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College of Education

Conceptual Framework 2006

Theme 7: Playing a leadership role in professional education through scholarly endeavors

Reflecting the previous themes, unit faculty are teacher scholars who model best professional practices in teaching, scholarship, and service, including the same knowledge, skills, and dispositions required of our candidates. Unit faculty continue to play a leadership role in state and national education policy formulation. In addition to Towson’s recognized state and national leadership in professional development schools (as previously noted), unit faculty are actively involved with P-12 education and professional associations, and have been repeatedly recognized for their service on the state and national levels.

Accountability and improvement in professional education are central to the unit’s mission and vision. As higher education in the United States continues to evolve, the roles and responsibilities for faculty also continue to evolve; Table 3 illustrates this evolution, including, for example, changes in the dominant faculty theme from "Research Development" to "Professional Development" and the major faculty characteristic from "Research Scholar" to "Teacher Scholar"(Cochran, 1992; see also Hutchings & Shulman, 1999; Shulman, 1999; Uniscope, 2000).

Table 3. Evolutionary Nature of Higher Education in America

Century

Dominant Faculty Theme Major
Faculty Characteristic
Basic
Educational Theme
Primary
Instructional Modes
Foremost
Educational Outcome

19th

Intellectual Development

Scholar

Transmission of Knowledge

Passive Learning

Learn Facts

20th

Research Development

Research Scholar

Generation of Knowledge

Problem Solving

Develop Skills/ Abilities

21st

Professional Development

Teacher Scholar

Facilitation of Learning

Active Learning

Understand Concepts

At the present time, senior faculty are facing performance expectations dramatically different from those expected of them when they entered the profession. While these changes in faculty expectations have been substantial over the past two decades, the changes may be even more dramatic in the decades to come. Cochran (1992) indicates that contemporary faculty members:

Must continuously study their disciplines and put applications into practice. They must be practicing scholars to maintain a state of art commensurate with the title of ‘professor.’ A professor must be a teacher. A teacher must be a learner, constantly testing new insights on peers as well as students. Teaching, then, in its broadest sense, extends to students in the classroom, to colleagues across the campus, to scholars throughout the disciplines, and to professionals in the external community as well. Regardless of one’s discipline, the option of having no scholarly activity is not a viable alternative for the present-day professional in higher education . . . . The essence of a faculty member is to perform intellectual activity within an academic setting—to engage in the art of inquiry, discovery, and mastery (pp. 62-63).

Faculty in professional education must attend not only to the evolving faculty roles and responsibilities in the general higher education milieu, but also to the evolving roles and responsibilities in teacher education. For example, the Association of Teacher Educators has approved standards for teacher educators (ATE, 1996). The ATE Standard 2 states that teacher educators "inquire into and contribute to one or more areas of scholarly activity that are related to teaching, learning and/or teacher education." Also, one of the foci of the NCATE and Maryland Professional Development Schools Standards Project is to determine the extent to which "faculty are engaged in inquiry about practice." Specifically, this goal relates to faculty involvement in a new "academic setting"—the Professional Development School (or comparable P-12/Higher Education collaborative).

In Scholarship Reconsidered (1990), Boyer proposed a new paradigm for scholarly activities—the scholarship of 1) discovery, 2) integration, 3) application, and 4) teaching. Such a change in the scholarship paradigm was endorsed by Cochran (1992) and operationalized by Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff (1997) in Scholarship Assessed—the sequel to Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered. The challenge given to higher education by Boyer, Cochran, and Glassick was to implement the new paradigm to enable faculty to demonstrate their competence and currency through a multidimensional model of scholarship.

Nevertheless, the concern espoused by Boyer continues to be expressed that faculty involvement in P-12/HE collaborative partnerships is antithetical to traditional faculty roles, responsibilities and reward structures (Clift & Brody, 2005; Uniscope, 2000; Zimpher & Howey, 2005). In Scholarship Reconsidered (1990), Boyer indicated that "on campuses across the nation, there is a recognition that the faculty reward system does not match the full range of academic functions and that professors are often caught between competing obligations" (p. 1). He argued that "the time has come to move beyond the tired old 'teaching versus research' debate and give the familiar and honorable term 'scholarship' a broader, more capacious meaning, one that brings legitimacy to the full scope of academic work” (p. 16).

Towson University believes that teaching and learning must be informed by scholarship, research and effective practice. We are committed to addressing the many issues surrounding the evolving roles and responsibilities of faculty. The University is engaged in an examination of the Boyer/Cochran/Glassick model. Additionally, the College of Education has been engaged in the process of developing documents that address more detailed guidelines for workload, promotion, tenure, and merit to provide for the diversity of faculty work. Their efforts focus on institutionalizing an expanded view of scholarship to include teaching and work in professional development schools, and the application of research, in addition to the more traditional forms of scholarship. This effort is what the Uniscope (2000) model identifies as outreach, defined as “the generation, transmission, application, preservation, and enhancement of knowledge between the University and external audiences” (p. 11), which the Towson Professional Education Unit refers to as a community of learners. As the work on the documents continues to evolve concurrently with the changing expectations for faculty, it will provide the review mechanism for faculty who are playing a leadership role in teacher education through scholarly endeavors.

 



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