisors play in the doctoral journey, the special qualities of supervisors that impressed or appealed to them, and their experience of mentoring, identified as an important component of the supervision process (Shannon, 1995), are presented. Data obtained through a survey with follow-up individual interviews revealed that few doctoral supervisors acted as mentors and were not always proactive in meeting the multi-faceted needs of international students. Despite this, respondents regarded their overall doctoral experience to be a positive one.