ERIC Identifier: ED469447
Publication Date: 2002-00-00
Author: Braxton, John M. - Luckey, William - Helland, Patricia
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education Washington DC.

Institutionalizing a Broader View of Scholarship through Boyer's Four Domains. ERIC Digest.

In his influential book Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, Ernest Boyer (1990) proposed that the definition of scholarship be broadened beyond the predominant emphasis on the scholarship of discovery to encompass the scholarships of integration, application, and teaching. Boyer's formulations have sparked considerable scholarly attention focused primarily on clarifying the meaning of the domains of scholarship and on criteria and forms of documentation needed to assess scholarship across the four domains (Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff, 1997; Shulman and Hutchings, 1998). This spate of literature and scholarly discussion, coupled with an elapse of over 10 years since the advancement of Boyer's perspective, strongly indicates a need to take stock of this literature. Such a stock-taking requires attention to appraisals of Boyer's arguments by contemporary scholars and various efforts by scholars to clarify the meaning of the domains of scholarship described by Boyer. The ASHE-ERIC Report, Institutionalizing a Broader View of Scholarship Through Boyer's Four Domains, reviews the major scholarly works on these topics. This ERIC Digest briefly discusses the highlights of that ASHE-ERIC Report.

Because Boyer's formulations portray how scholarship should be performed rather than how it is performed, an important question emerges: To what extent do college and university faculty members engage in the work of each of the four domains of scholarship? Despite the significance of Boyer's arguments, little or no empirical research has addressed this essential question. Response to this fundamental question would enable us to gauge the extent to which the four domains of scholarship have become institutionalized into the academic work of college and university faculty members.

The guiding definition of institutionalization used in the ASHE-ERIC Report is: "the process whereby specific cultural elements or cultural objects are adopted by actors in a social system" (Clark, 1971, p.75). Institutionalization also occurs on three levels: structural, procedural, and incorporation, with incorporation being the highest level (Curry, 1991). We contend that the achievement of all three levels is necessary to sustain the institutionalization of Boyer's four domains of scholarship. Accordingly, we appraise the attainment of these three levels of institutionalization of Boyer's perspective by using data collected from a national sample of 1,424 faculty members in five types of colleges and universities and four academic disciplines.

We further our understanding of the limitations and possibilities of institutionalization by asking: What factors impede or facilitate institutionalization of the four domains of scholarship into the scholarly work of college and university faculty members? In addressing this second overarching question, we discuss factors that facilitate or impede the institutionalization of Boyer's formulations. The factors discussed are: state-level instruments of economic development, university-industry research collaboration, the processes used to assess faculty scholarship, faculty workload patterns, the academic reward structure, graduate education, and scholarly role acquisition by community college faculty members.

We also review various approaches to changing the academic reward structure and the process of assessing faculty scholarship, because fundamental changes in these entities are needed to attain the incorporation level of the institutionalization of Boyer's arguments.


After reviewing the evidence, we reach five conclusions: (1) all four domains of scholarship have attained structural level institutionalization; (2) the scholarships of discovery and teaching have attained procedural level institutionalization, whereas the scholarships of application and integration show progress toward the achievement of this level of institutionalization; (3) the scholarships of discovery and teaching have attained both structural and procedural level institutionalization; (4) the potential for incorporation-level institutionalization of the scholarships of application, integration and teaching exists if changes supportive of Boyer's formulations transpire in graduate education, and the academic reward system and its accompanying process of scholarship assessment; and (5) the scholarship of discovery persists as the most legitimate and preferred objective of faculty scholarly engagement across the spectrum of institutions of higher education, ranging from liberal arts colleges to research and doctoral-granting universities.

We also advance a set of eleven recommendations for institutional policy and practice that are designed to further the institutionalization of Boyer's four domains of scholarship. In addition to these recommendations, we provide an Inventory of Scholarship. Although Boyer provided some examples of scholarly forms reflective of the objectives of some domains of scholarship, a more concrete specification of forms of scholarship oriented toward each domain is necessary to measure faculty engagement in each of the four domains of scholarship. The Inventory of Scholarship provides such concrete specifications for each of the four domains of scholarship. For each domain, we sort these scholarly forms into three categories: scholarly activities, unpublished scholarly outcomes, and publications. The activities displayed under the category of unpublished scholarly outcomes meet the designation of unpublished, publicly observable scholarship if the three criteria of scholarship described by Shulman and Hutchings (1998) are met.


The appeal of Boyer's four domains of scholarship resides in the possibility of developing a faculty reward structure that is more congruent with the following: the day-to-day scholarly engagement of most college and university faculty members, the expectations of the lay public for faculty work, and the institutional missions of colleges and universities that do not primarily emphasize scholarship as discovery. The book provides not only an empirically grounded knowledge and understanding of the extent of faculty engagement in Boyer's four domains of scholarship, but also a knowledge and understanding of the factors that facilitate or impede institutionalization.


Selected references appear below. Please see ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, Vol. 29, No.2, for a complete list of references.

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Clark, T. N. (1971). "Institutionalization of Innovations in Higher Education: Four Models." In J.V. Baldridge (ed.) Academic Governance: Research on Institutional Politics and Decision-Making, pp. 75-96, Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing.

Curry, B. K. (1992). Instituting enduring innovations: Achieving continuity of change in higher education. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 7. Washington, D.C.: George Washington University.

Glassick, C. E., Huber, M. T., and Maeroff, G. I. (1997). Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Shulman, L. S., and Hutchings, P. (1998). About the scholarship of teaching and learning. The Pew Scholars National Fellowship Program. Menlo Park, CA: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

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