From its inaugural issue in 1993, The College Quarterly (CQ) has been “devoted to the examination of college and further education issues, and the professional development of college educators.” Its focus has always been on the enhancement of the efficacy and effectiveness of teaching and learning at the college level. The CQ was born out of a recognized need for college educators to discuss the pedagogical processes of teaching (i.e., practice) in the college context, and the thoughtful application of scholarly thought, critical analysis and theory (i.e., praxis).
In his 1990 seminal work, Boyer introduced a provocative new model for the concept of scholarship in higher education—a model that included both the traditional concept of discovery research as the legitimate “scholarship” of university professors and the scholarships of integration, application and teaching. To date, that publication, titled Scholarship Reconsidered – Priorities of the Professoriate has been cited 9,131 1times – an indication of its resonance with scholars across all disciplines!
Simply put, Boyer introduced integration of knowledge as the first of the three new forms of credible “scholarships.” He defined integration as the synthesis of knowledge within and across disciplines and time, and placing disciplinary specialties in the larger context. Those engaged in the scholarship of integration ask, “What do the (research) findings mean?” (Boyer, 1990, p.19). The second of Boyer’s new scholarships is identified as the application of knowledge. The question here is, “How can knowledge be responsibly applied to consequential (social) problems (p. 22)?” Finally, the third new concept was the scholarship of teaching, which includes not only the transmission of knowledge, but more importantly, “It is a dynamic endeavor….that build(s) bridges between the teacher’s understanding and the student’s learning” (Boyer, 1990, p.24). Boyer endorses Parker Palmer’s vision of “…great teachers (who) create a common ground of intellectual commitment. They stimulate active, not passive, learning and encourage students to be critical, creative thinkers, with the capacity to go on learning after their college days are over (p.24).” Boyer’s concept of the scholarship of teaching has, in my view, quite rightly been extended to include the scholarship of teaching and learning because they are so integrally connected. Although Boyer identified these three new forms of scholarship, he acknowledged that discovery, integration, application and teaching were (to differing degrees) integral to all four.
I would argue that teaching and learning in the college context has traditionally not focused on scholarship as envisioned by Boyer, but rather on the application of knowledge and the teaching of skills, with some attempts to foster lifelong learning. Whether this would qualify as “scholarship” as defined in Boyer’s model is questionable. The integration of knowledge as defined by Boyer and applied research are more recent interests of faculty since some of the colleges across Canada have moved into degree-granting over the past decade. However, over the years many college faculty have made concerted efforts to base at least some of their teaching praxis on scholarly thought and theories. But, to engage effectively in the scholarship of teaching and learning, it is not enough to identify and copy best practices – even if these are grounded in scholarly thought; faculty need to purposefully enhance their own learning by engaging in action research. This requires a willingness to open themselves, and their professional practice, up to (or even invite) peer critique by disseminating publicly their findings and insights in academic publications such as The College Quarterly, in discussions with other educators, and at professional conferences (Shulman,1999, cited in Glassick, 2000).
With this issue the CQ seeks to contribute more purposefully than usual to the scholarship of teaching and learning through a series of discussion papers that focus on teaching and learning praxis. In this issue we publish the first of three articles by Bill Hunter on the topic of Teaching for Engagement: Part 1: Constructivist Principles. Subsequent issues of the CQ will include Part 2: Technology in the Service of Active Learning, and Part 3: Teaching for Engagement: Case-based teaching methods. It is our hope that these papers will stimulate good discussions in the service of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Your candid critiques and responses are invited
Boyer, E.L. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ:The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Glassick, C.E. (2000). Boyer’s Expanded Definitions of Scholarship, the Standards for Assessing Scholarship, and the Elusiveness of the Scholarship of Teaching. Academic Medicine, vol 75, No.9, (September). pp. 877-880.
Smith, M.K. (1999, 2011). ‘What is praxis?’ in The encylopaedia of informal education. Retrieved from the World Wide Web http://www.infed.or/bibli/b-praxis.htm
Katharine Janzen, is a senior editor at the College Quarterly. She can be reached at Katharine.Janzen@utoronto.ca