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Why should I do SoTL research?

Compelling reasons to do SoTL research include:

SoTL can improve your teaching effectiveness: By its very nature, SoTL directly impacts your teaching and student learning. Engaging in SoTL will help you become a more effective teacher, as you become increasingly aware of your classroom practices and make strides toward systemic change.

SoTL can impact your application for tenure or promotion: SoTL makes it easy to demonstrate your practices in the classroom, and highlights your active interest in improving your teaching. Outcomes from SoTL research make natural components of teaching portfolios, which are often used in tenure and promotion decisions.

SoTL gives you expanded research opportunities: SoTL is quantifiable and rigorous research. Several departments at UCF have specific faculty lines devoted to SoTL, although they may refer to it by different names, and numerous interdisciplinary and discipline-specific journals are devoted to carrying SoTL research.

For further inspiration, read: Teaching With Fire by S. Intrator and M. Scriber, 2003.

How can I get started?

The following websites provide comprehensive resources for designing and implementing SoTL projects:

  • The SoTL Guide. This guide was developed by Nancy Chick, the current Director of the Endeavour Center for Faculty Development at Rollins College. The guide consists of two parts: Understanding SoTL and Doing SoTL. It is interspersed with videos of experienced SoTL Researchers talking about their approaches.
  • Carnegie SoTL Tutorial. This interactive tutorial is a compilation of materials from workshops and conferences sponsored by the American Association of Higher Education, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, the Lilly Conferences on College Teaching, and various colleges and universities.
  • Web Center for Social Research Methods. The Research Methods Knowledge Base is a digital textbook that covers the basics of social scientific research methods.
  • The Faculty Center also houses a library containing hard copies of SoTL resources such as Balancing Acts: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Academic Careers by Mary Taylor Huber.

How can the Faculty Center help?

The staff at the Faculty Center can help you with SoTL research in the following ways:

  • individual consultations on topic identification, study design, and dissemination;
  • programs addressing SoTL. Check our calendar for upcoming events;
  • hard copies of SoTL resources such as Balancing Acts: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Academic Careers by Mary Taylor Huber in our library;
  • our SoTL Resources page.