In August of 2017, regional chancellors sent a memo to regional executive vice-chancellors as a followup to the chancellor’s meeting. In that memo, they asked directors of regional teaching and learning centers to “lead a discussion on each campus of an adaptable definition of the teacher-scholar.”
On our campus, our director met and facilitated a discussion with each of the Schools, Departments, and Library faculty members within department faculty meetings. Individual emails from faculty members as well as the American Association of University Professors (aaup) IU Kokomo Chapter Newsletter also contributed to this definition.
Faculty members were asked to respond to the following questions within the discussion:
- How would you define the term teacher-scholar?
- Does placing the word teacher before the word scholar impact faculty evaluation for promotion and tenure?
- What impact might the teacher-scholar model have on school and university accreditation
- What professional development activities would assist you in your development as a teacher-scholar?
Faculty members were also asked to comment on and add to the (DART) Dimensions of Activities Related to Teaching (v.3) as published in Kern, B., Mettetal, G., Dixson, M. D., & Morgan, R. K. (2015). The role of SoTL in the academy: Upon the 25th anniversary of Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered. Journal of the Scholarship for Teaching and Learning, 15 (3), 1-14. doi: 10.14434/josotl.v15i3.13623
With 45-60 minutes spent with each department, not every question was discussed. We were able to discuss defining the term teacher-scholar and the usefulness of the DART model. The definition will follow. The DART model has been used by several faculty members choosing to go up for promotion on teaching to organize their teaching statement. Following, we will share our version of a possible organizing model that aligns with our definition of Teacher-Scholar.
Definition of Teacher-Scholar at Indiana University Kokomo
The faculty members at IU Kokomo find teaching and scholarship not mutually exclusive but would like to broaden the traditionally accepted definitions of each. Traditionally, teaching would be to lecture in a classroom space and scholarship would be to publish an article in a journal. These restricted definitions do not lend to the connected paradigm we believe define teaching and scholarship/creative works today.
When redefining teaching to include engaging students and facilitating learning in the classroom, online, within experiential learning opportunities, i.e. KEY events, and during one-to-one encounters, we find that teaching is empowered by our scholarship/creative endeavors. However, these scholarship endeavors include research/creative works in our discipline, research in pedagogy, professional development in content and pedagogy, international and domestic travel, etc. We also consider scholarly teaching to include being reflective and responsive to continuing our education in our content and in pedagogy by staying current in our field and in teaching methods. We are encouraged to be producers of research as well as consumers of research and through this continuing education inspire our students to be scholars with us.
We believe that this definition aligns to our mission* at IU Kokomo and articulates our charge as scholarteachers.
*The mission of Indiana University Kokomo, a regional campus of Indiana University, is to enhance the educational and professional attainment of the residents of north central Indiana through effective teaching, learning, and civic engagement and by providing a wide range of bachelor's degrees, and a limited number of master's and associate degrees. Indiana University Kokomo is further dedicated to enhancing research, creative work, and other scholarly activity, promoting diversity and inclusion, and strengthening the economic and cultural vitality of the region and the state through a variety of community engagement, partnerships and programs.
We strive to be scholar-teachers at IU Kokomo by purposefully reflecting on development, assessment and engagement across our teaching. For example, we develop courses and lessons to help students meet specific outcomes. We assess student learning and use this data to reflect on our teaching. We engage in and with research/creative works in our discipline and with pedagogy to help us prepare courses that will engage our students.
In our process of Development, we
- design classroom spaces, courses, and curriculum
- utilize technologies into our teaching
- use innovative teaching strategies
- collaborate in course and program development
- prepare course materials
- write textbook ancillaries
- create opportunities for active learning
- provide inclusive and accessible learning
- seek out grants to further development
In our process of Assessment, we
- write learning outcomes
- align assessments with outcomes (including General Education)
- develop rubrics
- utilize peer review for improvement
- utilize self-reflection from improvement
- utilize student evaluations for improvement
- utilize student learning data for improvement
- provide students with timely feedback
- mentor students academically and professionally
- use stakeholder input for improvement
- compare student learning data to national norms
In our process of Engagement, we
- develop professionally
- travel internationally and/or domestically
- earn certificates in teaching and learning
- earn awards, fellowships in teaching and learning
- share experiences with teaching strategies
- serve on panel discussion regarding teaching and learning
- attend conferences in our discipline and teaching
- produce research/creative works in our disciplines
- produce scholarship in teaching and learning
- consume research/creative works in our disciplines
- consume scholarship in teaching and learning
- plan service learning opportunities
- plan experiential learning opportunities
- plan community-based learning opportunities
- partner with students in research/creative works
We enjoyed the conversation that enabled articulation of our scholar-teaching practices. We are hopeful that this definition will help us frame our cases of excellence when preparing our dossiers for promotion. We do, however, appreciate the opportunity to select an area of excellence and make our case using the evidence that we deem beneficial. We also appreciate the opportunity to be producers and consumers of research/creative works in our discipline and in pedagogy and use this research to develop ourselves as scholar-teachers. Notice that we have changed the order of terms; we refer to our definition as for a scholar-teacher not a teacher-scholar. We assumed that a teacher-scholar referred to those that studied teaching using the scholarship of teaching and learning. Although we value SoTL, we also know that not every faculty member is engaged in SoTL nor do we believe that all should be. We would rather refer to ourselves as scholar-teachers to embrace the use of research, either through producing or consuming, and either in our content or pedagogy, to continuously improve our teaching and enhance student learning at IU Kokomo.