SoTL Scholars Program


The SoTL Scholars Program acquaints graduate student and postdoctoral participants with the fundamental concepts and core practices of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, a field of inquiry that examines the intersection of instruction and student learning across disciplines in higher education. Broadly, SoTL involves asking questions about what works in the classroom and contributes to students’ learning, and applying those findings to instruction. SoTL-type projects involve systematic research that entails collecting relevant evidence of student thinking, analyzing that evidence using appropriate methods, and sharing the results of that analysis with a community of scholars. Examples of this approach might include:

  • studying how a new form of classroom activity supports learning of a particular concept or idea, and then refining that activity to improve student learning
  • examining how a new instructional tool or learning technology contributes to student learning,
  • researching the effectiveness of a particular assessment technique or design, or
  • identifying barriers that inhibit the implementation of technology or new instructional strategies in the classroom, and then designing implementation strategies to overcome those barriers.

The BU SoTL Scholars program includes two semester-long seminars, taken as a sequence, that follow a Learning Community design. The first seminar in the sequence explores key principles and practices of SoTL research, ranging from Barr and Tagg’s (1995) foundational “From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education,” to recent research in the Learning Sciences that explores new methodologies for studying teaching and learning in today’s higher education ecosystem. The second semester serves as a “practicum,” in which participants design their own SoTL projects. Participants will meet for 90-minute sessions each week over a span of six weeks during the Fall and Spring semesters. 

The deadline for applications to the 2018-2019 SoTL Scholars program is Monday, October 1, 2018 at 5:00pm EST.


The SoTL Scholars program is open to current advanced-level graduate students and postdoctoral staff (researchers, scholars, fellows). No prior teaching experience is necessary.

Application Process

Applicants will be asked to submit the following items:

  • Application Letter – A letter describing how participation in the program will support your growth as a teacher.  This letter should describe your past, if any, teaching experiences, and identify your strengths as a teacher and areas for future improvement. If you have no prior teaching experience, briefly describe (fewer than 300 words) your interest in SoTL and how it relates to your scholarly/professional goals.
    Regardless of your teaching experience, the letter should also include a description of a course, project, or question you plan to address during your time in the program.
  • Teaching Statement – A brief statement of teaching philosophy that reflects your current approaches to teaching. This document should communicate your perspectives on teaching and methods of enhancing student learning.
  • Letter of Support – A letter of support from your graduate advisor or supervisor.  This letter should indicate the advisor/supervisor’s approval of your investing the time required by this program as well as any measures that will be taken to complement the support provided to you by the CTL SoTL Scholars program.
  • Curriculum Vitae – Your CV should be submitted as well.

Since the CTL promotes teaching as an ongoing and collaborative process of inquiry, experimentation, and reflection, applicants will be selected primarily on the basis of how participation in this program will benefit their individual academic and professional development.


Participants will learn core concepts and principles of teaching in higher education, including theories of learning and motivation, learner-centered course design, the integration of technology into teaching and learning, and strategies for creating active learning classrooms. Participants will also become familiar with scholarship that investigates these topics through the systematic inquiry of teaching and learning.

Participants whose academic fields are related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines will be encouraged to become members of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) network, and to continue scholarship of teaching and learning through the CIRTL network’s program offerings.


Specific dates and times for SoTL Scholars meetings will be advertised in early September, 2018.

Core Texts

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. John Wiley & Sons.

Williams, K. M. (2014). Doing research to improve teaching and learning: A guide for college and university faculty. Routledge.

Other Readings and Resources

Kreber, C. (2015). The Transformative Potential of the Scholarship of Teaching. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 1(1), 5-18. doi:

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of management learning & education, 4(2), 193-212.

Pellegrino, J. W., Chudowsky, N., & Glaser, R. (Eds.). (2001). Knowing what students know: The science and design of educational assessment. National Academies Press.

Questions? Email or call Nick Wilson ( or 358-8624)