Investigating Implementation of the CIRTL Pillars

The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) was established to create a model professional development program in teaching and learning that would prepare current and future faculty to be effective science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators for diverse student audiences.

Three key ideas have become known as the pillars of the CIRTL program:
• Teaching-as-research (TAR) is the deliberate, systematic, and reflective use of research methods by STEM instructors to develop and implement teaching practices that advance the learning experiences and outcomes of both students and teachers
• Learning communities (LC) bring together groups of people for shared learning, discovery, and generation of knowledge. To achieve common learning goals, a learning community nurtures functional relationships among its members.
• Learning-through-diversity (LtD) recognizes that excellence and diversity are necessarily intertwined. True learning-through-diversity capitalizes on the rich array of experiences, backgrounds, and skills among STEM undergraduates and graduates-through-faculty to enhance the learning of all.

CIRTL is working to disseminate the transformative concepts of TAR, LC, and LtD nationally as a strong, unified approach that can improve STEM learning of all students at every college and university.

CIRTL staff are analyzing four years of evaluation data gathered through implementation of the Delta Program in Research, Teaching, and Learning. Staff will use the results of the analysis to provide evidence of the effectiveness of the CIRTL pillars-based model of professional development to the universities involved in the CIRTL Network and, more broadly, to guide and underpin national efforts aimed at improving student learning in STEM through future faculty training.


Robert Mathieu


Completed on December 31, 2012