Exploring Scholarly Productivity, Supports, and Challenges of Multinational, Female Graduate Students During a Global Pandemic


  • Dr. Chance Fort Hays State University https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3806-5953
  • Dr. Farwell Middle Tennessee State University
  • Dr. Hessmiller North Carolina A&T State University (Retired)




Graduate Education, Graduate Students, Pandemic, COVID-19, Doctoral Students, Research Assistant, Graduate Teaching Assistants, Ph.D. Students, Dissertation, Women Academics


The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to shifts in higher education globally. This study reports the tensions multinational women graduate students experienced due to the change in delivery methods caused by the pandemic. Additionally, they examined how the students felt about their changing roles and lived experiences. This study highlights areas that institutions should address along with the type and level of support provided to their graduate student population. The authors recommend that institutions focus on providing equitable resources for graduate students, help to develop a support network, both in-person and online, provide resources to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and provide outlets to reduce the stress involved in graduate study.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Dr. Farwell, Middle Tennessee State University

Dr. Farwell is a tenured associate professor of advertising and public relations at Middle Tennessee State University. She is the current advertising concentration head and School of Journalism internship coordinator. Dr. Farwell holds a Ph.D. and concurrent master's degree from Arizona State Univeristy. Prior to employment at MTSU, Dr. Farwell taught public relations at Arizona State University and advertising and public relations at Morehead State University.

She has been acknowledged for outstanding service to student success-winning the Edward Kimbrell Award for Teaching Excellence (2012) and the School of Journalism Outstanding Faculty Adviser (2012, 2013). Her work with the advertising campaigns class has garnered top-place in national competitions in 2008 and 2013.

In addition to the awards, Dr. Farwell has received grants from MTSU’s President’s Commission on the Status of Women (2009, 2011), MTSU’s Public Service Grant (co-authored with Dr. Joonghwa Lee, 2012) and special funding for the advertising concentration from EdVenture Partners.

Dr. Hessmiller, North Carolina A&T State University (Retired)

Dr. Hessmiller is a retired; yet seasoned academic who taught social work practice at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels. Her primary focus of practice and main research interests include everyday democracy and deliberation, health disparities, and their connection to economic human rights and professional education. Her work has also long been focused on developing a claim for economic, social, and cultural human rights in the United States. A longtime member of the Social Welfare Action Alliance (formerly the Bertha Capen Reynolds Society), where she serves as the Co-Chair of the SWAA National Faculty Network.


Allen, H. K., Barrall, A. L., Vincent, K. B., & Arria, A. M. (2020). Stress and Burnout Among Graduate Students: Moderation by Sleep Duration and Quality. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 1-8. Retrieved August 8, 2020, from https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-020-09867-8

Beatty, B. J. (2019). Hybrid-flexible course design: Implementing student directed hybrid classes. EdTech Books. https://edtechbooks.org/pdfs/mobile/hyflex/_hyflex.pdf

Brown, D. A. (1985). The role of mentoring in the professional lives of university faculty women. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database, 47(1-A), 160. Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/dissertations-theses/role-mentoring-professional-lives-university/docview/303371537/se-2?accountid=27424

Chirikov, I., Soria, K. M., Horgos, B., & Jones-White, D. (2020). Undergraduate and Graduate Students’ Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic. https://cshe.berkeley.edu/seru-covid-survey-reports

Culpepper, D. & Goodman, M. A. (2020, December 17). Building a plane that includes grad students. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/12/17/how-advisers-and-their-institutions-can-better-communicate-grad-students-during

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Sage Publications.

Dodson, M., Fernyhough, M., & Holman, B. (2006). Advising Graduate Students: Mentor or Tormentor? NACTA Journal, 50(4), 37-41. Retrieved August 8, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43766171

Dyke, K. V. (2020, June 2). Building the plane. ACPA Developments. Retrieved from https://developments.myacpa.org/building-the-plane/

Flaherty, C. (2020, April 21). No room of one’s own. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/04/21/early-journal-submission-data-suggest-covid-19-tanking-womens-research-productivity

Furlonger, B., & Gencic, E. (2014). Comparing Satisfaction, Life-Stress, Coping and Academic Performance of Counselling Students in On-Campus and Distance Education Learning Environments. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 24(1), 76-89. doi:10.1017/jgc.2014.2

Giorgi, A. (2009). The descriptive phenomenological method in psychology: A modified Husserlian approach. Duquesne University Press.

