I found this report on the blog of someone who posts as jocalo both on his own site and on the Community College English site.
This appears to be an NCTE committee report, and I found it quite interesting. Some of the salient points:
~At two-year colleges, good teaching matters most, but this committee views scholarship as a prerequisite and a co-requisite for good teaching--because teachers’ scholarship legitimizes their expertise, informs their classroom practice, and provides their students with models for intellectual inquiry.
~The conventional view of research and scholarship holds that the former involves the discovery of new knowledge while the latter amounts to a familiarity with, and understanding of, what is already known. Research institutions have historically assumed that faculty would engage in both activities: making new knowledge and keeping up to date with advances in their particular areas of expertise But is it realistic to assume that faculty at community colleges will have the time and skills to engage in conventional academic research?
~Finally, community colleges have had little success in recognizing the work of faculty outside the classroom.
The report goes on to discuss the types of scholarship currently coming out of community colleges. I was, in fact, amazed to find out that the poet Bruce Weigl teaches at a community college. He could certainly have his pick of jobs, and I always find it heartwarming to hear these stories of people who are choosing community colleges for whatever reasons when they could be at the most prestigious universities.
I thought this was a good opportunity for talking about what our roles and responsibilities are as scholars in two-year colleges. Sometimes I have such a hard time keeping up with the grading load that I can't imagine how I could add more pressure to what I'm already doing.
But I will say that I've had more fun working on the blog research than almost anything I've ever done. When you get excited about learning something, it spills into your teaching in very distinct, though perhaps indefinable ways.
I don't believe any of us would argue the point that it is our obligation as teachers to remain current in our fields and to learn as much as we can about the writing and the literature that we teach. But my question is to what degree should two-year college teachers feel obligated to make a contribution to their fields?
I have my own opinions on this, but I will hold off a little bit on launching into a diatribe. Anyone else?