Boyer’s Series: Introduction to Boyer’s Model

Boyer’s Series: Introduction to Boyer’s Model

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


As early as 2010, the University of Phoenix leadership began moving towards adopting a stronger model of faculty research and scholarship.  Boyer’s Model of Scholarship was conceptualized in the 1990 seminal text Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate by Ernest Boyer, known for his work as Chancellor of the State University of New York, as the United States Commissioner of Education, and as the President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  Boyer’s Model is critical for highlighting that while there are universally expected mandates for scholars in higher education, such as remaining professionally active in their discipline and being credentialed researchers, it is vital to recognize creativity, innovation and diversity in scholarship (Moser, Ream, & Braxton, 2016).  

Boyer’s Model profiles four domains of faculty scholarship:

  1. Discovery, the building of new knowledge through traditional forms of academic research;
  2. Integration, the interpretation, connection and use of knowledge across disciplines;
  3. Application, the aiding society and professions in addressing problems; and
  4. Teaching & Learning, the development of teaching models, practices, and approaches for achieving optimal learning. 

Faculty competent in these domains will not only be engaged in “exploring the frontiers of knowledge, but also integrating ideas, connecting thought to action, and inspiring students” (Boyer, 1990, p.77).  These domains interact to sustain vitality in a faculty’s career by recognizing and supporting rhythms of scholarship. Knowledge discovered can be applied to a practice problem. The application, or practice, can inform theory.  Teaching new knowledge can inform a deeper understanding of a research area or bring to light new research problems requiring study. 

Boyer’s Model is recognized as a valuable method for defining faculty scholarships within academia and at University of Phoenix.  At UOPX, a multi-dimensional model of scholarship is critical to being able to adjust the expectations of and supports for practitioner-faculty scholarship to match the learning and professional development needs of students across discipline and degree levels.

An Example of Leadership and Action of Boyer’s Model: The School of Advanced Studies

To foster a culture of scholarship, UOPX leadership has increased support for faculty scholarship through the implementation of services housed in the School of Advanced Studies (SAS): funding and awards, ten Research Centers, the Office of Scholarship Support, and policy and compliance boards. Faculty engaged in the Scholarship of Discovery are receiving funding through the General Research Grant.  Faculty research inspired from the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning are receiving funding through Teaching and Learning Fellowships. Presentations and publications awards have supported faculty work contributing to academic conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.  Our ten Research Centers provide support and community to inspire faculty scholarship.  Last, the Institutional Research Board (IRB) and Committee on Research (COR) provided necessary approvals for faculty engaged in human subject research or research on or with UOPX sample and data.   All of these services are available to all faculty at UOPX

SAS is the first college to begin to implement policies around Boyer’s Model of Scholarship through aligning faculty scholarship with four dissertation chair endorsement levels, each level based on a distinct record of scholarship activity; this is known as the SAS Dissertation Chair Academic Review.  SAS faculty who serve as dissertation chairs now participate in this annual academic review. As our dissertation chairs are practitioners of research, there is an increased emphasis on scholarship of discovery, research grants, and peer-reviewed, published academic works for chairs who are endorsed at the associate and advanced dissertation chair level.  Perhaps you have completed or are preparing your academic review?  If so, we invite you to reflect on how your work aligns with the areas of scholarship above.  Do you have a published, academic research article, engaging in the scholarship of discovery?  Have you served as a subject-matter expertise or peer reviewer, engaging in scholarship of application? 

What’s next?

Next, this series will get up close and personal with each of the four domains of scholarship.  Then, we will delve into integrating Boyer’s model into your research agendas.  

Interested in learning more? Check outCenter Chair Dr. Mark McCaslin’s article on Scholarship and visit the Research Process blog on How Research Happens.

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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.