Understanding Four Scholarly Settings and How They Relate to Boyer’s Model

Understanding Four Scholarly Settings and How They Relate to Boyer’s Model

Scholar-Practitioner-LeadersSM  enliven the Boyer’s Model.  Boyer’s Model recognizes the variety and depth of faculty’s relationship to knowledge: faculty discover new knowledge, they apply knowledge to solve a practical problem, they integrate knowledge to grow our current understanding, and/or they engage in the rigor transmission of knowledge to others through teaching and mentoring. Thus, when adhering to the Boyer’s Model, the setting of faculty’s activities and contributions expand from the traditional research labs to the classroom, the community, and into practice.

This article focuses on four broad settings where Scholar-Practitioner-LeadersSM engage and produce scholarship:

  1. Colleges and Universities;
  2. Professional associations;
  3. Public and private organizations; and
  4. Governments

Each of the four settings has a distinct relationship to each Boyer’s domains, a specific audience, and different purpose, but it is not uncommon for these settings to work in tandem. For example, federal grants (Government) often support research efforts within universities (Colleges and Universities).

Let’s look at each one more closely. 

The Four Scholarship Settings

Colleges and Universities

Colleges and Universities are the civic hubs for higher education teaching, culture, and research. This is the setting you are likely the most familiar with and it was likely the setting that started your development as a scholar.

The primary purpose of colleges is the exploration of career and civic identity, post-secondary specialized learning for employment, conferring degrees, and research labs to extend limits of understanding. Typically, the primary audience for scholarship occurring in the college/university are students and academics.

Professional Associations

Next, professional associations serve as a venue for scholars and practitioners within a discipline to target and disseminate issues important to a specific discipline or interdisciplinary problem. Professional associations have a clear mission, discipline focus, and are led by experts in the field. Their purposes commonly include: networking peers in the field; advocating for the value of the professional; impacting applied or policy work; and maintaining regular communications, such as conference, journals, or newsletters to disseminate new findings, best practices, and news.

The primary audience is peers within the field, engaged in academic, professional, or applied pursuits. In some cases others outside the field will look to an association as the expert source or as an industry standard.

Public and Private Organizations

Public and private organizations provide goods and services to people. For-profit and not-for-profit businesses are included here. Improving these services often requires the infusion of scholarship to a problem or process. Initiatives linking practice to academics might be started by organizations.

Their primary purpose is to provide services and goods and improving the daily life of people. Their primary audience is people in applied jobs and the lay public.

Local and Federal Governments

Federal and local governments work to provide public and civic services to their citizens to improve their quality of life. This includes federal programs, such as education, healthcare, and safety. Many institutions and think tanks are included here due to their funding source.

Their primary purpose is to carry out a civic or public program per government regulation or policy. Their primary audience is the citizens in the local or national area.

Benefits of Participating in the Four Scholarship Settings

By engaging in these settings, you access many benefits.  For example:

  1. Be part of the conversation: Participation can lead to developing peer groups for support, collaboration, or feedback, having confidence in the relevance of your work, and staying up to date in your field.
  2. Optimize your opportunities to contribute: It will be easier to match your scholarly activity to the most appropriate final outcome, find support for work, or identify an achievable outlet for your work when you are exposed to what succeeds for others, what calls for participation are available, and what resources are needed.
  3. Recognition as a leader in your field: Peers become familiar with your contributions, expertise, and niche in the field and you might learn about opportunities to take on formal leadership roles.
  4. Increase your engagement: This includes becoming more emotionally engaged (e.g., interest, connectedness), physically engaged (e.g., energy, completing activities), and cognitively engaged (e.g., focus).

Reflection and Tips

The four settings can be found at the reginal, national, and international level, depending on their purpose and goals. Good settings match their goals and practices with their intended geographic footprint.  For example, impact might necessitate an international audience, such as World Health Organization’s large scale efforts to improve malaria prevention practices in nursing. Others’ might focus on the local audience to solve a specific problem, such as United Way’s initiatives to strengthen school retention based on unique neighborhood risks. 

The table below includes ideas on how to get involved in one of the four scholarship settings. Which settings are you involved in or would you like to get involved in? Do you feel any are missing from this list? We’d love to hear about your insights and experiences in the comments below.


Example Settings

Example Involvement

Colleges and Universities

UOPX Internal Review Board

UOPX Research Centers

UOPX Knowledge without Boundaries

University of Wisconsin-Extension Program Development and Evaluation unit

University of Arizona and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension

Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UT Dallas

Taking advantage of faculty supports to jumpstart a project.

Participating in faculty and student scholarship expos.

Joining a research center or group.

Joining a task-force for a new program, course development, accreditation, or review.

Professional Associations



American Psychological Association

The Society for Marketing Professional Services

National Association of Chiefs of Police

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners 

Southwest Alliance for Excellence 

Local chapters of the Association of Information Technology Professionals

The Council for Corporate & School Partnership

Attending or presenting at an annual conference.

Serving on a chapter or local board.

Writing a white paper on an issue important to the association.

Mentorship of junior faculty or graduate students.

Reviewing or contributing blogs or resources.

Writing articles for their journal or magazine.

Creating a resource.

Public and Private Organizations

United Way

Local hospitals



American Public Gas Research Foundation

Local or national media outlets

Responding to RFP (requests for proposals) for contract work.

Serving on a board.

Developing a program between the organization and university.

Writing evidence-based best practices for an organization.

Seeking out an invited talk opportunity based on your expertise.

Providing consulting service to develop a product or resource.

Local and Federal Governments

Institute for Educational Leadership fellowship

The Arizona Association of Counties Member Task Forces 

The Arizona School Boards Association

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Powell Center funding awards

Center for Disease Control

Judicial courts and systems

Responding to RFP (requests for proposals) for contractual work.

Serving on a board.

Writing evidence based best practices or a white paper.

Using research based findings to develop a new policy proposal.

Applying for a fellowship.

Seeking out an invited talk opportunity based on your expertise.


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