CASTL Institutional Leadership Program

In 2006, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in combination with Texas A&M submitted a proposal (“Peer Review of Teaching and Learning”) to become an institutional leader for The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and The Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) Higher Education Program.

  • Amy Burnett, Ph.D.  [team contact person]:  Professor of History - UNL
  • Amy Goodburn, Ph.D.: Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences - UNL
  • Paul Savory, Ph.D.: Associate Professor, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering - UNL
  • Nancy Simpson, Ph.D.: Director, Center for Teaching Excellence - Texas A&M
  • Dana Fritz, M.F.A.: Associate Professor of Art - UNL
  • Jessica Jonson, Ph.D.: University Assessment Coordinator - UNL


Through our participation in the leadership cluster, “Expanding the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Commons,” we hope to share our model for faculty peer review, which supports faculty as they become more scholarly teachers and guides them in the exploration of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Specifically, we have two goals: (1) to assist affiliated institutions as they develop programs that assist faculty to document their teaching and the student learning that results; and (2) to promote the external review of the resulting documentation for further assessment, evaluation, and reward of teaching and learning.

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Texas A&M, our faculty development programs are structured around the development of course portfolios. Course portfolios are a proven and effective way of demonstrating excellence in both teaching and student learning. They also offer significant potential for the purpose of assessment, whether for promotion and tenure, for the recognition of outstanding teachers, for the evaluation of departmental teaching performance during program reviews, or for accreditation purposes.  On the basis of input from and discussions with other campuses in our cluster, we intend to draft detailed guidelines that can be used by external reviewers of individual course portfolios and meta-portfolios, to establish a network of reviewers capable of writing external reviews of teaching and learning, and to promote the exchange of ideas about how to increase the visibility and use of such external reviews for evaluation, assessment, and reward.


We are currently supporting about thirty UNL faculty and twenty-five Texas A&M faculty as they prepare course portfolios for a target course.  We have discussed the feedback we received from our presentation at the ISSOTL meeting in Washington D.C. and are considering how to identify potential external reviewers and to improve the process of obtaining those reviews for the course portfolios posted on our website.  At the cluster meeting to be held this year in Bloomington, we will summarize these discussions and ask for further feedback, in order to develop a consensus about the policies and structures necessary for the external review and assessment of teaching and learning. We will also propose hosting a PRTP workshop in the summer of 2008 for representatives of our affiliated institutions as well as for those of other interested schools. Workshop topics will include the history and role of PRTL, how to represent teaching with course (benchmark and inquiry) portfolios, and guidelines for creating a course portfolio.

Over the next year (2008-9), workshop attendees will write their own course portfolios, which will be posted on our website when completed. As part of this project, they will also write external reviews of portfolios already available on our website using the guidelines we have developed. We will monitor their progress via conference calls and possibly through video-conferencing. We continue to refine our external review guidelines based on the feedback we have received. Project team members will be available to travel to affiliated campuses as needed to support the process of creating these PRTL projects.

  • Publication of the book, Inquiry Into the College Classroom: A Journey Toward Scholarly Teaching (by P. Savory, A. Burnett, and A. Goodburn), Jossey-Bass, ISBN: 978-1-933371-25-2 (May 2007)
  • Conference working session: Using Course Portfolios to Develop Scholarly Teaching and SoTL at 2007 ISSOTL Conference (July 2007): Australia
  • Poster Session: Creating an Internet Repository for Course Portfolios at University of Nebraska-Lincoln Celebration of Teaching (March 2007): Lincoln, NE
  • Poster Session: The UNL Peer Review of Teaching Project at University of Nebraska-Lincoln Celebration of Teaching (March 2007): Lincoln, NE
  • Conference working session: Developing Institutional Faculty Communities to Review and Assess SOTL Work at the 2006 ISSOTL Conference (Nov 2006): Washington DC
  • Conference Poster Session: Internet Repository for Course Portfolios at the 2006 POD Conference (Oct 2006): Portland, Oregon
  • Conference working session: Developing Institutional Faculty Communities to Review and Assess SOTL Work at the 2006 POD Conference (Oct 2006): Portland, Oregon

  • 21 UNL faculty completed the first-year program of the project and developed benchmark course portfolios
  • 7 UNL faculty completed the advanced version of the project and developed inquiry portfolios