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The CIRTL Network is a growing collaboration of universities dedicated to improving STEM higher education. Our teaching development work is rooted in decades of practice and research, and reaches thousands of learners dedicated to becoming effective practitioners. Our impact extends to the faculty and staff who work with local CIRTL programs and benefit from our teaching and learning communities of practice, opportunities for leadership development, grant mentoring, and more.

Best practices in pedagogy

For the past 20 years CIRTL has taught thousands of hours of courses and workshops on evidenced-based STEM teaching development and through that practice has developed a collection of refined, cutting-edge practices and content to advance STEM teaching and learning for all.

We teach courses and workshops developed exclusively for CIRTL and iteratively improved through years of assessment and evaluation. This core programming includes courses on research mentor training, based on work from CIMER (see syllabus); inclusive and evidence-based teaching practices for the college classroom (see syllabus); deepening instructor understanding of equity in the classroom (see syllabus); and teaching-as-research, CIRTL’s unique approach to developing reflective practitioners (see syllabus); as well as workshops on developing teaching philosophy statements through peer collaboration (see description).

Experts have collaborated across member institutions to develop inclusive, evidence-based teaching practices that speak to common instructional challenges and dilemmas in the STEM classroom.

Evaluators within the CIRTL Network have developed evaluation and assessment resources both unique to CIRTL’s work and relevant for teaching and learning broadly.

Grounded in research

Our work is grounded in decades of research into educational development, learning communities, networked organizations, and CIRTL’s own Teaching-as-Research framework.

Researchers within the CIRTL Network have explored key questions about CIRTL’s work in a series of research briefs:

  • How do we build successful teaching development programs for future faculty?
  • How can we develop and sustain learning communities?
  • What do teaching-as-research programs look like across CIRTL?
  • How do teaching-as-research programs impact participants in those programs?
  • How do institutional leaders contribute to CIRTL’s work and sustain our collaborative community?
  • How does CIRTL produce local benefits at our member institutions?

Instructors who have collaboratively developed and taught CIRTL programming have turned their coursework into published research on student learning, professional development for educational developers, teaching-as-research, and equity in education (among many other topics).

  • Baiduc, R., Linsenmeier, R., & Ruggeri, N. (2016). Mentored discussions of teaching: An introductory teaching development program for future STEM faculty. Innovative Higher Education, 41(3), 237–254.
  • Colclough, T. M., Howitz, W. J., Mann, D., Kearns, K. & Hoffmann, D. S., (2023) “Meanings of community: Educational developers experience care, satisfying contributions, and belonging in a collaboration across institutions”, To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development 42(2): 9. doi:
  • Goldberg BB, Bruff DO, Greenler RM, Barnicle K, Green NH, Campbell LEP, et al. (2023) Preparing future STEM faculty through flexible teaching professional development. PLoS ONE 18(10): e0276349. 
  • Knezz, S.N., Pietri, E.S. & Gillian-Daniel, D.L. Addressing Gender Bias in STEM Graduate and Post-graduate Students Using Equity in STEM for All Genders Course. J Sci Educ Technol 31, 638–648 (2022). 
  • Prevost, L. B., Vergara, C. E., Urban-Lurain, M., & Campa, H. (2018). Evaluation of a high-engagement teaching program for STEM graduate students: Outcomes of the Future Academic Scholars in Teaching (FAST) Fellowship program. Innovative Higher Education, 43(1), 41–55.
Research has also been conducted on the CIRTL Network related to Network impact, role of boundary-spanners, etc.
  • Hill, L.B. Advancing SoTL through Boundary-Spanning Leadership: A Study of Four CIRTL Institutions. Innov High Educ 48, 1033–1054 (2023).
  • Hill, L. B. (2020). Understanding the impact of a multi-institutional STEM reform network through key boundary-spanning individuals. The Journal of Higher Education, 91(3), 455-482.
  • Hill, L.B., Savoy, J.N., Bantawa, B., & Austin, A.E. (2019). Factors of success: Building and sustaining teaching professional development opportunities for STEM graduate students and postdocs. Higher Education Research and Development, 38, 1168-1182.
  • Hill, L.B., Savoy, J.N., Austin, A.E., & Bantawa, B. (2019). The impact of multi-institutional STEM reform networks on member institutions: A case study of CIRTL. Innovative Higher Education, 44(3), 187-202. doi: 10.1007/s10755-019-9461-7
Other published works:
  • Austin, A. E., & Mathieu, R. D. (2021). Shared Leadership in a National-Scale Network: The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) as a Case Example. In Shared Leadership in Higher Education (pp. 182-194). Routledge.
  • Connolly, M. R., Lee, Y. G., & Savoy, J. N. (2018). The effects of doctoral teaching development on early-career STEM scholars’ college teaching self-efficacy. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 17(ar14), 1–15.
  • Mathieu, R. D., Austin, A. E., Barnicle, K. A., Campa III, H., & McLinn, C. M. (2020). The center for the integration of research, teaching, and learning: a national‐scale network to prepare stem future faculty. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2020(163), 45-53.
  • McDaniels, M., Pfund, C., & Barnicle, K. (2016). Creating dynamic learning communities in synchronous online courses: One approach from the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL). Online Learning, 20(1), 110-129.

Training learners throughout higher ed 

CIRTL has reached more than 10,000 learners across higher education with our unique teaching and learning pedagogy. CIRTL alumni have leveraged these experiences to jumpstart successful teaching careers in higher ed. 

