Academic journal article Journal of Higher Education

Toward a Reconceptualization of Scholarship: A Human Action System with Functional Imperatives

Academic journal article Journal of Higher Education

Toward a Reconceptualization of Scholarship: A Human Action System with Functional Imperatives

Article excerpt

Both the mission of a college and the activities and roles of its faculty are often described in terms of the trio of teaching, research, and service functions. However, when the word scholarship is used, it usually refers to just research and publication, and though the functions of teaching and service may "grow out of scholarship, they are not to be considered a part of it" [8, p. 15]. Everyone agrees with the contention that creation of new knowledge through research and publication is an essential dimension of scholarship. But this conventional conception of scholarship has been criticized as too narrow and restrictive [8, 32]. Nevertheless, this "one-dimensional view" continues to be the "dominant fiction" that guides faculty in assessing their own and their colleagues' scholarly performance [31, p. 14]. Today an increasing number of faculty and administrators support an enlarged view of scholarship that encompasses and encourages the full range of diverse, creative talents of faculty, allows for different disciplinary perspectives, and provides a framework for the development of mission statements expressing more distinctive and differentiated priorities [11, 13, 36]. The most widely discussed expanded conceptions make it clear that faculty activities in the performance of research, teaching, and service functions contribute jointly to an underlying foundation of scholarship by promoting the development, representation, and utilization of knowledge [8, 32].

The reconceptualization of scholarship has begun. Important leadership has come from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In Scholarship Reconsidered, Ernest Boyer [8] describes the scholarly activities of faculty in terms of four interdependent components: the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of application, the scholarship of teaching, and the scholarship of integration. The scope of these activities includes the many ways in which faculty draw upon their expertise in performing their teaching, research, and service. R. Eugene Rice [32, 33], formerly a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation, views the four dimensions of scholarship as corresponding to distinct approaches to the perception and processing of knowledge - namely, the advancement, application, representation and integration of knowledge. The four-dimensional model of scholarship, developed by Boyer and Rice, has already proven itself to be a meaningful, accessible, and highly productive contribution to the reconceptualization of scholarship. Currently, their model is being used by the National Project on Institutional Priorities and Faculty Rewards to engage a number of disciplinary societies in drafting statements that reconceptualize scholarship in their own disciplines [12].

Boyer and Rice are hardly alone in enlarging the view of scholarship. Thus, as students, parents and policy-makers demand higher quality in undergraduate education, efforts to explore more deeply the meaning of the teaching dimension of scholarship continue. Lee Shulman [41] identifies four primary sources of the knowledge base of teaching: knowledge of disciplinary content; knowledge of educational materials and structures; knowledge of research on teaching, learning and development; and the wisdom of practice. Edgerton, Hutchings, and Quinlan, at the American Association for Higher Education, explain that the "'scholarship of teaching' . . . entails a view that teaching, like other scholarly activities . . . relies on a base of expertise, a 'scholarly knowing' that needs to and can be identified, made public, and evaluated; a scholarship that faculty themselves must be responsible for monitoring" [14, p. 1]. They have recommended the teaching portfolio as an effective tool for "uncovering the scholarship in teaching" [14, p. 6], and campus use of teaching portfolios for this purpose is accelerating [17].

In enlarging the view of scholarship, others have focused on certain service activities of faculty. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.