WU-CIRTL Philosophy & Objectives

A professional-development program for graduate students and postdoctoral appointees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Philosophy and Objectives

WU-CIRTL is a Teaching Center program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are preparing for future faculty positions in STEM disciplines. The WU-CIRTL program is designed to be the starting point for a faculty career that includes the practice of scholarly teaching, which involves
  • Reflecting on and assessing one’s own teaching.
  • Developing knowledge of, and implementing, evidence-based pedagogy by drawing on research from the cognitive and learning sciences, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and discipline-based education research.
  • Developing knowledge of research methods that may be applied to evaluate teaching and learning.
The program is designed with multiple levels (Community Member, Associate, Practitioner, and Scholar) to enable participants to build on introductory-level TA-training to increase their expertise in evidence-based, active-learning pedagogies.
Participation in WU-CIRTL engages future faculty in a learning community, beginning with the STEM Pedagogies Workshops, and continues via opportunities to take part in an Introduction to Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) course and the WU-STAR SoTL Internship.

All of these opportunities are informed by an active-learning (learn-by-doing) approach. Throughout their membership in the WU-CIRTL learning community, graduate students and postdocs benefit from mentoring by Teaching Center staff and experienced STEM faculty, as well as from formal and informal reflection on teaching.


WU-CIRTL creates a learning community of future faculty in STEM who practice scholarly teaching by
  • Learning about, and engaging in, evidence-based approaches that can improve learning for diverse undergraduates.
  • Designing strategies for incorporating and evaluating these approaches in STEM courses.
  • Developing structured methods for reflecting on and refining teaching. 
  •   Developing knowledge of, implementing, and presenting SoTL research and methodologies.*​
​*Applies to Practitioner level and above

Administration and Support

The Teaching Center develops and administers the WU-CIRTL program in coordination with Kathryn Miller (Chair and Professor of Biology and CIRTL Institutional Leader), the WU-CIRTL Steering Committee, and the national CIRTL Network.
In 2011, Washington University became a member of CIRTL. The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) is a network of universities dedicated to preparing future faculty who will be equipped to meet the challenges of improving learning and increasing diversity in STEM.

The CIRTL network is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Great Lakes Higher Education Foundation.
Please see CIRTL Network​ page for more information.