CEE New Millennium Colloquium
March 20-21, 2000
Wong Auditorium, Tang Center, MIT Building E51
The Scholarship Landscape in Civil Engineering;
A Bridge between Rhetoric and Reality
AMIR AL-KHAFAJI, SAMUEL CLEMENCE, VINCENT P. DRNEVICH, MICHAEL KUPFERMAN, THOMAS A. LENOX, WILLIAM F. MARCUSON, III, GAYLE MITCHELL, JAMES T.P. YAO
The following white paper consists of excerpts from a report published in September 1998 by ASCE in conjunction with a project sponsored by ASCE with the Center for Instructional Development at Syracuse University. The document is available on the web at http://www.asce.org/peta/ed/redefschol.html. It includes a detailed discussion of the changing roles of civil engineering faculty and presents some models for "faculty work" for consideration by civil engineering departments at various types of institutions from baccalaureate-only through major research-oriented institutions. The report provides a detailed listing of faculty work activities associated with teaching, research, and service. Also provided are data on faculty sizes for all civil engineering programs with ABET accreditation. A printed version of the report is available from ASCE at the address given at the end of the paper. It comes with a 3.5-inch floppy disk that contains almost 200 pages of information on the promotion and tenure policies and performance review information of twenty civil engineering departments of various sizes.
Vincent P. Drnevich
January 29, 2000
Excerpts from The Scholarship Landscape in Civil Engineering; A Bridge between Rhetoric and Reality
THE WELL KNOWN CARNEGIE FOUNDATION BOOK Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (Boyer, 1990) began the call for a redefinition of scholarship throughout the academic world. In his book, Boyer proposed a new paradigm of scholarship with multiple interlocking elements. Initiatives led by the Center for Instructional Development at Syracuse University then launched a sweeping examination of the faculty reward system as it relates to institutional mission. Numerous scholarly associations took the next step, which resulted in a major 1995 publication by the American Association of Higher Education.
In The Scholarship Landscape in Civil Engineering: A Bridge Between Rhetoric and Reality, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Task Force on Redefining Scholarly Work summarizes its conclusions and recommendations for redefining scholarly work for Civil Engineering faculty. The main objective of this ASCE Task Force, which commenced its work in May 1997, was to raise fundamental issues for Civil Engineering educators by offering a broader definition and understanding of the professional work of Civil Engineering faculty. Surveys conducted by the Task Force revealed that a narrow definition of scholarship in Civil Engineering is impractical to achieve because of varied institutional missions. Therefore, the Task Force proposes a wheel-shaped model (Fig. 1), which provides complete flexibility through interfaces that allow scholarly work to be integrated into research, teaching, and service and professional development activities. The major issues raised in evaluating faculty scholarly contributions include the need to have a clear awareness of institutional mission, departmental mission and resources; size of the institution; accreditation criteria and professional organizations; collective bargaining status; classification of the institution; disciplinary objectives; new technologies; and research.
Models are needed to link the triumvirate of scholarship, teaching, and service and professional development with the equally important values of excellence, integrity, leadership, and ethics. Scholarship, for example, is not enough; it is the pursuit of excellence that drives institutions and faculty alike. One fundamental current objective for universities is to foster the creation of an environment in which faculty are encouraged to produce their very best. It is the responsibility of leading Civil Engineering educators to provide a useful contemporary guide for faculty reward and recognition. In turn, institutions need to place less emphasis upon sterile definitions and more upon the creation of a means to reward substantive faculty achievements.
Scholarship (From Chapter 5)
A national debate is underway to reconsider conventional definitions of scholarship and perhaps espouse new and more contemporary standards for assessing faculty professional achievements. The Boyer-Rice model, described here, suggests multiple forms of scholarly work as a basis for a new paradigm.
The Carnegie Foundation monograph, Scholarship Reconsidered (Boyer, 1993), stimulated the national discussion about faculty assessment and merit. Boyer maintained that it was time to move beyond the tired old teaching versus research debate and ask, What does it mean to be a scholar? In response to that question he proposed a new paradigm of scholarship, with four interlocking parts. He contended that the work of the professoriate involves:
a. the scholarship of discovery, as in research,
b. the scholarship of integrating knowledge, to avoid pedantry,
c. the scholarship of applying knowledge to avoid irrelevance, and
d. the scholarship of transmitting knowledge, to avoid discontinuity.
Boyer stated that such a paradigm broadens the work of the professoriate and recognizes the breadth of the campus mission and the breadth of talent within the academy today.
