Since the early 1990s, research into PhD curricula have emphasized increasing and strengthening advanced research education leading to a focus on improving research courses. GADE guidelines were designed specifically to promote excellence in PhD education. PhD programs use GADE guidelines in their initial and ongoing development and to inform program assessment and improvement. The first GADE Guidelines for Quality in Doctoral Education were developed in 1992 to help schools create and sustain quality doctoral education. In 2003, GADE updated the guidelines addressing faculty and student issues, curriculum, and resources required for a quality social work PhD program. In 2011, a task force revised the guidelines to reflect the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate to prepare students to be stewards of the discipline. In fall 2020, a task force co-sent a national survey to update the past GADE guidelines. The national survey was distributed during the center of the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, and items were added to reflect the changing social and educational conditions within PhD programs.
Items were designed using a 5-point Likert scale (1 = not at all important to 5 = extremely important) to reflect on the importance of various indicators for promoting high-quality social work PhD education. Items on the survey are a revision of the items that have been used on GADE” S past surveys (1992, 2003, 2013) and have been updated by the GADE board, GADE membership, GADE task force, and faculty members who have expertise on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Anonymous link to the survey was distributed through Qualtrics platform from December 2020 through February 28, 2021 to numerous listserves, including social work education’s organizational listserves (GADE, MSW, BSW, NADD) and more specific topical listserves (CSWE-vaw). The survey had 732 recorded responses. The sample included in the final analysis is N= 483. Descriptive data analyses were conducted to examine the accordance and deviance in attitudes of aspects on quality PhD program among different participant groups that completed the survey.
There are 49 PhD program directors (10.14%), 27 deans (5.59%), 7 BSW/MSW directors (1.45%), 140 social work faculty (28.99%), and 234 PhD students (48.45%) who completed the survey. Data analysis included the examination of items across participant groups and showed a high consistency across item responses for different participant groups with only a few statistical differences between groups.
For the past thirty years, the GADE Guidelines for Quality in Doctoral Education have been beneficial to PhD programs with aims to improve research and rigor in PhD education. The GADE national survey’s most recent results are presented that provide new data, that examines expectations for research and statistical training, and other curricula that need to be included in a quality PhD program.