Riding the Fourth Wave: An Introduction to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Riding the Fourth Wave: An Introduction to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Andrea S. Webb
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2212-7.ch001
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The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is an important international movement in higher education. It is a continuously developing field that is traced back to Ernest Boyer's 1990 report, “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate,” which outlines his argument for an understanding of scholarship that includes a scholarship of teaching. This chapter traces the history and development of SoTL as a research domain since 1990. It includes specific attention to the rationale and dimensions, the debates and critiques of the field, as well as the potential future directions
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Teaching And Learning In Higher Education: The Context

Given the importance, and challenges, of the teaching–research nexus, this paper traces the history and development of the field of SoTL since 1990. The landscape of teaching and learning in higher education is complex, with increasing student diversity, the development of niche programs, the use of technology to enhance flexible learning, and highly specialized disciplinary knowledge butting up against institutional and public accountability. Into this landscape, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning offers a way for higher education institutions to encourage faculty to engage with research, teaching, and innovation through proactive faculty development and supportive institutional governance.

The Scholarship of Teaching (SoT) arose out of the fertile ground of previous work in the educative practices of disciplines. During the first decades of the 20th century, a small number of disciplinary societies sponsored specialized journals (i.e., the American Society for Engineering Education, starting in 1910, and the Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society published the Journal of Chemical Education, starting in 1924) (Huber & Hutchings, 2005, p. 9). The 1960s saw an explosive growth in the discussion and debate in the wider higher education community, coinciding with the massification of higher education in North America (Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff, 1997). The Chronicle of Higher Education and Change both began publishing in 1969, and in 1972, the United States Department of Education began providing financial support for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. Around the same time, the National Science Foundation introduced new initiatives to improve education practices in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

However, it is hard to underestimate the influence of the Carnegie Foundation in furthering the study of higher education. Founded in 1905, it has a long history of involvement in educational policy and research (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, n.d.); however, it was Ernest Boyer’s appointment as president that initiated the separation of the Carnegie Corporation and the Carnegie Foundation. The newly separated Foundation’s interest in higher education was broadened to include all levels of the educational experience, not just politics and policies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is a rigorous, literature-informed, and peer-reviewed framework for investigating teaching and learning in higher education. It is methodologically flexible and open to many types of inquiries into pedagogical, curricular, disciplinary, and institutional contexts.

Interdisciplinary: Combining two or more academic disciplines or fields of study. Biochemistry represents an interdisciplinary approach to a field.

Curriculum: Curriculum refers to a particular course of study. It is often a selection of relevant content structured according to the learning context and organized to guide learners through a process.

Higher Education: Post-secondary education, especially at a college or university.

Educational Leader: An educational leader is a faculty member whose employment involves high-stakes decisions regarding curricular and pedagogical initiatives at a departmental, faculty, or institutional level.

Faculty Member: A faculty member is an individual who belongs to a faculty or department in higher education. They are appointed to permanent employment in frequently tenure, tenure-track, or instructor positions.

Teaching–Research Nexus: The interrelated links between teaching and research in higher education.

Intradisciplinary: Being within the scope of a single academic discipline.

Pedagogy: The art and science of teaching, pedagogy is the methods of lesson, course, and program delivery.

Multidisciplinary: Composed of several, usually separate, fields of study or expertise. A multidisciplinary cohort brings together faculty members from diverse academic disciplines.

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