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Balancing Acts: Designing Careers Around the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


Balancing Acts: Designing Careers Around the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Mary Taylor Huber

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Date: September 25, 2014

Location: MLC Reading Room


Most colleges and universities expect tenure-track faculty to engage in some mix of research, teaching, and service, but new models of scholarship have introduced important changes to the scene (Boyer, 1990; Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff, 1997; Braxton, 2002; O’Meara and Rice, 2005).  In this session, we will focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning, and look at the varieties of educational inquiry and practice that it refers to, how pioneers are integrating these efforts into their careers, and how practitioners and advocates are attempting to bring faculty roles and rewards into alignment with this broadened view of teaching as scholarly work. 

Yesterday, in every discipline, you could find small cadres of faculty who made education in that field their subject of research. But over the past decade or so, the number of people who make discipline-based education research a central focus of their scholarly work has grown. It’s also true that reflection on college teaching has become more than just a specialist’s concern. Across the academy, you can now find “mainstream” faculty taking systematic interest in the curriculum, classroom teaching, and the nature and quality of student learning.  From anthropology to zoology, from community colleges to research universities, faculty are beginning to consult pedagogical literature, look critically at education in their subject areas, inquire into teaching and learning in their own classroom, and use what they are discovering to change their teaching practice. Many also are documenting their work and sharing it with colleagues in order to benefit from critique and comment and contribute to pedagogical thinking and action  (Huber and Hutchings, 2005; Hutchings, Huber, and Ciccone, 2011).

Early evidence suggests that this new attention to teaching and learning is good for students, but what does it mean for faculty’s own professional lives? What is happening to scholars who are rethinking their role as educators in these ways? Higher education institutions have done a great deal to reinvigorate undergraduate education in recent years, including creating new positions for faculty with special pedagogical expertise. But are they supporting, recognizing, and rewarding faculty who take up these new lines of work? There are still discouraging stories about faculty who have taken the risk and found their careers cut short. But there is much to learn from the stories of the growing number who succeed (Huber 2001, 2004).

In this workshop, we will use the stories of some of these scholars to examine the new “balancing acts” that faculty are constructing as they intensify their interests in teaching and learning.  We will talk about what happens when people increase their involvement in pedagogical innovation and research; how it is evaluated—in particular, how it is categorized for purposes of promotion and tenure, and how its quality is assessed. Finally, we’ll look at the advocacy, mentoring, and alliances that have helped successful scholars of teaching and learning succeed, and are still necessary to secure the place of this work in the future.

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Braxton, J., Luckey, W., & Holland, P. (2002). Institutionalizing a broader view of scholarship through Boyer’s four domains.  San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Glassick, C. E, Huber, M. T., and Maeroff, G. I. (1997). Scholarship assessed: Evaluation of the professoriate. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Huber, M. T. (2001). Balancing acts: Designing careers around the scholarship of teaching. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 33(4), 21-29.
Huber, M. T. (2004).  Balancing acts: The scholarship of teaching and learning in academic careers. Washington, DC: The American Association for Higher Education.
Huber, M. T., & Hutchings, P. (2005). The advancement of learning: Building the teaching commons. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Hutchings, P., Huber, M.T., & Ciccone, T. (2011). The scholarship of teaching and learning reconsidered: Institutional integration and impact. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
O'Meara, K.A., & Rice, R. E. (2005).  Faculty priorities reconsidered: Rewarding multiple forms of scholarship. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

About the Speaker

To learn more about Mary Taylor Huber, please see her profile at Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching: carnegiefoundation.org/about-us/staff/mary-taylor-huber