The market for business PhDs will value and reward those PhD graduates who have a specific proficiency in teaching−be they educators, researchers, or sophisticated practitioners argues Professor Arun Pereira.
Phanish Puranam makes a compelling case for modifying the traditional model of doctoral education through specialised “tracks” that would lead to PhD specialists. The three types of specialist tracks he suggests are “researcher,” “educator,” and the “sophisticated practitioner.” Also, he proposes a set of minimum requirements in the curriculum that would be common to all tracks. I think there is a strong case to be made to broaden his proposed common curriculum to include the function of teaching, because irrespective of the specialisation, all three types of PhDs would be expected to perform a teaching role, albeit to var ying degrees.
Even the most research-intensive business schools that recruit researcher PhDs will require them to teach, and excel in teaching−even if the teaching hours are limited. It may be true that the sophisticated practitioner PhD may not teach on a regular basis; however, such a person would fit the profile of a guest speaker, adjunct faculty, or visiting faculty in an academic setting, or likely be involved in learning and development functions in the corporate world.
The educator PhD would obviously be expected to be proficient in teaching and related areas, but I believe that the researcher PhD and the sophisticated practitioner PhD will also be valued as effective teachers, and the PhD market will expect them to be so. Even the most research-intensive business schools that recruit researcher PhDs will require them to teach, and excel in teaching – even if the teaching hours are limited. It may be true that the sophisticated practitioner PhD may not teach on a regular basis; however, such a person would fit the profile of a guest speaker, adjunct faculty or visiting faculty in an academic setting, or likely be involved in learning and development functions in the corporate world. In other words, if Professor Puranam’s PhD model gets wide acceptance, then I expect to see that programmes with a teaching function as part of their general curriculum requirement will produce PhDs who are more valued in the market, than programmes without this component.
The question is: how should teaching and its related areas be addressed in the curriculum of a PhD programme? This is a vexing issue, particularly because most teachers take time to develop, and typically need the hard grind of experience to mature as effective teachers. However, this process can be accelerated with an appropriate teacher-training inter vention – ideally, early in an academic’s career – to help move the novice teacher up the learning cur ve quickly. One such inter vention is a “doctoral consortium” on teaching that invites final year PhD students from business schools’ doctoral programmes for intensive teacher training and coaching, before they embark on their academic careers. Such a consortium was organised by the Indian School of Business (ISB) in 2012.
The question is: how should teaching and its related areas be addressed in the curriculum of a PhD programme? This is a vexing issue, particularly because most teachers take time to develop, and typically need the hard grind of experience to mature as effective teachers.
ISB’s Doctoral Consortium on Teaching: A Training Intervention
The Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Case Devel- opment at ISB piloted the Doctoral Consortium on Teaching in 2012 and invited final-year PhD students from India’s business school doctoral programmes. The response was over whelming, and the participant feedback was excellent, helping make the case for such a programme to be an “inter vention” for PhDs before they graduate.
This consortium has caught the attention of the International Schools of Business Management (ISBM), which is a group of 12 international business schools, including Kellogg-Northwestern, Stern-New York University (NYU), INSEAD, London Business School, Bocconi, HEC-Paris, IMD-Zurich, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)- Shanghai, and the ISB. As part of its mission to improve the quality of teaching in business schools across the world, ISBM runs a two-week residential teacher training programme called the International Teacher’s Programme. This programme has been held annually since 1971 and has trained over 1,300 business faculty. However, it has been outside the financial reach of most Indian business schools. As such, ISBM has been looking for a different model that can work in India, and they have seemingly found one in ISB’s Doctoral Consortium on Teaching. The ISBM Board has offered to sponsor the Doctoral Consortium on Teaching, so that is affordable for India’s doctoral students.
Key Objectives of ISB’s Doctoral Consortium on Teaching
The consortium will address various issues with regard to teaching excellence in the MBA classroom, including the critical element of one-on-one coaching. The aim is to expose doctoral students to tried and tested practices as well as exciting emerging innovations in the area of teaching. It will help PhD students
get a head start in developing their own individual teaching style, by first understanding what enables deep and long-lasting learning. Thus, traditional case writing and case teaching will be addressed, as well as the value of active learning that is student- centred, as opposed to the teacher-centred model. Further, the consortium will highlight innovative approaches to effective teaching by taking advantage of new technologies; for example, today’s technology enables the “flipped classroom” where traditional lectures (passive learning) can be taken out of the classroom and offered as assignments, and traditional group assignments (active learning) can be brought into the classroom to be managed by the teacher for more effective learning.
I expect the market for business PhDs to value and reward those PhD graduates that have a specific proficiency in teaching-be they educators, researchers or sophisticated practitioners. One approach to ensuring that India’s PhD graduates have the foundation to build such proficiency is to provide an appropriate inter vention before they begin their careers. ISB’s Doctoral Consortium on Teaching, sponsored by the ISBM, has the potential to be one such inter vention that can help provide a foundation for our PhDs, by targeting them in their final year of their doctoral studies. Further, the consortium will attempt to spark a change in the approach to teaching and learning in India, by encouraging the next generation of Indian business school faculty to move from the traditional “sage on the stage” model to one where the teacher takes on the role of a “guide on the side.” It will encourage India’s future teachers to embrace new initiatives like the “flipped classroom” so that business schools in India can reverberate with student-centred, active learning.