Community-engaged scholarship in the professoriate
Pearl, Andrew Joseph
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In its purest form, higher education exists to advance knowledge and seek truth. The driving force behind that advancement of knowledge has been the professoriate; however, in 1990, Ernest Boyer lamented that the work of the professoriate was focused too narrowly on research productivity, rather than embracing a full range of approaches to scholarship, particularly how knowledge can be used to address important societal issues. Boyer described this commitment as the “scholarship of engagement,” which is now often thought of as community engagement, defined by the Carnegie Foundation as “the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their local communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.” In this dissertation, I took a mixed-methods approach to learn more about what drives faculty members to do their work, particularly in the context of community engagement. I began by borrowing from the public administration literature and examining faculty members through the theoretical framework of public service motivation using confirmatory factor analysis. Based on the findings that failed to confirm public service motivation in higher education, I continued my exploration of faculty motivations by better understanding what drives their varying approaches to scholarship. Using latent class analysis, I created a typology of five classes of faculty members based on their interests in and practices related to community engagement. Next, I took the resulting classes and used regression analyses to explore differences in their job satisfaction, research productivity, career-related stress, and other affective items. The findings suggest that important differences exist between the classes. In particular, faculty members who are interested in community engagement, but do not pursue community-engaged scholarship in practice, are less satisfied in their careers and feel less connection between their personal values and work. During two qualitative focus groups sessions, I discussed how the quantitative findings are useful, both in theory and practice. This research makes a unique contribution to the literature by expanding our knowledge of faculty members’ motivations related to community engagement through exploration of a large, national dataset, reinforced by in-depth qualitative analyses.