The Erasmus+ SuperProfDoc project: Leading a new generation of doctorates

20 April 2017

Within the Netherlands, MSM’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) School has been a pioneer in establishing and developing a DBA degree, a so-called ‘professional’ or ‘modern’ doctorate. Whereas the traditional PhD offered by universities is often of a more theoretical academic nature – it is, after all, a Doctorate in Philosophy – the DBA degree is more applied and deals with managerial problems that are rooted in real life.

MSM has been offering a DBA degree since 1995. Its high-quality DBA program boasts international accreditation and has the aim to (i) contribute to the development of novel management knowledge and insights aimed at solving pressing managerial problems in diverse contexts and in line with the mission of MSM; (ii) to equip our graduates with knowledge, skills and tools to conduct reliable and valid empirical research and report and critically reflect on its outcomes and (theoretical and managerial) implications, following high standards of research ethics; and (iii) to enhance the creation of a community of scholars that contributes to solving new management challenges in diverse contexts, thereby providing a significant contribution to the improvement of contemporary management practice.

As a leading provider of professional doctoral education, MSM has been a partner in a prestigious Erasmus+ funded project on supervision of professional doctorates called SuperProfDoc. The project brings together experts in professional doctoral education like the Institute for Work Based Learning at Middlesex University London, ADAPT, the Wales Institute for Work Based Learning at Trinity Saint David (University of Wales), the College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida and Eurodoc (the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Young Researchers). It explores the pedagogical issues that supervisors face in guiding candidates in applied modern doctorate programs, such as the part-time nature of the research project, the often very advanced professional expertise and status of candidates, the different requirements of higher education institutes and workplace and company realities and the multi- and trans-disciplinary character of these research projects. SuperProfDoc, as such, is specifically focused on exploring and advising on the capabilities and frameworks for practice that are required for effective supervision of the modern doctorate.

After the implementation of an extensive survey, a range of in-depth qualitative interviews with doctoral candidates and supervisors and a series of validation workshops, the project is now nearing its final phase that will lead to the development of an analytical report and a train-the-trainers manual. On 10 and 11 April, MSM has been hosting the project’s final team meeting. MSM facilitated two days of intensive analysis, synthesis and discussion that will set the stage for finalizing the outputs – a research report and a ‘insights from practice’ guide – as well as further dissemination of the project’s findings and recommendations. In that light, each project partner will host a train-the-trainers workshop with the aim to further spread, but also fine-tune, the insights generated through this four-year endeavor, which will be followed up by a central webinar in September.

MSM has been delighted to be part of this innovative initiative to lead a new generation of doctorates and looks forward to being part of many more Erasmus+ projects in the future.

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