The SoTL Advocate

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Descriptive Summary Report of Outcomes of SoTL URG Grants from 2001-2002 to 2014-2015

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By Kathleen McKinney, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, Illinois State University


For each of the 14 academic years since 2001-2002, there has been a competition for internal Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) University Research Grants (URGs).[1] At Illinois State University, SoTL is defined as the systematic study/reflection on the teaching and learning of our ISU students made public. Approximately $20,000 each year was awarded, through a peer review process, for a total of about $280,000 across the 14 years.[2]

Descriptive Data on Recipients/Grants

A total of 63 SoTL URGs were funded in these 14 years. These grants represent work in most departments and in all the academic colleges as summarized below:

  • 6 of 8 departments in the College of Applied Science and Technology
  • 11 of 16 departments in the College of Arts and Sciences
  • 2 of 4 in the College of Business
  • 3 of 3 departments in the College of Education
  • 3 of 3 in the College of Fine Arts
  • 1 of 1 in the College of Nursing

In terms of departments/schools, the most involvement in grants [3] (the total number of times a department/school affiliation was listed by research team members) was from the following departments:

  • Psychology (26)
  • Educational Administration and Foundations (11)
  • Criminal Justice Sciences (10)
  • Communication Science Disorders (9)
  • Teaching and Learning (8)
  • Agriculture (8)

In addition, during two years of the SoTL URG program, applications were required to be from departments, programs, or units and to involve unit teams. Those four grants were awarded to Criminal Justice Sciences, the College of Nursing, the School of Communication, and the Urban Pipeline Program.

Finally, individuals from the following departments/units were also involved in one or more grant teams over the 14 years:

Agriculture, Art, Biology, Family and Consumer Sciences, Dean of Students, English, Health Sciences, History, Information Technology, Languages, Literatures, and Culture, Management and Quantitative Methods, Marketing, Mathematics, Music, Nursing, Politics and Government, Social Work, Sociology/Anthropology, Special Education, Student Government, Teaching and Learning, Technology, and Theater.

Data on Outcomes/Products

Via email requests, lead researchers were asked to submit lists or citations of what they perceived as outcomes/products of their grant(s). Information was obtained for 39 of the 63 grants (or 62%). Therefore, the data reported below is limited to those responses. It is unknown what biases in the data, if any, exist from this response rate.

As the grants were awarded over a period of 14 years, the time frame for the creation of outcomes or products varies from 3 months past the end of the grant/project to 13 years and 3 months past the end of the grant/project. As expected, then, it was often (though not always) the case that there were fewer outcomes from grants just completed in the last couple of years. A condition of the grant funding was that researchers were to present their findings at our local teaching-learning symposium and submit a brief report, reprint, or link to a poster or paper to be posted on line.

Descriptive Data on Outcomes

The outcomes or products submitted for the 39 grants for which responses were received were coded into eight general categories:

  • External publications (e.g., peer reviewed SoTL or disciplinary pedagogical journals) (N=33)
  • Internal publications (e.g., internal SoTL journal, newsletter, department publications etc.) (12)
  • Videos, performances, blogs (2)
  • External presentations (e.g., regional, national, international conferences, workshops, etc.) (50)
  • Internal presentations (e.g., department/campus meetings, our annual teaching-learning symposium) (37)
  • Other grants (internal or external) (5)
  • Under review/in progress (7)
  • Other (positively affected career, used for tenure, used in administrative reports, etc.) (6)

Thus, a total of 152 grant outcomes were listed, which represents an average of just under 3.9 outcomes per reported grant, thus far. There were 47 publications/videos etc. and 87 presentations. The most common outcome submitted was one or more external presentations followed by internal presentations and external publications.

[1] A list of grantees (researchers, departments, and grant title) by year is available at

[2] The total amount was slightly more than this as, in some years, a small additional amount from the Cross Chair in SoTL regular general revenue was added to the URG funds to support part of an additional grant. Four additional grants for a total of $20,000 were awarded for 2015-2016. As these research projects are just beginning and no outcomes have yet occurred, these four grants are not included in this report. This amount and this report also do not reflect the funding and outcomes of SoTL travel grants or mini-grants.

[3] The same individual and his/her unit affiliation were counted each time he/she appeared on a different grant. Some PIs listed student research team members and their departments; others did not. When listed, students’ department affiliations were counted.


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