SANTPEN’s SoTL Journey: Building and Using a SoTL Approach Across Institutions

Main Article Content

Deborah West
Helen Stephenson


In the current higher education environment, providing high quality teaching and learning experiences to students has moved beyond desirable to essential. Quality improvement takes many forms, but one core aspect to ensure sustainable improvement is the development of a culture of scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). Developing such an institutional culture is surprisingly challenging yet essential to improving the status of teaching in higher education (HE), being successful in teaching and learning awards and grants, and, improving the student experience. The Australian Government’s Promoting Excellence Network initiative funds networks to foster collaboration between HE institutions to improve outcomes in national learning and teaching award and grant programs. Supported by this funding, the South Australian / Northern Territory Promoting Excellence Network (SANTPEN), a grouping of six institutions, formed. Bringing together a diverse network of institutions, similar only by virtue of geographic location is challenging. This paper describes the first three years of SANTPEN’s journey from the context of our own development with the concept of SoTL and how we applied this to build a culture of SoTL in and between our institutions. It also demonstrates how a modest budget can be put to effective use to benefit those immediately involved, institutional objectives and the aims of the national funding body. We provide evidence of this effectiveness and conclude with our collective aspirations for the future of SANTPEN and other likeminded and funded networks.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
West, D., & Stephenson, H. (2016). SANTPEN’s SoTL Journey: Building and Using a SoTL Approach Across Institutions. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(5), 107–122.
Case Studies
Author Biographies

Deborah West, Charles Darwin University

Project Manager: Teaching and Learning, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, Flinders University, Bedford Park, South Australia, 5042, Australia

Helen Stephenson, Flinders University

Director, Office of Learning and Teaching, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, 0909, Australia


Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015a). Australian standard classification of education.Canberra, Australia: ABS. Retrieved from: AF001FCA57?opendocument

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015b). Data by Region. Canberra, Australia: ABS. Retrieved from:

Australian Learning and Teaching Council (2011). Request for Expression of Interest: StateBased Promoting Excellence Networks. Strawberry Hills, Australia: ALTC.

Australian Learning and Teaching Council (2010). Transforming learning and teaching in Australian higher education: ALTC strategic plan 2010 - 2013. Strawberry Hills, Australia: ALTC.

Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Lawrenceville, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Brew, A. (2012). Developing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at an Institutional Level. Unpublished conference presentation at the International Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, 24-27 October, Hamilton, Canada.

Bryman, A. (2007). Effective Leadership in Higher Education: A Literature Review. Studies in Higher Education, 32(6), 693-710.

Dawson, P. (2012). Principles and Practices of Effective Teaching [Video Podcast]. Retrieved from:

Sanderson, G. (2013). Innovating and Transforming University Teaching Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Proceedings of the TARC International Conference on Learning and Teaching: Innovation and Transformation in Higher Education Conference Proceedings, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 21-22 October 2013, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.

Southwell, D., Scoufis, M. & West, D. (2008). ‘Caught between a rock and several hard places’: Cultivating the roles of the Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) and the Course Coordinator. Strawberry Hills, Australia: Carrick Institute.

Trigwell, K. (2012). Scholarship of teaching and learning. In L. Hunt & D. Chalmers (Eds) University Teaching in Focus: A learning-centred approach (pp. 253-267). London: ACER Press and Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Vardi, I. (2010). The changing relationship between the Scholarship of Teaching (and Learning) and universities. Higher Education Research and Development, 30(1), 1-7.

Von Krogh, G., Nonaka, I., & Rechsteiner, L. (2011). Leadership in organizational knowledge creation: A review and framework. Journal of Management Studies, 49(1), 240-277. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2010.00978.x

Wenger, E., McDermott, R. A., & Snyder, W. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge: Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

Whitney, D., & Trosten-Bloom, A. (2010). The power of appreciative inquiry: A practical guide to positive change. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.