What is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning? with Mary Huber, part 3

What is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning? with Mary Huber, part 3

We are posting this work, "What is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning?" as a series of blog posts with permission from the original author.

About Mary Huber

Mary Huber is Senior Scholar Emerita and Consulting Scholar at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  Involved in research at the Carnegie Foundation since 1985, Huber has directed projects on Cultures of Teaching in Higher Education; led Carnegie’s roles in the Integrative Learning Project and the U.S. Professors of the Year Award; and worked closely with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). She speaks, consults, and writes on the scholarship of teaching and learning, integrative learning, and faculty roles and rewards.

Third and final in a series:  In the first post, Mary Huber introduced us to SoTL, the scholarship of teaching and learning, its motivation and history.  In the second, she took us through conducting it yourself. Today she wraps up the series with an overview of SoTL at Stanford.

A Big Tent View of SoTL

The SoTL community is diverse, with some participants focusing on the research side of the work and its contributions to knowledge about students and their learning, while others attend more to the teaching side and how inquiry into learning can feed back into the redesign of courses and programs (See, for example, Bernstein and Bass, 2005).

 A “big tent” view embraces both emphases, while also recognizing that some participants might want to get involved only occasionally or in small ways to solve a particular problem of practice, while for others engagement will eventually lead to a larger, more ambitious, body of work. 

From the “big tent” perspective, then, SoTL is not just for the small number of faculty who may aspire to developing a new area of scholarly expertise, but also for that wider group with serious interests in pedagogical and curricular reform and innovation. 

SoTL at Stanford

The deliberations leading to the publication of the SUES Report (2011) have raised interest in pedagogical and curricular matters across the Stanford campus.  The formation of a scholarship of teaching and learning community at Stanford could help maintain that momentum and provide a way for outstanding faculty to build expertise and contribute to thought and practice around undergraduate education at Stanford and beyond.  In building this community, Stanford has many strengths to draw on.

A Strong Foundation 

Stanford has a strong foundation for building a scholarship of teaching and learning community.  For starters, Stanford is home to faculty and staff who are well-known for their contributions to research on education issues.  Others have examined pedagogy and curriculum in the context of research in their own disciplines, or from the vantage point of their own teaching and administrative roles. Some, too, have written well-regarded texts or created tools and platforms for use by other teachers.

Beyond (and certainly including) those who have become externally well known, are  many faculty who have strong interests in teaching and curriculum development.  They are joined by graduate students, postdocs, staff (and, yes, undergraduates) who care deeply about pedagogical issues.

The scholarship of teaching and learning adds another level of engagement to the rich set of activities already available on campus, encouraging and supporting more systematic inquiry into learning that can better inform teaching improvement and innovation, provide more detailed information about learning outcomes at both a course and program level, inform discussion and debate about education at Stanford, and contribute to knowledge about teaching and learning in the disciplines and professions.

Pedagogical researchers

Stanford is home to many faculty and staff who are already well known for their contributions on teaching and learning at the college and university level.  These include people for whom pedagogical issues have become a major focus of research, for example:

There is also a distinguished set of Stanford faculty who have examined pedagogy and curriculum in conjunction with other foci for disciplinary research.

Other contributions have come about primarily through their authors’ teaching and administrative roles, such as:  

  • Jennifer Summit, who has presented the English department’s curriculum redesign (and the research and thinking behind it) in several high-profile professional venues
  • Russell Berman, who has written (with former Stanford staff member Jenny Bergeron) on assessment and is leading an Modern Languages Association taskforce on graduate education
  • Scott Sagan, who has been recognized in his field for his ideas on how to teach nonproliferation

Of course there are textbook authors among Stanford faculty, and others who have created tools for use by other faculty. Some contributions have been frankly entrepreneurial: the work of Andrew Ng, Daphne Koller, and Sebastian Thrun in developing platforms (and companies) for massive open online courses (MOOCs) has contributed to a major shift in the possibilities for online education and received much attention in the press.

Stanford is fortunate to have people in staff positions who have done influential work on university-level teaching and learning. In addition to the efforts of the professional staff at CTL, there are:

  • Helen Chen, an internationally recognized expert on e-portfolios
  • Amy Collier, whose focus is online and physical learning spaces
  • Chris Golde, who has published important work on graduate education
  • Rick Reis, whose CTL-sponsored “Tomorrow’s Professor” Mailing List has over 500 graduate student and faculty subscribers on campus and over 30,000 off-campus subscribers world-wide

Graduate students, too, are involved. One large cross-disciplinary group is examining data from Stanford’s online courses in the Lytics Lab, operating under the auspices of the Vice Provost for Online Learning.

Others with serious pedagogical interests

Beyond (and certainly including) those who have become externally well known, are many faculty who have strong interests in teaching and curriculum development. They contribute thoughtfully to university-wide forums about undergraduate and graduate education (e.g., the contributors to the SUES report), participate in relevant departmental deliberations, and volunteer for a variety of opportunities to engage more intensively with students. Many have taken advantage of advice and programs available through the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, for example, consulting with staff from the Center for Teaching and Learning or participating in Faculty College to work with colleagues to design new courses or programs.

