Boyer's expanded definitions of scholarship, the standards for assessing scholarship, and the elusiveness of the scholarship of teaching

Acad Med. 2000 Sep;75(9):877-80. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200009000-00007.


Debate about faculty roles and rewards in higher education during the past decade has been fueled by the work of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, principally Scholarship Reconsidered and Scholarship Assessed. The author summarizes those publications and reviews the more recent work of Lee Shulman on the scholarship of teaching. In 1990, Ernest Boyer proposed that higher education move beyond the tired old "teaching versus research" debate and that the familiar and honorable term "scholarship" be given a broader meaning. Specifically, scholarship should have four separate yet overlapping meanings: the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application, and the scholarship of teaching. This expanded definition was well received, but from the beginning, assessment of quality was a stumbling block. Clearly, Boyer's concepts would be useful only if scholars could be assured that excellence in scholarly work would be maintained. Scholars at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching addressed this issue by surveying journal editors, scholarly press directors, and granting agencies to learn their definitions of excellence in scholarship. From the findings of these surveys, six standards of excellence in scholarship were derived: Scholars whose work is published or rewarded must have clear goals, be adequately prepared, use appropriate methods, achieve outstanding results, communicate effectively, and then reflectively critique their work. The scholarship of teaching remains elusive, however. The work of Lee Shulman and others has helped clarify the issues. The definition of this form of scholarship continues to be debated at colleges and universities across the nation.

MeSH terms

  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Publishing
  • Research / standards*
  • Teaching / standards*