In 1998, Western Washington University became one of approximately 150 campuses nationwide to affiliate with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Spearheaded by Dr. Kris Bulcroft (then the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education), the SOTL initiative provided a venue for the longstanding engagement with teaching that faculty have had on this campus.

As a participant in the Carnegie Campus Conversations Program, WWU made a formal commitment to create a structure for promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) and to approach the relationship between teaching and learning as research. With a SOTL summer fellowship from President Karen Morse, Dr. Carmen Werder (current Director of the TLA) worked with Bulcroft to create a thematic approach to “Recognizing, Reflecting on, and Rewarding the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning,” which has formed the basis of Western’s SOTL program.

Out of Western's affiliation with the Carnegie Campus Conversations Program emerged a permanent structure for supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning: The Teaching-Learning Academy. The Provost’s Office supports the TLA with a half-time Director position.