Boyer’s Series: Identifying Scholarship in Action

Boyer’s Series: Identifying Scholarship in Action

This is the second in a three-part series. Use the links below to view the rest of the series:

Reflecting on your educational experiences and experiences of those close to you, you can likely identify different types of higher education institutions: research universities, doctoral-granting universities, comprehensive universities and colleges, liberal art colleges, or community colleges.  Faculty in each of these institutional types serves the community in a variety of ways and intensities.  Through research, new discoveries are made that can improve lives.  Through writing and teaching, knowledge is passed on to students and members of the community.  Through service engagement, experts help tackle real world problems, peer-reviewing helps sharpen knowledge, and cultures where knowledge is valued are fostered.  These types of institutional service align with Boyer’s Model of Scholarship: discovery, integration, application, and teaching & learning.  Faculty scholarship helps to inject excitement for knowledge, provide continued learning and feedback, and counter burnout or stagnation, both within themselves and the academic culture.

What types of service can you identify within the institutions you thought of earlier?  Do prominent services vary based on the type of institution? For example, faculty at a community college will demonstrate more service around scholarship of teaching and learning than a research institution, where faculty are more engaged in scholarship of discovery.  The University of Phoenix is a comprehensive, doctoral granting university and our faculty engage in service across all four domains.   But what does scholarship look like in action? 

Scholarship in Action

Below is a table that outlines each domain of scholarship and provides examples of common measurable scholarly outcomes.  Scholarly outcomes are classified as published or unpublished and must meet three criteria:

  1. be public,
  2. be open to critical appraisal, and
  3. be in a form other members of the scholarly community can use.

 What types of scholarship outcomes are reflected in your scholarly activities?  If not listed as an example, does it meet the three scholarly outcomes criteria and fit under a domain?

Chart of Examples of Discovery per Boyers


Chart of Application Examples per Boyers


Chart of Integration Examples per Boyer's  

Chart of Teaching and Learning Examples per Boyer's

Faculty’s level of engagement should reflect their role in their university; while serving to balance their academic and practitioner expertise brought to bear in our classrooms.  In order to ensure retention and support high quality faculty, universities should apprise faculty scholarship regularly.  Boyer’s model contends that faculty standards should incorporate scholarship outcomes from across all domains, with emphasis on those closest to the role the faculty has in a university.  For example, in the School of Advanced Studies the domain of discovery – and thus peer-reviewed, academic work – is weighted more than other forms of scholarship, such as serving as an expert witness or peer-reviewer. 

What’s next?

Next in this series we will delve into integrating Boyer’s model into your research and scholarship agenda and identify common critiques of Boyer’s. 

Interested in learning more?

Visit the Research Process blog for numerous articles to help you get started, including How Research Happens.

References and Recommended Readings

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. New York, NY: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching with Jossey-Bass.

Braxton, J., Luckey, W., & Helland, R. (2002).  Institutionalizing a Broader View of Scholarship through Boyer’s Four Domains. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Moser, D., Ream, T., & Braxton, J. (2016). Expanded Edition of Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate.  New York, NY: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching with Jossey-Bass.


Aaron Coe's picture Aaron Coe | June 15, 2016 10:18 am MST

Hi, Chara-

Great piece, I like how the charts provide both published and unpublished, but public, examples of scholarship within each domain. I wonder, what might be the best ways to document these kind of efforts that don't have the accessibility of a publication? How can we document these less tangible, but clearly scholarly efforts?

Ronald Cordell's picture Ronald Cordell | December 7, 2017 11:37 am MST

The more I explore the hub, the more I like it. I am enjoying the discovery all that can be found here.


R Lewis Cordell

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