In response to a greater emphasis on teaching, IUPUI developed the Scholarly Teaching Taxonomy in order to enable faculty to locate, guide, and evaluate their development as effective teachers. The taxonomy articulates the essential dimensions of scholarly teaching.
Scholarly teaching is grounded in theory, research, and evidenced-based practice; in ethical engagement with learners; and in critical reflection. The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) complements scholarly teaching through its focus on rigorous forms of inquiry and dissemination of findings.
The Scholarly Teaching Taxonomy addresses the needs of many stakeholders. For faculty, the taxonomy offers a roadmap for professional development and growth. For educational developers, it offers a vocabulary for programming and conversations about pedagogical innovation. For administrators, it provides a structure for mentoring new and veteran faculty.
Scroll down to see an interactive version of the taxonomy. You can download a table version of the taxonomy and download the examples.
A scholarly teacher bases instructional decisions on significant and reliable evidence, research on teaching and learning, and well-reasoned theory.
Level 1: Makes instructional choices based on research-supported knowledge about teaching and learning. Uses self-report, peer review and feedback, and/or online course reviews to document teaching.
Applies research findings from cognitive science (e.g., Ambrose et al, How Learning Works) to design effective course materials.
Applications of research-supported practices are documented through self-report (e.g., teaching philosophy statement), peer observation, and community partner feedback where appropriate.
Applies research-supported practices to a documented pedagogical problem.
Level 2: Incorporates foundational research on teaching and learning to fit the instructional context and student needs; collaborates with others to do the same. In addition to self-report and peer review, uses student learning and feedback to document teaching and inform philosophy.
Adept at using a variety of research-supported teaching practices (e.g., Just-in-Time Teaching, Evidence-Based Instructional Practices, Peer-Led Team Learning, Problem-Based Learning) and uses them to help students learn in a given context (e.g., unique situational constraints, student needs, class size).
Uses student learning outcomes, student feedback (formative assessments, course evaluations), and peer reviews as sources of input. Views them in the context of foundational research to make instructional changes.
Disseminates outcomes of applications of research-supported practices with teaching peers, including community partners where applicable.
In online course, compensates for lack of face-to-face dynamics (e.g. tone of voice, facial expression) that facilitate relationship building, trust and open sharing, all of which lead to meaningful learning.
Level 3: Creates, tailors, and refines teaching strategies based on systematic and documented assessments of student learning and success. Expertise is recognized by others. Documents teaching and engagement through presentations or publications.
Applies research-supported practices in new ways to improve student learning, motivation, and persistence.
Applies research-supported practices in new ways that foster mutually beneficial outcomes among students and community partners.
Generates research questions and methods of inquiry that add to existing knowledge of teaching practice and student learning.
A scholarly teacher engages in a regular and purposeful process of inquiry to discover personal assumptions about teaching and learning and the effects of same on teaching-related decisions.
Level 1: Maintains curiosity and openness while observing and reflecting on teaching and learning from multiple viewpoints. Identifies assumptions and their origins about teaching and learning in order to explore their accuracy and impact on teaching practices.
Questions the reasons for one’s teaching decisions.
Identifies own assumptions about teaching and learning.
Considers feedback from students and colleagues as sources of input for reflection.
Level 2: Engages in conversations with peers about observations of teaching and learning and their underlying assumptions. Analyzes drivers that influence teaching practices and explores implications. Reconciles practices with teaching philosophy. Shares examples with students and colleagues.
Examines teaching strategies in relation to assumptions about teaching and learning.
Discovers origins of assumptions about teaching and learning.
Discovers distinctive voice through reflective practice.
Level 3: Implements and disseminates innovative, effective approaches to reflective practice. Facilitates discussions about assumptions that underlie curricular decisions at the department, school, or discipline level. Designs and/or directs processes that analyze and document teaching.
Critically examines assumptions about teaching and learning in order to develop authentic teaching philosophy.
Refines and/or changes teaching decisions based on a variety of sources of input (e.g., peer review, research, theory, community partners where appropriate).
A scholarly teacher selects, shapes, and designs course materials and teaching strategies in ways that align course goals, student learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment of learning.
Level 1: Establishes course goals and student learning outcomes, and clearly communicates them to students. Aligns course goals, learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment methods. Uses principles of universal course design to guide decisions about teaching strategies.
Writes clear, relevant, and measurable student learning outcomes for a course and includes them in course materials.
Considers student learning outcomes when using or designing teaching strategies and learning activities. [This example can also apply to faculty who are teaching courses that they did not design.]
Bases decisions about teaching strategies and learning activities on student characteristics (e.g., readiness, preparation, developmental needs, cultural identity).
Uses appropriate measures to assess learning outcomes.
