Education Blog

Reconsidering “Scholarship Reconsidered”

September 12, 2013

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I’ve always believed that scholarship, my own and others, is a purposeful activity. It provides me direction as a professional and as an educator. Scholarship is not the result of passive person who just happens to witness an experience. In the professions, scholarship involves careful observation of the given conditions to examine the means available for reaching an end, and to discover the hindrances in the way. Scholarship helps one understand the implications relating to different means to achieve ends.

As the Provost of a student-centered, professionally oriented university, I embrace Ernest Boyer’s Model of scholarship for our faculty and staff. Some of you may not be familiar with his work. This article should serve as a basic introduction to his ideas. For those of you familiar with his work, I invite you to join me in reconsidering Ernest Boyer’s 1990 publication “Scholarship Reconsidered.”

According to Boyer, traditional research, or the scholarship of discovery, had been the center of academic life and crucial to an institution’s advancement. Boyer believed that the idea of academic scholarship needed to be broadened and made more flexible to include not only the new social and environmental challenges beyond the campus, but that it also should include the realities of contemporary life. His vision for scholarship supported the idea that there can be many types of productive faculties and universities, and that scholarship should reflect the diverse goals and traditions of higher education in the United States. Consequently, Boyer concluded that the idea of scholarship needed to be “redefined.” In his publication, Boyer advocated for the expansion of the traditional definition of scholarship and research into four types:

• The scholarship of discovery that includes original research that advances knowledge;
• The scholarship of integration that involves synthesis of information across disciplines, across topics within a discipline, or across time;
• The scholarship of teaching and learning that involves the systematic study of teaching and learning processes. He proposed that scholarship in this area requires assessment of teaching and learning, public sharing of results, and the opportunity for application and evaluation by others.
• The scholarship of application (also later called the scholarship of engagement) that goes beyond the service duties of a faculty member to those within or outside the University and involves the rigor and application of disciplinary expertise with results that can be shared with and/or evaluated by peers.

All four types of scholarship presented in Boyer’s model are embraced at Franklin University. One can see evidence of the various forms of scholarship in practice, by examining the work and accomplishments of our faculty Additionally, one can actively engage in discussing scholarship with our faculty and staff, or share their scholarship with others at our Scholarship Symposium

As we look to the future, our scholars have to ask themselves:
1. How do we advance our teaching and learning through the four forms of scholarship?
2. How do we more actively engage professionally-oriented students in scholarly works?
3. How do we employ the appropriate methods of inquiry to learn from practice?
4. How might we communicate the results and conclusions of our scholarship in order to expedite advances in professional practice?

By embracing these four types of scholarship, Franklin University faculty and staff are well positioned to adapt to the changes in learners’ needs, explore and describe the challenges faced in their respective fields, and effectively respond to changes in the professions.

Christopher Washington Ph.D., Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Franklin University

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