The effects of socialization and racial identity on doctoral superstardom
Govan, Cassaundra Linette
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Many faculty members differentiate between superlative doctoral students and average doctoral students. However, distinctions between superstardom and just completing the degree requirements are not as clear cut for most novice doctoral students but the benefits of being a superstar are far greater (Bloom & Bell, 1979). Additionally, researchers have posited that socialization into doctoral programs is a significant predicator of success for doctoral students’ of African descent (Ellis, 1997; Nettles, 1990; Turner & Thompson, 1993). Although the existing literature acknowledges significant differences between African American and European American students in their socialization experiences, there is a paucity of insight about how doctoral students’ of African descent who attend Predominantly White Institutions experiences differ from their counterparts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In addition, the literature lacks information about how students’ of African descent doctoral experiences are related to their racial identity. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects race and the socialization process on African American doctoral students as it relates to their perception of possessing attributes of doctoral superstardom. Furthermore, the research presented here attempted to examine the following superstardom qualities: visibility, reflection of program values, professor relationships, and the “W” factor (ability to make faculty feel valuable and satisfied with their decision to invest in this student’s future in a given profession, easy to work with, learn quickly, and receive and process feedback well) for current relevance and validity. The findings suggest that racial identity and socialization effect a doctoral student’s perception of possessing attributes of superstardom. It was also found that there are differences in the socialization process of students who attend HBCUs and their counterparts at PWIs. Additionally, the findings suggest that the attributes of superstardom have changed over time.