What Can an Evaluation of the AGESW Predissertation Fellows Program Tell Us about the Mentoring Needs of Doctoral Students?

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Good mentoring is a key variable for determining success in completing a doctoral program. The Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW) provides leadership in the areas of gerontological social work education, research, and policy. In 2010, AGESW began offering the Pre-Dissertation Fellows Program (PDFP) to enhance social work doctoral students’ professional development and skillset for academia. The purpose of this study was to examine student participants’ perceptions of the PDFP in its role to providing mentorship and training for an academic position that encompasses research, teaching and professional service. This qualitative study examined eight cohorts (2010–2018) of the AGESW PDFP (N = 85). Participants identified a number of aspects of professional development gained, gratitude for the training, an appreciation for candid advice received, and areas of professional development they felt they were lacking within their doctoral training. Implications for doctoral education, doctoral mentorship programs, and the AGESW pre-dissertation program are discussed. Further, programs such as AGESW pre-dissertation fellowship program can serve as a model for other doctoral training initiatives to prepare students to work in academia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-866
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Gerontological Social Work
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2019

Bibliographical note

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


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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