Our focus is on student learning and how best to create an environment that stimulates its development. We do not exist primarily to foster excellent teaching; we are here to help foster deep learning in our students. Teaching is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
As a research-intensive university we seek to approach teaching and learning in a scholarly manner. This means that we will explore the existing research and theoretical literature on what it means to learn, how best to foster its development, and how we and our students can best understand its meaning and progress. We recognize that recent decades have produced a revolution in research on the personal and social forces that can influence learning and that these findings can inform our educational practices and thinking. We know that we can learn from studies of best practices in teaching. But we also recognize that there is still much to learn about the factors that influence learning.
Most of us come from disciplines that do not study human learning, but as professors we are all engaged in trying to help and encourage other people to learn.
Those of us who study human learning recognize that sometimes subtle and complex actions and environments can either encourage or thwart learning, and we recognize that the complexity is so great that we have much work to do to understand how to create the most powerful learning environments.
We seek, therefore, to help all faculty members explore the existing scholarship on learning and to use that scholarship to inform their educational practices. We hope to produce nothing short of a revolution in higher education.