lunabee34: (reading by sallymn)
[personal profile] lunabee34
So, over the course of this week, the Boyer model of scholarship got brought up at two separate meetings, so I thought I'd better check it out. Over the last four years, we've consolidated and gone through two level changes, so we're now at the point where we're having to revise promotion and tenure processes yet again. Part of that is defining what we mean by scholarship and which activities will be rewarded by the institution. I think there's going to be a committee. LOL

Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the ProfessoriateScholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate by Ernest L. Boyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boyer's original text is almost 30 years old, and this 2015 reprint begins with essays on how his argument has impacted higher education in those decades.

Boyer argues that scholarship should be redefined to consist of discovery, integration, application and teaching. Scholarship of discovery is what we traditionally think of as scholarship: original research. Scholarship of integration is interdisciplinary and collaborative; Boyer doesn't really offer specific examples of any of these types of scholarship, and so scholarship of integration reads to me like traditional, original research, just done in an interdisciplinary setting. Scholarship of application (now called engagement) is about serving the community, about solving local (and national and global problems). Scholarship of teaching is pedagogical research.

Boyer also argues that since most faculty are already engaged in at least one of these four kinds of scholarship, they should all be rewarded, specifically in the promotion and tenure processes. He believes that multiple pathways (tracks) to promotion and tenure should exist and envisions a set-up in which faculty might switch focus from time. For example, a professor might agree to be evaluated on a traditional research + teaching track for a period of years and then switch to a scholarship of teaching track for another period of years.

For Boyer, broadening the definition of scholarship will help higher education solve what he sees as its identity crisis. Too many institutions of higher education model themselves after Ivy League schools without trying to develop a distinctive identity that's based on the kinds of scholarship the faculty and students actually complete.

Clearly, Boyer's ideas have had a tremendous influence on higher education as many of his suggestions are now par for the course at many colleges and universities. However, this book also clearly demonstrates that some of the current tensions in higher education stretch back far into the past:

How do we reconcile our teaching mission with the necessity of participating in other activities (like publishing) that draw our focus from teaching?

Does the academy still place too much emphasis on publishing?

How do we reward the tedious activities that take up so much of professors' time (like advising, mentoring, etc.)?

This book also left me with some questions. I hadn't realized that pedagogical research was once considered Not Real Research, and now I'm wondering if that viewpoint is still alive and well and I just haven't encountered it. It also made me wonder how my institution regards textbook writing.

View all my reviews
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