Researchers at Indiana University Bloomington discovered in a study that although students believed faculty members could highly impact their professional development, students had not spent much time interacting with their professors.
This study, found in Indiana’s 2010 Law School Survey of Student Engagement, coincided with the perspective of sophomore strategic communication major Tyler Woodward.
“I probably don’t spend as much time as I should [with my teachers],” Woodward said.
Woodward estimated that he had spends about an hour or two with his teachers on any given week, he said.
“The teachers that I have visited with before had more of a profound impact on me as a student and as a person,” Woodward said.
“I think not only are they teachers, but if you go to their office hours, you can really get to know them on a personal level,” he said. “At that point, they become your role model and not your teacher.”
Bill Moncrief, the senior associate dean and professor of international business at the Neeley School of Business, said the faculty make themselves available to help students both inside and outside the classroom.
“The relationship with students and faculty is real,” Moncrief said. “I think that one of the advantages of TCU is that the faculty genuinely like students and like to work with the students.”
This past fall, Moncrief received the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement as Creative Teacher-Scholar.
According to the award’s nomination form, “the purpose of the award is to recognize exceptional accomplishment as both a teacher and a scholar by faculty members within the university.” The award is to honor a faculty member who best exemplifies the teacher-scholar model.
Chancellor Victor Boschini said the teacher-scholar model is the combination of two major aspects. First, “the professor is good both inside and outside of the classroom,” and second, “the professor places an important goal on both teaching and research,” he said.
“When the professor puts a priority on both teaching and research it says, one, the student is a priority of the professor,” Boschini said. “Two, I think it’s neat because the student can help the professor on research and it gives students, especially undergraduates, a neat opportunity that they might not otherwise have.”
Moncrief said the teacher-scholar model is what makes the university a “premier institution.” He said although he and other university faculty who embraced the teacher-scholar model were nationally recognized for their research, those teacher-scholars had to maintain good relationships with students to be solid in the classroom.
Moncrief also mentioned that he utilized his research, international experiences, consulting and publishing in his classroom to help students understand the material.
However, he added that he did not think students understood the teacher-scholar model fully because they do not understand what a faculty member does on a routine day.
Although Woodward said he had never heard of the teacher-scholar model, he said he still believes his teachers have been very helpful and successful leaders.
Adjunct Communication Studies Instructor Carie Kapellusch said she had never heard of the term “teacher-scholar model” and did not believe its principle that research benefitted the classroom.
“[Students] want someone that certainly knows their subject matter,” Kapellusch said. “I don”t think that always comes with research productivity.”
Instead of preoccupying herself with research, she said she placed full emphasis on her students. Kapellusch said the relationships she has made with her students motivate her to teach.
“In the first night, like tonight, I give [students] a PowerPoint about my background and pictures of my family so they know who”s teaching,” Kapellusch said.
Moncrief said he partially agrees with Kapellusch.
“We’ve got people here that are excellent teachers but they’re not researching,” Moncrief said. “If this university was all just excellent teachers I think we’d still be good, but we would be recognized in football nationally, but we wouldn’t be recognized in academics.”