A Longitudinal Study of the Transition from Doctoral Student to Faculty Member in Physical Education

Gabriella M. McLoughlin, K. Andrew R. Richards, Victoria Nicole Ivy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: A paucity of literature examines how doctoral students are prepared for the transition into physical education teacher education faculty roles. Given the need to understand how doctoral programs impact such preparation, we sought to investigate this process using a longitudinal approach grounded in occupational socialization theory. Method: Fourteen participants (8 males, 6 female) were interviewed during final stages of doctoral programs and their first years in faculty positions; questions focused on key socializing agents and experiences that shaped their preparation for their academic careers. Data were analyzed using a constant comparison approach entailing open and axial coding. Results: Strong advisor-advisee relationships and finding a supportive department culture during one’s first faculty position were key socializing mechanisms. Participants who independently sought research experiences transitioned more smoothly into faculty roles; however, many had heavy teaching loads which conflicted with ambitions to regularly conduct research. Further, some faculty members experienced tense sociopolitical environments which hindered their productivity and confidence in current job roles. Conclusions: Our results speak to the challenges and successes that faculty members experience as they transition into the academy. Findings have implications for further research and practice to enhance the quality of doctoral education and faculty induction programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-711
Number of pages13
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019


  • Faculty socialization
  • higher education
  • occupational socialization theory
  • physical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Nephrology


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