This isn’t very techy/dh-y, but I’d like to get some people together to figure out how to form a committee for humanities organizations to create a set of guidelines for recognizing teaching as scholarship. My inspiration for this endeavor is the recent revision of the Guidelines for Evaluating Work in Digital Humanities and Digital Media. I’m from an English Department, so I’d be primarily interested in an MLA committee, but this is an issue that (I feel) impacts all of the humanities. We hear statements about the importance of teaching all of the time, and yet to my knowledge the MLA currently doesn’t have any guidelines that recognize teaching (let alone digital pedagogy) as a legitimate form of scholarly contribution. As digital technology makes teachers more willing and interested in collaborating with students on scholarship and in devising innovative new projects that integrate social and digital media, I feel it is increasingly important that academic review boards see this work as worthy of tenure and promotion.
Two sources that we may draw upon (h/t Rosemarie Feal and Stacey Donahue):
- TYCAs (Two-Year College Association) Discussion of Research and Scholarship for Two-Year Colleges. Since TYCs are traditionally more focused on teaching than larger research institutions, the association has some great recommendations for considering teaching as a form of scholarship. The document calls for an “expanded view of scholarship to include not only a familiarity with advances in one’s field but also an active integration of scholarship and sound academic practice.” I’m especially interested in their definition, following James Slevin, of a teacher-scholar as “that faculty member for whom teaching is informed both by reflective practice and by the applications of the best available theoretical approaches” and whose research “enriches the intellectual lives of their students.” The expanded document can be found here.
- Ernest Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. This book is relatively old (1990), yet it also provides very progressive suggestions for how to conceptualize the increasingly flexible realities of the University and their impact on teaching. Particularly, it defines several categories of scholarship, one of them being the scholarship of teaching. Boyer complains that teaching is often seen as a “routine function” that “almost anyone can do,” when in reality teaching can only be “well regarded only as professors are widely read and intellectually engaged” (23). Boyer doesn’t give specific ways to evaluate teaching as a scholarly endeavor, apart from the evaluations of peers, students, and administrators. Perhaps this is a good place to start.