Scholarly Teaching | University of Portland

Scholarly Teaching

Scholarly teaching is an intellectual activity designed to bring about documented improvements in student learning.  Scholarly teaching reflects a thoughtful engagement and integration of ideas, examples and resources, coupled with pedagogically informed strategies of course design and implementation to bring about more effective teaching and learning. Scholarly teaching documents the effectiveness of student learning in a manner that models or reflects disciplinary methods and values.

The Scholarly Teacher:

  • exhibits curiosity about his/her students, student learning and students’ learning environments
  • identifies issues/ questions (problems) related to some aspect of student learning
  • develops, plans and implements strategies designed to address/enhance student learning
  • documents the outcomes of his/her strategies using methodology common to the discipline
  • reflects upon and shares with others his/her ideas, designs and strategies and outcomes of their work
  • consistently and continually builds upon his/her work and others (i.e., process is iterative)

Closing the Loop reports require the faculty to exhibit all the characteristics that describe a “Scholarly Teacher” and encourage continuous learning about learning. By using an iterative process the loops connect to form a spiral of improvement. 

Continuum of Growth

We have developed a rubric on the continuum of growth toward the scholarship of teaching and learning.  It is intended to assist in identifying the developmental stages in growth towards the scholarship of teaching and learning.  As in any developmental process, it is expected that individuals will simultaneously demonstrate elements in two or three stages of this continuum.  It is also understood that individuals will not likely demonstrate equal strengths in all of these components.  

It is intended that individuals would also provide evidence to document their progress.  By documenting overall patterns, this continuum may assist individuals in fostering further growth.  Our goal is that all faculty members will attain Phase Two, Scholarly Teaching.

Closing the Loop Reports

The Process

Step One: Ask a question of interest to you about student learning in your program. 

  • Can you answer the question?
  • Will you change anything about your program based on the answer?
  • If the answer to the above questions is “no”, ask a different question.

Step Two: Write a “Closing the Loop Report” based on the question you asked that follows the following format.

  • Desired outcome: What student learning characteristics did you look for? What was your criterion for success?
  • Data: What information do you have to determine whether or not you are moving toward this desired outcome? What forms of observation did you make? 
  • Interpretation of the data: What do you think it means? Can you link specific learning opportunities with this outcome? 
  • Changes made: What are you going to do about what you discovered?