Number: 419




     For many people, the term "scholarship" is applied only to those engaging in original research. However, the faculty and administration of Amberton University believe it is time to move beyond the "teaching versus research" debate and give the term scholarship a broader meaning, one that brings legitimacy to the full scope of academic work. Most certainly, scholarship includes original research, but the work of the scholar also means looking for connections between new theories, building bridges between theory and practice, and communicating one's knowledge effectively to others. In practice, the work of the educator is comprised of four separate, yet overlapping, functions: (1) the scholarship of discovery, (2) the scholarship of integration, (3) the scholarship of application, and (4) the scholarship of teaching.


Few concepts are held in higher regard than the commitment to discovery. Certainly, research is central to the work of higher education because it contributes to the stock of human knowledge, and the probing mind of the researcher is an asset to any institution. Scholarly investigation, in all the disciplines, is at the very heart of academic life, and the pursuit of knowledge must be cultivated and defended. The intellectual excitement fueled by this quest for the unknown enlivens faculty and invigorates learning institutions and, in our complicated, ever-changing world, the discovery of new knowledge is absolutely crucial.


The scholarship of integration recognizes the need for scholars who can give meaning to isolated facts by making connections across the disciplines and illuminating data in a less complicated way. The key to the scholarship of integration is a process that seeks to interpret, draw together, and bring new insight to original research.

 The scholarship of integration implies interpretation, fitting one's own research--or the research of others--into larger, intellectual conclusions. The distinction between "discovery" and "integration" can best be understood by the questions posed. Those engaged in discovery ask, "What is to be known; what is to be found?" Those engaged in integrative scholarship ask, "What do the findings mean; is it possible to interpret what has been discovered in ways that provide a larger, more comprehensive understanding?"

The scholarship of integration calls for the power of critical analysis and interpretation. Such concepts have a legitimacy of their own and, if carefully pursued, can lead the scholar from information to knowledge and, perhaps, from knowledge to wisdom.


The scholarship of application takes into consideration the scholarships of discovery and integration and asks, "How can this new knowledge be responsibly applied to consequential problems?" The commitment is to find the connection between theory and practice.

The scholarship of application is not a one-way street. Indeed, the term itself may be misleading if it suggests that knowledge is first "discovered" and then applied. The process is far more dynamic. Intellectual understanding arises out of the process of application. During the process of scholarly application, theory and practice vitally interact, and one renews the other.


The work of the educator becomes significant only as it is understood by others. Indeed, as Aristotle said, "Teaching is the highest form of understanding."  At Amberton University the teaching process requires skills that qualify the instructor to offer courses in the classroom (lecture method) or via distance learning (e-Courses).

As a scholarly enterprise, teaching is keyed to knowledge. Thus, those who teach must, above all, be well informed and well trained in the knowledge of their field.

Teaching is a dynamic endeavor that must build bridges between the teacher's knowledge and the student's learning skills. Teaching not only requires the transmission of information, it implies the art of taking that information and transforming it into knowledge. The process of teaching must be carefully planned, continuously examined, and related directly to the subject taught. A good teacher stimulates the learning process and encourages students to be critical as well as creative thinkers, with a capacity to continue learning throughout their lives.

The teaching process should also include service and educational integrity that contribute to the academic excellence of the institution. For instance, the maintaining of office hours to assist students, the keeping of accurate records--students' grades and attendance--and the distributing of grades to protect the meaning of academic excellence are all part of the teaching process.


I.   The Scholarship of Discovery

For the most part, the scholarship of discovery is measured by the number of published articles and the quality of the journals carrying the articles. There is, in most disciplines, a fairly clear hierarchy of journals and a recognized process of peer review. The key to success in the scholarship of discovery is having articles published, and the more prestigious the journals, the fewer articles required.

II.  The Scholarship of Integration

The scholarship of integration takes into account a broad range of activities. Integration includes writing textbooks and publishing articles for non-specialists--often called "popular writings,"--workbooks, computer software, videos, etc. The process of integration takes several types or pieces of information and integrates them into a useful body of knowledge. Integration can lead to new courses or cross-discipline courses that synthesize information from more than one discipline.

III. Applied Scholarship

Designing/upgrading courses in a discipline and participating in curricula planning, assessment, and innovations are examples of yet another type of professional work deserving recognition. In evaluating applied scholarship, key questions should be asked: Have course/program objectives been well defined? Has the relevant literature been cited and integrated into the course? Is the material relevant and current to the discipline? Is the course academically sound and capable of advancing knowledge to the discipline?


IV.  The Scholarship of Teaching

The scholarship of teaching requires skills relative to organizing and disseminating knowledge through predefined learning competencies.   The development of clearly defined and organized course syllabi, study guides, course outlines, course bibliographies, and course activities ultimately define the instructor. 

For the scholarship of teaching to be given validity, it must be assessed. Such assessments should come from at least two sources: peers and students.

Peer assessment should allow qualified faculty to review course outlines, evaluate assigned materials, review assignments, and evaluate examinations used by the instructor relative to specific courses.

Student assessment should anonymously solicit specific information from students through clearly defined survey questions.


The four scholarly functions previously identified are of value to all institutions of learning. However, the weight given to each scholarly endeavor should be determined by the unique mission or purpose of the institution. For a large research institution with doctoral programs, the scholarship of discovery may well be appropriate. However, for a small, specialized institution where the main objective is with undergraduate and master level students, the scholarship of application and teaching should be valued more than the discovery of knowledge. The faculty and administration of Amberton University, taking into consideration the mission of the institution, have declared the scholarship of teaching as paramount. While this commitment does not question or disregard the importance of discovery, it does recognize the scholarship of teaching as the primary function of Amberton University.


It would be difficult, if not inappropriate, for an evaluation of the professoriate to be reduced to a single number or grade. The complexity of the professoriate mandates an evaluation methodology that takes into consideration the relationships between a multitude of factors--self-development, information dissemination skills, teaching skills, relationships with students, peer cooperation, program development, service, anticipated contributions, etc.  To best serve the students, the professoriate is evaluated annually and, based upon performance and need, the University will extend one-year contracts to those who have and will contribute most to the needs and plans of the University.