This chapter considers the limitations of traditional
faculty assessment systems in the context of Boyer’s four
domains of scholarship and suggests a new organizing
template for realigning assessment systems to
accommodate work in all four domains.
Evaluating Scholarship Performance:
Traditional and Emergent Assessment
John M. Braxton and Marietta Del Favero
In Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities for the Professoriate, Boyer (1990) asserted that the definition of scholarship should expand to include the scholarships of discovery, application, integration, and teaching. The most standard form of scholarship is discovery, acquiring knowledge for its own sake through testing and generating theory. Applying disciplinary knowledge and skill to societal problems characterizes the scholarship of application, whereas the scholarship of integration involves making meaning from research findings. The scholarship of teaching involves continuous examination of pedagogical practices (Boyer, 1990).
Boyer provides several reasons for expanding the boundaries of scholarship to include these four domains. First, the faculty reward structure fails to correspond to the full range of daily scholarly activities performed by faculty. The majority (59 percent) of college and university faculty have published five or fewer articles in refereed journals during their careers (Boyer, 1990). Such faculty are neither unscholarly nor unproductive (Blackburn, 1974; Braxton and Toombs, 1982). Expanding the parameters of what counts as scholarship would better reflect the scholarly activities of members of the professoriate who seldom or never publish. Second, the missions of most colleges and universities fail to acknowledge the forms of scholarship most congruent with their missions. Currently, the research university model, with its heavy emphasis on discovery, provides an inappropriate yardstick for measuring scholarly attainments at the full range of colleges and universities (Boyer, 1990; Ladd, 1979). Third, scholarship should be useful for solving pressing social and economic problems.