Umbrella with words SoTL IRB on it

The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) has become an increasingly valuable resource for instructors seeking to improve their teaching based on evidence of student learning. Instructors engaged in SoTL utilize a variety of practices to examine and reflect on student learning in their own classes to improve teaching practices. They also share their observations with fellow scholars and educators in higher education (Hutchings et al., 2011).

The Center for Teaching has initiated new support for SoTL, including consultations and workshops that focus on this approach to research. Center for Teaching staff members collaborate with instructors to define research questions and hypotheses and to outline research designs and procedures.

Because SoTL studies entail human subjects research, SoTL projects require compliance approval by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) To help facilitate the IRB process, the Center now provides a SoTL “umbrella IRB” as an option for faculty members.

Through a simplified process, the SoTL umbrella gives faculty members in any discipline broad latitude for research design options. Under the SoTL umbrella application process the approval takes about two weeks. To start the process, instructors submit the following to the Center:

  1. One of the IRB pre-approved consent forms
  2. An abstract downloaded from the Center website
  3. Description of data collection tools (if applicable)

The SoTL umbrella restricts research subjects to students who are 18 years old or older and enrolled in University of Iowa courses.

For more information, contact Jane Russell, Instructional and Research Specialist in the Center for Teaching.

See also, Hutchings, P., Huber, M., & Ciccone, A. (2011). Scholarship of teaching and learning reconsidered. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass