Integrated Scholars: You Will Find Many at Texas Tech
Provost and Senior Vice President
“There is no occupation so sweet as scholarship; scholarship is the means of making known to us, while still in this world, the infinity of matter, the immense grandeur of Nature, the heavens, the lands and the seas. Scholarship has taught us piety, moderation, greatness of heart; it snatches our souls from darkness and shows them all things, the high and the low, the first, the last and everything in between; scholarship furnishes us with the means of living well and happily; it teaches us how to spend our lives without discontent and without vexation.”
–Cicero (106–43 B.C.E.)
Roman orator and writer
Triple threat: in football, the term has been used to describe a player who excels in running, kicking, and passing. In the performing arts, the term is used to describe artists who are great at acting, dancing, and singing. In higher education, faculty members who excel in teaching, research, and service can be thought of as academic triple threats. And, academicians who create synergy among the three functions can become what I refer to as integrated scholars.
In a previous post as provost of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, I found that the concept of the integrated scholar was useful in encouraging creative approaches to faculty members’ role and mission. Additionally, the integrated-scholar approach seemed to assist faculty in engaging in interdisciplinary activities that not only benefit faculty research and scholarship, but also assist in more effectively serving student learning and engagement with external constituents. Even though I have only been at Texas Tech for eight months I am proposing adoption of the term and concept as we move our university towards full recognition as a national research university. This paper will help us flesh out the concept and realize its possible benefits to the Texas Tech community. Additionally, I am using this article to profile examples of Texas Tech faculty members who fit the model of the integrated scholar.
A Bit of Background
From discussions with members of our academic community, it appears to me that Texas Tech faculty members understand their responsibilities for teaching, research, and service from their earliest days at the university. Indeed, in all colleges and schools at Texas Tech, the expectations for most tenured and tenure-track faculty fit into an agreed-to balance of teaching, research, and service relative to expectations, assignments, and performance evaluations used in promotion, tenure, and merit salary decisions. Such standard-setting serves useful purposes, not least of all for supervisors charged with evaluating performance. A drawback to the standards, however, is the implied notion that teaching, research, and service efforts are separate and unrelated to one another. Such a notion is not ideal because the mixing, melding, and indeed integration of teaching, research, and service provides unique synergistic opportunities for excellence among faculty members. Allow me to elaborate a bit more and provide some examples.
Consider Texas Tech faculty members who consistently promote active learning and weave the results of their research or scholarship into courses taught. Consider also the same faculty members publishing papers about their teaching innovations in peer-reviewed journals. Consider further, the same faculty members continually thinking about ways in which their scholarly presentations, creative performances, and professional development experiences may be incorporated into courses or other instruction offered to students. Moreover, consider faculty members who plan and execute service commitments to complement teaching and research goals. Faculty members who are able to meld their academic and extramural efforts as described above are on their way to becoming integrated scholars. Others, who are already engaged as described, can make claim to the integrated scholar title, so let’s consider some examples.
Integrated Scholars at Texas Tech
It is inspiring to think about Texas Tech faculty members who display characteristics of integrated scholars. Thus, I have compiled an initial list for the sake of illustration and celebration. By crafting such a list, we risk overlooking many who have significant claims to integrated scholarship. However, my hope is to add to the list yearly, thereby highlighting many others who deserve the honored designation. I also plan to announce each year a new set of integrated scholars about the time of the New Faculty Orientation, thus providing an opportunity to suggest academic role models to the new colleagues who join us each fall.
Thus, for illustrative purposes, I have chosen to highlight a handful of our academic triple threats: Mindy Brashears, associate professor of food sciences; Robly (Rob) Glover, professor of jewelry design and metalsmithing; Kitty Harris-Wilkes, George C. Miller Family Regents Professor of Applied Professional Studies; Ronald (Ron) Kendall, professor of environmental toxicology; Carol Korzeniewski, professor of analytical chemistry; Ronald (Ron) Mitchell, professor of entrepreneurship and Jean Austin Bagley Regents Chair in Management; Janet I. Pérez, Horn Professor and Qualia Chair of Spanish; Michael San Francisco, professor of molecular microbiology; Brian Shannon, Charles B. Thornton Professor of Law; Sindee Simon, professor of chemical engineering; Tara Stevens, associate professor of education psychology; and Kenton T. (Kent) Wilkinson, Regents Professor of Hispanic and International Communication.
In 2008, Mindy Brashears received one of the Young Professionals of Greater Lubbock Under Forty Awards for her combined civic and university leadership. Meriting such an award speaks volumes about the dedication and energy she has brought to Texas Tech and our city since joining the university in 2001. Besides teaching food microbiology and safety at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Brashears is a nationally recognized leader in food safety, having published extensively from research conducted at Texas Tech and with collaborators at the University of Nebraska. The research has been sponsored by more than $13 million in extramural grants and has been instrumental in supporting a significant number of graduate students and other researchers. No ivory tower researcher, Brashears has extended the benefits of her research through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources International Center for Food Industry Excellence, which she directs. Her outreach and service programs have been recognized as being of great benefit to food producers regionally and nationally. Most notably, Brashears is an acknowledged expert in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so-called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point program that is crucial to keeping the nation’s food supply safe. Bringing all that she does together with coherency and a firm resolve to serve students as well as the local, regional, and national communities, are marks of the integrated scholarship of this notable integrated scholar.
Robly (Rob) Glover
The creation and crafting of jewelry through the ancient art of metalsmithing is not likely the first area that comes to mind when you think of Texas Tech. However, Texas Tech is blessed by Rob Glover who is known worldwide for his jewelry creations, several of which can be found on display in museums such as the Victoria and Albert in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Step into the laboratories where Glover’s creative work is done and you are struck by the well-equipped carrels that support instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Imagine lower division students receiving fine arts design instruction with hands-on experience that provides opportunities to create works that would attract attention in some of the smartest boutiques in the world. Such world-class experience is accompanied by Glover’s dedicated mentoring, results of which are reflected by framed photographs of students’ work that adorn the instructional laboratory. Thus, Glover has found a way to mix creative scholarship with craftsmanship and teaching. As one of his students Mary Mecca, a senior in art from Dallas, noted succinctly, “He is amazing.” Overall, his creative craft and teaching have influenced his work with the Saturday Morning Art Project, a program that helps talented high school students participate in the world of art at a level far beyond that available through typical K-12 offerings. As contributor for twenty years and coordinator for six, Glover contributes to the Helen Jones Foundation-funded program that takes students to art museums, involves them in workshops, and gives them hands-on opportunities that have helped launch many a successful career in the arts. So, whether we consider contributions in the Lubbock area, at Texas Tech, or literally around the world through the many juried reviews that have appeared nationally and internationally, Glover has blended wonderfully his roles as teacher, creative craftsman, and service provider. Thus, he can rightfully claim the integrated scholarship title he so richly deserves.
Two years ago, in a program that aired on CNN, Kitty Harris-Wilkes stated, “To be in recovery from substance abuse and to be on a college campus is an absolute catastrophe without support.” Her answer to that challenge has been to help the Texas Tech Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery (CSAR) become the foremost of its kind on any U.S. university campus. As a result of her efforts and other Texas Tech faculty members and staff, the center has amassed an enviable success record success working with Texas Tech students who have substance abuse and eating disorders, including a relapse rate of less than 10 percent following counseling and continuing help by the Collegiate Recovery Community. The work of CSAR also extends to research efforts that have received significant extramural funding from state, federal, and private sources. In addition to her work with CSAR, Harris-Wilkes assists the director of the Center for Prevention and Resiliency, which has spearheaded numerous projects including United Future Leaders, a program funded by United Supermarket. The latter program’s focus is on civility, leadership, and ethics among pre-adolescents. Harris-Wilkes also has been instrumental in establishing the Lubbock Independent School District’s School for Young Women Leaders, which has benefited from her special passion for service. Overall, the results of her research and extraordinary service contributions have been brought into instructional programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the College of Human Sciences, where Harris-Wilkes is known as a knowledgeable, caring, and enthusiastic teacher. On top of all of the above, Harris-Wilkes holds the George C. Miller Family Regents Professorship and serves as associate dean for outreach, engagement, and external relations in the College of Human Sciences. Thus, she has been able to blend her roles as teacher, researcher, and service provider, along with college-level administration, in unique ways. In the process, she has become one the university’s highly regarded integrated scholars.
Ronald (Ron) Kendall
It is rare for a professor, at any university, to be responsible for a unit that receives the highest award a state’s environmental quality agency can bestow. But, that is what happened to Ron Kendall and The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) that he has directed for twelve years at Texas Tech. The Texas Environmental Excellence Award, was one of only ten statewide and was conferred on TIEHH by Governor Rick Perry at a banquet in Austin this past May. And, well-deserved it was for a unit that has done seminal work on the effects of biohazards on our environment, practically all of it made possible by extramural grants and contracts from the federal government and both national and international corporations. Kendall’s contributions and leadership have been notable, but the research and service contributions have also come with outstanding educational benefits to students. As chair of the Department of Environmental Toxicology, located within the College of Arts and Sciences, Kendall has guided the development of a doctoral program that recently was hailed as the best of its kind in the nation. When Ron Kendall came to Texas Tech in 1997 he had an integrated vision of teaching/learning, research and service for an environmental toxicology program that has since captured worldwide attention. Kendall’s integrated-scholar approach was pivotal in making it happen.
If you access on the Web a copy of Carol Korzeniewski’s syllabus for Chemistry 3351, Analytical Chemical Methods, a course that she teaches regularly, you will find the statement: “Please do not delay in seeking help when a problem or concept gives you difficulty.” The statement is emblematic of the caring concern she brings to teaching of undergraduate and graduate students. Her expression and commitment to teaching/learning also plays out in her long-term commitment to the university’s summer outreach program for young women, Science, It’s a Girl Thing. Included in such commitments is a weaving of the principles and approaches that undergird her cutting-edge research in the mechanisms of liquid-metal surface interactions and catalysis, which has been well funded, mainly through the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Office of Naval Research, and published in tier one journals. Thus, Korzeniewski brings together her research, teaching, and service efforts in unique and highly integrated ways, all leading to her being designated as a highly valued integrated scholar.
Ronald (Ron) Mitchell
If you read Ronald Mitchell’s teaching dossier you find what he values: “(1) each student as an individual with unique interests and capabilities; (2) comprehension, appreciation, and creative expression of human knowledge; (3) the encouragement and expectation of analytical, critical, and strategic thought; (4) the acquisition of new knowledge and its subsequent dissemination to others (especially those who have traditionally had limitations on their access to this knowledge); (5) service to the set of students who passionately desire to possess the knowledge base and problem-solving methods used by expert entrepreneurs; and (6) extended (life-long) learning.” These values reveal much about an accomplished educator and researcher whose commitments to values and ethics in entrepreneurship have an international reach. Indeed, programs he has led have had significant impact on economic development in the U.S., Canada, China, and Sweden, among other countries. Mitchell holds the Jean Austin Bagley Regents Chair in Management. In the Texas Tech University System, Mitchell directed the best-practices analysis of the technology commercialization process, the “Possibilities Project,” and served on the Chancellor’s Taskforce for Improved Efficiencies. At Texas Tech per se, he is currently co-chairing President Guy Bailey’s Revenue Enhancement and Allocation Task Force that is leading the way towards a system of responsibility centered management for all academic units at the university. On the national scene, Mitchell has served the Academy of Management’s Entrepreneurship Division, with 2,600 members, as division chair and program chair, among other positions. If you add to the above, research publications in first-tier journals and presentations at prestigious venues nationally and internationally, you have all the ingredients for integrated scholarship. But, when you find the sum of his teaching, research, and service efforts truly melded you are compelled to see Mitchell as one of the university’s prominent integrated scholars.
Janet I. Pérez
If you go to the Texas Tech Web site for the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literature, you will find the following statement: “Our faculty are known for exceptional teaching, diverse research and publication, and deeply involved service to their fields.” The assertion fits perfectly the academic life of Janet Pérez, whose record of teaching, research, and service reaches almost legendary proportions. Consider, for example, her membership in the Texas Tech Teaching Academy; the direction career-wise of more than seventy doctoral dissertations and master’s theses; her landmark scholarship in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Spanish literature, especially that of women writers, which is funded by more than thirty grants; the editing of the journal Hispania, with a worldwide subscription of greater than 14,000; and founding co-editorship of The Monographic Review. Beyond these notable accomplishments, think about how Pérez brings her fine teaching, research, and service work together with coherency and insight and you’ll realize why she is so appreciated by her students and peers. In fact, in 2009, she was elected to full membership in the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, which takes place concurrently with corresponding membership in the Royal Spanish Academy. Thus, Janet Pérez’s designation as an integrated scholar is solid indeed.
Michael San Francisco
Those who know Michael San Francisco know that he wears many hats. Besides being an inspiring teacher, student mentor, and researcher, he serves as associate dean of the Honors College. Additionally, he is faculty director for the Clark Scholars Program, which brings promising high school scholars to campus each summer for frontier research experiences; immediate past faculty director of the Joint Admission Medical Program; and immediate past program director and current associate director for Undergraduate Research for the Texas Tech/Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Program. He also serves as co-director of the Center for the Integration of Science Education and Research. All of these activities are pursued with insight and dedication to important scientific and societal challenges, from innovating new approaches to teaching and learning to basic research on animal and plant pathogenesis, to helping underrepresented students transition and succeed in university degree programs. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Defense for his research. In short, Michael San Francisco has a record of achievement that places him high among Texas Tech’s integrated scholars.
A beloved teacher of contracts, property, and criminal law along with law and psychiatry, Brian Shannon’s orientation to teaching and learning is informed by and integrated with the scholarship and service he has engaged in during his years at Texas Tech. Recent efforts on the service side include his role as an appointee on the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities and memberships on the boards of directors of the Lubbock Regional Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center (immediate past chair); the Lubbock County Bar Association (immediate past president); Advocacy, Inc.; and the Texas Council of Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Centers. On the scholarly research side, Shannon has co-authored four editions of the book, Texas Criminal Procedure and the Offender with Mental Illness, and two editions of Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution and Arbitration Statutes and Commentary. He has also filed pro bono amicus curiae or friend-of-the-court briefs in cases at the United States and Texas Supreme Courts. The service and scholarly work have been woven so effectively that students recognize him as an outstanding teacher but we know that his instructional abilities stem in part from his being a notable integrated scholar.
Sindee L. Simon
The world of polymer research owes a debt of gratitude to Sindee Simon and her students who have crafted special instrumentation in her chemical engineering laboratory. Referred to as a volume dilatometer, the equipment is being used in fundamental polymer research that could lead to the development of materials for construction of the next generation of spacecraft–materials that will be lighter and less prone to heat damage. Simon’s research, which has been funded over the years by the National Science Foundation, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, among others has been highly regarded and cited. But, Simon is not content with the status quo when it comes to overall approaches to education and research. Several years ago, she organized a workshop, “Teaching Engineering Faculty to Teach in an Active Learning Environment,” in collaboration with the Texas Tech Teaching, Learning and Technology Center. The workshop helped to focus attention on the concept of the scholar-educator or what I would call integrated scholarship. In short, Simon has mastered the mixing and melding of teaching, research, and service to the science and engineering communities, including societies where she has been recognized as a fellow and served in important leadership roles such as president of the North American Thermal Analysis Society in 2005. All of these efforts ensure her claim as an integrated scholar.
Faculty colleagues acquainted with Tara Stevens believe that her middle name could be “Educational Psychology,” given how the art, or practice, and science of the field are so melded into all that she does in teaching, research, and service. Her outreach work is typified by consulting services in which she conducts psychological assessments and offers counseling services to students. Some of the topics she has tackled in her research and service efforts include: (1) the effects of TV viewing on learning and the possible development of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, (2) the correlation between physical activity and academic performance, and (3) teaching innovations that assist the learning of mathematics. In the latter efforts, she is serving as co-principle investigator, along with Professor Gary Harris in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, on a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation, which includes collaborations with other Texas Tech mathematics faculty members. In all, the research and service undergirds all she does in instruction, particularly in the College of Education’s Educational Psychology Doctoral Program, that is also being expanded to help graduates qualify for licensure as school psychologists. The terms, “respected teacher,” “leading researcher,” and “dedicated service provider” all apply to Tara Stevens, but as equally important are the ways she has found to weave such efforts together to be recognized as a remarkable integrated scholar.
