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Models and Theories of Public Scholarship

This is an excerpt from Public Scholarship in Dance eBook by Lynnette Y. Overby.

Models and theories allow you to create engagement projects that are well crafted and address higher education administrators' concern for rigor and impact - impact that provides evidence for cases concerning merit, promotion, and tenure. The following models - Kolb's theory of experiential learning, the outreach and engagement continuum, and the public scholarship in dance quadrant - provide guidance for the development and assessment of projects that meet the level of rigor required for being deemed scholarly. Additional checklists for the development and assessment of public scholarship projects are in the appendix.

Kolb's Theory of Experiential Learning

 

Kolb's theory of experiential learning views learning as a process, not an outcome (see figure 1.2). The theory did not begin with Kolb; it is based on the work of John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, Jean Piaget, William James, Carl Jung, Paulo Freire, Carl Rogers, and other scholars (Kolb 1984; Turesky and Wood 2010). They each conducted research or tested theories about the power of experiences to transform learning and understanding. This form of learning encompasses a range of behaviors from a single performance to a long-term learning experience to lifelong development. "Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience" (Kolb 1984, p. 38).



Kolb's experiential learning cycle.

 

Adapted from Learning Theories.com. Available: www.learning-theories.com/experiential-learning-kolb.html

 

Kolb's model comprises concrete experiences (or CE, which is phase 1), reflective observation (RO, phase 2), abstract conceptualization (AC, phase 3), and active experimentation (AE, phase 4). Phase 1 is the feeling stage. In this phase, the participants experience an activity. In phase 2, the watching phase, participants consciously reflect on the initial experience. In phase 3, the thinking phase, participants form abstract concepts by conceptualizing a model or theory based on the first two phases. In the final component, the doing stage, participants synthesize their knowledge and plan a new experience. This theory is adapted to dance throughout this book, providing guidance in the development and explanation of public scholarship in teaching, choreography, and research. Kolb's theory of experiential learning supports gains that will take place in all partners - dance educators, students, community partners, and universities.

 

The work of public scholars, in teaching service-learning courses or creating a dance work with a community partner, is process oriented and experiential - a community-centered approach to learning. This approach allows us to consciously and deliberately reflect on concrete experiences and transform and apply those experiences into new forms of knowledge (Turesky and Wood 2010). Table 1.1 displays specific examples of Kolb's model applied to dance scholarship. This format is used throughout the book with specific examples from teaching, research, and choreography. Dissemination, an important component of public scholarship, is added to the table. Dissemination provides evidence of the many ways in which dance professionals share their work with the world. The examples in chapter 5, Service, occur in a different format. These examples use the assessment model of clear goals, adequate preparation, appropriate methods, significant results, effective presentation, and reflective critique (Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff 1997). Both Kolb's model and the assessment format in the book Scholarship Assessed enable dance educators to view and create their work in a scholarly manner.




Public Scholarship in Dance Quadrant (PSDQ)

 

The public scholarship in dance quadrant presents examples of projects that demonstrate a continuum of low to high scholarship (i.e., disciplinary knowledge) and low to high engagement (i.e., partnerships between community and university). Dance-related projects and activities at a high level are not merely disseminated but collaboratively created, implemented, and disseminated. The chart in figure 1.3 builds on the previous models, especially the outreach and engagement continuum. The chart contains examples of projects in each of the four quadrants: teaching, choreography, research, and service. This PSDQ is applied to projects described in later chapters.


 

Checklists also allow the project creator to ensure the successful development of public scholarship projects. These checklists are in appendixes A.1 to A.4.

Learn more about Public Scholarship in Dance.