Thoughts on SoTL

Anchored in inquiry and engagement, the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) reconceptualizes teaching as an ongoing and scholarly process with an emphasis on improving student learning (Huber & Morreale, 2002). SoTL is distinguished from other endeavors by four characteristics. First, it treats teaching “as a form of inquiry into student learning” (Huber and Morreale, 2002, p. 9). Second, it views teaching as public and community oriented, not as private practice (Huber and Hutchings, 2005). Third, in order to qualify as scholarship the work should be subject to review and evaluation, and last, it should be accessible to others in one’s field (Bass, 1999).

  • SoTL’s existence rests on individual and collective desire to in improve student learning and the contexts in which teaching and learning occur. Often this means systematically assessing and evaluating the impact of our own teaching on students’ learning.
  • SoTL inquiries are initiated by faculty for the purpose of improving their own teaching and their students' learning. However, administrative support for and recognition of SoTL as legitimate scholarship can help to make it count in Tenure and Promotion.
  • Part of SoTL’s appeal is that it functions as a rich text forum through which works from different fields, interests, philosophical orientations, and methodologies find space and thrive. These works converge in their focus on improved student learning.
  • Embedded within SoTL, the ethic of reflexivity asserts that we are responsible for the applications and ramifications of our works in both our specific context and in society.

Gilpin, L. S. (2011). Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Trades. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 5(2).

Gilpin, L. S. (2007). Unearthing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Self and Practice. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(1).