Spring 2024 Community of Practice: Focus on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)


Application Deadline: February 10, 2024


Scholars of teaching and learning are prepared to mess with the world even more boldly than their colleagues who are satisfied to teach well and leave it at that. They mess with their students’ minds and hearts as they instruct, and then they mess again as they examine the quality of those practices and ask how they could have been even more effective. Scholars of teaching and learning are prepared to confront the ethical as well as the intellectual and pedagogical challenges of their work. They are not prepared to be drive-by educators. They insist on stopping at the scene to see what more they can do.” -Lee Shulman, educational researcher and reformer[1]


Meeting Dates

March 7, April 11, May 9, & June 6, from 12:30-1:45 pm. Lunch provided. Two-day on-campus writing retreat: June 18 and 19. Sessions are held in the CTL.

All meals and beverages are provided.



Dr. Patrick Johnson, Assistant Professor, College of Communication

Dr. Melissa Shew, Associate Director of Teaching Excellence, Center for Teaching and Learning

Plus special guests, including Dr. Amber Young-Brice, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Nursing



This Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Community of Practice is designed to advance the understanding and creation of SoTL for the betterment of teaching at Marquette and to increase evidence and theory-informed teaching practices more generally. The phrase “scholarship of teaching and learning” identifies a body of research and scholarship devoted to advancing evidence-informed teaching and learning practices that are rooted in sound theory and methodologies. The first of its kind at Marquette, this SoTL CoP brings together diverse expertise and academic backgrounds to facilitate learning about SoTL and producing research within this academic field.

Participants from any academic background, sightline, and experience are invited to apply. Whether you have a curiosity without much understanding about SoTL, are an experienced researcher in it, or are somewhere in between, you are qualified for this opportunity. Whether you want to work on an individual SoTL project in a community with like-motivated colleagues across campus or if you want to work on a small team to complete a SoTL project, you are welcome to apply. All you need is a curiosity to learn, a desire to work in the community, and a determination to contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning. All materials and guidance, including documents to help plan out projects, resources about SoTL, training about research methods in SoTL, and opportunities to receive feedback, will be provided.


Who Should Apply

Any faculty in any department, including the library, and in any role, from tenure-stream to full-time and adjunct participating faculty, should consider applying to participate in this Community of Practice. This Community of Practice is also open to advanced graduate students working in the areas of SoTL or providing a compelling justification for wanting to join.


Application Guidelines

Please send a note of interest to Dr. Melissa Shew (melissa.shew@marquette.edu), which includes a brief explanation of why you’d like to join this Community of Practice, by February 10. Please make sure you can attend all CoP meeting dates and confirm that you do intend to produce research in SoTL (e.g., conference paper, presentation, journal or magazine article, white paper, or some other scholarly publication) either individually or with others in the CoP. This CoP is designed to ignite learning about and publishing in SoTL, providing the necessary tools and methods to get participants underway.


Three More Reasons to Consider Applying

  1. This Community of Practice explicitly aligns with Marquette’s 2031 strategic plan.

Objective 3 of Marquette University’s 2031 strategic plan explicitly aims to advance innovation and excellence in teaching and learning: “Marquette will be known for exceptional undergraduate and graduate teaching and learning, with innovative instruction grounded in principles of Ignatian pedagogy.” The second of two priorities under this objective identifies the need to “expand efforts in the scholarship of teaching and learning to develop and encourage the use of best practices and provide training in Ignatian pedagogy for faculty and graduate teaching assistants.”


  1. Engagement with the scholarship of teaching and learning can advance teaching excellence and heighten students’ learning.

The 2030 Boyer Report identifies the need to elevate teaching excellence aligned with goals in equity in education. Programs like this Community of Practice and other faculty success initiatives elevate teaching excellence, define “teaching quality,” and align it with “teaching development [for faculty and Ph.D. students], evaluation, and rewards systems” to create “an inclusive, engaged, and research-informed teaching culture that has the power to shape the experience of every student.”[2] Furthermore, as Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning explains, “SoTL can help faculty (and future faculty) become more reflective and scholarly teachers. It can demonstrate faculty commitment to teaching. It also can extend faculty research programs. Most significantly, though, SoTL enables faculty to learn more about student learning in their classrooms and other educational contexts.”


  1. This Community of Practice provides opportunities for faculty to turn their expertise to SoTL in a scaffolded but flexible community of colleagues.

Members of this CoP will aim toward producing scholarship that contributes to teaching and learning in SoTL within a six-month period. Working in a CoP, as opposed to on one’s own, is designed to facilitate this scholarship production.

All communities of practice are characterized by three traits: Individual interest in a certain topic, a desire to learn with others in community, and a desire to put what’s learned into practice. “[C]ommunities of practice develop around the things that matter to people” (2022).[3] The domain of interest represents the area of competence that brings a group of people together. The second characteristic of the learning partnership is community, recognizing that social networks can bind people together in productive and life-giving ways. The third characteristic, practice, connects the topic of the CoP—in this case, the scholarship of teaching and learning—to the practitioner. In a CoP, the group, through their relationships, aim to improve their practice (broadly understood) and, in this case, contribute to research about teaching and learning. [4]


[1] Shulman, Lee. (2002). Forward. In Pat Hutchings (Ed.), Ethics of inquiry: Issues in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (pp. v-viii). Menlo Park, CA: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

[2] The Boyer 2030 Commission. The Equity/Excellence Imperative: A 2030 Blueprint for Undergraduate Education at U.S. Research Universities (2022), pg. 28.

[3] Rebecca Wilson-Mah, Jo Axe, Elizabeth Childs, Doug Hamilton, and Sophia Palahicky.

“A Collaborative Self-Study: Reflections on Convening a SoTL Community of Practice.” IJ-SoTL, Vol. 16 [2022], No. 2, Art, pg. 4.

[4] Ibid., pg. 4.