The community of scholars with interests in teaching and learning also includes graduate students and postdocs---and certainly some undergraduates as well. 

Opportunities for SoTL at Stanford

SoTL is available to anyone who wishes to engage more systematically in teaching and learning activities at Stanford.  Getting started involves one or more of the following: asking a question and devising a way to answer it, documenting and reflecting on student learning in one’s course or program, tracking the effects of pedagogical or curricular innovation, and making lessons from that work public in appropriate forums.

Stanford offers many ways for faculty (and others with teaching responsibilities) to develop their knowledge and skills as teachers and to be recognized for pedagogical achievement. These opportunities, publicized in Teaching Commons, can provide support and a community for those interested in developing as scholars of teaching and learning, as well:

Contact the Center for Teaching and Learning to learn more.

Stanford faculty who would like to share what they’ve learned from SoTL inquiry can explore outlets in a variety of discipline-specific or cross-disciplinary conferences and journals (see “External References” in the full text of the paper). 

On campus, faculty are encouraged to submit short accounts of their work as blog posts in Teaching Talk. In addition, faculty are encouraged to share what they’ve found in departmental venues as a way of stimulating discussion on learning that matters in their disciplines and programs.

Read the full text of Mary’s paper “What is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning?”, which includes a substantial list of resources.

References Cited

Arum, R., and Roksa, J. 2011. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Bernstein, D., and Bass, R. 2005. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Academe 91(4): 37-43. Available through Academe’s J-Stor site: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/undergrad/sues/SUES_Report.pdf

Boyer, E. 1990. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Huber, M., and Hutchings, P. 2005. The Advancement of Learning: Building the Teaching Commons. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. PDF of first chapter available at: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/publications/advancement-learning-building-teaching-commons

Hutchings, P. 2000. “Approaching the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.” Introduction to P. Hutchings (ed.). Opening Lines: Approaches to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Menlo Park, CA: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. PDF available at: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/publications/opening-lines-approaches-scholarship-teaching-and-learning

Hutchings, P, ed.. 2002. Ethics of Inquiry: Issues in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Menlo Park, CA: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. PDF of Foreword available at: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/publications/ethics-inquiry-issues-scholarship-teaching-and-learning

Hutchings, P., Huber, M., and Ciccone, A. 2011. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Reconsidered: Institutional Integration and Impact.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. PDF of first chapter available at: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/publications/the-scholarship-teaching-and-learning-reconsidered-institutional-integration-and-impact

Indiana University’s History Learning Project. http://www.iub.edu/~hlp/

Linkon, S. L. 2011. Literary Learning: Teaching the English Major. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

National Research Council. 2012. Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering. Singer, S.R., Nielsen, N.R., and Schweingruber, H.A. (Eds). Committee on the Status, Contributions, and Future Direction of Discipline-Based Education Research. Board on Science Education. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. PDF can be downloaded free at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13362

Pace, D., and Middendorf, J. 2004. Decoding the Disciplines: Helping Students Learn Disciplinary Ways of Thinking. (New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 98). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Summary available at History Learning Project site: http://www.iub.edu/~hlp/

Pascarella, E., Blaich, C. , Marin, G.L., and Hanson, J. M. 2011. “How Robust are the Findings of Academically Adrift?” Change 43 (3): pp. 20-24. Abstract available at: http://www.changemag.org/Archives/Back%20Issues/2011/May-June%202011/academically-adrift-abstract.html

Salvatori, M. R., and Donahue, P. 2004. The Elements (and Pleasures) of Difficulty. New York: Pearson/Longman.

Shulman, L. S. 2000. “Inventing the Future.” Conclusion to P. Hutchings (ed.), Opening Lines: Approaches to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Menlo Park, CA: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. PDF available at: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/publications/opening-lines-approaches-scholarship-teaching-and-learning

Shulman, L.S. 2004. Teaching as Community Property: Essays on Higher Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Shulman, L. S. 2011. “The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A Personal Account and Reflection.” IJSOTL (International Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) 5 (1). http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/ijsotl/v5n1/featured_essay/PDFs/_Shulman.pdf

Stanford University. 2012. The Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. Stanford, CA: Stanford University. http://www.stanford.edu/dept/undergrad/sues/SUES_Report.pdf

Werder, C., and Otis, M. M. 2010. Engaging Student Voices in the Study of Teaching and Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Comments

In the "Opportunities for SoTL at Stanford" section above, Huber mentions VPOL (the Vice Provost for Online Learning) and CTL (the Center for Teaching and Learning). As of 2015, both those groups are part of a new group, VPTL (the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning). VPTL offers all the services Huber mentions and more. Learn more at vptl.stanford.edu.