EDITORIAL: Reconsidering Scholarship in Physical Therapy Education

Article excerpt

In the sixth animal Cerasoli lecture, "A Passion for Discovery" (see lead article in this issue), Dr Susan Deusinger highlighted the importance and power of continuous and enthusiastic inquiry as a means for discovering new knowledge, gaining new insights, and creating "new horizons and new visions for physical therapy."1 Such inquiry is critical for illuminating and enhancing both the art and science of physical therapy clinical practice and physical therapy educational practice. In an era of calls for increasing evidence-based practice in clinical environments, mere is also a need for increasing evidence-based practice in physical therapy education. As physical therapy educators, we are in a perfect position to contribute in very meaningful ways to this evidence base. We can do so by committing ourselves to explore, In systematic ways, our own teaching and the learning of our students in classroom and clinical settings; that is, we can all engage in the scholarship of leaching and learning. Such scholarly activity, when undertaken with full attention to and appreciation of other research and theory in professions education, will help us be "excellent educators"1 and promises numerous benefits for students, faculty, patients, other health care professionals, and physical therapy education and practice.

More than a decade ago, Ernest Boyer2 urged an expanded view of the meaning and forms of scholarship among faculty in higher education. In his influential Carnegie report, Scholarship Reconsidered, Boyer identified 4 distinct, yet sometimes overlapping, categories of scholarship in which faculty might engage: "the scholarship of discovery; the scholarship of integration; the scholarship of application; and the scholarship of lcaching."2(p16) In his initial description of the scholarship of teaching, Boyer wrote:

Teaching is. . .a dynamic endeavor involving all the analogies, methapores, and images that build bridges between the teacher's understanding and the student's learning. Pedagogical procedures must be carefully planned, continuously examined, and relate directly to the subject being taught.2(pp23-24)

Here, Boyer forecasts the inseparability of a scholarship of teaching and a scholarship of learning. In fact, some have even argued that there is no teaching without learning.

Since Boyer's original report, several important developments and reports regarding the scholarship of teaching and the assessment of faculty scholarship have been facilitated and disseminated through The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. First, authors have distinguished "scholarly teaching," which is an obligation of all faculty according to Hutchings and Shulman,3 from the scholarship of teaching.3-5 Key characteristics of quality scholarship in general and a scholarship of teaching and learning specifically have been identified as follows: the investigation has clear goals, there is adequate preparation of the investigator for undertaking the project, appropriate mediods are used to address the question(s), the results have significance to the field, the findings are made public through presentation and publication and are open to review and critique, and, finally, the investigator engages in reflective critique of his or her own work and learning its a result of the inquiry.3-5 At a time when there is a great deal of discussion and debate about faculty scholarship in physical therapy, these characteristics can help guide and inform assessment of physical therapy faculty scholarship in this area.

In other developments, a Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning has been created and brings together a diverse group of "Carnegie Scholars" to engage in interdisciplinary inquiry and discussion about teaching and learning in higher education. In addition, a Carnegie Foundation program entitled "Preparation for the Professions" has been initiated. This program, of great relevance to physical therapy education, is an ongoing study of professional education that to date has investigated preparation for law, engineering, teaching, and the clergy. …