A journey towards professional integration – experiences of immigrant Ph. D. students in breaking down barriers to enter Canadian academia

  • Author / Creator
    Shi, Wenying
  • This dissertation investigates the internal and external barriers and successes in career preparation of a small group of immigrant doctoral students. Through three cycles of a four-year action research investigation that integrates interviews, surveys, participant reflections and autoethnography, the data was interpreted through the lenses of critical pedagogy, socio-cultural theory, ecological theory and dialectic theory. The study reveals some of the intercultural transformations that take place in order to reconstruct professional autonomy and perceptions of empowerment during the process of breaking downing internal and external barriers. In order for immigrant doctoral students to achieve professional integration the study presents recommendations to university leaders, graduate supervisors and graduate students themselves. The primary goals are to deepen the understanding of various barriers experienced by professional immigrant Ph.D. students and to identify the changes that occurred in reconstructing their professional autonomy and in their perception of empowerment during the process of breaking downing various external and internal barriers towards professional integration. This study should provide new understandings of what Canadian doctoral education means to professional immigrants, where gaps exist in universities’ programs of studies and their implementation, and between students’ career preparation needs and the services provided through university career support. In light of Canada’s aggressive immigration policy, the findings point to the need to build an integrated career support system for immigrant doctoral students’ academic career transition success and encourage Canadian
    universities to reflect upon the humanistic and democratic values and approaches embedded in the internationalization of education. In addition, immigrant doctoral students may feel empowered by the stories being told and inspired by the insights and strategies revealed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Mandin, Lucille (Faculty of Education)
    • Brook, A. Paula (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Fleming, Douglas (Faculty of Education)
    • Wu, Joe (Elementary Education)
    • Dunn, Bill (Secondary Education)