Scholarship in the communication field includes original written research and films, presentation of that research in journals and at conferences, invited speaking opportunities, and consulting. We view the forms of scholarship in three tiers, ordered according to value and depth of original work.
The most prestigious form of peer review is that for refereed journals in the field, with national journals being most prestigious, followed by regional and state journals. For original films, peer reviewed selection of films at festivals and conferences are most prestigious and can be evaluated based on the level of competition at each venue. A second layer of peer review includes competitively selected papers for international, national, regional and state conferences. Finally, a form of peer review is invitation, because of reputation and expertise, to present lectures, workshops, speeches, or to serve as a consultant.
Creating an environment of teaching scholars that encourages faculty to conduct research and produce creative works that excites them is essential. Relating scholarship to teaching can challenge our best students. Furthermore, involving students in research teaches students and benefits faculty who can simultaneously teach and mentor students, while engaging in research that may be presented or published.
Journals in the field of communication are highly competitive with acceptance rates typically ranging from 8 to 15 percent. As such, an active research program, presentation of that research at conferences, and attempts to publish are expected. Publications are also expected, but due to the low acceptance rates and preference of quality over quantity, a specific number of publications expected is not specified. In regards to creative works such as film-making, production of works and submission to and acceptance at local and regional film festivals is expected.
Though traditional quantitative and qualitative research is important at a liberal arts college, more important is collaborative research and creative works with students and research that reaches beyond the classroom to the community. At a liberal arts college of the church where the focus is on learning, we should be engaging our students in scholarship and as such engaging them in their field of study. Where appropriate, that research can be presented by students at communication conferences and films can be shown as film festivals. Secondly, we can aim to use our research to aid the community. For example, research on family communication, intercultural communication and media all can reach beyond the classroom to educate communities on effective communication strategies, and on critical use of media. Such scholarship, when presented to the community in newsletters, guest speaking, via the internet, or other media weds scholarship with community service. Whenever our scholarship can reach colleagues and be delivered to a lay audience, our scholarship becomes distinct as furthering the goals of a liberal arts college of the church.
(Revised Spring 2014)