2008 (01) January/February »
Grounding the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in the Disciplines
Author: Julie Thompson Klein
In our last newsletter, we introduced a new topic – the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). When Ernest Boyer coined the term in 1990, he broadened the definition of scholarship to include four types of faculty work: discovery, integration, application, and teaching. Since then, teaching effectiveness has been the subject of widening discussion across general education, the disciplines, and interdisciplinary fields. In this issue and forthcoming newsletters, we will share insights from a two-volume series called The Disciplines Speak, published by the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE). This series contains reports from major disciplinary/professional societies that appointed task forces in the 1990s to examine the kinds of faculty work deserving recognition and reward in their specific academic communities.
Sponsors of the series recognized that significant institutional change will only occur if reexamination of faculty roles, rewards, and responsibilities is grounded where faculty live – in their disciplines and home departments. The authoritative reports from professional associations collected in the two volumes are “must” reading for faculty in a wide variety of disciplines, fields, and professions, including:
- Humanities (Religion, History, and English)
- Fine, Performing, and Applied Arts (Architecture, Art and Design, Dance, Music, and Theater)
- Social Sciences (Psychology and Geography)
- Natural Sciences (Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics)
- Interdisciplinary Studies (Africana Studies, Women’s Studies)
- Professional Programs (Business, Engineering, Nursing, Social Work, Medicine, Education, Library Science, Journalism and Mass Communication, and Family and Consumer Sciences)
To no one’s surprise, the reports reflect different views of the nature of scholarship. However, participants agree that the faculty reward system needs to be more inclusive of teaching and learning. The evidence of what constitutes “scholarship” in these areas is rich and varied:
- Developing courses and curricular programs that incorporate new knowledge in the discipline and interdiscipinary approaches
- Writing innovative textbooks and laboratory materials
- Integrating state-of-the-art teaching reforms, innovative methods, and uses of technology in new and existing courses
- Publishing and leading workshops on teaching and learning theory and practice within the discipline
- Creating and implementing community outreach, service learning, and partnerships with schools, museums, and libraries
We urge all departments and programs to read what their professional associations had to say in these reports and to disseminate the results in departmental brown bags or other internal forums. The series is available at the OTL Library, in the Technology Resource Center at Purdy/Kresge Library. If you’d like to obtain a copy of your individual discipline’s report for dissemination, please contact the OTL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to this two-volume series, the OTL Library contains many publications dealing with SoTL. Online resources also include:
- The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU),
- The Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) .
In the next newsletter, we will describe the factors influencing the nature of faculty work in the reports as well as their conceptual and institutional implications.
Boyer, E.L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc.
Diamond, R. M. & Adam, B. A. (Eds.) (1995). The disciplines speak: rewarding the scholarly, professional, and creative work of faculty. Washington: American Association for Higher Education.
Diamond, R. M. & Adam, B. A. (Eds.) (2000). The disciplines speak II: More statements on rewarding the scholarly, professional, and creative work of faculty. Washington: American Association for Higher Education.