Giorgi, A. (2012). The descriptive phenomenological psychological method. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 43(1) 3-12. https://doi.org/10.1163/156916212X632934

Javed, B., Sarwer, A., Soto, E. B., & Mashwani, Z. U. (2020). The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic's impact on mental health. The International journal of health planning and management, 35(5), 993–996. https://doi.org/10.1002/hpm.3008

Jenei, K., Cassidy-Matthews, C., Virk, P., Lulie, B., & Closson, K. (2020). Challenges and opportunities for graduate students in public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 111, 408-409. https://doi.org/10.17269/s41997-020-00349-8

Kalubi, J., Bertrand, Y., Dagenais, B., Houde, R., Marcoux, S., & Bujold, M. (2020). Graduate students’ mental health: Exploring experiences of isolation and loneliness. European Journal of Public Health, 30(5). https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckaa165.340

Hill, S. K., Bahniuk, M. H., & Dobos, J. (1989). The impact of mentoring and collegial support on faculty success: An analysis of support behavior, information adequacy, and communication apprehension. Communication Education, 38(1), 15–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634528909378737

Leshem, S. (2020). Identity formations of doctoral students on the route to achieving their doctorate. Issues in Educational Research, 30(1), 169-186. Retrieved from Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/identity-formations-doctoral-students-on-route/docview/2391968659/se-2?accountid=27424

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry (Vol. 75). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Malveaux, J. (2004). Do graduate assistants get a fair deal? Black Issues Higher Education, 21(19) 34. Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/magazines/do-graduate-assistants-get-fair-deal/docview/194221718/se-2?accountid=27424

McLaughlin, C. J., & Sillence, E. (2018). Buffering against academic loneliness: The benefits of social media-based peer support during postgraduate study. Active Learning in Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787418799185

Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research. A guide to design and implementation. Revised and expanded from qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco, CA, US: Jossey-Bass.

Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Nyquist, J.D., Manning, L., Wulff, D. H., Austin, A. E., Sprague, J., Fraser, P. K., Calcagno, C., & Woodford, B. (1999). On the Road to Becoming A Professor: The Graduate Student Experience. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 31(3), 18-27. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091389909602686

Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P. (2020). The Ways of Knowing the Pandemic With the Help of Prompted Autoethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800420960133

Silinda, F.T., & Brubacher, M.R. (2016). Distance learning postgraduate student stress while writing a dissertation or thesis. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 32(1), 1-14. http://www.ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/958/1612

Sowell, Zhang, Redd, & King, 2008. Ph.D. completion and attrition: Analysis of baseline program data from the Ph.D. Completion Project. Council of Graduate Schools, Washington, D.C. Retrievied from https://cgsnet.org/sites/default/files/phd_completion_attrition_baseline_program_data.pdf

Tompkins, K. A., Brecht, K., Tucker, B., Neander, L. L., & Swift, J. K. (2016). Who matters most? The contribution of faculty, student-peers, and outside support in predicting graduate student satisfaction. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 10(2), 102. https://doi.org/10.1037/tep0000115

van Manen, M. (2007). Phenomenology of practice. Phenomenology & Practice, 1(1), 11-30. doi: 10.29173/pandpr19803

Waldek, J. H., Orrego, V. O., Plax, T. G., and Kearney, P (1997). Graduate student/faculty mentoring relationships: Who gets mentored, how it happens, and to what end. Communication Quarterly, 45(3), 93-109. https://doi.org/10.1080/01463379709370054

Wang, X., Hegde, S., Son, C., Keller, B., Smith, A., & Sasangohar, F. (2020). Investigating mental health of US college students during the COVID-19 pandemic: Cross-sectional survey study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(9), e22817. https://doi.org/10.2196/22817

Wiest, L. R. (1999). Addressing the needs of graduate women. Contemporary Education, 70(2), 30. Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/openview/de6a75d5b0c10655c70273157b945d74/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1816594

Yusuf, J. E., Saitgalina, M., & Chapman, D. W. (2020). Work-life balance and well-being of graduate students, Journal of Public Affairs Education, 26:4, 458-483. https://doi.org/10.1080/15236803.2020.1771990



How to Cite

Chance, N., Farwell, T., & Hessmiller, J. (2022). Exploring Scholarly Productivity, Supports, and Challenges of Multinational, Female Graduate Students During a Global Pandemic . Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(3a). https://doi.org/10.32674/jcihe.v14i3a.4168



Summer 2022 Special Edition