Abstract for: Transformative quality of doctoral education: the way new standards are negotiated. System dynamics approach

Quality is a concept that is leading every discussion within public policy of higher education (HE). It is common when state external regulation of doctoral educational quality is supported by internal self regulation, when certain level of doctoral education quality is ensured by internal long lasting “common” practice. For instance, doctoral degree awarding (DDA) process is such the case, when state regulates requirements for process and personnel involved. The research goal of this study is to analyse the practice of the doctoral degree awarding in Lithuania (DDA members selection and DDA process) and explain the factors within the practice that stimulate transformation of quality of doctoral education. The research employed the qualitative approach using semi structural interviews. Informants for interviews were selected from the list of DDA committees that were operated in 2010-2011 in Lithuania. Based on qualitative research data, we construct an explanatory causal loop diagram explaining the transformation nature of quality that is a product of negotiation between academia and state regulators. Dynamic hypothesis are based on threefold causal loops: adoption of new state regulation; implementation of state regulation and formation of new tolerance to quality.