From the President's Desk

ACPA President’s Blog – December 2015 - College Student Educators as Scholars

Recently, I was invited to write a piece for the second issue of Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry, coming out in the spring of 2016. It is an open-sourced journal started by Daniel Newhart at Oregon State University to stimulate discourse regarding student affairs assessment. Daniel’s vision is for the field to move beyond simply implementing assessment, but also thinking about assessment and considering it as inquiry. Contemplating what I could contribute to this vision, I began pondering the notion student affairs assessment as scholarship.

I went to my bookshelf and dusted off some texts regarding scholarship in higher education. The first one I took off the shelf was Banta and Associates’ Building a Scholarship of Assessment (2002). I also wanted to explore the general concept of scholarship, not just its relationship to assessment. The texts I reviewed included the pivotal work by Ernest Boyer, Scholarship Reconsider (1990), Scholarship Assessed (Glassick, Huber, Maerof, 1997), and The Scholarship of Teaching of Learning (Hutchings, Taylor-Huber, & Ciccone, 2011). The latter two extended the vision Boyer first espoused in 1990.

In an attempt to expand the understanding of scholarship in education and thus contribution of faculty to education, Boyer articulated four different types of scholarship: discovery, integration, application, and teaching and learning. The scholarship of discovery is what many of us typically envision when we think about research – gathering data that leads to new knowledge. Scholarship of integration concerns making connections of knowledge across disciplines. The scholarship of application occurs when new understandings arise out of utilization of discovered knowledge. Finally, scholarship of teaching and learning is work that examines how to effectively develop skills for knowledge creation and acquisition. College student educators engage in all of those activities in the course of their work. Sometimes they are creating new knowledge in their practice. Other times, they may be integrating knowledge across multiple domains when implementing a program or service. Integrating theory into practice is application. And, college student educators are involved in teaching and learning.

In the journey to explore assessment as scholarship and what that means today, I came to the realization that college student educators are engaged in the four types of scholarship that Boyer are articulated.  

Which these activities do you engage in: discovery, integration, application, teaching and learning? Is simply engaging in any of these scholarly activities sufficient to be considered a scholar?


Banta, T. and Associates (2002). Building a scholarship of assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Boyer, E., Moser, D., Ream, T., Braxton, J., and Associates (2016). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate (Expanded edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Glassick, C. E., M. T. Huber, and G. I. Maeroff. (1997). Scholarship assessed: Evaluation of the professoriate. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hutchings, P., Taylor-Huber, M., and Ciccone, A. (2011). Scholarship of teaching and learning reconsidered. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.