ERIC Identifier: ED480469
Publication Date: 2003
Author: Ward, Kelly
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education
Faculty Service Roles and the Scholarship of Engagement.
The three facets of a faculty member's job in the modern university
are teaching, research, and service. When people talk about teaching, they
tend to be in agreement on what they mean. Faculty are first and foremost
teachers; teaching is part of the very definition of what it means to be
a faculty member. As modern roles for faculty have evolved, another part
of the faculty role that is clear, at least to those on the inside of academe,
is research: faculty are creators of knowledge and information (Altbach,
1995; Boyer, 1990). When people refer to the service role of faculty, however,
what this involves is less clear (Berberet, 1999; O'Meara, 1997). This
uncertainty may be entirely appropriate, as the service role of faculty
is expansive and often vaguely defined (Boice, 2000; Fear and Sandmann,
THE MANY MEANINGS OF SERVICE
There are internal and external dimensions to service. These two forms
of service are distinct, yet they are often lumped together under the rubric
"faculty service." Internal service refers to service to the institution
as a means to conduct institutional business and service to the discipline
as a means to maintain disciplinary associations--it supports the internal
functioning of the academic profession and higher education as a whole
and is tied to the premise of shared governance. Most faculty members spend
considerable time attending committee meetings, answering e-mail queries
from students and colleagues, scheduling lecture series and conferences,
reviewing articles for journals, and advising student groups. This service
to the discipline and campus is part of the hidden curriculum of faculty
In contrast, external service is a means for institutions to communicate
to multiple external audiences what it is that higher education does to
meet societal needs. External service takes many forms, including extension,
consulting, service-learning, and community and civic service. Common to
all of these forms is faculty operating in contexts beyond the campus.
VARIABILITY IN SERVICE ROLES
Research shows that there is variability in internal and external service
roles depending on institutional type, discipline, rank, and demographics
such as race and gender. Faculty at larger and more prestigious campuses,
especially tenured faculty, have greater personal power and professional
autonomy, which typically translates to fewer service obligations tied
to the institution (Austin and Gamson, 1983). Service for faculty at these
institutions tends to be focused outward on national activity and reputation,
as well as funding agencies. As one moves further down the institutional
scale, administration begins to take precedence in the setting of policy
for faculty, who are treated more as employees contracted to teach than
as equals in governing of the campus (Austin and Gamson, 1983).
There is only limited research about disciplinary norms and how they
shape faculty work, and in particular, faculty at work as institutional
and disciplinary citizens. When considering aspects of faculty work such
as service, typically disciplines on different campuses are more alike
than are different disciplines on the same campus. For example, education
faculty, regardless of campus, can expect service responsibilities with
local schools (Brown, 1994; Hill and Pope, 1995; Lawson, 1996). Disciplinary
affirmation does have an impact on faculty internal service because disciplines
rely heavily on faculty to maintain the activities of disciplinary associations.
Other research on faculty shows that participation in and influence
on institutional affairs is dictated, in part, by an individual's rank
(Austin and Gamson, 1983; Finkelstein, 1984). Knowledge about institutional
and disciplinary affairs grows as one gains more experience as a professor
in general and as a professor at one campus in particular. Austin and Gamson
(1983), using earlier research by Baldwin and Blackburn (1981), found in
their work on the academic workplace that service appears to increase over
the years. Faculty members appear to get more involved in service activities
as they become more comfortable with their teaching responsibilities and
less pressured by demands for scholarship (p.22).
Increasingly, both anecdotal and research-based evidence supports the
notion that people who are different from historical norms in the professoriate
are called on disproportionately to serve their units, campuses, disciplinary
associations, and communities (Aguirre, 2000). For a faculty member whose
gender or ethnicity is unusual on a campus or in a department, this difference
can translate into frequent calls to represent his/her gender or ethnicity
in organizational and disciplinary affairs.
HOW IS FACULTY SERVICE TIED TO INSTITUTIONAL OUTREACH?
Outreach is a mission-related concept that connects the resources of
higher education with audiences external to campus (Lynton, 1995). One
way a campus enacts its service mission is through making itself available
as an intellectual resource for external audiences. Service is not an add-on
to an already full faculty load but instead is a way for faculty to apply
their disciplinary expertise to needs that exist beyond the campus. In
this way, faculty can simultaneously meet their own needs for professional
accomplishment and campus goals to be engaged with their communities. Goals
for outreach cannot be met without faculty enacting their service roles.
WHAT IS THE SCHOLARSHIP OF ENGAGEMENT?
Service is often seen as somehow outside the "real" work of scholars.
However, faculty members who can extend their intellectual curiosity into
their service activities, Huber (2001) suggests, can unify their professional
lives, bringing together their teaching, research, and service in a synergistic
way, to the benefit of each aspect of their work and the benefit of those
with whom they work. One way to make faculty service a more legitimate
use of faculty resources is to treat outreach and service activities as
scholarly activities in the same way that research always has been and
teaching is increasingly being treated. When faculty and administrators
finally embrace a scholarship of engagement and acknowledge the important
role of service in both the internal and external functioning and health
of the campus, then faculty can begin to experience integrated academic
HOW CAN CAMPUSES MOVE TOWARD A SCHOLARSHIP OF ENGAGEMENT?
In 1983, Austin and Gamson conducted a comprehensive review of the current
state of the academic workplace. They identified the tensions that existed
between teaching and research and identified service as an "afterthought"
as reflected in the literature. The service function of faculty has been
referred to as the "short leg of the three-legged stool" (cited in Boyer
Lewis, 1985). On most campuses, service continues to be the least understood
and correspondingly the least rewarded of all the faculty roles (Berberet,
2002; Boice, 2000). In spite of contemporary calls for the engaged campus,
faculty members attempting to integrate engagement into their work can
get caught between administrative and public calls for engagement and the
realities of resulting staggering workloads and academic reward structures
that tend to devalue outreach and engagement efforts. Efforts to connect
campuses with communities will remain unfulfilled without attention to
this and other dilemmas that face campuses, faculty, and the service movement
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