Professional and Personal Development in Contemporary Gerontology Doctoral Education

Heidi H. Ewen, Graham D. Rowles, John F. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article reports on the Gerontology Doctoral Student Assessment Model (GDSAM), a comprehensive web-based system premised on developing an evaluation mechanism attuned to the special requirements of advanced graduate education at the doctoral level. The system focuses on longitudinal tracking of selected dimensions of intellectual, professional, and personal progress. This involves interlocking elements of online personal dossier development, student self-rating assessment, faculty assessment of student progress, and a means of communicating interactive and iterative feedback among students and faculty. Preliminary findings from initial data collection using the assessment system indicate that students who have completed and passed their qualifying examinations are more confident in their ability to articulate diverse ideas in professional settings, work in direct contact with research participants, present research findings to scientific audiences, and adjust to the rigors of doctoral education. Additional feedback from participants in the system suggests that, although important ethical issues of confidentiality and appropriate use must be recognized and monitored, the GDSAM has strong potential to provide an appropriate assessment tool at the doctoral level. Implementation of such a system throughout doctoral education in gerontology provides a unique opportunity for tracking the impact and effectiveness of doctoral education in an emergent field as additional programs come on line.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-55
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Development and implementation of the initiative upon which this paper was based was facilitated by the University of Kentucky Office of Assessment Quality Enhancement Program Grant # CIP 30.1101; PCS 046. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Gerald Swan, who developed the technology upon which this initiative was based and who provided consultation during its initial development.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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