Nursing Department Statement on Scholarship

What forms of scholarship define the work of those in your department at their best?

The traditional boundaries of scholarship have not always fit the scholarly work of the discipline of nursing. In the process of defining those boundaries for the nursing department, a variety of resources were useful. Of particular benefit was the position statement of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)cthe national organization of baccalaureate or higher degree programs in nursing whose purpose is to serve the public through the promotion and improvement of higher education for professional nursing through the advancement of the quality of baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing, the promotion of research in and for nursing, and the provision for the development of academic leaders—“Defining Scholarship for the Discipline of Nursing” (1999). The discussion of scholarship is very pertinent to nursing—a discipline requiring scholarly inquiry along with the realities and demands of practice. Nursing is a discipline that brings together scientific investigation and application through professional services.

Scholarship for the Department of Nursing was defined as “professional endeavors, which advance the art and science of nursing.” Forms of scholarship identified fall into the four areas proposed by Boyer (1990) and adapted by the AACN (1999): Teaching, Practice/Application, Integration, and Discovery. These areas support the values of a profession that is committed to both social relevance and scientific advancement.

The Scholarship of Teaching is “inquiry that produces knowledge to support the transfer of the science and art of nursing from the expert to the novice, building bridges between the teacher’s understanding and the student’s learning” (AACN, 1999, p. 373). Scholarship of teaching in nursing can increase the depth of understanding in the discipline and pedagogy as well as enhancing the effectiveness of the transfer of discipline specific knowledge. The scholarship of teaching is conducted through the application of knowledge of the discipline or specialty area in the teaching-learning process, the development of innovative teaching and evaluation methods, program development, learning outcome evaluation, and professional role modeling (AACN, 1999).

The Scholarship of Practice/Application in nursing is essential in the maintenance of clinical competence of faculty as well as in the advancement of clinical knowledge in nursing. Knowledge in the profession is both advanced and applied through competence in practice. Practice scholarship can include the various aspects of the delivery of nursing service with evidence of a direct impact in solving health care problems or in defining the health problems of a community. A variety of models for accomplishing the scholarship of practice are possible. For all, the focus is on the scholarship generated through practice. Components of the scholarship practice include the development of clinical knowledge, application of technical or research skills, and service where scholarship is directly related to a clinical specialty and flows directly from professional activity (AACN, 1999).

The Scholarship of Integration refers to the use of concepts and original works from nursing and other disciplines to “create new patterns, place knowledge in a larger context, or illuminate data in a more meaningful way” (AACN, 1999, p. 375). It emphasizes the interconnection of ideas. Critical analysis and interpretation are two common methodologies. It responds to intellectual questions and human problems by creating knowledge or combining knowledge in ways that provide new insights (AACN, 1999).

The Scholarship of Discovery is inquiry as traditionally thought of as research. It produces knowledge that is at the heart of the academic pursuits of the discipline. It can take the form of primary empirical research, historical research, theory development and testing, methodological studies, and philosophical inquiry and analysis (AACN, 1999).

What forms of peer review—including those beyond the Luther campus—are appropriate for that work?

Two aspects of “peer review” are included in this question: done by who and type of review. Peers are identified as experts in the discipline of nursing (including peers in both practice and education settings), experts in related fields, and on-campus peers external to the department.

The types of peer review include blind review of such things as papers, abstracts, and grant proposals, as well as open review such as clinical competence and presentations.

How can you encourage and enable your colleagues to see that such work bears fruit in their teaching?

A variety of ideas were brainstormed related to this question. Examples of the ideas generated include: mentoring of junior faculty, setting annual goals, providing opportunities for maintaining clinical competence, adjusting advising loads/responsibilities at various times to allow for a short term increase in time for scholarship, use of work study students, providing examples of patterns of scholarship and facilitating the attendance at national workshops/conferences. Underlying the various ideas brainstormed is the assumption of college support in terms of time and financial support.

What depth and range of achievement in scholarship at the third year, tenure review, and application to promotion for full professor should distinguish the work of Luther faculty?

For third year review, local recognition and involvement in scholarship would be expected; for tenure review, regional recognition and involvement; and for application to full professor, national recognition and involvement.

Third Year Review:

  • Membership in professional organizations.
  • Well articulated plan for scholarship.

Tenure Review:

  • Active involvement in professional organizations.
  • Implementation of scholarship plan as evidenced by: certification (as appropriate), presentation at local/regional meetings, and attempted publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Full Professor:

  • Leadership in professional organizations.
  • Completion of doctorate.
  • Consistent efforts to publish in peer-reviewed journals with at least one publication since tenure.
  • Presentations at state, regional, national or international conferences.

What distinctive forms of scholarship can thrive at a liberal arts college of the church?

The scholarship of teaching and practice/application apply more readily to our primary role as teachers. The environment of a place like Luther College can also enhance the potential for more scholarship of integration.

AACN. (1999). Defining scholarship for the discipline of nursing. Journal of Professional Nursing, 15, 372-376.
Boyer, E.L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities for the professorate. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.

(March 2002)