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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New Volume of Gauisus Published

The fifth volume of Gauisus, ISU’s internal, multimedia SoTL publication was published today. This volume features the work of 26 Redbirds (13 faculty and 13 students) across six departments/schools. Work in this volume is organized into two tracks: SoTL Research and Scholarly Approaches to Teaching. The Scholarly Approaches to Teaching track is new to this volume and represents an effort to highlight application of SoTL research to inform decision-making. Abstracts and hyperlinks for each article can be found below.

The call for Volume 6 of Gauisus is now open. Past volumes of Gauisus can be accessed here. Happy reading!

 

TRACK: SoTL Research
Math Anxiety Among First-Year Graduate Students in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Jamie Mahurin Smith • Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Students in allied health fields use math for a variety of tasks in their classes and in the field. Math anxiety can interfere with completion of these tasks; no published reports describe the prevalence or extent of math anxiety in this population. Two cohorts of first-year graduate students in communication sciences and disorders (CSD; n = 73) used the modified Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Survey to evaluate their own math ability and math anxiety. For many of the survey items, a strongly bimodal response pattern was observed. Across both cohorts, one group of students felt confident and competent with regard to math-related tasks, while another group reported anxiety and doubt. The presence of strongly divergent feelings about course material may present challenges for instructors and students alike. Potential responses are discussed.
Acquiring Global Competencies at Illinois State University
Maria Schmeeckle, Editor • Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Our “Senior Experience” research capstone class sought to answer the following question: “What types of global competencies are college seniors acquiring at Illinois State University, and what school-sponsored experiences allow them to acquire these competencies?” To answer this, our team of nine students conducted 30 semi-structured interviews with a diverse group of students in their senior year at Illinois State University. We focused on seven competencies identified by ISU’s Office of International Studies and Programs: Critical Cosmopolitanism, Social Cohesion, Cultural Sensitivity, Social Responsibility, Intercultural Communication, Bilingualism, and Global Dexterity. We found that almost all of our participating seniors perceived that they had acquired some degree of the seven global competencies and found them to be important for their lives. Interview participants reported the highest exposure to cultural sensitivity, social responsibility, and intercultural communication, and the lowest exposure to bilingualism. Within course-related activities, classes and professors appeared to be the best sources of global competency development. Within non-course-related activities, student organizations were mentioned the most often. In their final reflections, the research team suggested that the university make greater efforts to help students realize that they are acquiring global competencies, which are tangible skills in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.
The student researchers collaborated on all aspects of the research process, including refining research questions, reading and synthesizing the literature, developing the interview guide, conducting interviews, transcribing and analyzing the interviews, summarizing the findings, and connecting findings back to related studies and ISU’s internationalization efforts. In alphabetical order, the student researchers were: Jonathan Aguirre, Michael Drake, Felicia Kopec, Alicia Ramos, Shelby Stork, Stacy Strickler, Erin Sullivan, Annie Taylor, and Melisa Trout.
Improving the Graduate Student Experience thought Out-of-Class Experiences
Rebecca AchenSchool of Kinesiology and Recreation
Clint WarrenSchool of Kinesiology and Recreation
Hannah JorichSchool of Kinesiology and Recreation
Amanda FazzariSchool of Kinesiology and Recreation
