About the TLA

About the TLA

About the TLA


Program Mission

The TLA’s central mission is to create a community of scholars working to better understand and enhance the teaching and learning culture at Western Washington University (WWU) and beyond.


The TLA seeks to provide:

  • A cross-disciplinary space for dialogue regarding ways in which teaching and learning can be enhanced throughout the University and beyond.
  • A forum for fostering collaboration and bridging the gap between students and faculty/staff as well as building partnerships with the off-campus community.
  • A space that values diverse perspectives and works towards creating active communities.
  • Professional development resources and workshops that support both scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Dialogue Learning Outcomes

The goals of each dialogue session consists of sharing well-rounded views related to teaching and learning while encouraging the following:

  • Listening to understand and appreciate differences. 
  • Promoting open mindedness and mutual respect for diverse perspectives. 


In 1998, as a participant of the Carnegie Campus Conversations Program, Western Washington University made a formal agreement to create and implement a structure that promoted the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). In response to this agreement, the TLA was launched in 2001 by Dr. Carmen Werder as one way to support teaching and learning at Western, especially by listening to student voices. Focused on enhancing the learning culture at Western and beyond, the TLA invites faculty, staff, students, and community members to participate in regular dialogue sessions.

From fall of 2000 until winter of 2018, the TLA dialogues consisted of developing an annual study question related to teaching and learning, and spending the majority of the year addressing the question. At the start of the academic year (fall quarter) participants brainstormed and composed a BIG question that they then studied during winter quarter, and responded to in spring quarter. Using the overarching question as a guide, participants devised a range of teaching and learning proposals during the spring quarter and also celebrated successful teaching and learning practices with a culminating Academy Awards event.  

During 2018, the program was restructured to expand the dialogues and address multiple topics related to teaching and learning. Rather than selecting one study question for the year, TLA participants now meet throughout the quarter to share their perspectives related to current teaching and learning topics and dilemmas.