The Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (CASTL-HE) partners with academic programs across the University of Virginia to apply the principles of evidence-based assessment to the relationship between college teaching and pedagogy and student learning outcomes. CASTL-HE seeks to improve undergraduate, graduate, and professional student experiences at UVa and beyond through the practice of a rigorous science of postsecondary teaching and learning.
If you are looking for information about the evaluation of teaching at the PK-12 level, please go to the CASTL website: http://curry.virginia.edu/research/centers/castl.
If you are looking for assistance with your teaching or professional development opportunities related to teaching at UVa, please go to the Teaching Resource Center website: http://trc.virginia.edu/.
To date, research on postsecondary teaching and learning has generally bifurcated into two tracks. Those concerned with the professional development of faculty have furthered the teaching track, which examines pedagogical innovations that are thought to improve instructional practice. Those concerned with institutional quality assurance have advanced the learning track, which investigates student learning outcomes, sometimes with or without attending to how college environments may shape such learning. These related lines of research have largely remained separate – until now. CASTL-HE endeavors to become the global leader in the evidence-based study of postsecondary teaching and learning by linking the examination of instructional practice to student learning outcomes.
In March, 2007, the University of Virginia's seventh President, John T. Casteen III, convened the Commission on the Future of the University, a group charged with advancing the prior work of the Board of Visitors's Special Committee on Planning by proposing specific strategies to distinguish the University in the next decade and beyond.
Less than a year later, President Casteen and the commission co-chairs presented preliminary findings to the Board of Visitors at its February 2008 meeting. The board passed a resolution supporting the broad strategies named by the commission, and asked the commission to present specific initiatives to achieve these strategies at the Board's meeting in the fall.
Commission co-chairs presented a number of initiatives for consideration at the Board's October 2008 meeting, one of which was the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. The Board accepted the commission's recommendations, allocating start-up funds for the center and authorizing the hire of its first director. Thus, CASTL-HE was born.