What makes an activity 'scholarship?'

 The following list of characteristics of scholarship is adapted from Recognizing Faculty Work, by Robert Diamond and Bronwyn Adam (1993).

  • The activity requires a high level of discipline expertise.
  • The activity breaks new ground or is innovative.
  • The activity can be replicated and elaborated.
  • The work and its results can be documented.
  • The work and its results can be peer reviewed.
  • The activity has significance or impact.

More simply stated, scholarship is work that is public, peer reviewed and available in a platform that others may build on. Faculty members take a scholarly approach when they systematically design, implement, assess and redesign an activity, drawing from the literature and best practices in the field.

Scholarship is, at its heart, about contributing to a body of knowledge. Such contributions could be in the form of the creation of new knowledge or the dissemination of knowledge.

Creation of knowledge is not just research. Integrating existing knowledge in new ways, making linkages, applying knowledge in new ways, or coming up with new methods would also be considered part of creating knowledge. Simply conducting a research project might not be considered scholarly unless the project results are documented, able to be reviewed by peers (including practitioners, policy makers, community members, etc. if appropriate) and disseminated.

Dissemination is not just publishing. It is teaching and consulting, community talks, legislative testimony, media presentations, etc. Dissemination is about putting knowledge in the public domain.

(Jordan, 2007). Reprinted here with permission from Community-Campus Partnerships for Health.