What does scholarship mean to you? | Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB)

What does scholarship mean to you?

Posted by: on Thursday April 9, 2020 science, scholarship, and learning

This issue of JNEB is a themed issue whose topic was decided by a subcommittee of the Journal Committee. At each annual conference, a call for papers related to the issue’s theme is announced, and a submission deadline is set for the following spring. The current call for papers concerns the investigation of reductions in food loss and waste; that issue will take new submissions through September 15.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original submission date was April 15, but the Journal Committee elected to postpone to September 15 after numerous requests from potential authors delayed by COVID-19 work complications.

The previous call for papers related to the scholarship of teaching and learning, and those papers are collected in this issue. Although JNEB received 64 submissions for this topic, only those in the current issue were accepted for publication. The 30% acceptance rate is a little higher than JNEB’s usual acceptance rate of about 25%, and yet it does make me pause to consider that “scholarship” may mean different things to different people. I am involved with a university task force on scholarship related to outreach, and similar committees are discussing scholarship and teaching on my campus. Therefore, it may be a worthwhile discussion among JNEB readership and SNEB members.

A search on the JNEB website brings up only one article with the keyword curricula, and this was published in 1985. While a search with keyword “scholarship” yields 34 papers, the relationship between the article title and keyword is not apparent for most. However, one did catch my eye. Dinour et al. explored the impact of a grant proposal writing course that either included a community partner or did not. Those that included community partners expressed more engagement, better group dynamics, more application of the assignment to their lives, and a better course grade. To me, looking at teaching methods in a comparative manner does reflect a scholarship of teaching. Others may not believe this is true, as a pedagogical framework was not fully integrated into the teaching, learning, and evaluation.

A highly-cited 2014 article by Gilboy et al. described enhancing student engagement by using a flipped classroom. This report illustrates how to implement a flipped classroom and provides a template that enables faculty to design before-, during-, and after-class activities and assessments using Bloom’s taxonomy. Each class or group of classes per topic would have a template completed with objectives, activities, and assessments clearly defined. Although each class was clearly framed and the course had a definite alignment of objectives, activities, and assessment, is this scholarship if I create my class using the template?

The most common definition of “scholarship” found in online dictionaries reflects the financial support of a student. Of course, this is the easiest. I suppose how we define scholarship within any discipline is fluid, and this changes with theoretical and practical applications, hopefully improving our teaching and our students’ learning in a demonstrable manner. Most of us do not have degrees in education but, rather, nutritional sciences or dietetics. Perhaps we need to stretch our professional growth goals and acknowledge a whole discipline that could have a positive impact on nutrition education and behavior.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, RDN
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

This editorial was originally published in the April 2020 issue (Vol. 53, Issue 4) of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.