Kenton T. (Kent) Wilkinson
He has been the recipient of the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the College of Media and Communication Outstanding Research Award, and the College of Media and Communication Billy I. Ross Faculty Achievement Award. And, that’s just in the last two years! Wilkinson teaches a variety of courses, which are noted for creative approaches to student learning. His research and service outreach efforts are organized through The Institute for Hispanic and International Communication (IHIC) of which he is director. Through the IHIC, Winkinson engages international media experts and finds funding to bring them to campus either in person or through telecommunications. His overall efforts bring teaching, research, and outreach efforts together in highly integrated ways to enrich offerings to students and serve Texas and the international community in special ways. Thus, he may easily claim the title of integrated scholar.
Now, for the newly appointed Texas Tech faculty member or one who wishes to proverbially re-invent him or herself, we might ask: “What does it take to amass a record akin to that of a Mindy Brashears or Ron Mitchell?” Here is some free advice from a provost who has reviewed more than 1,500 promotion and/or tenure portfolios at four research universities (Texas Tech University, Washington State University and the Universities of Connecticut and Arkansas at Fayetteville):
- Maximize your teaching effectiveness. Sign up for workshops sponsored by the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center (TLTC). Find out about the Teaching Academy and get to know the Teaching Academy Executive Council member who represents your college or school.
- If you don’t already–learn to love students!
- Determine how instructional efforts might lead to scholarly contributions. Many fields such as chemistry have journals such as the Journal of Chemical Education that provide excellent outlets for related scholarly efforts.
- Choose wisely your scholarly and research interests and foci. Pick areas, topics, and projects where you can make important contributions. Consider collaborations with well-established scholars and researchers. See how you might engage in interdisciplinary efforts that embrace your background and talents. Look and apply for grants that may support your research and scholarly work, as well as undergraduate and graduate students who you can engage in research. Use the services of the Office of Research Services to assist in grant development efforts.
- Present papers at first-rate venues, including meetings of well-recognized scholarly organizations.
- Publish articles in top-tier journals. If your area of scholarship emphasizes the publication of original work in books–seek out the very best university or commercial presses for publication. Robert Mandel, director of the Texas Tech University Press, and his staff may provide some sage advice along the way. If your scholarly work is in the areas of visual or performing arts, seek advice on creative scholarship from mentors at Texas Tech or other major research universities.
- Develop a plan for rendering service to the university, professional organizations, and society. In most tenuring units, there are light expectations for university service at the assistant professor level, but service expectations should not be nil. Choose university assignments wisely. Think about enlarging your commitments as you become tenured and anticipate promotion to full professor. After joining and participating in one or more professional organizations, think about seeking a place on organizational service committees or running for office. Consider service on editorial boards of noted journals.
- Keep your chair and dean informed of notable accomplishments in teaching, research, and service. I have, in turn, asked the deans to keep me informed so that we may suitably acknowledge your successes either through publication or university awards.
- Seek ways to integrate all of your efforts at the university. Ask for pointers from your chair and trusted colleagues. Place the topic of integrated scholarship on the agenda for a future faculty meeting.
Summarizing, I have offered some defining ideas about integrated scholarship and integrated scholars. I have also offered examples of several Texas Tech faculty members who personify integrated scholarship. Finally, I’ve offered some free and, I hope, useful advice for organizing our thinking about integrated scholars. Let me know what you think–either through e-mail or snail mail. If you craft a thought-provoking piece I’ll consider it for publication in All Things Texas Tech. Ideas and suggestions are welcome and can be directed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Smith serves as provost and senior vice president at Texas Tech University. I am grateful to Pam Roberson, executive administrative associate in the Office of the Provost, for gathering some information valuable to the preparation of this paper.