Frequently Asked Questions about the PTLC
What is the President's Teaching and Learning Collaborative (PTLC)?
- The PTLC is a system-wide collaborative program designed to offer professional development to assist University of Colorado faculty on all campuses in developing research projects on teaching and learning intended as scholarship and for publication. The PTLC is intent on publicizing and promoting the work of PTLC participant-researchers, coaches, and mentors.
- PTLC Faculty Researchers are University of Colorado professors and instructors who are already involved in educational research or who want to complete their first educational research project.
- Faculty Researchers work with the PTLC for one year. As part of their participation, they receive funding for an undergraduate research assistant. In addition, a Coach (an experienced educational researcher) is assigned to each Faculty Researcher to assist scholarly investigations into teaching and learning.
- PTLC participants meet regularly to discuss their research, offering support and advice to one another.
- Campus-specific meetings: Held monthly with Faculty Researchers, Coaches, Campus Faculty Coordinators, and Librarians. These meetings offer information about conducting scholarly research in general and also provide a forum in which Faculty Researchers can report in on their work and ask questions. Past Faculty Researchers have also been appreciative that the structure of regularly-scheduled meetings holds accountable for making progress in their work.
- Coach-Researcher meetings: Held twice a semester between an individual Faculty Researcher and her/his assigned Coach. These meetings are designed to allow Coaches to offer specific feedback and assistance to Faculty Researchers on their research projects.
- System-wide meetings: A launch meeting and poster session is held in September and a final meeting and poster session are held in May. These meetings are designed to provide a general, informational overview of the PTLC and also a forum in which Faculty Researchers report on their research projects to PTLC Coaches, Campus Faculty Coordinators, Librarians, and the other Researchers.
- At the September launch meeting, Faculty Researchers present posters about their research plans.
- At the May meeting, Faculty Researchers report on the findings of their research projects and their plans for publication.
What kind of research does PTLC support?
The PTLC seeks to promote the practice of inquiry in teaching and of measuring student learning. PTLC faculty researchers work on projects that aim primarily at assessing student learning. Through their research on teaching and learning, we hope to improve the student experience at the university. This occurs through changes PTLC faculty researchers make in their own teaching after conducting their research. In addition, other faculty beyond PTLC participants may work to enhance their classrooms as a result of the dissemination of PTLC research. In particular, the Collaborative assists University faculty in developing scholarly projects on teaching and learning intended for publication. This program is modeled on the Carnegie Foundation’s national work on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Central to the PTLC is creating and disseminating scholarly work in teaching and learning to contribute to scholarship and practice in and across fields. To this end, each scholar designs and undertakes an investigation aimed at deepening her or his understanding of, and practice related to an important issue in innovative learning. Several features for projects should be kept in mind:
- Proposed work should center on definitions, experiences, problems, and values related to effective teaching and learning as well as investigations of one’s own students and classroom practices.
- The focus of this work should be teaching and learning for understanding, exploring primarily the character and depth of student learning that results (or does not) from particular teacher practices.
- We look for attention to enduring, widely recognized issues and questions that have broad relevance or implications for student learning. Scholarship that advances understanding of such questions is more likely to find audiences. We also are interested in work that demonstrates a commitment to the personal and social development of students.
- Of further interest is work explicitly linked to established lines of research. Like other forms of scholarship, the scholarship of teaching and learning builds on work done by others. All proposals should review research related to the specific problem to be investigated.
How is the PTLC associated with the Carnegie Foundation?
- PTLC is association with the Carnegie Foundation through the CASTL Institutional Leadership Program. CASTL was a three-year partnership between Carnegie and selected colleges, universities and higher education organizations with strong commitment to the careful examination of teaching and learning. The University of Colorado system was selected as a CASTL "System-wide Collaboration Supporting Scholarship of Teaching and Learning" leadership participant.
- The PTLC is the local incarnation, based on the CASTL model for promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). The name highlights the role of the President's Teaching Scholars in the PTLC, as many of the named scholars serve as coaches and mentors for PTLC research participants.
- CASTL represents a major initiative of The Carnegie Foundation. Launched in 1998, the program builds on a conception of teaching as scholarly work. The CASTL program seeks to support the development of a scholarship of teaching and learning that:
- fosters significant, long-lasting learning for all students
- enhances the practice and profession of teaching, and brings to faculty members' work as teachers the recognition and reward afforded to other forms of scholarly work
What is SOTL?
- SOTL stands for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Research of this type seeks to improve teaching and learning at colleges and universities. The PTLC serves to promote SOTL work within the University of Colorado.
- Scholarship of teaching and learning is often described this way:
- “problem posing about an issue of teaching or learning,
- study of the problem through methods appropriate to the disciplinary epistemologies,
- applications of results to practice,
- communications of results, self-reflection, and peer review” (Cambridge, 2001).
Cambridge, B. (2001). Fostering the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Communities of Practice. Pps. 3-16 in To Improve the Academy. D. Lieberman and C. Wehlburg, Eds. Bolton, MA: Anker.
- Scholarship in teaching and of learning re-conceptualizes and elevates teaching and learning as activities central to the academy.
- SOTL is research in inquiry-based teaching and evidence-based learning.
- SOTL is instructional and curriculum reform emanating from an emphasis on assessing classroom learning.
- The Carnegie Foundation website houses a Gallery of Scholarship in Teaching and Learning projects, found here: http://gallery.carnegiefoundation.org/
- The Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: http://www.iupui.edu/~josotl/
Where can I find publication outlets for my PTLC research project?
- CU Boulder education librarian Alison Graber has created a website to help PTLC participants locate publication outlets: http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/services/curriculum_support/CASTL.htm
Who is Ernest Boyer?
- Ernest Boyer wrote Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, which is considered a seminal work on the scholarship of teaching and learning. This work is sometimes referred to as the Boyer Report, and it emphasizes the importance of teaching and of studying teaching through rigorous research. He also served as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Who is Carl Wieman?
- Carl Wieman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001 and has become focused on improving undergraduate education within the discipline of physics. Professor Wieman is currently a professor at the University of British Columbia, and he also retains a position at the University of Colorado Boulder to continue work with the Physics Education Research Group.
- About CU-Boulder’s Physics Education Research Group: http://www.colorado.edu/physics/EducationIssues/index.htm
How do scholars proceed in their investigation and preparation for projects in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL)?
The central work of President'sTeaching Scholars is to create and disseminate examples of the scholarship of teaching and learning that contribute to thought and practice in and across fields and disciplines. To this end, each scholar designs and undertakes a project/investigation aimed at deepening understanding of and practice related to an important issue in students’ innovative learning. Several features for projects must be kept in mind.
1. Proposed work should center on the definitions, experiences, problems, and values, and the investigation of one's own students and classroom practices in a particular course.
2. The focus of this work should be on learning for understanding, exploring primarily the character and depth of student learning that results (or does not) from teacher practice.
3. We look for attention to enduring, widely recognized issues and questions that have broad relevance or implications for student learning; scholarship that advances understanding of such questions is more likely to find audiences and outlets thereby contributing to far-reaching thinking and practice.
4. We are interested in work that demonstrates a commitment to the personal and social development of students.
5. Also of interest is work with explicit links to prior and ongoing areas of investigation, and established lines of seminal research that builds on and is situated in reference to work authored by others.
6. New scholars engaged in this work will be committed to documenting and sharing processes and results (scholarship is by definition public, available for review and critique).
As part of the PTSP dossier, please submit a one page or less project proposal that upon designation you will undertake as a Teaching Scholar.