WTFS | Call for Applications 2023-24

Scholarly teaching is what every one of us should be engaged in every day that we are in a classroom, in our office with students, tutoring, lecturing, conducting discussions, all the roles we play pedagogically… But it is only when we step back and reflect systematically on the teaching we have done, in a form that can be publicly reviewed and built upon by our peers, that we have moved from scholarly teaching to the scholarship of teaching [and learning].
– Lee Schulman, President Emeritus
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

This quote by Lee Schulman reminds us that our teaching flows into multiple spaces and is rarely absent from our everyday lives. It is through the mindful act of reflecting that we can transform a knot of messy experiences into a stream of clarity, knowing, and understanding. Yet reflecting and reflection do not come easily when one
is juggling the teaching of multiple classes, advising, grading assignments, squeezing in research and scholarly work, and providing service to the department, university, community, and discipline. The demands of teaching necessitate a clearing.

UW System’s Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars (WTFS) Program is designed to provide the time, space, and support to systematically reflect with UW peers in a stimulating and open-minded community and, ultimately, to move from “scholarly teaching” to the “scholarship of teaching [and learning].” Administered by the UW System’s Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID) and directed by UW System faculty, the WTFS Program is grounded in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). We continue our theme of Equity-Minded SoTL, an important emerging field of research in teaching and learning.

This is a call to faculty and instructional academic staff throughout the UW System to submit applications to their Provost’s office for the 2023-24 WTFS Program.

This year we are embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion into WTFS and are seeking participants to design and implement Equity-Minded SoTL. This thematic move represents the urgency with which we engage in a timely and newly developing field of research.

Your university will provide a $4,000 summer stipend, and cover your travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals. You will also receive $500 in Supplies & Expense from UW System’s OPID to support your SoTL work. We seek participants who demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching and learning, as well as an intellectual curiosity, spirit of collegiality, and commitment to the success of all students.

Common Questions

What is SoTL?

The Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) engages in systematic inquiry into student learning in higher education. As scholarship, it is made public for review and critique. The UW System was an early adopter of SoTL, partnering with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (CASTL) in 2000. Former UW System faculty leaders Tony Ciccone, Lisa Kornetsky, Bill Cerbin, and Nancy Chick held (or still hold) prominent positions in the international community of SoTL. Their legacy continues today with UW System’s Wisconsin Teaching Fellows & Scholars Program. The WTFS Program is a year-long learning community of SoTL practitioners who represent the UW System’s 11 comprehensive and two doctoral institutions. Collectively they form a vibrant interdisciplinary community with multi-faceted dynamic discussions and career-enhancing experiences for participants.


What does it mean to be equity-minded?

The WTFS Program adopts its equity-minded definition from the University of Southern California’s Center for Urban Education: “Equity-Minded practitioners question their own assumptions, recognize stereotypes that harm student success, and continually reassess their practices to create change.”


What happens in the WTFS Program?

The WTFS Program models effective teaching and learning, creating a community of learners among participants. Fellows and Scholars are guided through the process of designing a SoTL project with input
from participants and the program co-directors through year-long activities at the end of which SoTL projects are made public at OPID’s Annual Spring Conference on Teaching & Learning in Madison. While the process of a SoTL project helps participants explore a question about learning in depth, we also spend time together discussing pedagogy, learning science, assessment, alternative grading, and other challenges of teaching and learning.


Who do we seek?

We seek a diversity of participants from all disciplines to engage in quantitative, qualitative, interpretive, or a blended form of research.

  • Participants may be seasoned educators (Scholars) or early in their teaching careers (Fellows).
  • Faculty and instructional academic staff (instructors and lecturers) are welcome.


What are the characteristics of successful WTFS participants?

Intellectual curiosity; openness to new ideas, ways of thinking, and problem-solving; collegiality; commitment to a learning community; willingness to engage with an interdisciplinary group of diverse peers; and an underlying commitment to success of all students. Participants are willing to strengthen their already excellent teaching & learning approaches with an equity-minded lens.


What’s the difference between a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow and Scholar?

Fellows are typically non-tenured and launching their teaching careers. Teaching Scholars are more seasoned faculty with 10+ years teaching experience and tenure. Instructional academic staff – full-time instructors and/or lecturers – are also welcome to the WTFS Program. Participating in WTFS is an opportunity to reflect and (re)engage with innovative teaching and learning approaches.


How do you apply?

  • Contact your university’s Center for Teaching & Learning Director (Center names vary by university) and ask to apply. You will be asked to submit a letter, teaching & learning philosophy as it intersects with equity, diversity, and inclusion, an abbreviated curriculum vitae, and reference letter from your department chair or dean.
  • Although you may enter the WTFS Program with a research question in mind, we encourage you to bracket your assumptions until experiencing Faculty College and the WTFS Summer Institute. We invite you to engage in an emergent process with WTFS co-directors and participants, before settling on a SoTL question.



Willingness to travel to four events throughout the year:

  • Faculty College – May 30-June 2, 2023 – The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake
  • Summer Institute – June 12-16, 2023 – The Pyle Center, Madison | Lodging at The Graduate
  • Winter Institute – January 7-9, 2024 –The Fluno Center, Madison
  • Final meeting & Spring Conference on Teaching & Learning – April 18-19, 2024 –The Memorial Union, Madison


Consultation and recording of SoTL project’s progress throughout the program year.

Submission of SoTL project abstract to UW System.

Application Process

Each UW System university has its own application process and deadline.

The SoTL work of past participants are available on the UW System WTFS website listed under each cohort’s year. You may also want to speak to other faculty or staff who have been past participants in the WTFS Program over recent years. Keep in mind, however, that the slight shifts in this year’s WTFS program will differ from what past participants experienced.

For university specific information: Contact your Provost’s Office or your Center for Teaching & Learning Director.

For additional assistance: Contact the WTFS Co-Directors Valerie, Heather Pelzel,, or Fay Akindes, Director of Systemwide Professional and Instructional Development,, (608) 263-2684.

Applications are due to UW System via the WTFS Application Form by Tuesday, December 13, 2022 but are due at your university prior to this

Login with your UW university credentials is required. Appointment letters will be sent out January 2023.

Note: Components of the WTFS Program are subject to UW System’s Academic Programs & Faculty Advancement (APFA) budget. Dates are subject to change.