About This Journal
Produced at Fort Hays State University, Teacher-Scholar explores the history, present circumstances, and possible future of America's hardest working but least studied institutions of higher learning—Regional State Universities or, to use a more recent and revealing title, State Comprehensive Universities (SCUs). Typically seen as less prestigious, SCUs play a vital role in the American academy, providing relatively low-cost instruction to millions of students and employing a sizable percentage of young PhDs, most of whom leave their doctoral programs without any conception of what it will be like to work at institutions where faculty members are teachers and scholars (in that order). With heavy teaching loads and extensive service obligations for faculty and seemingly endless responsibilities for administrators, SCUs are the invisible workhorses of higher education and, in many ways, America's "institutions of the future."
This invisibility is more than a little ironic given SCUs' long history of serving students now considered nontraditional, the sensitivity of SCUs to regional and community needs (including local business development), the willingness of such institutions to prioritize teaching over research (something that many members of the American public say they want), and the eagerness with which SCUs in general have embraced forms of assessment. Serious study of such institutions is long overdue. How does their story modify the dominant understanding of higher-education history, which is based on more prestigious institutions? What are the benefits of working at an SCU? What kinds of challenges do the faculty and the administration face? How is the education provided by SCUs different from that offered by large research schools or private liberal arts colleges? How do students fare once they graduate from universities that supposedly lack prestige? How can technology best be utilized for teaching and learning at such schools? What is campus culture like at an SCU? What is the real role of research and scholarship at these institutions? What do interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching mean at an SCU? How does internationalization occur on these campuses? These questions and more will be addressed in the pages of Teacher-Scholar.