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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

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What is SoTL and how can involvement in it affect educators as professional scholars and teachers? What is its value to an educator's career path? To an educator's career at MTSU?


What is SoTL? Most faculty care deeply about their teaching and their students' learning; many today are trying new classroom approaches in the hopes of strengthening the learning of students from increasingly diverse backgrounds and levels of preparation. But much of this work is lost to the larger academic community because it is private, undocumented, and untested.

To build useful, shared understandings about teaching, growing numbers of faculty are now bringing their knowledge, skills, and commitments as scholars to their classroom work. The scholarship of teaching and learning invites faculty to examine their own classroom practice, document what works, and share lessons learned in ways that others can build on. Carnegie Academy for SoTL


To improve teaching and learning
SoTL is an effort to make teaching a more public act whose successes and failures can be documented, analyzed, and shared with other educators. By creating a scholarship of teaching and learning, educators can benefit from the experiences of others and build upon established ideas.

Faculty who have made SoTL a career priority argue in part that they do so because of their passion for student learning. Lee Shulman takes the additional step of arguing that teachers have an ethical obligation to examine the effectiveness of their efforts to "influence the minds of others"; (2002). Hallmarks of SoTL, Collaboration web site

Basic Literature on SoTL

Getting Started

The SoTL site for Illinois State University, known nationally for its long-standing involvement in SoTL, is a thorough resource, helpful for those at all levels of knowledge about SoTL. It includes links to online resources; examples of SoTL work; links to disciplinary organizations, journals, and programs that offer SoTL support in that field; and tips for getting SoTL work published. http:///www.sotl.ilstu.edu

McKinney, Kathleen. Enhancing Learning Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The Challenges and Joys of Juggling. Bolton, MA: Anker, 2007.

Written by sociology professor and endowed chair in SoTL at Illinois State University, this is the most thorough and current resource on SoTL. It includes definitions of the term, rationales for conducting research in SoTL, suggestions for getting started and moving forward with an SoTL project, and ideas for publication. Several helpful appendices provide an extensive bibliography, list of journals and online SoTL resources, as well as potential funding sources for SoTL. This is a great resource for individual faculty, for faculty SoTL groups, for faculty development coordinators, and for administrators.

more SoTL tools