At the center of higher education is excellence in teaching to foster student success. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is fundamentally about enhancing teaching practices and thus improving student outcomes. How so? To answer that let’s first go through some definitions. 

What is The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)?

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) can be defined as systematic and methodologically rigorous research of teaching and learning effectiveness. Faculty, and educators who conduct SoTL research bring their knowledge of the scientific method to the classroom with the aim to investigate their teaching practices and to explore how these practices impact student learning. Additionally, a crucial component of SoTL is the dissemination of knowledge gained in order to bridge gaps and further the extant literature.

When we talk about SoTL, the concept of scholarly teaching is almost always part of the conversation. 

What is scholarly teaching?

Scholarly Teaching can be defined as the process of grounding teaching practice in evidence and relevant literature. When faculty and educators engage in a reflective process based on evidence from the literature to inform their teaching practice, they are engaging in scholarly teaching.Teaching > Scholarly Teaching > Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

There have been multiple models that conceptualized the relationship between scholarly teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning since Boyer coined the term in his seminal work Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. The relationship can be described as ranging from two coexisting parallel concepts, to scholarly teaching as being a first step and SoTL as being a higher developmental stage, to the idea that scholarly teaching and SoTL provide organic, reciprocal support in the course of developing a more accurate understanding of teaching and learning.

How to use it?

SoTL practitioner Pat Hutchings, working with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, has identified four different kinds of questions SoTL projects might ask and answer:

  1. "Is it working?" – evaluating whether the learning strategies are helping the students achieve the desired learning goals
  2. "What does it look like?" – developing a descriptive framework for thinking about teaching and learning
  3. "What would it look like?" – envisioning approaches that are new for the field
  4. "How can we conceptualize or theorize about what is happening?" – building a different way of making meaning of what teachers and students do

Faculty Presentations

In addition to the library’s Scholar Archives area, OTL highlights Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) publications and presentations on its website. In AY 2019, OTL funded several faculty-led action research projects focused on effective online course design. These projects will result in further SOTL publications and presentations.


2020 SoTL Presentations




Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

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