Today I am proud to announce the launch of the Edutechnicalities podcast, one season dropping all at ounce, the season regarding the opportunities and obstacles still facing Ernest Boyer’s four domains of scholarship as noted in Scholarship Reconsidered, a topic I colloquially refer to as emergent scholarship.
This project began last year when I was asked to explore what a greater engagement of Boyer’s argument would look like from an academic innovation perspective. There certainly was a pedagogical element to this initiative, but a staffing and resources element existed as well: the work of teaching & learning, application and integration is more and more seen as integral to the future of academic institutions, but despite widespread acceptance of Boyer’s work historical practices have kept its hierarchical value at a level lower than the scholarship of discovery. This is not to lessen the importance of discovery. But at a time that academic institutions are facing budget shortfalls and enrollment decreases, engaging and understanding the ways in which knowledge is shared, learned, applied and passed through various subcultures is paramount to the survival of Enlightenment-based notions of educated publics. A greater number of faculty wish to pursue emergent scholarship, and there is a direct value to institutions with emergent scholarship, but reward structures did not encourage this work.
I reached out to the experts I knew to start research on current trends and themes surrounding Boyer’s work for a speaking engagement, most notably scholarship exploration through the affordance of digital technologies. My conversations with these experts were remarkable, and I did not want these deep dives into a topic interesting to many but not often engaged in mainstream culture to be lost. We have developed other resources, but the concept of a podcast around a current topic in education was always intriguing from an analytic perspective. Serial podcasts tell a narrative story, and topical podcasts provide snapshots into ideas and knowledge domains. There are also numerous media resources that analyze academic topics but are not produced or distributed in a social media or app-based platform. How could we work with all of this? How would a podcast devoted to deep analysis of a particular education topic use the best of serial and topical and at the same time lean into doing neither?
The result is the first season of this podcast, seven episodes on the general topic of emergent scholarship, each with a specific perspective providing greater understanding of a facet of the phenomenon. While it helps to have a general understanding of Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered, each episode provides the framework of Boyer’s central argument that academic institutions have not done enough to align their research with their communities, societies or environments and efforts around emergent scholarship (most often seen through adding Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Scholarship of Engagement and Scholarship of Integration) will provide significant knowledge and subsequent benefit.
It’s a fascinating topic, and people come to it from many different perspectives. This makes the publication of the podcast unique, an information resource to meet people where they are rather than bring them along a pre-defined journey. The podcast is designed to start anywhere, listening for as few or as many episodes as desired and in whatever order the listener prefers. Using the podcast as a learning supplement in this manner highlights the interests, preferences and prior knowledge of the listener. Our hope is this will help build a rationale and advocacy for emergent scholarship where each voice adds to a general argument and the experiences and knowledge of listeners can lay foundation for greater engagement.
Working against the platform specifics of podcasts and listening practices may not be an ideal launch, so as we develop the website resource, emergentscholar.info, we will create further resources for the advocacy and promotion of emergent scholarship in academic disciplines, accrediting agencies and education institutions.
Ernest Boyer’s work and the generation of scholarship resulting from Scholarship Reconsidered is widely accepted and celebrated, yet practices throughout education structures continue to focus on traditional forms, topics, methods and modalities for scholastic development, publication and dispersion. The first season of the Edutechnicalities podcast is a collaboration of thinkers and developers from around the globe, working to highlight examples of emergent scholarship, spaces where emergent scholarship is accepted and celebrated for promotion/tenure/review, and encourage not only widespread recognition of unique scholarship but work to ensure its adoption provides resources and opportunities for researchers and scholars engaged in the work. Future seasons will continue the ‘deep dive’ concept on topics integral to the future of higher education, taking the expertise of our field and highlighting the unique perspectives we can bring to these issues.