CIRTL teaches participants across the continent through our online, “cross-Network” programming. Read about recent programming, our engagement, and evaluation feedback from participants in annual reports covering 4 years of cross-Network programming.

Teaching-as-Research (TAR) is CIRTL’s framework for developing reflective future faculty by applying scientific inquiry practices to  guide their own scientific exploration of contemporary questions in teaching and learning. This TAR core idea guides our work, and in the past 10 years more than 250 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers across the network have pursued TAR projects to deepen their knowledge of teaching and learning in their discipline. These projects become defining aspects of participants’ CIRTL experiences; you can hear TAR participants speak to the value of this work – as educators, as scientists, and as academics on the job market – in a Spring 2021 discussion.

Research based off of CIRTL’s teaching development model has shown that participation in teaching development helps future faculty improve their teaching skills, and can help improve their chances of getting a faculty position, without extending their time to degree completion.

CIRTL guides member institutions through the development of local CIRTL programs with context-specific teaching development opportunities.  

Return on investment

Annual institutional dues opens the door to benefits that start with our teaching development for future faculty and continue far beyond.

Future faculty from member institutions get priority access to courses, workshops, events, and teaching institutes on contemporary teaching and learning topics that reflect CIRTL’s pedagogy and expertise from across the Network. That expertise comes from more than 40 faculty and staff who volunteer their time each year to teach our programming, creating unique learning opportunities that break through institutional silos and expose our students to an international network of peers. “CIRTL Central”, the professional staff who manage the Network’s day-to-day operations, provide tailored support to students and instructors alike.

Staff and faculty from member institutions often partner on grant initiatives; recent initiatives include NSF’s INCLUDES Aspire, IUSE Change Leadership, IUSE Inclusive Teaching, and AGEP. When staff and faculty come into these partnerships without significant grant experience, peers across the Network provide mentorship and encourage leadership development in grant applications. Our funding impacts extend to grant opportunities within individual institutions, too. As an example, since 2014, 40 proposals for institutional grants at UT-Arlington have mentioned CIRTL membership and been awarded a total of $1,766,019.

Our Network is rooted in deep and genuine intellectual collaboration with colleagues at teaching & learning centers and graduate schools that are situated across political, cultural, and institutional contexts. That collaborative spirit feeds formal and informal communities of practice around contemporary issues in educational development; some of these communities produce novel teaching development programming that results in published research and conference presentations. We are also a member-led Network, with faculty and staff at member institutions serving in elected leadership positions to guide our organization growth, teaching development programming, and strategic directions.

Participant testimonials

“I think that one thing that set me apart when my institution was looking to hire was the fact that I had done the local CIRTL program as a graduate student and I had a teaching certification.”
Associate Professor
of Astrophysics
“CIRTL really shapes my ongoing perspective as a teacher. I'm constantly reaching out to resources within the network, friends and teachers, mentors that I met for support, but also those ideas and just that habit formed of thinking about our teaching, as research, trying new things, trying to make a difference. CIRTL really set that up for me.”
Associate Professor
of Psychology
“I liked how it created a network of educators all over the country that are working towards the same goals. It also gave me a valuable list of institutions that I would be interested in applying to jobs at knowing that they value these teaching practices.”
Fall 2023 Participant
in The College Classroom course
“My overall experience was very enriching. As someone with a life sciences background, I always found it difficult to apply learner-centered learning approach in a class where knowledge transfer mode of education is still the most common, due to the over-arching demands of syllabi and course materials. I learned some key skills about how I can improve student participation, boost levels of interest, modify course material to suit the needs of a diverse classroom, while also being able to finish the learning objectives, as needed.”
Fall 2023 Participant
in The College Classroom course
“So I often find these types of workshops to be maybe a little helpful or not as supportive of those of us with non-traditional backgrounds. But, in these sessions I didn't feel that at all - I felt like no one type or cluster of experiences was put out as superior or better. This was so incredibly helpful and I am so grateful I signed up for it - you've actually got me looking at more CIRTL workshops now.”
Fall 2023 Participant
in Writing an Effective Teaching Philosophy Statement workshop
“This course has been really useful for my research project. Working with CIRTL from my institution and from this course has been useful to learn from different perspectives and fields. Also, I felt guided and support[ed] during the course thanks to wonderful professors and classmates.”
Summer 2023 Participant
in Planning Your Teaching-as-Research course
“It has been a great course, I am really happy I did it. I learned a lot of new teaching techniques and ways to improve my teaching. The atmosphere was excellent, very supportive and everybody felt very comfortable participating in class and break out room discussions. The instructors have been amazing. The activities [were] really thoughtfully chosen and really adequate to apply the acquired knowledge. All activities and learning objectives [were] really well aligned. Thank you so much for this course.”
Sumer 2023 Participant
in First Year Faculty Teaching Academy course
“I have highly recommended this course to all of my lab mates! I am so happy that I participated in this as a first-year graduate student. I feel confident in moving forward in a mentorship capacity after taking this course.”
Spring 2022 Participant
in Research Mentor Training course
“I am incredibly grateful for these opportunities to learn and improve. Very few opportunities are provided through my program and I really feel like CIRTL is helping me improve and filling a gap in my training.”
Fall 2021 Participant
in Bring An Inclusive Mindset to Your Teaching workshop