SoTL at ISU: Improving your classroom through scholarly inquiry

The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) involves faculty framing and systematically investigating questions related to student learning, with the goal of improving their own classroom, as well as advancing practice beyond it. SoTL ultimately improves student learning by means of scholarly inquiry into teaching and learning processes that also includes sharing results so others can review, critique and build on the work.

According to the ISU Faculty Handbook, SoTL contributes to the discovery of knowledge about teaching and learning in higher education and must be held to the same standards of rigor, relevance, peer review, and dissemination as other forms of disciplinary research and creative activity. While not all faculty pursue SoTL, if they do, it forms a valuable part of their scholarship/creative activity, and research responsibility.

Approximately 50% of ISU faculty members participate in SoTL (view the SoTL Engagement as Compared to Total Outputs for Promotion and Tenure [Poster Presentation] (PDF)). Proponents of SoTL at ISU talk about the powerful ways it can improve teaching, learning, and positively impact careers. Faculty such as:

Amanda Fales-Williams, the Tyrone D. Artz, M.D. Chair for Teaching Excellence in Veterinary Pathology stated, "Engagement in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning allows me to better understand what students are really getting out of writing assignments. As a result, I’ve refined my request, my grading scheme, and how I use the students’ final products. In the process, I generated data that resulted in manuscripts, speaking invitations, grants, and tenure. I’m a better teacher when I critically evaluate student performance, and I can learn from other educators that have documented their own explorations of learning.“

University Professor Steve Freeman commented,“…As my career progressed, SoTL has allowed me to create scholarship opportunities related to my efforts in faculty development activities as well as my efforts related to classroom teaching. Throughout my career, SoTL has been a nice compliment to my disciplinary research and by the time I went for promotion to professor in 2008, nearly half of scholarship was SoTL related.”

Professor and Chair, Agricultural Education and Studies, Michael S. Retallick shared, "I appreciate that ISU recognizes and values, both formally and in practice, the difference between scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning. The opportunity for me to focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning has not only helped to improve my teaching, but it has also helped to advance our discipline and add to our knowledge base."

If you are interested in learning more about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, register to attend the Workshop: Turning your scholarly teaching into Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) on December 6 (12:10-1:30 p.m.) via the Learn@ISU website.

Sara Marcketti, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching


Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: SoTL at ISU: Improving your classroom through scholarly inquiry (November 1, 2018 – Constant Contact) website.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for November 1, 2018 (PDF).