Developmental Stage: Developed understanding, systematic action 

A CIRTL Practitioner has a level of knowledge and skills that allow them to be scholarly teachers, where they are able to use Teaching-as-Research to improve their practice. Scholarly teaching builds on what others have learned in an ongoing way, seeks evidence of learning, and uses evidence to improve practice. Scholarly teaching is an intellectual activity designed to bring about documented improvements in student learning and share them publicly (e.g., within a learning community). As such, scholarly teaching reflects a type of action research often focused on improved teaching practice.  

To achieve this level, graduates-through-faculty have been exposed to the pillars of CIRTL, recognize the importance of implementing practices associated with each pillar for being an effective and improving teacher, and are implementing the pillars in their own teaching practices.  

Specific outcomes might include:

  • Participants at this level are reading the literature associated with teaching, learning, and assessment and are able to critique it effectively with peers.
  • Participants at this level have started designing and implementing Teaching-as-Research projects for the classroom.  From these projects they can recognize if student learning has occurred, but may not know why. 
  • Participants can demonstrate how their disciplinary research can inform their teaching. 
  • Participants are developing integrated learning communities with their students.
  • Participants participate and contribute in local professionally-focused learning communities associated with teaching and learning (i.e., they are contributing to the goals of the group, based on their experiences). Through their participation, they also provide leadership within their disciplines.
  • Participants are intentionally determining the diverse backgrounds among their students and designing teaching plans in response to those findings.
  • Participants are engaging the diversity of their students in ways that enhance the learning of all.

CIRTL Pillars Developmental Frameworks 


  • The participant provides rationale and evidence for where the current teaching approach can improve and critically analyzes existing knowledge on teaching methods and ideas considered for adaptation.
  • The participant describes well-defined learning goals that are measurable, appropriate, and based on existing knowledge.
  • The participant develops assessment instruments that are clearly aligned with the learning objectives and provide both instructors and students with feedback about learning at various times during the implementation.
  • The participant presents a hypothesis connecting the teaching plan to achievement of the learning goals. The participant includes a teaching plan that details the sequence of activities in which students and instructor will engage.
  • The participant collects, analyzes, and draws legitimate conclusions from data regarding student learning and the validity of their hypothesis.
  • The participant engages in a “full inquiry cycle” and makes further changes in her/his teaching practices based on the data analysis.

Learning Communities

  • Participant understands the value of collaborative learning, has the skills to implement, implements them, and intentionally evaluates these activities to improve his/her approach to enhance learning. 
  • Participant understands the value of, and knows how to fully integrate functional interactions between learners necessary to achieve the learning goals, implements them, and has built in a plan to evaluate the effectiveness to improve their teaching and participant learning. 
  • Participant helps learners feel fully connected with learning opportunities beyond the course, makes explicit the impact on the learning experience, and evaluates the impact of these connections. 
  • Participant creates an environment where all learners from a variety of backgrounds rely on each other to achieve the learning goals by recognizing how the diversity of backgrounds enriched their learning.  Participant evaluates and makes changes based on how diversity enriches learning goals.


  • Participant is intentionally determining the diverse backgrounds among the students.
  • Participant recognizes diversity in a wide variety of forms and understands the impact of this complexity on participants’ learning. 
  • Participant develops teaching plans, including content, based on the students backgrounds, evaluates these actions and improves his/her approach based on these evaluative data. 
  • Participant has knowledge and understanding of the potential of participants’ diverse backgrounds to enhance others’ learning and has developed teaching plans to realize this potential. Participant has evaluated the actions and improved their approach based on evaluative data.