South African Journal of Higher Education

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Restoring the status of teaching scholarship at a researchorientated university

EM Bitzer


Universities find it difficult to judge the teaching of academics and are reluctant to
reward them on the basis of the scholarship of teaching. Continuing tension
between teaching and research, in which research-based criteria usually take
precedence, compounds this reluctance. Boyer's four-tiered scholarship model
assisted the understanding of the complexities of academic work, while Glassick,
Huber and Maeroff attempted to define standards for scholarly activity. Davis and
Chandler, arguing that the issue of reward was over-emphasised and that
insufficient attention was paid to the intrinsic motivational rewards of scholarly
work, critiqued these attempts.
At one South African university the drive towards research is strong and the status of
the scholarship of teaching has been compromised. Performance incentives are
currently based solely on research ratings and outputs. One result that was duly
noted as a staff concern was the perceived undervaluing of the status of teaching as
a scholarly practice. This resulted in an investigation aiming at restoring the status
of scholarly teaching. One element involved inquiry into the development of criteria
and indicators to restore and promote the value of the scholarship of teaching. This
article elaborates on this project, points to its complexities and suggests possible
indicators to account for efforts in valuing teaching..

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 20(4) 2006: pp.372-390
AJOL African Journals Online