Psy.D. Program Philosophy: Broader Conception of Scholarship

Broader Conception of Scholarship

Donald Peterson has long argued that clinical practice in psychology requires not only a thorough understanding of facts and theory, but the ability to apply them:

Professions face outward. They face the public. Their aim is to serve the public by applying technical knowledge to the solution of public problems.... [A]ll professionals must undertake a prescribed course of training that embodies the most advanced knowledge the discipline provides, along with the skills of application required to bring that knowledge into effective use. (1987, p. 8)

This is the arena of the "local clinical scientist" (Peterson et al., 1997, p. 376) who systematically and thoughtfully applies the disciplined inquiry of critical thinking to clinical situations (Stricker, 2006; Stricker & Trierweiler, 1995). "The properly trained professional psychologist is a scientist in the sense that the skilled physician is a local clinical, biological scientist and the skilled engineer a local physical scientist" (Peterson et al., 1997, p. 376). The scholarship of clinical practice can take many forms, from theoretical analyses, surveys and studies of archival data to case studies and analyses of public policy issues. Scholarship is conceptualized as an "exercise in disciplined inquiry" (Peterson et al., 1997, p. 376) that seeks to address a pressing clinical issue through scholarly investigation. This type of scholarship is another aspect of the effort to inculcate in our students a self-reflective, auto-didactic style that will lead to questioning, experimentation, and improvement of the field that is characterized by lifelong learning (Angelo, 1993; Bok, 1984; Bourg, Bent, McHolland, & Stricker, 1989; Cherry, Messenger, & Jacoby, 2000; Katz & Henry, 1993; Kaufman et al., 1989; Moore et al., 1994; Schoen, 1995; Slotnick, 1996; Svinicki, 1991; Curr, Wergin, & Associates, 1993; Wilkerson & Gijselaers, 1996).

With regard to scholarship and professional education, we have been influenced by the work of Ernest Boyer and Eugene Rice, who have demonstrated the importance of the scholarship of application and the scholarship of integration. In his seminal work, Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (1990), Boyer pointed out the value of other types of scholarship besides traditional research, which he called the scholarship of discovery. When pointing out the benefits of the scholarship of application (in which the scholar asks how knowledge can be "responsibly applied" to problems so that it is of service to the community), Boyer noted that "new intellectual understandings can arise out of the very act of application" (1990, p. 23). Given the vital importance of clinical psychologists applying knowledge and integrating scientific research findings in order to serve their clients, the scholarship of the integration and application of these findings (as distinguished from the scholarship of discovery, i.e., the generation of new knowledge in the traditional sense) plays a primary role in professional education (Benson & Lewis, 1994; Boyer, 1990, 1993; Hunt, 1993; Kaslow, Borden, Collins, Forrest, Illfelder-Kaye, Nelson et. al., 2004; Overholser, 2007; Rice, 1991; Rice & Richlin, 1993; Schliessmann, 1994; Stoltenberg & Pace, 2007).