Turning Doctoral Students into Faculty in Gerontological Social Work: The AGESW Experience

Nancy Kusmaul, Stephanie P. Wladkowski, Sally Hageman, Allison Gibson, Rebecca L. Mauldin, Jennifer C. Greenfield, Noelle L. Fields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Developing faculty interested in aging may help social work meet the needs of our growing aging population. However, doctoral students need a variety of supports to complete PhDs and become gerontological social work faculty. This study explored one program’s role in supporting the development of social work doctoral students to faculty in gerontology. An e-mail invitation was sent to all former participants (2010–2016 cohorts) of the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW) Pre-Dissertation Fellows Program (PDFP). The 38-question online survey consisted of Likert-type scales, multiple answers, and one open-ended question per section about the program’s impacts on their academic career development in teaching, research, mentoring, and support. Forty-five respondents, representing all six cohorts, completed the survey. More than half reported that the PDFP contributed to their ability to publish their research (64.4%, n = 29), grow their professional network (86.7%, n = 39, and teach (55.5%, n = 25). Doctoral programs provided different experiences than the PDFP, including mentoring, methodological training, professional development, networking, and peer support. Results suggest the PDFP provides content recipients value that supplements instruction received in their institutions. The program’s ability to connect students to each other and to national leaders enhances their career development and socialization into academic roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)828-845
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Gerontological Social Work
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Social work education
  • education
  • learning
  • mentoring
  • professional workforce issues
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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