The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) involves faculty framing and systematically investigating questions related to student learning, with the goal of improving their own classroom, as well as advancing practice beyond it.
Professor speaking to three students
CELT Teaching Tip • November 1, 2018
SoTL at ISU: Improving your classroom through scholarly inquiry
The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) involves faculty framing and systematically investigating questions related to student learning, with the goal of improving their own classroom, as well as advancing practice beyond it. SoTL ultimately improves student learning by means of scholarly inquiry into teaching and learning processes that also includes sharing results so others can review, critique and build on the work.

According to the ISU Faculty Handbook, SoTL contributes to the discovery of knowledge about teaching and learning in higher education and must be held to the same standards of rigor, relevance, peer review, and dissemination as other forms of disciplinary research and creative activity. While not all faculty pursue SoTL, if they do, it forms a valuable part of their scholarship/creative activity, and research responsibility.  

Approximately 50% of ISU faculty members participate in SoTL (view the SoTL Engagement as Compared to Total Outputs for Promotion and Tenure [Poster Presentation] (PDF)). Proponents of SoTL at ISU talk about the powerful ways it can improve teaching, learning, and positively impact careers. Faculty such as: 
Amanda Fales-Williams, the Tyrone D. Artz, M.D. Chair for Teaching Excellence in Veterinary Pathology stated, " Engagement in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning allows me to better understand what students are really getting out of writing assignments. As a result, I’ve refined my request, my grading scheme, and how I use the students’ final products. In the process, I generated data that resulted in manuscripts, speaking invitations, grants, and tenure. I’m a better teacher when I critically evaluate student performance, and I can learn from other educators that have documented their own explorations of learning.
University Professor Steve Freeman commented,“…As my career progressed, SoTL has allowed me to create scholarship opportunities related to my efforts in faculty development activities as well as my efforts related to classroom teaching. Throughout my career, SoTL has been a nice compliment to my disciplinary research and by the time I went for promotion to professor in 2008, nearly half of scholarship was SoTL related.”
Professor and Chair, Agricultural Education and Studies, Michael S. Retallick shared, "I appreciate that ISU recognizes and values, both formally and in practice, the difference between  scholarly teaching  and the  scholarship of teaching and learning . The opportunity for me to focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning has not only helped to improve my teaching, but it has also helped to advance our discipline and add to our knowledge base."
If you are interested in learning more about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, register to attend the Workshop: Turning your scholarly teaching into Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) on December 6 (12:10-1:30 p.m.) via the Learn@ISU website.
Sara Marcketti, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
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2019-20 Miller Faculty Fellowship proposals due Dec. 10
Miller Faculty Fellowships have provided funding to over 800 faculty to improve the undergraduate teaching and learning experience at Iowa State University. The Miller Faculty Fellowship Program provides recipients with opportunities to enhance their scholarly work in the undergraduate academic programs of the university and to develop innovative approaches to enhance student learning. Recipients will have up to twelve months to meet the goals of their Fellowship project.

The deadline for Miller Faculty Fellowship proposals for the 2019-20 academic year is Monday, Dec. 10. Program and application details are online. Questions may be directed to CELT at
New Opportunity: CELT Presenter Grant Program
Faculty and staff who received a CELT funded scholarship of a teaching and learning (SoTL) grant are eligible for the CELT Presenter Grant. The CELT Presenter Grant provides eligible faculty and staff with the opportunity to present their SoTL research findings at a teaching and learning higher education conference. Faculty and staff SoTL grant recipients (SoTL Scholars or Miller Faculty Fellowship) are encouraged to present their research at a conference that supports the dissemination of teaching strategies (e.g., The Teaching Professor Conference), Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (e.g., ISSOTL), disciplinary conferences, (e.g., an education track within your disciplinary conference) or are focused on teaching within a specific discipline (e.g., NACTA – North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture). The Presenter Grant Program supports delivery of an accepted or invited presentation, poster, or panel.

