What is SoTL?

Scholarship refers to 'activities concerned with gaining new or improved understanding, or appreciation and insights into a field of knowledge, or engaging with and keeping up to date with advances in the field' (TEQSA, 2022).


The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 requires academics to engage in scholarship in relation to their discipline and teaching methods appropriate to that discipline or field of study. There are a range of different ways staff can engage in scholarship. Some of these include (TEQSA, 2022):

  • peer-reviewed scholarly outputs 
  • scholarly reviews, original research or teaching practice that contribute to course development
  • contributions to professional bodies or communities of practice relevant to an individual discipline 
  • involvement in scholarly academic societies relevant to the individual's discipline, editorial roles, peer review

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) involves 'investigating questions related to how students learn within a discipline' as well as 'communicating and disseminating about the teaching and learning practices of one’s subject' (Healy, 2000, p. 172). SOTL also encompasses aspects of scholarly teaching, that is, being familiar with the latest thinking/ideas in your discipline, drawing on contemporary ideas for teaching within your discipline and reflecting and evaluating your teaching practices and student learning (Healy, 2000). UNSW staff are encouraged to engage in SOTL where appropriate to their role.


There are different ways of engaging in SOTL. Some examples of SOTL outputs include:

  • peer-reviewed published empirical research
  • conference presentations   
  • literature reviews
  • published case studies
  • meta-analysis


Australian Government. (2021). Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021. https://www.teqsa.gov.au/how-we-regulate/higher-education-standards-framework-2021

Healey, M. (2000) Developing the Scholarship of Teaching in Higher Education: A discipline-based approach. Higher Education Research & Development, 19(2), 169-189. https://doi.org/10.1080/072943600445637

Kern, B., Mettetal, G., Dixson, M. D., & Morgan, R. K. (2015). The role of SoTL in the academy: Upon the 25th anniversary of Boyer’s scholarship reconsidered. Journal of the Scholarship for Teaching and Learning, 15(3), 1–14.  https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v15i3.13623

Tertirary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). (2022). Guidance note: Scholarship. https://www.teqsa.gov.au/guides-resources/resources/guidance-notes/guidance-note-scholarship