What is the scholarship of teaching?

Getting started


  • What is the difference between scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching?
  • How do I engage in the scholarship of teaching?

Taking Scholarly Teaching Further

According to Richlin (see Taking it Further) the scholarship of teaching goes beyond scholarly teaching. Scholarship involves the preparation of a manuscript that reports on the scholarly investigation and on the results of that investigation.

Helen Sword from the Centre for Academic Development talks about the scholarship of teaching:

Click to play the video.

The scholarship of teaching must evidence the same standards that we expect from discipline research.

  1. The problem or opportunity must be clearly defined.
  2. The problem or opportunity must be put into context through an adequate review of the literature.
  3. The solution/intervention must be clearly explained and justified with reference to the literature.
  4. The criteria for evaluating the intervention must be clearly explicated with reference to a baseline.
  5. The manuscript must meet the accepted review criteria for scholarship e.g. quality of written English, clarity of presentation, significance of results, evidence of wider applicability.

The completed manuscript might be submitted to a peer reviewed conference or to a journal. Some discipline journals will accept educational scholarship. For example, the British Medical Journal and the British Journal of Hospital Medicine accepts educational pieces.

There are also specialist educational journals for particular disciplines. For example, Medical Teacher. Discipline scholars who decide to publish in specialist educational journals may benefit from consulting with educational specialists to get advice on the range of educational journals. For example, there are educational journals specialising in the scholarship of teaching, assessment theory and practice, and use of educational technologies.

Adapted from Richlin, L. (2001). Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching. In L. Richlin (Ed.), New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Vol. 86, pp. 57-68). Brisbane, Australia: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Achieving merit and distinction in the Contribution of Scholarship, Research and Professional Activities to Teaching and Learning might be achieved through developing new models and theories and/or by making a significant contribution to the literature on reflective practice. Contributions of this sort will require the scholarship of teaching.

  • The scholarship of teaching requires familiarity with the teaching and learning literature along with public dissemination research. This might be something that you develop over time. However, you can start an ePortfolio record to make a note of your initial thoughts about teaching challenges and/or opportunities that might be answered through taking a scholarly approach to your teaching.

Taking it further

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Boyer proposed an expanded definition of “scholarship”  based on four functions of academics: discovery (discipline research), integration (making connections across the disciplines), application (applying knowledge to consequential problems), and teaching (educating and enticing future scholars). He argued that, within this framework, all forms of scholarship should be recognized and rewarded, and that this would lead to more personalized and flexible criteria for gaining tenure. Boyer considered teaching as a central element of scholarship but failed to define the scholarship of teaching. This failure has led to an inordinate amount of literature that attempts to define the concept.


Richlin, L. (2001). Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching. In L. Richlin (Ed.), New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Vol. 86, pp. 57-68). Brisbane, Australia: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
This chapter distinguishes among the concepts and practices of scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching. It focuses on the ongoing cycle that begins with the scholarly process and can lead to improved teaching practice, scholarly publications, and presentations.

Trigwell, K., & Shale, S. (2004). Student Learning and the Scholarship of University Teaching. Studies in Higher Education, 29(4), 523-536.

This article focuses on a model of the scholarship of teaching that speci®cally includes students and it is argued that representing the scholarship of teaching as a re¯ective and informed act engaging students and teachers in learning is supportive of the aims central to the project of developing a scholarship of teaching.

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What is the scholarship of teaching?

“A teaching philosophy can help you to reflect on how and why you teach. If you don’t have a teaching philosophy, you might want to consider writing one. You can take a look at What makes a good teacher? to get started. If you already have a teaching philosophy, you might want to reflect on how the work that you are doing here fits with that philosophy”.