The recent “Integrating Boyer into Your Institutional Culture” retreat sponsored by Western Carolina University was so well received that the retreat could develop into an annual event, said Laura Cruz, interim director of Coulter Faculty Commons.
In 2007, WCU became one of the first midsized institutions in the country to formally adopt a model of scholarship developed by the late Ernest Boyer into tenure, promotion and reappointment policies. The move, which expanded the kinds of scholarship faculty can submit to demonstrate their ongoing achievements as scholars, sparked interest from other institutions, and WCU sponsored a retreat about the Boyer model Sept. 19-23 in Asheville.
Teams from Stetson University, Winston-Salem State University, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Indiana University – Purdue University at Fort Wayne joined WCU to discuss integrating the Boyer model and best practices.
“It was a very, very successful event,” said Cruz. “The teams all went home with strong plans for their institutions, and members of our own WCU faculty grew in their own ideas about integrating Boyer.”
The Boyer model as adopted at WCU recognizes four kinds of scholarship.
The scholarship of discovery is original research that advances knowledge and often is exemplified by journal articles, authoring or editing books, presenting at conferences and creative activities such as artistic products, performances, musical or literary works.
The scholarship of integration is the synthesis of information across disciplines, topics or time and may be exemplified by textbooks, bibliographies or book reviews.
The scholarship of application is the application of disciplinary expertise with results that can be shared, perhaps in a way that addresses a community need (specifically known as the scholarship of engagement), and may be exemplified by technical reports, policy statements, guidebooks, economic impact statements or pamphlets.
The scholarship of teaching and learning is the systematic study of teaching and learning processes and may be exemplified in a variety of formats.
The retreat’s keynote speaker Pat Hutchings, senior associate with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, noted that part of the benefit of the shift to the Boyer model is to clarify the common principles of scholarly work that underlie faculty’s various responsibilities in teaching, research and service.
“Faculty already are very pressed on most campuses,” said Hutchings. “What they need is a way to integrate and connect their various roles and scholarly endeavors, not a mandate to do more.”
James R. Scifers, director of WCU’s School of Health Sciences, said it was inspiring to watch other institutions at the retreat become fully immersed in the Boyer model and begin planning implementation on their own campuses.
“As the retreat progressed, the collaborative nature of the process became even more apparent as the attendees’ experiences and insights became educational tools for the faculty and administration from WCU,” said Scifers. “The entire experience was extremely educational and rewarding for everyone in attendance.”
The retreat also helped WCU academic leaders examine WCU’s own journey, said Beth Tyson Lofquist, associate provost.
“I realized that for our entire campus to be having a simultaneous conversation about the important issue of how our faculty-reward structure relates to our university mission has been, and continues to be, invaluable to our institutional climate and maturity,” said Lofquist. “We continue to learn and grow from this process. I think sharing our lessons learned with other institutions as well as hearing theirs provided valuable networking and guidance in this process. I look forward to continued conversations with the institutions who participated.”
For more information about how the Boyer Model has been implemented at WCU, visit The Magazine of Western Carolina University to see “Trailblazing in Academia: Novel policies that reward faculty for work beyond traditional research and publications garner national attention as WCU embraces the Boyer model.”
By Teresa Killian Tate