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Scholarship of Teaching & Learning

UIUC is a core member of the Research University Consortium for the Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (RUCASTL)

A Carnegie Academy Leadership Cluster


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign acknowledges the value of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) with support both at institutional and individual levels. Our SoTL initiative is a campus-wide collaboration that includes faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students in academic and administrative units. With the assistance of the Provost's Teaching Advancement Board, the many College Teaching Academies, and the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, our campus is committed to enhancing the effectiveness of our teaching and learning. Our goal is to assist our instructors to becomescholarly teachers; that is, to be knowledgeable in pedagogy and reflective about their teaching practices.


In addition, we support those who wish to contribute to our knowledge of pedagogy and learning through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). This endeavor as defined by Pat Hutching and Lee Schulman (Change 1999) is a rigorous examination of the relationship of teaching and learning and is characterized by "being public, open to critique and evaluation, and in a form that others can build on."


On our campus, SoTL work is a systematic reflection and investigation of our classrooms.It is a bridge between the acts of teaching and research, with explicit focus on enhancing student learning. It is asking questions about what works, what doesn't, and why and then transforming these activities into a discipline.


Commitment for this initiativeis evidenced through our membership in the Research University Consortium for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (RUCASTL). In addition, we are pleased to have on our campus two Carnegie Scholars,Vernon Burton (2000-2001)andMichael Loui (2003-2004).





Abbreviated Timeline of UIUC's SoTL Journey

  • 1996: Creation of the UIUC Teaching Advancement Board
  • 1999: Implemented the UIUC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Program
  • 2000-2001: Vernon Burton becomes a Carnegie Scholar
  • 2003: UIUC becomes a member of the Carnegie Academy Cluster: Research University Consortium for the Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (RUCASTL)
  • 2003-2004: Michael Loui becomes a Carnegie Scholar
  • 2003: The UIUC SoTL Community begins
  • 2004: UIUC represented at Is-SoTL
  • 2005: UIUC represented at Is-SoTL

    Recent UIUC Faculty Retreats Emphasizing Scholarly Inquiry into Our Teaching:

  • 2002: "Teaching Our Students to Think in the Language of Our Discipine" (David Pace)
  • 2003: "The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning" (Lee Shulman)
  • 2004: "From the Science of Learning to the Practice of Teaching (Marilla Svinicki)
  • 2005: "Knowing What Students Do: Making the Learning Process Visible" (Randy Bass)
  • 2006: "What the Best College Teachers Know about How Students Learn" (Ken Bain)

    Future Endeavors:

  • Create database of SoTL publications and presentations by our UIUC community
  • Promote exchange on UIUC SoTL listserve
  • Enhance visibility and productivity of reflective teaching though such venues as electronic course portfolios
  • Integrate SoTL into our professional academic lives



    UIUC Alma Mater


    The University's motto is "Learning and Labor." Lorada Taft's Alma Mater statue depicts "a benign and majestic woman in scholastic robes, who rises from her throne and advances a step with outstretched arms." Behind her stand the twin figures of Labor and Learning, joining hands in a bronze incarnation of the University's motto.




    Specific Opportunities for Scholarly Inquiry


    Campus-wide:The UIUC SoTL Communitygrew from the momentum of the2003 UIUC Faculty Retreatwith Lee Shulman, as our Plenary Speaker, presentations by 16 Carnegie Scholars, and our own SoTL researchers. This community, which meets approximately twice a month, provides opportunities to serve as "critical friends" for our fellow scholars, to learn about learning, to share our SoTL work. and to encourage cross-disciplinary exchanges. All are invited to join.


    Faculty Opportunities:

    Faculty may apply to the Provost'sDistinguished Teacher-Scholar Program.This program offers distinguished faculty members the acknowledgement and opportunity to carry out an indepth analysis of ways to build on our knowledge of teaching and learning. It is intended that such projects would have an impact upon the campus at-large. Funding is provided for both the Distinguished Teacher-Scholar and the academic unit. Each year's recipients join the community of past awardees.


    Graduate Student Opportunities:

    It is our belief that our graduate students will be more informed and better prepared for their academic life if they have SoTL as a component of their education. They should approach SoTL as a rigorous and necessary inquiry abut their teaching activities. We offer two such opportunities:

  • The Advanced Graduate Teacher Certificate: In this certificate program, the TA participates in the activities of teaching, research, and public engagement The research component is the SoTL project, which is an integral part of the graduate student's teaching portfolio. Each project must be presented in an open forum.
  • EOL 585: College Teaching and Academic Careers: This semester-long course prepares our graduate students for the multidimensionality of the academic life. An important goal is to become scholarly teachers and to investigate issues in the scholarship of teaching and learning. All proposals are presented for peer review.















    "Going Public" with our Scholarly Work


    Teaching and its reflection has traditionally been in solitude. As SoTL scholars, it is important that our work be shared. Here are some of the ways:


  • 2004 Is-SoTL<insert pdf file> Conference in Bloomington, IN. At this inaugural meeting, over 25 UIUC faculty and students presented papers and posters.
  • 2005 Is-SoTL<insert pdf file> Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Five representatives (including the two 2005-06 Distinguished Teacher-Scholars) presented four papers and posters.
  • 2006 UIUC All-Campus Faculty Retreat. <insert pdf file> Formally instituted this year was a poster session highlighting the SoTL projects from across campus, representing diverse disciplines. Many of these projects have been published or presented in their disciplinary fields.
  • 2004 Is-SoTL




    Support, Models, and Resources for SoTL


    To initiate, promote, sustain, and reward SoTL, it is important to provide multiple and diverse ways to assist our faculty and students. Here are some of the ways:

  • Funding:Provost's Initiative for Teaching Advancementgrants (PITA) - area III. These grants are to provide financial and technical assistance for those faculty to implement SoTL projects. In addition, we have alisting of other internal and external fundingagencies.
  • Journals for SoTL publications: This is a listing of journals that publish SoTL work, related literature, and research areas. They are both disciplinary and interdisciplinary in nature. All of the journals listed are available online through our library.
  • Lee Shulman's Plenary Address: "LeMarck's Revenge: Teaching and Learning Among the Scholarships". This is a video highlight of Shulman's visit to our campus.
  • Research on education groupsand other communities on campus joining undergraduate and graduate students with faculty in furthering their understanding of learning. Examples are:Physics Education Research Group,The International Center for First-Year Undergraduate Chemistry Education,Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, andEthnography of the University
  • The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning- which provides the space and support for SoTL endeavors.



    For More Information, Contact Cheelan Bo-Linn (cbolinn@uiuc.edu) at theCenter for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.