Description and Purpose

What is scholarly teaching?

Scholarly teaching is an intentional practice informed by evidence, research on teaching and learning, well-reasoned theory, and critical reflection. The main goal of scholarly teaching is to maximize learning (Potter & Kustra, 2011). Its practices are strategic and become part of a teaching identity.

How is scholarly teaching related to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL)? 

Scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) have been part of the conversation about teaching for over two decades (Richlin, 2001). While SoTL work may overlap with scholarly teaching, it is neither a sole indicator nor an essential element of the larger domain of scholarly teaching, which focuses on maximizing learning through effective teaching. SoTL is a systematic and rigorous research activity that investigates questions related to teaching and/or learning. It is subject to peer review, requires dissemination, and advances the practice of teaching (Hutchings & Shulman, 1999; Potter & Kustra, 2011; Trigwell, 2013). For many practitioners of SoTL, their work and scholarly teaching are seamlessly integrated.

What is the IU Indianapolis Scholarly Teaching Taxonomy? ​

The Scholarly Teaching Taxonomy describes five dimensions, each with three levels, that comprise scholarly teaching. Scroll down to view the dimensions and levels.

View the interactive version of the taxonomy


Evidence-based Practice: A scholarly teacher bases instructional decisions on significant and reliable evidence, research on teaching and learning, and well-reasoned theory.

Reflective Practice: 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.

Course / Curricular Design: 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.

Ethics and Responsibility: A scholarly teacher demonstrates ethical and responsible teaching practices centered on intellectual honesty, the development and empowerment of students, and 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.


The levels of each dimension represent and operationalize how scholarly teaching practices are acquired developmentally and uniquely over the course of a professional teaching career.

Level 1 is intended as a starting point for the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Level 2 is characterized by greater complexity in the application of knowledge and/or the added responsibility of engaging and sharing – ideas, questions, conversations, teaching strategies – with a community of peers.

Level 3 is exemplified by high levels of knowledge in areas of interest, the taking on of leadership roles, and more formal dissemination of work.