In sharp contrast to MBA and undergraduate business programs, business doctoral programs face far fewer limitations and guidelines on program curriculum and structure. As a result, business doctoral programs can vary widely in a variety of ways, including how each program prepares students for future teaching positions. In their paper, “Isn’t It Time We Did Something About the Lack of Teaching Preparation in Business Doctoral Programs?”, published in Journal of Management Education, Robert D. Marx of University of Massachusetts Amherst, Joseph E. Garcia of Western Washington University, D. Anthony Butterfield of University of Massachusetts Amherst, Jeffrey A. Kappen of Drake University, and Timonthy T. Baldwin of Indiana University compared 50 doctoral programs to better understand how the programs incorporate teaching preparation in their curriculum. Citing the increasing difficulty for graduates to pursue a career in business academia, as well as the negative impact underprepared professors have upon their students, the authors of this article make a compelling argument about why teaching preparation should be more central to business doctoral programs.
In this essay, we explore why there has traditionally been so little emphasis on teaching preparation in business doctoral programs. Program administrators and faculty typically espouse support for teaching development; yet the existing reward systems are powerfully aligned in favor of a focus on research competency. Indeed, through the lens of a performance diagnostic model, it is entirely predictable that doctoral programs have not offered more teaching development opportunities, as administrators often do not have the requisite motivation, ability, opportunity, or resources to develop comparable teaching competence. However, given that the average graduate will take a professorial position with greater than 50% of responsibilities devoted to teaching, most external observers would conclude that there is a curious dearth of teaching preparation in contemporary business doctoral programs. However understandable the dearth of teaching development, we argue that those reasons are no longer acceptable, and the present essay is predominately a call for change. Suggestions for enhancing the depth and nature of teaching development are offered, and we include some examples of progressive initiatives underway in the hopes of provoking a more intense conversation on the teaching preparation of the next generation of business professors.
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