Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

By: 
Dr. Kitty Kautzer

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Boyer's belief that scholarship may take the form of discovery, teaching, application or integration legitimizes the knowledge that is constructed by faculty members in physical and virtual classrooms found in career education institutions across the world.

Scholarship has historically and exclusively been regarded as the responsibility of members of the professoriate. Ernest Boyer, former Chancellor of the State University of New York, advised Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to lead the United States Commission on Education. He confronted traditional views on scholarship and encouraged a broadened perspective with his book, Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, published in 1990 while he was President of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Several parallels exist between Boyer‘s contemporary view of scholarship and some of the themes presented in the articles that comprise the premier issue of this publication. For purposes of this editorial, I will focus on two: inclusivity and engagement.

In order for a classroom to be inclusive, the instructor must first acknowledge and then accommodate the diversity among learners. In Edward Marchewka‘s article, Math Anxiety with Learners, he reports that students in mathematics classes experience anxiety when the same work is assigned to all, when problem-solving is approached in only one way, and when instructional delivery is limited to a one-to-many format. Similarly, Patrick Frank, author of Effectiveness and Acceptance of Video Presentations in Hybrid Learning Environments, is a proponent of accommodating diversity in learning styles. He believes that the acceptance of technology, specifically, the use of video presentation methods in hybrid courses, may effectively address differences in learning styles among students.

In their article, Best Practices for LMS Integration into a Professional Doctoral Program, Dr. Anthony Piña and Dr. Larry Bohn encourage the reader to expand views on the “learning, instruction and interaction of a course beyond the time and space limitations of a regular classroom” with instructional techniques inclusive of proper implementation of a Learning Management System. Dr. May Lowery and Dr. Samuel Helms caution readers to strategically support the implementation of technology for purposes of teaching and learning in their article, Nine Technologies for Education. Use of microblogging, interactive whiteboards, virtual worlds, or e-books should be informed by what is known about the audience, as “the only valuable technology is the technology that is used.”

There may be such a thing as too much inclusion, however. Lacy E. Boyd writes in Evolving Technologies: Are We Ready? and asks us to determine if the technologies that make the world more convenient and inclusive might also make it less private. What tradeoffs are we willing to incur?

Engagement is a term that is broadly applied within the context of postsecondary education. For example, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) conducts an annual survey with hundreds of four-year colleges and universities nationwide to learn about participation in programs and activities that institutions provide to support student learning and personal development.

We know that engagement with students who elect to take courses online is particularly important, as evidenced by its inclusion as a standard in the Quality Matters rubric, a set of forty specific elements, distributed across eight broad standards, by which to evaluate the design of online and hybrid courses.

Author Tammy Starzyk urges the reader to embrace the value of the liberal arts curriculum. In her article, The Value of Liberal Arts Courses in Online Education, she contends that postsecondary students are challenged to “develop a holistic view of the world” through their engagement with liberal arts courses, which cause them to “consider a problem from a variety of angles and to analyze its component parts.” As a result, she posits, students will be better prepared to engage in and contribute to the 21st Century workplace, a goal that resonates with each of our institutions.

In her article, Taking the Show on the Road: What Traditional Classroom Teachers Should Know as They Move to the Online Classroom, the principle of engagement with course content is one of four characteristics described by Catherine Fuller as essential to the creation of a positive online learning experience, accompanied by interconnected communication, student-faculty interaction, and collaboration among students. The research presented by Dr. Gordon Haley and Dr. Phyllis Parise in Student Engagement: a Study of the Relationship between Teacher Credibility and Student Self-Efficacy posits that faculty who are able to engage their students may have a positive impact on persistence.

The importance of engagement is not limited to the classroom. Dr. Joel Ginsburg points out that having the leadership ability to engage all stakeholders is critical within the context of virtual work-groups in his article Determining the Personality Characteristics that Identify a Successful Global Virtual Team Member. He reports that these individuals “stimulate others to engage their intellectual curiosity, resulting in innovation and questioning of the status quo.”

The Online Journal provides faculty from the career education sector an opportunity to include and engage a community of scholars. As stated in a White Paper on Scholarly Activity by Balbir Gurm (2009), engagement has been defined as “not simply service, but the reflection on and refinement of expertise and knowledge, through its use in the institution and the larger community.” I encourage you to include and engage others in faculty scholarship in the career education sector by publishing in Instructional Practice in Higher Education: an Online Journal. I look forward to reading your submissions.

Author Bio

Dr. Kitty Kautzer
Career Education Corporation

Dr. Kitty Kautzer is the corporate Vice President of Academic Affairs for Career Education Corporation where she is responsible for the facilitation of best practices in program development and delivery across Strategic Business Units within the organization, oversight of enterprise-driven faculty development and strategic approaches to hybrid instructional delivery. She earned her Doctorate Degree in Adult and Continuing Education in 1999 from Northern Illinois University. Dr. Kautzer can be contacted at kkautzer@careered.com.

References
Boyer, Ernest L. (1997) Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) http://nsse.iub.edu/html/about.cfm

Quality Matters Rubric http://www.qualitymatters.org/Rubric.htm

Federation of Post-Secondary Educators, Initials. (2009, April 30). White paper on scholarly activity. Retrieved from http://www.fpse.ca/files/uploads/pdfs/Scholarly_Activity_
White_Paper_090430.pdf