NACADA’s strategic goals (2 of 8)

In our ongoing discussion of NACADA’s recently approved strategic plan, this month’s blog entry looks at  the Association’s goal to “expand and communicate the scholarship of academic advising.”  To achieve that goal, we first need to understand the nature of “scholarship in academic advising.”  In his landmark and seminal book, Scholarship Reconsidered:  Priorities of the Professoriate, Ernest Boyer laid out a very useful taxonomy for understanding scholarship.  He explained that scholarship can be divided into four broad types:

  • Scholarship of discovery.  When most folks think of research, they immediately think about this type of scholarship; in discovery scholarship, we create brand new knowledge about a topic.  Although very important in the grander scheme of things, relatively few researchers create such new knowledge.  The scholarship of discovery requires extensive training in research methods and (often) in statistics.  And, it rarely produces results of “life changing” significance.  An emphasis on the scholarship of discovery ignores other “ways of knowing” and deters many folks from engaging in research at all.
  • Scholarship of integration.  Academic advising research is very amenable to the scholarship of integration.  In this form of scholarship, we often integrate knowledge from various disciplines.  Since academic advising is an interdisciplinary field by nature, the scholarship of integration is a good model for academic advising research and scholarship.
  • Scholarship of application.  In this form of scholarship, researchers take previously discovered information and apply it in new contexts.  Consider, for example, the current emphasis many campuses place on educating veterans.  A scholarship of application project might examine how various forms of advising (prescriptive, developmental, intrusive) “work” with that important population.
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning.  Since advising is a form of teaching, the scholarship of teaching & learning also provides fertile ground for academic advising researchers.  You may hear the phrase “teacher / scholar” on your campus in connection with this form of scholarship.

The category a specific research endeavor fits into isn’t really the most important thing; the Boyer taxonomy is useful because it expands our view of scholarship in general.  NACADA’s Research Committee has developed a research agenda that provides a good starting place for thinking about academic advising research.  Through its various publication venues, such as the NACADA Journal and Academic Advising Today, the Association also provides lots of opportunity to communicate the scholarship of academic advising.  Discipline-based journals are increasingly open to sound academic advising research, too.

If you have an interest in exploring the scholarship of academic advising, please consider one or more of the following resources:

Don’t hesitate to contact me via email if you’d like to dialogue more specifically about the scholarship of academic advising.  Next month’s entry will look at NACADA’s strategic goal to “provide professional development opportunities that are responsive to the needs of advisors and advising administrators.”  Meanwhile, happy holidays to everyone!

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