The Big Interview: Faculty Scholarship with Dallas Taylor and Dan Konzen

The Big Interview: Faculty Scholarship with Dallas Taylor and Dan Konzen

This article was originally featured in the Phoenix Campus Faculty Newsletter for Spring 2015.

I am sure faculty and staff have seen various workshops and marketing pieces around campus concerning this entity – not everyone knows what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. I want to go to the source of the creation of the Scholarship Committee Editorial Board and its inception into University of Phoenix at the Phoenix Campus to find out. The following is an interview with the Scholarship Committee founder, Dallas Taylor, PhD, the Director of Academic Affairs for the Phoenix Campus. Also interviewed is the current Scholarship Committee Editorial Board Chair, Dan Konzen, Campus Chair for the College of Information Systems and Technology.

Angela: Tell me the history of the Faculty Scholarship Committee and the GFM Symposium. Why did you want to start this in Phoenix and what was the initial intention?

Dallas: Five years ago, when I was Director of Academic Affairs in Detroit, Michigan, the University of Phoenix leadership sent a message to faculty in an effort to increase faculty scholarship and encouraged ground campuses to incorporate scholarship and research activities for faculty. I taught research for the School of Advanced Studies and also served as a dissertation chair and committee member. So this was a natural pursuit for me.

My first thought was to include a scholarship poster session using the Boyer model into the upcoming General Faculty Meeting. The first poster session in Detroit met with a lot of enthusiasm and we decided to continue the practice. A few months after this, I transferred to Phoenix as the Director of Academic Affairs. I found out that the Phoenix campus did not have any scholarship events so decided to try my idea here.

Angela: How did you initiate and organize the Scholarship Committee?

Dallas: Initially, I discussed the idea of a scholarship poster session with my academic affairs team and the campus director to see if there was some interest. From there I sent out a message to all faculty asking if anyone would be willing to serve on a scholarship poster session planning committee. I received responses from numerous faculty who were interested in this new scholarship pursuit.

We began having planning meetings to include the first ever Scholarship Symposium with the June General Faculty Meeting in 2012. I remember President Pepicello was a guest speaker and as he wandered through the posters he stated “This is impressive.” That is when I knew we were on the right academic track.

Angela: What is the benefit to Faculty/Staff/Students?

Dallas: I believe that faculty, staff, and students benefit in many ways when a higher level of academic quality includes scholarship and research. Faculty have the opportunity to understand how much research they actually participate in through their professional activities such as speaking at conferences, serving as a board member, developing new teaching strategies, and many other ways.

Students benefit from faculty who are engaged in scholarship pursuits through enhanced curriculum delivery and faculty engaging students in research pursuits. Many faculty have included mini poster sessions in their classes or teamed up with students for a research study. This year, we are specifically including the School of Advanced Studies doctoral students to participate, which is very exciting!

Academic staff has participated by teaming with faculty and students in a research pursuit for the symposium. Staff benefit from these academic relationships with faculty through sharing their expertise and learning from faculty. We have been thrilled to learn that our faculty has published articles, written books, speak at academic conferences, and conduct research at their workplace.

Angela: How has the Scholarship Committee evolved?

Dallas: For three years, the scholarship committee was based on volunteers from faculty who were willing to participate. Last year, due to budgeting guidelines, the Scholarship Committee decreased in size from over 20 to the current 10 members. The Committee activities have also evolved to improve service to faculty and allow additional submissions. Last year, under the leadership of Angela Buer, the Committee began providing scholarship and research workshops for faculty who wished to participate but were not sure how to begin. These workshops have been well attended and are now being offered to the School for Advanced Studies faculty and staff. We also include all online faculty who wish to participate.

Angela: What type of support does the Committee provide?

Dallas: The Scholarship Committee wishes to assist all faculty who want to participate. Besides offering workshops, the committee members act as research partners and mentors when needed. The Committee also reviews all submissions to the symposium and interacts with faculty to ensure research is quality and represents the faculty well.

The Committee holds a set-up event the night before the General Faculty meeting with refreshments and a guest speaker so faculty can network and enjoy getting together. Last year, the Committee was able to provide some certificates and other benefits to faculty who participated. Ongoing research and scholarship activities keep faculty current in their field and add excitement to academics!

Angela: How did you approach your new position as SCEB Chair? Why/How did it change from the Scholarship Committee?

Dan: I have been published each year that we have held the research symposium and have been involved with the scholarship committee for the past few years as the rewards committee chair. This year, the board was reduced to a core of 10 individuals and we adopted an asynchronous platform that I put together in Podio to facilitate effective and efficient communication amongst the board members and with poster submissions and workshop attendees. I was elected chair of the Scholarship Committee Editorial Board this year and we have made some exponential progress in only a few short months. We have also centralized and improved our communication and data collection to work smarter and to address both succession planning and the ability to hand over a turn-key process to other campuses looking to embrace scholarship.

Angela: What is the SCEB currently doing to support Faculty in their research processes?

Dan: The SCEB has developed a core set of four workshops to guide faculty through the research process (e.g. Getting Started, Advanced Library Research Skills, How to Publish, How to Prepare a Poster). In addition to the workshops we have developed a mentorship program to reach out to those who request as well as to those who may need to clarify some of their submitted work for peer review acceptance.

Angela: What do you see as the future of the SCEB and its endeavors?

Dan: I see several opportunities for the SCEB. The first being one that we have already initiated. We have reached out to the Maricopa County Community College District to invite them to submit their work and present at the 4th Annual Research Symposium this June. This was met with enthusiasm and we have elected to offer our workshops to the faculty of their 10 colleges.

We have also been working with the School of Advanced Studies (SAS) on the possibility of creating Webex versions of our workshops to be offered to faculty and to SAS students. This was after Dr. Lily Davidov and I presented at a residency workshop and were asked to return on two consecutive days with standing room only on subsequent workshops.

We are also working on the possibility of creating a National Scholarship Board to provide some support to other campuses across the nation looking to embrace scholarship in support with the Office of Scholarship Support (OSS).

These are exciting times and we have made some great progress on audacious goals this year and really look forward to the symposium in June and beyond.

About the Author

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Angela Buer
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