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Transformative Doctoral Education Model

Given the key challenges of current doctoral education, such as high attrition, long time to degree, ill-suited training, and underdeveloped skills, Texas A&M’s Center for Teaching Excellence developed the Transformative Doctoral Education Model (TDEM) after a thorough review of relevant literature as well as experiences with a NSF-NRT interdisciplinary training grant. The foundation of TDEM is transformative learning theory, supporting the notion that LEARNER transformation occurs throughout the educational experience. Utilizing this pedagogy, TDEM promotes interdisciplinarity and transferable skills acquisition in graduate education to address current societal needs.  Specifically, TDEM identifies the four higher education units as the institution, program, mentors, and doctoral student.  The eight components are considered critical to doctoral education.  The overarching goal of TDEM is to transform the doctoral student into a multi-dimensional, adaptive scholar, so that the students of today can effectively and meaningfully solve the problems of tomorrow.



Patterson, C.A., Chang, C.N., Lavadia, C., Pardo, M., Fowler, D., and Butler-Purry, K. (under review). Transforming doctoral education: Preparing multidimensional and adaptive scholars. Studies of Graduate and Postdoctoral Education.


Below is an overview of the TDEM model.

Individual Development Plan

The Center for Teaching Excellence created an individual development plan (IDP) to encourage graduate students to critically reflect on their experiences. This reflection tool is designed to create dialog between the graduate student and their mentors. Additionally, the IDP enhances a graduate student’s career development by ensuring necessary knowledge and skills are gained in the academic program.