Level 2: Incorporates goals and outcomes into instruction in a sustained and thorough way. Aligns course goals and outcomes with other courses within a department or program or institution. Uses student performance and feedback to inform decisions about goals and outcomes.
Regularly adjusts, adapts, and tailors all aspects of course design (i.e., student learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment methods) in response to varied sources of input (e.g., mid-semester student feedback, student work, peer consultation, newly acquired knowledge on learning science).
Uses direct measures of learning (e.g., course work, exams, projects, authentic student work) to a greater extent than indirect measures (e.g., grades, student satisfaction surveys, interviews) to assess learning.
Maps course learning outcomes onto program accreditation standards and/or university level goals and learning outcomes.
Where appropriate, engages community and clinical partners as sources of complementary and diverse knowledge relevant to student learning.
Level 3: Improves goals and outcomes through intentional study and experimentation. Articulates how goals and outcomes are in dialogue with national standards and relevant scholarship. Many sources of input are central to the revision of course goals, outcomes, and assessment.
Uses student input (e.g., work, feedback) to develop and refine course elements (e.g., student learning outcomes, assignments).
Improves course elements (e.g., learning activities, assessment) through intentional study and experimentation.
Creates and assesses a signature assignment for multiple sections of a course.
Connects course goals and outcomes with national standards and relevant scholarship.
Shares developing expertise with community of peers, including community collaborators.
Disseminates best practices.
Ethics and Responsibility
A scholarly teacher demonstrates ethical and responsible teaching practices that are centered on intellectual honesty, the development and empowerment of students, and equity and inclusion.
Level 1: Conveys disciplinary knowledge with accuracy and honesty. Considers individual student characteristics and developmental needs to guide instruction. Creates welcoming and inclusive learning environments grounded in a commitment to equity and inclusion.
Presents issues in context and according to professional or discipline-based standards; identifies opinion as opinion.
Creates clear learning outcomes and rubrics to facilitate learning.
Helps entry-level students acclimate to university life.
Creates welcoming, safe, and inclusive learning environments, both inside and outside the classroom.
Presents material in multiple ways that accommodate learners’ individual preferences and abilities.
Encourages and/or facilitates student involvement in forms of engaged learning that develop collaborative skills and personal growth.
Level 2: Frames teaching and learning practices as honest and responsible intellectual inquiry. Adjusts and adapts instructional design to fit learner needs and circumstances. Participates in dialogue with colleagues about policies and practices that reflect a commitment to equity and inclusion.
Frames all academic work as intellectual inquiry, and models the discipline’s ways of thinking with students.
Seeks and uses input from learners in order to gauge and maximize inclusive practices.
Where appropriate, collaborates with community or clinical partners to create courses and/or learning activities that support equity and inclusion.
Level 3: Requires intellectual honesty in all aspects of a teaching career. Leads conversations about advancing student learning and development with others responsible for same. Fosters collaboration among students and colleagues that allows them to practice and advance equity and inclusion. Shares effective practices.
Requires intellectual honesty in all aspects of one’s teaching career.
Fosters an academic environment that welcomes others’ opinions.
Examines evidence as to effectiveness of inclusive practices.
Requires students to design and implement activities that support equity and inclusion.
Subject-Matter Expertise and Pedagogical Knowledge
A scholarly teacher maintains a high level of proficiency in subject-matter expertise and pedagogically-related knowledge.
Level 1: Maintains current content knowledge in the discipline. Organizes course content with a view to the history, context, focus, and significance of the subject. Establishes familiarity with evidence-based principles of learning.
Provides students with a clear view of the context and focus of the subject.
Invites peer review of the relevant pedagogical expertise (including content and practice standards) in a course or curriculum.
Instruction of course content is appropriate to the level of the learner.
Level 2: Foregrounds the current work in the field as it pertains to the focus of a class or assignment. Uses evidence-based principles of learning to promote and assess students’ conceptual understanding and retention of course content. Situates coursework within current issues in the field.
Shares effective practices regarding teaching of discipline-based content with colleagues in department or school.
Participates in formally organized conversations about teaching in the discipline, including issues, assignments, and solutions to commonly encountered problems.
Level 3: Makes discipline-specific inquiry a central part of all aspects of a course. Fosters an appreciation of inquiry as a valuable practice. Disseminates effective approaches to teaching in a discipline-specific context.
Makes inquiry a central part of all aspects of a course and fosters appreciation of inquiry as a valuable practice.
Develops/leads conversations/creates curricula (e.g., journal clubs, faculty learning communities) that explore and/or apply current work in the field.
Publishes work in peer reviewed discipline-specific journals related to such topics as the scholarship of teaching and learning, community service learning, technology and learning, and the scholarship of engaged learning.
Examples at each level are neither all required nor an exhaustive list.
Center for Teaching and Learning resources and social media channels