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
The Commission on the Future of
Community Colleges (1988) advocates a broad definition of scholarship
encompassing the integration, application, and presentation of knowledge in the
core activities of curriculum development, service, and teaching. Vaughan
(1989b) defines "scholarship" as a "systematic pursuit of a topic" that involves
critical analysis and results in a product that is shared with the author's
peers. On the other hand, Vaughan sees "research," which builds upon previous
scholarly works and results in verifiable knowledge, empirical data, and
replicable procedures, as only one form 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
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
Several community college
professionals have attempted to surmise why more of their peers do not engage in
scholarship--regardless of how it is defined. Many, including Parilla (1991),
Vaughan (1989), and Lord (1988), believe that because the written mission of the
community college does not refer to scholarship, many professionals understand
that they are expected to emphasize their teaching responsibilities. Conducting
outside research means sacrificing teaching hours.
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
Scholarship can be encouraged
in a variety of ways. First, as Parilla (1991) notes, the mission or goals of
the community college must be adjusted to include scholarship, with presidents
and deans setting an example for their faculty. Templin (1991) argues that "until presidents see the connection between the teaching mission of the
community college generally, and their own leadership effectiveness
specifically, scholarly activity will continue to have a low priority." This
also holds true for academic deans who are in a position to serve as role models
for the faculty, and help prove the benefits of scholarship to community college
presidents (Perkins, 1991).
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
ERIC documents offer advice and
guidelines for community college professionals who are interested in being
published. Eldor Peterson's (1990) study, "Community College Periodicals," lists
35 periodicals dealing primarily with community college education. His analysis
of the content and distribution of these journals reveals that most of the
journals have limited distribution and most are geared toward administrators and
higher education faculty, rather than community college faculty. Lumsden and
Fuller's 1984 article, "Publishing Opportunities for Community College
Educators," continues to provide a valuable analysis of the content, audience,
circulation, and manuscript requirements of 15 of the periodicals serving the
community college field. The major journals in the field are COMMUNITY COLLEGE
REVIEW, COMMUNITY/JUNIOR COLLEGE QUARTERLY OF RESEARCH AND PRACTICE, COMMUNITY SERVICES
CATALYST,COMMUNITY, TECHNICAL, AND JUNIOR COLLEGE JOURNAL, and NEW
DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES.
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
As the definition of scholarship expands to
include all non-classroom efforts to advance the teaching profession, more
community college professionals will engage in scholarship and encourage their
peers to do the same. But such involvement in non-instructional work will only
increase if community college leaders choose to support the efforts of their
faculty and administrators.
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."
Several of the articles cited in this digest
will appear in ENHANCING TEACHING AND ADMINISTRATION THROUGH SCHOLARSHIP, New
Directions for Community Colleges, Number 76, edited by George Vaughan and Jim
Palmer to be published by Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, in December 1991. The
cited articles include: "Editors' Notes," by George B. Vaughan and James C.
Palmer; "False Dichotomies, " by Jonathan Block; "Nurturing Scholarship at
Community Colleges," by James C. Palmer; "Presidential Scholarship and
Educational Leadership in the Community College," by Robert G. Templin; and
"Scholarship in the Community College: A President's Perspective," by Robert E.
Boyer, E. L. Scholarship Reconsidered:
Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the
Advancement of Teaching, 1990.
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.