Scholarly Work (From Chapter 6)
When scholarly work is confined mostly to research, the wheel (Fig. 1) is inherently unbalanced and does not function effectivelyexcept at low speeds. Balance can be imparted with the recognition that scholarship interfaces with the other two work areas of the faculty teaching and service/professional development. For their spokes of scholarly work in these two sectors to be credible and considered to be scholarly, the work must fulfill generally agreed upon criteria. Further, scholarly work must be broadened to include the four types of scholarship suggested by Boyer (1990): discovery, integration, application, and transmission. To some extent, all four of these can be found in the three spokes. One can argue that unless an activity embodies all four types of scholarship, its value is diminished.
Borrowing from the work of Diamond et al.(1993), the Task Force proposes that the work of Civil Engineering faculty be considered scholarly when it satisfies most of these six conditions:
a. Requires a high level of discipline-related expertise
b. Breaks new ground or is innovative
c. Can be replicated
d. Can be documented
e. Can be peer reviewed
f. Has significance or impact
Dynamism and Inertia (From Chapter 9.)
During the past decade, several professional organizations and groups have suggested drastic and comprehensive changes in engineering, particularly Civil Engineering. One of the most important areas is leadership development among faculty, students, and the professional community to help our country compete more effectively into the new millennium. Guidelines for rewarding faculty involvement in leadership activities may vary from one institution to another, but leadership is an essential element in teaching, research, and service.
Faculty members who have demonstrated leadership should be recognized and rewarded accordingly. As examples, leadership in teaching may be evidenced by faculty who (1) pioneer and/or organize a course on leadership, (2) write and publish scholarly papers on leadership education, or (3) become a leader on campus (or in a region or nation or the world) to champion teaching excellence.
Leadership in research may be demonstrated when faculty (1) prepare and submit a research proposal on leadership education, and conduct such a research project, (2) organize technical conferences or workshops, or (3) coordinate comprehensive large-scale research programs nationwide or internationally.
Faculty who engage in leadership in service may (1) become a national officer of professional and technical societies, (2) chair nationwide or international committees on professional issues, or (3) organize national and international conferences on professional or educational topics.
Recommendations and Conclusions (From Chapter 10.)
Leadership development is key to the future of faculty development and the success of the profession. Hence, guidelines and support programs need to be put into place to foster the development of leadership among faculty in Civil Engineering. Furthermore, suitable instruments are needed to evaluate leadership systematically. While it may vary in some form from one institution to another, leadership will become an increasingly essential element in the conduct of the traditional triumvirate of scholarship, teaching, and service. Faculty members who demonstrate leadership must be evaluated and rewarded accordingly.
In order to adopt the wheel model of faculty work (Fig. 1), the academic community must broaden its thinking, examine the changes taking place around the world, define its mission, and establish a vision. After these components are in place, the educational community must describe its objectives and set action items to achieve these objectives. The academic community must recognize that scholarly activity can be varied, and then develop the necessary means to recognize and reward scholarly activity in all areas. Each Civil Engineering department may adjust the relative weights of the various components of the wheel according to their own emphases, as long as none of them is zero.
As Civil Engineering educators look to a future of change and increasing internal and external pressures, new paradigms for evaluating faculty performance are necessary. Failure to reform Civil Engineering education and redefine it from within will invite perhaps unnecessary and unwarranted change from outside. Change is on the horizon. Faculty performance, i.e., the work of faculty, will not and should not be exempt from change.
The Task Force was formed in response to an invitation to ASCE to participate in the Syracuse University Project on Defining Scholarly Work, a multi-year examination of faculty roles and rewards in U.S. higher education. This project is a continuation of the work begun by the Center for Instructional Development at Syracuse University in 1989. The initial phase of this project was funded by the Lilly Foundation and the National Science Foundation's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSIE).
The Task Force Members express their appreciation to Drs. Robert Diamond and Bronwyn Adam of Syracuse University, to the National Science Foundation, and to ASCE for supporting this effort. Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji of Bradley University deserves special recognition for his leadership and creativity in this effort. Finally, the Task Force Members recognize Dr. Thomas Lenox of the ASCE Staff for his efforts with editing and publishing this report.
The views expressed in this report are those of the Task Force, and have not been established as an official position of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
To order copies of this report, please contact:
American Society of Civil Engineers
1801 Alexander Bell Drive
Reston, VA 20191-4400
Phone: (800) 548-2723
Fax: (703) 295-6211
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