Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)


Effective learning is largely the result of effortful teaching. In order to recognize the importance of teaching in higher education, Boyer (1990) broadened the description of scholarship to include the Scholarship of Teaching. He noted instructional activities must be carefully planned and continuously examined (p.23), arguing that faculty should document the efforts of teaching and evidence of student learning as much as they document the scholarship of discovery (traditional scholarship), application, and integration. This view of Scholarship of Teaching was expanded to include general activities related to advancing learning and described as Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

SoTL encompasses the theoretical underpinnings of how people learn, the intentional, systematic, modifications of pedagogy, and assessments of resulting changes in learning, collectively defined as SoTL (Gurung & Landrum, 2014). SoTL today spans multiple disciplines and is practiced in different types of academic institutions. Similar work is also called Disciplinary Based Educational Research (DBER) or Action Research.

Here at the CTL our first priority is to support Boyer's original intent and highlight the hard work of teaching. Our goal is to help faculty document their pedagogical efforts, especially the three components suggested by the OSU Faculty Handbook such as Peer Evaluation and the best use of Student Learning Experiences.

Given the reliance on a review of course materials (syllabi, texts, assigned readings, examinations) for both peer review and student representative review - we advocate for the use of a Teaching Portfolio as part of the Promotion and Tenure Dossier. The best examples of SoTL at OSU can be seen in the work of faculty in the School for Psychological Sciences SoTL Ph.D. program and the College of Science Fellows Program.

Resources to get you started in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
  • An overview of SoTL: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Scaling New Heights, But it May Not Mean What You Think it Means (Gurung, 2023).
  • A roadmap to SoTL (Utrecht University). Great clear visual.
  •  A great tutorial on Doing SoTL (Vanderbilt University) or this site (David Voelker).
  • How to Conduct Quality Matters Research. A toolkit designed to assess online courses but has many useful ideas and a step-by-step approach to SoTL.
  • An annotated bibliography of SoTL. A growing list of key articles/readings separated by major topics in teaching and learning.
  • Applying method to (seeming) madness: Doing SoTL in your class. (Gurung, 2009). See Chapter 5 in this collection.
Tools & Guides
  • A quick overview of the research on teaching and Learning:
  • Step-by-Step directions on doing SoTL
    • Bishop-Clark, C., & Dietz-Uhler, B. (2012). Engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning: A guide to the process, and how to develop a project from start to finish. Stylus.
    • Gurung, R.A.R., & Wilson, J.H. (Eds.). (2013). Doing the scholarship of teaching and learning: Measuring systematic changes to teaching and improvements in learning. Jossey-Bass.
    • McKinney, K. (2007), Enhancing learning through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Anker.
  • A Compendium of Scales for SoTL (Jhangiani, et al., 2015). A well-curated set of questionnaires for SoTL and chapters on best practices on the use of the same. Organized by topic, this compendium contains scale descriptions, validation information (if available), and marked references so scholars can examine past research that used each scale.
  • Using SoTL to Advance Your Academic Position. (Smith & Schwartz, 2015). This edited volume provides perspectives on how using SoTL can be helpful for faculty who use SoTL in their teaching. The authors focused on providing faculty members with the rationale for using SoTL in their teaching and with concrete steps they can take (and pointers they can use) in applying SoTL to the classroom, job, search, and tenure/promotion process.

  • Handbook of Mixed-Methods Research.

SoTL Journals