Who We Are
The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) is an NSF Center for Learning and Teaching in higher education. CIRTL uses graduate education as the leverage point to develop national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) faculty committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences as part of successful professional careers. The goal of CIRTL is to improve the STEM learning of all students at every college and university, and thereby to increase the diversity in STEM fields and the STEM literacy of the nation.
The CIRTL Network
To prepare the future STEM faculty of the nation, CIRTL must influence graduate-through-faculty preparation in teaching and learning at a significant number of research universities. Building on the CIRTL Core ideas, we propose to achieve this goal through a learning community of diverse research universities mutually engaged in teaching-as-research activities.
Established in fall 2006, the CIRTL Network was comprised of Howard University, Michigan State University, Texas A&M University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Vanderbilt University. After a substantial expansion in 2011, the Network now includes 23 research universities across the nation. The diversity of these institutions—private/public; large/moderate size; majority-/minority-serving; geographic location—is by design aligned with CIRTL's mission.
CIRTL Core Ideas
The CIRTL Core Ideas, often referred to as the Pillars, are at the foundation of all that CIRTL does: Teaching-as-Research, Learning Community, and Learning-through-Diversity. The teaching-as-research and learning community ideas formed the basis of the CIRTL proposal and strategic plan. Enhancing learning for all students has been woven into all CIRTL initiatives since the beginning, but only late in the first year of the project did we recognize the importance of making learning-through-diversity an explicit third foundational concept.
- Teaching-as-research 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 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 capitalizes on the rich array of experiences, backgrounds, and skills among STEM undergraduates and graduates-through-faculty to enhance the learning of all. It recognizes that excellence and diversity are necessarily intertwined.
For more information about CIRTL and the CIRTL Network, please visit the main CIRTL site.