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The Scholarship of Teaching

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Last week I participated in the, Shaping the Future: New Expectations for Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology workshop at San Jose State University. Here are the highlights of the focus group discussion I chaire d on, The Scholarship of Teaching: What Is It and How Can It Be Measured, Promoted, and Reward?: Comments in parenthesis were added later by my colleague, Professor Larry Leifer, director of the Stanford Learning Laboratory. 

As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. 

Rick Reis 

The Scholarship of Teaching Discussion Highlights: 

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* Review of Ernest Boyer's concept of the scholarships of discovery, integration, application, and teaching. All forms are important, but more recognition of the importance of the scholarship of teaching is needed. 
* Discussion of the meaning of the term "scholarship of teaching," and how it differs from "normal" teaching. To be scholarship, such teaching must be: 

* Innovative in terms of curriculum development, instruction, and/or student learning 
* Disseminated, through publications, presentations, Internet, to educators not directly involved in the innovation. (I tend to add that the root of scholarship is the citation of the work of others, the act of building on each others shoulders, rather than on each others toes. So, publication, citation and peer-review are the cornerstones - LL) 
* Examination of various ways to capture and document the scholarship of teaching through: 

* Teaching Portfolios (an exciting new trend - LL) 
* Publications (The coin of the profession, a top priority - LL) 
* Presentations at conferences (One peer reviewed journal paper is worth about 15 conference presentations, proceeding-papers - A painful reality at tenure time - LL) 
* Postings on the WWW (not yet real at tenure time - LL) 
(* Video documentation of teaching/learning activity. While video has been around for 40 years it is still undervalued as a publication. There is some evidence that well done, peer reviewable video production (be it analog or video) is gaining ground as a publication medium for teaching/learning scholarship - LL) 
* Agreement that one measure of the success of such scholarship would be the degree to which the outcomes are adopted at some level by other faculty. In some ways such adoption might be equivalent to citations in research publications. (Yes, we must nurture the culture of citation - LL) 
* Support for introducing the scholarship of teaching into the experiences of Ph.D. and even undergraduate students. Is there a way to make such experiences an explicit part of doctorate dissertations, particularly for tho se Ph.D. students who want to become professors? Behind this suggestion is the recognition that students (and teachers) can learn a great deal from each other. 
* Support for mechanisms by which faculty can be encouraged to share their "intellectual capital" in ways that bring new ideas to others, provide appropriate recognition for the originator, and reduce the total time commitm ent required of each "sharing participant." 
* Request for further explorations on how to find connections among two or more forms of scholarship so that faculty may leverage their scholarship investments for net gain. 
* Recognition that much still needs to be done to create appropriate recognition and rewards for forms of scholarship beyond that of discovering new knowledge.