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  • The Rhetorical SituationExamining the Framing of Professional Development
  • Barbara Schneider (bio)

The Carnegie Foundation's 1990 publication of Ernest Boyer's Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, followed by its 1998 publication of "Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities," commonly called the Boyer Report,1 consolidated emerging and fragmentary concerns about undergraduate teaching. In Scholarship Reconsidered, Boyer urged colleges and universities to expand their definition of scholarship to include discovery, interdisciplinary integration, application of learning to current problems in both the university and the public domain, and, importantly, teaching. He acknowledged the inordinate weight given to primary research at most institutions and argued that the system of faculty requirements and rewards had to be transformed to support his expanded vision of scholarship. Most importantly, he argued that teaching must be valued as a scholarly enterprise. Eight years later, the Boyer report reiterated the call for an expanded vision of scholarship but addressed itself specifically to research institutes and argued forcefully that research universities were failing their undergraduate students and that only a "radical reconstruction" of teaching could save them (6).

The reports touched off an avalanche of editorial comments from institutions of higher education and the media. Some called for an overhaul of personnel processes that valorize publication over teaching. Others cried for the complete transformation of doctoral programs to require courses in pedagogy for candidates in every discipline, while a few defended their [End Page 509] schools against perceived insults to their undergraduate curriculum. The reports also prompted a flood of publications. Dozens of books answered the call for more scholarship on teaching and learning, including a number of those reviewed in this issue (Glassick and Huber 1997, Rust 2000, Bilimoria and Fukami 2002, Becker and Andrew 2004, Cambridge 2004, Dille 2005, McKinney 2007, to name just a few).2 New journals were initiated, including both the Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Additionally, many journals dedicated to teaching in the disciplines, such as Pedagogy, Art Education, and American Biology Teacher, began publishing articles that incorporate scholarship on teaching and learning. And, across the country, universities and colleges that did not already have them, established centers for the professional development of teaching.3 For many of us who entered academia because we wanted to teach, who have had scholarship dismissed by colleagues as merely pedagogical, who have faced students who are totally disengaged from their learning, and who want to work in an educational culture that promotes transformative learning, the reports promised the kinds of changes we deeply desired.

In what follows, I consider the responses to the Carnegie reports in order to determine why the promise of a transformation of university teaching has not been broadly realized and what that implies for our faculty development projects. I discuss the assumptions that place the professional development of teaching outside of disciplinary boundaries, both literally and figuratively, and examine their consequences. I then turn to the scholarship of teaching and learning, considering what it offers to and implies about the disciplinary practices it proposes to transform. In response to this examination, I argue that the professional development of teaching stands the best chance of creating and sustaining a culture of significant learning for all participants when it grows out of the disciplinary desires that motivate a discourse community, when it addresses the concerns of that community, and when it draws together all three facets of our professional lives —research, teaching, and service —and integrates them into something new.

Locating the Center for Teaching and Learning

The creation or expansion of centers designed to support and enhance undergraduate education may be the most concrete effect of the Boyer legacy. In the main, these centers are charged with enacting the recommendations of the reports, professionalizing teaching by infusing it with learning theory, and assessing its results in order to support the claim that teaching is, indeed, a [End Page 510] scholarly enterprise. Hofstra University provides a Web page of more than two hundred links to teaching and learning centers in the United States, and that list is not nearly complete. A cursory review of a...


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