By Megan Wanner
Earl Honeycutt, Elon University’s 2008-2009 Distinguished Scholar, addressed the Elon community Monday night in LaRose Digital Theatre about the selfless nature of academic research as it creates knowledge that benefits mankind.
Honeycutt asserted that the role of a professor is divided into a “triad”: teaching, research and service. The amount of weight assigned to each area by every university is different. Some schools are solely devoted to research, giving Ph. D. students the opportunity to teach while professors do research. Others are more focused on teaching, where research and service are seen as taking away time from students. “I would guesstimate in the School of Business we have about 55 percent emphasis on teaching, about 25 on research and about 20 on service,” Honeycutt said.
As the students improve and become sharper, it is important to have higher quality faculty to keep up with them. “We are shifting a little bit from being teachers to being engaged faculty,” Honeycutt said. “We are engaging and we are mentoring and we are serving as examples of how people should be.”
Staying current in research makes it easier to stay current in the classroom. “If you are active in research…You can actually conceptualize, you can design, you can test, you can come up with logical explanations for what is going on,” Honeycutt said. “If you don’t do that it’s not as easy to explain to the students, cutting-edge, what is going on.”
Elon faculty must be scholars who can mentor students about latest knowledge. Research advances understanding of the world outside of Elon. A professor’s focus must extend outside of Elon into a world they are preparing their students to enter. “It’s really hard to be a good teacher if you are not acquiring new knowledge,” Honeycutt said.
In addition to being Elon University’s 2008-2009 Distinguished Scholar, Honeycutt is a marketing professor and a director of the Chandler Family Professional Sales Center at Elon. While at Elon, he has been involved with the Business Fellows, headed multiple study abroad experiences and taught at the undergraduate, graduate and executive education levels. Honeycutt also founded the Elon Chapter of the National Sales and Marketing Fraternity, Phi Sigma Epsilon. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and co-authored four books.