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

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.


scholarship of teaching and learning, distributed leadership, community of practice

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ISSN 1527-9316