Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Scholarship of Teaching & Learning



An Invitation to a New Faculty Learning Community

“Inquiry in the College Classroom: A Journey Toward Scholarly Teaching”


Have you ever wondered ….

  • why your students always have difficulty understanding a particular concept?
  • what misconceptions your students bring to the course?
  • whether another textbook might be a better choice?

We all have questions about what is happening in our classrooms. Here is an opportunity to take a scholarly approach to investigate what is successful and less successful in your course. Amy Woods, this year’s Distinguished Teacher-Scholar, is forming a faculty learning community to explore key questions to improve your teaching and your students’ learning.

We’ll guide you through the steps from identifying a question, gathering appropriate data, to analyzing and reflecting upon your findings.  A small stipend will be offered to those who complete the project. 

We will be meeting on five Wednesdays throughout the fall semester starting Wed, Sept. 25th.  Click here for more details about the schedule.


“Viewing teaching as scholarly work is essential. Teachers so often have to carry out their work in isolation from their colleagues. The result is that those who engage in innovative acts of teaching do not have many opportunities to build upon the work of others."
- Lee S. Shulman, president emeritus of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

With the increased focus on enhancing teaching and learning, Inquiry about student learning has become more common in institutions of higher education. A goal is to assist all instructors to become scholarly teachers; that is, to be knowledgeable in pedagogy and reflective about their teaching practices. Those who wish to contribute to our knowledge of pedagogy and learning do so 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 collecting and analyzing evidence of student learning.

The University’s participation in the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL):

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching created the Carnegie Scholars Program for selected individuals to participate in a one-year residency to create a SoTL project.  Two faculty members from our campus were selected as Carnegie Scholars:

  • Michael Loui, Electrical and Computing Engineering, 2003
  • Vernon Burton, History, 2000

At the inaugural 2004 meeting of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, our campus presented twenty-one presentations.

The theme of the 2003 Illinois Faculty Retreat’s was The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning with Lee Shulman as the plenary speaker. Excerpts from his talk are here.

Interested in learning more about SoTL and inquiry into teaching and learning, in addition to news and announcements about funding opportunities? .. then join our listserv. Anyone on campus can subscribe to SOTL-L by sending a message to with the following in the body of the message: subscribe sotl-l Full Name.


Introduction to SoTL


How to Begin SoTL

  • The SoTL website at Vanderbilt’s University’s Center for Teaching provides information on ways to begin and how to use quantitative and qualitative research methods.

  • Kathleen McKinney, Cross Endowed Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Illinois State University, provides an overview of research methods for doing SoTL.

  • Direct links to our discipline-specific electronic journals, in addition to information about conferences on teaching and learning and a searchable database, can be accessed through the University Library. Note: Access to journals is restricted to the University of Illinois community.

Examples of SoTL

On our campus:

  • Provost Initiative for Teaching Advancement (PITA) Grants. The Office of the Provost provides grants to fund individuals to design, implement, and assess instructional innovation that will enhance the campus excellence in teaching and learning.  Here is a sampling of the funded PITA grants.

  • SoTL @ IDEALS is the university’s digital repository for research and scholarship. The SoTL @ IDEALS is a collection of published and/or presented SoTL research by our campus community.  To have your SoTL project included in this collection, please contact Cheelan Bo-Linn ( at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.


  • Illinois Physics Education Research (PER) is research into the learning, understanding and teaching of physics and the application of physics knowledge. This website contains many resources from content and multimedia to publications and presentations that are informative for all disciplines.


Additional Examples of SoTL


Going Public