The mission of Cal Poly Pomona is to advance learning and knowledge by linking theory and practice in all disciplines, and to prepare students for lifelong learning, leadership, and careers in a changing, multicultural world.
The department faculty members are outstanding teacher-scholars who maintain active research agendas that have led to publications in high quality peer-reviewed journals. The faculty holds Ph.D. degrees from some of the top research universities in the U.S. Most of the faculty are active in research, collaborating on research projects, publishes in well-respected peer review journals, and regularly present their works in Research Talks, a triweekly research colloquium in the department. The faculty is conscientious about teacher-scholar model commonly embraced on campus, and strives to integrate research into teaching in a highly collegial working environment.
The Meaning of Teacher-Scholar in the Polytechnic Context*
The discovery-integration-application-teaching model fits well with the “learn-by-doing” and hands-on philosophies of undergraduate education at a comprehensive, polytechnic university and its relation to what teachers do.
Scholarship of Discovery is what most people typically think of when referring to research. Basic research can contribute to the overall intellectual climate of the university and vitality of faculty members. Even when teaching fundamentals, knowing how they are needed to prepare students for more advanced thinking, engagement in scholarly activities may help the students in their later work as well as provide a greater sense of purpose to their academic studies.
The Scholarship of Integration includes, but is not limited to, interpreting what new discoveries mean and how new knowledge relates to other disciplines. The baccalaureate degree implicitly attempts to do this through interdisciplinary work. When asked to respond to the statement in a national survey of faculty, “Multidisciplinary work is soft and should not be considered scholarship”, 73% disagreed, 17% were neutral and 8% agreed (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1989).
The Scholarship of Application refers to using knowledge in a responsible way to address consequential problems. This is accomplished by connecting theory with practice and can manifest itself through various forms of service. Service has not been historically regarded as scholarship among academic circles but can be included as scholarship if properly engaged and understood. As Boyer points out, “The scholarship of application, as we define it here, is not a one-way street. Indeed, the term itself may be misleading if it suggests that knowledge is first ‘discovered’ and then ’applied’. The process we have in mind is more dynamic. New intellectual understandings can arise out of the very act of application—whether in medical diagnosis, serving clients in psychotherapy, shaping public policy, creating an architectural design, or working with the public schools. In activities such as these, theory and practice vitally interact, and one renews the other” (p. 23). Service, consulting work, and creative activities are scholarly activities under this definition.
The Scholarship of Teaching is based on the premise that the value of the work of the professor only becomes consequential as others understand it. Teaching begins with what the teacher knows, but extends to how to encourage and “create critical, creative thinkers, with the capacity to go on learning after their college days are over” (p. 24). Recognizing how students learn and being part of the process of improving learning are necessary parts of the scholarship process. The “learn-by-doing” philosophy implies that such pedagogy is valid and effective. As demographics change and new technology arises in many areas, there are rich opportunities to explore and understand how to use them to improve and foster learning.
The comprehensive, polytechnic university is the ideal place to nurture all four types of scholarship and maintain broad interpretations that foster innovation and uniqueness.
*Note: An excerpt from Bricker Lauren W. Michael Cholbi, Jodene Kersten, and Rakesh Mogul (2009), “Teacher-scholar Model at Cal Poly Pomona “http://www.cpp.edu/~academic-affairs/about/documents/2009_CPP_Teacher_Scholar_white_paper.pdf,” pp. 5-6.