Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Vincent Kuetemeyer


The primary purpose of this study was to elicit perceptions of doctoral-student advisors regarding issues and processes associated with graduate dissertation research experiences in the schools of vocational education. A mailed survey was sent to teacher educators from the 21 member institutions of the University Council for Vocational Education (UCVE) who had served as chair to at least one doctoral committee. A researcher-designed instrument which used selected scales from other research was sent to the survey population. Statistical analyses were conducted on 144 completed surveys which represented a usable response rate of 76%. The completion rate among faculty's doctoral-student advisees was 76%. Significant associations with completion rate were identified as: tenure status, academic rank, advisor's age, advisor's gender, and whether or not faculty had a primary vocational area of Agricultural Education. A unique finding of this study was that the advisors' experience in the profession was found to explain the greatest portion of the variability in the overall student completion rate. Stepwise regression analysis was used to identify a model consisting of 4 variables that explained 44% of the variability in completion rate. Tenure status provided 32% of the explanatory power of the model, academic rank provided 5%, and number of current doctoral-student committees advisors reported serving on as chairperson and the number of international completers advised explained another 7% of the explanatory power of the model. The researcher recommends that faculty development programs be implemented that would utilize the experienced faculty as mentors of new faculty in areas of doctoral-student advising. It is recommended that additional variables of investigation be identified through conducting qualitative research activities with faculty and graduate students using techniques such as focus groups, focus universities, and/or Delphi panels. It is concluded that the number of doctoral-student committees advisors reported currently serving on as chairpersons was negatively related to the overall doctoral-student completion rate. It is recommended that departments make faculty aware that the greater number of doctoral-student committees faculty currently served on as chairpersons might be a deterrent for their students' retention in the program.