The Boyer Model in HE

Oct 21, 2021 by

Boyer’s model of scholarship, developed in 1990 by Ernest Boyer, the previous president for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, was intended to push the discussion on higher education scholarship and teaching but more commonly serves as a faculty evaluation tool. The model has four main components: discovery, teaching, integration, and application. Wendling (2020) highlights Boyer’s professional history, his seminal work Scholarship Reconsidered, and faculty engagement.

The model’s use has been both positively and negatively received among higher education practitioners. For example, in the 1990s, to evaluate post-tenured faculty at the University of Louisville, the Boyer Model was adopted. However, as Schweitzer (2000) details, the way in which the concepts were adapted caused the overarching initiative to fail.

Schwaner (2002) also surveyed faculty at Southern Utah University and found most were amenable to the incorporation of the Boyer model in criteria developed at department-level for faculty reward policies but were not at all interested in a one-size-fîts-all set of criteria. This seems to be an overarching refrain from faculty. As a result, many universities have adopted the framework as a general guide rather than a hard and fast rule for educators.

Meanwhile, Kanekar (2021) uses Boyer’s model to discuss alternative forms of scholarship such as digital scholarship (number of views of an article, video, blog, number of downloads, number of reads).


How can a university embrace this model? How can faculty commit to this model? Should it be used as a faculty evaluation tool?


Boyer model, higher education, scholarship, tenure


Kanekar, A. (2021). Expanded ‘reconsideration’ of scholarship in a digital world: The existing conundrum. Academia Letters, 727.

Schwaner, D.A. (2002). Assessing faculty perspectives on implementing the Boyer model. UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2508.

Schweitzer, L. (2000). Adoption and Failure of the “Boyer Model” at the University of Louisville. Academic Medicine, 75(9), 925-929.

Wendling, L. (2020). Valuing the Engaged Work of the Professoriate: Reflections on Ernest Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 20(2), 127-142. doi: 10.14434/josotl.v20i2.25679

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