Scholarship Practice Policy


The purpose of this policy statement is to define the standards for assigning scholarship/practice hours to graduate and seminary programs. Hereafter the term “graduate” refers to both graduate and seminary programs.

Policy Statement

In order to provide for scholarly activity expected of graduate faculty, each graduate program will be assigned scholarship/practice hours (SP). The goal is to provide 1 hour of SP for each 3 teaching hours in all programs by fall 2009. Beginning fall 2006 all programs must assign a minimum of 1 hour of SP for each 6 teaching hours with the expectation of movement toward a 1:3 ratio over the next three years.

To provide flexibility the graduate program may assign SP hours to individual faculty members according to their own discretion. Thus, SP hours may be assigned to faculty based on their teaching hours for that year, they may be assigned to only certain individuals according to interest or productivity, or they may be assigned to different individuals each year in order to increase the number of hours available to an individual at a particular time. Every attempt will be made to be fair to each faculty member, with particular attention to persons from other departments who may teach a few hours in a graduate program yearly or from time to time. Programs are discouraged from assigning less than three SP hours to a faculty member because of difficulty being productive with such few hours.

SP hours must be applied to a particular project according to the definition of scholarship/practice attached to this policy (see Scholarship/Practice Procedures). Project plans are submitted to and approved by the graduate program director or seminary dean. Programs are encouraged to use an approval process that involves a departmental faculty committee.


  1. Graduate faculty are not eligible for release time and mini-grants administered by the Faculty Scholarship Committee unless they teach at least 50% of their load in the undergraduate program.
  2. Scholarship/Practice hours are not assigned for hours taught by part-time or adjunct faculty.  Nor are they assigned for hours for administration, undergraduate teaching, or teaching of courses prerequisite to graduate courses. Assignment of S/P hours for summer course offerings varies with the nature of the program.
  3. Scholarship/Practice load hours are not assigned for activities for which faculty are being paid salary or consulting fees by an external source. Faculty may receive modest honoraria, stipends, or book advances.

Responsible Party

The Provost is responsible for this policy. Program directors assist with administration within the programs.

Policy Review

This policy is to be reviewed every 3 years.


Faculty/Staff Handbook

Revised by University Graduate Council, November 12, 2007

Approved by President’s Cabinet, December 5, 2007

S/P REPORTS are due on July 31 and the S/P PROPOSALS are due on August 15


Eastern Mennonite University expects its graduate faculty to engage in scholarly and practical activities that contribute to their disciplines and the world at large. Because this commitment is an essential part of the mission of the graduate programs, it is built into the faculty load structure. The following section serves to define these activities for the EMU context.


Academicians generally think of scholarship as the pursuit of knowledge through observation, study and research. Scholarship is generally demonstrated through public presentations and written treatises aimed at the academic community, in which these are shared for discussion and critique.

Practice is often thought of as the application of knowledge gained through scholarship. It involves interaction with the experiential components of human life. Practice activities could include constituency education through leadership in seminars and workshops. It might also involve writing for practitioners or the general public.

In attempting to define these concepts at EMU, we acknowledge that these definitions have blurred boundaries.  In fact, we prefer not to align ourselves tightly with commonly used definitions. Thus, we refer to scholarship/practice and support a variety of activities as appropriate for assignment of load time.  Here, for instance, some church-related writing assignments for people in the pew may be viewed as appropriate for scholarship/practice load time. We also recognize that while practice may result from scholarship, the latter is frequently born in practice and thus lines become blurred between the two.

The practice in load time assigned to scholarship/practice should be reflective practice. In other words something communicable should be learned from practice. This could be referred to as theory but it may not always be formalized. Scholarship/practice as used here carries the expectation that the practice will extend knowledge and understanding.

The nature of scholarship/practice activities to be undertaken will vary depending on the discipline or program. In some programs the emphasis may be on producing publishable materials in academic journals, while in others the most common activity may be practical work where there are not immediate publishable results. The focus of scholarship/practice activities for a particular program depends on the nature of the discipline, requirements of accrediting agencies, particular needs of the program, or other factors. Each program should supplement this document with additional attempts to define what will constitute acceptable scholarship/practice activities within their program. Programs are encouraged to develop their activities in a communal context. In fact, engaging the entire graduate unit in such discussions is desirable.

Clear differentiation of service activities from scholarship/practice also is not possible. Service is generally thought of as community and church activities such as speaking engagements, involvement in service projects, and participation on boards and committees. Generally, these activities are not included in scholarship/practice load time. In some instances, however, a case can be made for their inclusion.

In addition, curriculum development activities are not generally considered for scholarship/practice hours.  These activities are expected of all faculty on a regular basis.

Proposal format

Cover page


Project title

Project dates

Hours of scholarship/practice

Project summary (200 words or less)

Outline (1-2 pages)

  • Background--What, if anything, was already done?
  • Aims--What do you intend to do?
  • Significance--What is the importance of the project?
  • Methods/approach--How are you going to do it?
  • Outcome--What product will result?
  • Bibliography--What major sources will you use?
  • Review--Who, if anyone, will review items for publication?

Finally, the proposal could include a letter of support from a faculty colleague.

Publication and Reporting

It is intended that scholarship and practice activities will benefit the university as well as the broader community. In many instances faculty are expected to publish or present their work to the academic community outside of EMU. The program director also will invite faculty members to report their work to each other and publish it on the EMU web site when appropriate. Departments are encouraged to develop news releases regarding significant work. Other venues for presentation to the campus community also will be used. Faculty are encouraged to give credit for university assistance in published work when appropriate.

In addition to the publication or reporting described above, each faculty member is expected to provide a report of the project. See Report Format below.

Report Format

  1. Cover page with a) Name, b) Project title, c) Project dates, d) Hours of scholarship/practice.
  2. Brief summary of original project proposal and anticipated outcomes.
  3. Status of project with degree of completion
  4. Summary of what you accomplished and outcomes that were achieved—200 words or less. (This description should keep in mind that reports may be posted for sharing with students and colleagues.)
  5. Description of ways in which this project has been shared with others—the university, the broader community, students.
  6. Indication of broader SP category this project falls into: Publication, Presentation, or Practice.

The length of the report (beyond the cover sheet) should be no more than 1-2 pages with some reference as to where the project itself can be found or more fully described (e.g. author’s web page, by request, or in a journal).

Revised by University Graduate Council, April 13, 2006

Approved by President’s Cabinet, April 19, 2006