Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate
by Charles E. Glassick, Mary Taylor Huber, and Gene I. Maeroff
(San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc., 1997)
In the Carnegie Foundation report, Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate, authors Charles E. Glassick, Mary Taylor Huber and Gene I. Maeroff create an even more inclusive vision of scholarship from the late Ernest L. Boyer's Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, the Foundation's 1990 report. With the blessing of Boyer, The Carnegie Foundation's past president, these authors suggest standards and applications by which the entire range of an institution's scholastic endeavor (research, writing, teaching, etc.) can be documented and evaluated. The new report will greatly benefit institutions of higher education desiring to define and evaluate the academic performance of faculty.
The authors are impressively credentialed and each has been, or is currently, associated wit! ! h The Carnegie Foundation. Charles E. Glassick served as interim president of the Foundation between January 1996 and July 1997. Mary Taylor Huber is presently serving the Foundation as a senior scholar, and Gene I. Maeroff served the Foundation between 1986 and 1997. Presently Dr. Maeroff directs the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College, Columbia University.
The report is remarkably thorough and extremely well done. In every respect it supports the paradigm Boyer proposes in his initial work. Therein is both its strength and weakness. One has only to read Boyer's work in order to predict the logic of the new report. This is not to question the merit of the new work, but rather to suggest that as much effort seems to have been spent in reconciling the two reports as in the stated purpose of formulating standards of assessing scholarship and evaluating the professoriate.
The report responds to what it considers to be a major societal transition! ! that requires higher education to keep pace and even facil! itate change. At stake, according to the authors, is "the capacity of higher education to meet its responsibilities for teaching, research, and service to society" (p. 5). The mission of higher education must be current, and the activities of faculty must relate "more directly to the realities of contemporary life" (p. 6). The authors link the evolution of higher education with historical precedents and key events from the educational philosophy of colonial days to its pragmatic role in the present. Within that philosophical shift, the priorities of faculty are established. While virtually all institutions continue to address education on the undergraduate level, some enjoy distinction in the areas of research, publishing, and service through the application of knowledge. The report observes that the performance of the professoriate is most often determined by the reward structure of their institution.
At the conclusion of the report, the questionnaire us! ! ed for the survey and the survey results are presented in table form. Responses are reported collectively and broken down per institutional classification. The results profile research, doctorate granting, comprehensive, and liberal arts institutions in an impressive manner. An institution should be able to compare its own policies with others, and, at the same time, determine progress in addressing critical issues in higher education. The survey is as much a report card on higher education as an effective tool for the construction of the report.
Scholarship Assessed discusses the strengths of Dr. Boyer's suggested definition of scholarship, specifically, "the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application, and the scholarship of teaching" (p. 9). Thereafter, however, it begins to construct a timely system of evaluation intended to recognize, assess, and even link the contributions of the professoriate in its broadest sense! ! in a uniform and equitable manner. The results are both lo! gical and practical. It proposes six shared standards, comprising 1) clear goals, 2) adequate preparation, 3) appropriate methods, 4) significant results, 5) effective presentation, and 6) reflective critique. This methodology reflects the thinking of a broad range of higher education and para-educational systems. With little adaptation the standards can be applied to the evaluation of the professoriate.
The versatility of Boyer's system of standards is best demonstrated by its application to specific tasks such as teaching assessment. The system can potentially provide uniform evaluation of teaching performance when it is administered by administrators or students or by faculty during self-evaluation. Results might prove interesting when three vantage points are combined into a single profile. The system is a powerful diagnostic tool for identifying strengths and weaknesses in teaching. If applied in this way it can potentially influence faculty behavior and in a larger sen! ! se, provide focus for remedial attention.
Boyer's system might also be applied to learning assessment, providing certain adaptations are implemented. His fourth standard, "significant results," requires stronger definition. Specifically, it requires a clear means of learning measurement in conjunction with planned goals. His final two standards, "effective presentation" and "reflective critique," should be sufficiently defined to differentiate learning styles. An ultimate determination as to the system's suitability to assess learning would be its application to different learning theories.
Scholarship Assessed inseparably links itself to Dr. Boyer's initial report. While the first twenty-one pages of the work serve as interesting background, they are essentially unnecessary, other than to recognize the vision of a distinguished scholar. Initially, the tone of the report is reminiscent of a family mourning the loss of a loved one. Perhaps the ! ! report would have been even stronger and more credible if t! he authorship had extended beyond family members. The report could have very easily eliminated the tribute portion and stood on its own merit. Still, Scholarship Assessed is certainly worthy to be recognized as a stand-alone work. It will undoubtedly assume a place as a valuable resource of institutions of all classifications. It will almost certainly inspire further study for many years to come.
William G. Sunday