Written by Kathleen McKinney, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, Emeritus, Illinois State University
We have argued for some time that the findings and implications of SoTL work are insufficiently applied—beyond, and sometimes within, their original context–to other students, audiences/stakeholders, courses/modules, programs, disciplines, institutions, and so on. This volume provides representation of some efforts to make this leap of application to other and broader contexts. Of course, a book about the application of SoTL findings and implications to different and broader contexts is also a book about SoTL advocacy. Using SoTL in these ways to enhance teaching and learning increases awareness of SoTL, and promotes SoTL and what it can do for our students and institutions.
In this edited volume we explore scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) ‘projects’ and the applications of what is learned via those projects to levels beyond the individual classroom. In our Introduction, we discuss our SLaM framework about the application of SoTL including the Sources of SoTL findings and implications for application, the Levels at which SoTL results and implications can be applied, and the institutional and disciplinary Mechanisms which can be used to apply SoTL findings and implications. In addition, we offer concrete, specific examples of SoTL reflection/studies and applications providing lessons learned or suggestions for others. These examples include two brief illustrations from our institution and nine others in contributed chapters from authors at many institutions. Finally, Pat Hutchings wraps things up with a concise and thoughtful Conclusion.
This book is unusual in its truly international character with contributors from five nations (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Singapore, United States). It is also intentionally diverse in terms of emphasis on the SoTL project vs. the applications; foci of the SoTL project and applications; strategies for obtaining, and the nature of, evidence; the types of sources, levels and mechanisms of application; institutional culture; views of SoTL; and writing styles. Finally, our contributors represent numerous disciplines including business, communication, education/learning studies, English, faculty/educational development, family studies/human development, health sciences, informatics, philosophy, psychology, student support, and social work.
As discussed in the Introduction, our SoTL tent for this volume is quite expansive. Readers may even disagree whether some of the efforts to obtain evidence on teaching and learning for application as presented in this volume are, in fact, SoTL. This, we hope, will make for interesting conversations and collaborations, and encourage additional work with our SLaM model, and SoTL reflection/studies and applications around the globe.