ERIC Identifier: ED338294
Publication Date: 1991-07-00
Author: Williams, Dana Nicole
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse for Junior Colleges Los Angeles CA.
The Role of Scholarship in the Community College. ERIC Digest.
The community college's mission as a teaching institution rather than a research institution has typically not placed scholarship in a central position. Jonathan Block (1991) contends that a false dichotomy is perceived between teaching and scholarship, originating in the backgrounds in public school administration and teaching of the founding presidents and faculty of community and junior colleges. Vaughan, in various articles, maintains that community college leaders must now expand the definition of scholarship, stress the important difference between research and scholarship, and ensure that scholarship becomes an expectation of faculty. Doing so will not only erase the perceived distinction between teaching and scholarship, but will also "enhance the reputation of the community college as an institution of higher learning" (Vaughan and Palmer, 1991).
DEFINITIONS OF SCHOLARSHIP
Other commentators also promote an expanded definition of scholarship. Palmer (1991) posits that scholarship "must contribute to the larger profession" and that results of scholarship should be published or otherwise made available to colleagues. He also contends that faculty members must be encouraged to use their classrooms as laboratories. Boyer (1990) identifies four elements of scholarship: discovery (advancing knowledge), integration (crossing lines of discipline), application (fulfilling pragmatic needs), and teaching (enhancing pedagogy).
Parilla (1991) acknowledges the difficulty in making time for scholarship, but argues that "the critical issue is that one must be actively involved in his or her discipline or technical field in order to be an effective teacher." Once the link between teaching and scholarship is established, the importance of scholarship at the community college becomes undeniable.
BARRIERS TO SCHOLARLY ACTIVITY
In addition to lack of time, lack of support and encouragement from college leaders is another barrier. Parilla (1991) maintains that support and resources, including released time and monetary rewards, are essential to encouraging scholarship. By incorporating scholarship as an expectation for tenure and promotion, the community college validates the efforts of its faculty outside the classroom (Vaughan, 1991).
A third barrier to scholarship is an unwillingness among community college faculty to encroach upon the turf of the university. They see scholarship as a university responsibility that is not consistent with the teaching emphasis or resources of the two-year college. Vaughan (1991) states that "community college professionals must get over the feeling that they are inferior to other members of the higher education community." If colleges support scholarship efforts by faculty, instructors will gain the experience needed to incorporate scholarship into their daily activities.
PROMOTING FACULTY SCHOLARSHIP
An effective reward system will include various persuasive tactics. Though financial incentives and release time are two of the most requested rewards, community college professionals also desire recognition for their efforts by their peers and leaders (Lord, 1988). Most faculty members publish for the intrinsic rewards, combining research and instruction to fulfill personal goals. Sutherland (1989) finds this particularly true of "high functional" instructors, who also tend to be rated by their students as better teachers.
WRITING FOR PUBLICATION
In addition, many state and professional associations and state agencies are currently publishing high quality periodicals as a forum for the exchange of information and ideas among their members or faculty members in their state.
Zebrowski and Werner (1984) offer a list of 25 suggestions for writing a textbook for publication, including (1) teach a related course four or five times before beginning to write; (2) research the effectiveness of pedagogical methods as measured by test results and student input; and (3) involve students as critics in the preparatory stages of the manuscript and when the text is first published. Thus, textbook writing can be seen as a form of scholarship, combining what teachers enjoy most, teaching, with scholarly research.
Sutherland's (1989) exploration of the writing for publication of community college faculty indicates that instruction is the most pervasive topic, while Griffiths (1989) finds that community college presidents tend to write on the subjects of coping with change, institutional finances, and declining enrollments. Griffiths also indicates that while the range of topics addressed by presidents in their publications is huge, topics such as curriculum development, instructional methods, and philosophy of education tend to be avoided.
As Vaughan (1989b) states, "All community college professionals should be scholars, for it is through scholarship that a disciplined passion for learning manifests itself, and it is this passion for learning that sustains effective teaching and effective administration."
Commission on the Future of Community Colleges. Building Communities: A Vision for a New Century. Washington, DC: American Association of Community and Junior Colleges, 1988. 58 pp. (ED 293 578)
Cooper, J. F., and Garmon, J. F. "Personnel Selection: The Holistic Approach." Unpublished manuscript, 1990. 15 pp. (ED 321 794)
Griffiths, R. E. "Critical Comments on the Literature Written by Presidents of Community Colleges." Graduate Seminar Paper, University of California, Los Angeles, 1989. 16 pp. (ED 313 062)
Lord, T. "Spotlighting Faculty Scholarship at the Two Year College." Unpublished manuscript, 1988. 9 pp. (ED 301 264)
Lumsden, D. B., and Fuller, F. "Publishing Opportunities for Community College Educators." Community College Review, 1984, 12 (1), 48-60.
Pederson, E. O. "Community College Periodicals." Unpublished manuscript, 1990. 51 pp. (ED 316 275)
Sutherland, M. "Community College Faculty: Why Do They Write What They Write? And Why Do They Write At All?" Graduate Seminar Paper, University of California, Los Angeles, 1989. 14 pp. (ED 313 060)
Vaughan, G. "Scholarship and the Community College Professional: Mandate for the Future." Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges, Washington, DC., March 29-April 1, 1989a. 20 pp. (ED 305 965)
Vaughan, G. "Scholarship: The Community College's Achilles' Heel." n.p.: Virginia Community Colleges Association Occasional Paper Series, No. 1, 1989b. 22 pp. (ED 313 081)
Zebrowski, E., and Werner, K. "Publishing Without Perishing: Advice for Prospective Textbook Authors." Teaching English in the Two Year College, 1984, 11 (1), 52-60.