Message from the VP for Research and Economic Development and the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
Teaching research, researching teaching
As the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching notes, the act of teaching — and, by extension, that of learning — is usually limited to teachers and their students. In the classroom, teachers and students grapple with discovery, comprehension, and application. Though collaborative, the process is relatively isolated. Former Carnegie Foundation President Lee S. Shulman noted that as a result, “those who engage in innovative acts of teaching rarely build upon the work of others; nor can others build upon theirs.”
Yet a fundamental tenet of teaching and learning is that we can and must learn from one another. This principle is similar to that informing research and scholarly activity, which builds upon the foundation of prior discovery to advance the frontiers of discourse and knowledge.
It seems, therefore, that teaching and learning, and research and scholarly activity are interrelated.
Emerging in large part from influential work by Carnegie Foundation President Ernest Boyer, the concept of “teaching as scholarly work” — what has become known as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) — recognizes that the process of informing pedagogical theory and practice should not be isolated to the classroom; nor should it be isolated from the rigors of the scientific method or peer review.
In other words, a university’s faculty shouldn’t simply teach about research; faculty should conduct research about teaching. By exploring, explaining, and documenting best
practices in pedagogy to facilitate effective and engaged student learning, SoTL work lies at the intersections of teaching and research.
At UND, we are moving to embrace and recognize
This issue of UND Discovery spotlights some of the exceptional SoTL research our faculty have conducted in the areas of student learning outcomes, cultural diversity, experiential learning, professional standards, and online pedagogy. The stories are varied, yet the commitment by these faculty to a rigorous and well-informed approach to innovative teaching and learning is shared by all. As part of our University’s shared vision to create an Exceptional UND that enriches the student learning experience, we are finding new ways to encourage and recognize the intersections of teaching and research that SoTL embodies. Enjoy.
Paul A. LeBel, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Phyllis E. Johnson, Vice President for Research and Economic Development