Doctoral Chairs Section

Especially for Doctoral Program Chairs

Chairs and faculty of doctoral Communciation programs face a number of specific concerns. This page provides information about NCA’s Doctoral Education Committee, resources from the Council of Graduate Schools, updates on the National Research Council’s graduate survey, NSF’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, and related readings.

The Doctoral Education Committee (DEC) works with the NCA Director of Academic & Professional Affairs, as well as with the director of the Research Board (and other association bodies as appropriate) to foster a culture of intellectual excellence as the standard for doctoral education and scholarship in the Communication discipline.

2021 Doctoral Education Committee

  • Kristy Maddux, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Wei Sun, Howard University
  • Zoltan Majdik, North Dakota State University
  • Ellen Gorsevski, Bowling Green State University
  • Robert Mejia, North Dakota State University

Two reputation studies have been conducted by NCA, one in 1996 and the second in 2004. The 1996 study was conducted by the Research Board, while the 2004 study was conducted by the Doctoral Education Committee. See the links to each study below.

NCA Doctoral Program Guide

The Doctoral Program Guide is designed to provide timely and useful information about doctoral programs in Communication for students, prospective students, and other interested parties. 

View the Guide

Each year, NCA co-hosts a Doctoral Honors Seminar with a participating institution.

Council of Graduate Schools 

The Council of Graduate Schools' (CGS) website is devoted to all matters of graduate education. CGS conducts and posts a number of surveys and white papers, including:

  • The path forward: The future of graduate education in the United States (2010)

Upon release of the CGS's 2011 Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees, NCA requested benchmarking data drawn from that survey about graduate enrollment in Communication. The report Graduate Enrollment and Degrees in Communication/Journalism: Benchmarking Data from the 2011 CGS/GRE Survey is now available.

Also visit the Ph.D. Completion Project website.

National Research Council 

On September 28, 2010, the National Research Council of the National Academies released “A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States,” its long-awaited report on the quality and effectiveness of doctoral programs based on measures that are important to faculty, students, administrators, funders, and other stakeholders.

Directed by Charlotte Kuh of the National Academy of Sciences, the report reflects years of discussion and guidance from a committee chaired by Jeremiah Ostriker, former provost of Princeton University. Based on data collected for the 2005-2006 academic year from more than 5,000 doctoral programs at 212 universities, the report covers such characteristics as faculty publications, grants, and awards; student GRE scores, financial support, and employment outcomes; and program size, time to degree, and faculty composition. In addition, measures of faculty and student diversity are included.

In addition to the data, the report contains illustrative ranges of rankings for each program, as well as ranges of rankings for three dimensions of program quality: research activity, student support and outcomes, and diversity of the academic environment. Unlike U.S. News and World Report and the BCS Rankings, there are no specific numbers provided, just ranges of excellence.

Accompanying the report is a comprehensive data table in Excel and a detailed explanation of the methodology used to collect data and calculate ranges of rankings. All three of these publications—the two reports and the data table spreadsheet—are available for download.

The above information comes from the October 12, 2010, COSSA Washington Update (Volume 29, Issue 18).

Discipline Response to NRC Data 

The Council of Communication Associations formed a Task Force on the NRC Doctoral Study, chaired by Dr. Linda Putnam at the University of California Santa Barbara.  A subcommittee comprised of Ed Fink at the University of Maryland, Scott Poole at the University of Illinois, and Sabine Chai at Western Kentucky University analyzed data from the NRC and prepared a report. That report was published in the May 2011 issue of Spectra.

For more information on the NRC study, see the following articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Survey of Earned Doctorates 

Preparing Future Faculty 

University of Washington – CIRGE 

The two articles below are especially related to research institutions.