Ken Thorne
 • School of Kinesiology and Recreation
This study evaluated student experiences and learning outcomes related to the professional field trip, which is designed to encourage connection between students and improve professional skills. Twenty-two graduate students attended the trip to Milwaukee, WI, where they participated in a networking event with industry professionals, toured an arena and Marquette athletics, and attended a baseball game. The trip was evaluated using pre- and post-trip surveys, a focus group, and interviews with professionals that the students interacted with. Results suggested the trip met students’ expectations, improved their connection to their cohort, clarified their professional goals, and improved their networking skills.
Using Simulations to Improve Interprofessional Communication and Role Identification between Nursing Student and Child Life Specialist Students
Peggy Jacobs• Mennonite College of Nursing
Sheri KellyMennonite College of Nursing
Keri Edwards • Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Lynn Kennell Mennonite College of Nursing
Cindy Malinowski Mennonite College of Nursing
Based on Recommendations by the World Health Organization to improve patient outcomes through teamwork and communication, the college of nursing collaborated with the child life specialist program to incorporate interprofessional collaboration into existing simulations. A quasi-experimental design with a pre and post-test regarding roles was used to discover how 3rd semester undergraduate nursing students and 3rd semester graduate child life specialist students (CSL) communicate during four simulated pediatric care scenarios. Consenting to participate were 49 nursing students and 4 CLS students.  The intervention group included a CLS. Videotaped simulations and audio taped debriefings were evaluated with the validated Interprofessional Collaborator Assessment Rubric (ICAR). Significant differences were found in communication and collaborative patient family approach. Nursing students showed greater growth in role understanding of the CLS (pre-13.69, post-14.13) compared to the CLS of the nursing role (pre-8.6, post-9.4).  Students recognized the need to continue to improve their teamwork and communication.
Challenging Pre-Service Teachers; Evolutionary Acceptance in Introductory Biology
Rachel Sparks• School of Biological Sciences
Rebekka Darner Gougis• School of Biological Sciences
In this study, we examine the efficacy of an instructional intervention on pre-service teachers’ acceptance of evolutionary theory. We used diagnostic question clusters with ORCAS (Open-ended questioning, student Responses, Contradictory claims, Assessment of contradictions, and Summary) discourse to elicit students’ prior knowledge and compel evaluation of claims with evidence. Pre-and post-instruction evolutionary acceptance, nature-of-science understanding, and conceptual knowledge about evolution were measured qualitatively and quantitatively, indicating the instructional treatment was effective in fostering acceptance and understanding of evolution. We discuss implications for further research and preparing pre-service teachers for teaching evolution concepts.
TRACK: Scholarly Approaches to Teaching
Exploring the Designed Environment and Human Behavior Course
Taneshia West AlbertDepartment of Family and Consumer Sciences
Miyoung HongCollege of Architecture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Core competencies such as analytical skills, content knowledge, and awareness of human behavior set the foundation for learning among emerging interior design professionals. A human behavior course is the perfect medium to synchronize these ideas in the context of interior design challenges. Presently, significant gaps exist regarding the pedagogical approaches that prepare interior design students to integrate these skills into innovative design solutions. This paper discusses how objectives identified through the literature review influence the creation of lecture activities, project assignments, and student assessment to meet each identified objective. The authors offer respective strategies for building the course curricula.
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First CSI-SoTL Student Cohort Earns Certificates