For travel that will be completed between January 1 and June 30, apply by December 15. Learn more from the CELT Presenter Grant Program webpage .
Participate in Iowa State University's
First-Generation College Student Awareness Month
Iowa State University will be hosting events during first-generation college student awareness month in November. The events will allow first-gen students to build community and network with other students as well as first-gen faculty and staff. Additionally, this will provide the opportunity to raise awareness of first-gen students’ needs and provide space to discuss best practices that we can implement at Iowa State University.
If you identify as a first-gen faculty or staff member, we invite you attend our Faculty/Staff and Student Mixer on Monday, November 12, 2018 from 5:30-6:30 pm in the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center, followed by a student panel from 6:30-7:30. To respond complete the First-Generation College Student Awareness Month Online Survey or click on the button below. The information obtained will be used for name tags for the event and you may also opt-in to having your information shared in an e-directory that will provided to students attending the events.
Presentation proposals sought for the 2019 Thomas L. Hill Iowa State University Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE)
ISCORE Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity 2019
The Thomas L. Hill Iowa State University Conference on Race and Ethnicity ( ISCORE ) is a comprehensive forum on issues of race and ethnicity at Iowa State University and beyond. The local conference is designed to model the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE) .

Presentation Proposals Sought
Faculty and staff interested in presenting at either conference should submit a presentation proposal by Nov. 16.

Save the Date
  • ISCORE Full Conference, Friday, March 1 (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Iowa State Memorial Union) Free and open to all ISU students, staff and faculty.
  • ISCORE Pre-Conference, Wednesday, February 27 (11:45 a.m.-5 p.m., Iowa State Memorial Union). Please note: The pre-conference is open to faculty and staff only.
Registration for both will open in January.

Questions? Contact Japannah Kellogg,
Upcoming CELT programs
To learn more about the events listed below visit CELT’s Event and Registration website and register via the Learn@ISU website. Many of these workshops are available in-person and/or via Zoom, virtual web-conferencing.

  • Award-Winning Series, Among Others: How to Really Make Your Classroom More Inclusive, Nov. 7 (12:10-1:00 p.m.)
  • Meeting, ISU Online Learning Community (ISU-OLC), Nov. 16 (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.)
  • Workshop, Discuss Published Education Research in Your Discipline, Nov. 27 (12:10-1 p.m.)
  • Workshop, Documenting Your Teaching using the DART Matrix, Nov. 27 (2:10-3 p.m.)
  • Workshop, Turning your scholarly teaching into Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, (SoTL), Dec. 6 (12:10-1:30 p.m.)

Teaching Inclusively
  • Conversation, Building an inclusive and learner-centered syllabus,
  • Nov. 13 (3-4 p.m., 2030 Morrill and online)
  • Nov. 14 (11 a.m.-Noon, 2030 Morrill and online)
  • Conversation, Top 10 tips for creating an accessible course, Nov. 27 (4-5 p.m.)
  • Inclusive Classroom Workshop, Nov. 30 (9 a.m.-Noon)

Quality Matters
  • Meeting, Quality Matters Learning Community, Nov. 16 (3-4:30 p.m.)
  • Quality Matters: Improving Your Online Course (IYOC), Nov. 19 (8 a.m.-Noon) and IYOC Follow Up, Nov. 19 (1–3 p.m.)
  • Workshop, Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) Workshop, Dec. 3 (8 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Building & Managing Your Course in Canvas Workshop Series
Building Your Course in Canvas Series
  • Course Design Basics, Nov. 13 (9-10:30 a.m.), Dec. 4 (3-4:30 p.m.)
  • Assignments and Quizzes, Nov. 14 (1-2:30 p.m.), Dec. 5 (3-4:30 p.m.)
  • Grading and Student Data in Canvas, Nov. 2 (9-11 a.m.), Nov. 15 (9-10:30 a.m.), or Dec. 6 (9-10:30 a.m.)
Manage Your Canvas Course Series
  • Group Work and Collaboration, Nov. 5 (9-11 a.m.), Dec. 11 (3-4:30 p.m.)
  • Rubrics and Outcomes, Nov. 6 (9-11 a.m.), Dec. 13 (1-2:30 p.m.)
  • Personalized Learning and Mastery Paths, Nov. 9 (9-11 a.m.), Nov. 14 (3-4:30 p.m.)
Prefer a Print version? To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with the web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip (PDF) (