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

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eISSN: 1011-3487