University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Discovery magazine spotlights SoTL, highlights teaching about research

The Office of the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, Office of Research & Economic Development, and Office of Instructional Development are pleased to draw the UND community’s attention to the most recent issue of UND Discovery magazine, published by the VPRED office with assistance by the Office of University Relations.  This issue spotlights just some of the exceptional research that talented UND faculty have conducted on the most effective ways that faculty teach and students learn – that is, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

Our campus community’s shared Exceptional UND vision challenges us to think bigger, better, and more creatively about UND’s future by enriching student learning, encouraging gathering, facilitating collaboration, expanding our presence, and enhancing our quality of life.

SoTL’s concept of “teaching as scholarly work” recognizes that the advancement of pedagogical theory and practice can occur both inside the classroom and out, and that research on teaching and learning, ranging from hypotheses to results, may benefit from the rigors of the scientific method and peer review.  By exploring, explaining, and documenting best practices in research about teaching, and teaching about research, SoTL demonstrates the valuable intersections of teaching and research.

As a strategy to provide academically rigorous and meaningful student experiences, facilitate faculty involvement in innovative teaching and learning opportunities, and encourage research and creative activity that places UND at the forefront of scholarly conversations, UND is moving to embrace and recognize SoTL and the skills it highlights in our faculty and students.  In the foundational stages is a collaborative partnership among the Offices of the VPAA and VPRD with OID to develop strategies and tactics to encourage, support, and value our faculty’s scholarly and creative activity at the intersections of teaching and research.

UND’s mission starts with education, encompasses discovery and the advancement of knowledge, and embraces public service.  One of UND’s distinctive attributes is that our teaching and research enterprises are complementary, and create the bridge to effective service.  Faculty who care about innovative and effective teaching, and are engaged with and contribute to the national scholarly conversation on best practices in learning, bring the best of both worlds to the classroom, thereby serving their students and the state, nation, and world.

This issue of UND Discovery spotlights just some of our faculty’s SoTL work on student learning outcomes, cultural diversity, experiential learning, professional standards, and online pedagogy.  The stories demonstrate the enthusiasm and commitment that these and so many other teacher-scholars at UND have for creating a student learning environment that is engaging, intellectually and academically rigorous, and meaningful.

To enrich the student learning experience and support faculty innovation at an Exceptional UND, we are collaborating across the university to encourage and recognize the intersections of teaching, research, and service that SoTL embodies.

Together, we will create an Exceptional UND.

-- Steve Light, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, 777.0960, steven.light@UND.edu.