TCU charted its course with a balanced emphasis on instruction and research.
The teacher-scholar model strikes a balance that holds equal both classroom and research activities. The forthcoming TCU Press book A Remarkable Story to Tell: 50 Years of Growth & Progress at TCU includes a chapter on how the teacher-scholar model took root in the 1970s and grew in tandem with the university.
Students in the John V. Roach Honors College conducted some 130 interviews with administrators, trustees, faculty, staff and alumni as part of the TCU Oral History Project. A Remarkable Story to Tell debuts on Sept. 1, 2023, marking the 150th anniversary of the first day of TCU classes in Thorp Spring, Texas. The words of TCU constituents chart the critical role of the teacher-scholar model in the university’s evolution.
“When I arrived at TCU it was relatively small, probably fewer than 6,000 students at the university, with a heavy focus on teaching and student welfare — those things I liked. I also found a university that was in a transition phase. We began to look for those faculty who we felt would be teacher-scholars — that teaching would be of paramount importance to them but they would develop and conduct research programs as well, and that they would involve students in that research. … Anybody that is doing research at a university, particularly at a university like TCU, should be involving students, so it’s an extension. Essentially, this was the way things got started.” — Mike McCracken, former dean of the College of Science & Engineering
“I think when Dr. [William] Koehler became academic vice chancellor and provost, he really instituted the teacher-scholar model for the faculty that stands today. The teacher-scholar model was something that became a part of the fabric of the university. That was the expectation. If you wanted to get tenured, if you wanted to stay, you had to be a scholar as well as a teacher. … As an undergraduate you could be involved in research activities with your professors.” — Janet George Herald, former associate dean of admissions
“During [Chancellor Michael] Ferrari’s time we did put more dollars into the research effort for faculty to feel more comfortable and more pleased about coming to a place that supported research. TCU’s strength is the teacher-scholar model. We’ve hired faculty that want to teach and want to do research. … They were people that were in front of you, could inspire you with ideas and could relate to you as a student. That’s who we are; that’s our culture.” — Ann Louden, former special assistant to the chancellor
“Our distinctive character derives from our capacity to unite scholarship with teaching. Scholarship involvesthe creation and dissemination of new knowledge, its integration and synthesis and its application to new or persistent problems. Teaching requires not just the effective communication of this knowledge, but also the creation of a capacity for criticism and self-examination. … Ultimately, excellence in research and creative activity among faculty is the best way to ensure the quality of undergraduate education at TCU.” — “Graduate Education Vision and Strategy at TCU,” a paper by the Committee on Graduate Education
“Since I’ve been at TCU, I’ve met graduates from Manhattan to Midland and from the classes of 1945 to 2005. What is truly remarkable is the value that they place on the relationships that they have had with their professors. These connections have been — and will continue to be — at the center of the TCU experience and differentiate us from so many other universities where teaching isn’t highly prized. These relationships result from TCU’s teacher-scholar model, through which we seek out professors who have a passion for teaching as well as for conducting research that keeps them at the top of their fields.” — Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr., in his convocation address
“Synergy is most evident with the teacher-scholar model, the cornerstone of Texas Christian University’s vibrant intellectual community. TCU faculty members are considered teacher-scholars because they integrate instruction and scholarship — defined as research and creative activity — in ways beneficial to students and professors. This academic model entails dedicated, engaging and innovative teaching, serious academic investigation, and real contributions to academic and professional fields.” — Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr., to TCU Magazine
“TCU views teaching and scholarship as a dynamic, symbiotic interchange in which excellence in each improves both. Both are important in and of themselves, but the essence of TCU academic culture is founded on the premise that they are complementary. We recognize that our students benefit strongly from interacting with faculty who actively engage with the world through scholarly activity.” — Vision in Action strategic plan recommendation to the Board of Trustees
“Encompassing all faculty, the teacher-scholar model serves as a foundation for academic life at TCU. It recognizes the distinction between both faculty roles and also the dynamic dialogue that must occur between them. … Students benefit when faculty engage in scholarly activity and share their zeal and insights in the classroom. Likewise, such classroom discussions spark new insights that guide future scholarly activity, sometimes in collaboration across faculty and students. The teacher-scholar model thus integrates faculty productivity and student learning, enhancing both and facilitating awareness of, and service to, the world.” — Faculty Senate resolution
COMPILED BY SARAH-MARIE HORNING
AND LAURA SAMUEL MEYN