The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Meg Gorzycki, Ed.D.


Scholarship and Teaching

Whether course work and leanring expereinces actually improve students' knowledge, understanding, professional formation, and cogntive skills are matters related to the qualityof instruction. By understaking studies of the efficacy of various pedagogical practices, habits, and strategies, instructors may improve curriculum and instruction by making revisoins indicated in research.

This tutorial will address:

What is SoTL?

Examples of SoTL

Professional journals for SoTL and Teaching in Higher Education


What is SoTL?

Earnest Boyer’s publication, Scholarship Reconsidered (1991), observed that producing research and improving the quality of instruction were not diametrically opposed, and that inquiries into effective curriculum design and teaching strategies added to the public body of knowledge concerning best practice in education. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (or SoTL) is therefore:

 “[T]he systematic study of teaching and learning, using established or validated criteria of scholarship, to understand how teaching (beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and values) can maximize learning, and/or develop a more accurate understanding of learning, resulting in products that are publically shared and for critique and used by an appropriate community. (Potter & Kustra, 2001, p. 2)

Dewer (2008) defined the scholarship of teaching and learning as, “Intellectual work that faculty do when they use their disciplinary knowledge to investigate a question about their students’ learning, submit their findings to peer review, and make them public for others in the academy to build upon.” Whereas scholarly teaching is characterized by the instructor’s interest in addressing specific concerns that have surfaced in a particular class and by interest in pedagogical literature to inform decisions about teaching strategies or how to improve conditions that support learning, SoTL is characterized by a formal investigation of how a given strategy, approach, or resource impacts student learning, students’ perception of learning, the quality of program, or the instructor’s practice, perception of development, or perception of teaching (Hutchings & Huber, 2011; Wilson-Doenges & Gurung, 2013).

Boyer’s identified four areas of scholarship that have the potential to improve teaching and learning in the immediate context of one’s own institution:

  1. Discovery: understanding variables that influence learning and student development, including institutional policies, campus culture, and teacher training and behavior
  2. Application: considers the ways in which data might inform what direction innovation and improvement might pursue
  3. Integration: investigates the process of incorporating effective strategies and technologies into the course and of developing policies that support innovation and excellence
  4. Teaching: investigates the efficacy of discrete techniques, how campus culture impacts pedagogical development, and the role institutional policies on the quality of instruction.

Examples of SoTL

Knowledge about teaching and learning is multi-faceted and as it regards a wide scope of elements and conditions. The following outline, based on Dewer’s work provides some examples of research that embodies the scholarship of teaching and learning.

  1. Does the student’s understanding of historiography improve as a result of explicit instruction on critical reading in the history curriculum?
  2. What aspects of simulation are most effective in teaching nursing students how communicate with distressed and disorientated patients?
  3. Does weekly exposure to graphs, charts, and tables and discussion about their meaning enhance psychology students’ comprehension of statistical analysis?
  4. Does journaling after each reading assignment improve students’ critical reading skills?
  5. Does requiring attendance at city hall meetings improve students’ understanding of the political process and their potential civic role?
  6. Do learning communities led by graduate assistants produce more improvements in student learning than learning communities led by students’ peers?
  7. How does the administration of a departmentally created test and review of the data it generates alter instructor’s perception of instruction and student proficiency?
  8. Is the Socratic Method effective in helping students refine metacognition?
  9. Does the participation of hospital administrators in simulation events impact student’s attitude towards learning and clinical work in nursing?
  10. How can case studies best enhance students understanding of social justice?


Professional Journals for SoTL and Teaching in Higher Education

  • Active Learning in Higher Education (Sage Publications)
  • American Educational Research Journal (American Educational Research Association)
  • American Journal of Education (University of Chicago Press)
  • Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education (Taylor & Francis)
  • Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education)
  • Cognition and Instruction (Taylor & Francis)
  • College Teaching (Taylor & Francis)
  • Contemporary Educational Psychology (Science Direct)
  • Educational Assessment (Taylor & Francis)
  • Innovation in Teaching and Leanring in Information and Computer Sciences (Higher Education Academy)
  • Innovative Higher Education (University of Georgia Institute of Higher Education)
  • International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (International Society of the Learning Sciences)
  • International Journal of Scholarship and Teaching ( Georgia Southern University)
  • International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning)
  • Insight: A journal of Scholarly Teaching (Park University Center for Excellence in Teaching)
  • Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) (Indiana University)
  • Journal for Academic Excellence (Dalton State College)
  • Journal for Excellence in College Teaching (Miami University)
  • Journal of College Science Teaching (National Science Teachers Association)
  • Journal of College Teaching and Learning (Clute Institute)
  • Journal of Continuing Higher Education (Association for Continuing Higher Education)
  • Journal of Educational Psychology (American Psychological Association)
  • Journal of Higher Education (Project Muse)
  • Journal of On-Line Teaching (MERLOT)
  • Journal of Research in Sceince Teaching (Wiley)
  • Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology (Indiana University)
  • Journal of Teaching, Learning and Scholarship (fort Valley State University)
  • Journal on Excellence in College Teaching (Miami University)
  • Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (University of Gloucestershire)
  • Learning and Teaching: The International journal of higher Education in Social Sciences (Berghahn Journals)
  • New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Wiley)
  • Online Classroom (Magna Publications)
  • Perspectives in Learning: A Journal of the College of Educational and Health Professions (Columbia State College)
  • Quarterly Review of Distance Education (Association for Educational Communications and Technology)
  • Research in Higher Education (Springer)
  • Studies in Continuing Education (Taylor & Francis)
  • Studies in Higher Education (Society for Research into Higher Education)
  • Teacher's College Record (Teachers College, Columbia University)
  • Teaching and Learning Inquiry (International Society for the Scholarship of Teachiing and Learning)
  • Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Taylor & Francis)
  • TESOL Journal (Wiley)
  • TESOL Quarterly (TESOL International Association)
  • To Improve the Academy (Jossey-Bass)
  • Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedgagogy (New Jersey City University)



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

Dewer, J. M. (2008). An apology for the scholarship of teaching and learning. Insight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 3 (1), 17-22.

Hutchings, P. and Huber, M. T. (2011). The scholarship of teaching and learning reconsidered: Institutional integration and impact. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Potter, M. K. & Kustra, A. (2011). The relationship between scholarly teaching and SoTL: Models, distinctions, and clarifications. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Retrieved from

Wilson‐Doenges, G., & Gurung, R. A. R. (2013). Benchmarks for scholarly investigations of teaching and learning. Australian Journal of Psychology, 65(1), 63-70.


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