The SoTL Advocate

Supporting efforts to make public the reflection and study of teaching and learning at Illinois State University and beyond…

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From October 22-25, 2014, the annual meeting of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) was held in Quebec City, Canada. Approximately 500 faculty members from all over the globe attended this conference which focused on “nurturing passion and creativity in teaching and learning.” The program for this conference can be found at the ISSOTL conference website.


Various sessions and meetings were held for attendees:

  • Individual Papers: 200+ sessions featuring faculty presenting SoTL research in 30-minute time slots.
  • Plenary Presentations: Five sessions for all conference attendees to focus on creativity and passion in teaching and learning
  • SIG meetings: meetings for affiliates of ISSOTL’s 10 special interest groups (Advancing Undergraduate Research, Arts and Humanities, General Education, National Teaching Fellows/Teaching Award Winners, Pedagogy and Research for Online and Blended Teaching and Learning, Problem-Based Learning, Scholarship of Leading, Sociology, Students as Co-Enquirers, and Student Engagement)

One interesting feature of the plenary presentations was the “live scribing” completed by Brianna Smrke. She worked to conceptualize the content of each plenary visually, and managed to do so quite uniquely! The example below comes from George Bordage’s plenary titled, Three Lessons from Educational Psychology: Spacing, Deliberate Mixed Practice, and Formative Testing.


ISU faculty attending and/or presenting at ISSOTL this year included Kathleen McKinney (Cross Chair in SoTL), Heidi Harbers (CSD), Jen Friberg (CSD), and Maria Moore (COM). All travel to ISSOTL was funded, in part, by the office of the Cross Chair in SoTL at ISU. Information about funding sources for travel to SoTL conferences can be found at

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What is Gausius?


Gauisus is ISU’s internal publication which highlight’s SoTL research conducted by ISU faculty, staff, and students. First published as a print edition in 2009, Gauisus was reconceived as a multi-media publication in 2013 to include SoTL work taking place at ISU which is consistent with ISU’s definition of SoTL: the systematic study/reflection of the teaching and learning of ISU students. Earlier this spring, the second issue of Gauisus (first multi-media issue) was completed, with five projects published as part of this issue. Interested readers can access the Spring 2014 issue of Gauisus here.

The Cross Chair in SoTL is accepting submission for the third issue of Gauisus, scheduled to be published in the spring of 2015. The official request for submissions for the upcoming Gauisus can be found at Also, due to the fact that Gauisus submissions undergo a double-blinded peer review, the Cross Chair is seeking qualified reviewers at this time. Information for potential reviewers can also be found by visiting the request for submissions page at Feel free to email Kathleen McKinney ( or Jen Friberg ( with questions!

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Welcome to ISU’s SoTL Blog!

Welcome to the SoTL Advocate, the blog established by the Cross Chair in SoTL at ISU to highlight the SoTL work of ISU faculty and to encourage discussion amongst the SoTL community at ISU and beyond. It is anticipated that this blog will publish various types of posts to encourage discussion and appeal to a variety of stakeholders interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education. Types of posts anticipated include (but aren’t limited to!):

  • SoTL News: announcements of grants, programs, awards, conferences, and other opportunities for faculty, staff, and/or students by the Cross Chair in SoTL
  • Reports of SoTL Research: invited posts from SoTL researchers describing their projects, methods, or other unique aspects of their SoTL work
  • SoTL to Inform Scholarly Teaching: practical outcomes and applications from SoTL projects to support the work of course instructors seeking an evidence-base for their course design/implementation
  • Resource Sharing: links to websites, articles, and/or various media for readers to support teaching and learning efforts

The intent of this blog is to provide information to, and foster discussion amongst, those interested in SoTL. To to this end, this blog’s focus will ideally reflect the interests of ISU faculty, staff, and students with regard to SoTL. Thus, we are interested in hearing from you regarding topics and/or discussions you’d be interested in seeing featured on the SoTL Advocate. We welcome ideas and feedback in the comments section below!