Graduate schools have faced attrition rates of approximately 50 percent for the past 40 years. They have tried to address the problem by focusing on student characteristics and by assuming that if they could make better, more informed admissions decisions, attrition rates would drop. Yet high attrition rates persist and may in fact be increasing. Leaving the Ivory Tower thus turns the issue around and asks what is wrong with the structure and process of graduate education. Based on hard evidence drawn from a survey of 816 completers and noncompleters and on interviews with noncompleters, high- and low-Ph.D productive faculty, and directors of graduate study, this book locates the root cause of attrition in the social structure and cultural organization of graduate education.
Barbara E. Lovitts received her Ph D. in sociology from the University of Maryland. She is currently a senior research analyst at the Pelavin Research Center of the American Institutes for Research.
Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 The Invisible Problem Chapter 4 Explaining the High and Persistent Rate of Attrition Chapter 5 Explaining Departure Chapter 6 The Lack of Information Chapter 7 The Absence of Community Chapter 8 Disappointment with the Learning Experience Chapter 9 The Quality of the Advisor/Advisee Relationship Chapter 10 The Decision to Leave Chapter 11 Personal Consequences of Departure Chapter 12 Labor Market Consequences of Departure Chapter 13 Conclusions and Recommendations Chapter 14 Appendix Chapter 15 Bibliography Chapter 16 Index