Written by Jennifer Friberg, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL and Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Illinois State University

CSI-SOTL reception photo

Last Thursday, April 13, 2017, eleven ISU students were recognized at a reception for completing the Certificate of Specialized Instruction in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CSI-SoTL). Representing ten disciplines and four colleges, these students earned this certificate by completing three program phases:

  • In Phase 1, students attended a series of three workshops in the fall of 2016 to learn about SoTL and scholarly teaching (SoTL and My Teaching and Learning, Planning a SoTL Project A, and Planning a SoTL Project B).
  • Phase 2 engaged students in a 1:1 mentoring experience with a disciplinary faculty mentor who had experience in SoTL. Students and their mentors designed a SoTL research project focused on a teaching/learning question identified by the student, problem-solving methodological issues, human subjects research considerations, and possible audiences for their SoTL work. While students were not required to conduct the SoTL project they planned, each student left Phase 2 with a blueprint to complete this project in the future.
  • Phase 3 consisted of individual, written reflection on SoTL, scholarly teaching and learning, the CSI-SoTL program, and the mentor/mentorship process.

The CSI-SoTL program was co-developed and co-sponsored by the Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL and the Graduate School at ISU. Both units would like to acknowledge both the students who earned their CSI-SoTL certificates as well as their faculty mentors, who volunteered their time and expertise to support their mentees this semester:

Taylor Bauer, COM (Mentor: Dr. Maria Moore, COM)

Olga Cochran, ENG (Mentor: Dr. Susan Burt, ENG)

Patricia Huete, SOC (Mentor: Dr. Frank Beck, SOC)

Matt Johnson, CHE (Mentor: Dr. Jean Sawyer, CSD)

Elizabeth Jones, ENG (Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Friberg, Cross Chair)

Jillian Joyce, COM (Mentor: Dr. Cheri Simonds, COM)

Theo Nzaranyimana, AGR (Mentor: Dr. Rob Rhykerd, AGR)

Mijan Rahman, ENG (Mentor: Dr. Susan Hildebrandt, LLC)

Lauralyn Randles, SED (Mentor: Dr. Olaya Landa-Vialard, SED)

Joe Rice, POL (Mentor: Dr. Michaelene Cox, POL)

Raj Sankaranarayanan, TEC (Mentor: Dr. Anu Gohkale, TEC)

Congratulations to all CSI-SoTL participants!

For additional information regarding the CSI-SoTL program, email Jen Friberg (Cross Chair in SoTL, jfribe@ilstu.edu) or Amy Hurd (Director of Graduate Studies, arhurd@ilstu.edu). 


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Bringing Together Academic Librarianship and SoTL

Written by Lauren Hays, Instructional and Research Librarian at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS. ldhays@mnu.edu  @Lib_Lauren

This post is in a sense declaring a hoped-for/planned career emphasis.  Let me introduce myself.  I am a librarian, academic, and SoTL enthusiast.  SoTL entered my professional career rather suddenly and unexpectedly.  Perhaps other academics start their careers with a narrowly defined scope.  I did not.  I just knew I loved higher education.  It was in my blood and bones.  Conceivably this was because I grew up living in married student housing while my dad pursued his Ph.D., which is where I remember seeing The Chronicle of Higher Education arrive weekly in the mail.  My love for higher education, though, is also likely due to my innate curiosity about the world and everything in it.

When deciding on a career, I decided to become a librarian because, well, why not?  I loved learning, books, students, and the buzz of academic life.  Those things are in the library, right?  After completing a masters of library science, I started work as an instructional and research librarian.  Working as a librarian is an excellent fit for me.  I enjoy research, students, faculty, and yes, the administrative work that comes along with working in a library.  My undergraduate degree, though, was in education, and at times I found myself missing the teaching and learning discourse in which I heard teaching faculty engage.

Early in my career I sought a professional network.  Margy MacMillan from Mount Royal University, who I had met through my library network, spoke passionately about SoTL.  From her descriptions, I knew I had to dig deeper.  Furthering my knowledge of SoTL confirmed that this was an area of academia where I wanted to focus my career.  Therefore, I decided to continue my education and pursue a Ph.D.  To be accepted into the doctoral program where I eventually enrolled I had to have a solid idea for my topic of study.  Therefore, I spent a lot of time reading about SoTL and academic librarians.  In my reading, I read about SoTL’s impact on faculties’ identities, and wondered if SoTL would have a similar impact on academic librarians’ identities.  This curiosity led to my current study on academic instruction librarians’ involvement in SoTL.  As I learned in a review of the literature, academic librarians do not always see themselves as teachers (Austin & Bhandol, 2013; Houtman, 2010).  Yet, teaching is an important part of many librarians’ jobs (Westbrock & Fabian, 2010; Wheeler & McKinney, 2015).  I also learned that librarians experience similar paths to becoming teachers as teaching faculty (Walter, 2005).  I anticipate defending my dissertation proposal this summer and starting to collect data after June.

My doctoral work has been all-consuming, but it has afforded me the opportunity to read a lot of journal articles.  As I dig deeper into the SoTL literature, I see the teaching and learning I want to discuss.  I see how my work as a librarian and the study of teaching and learning are complimentary.  Academic librarians support the full curriculum and teach information literacy.  Instruction librarians spend a lot of time thinking about teaching methods and the best ways to help students become literate in information.  Practical examples of this include the numerous presentations on teaching and learning at conferences such as LOEX and the Association of College and Research Libraries.  Additionally, the Association of College and Research Libraries published a Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education built on threshold concepts.  Prior to the Framework many librarians were unfamiliar with threshold concepts, and that led to debate about the Framework.  The debate surrounding the Framework underpinned my interest in engaging with the broader teaching commons—it is too easy to silo ourselves.

The work I see other librarians doing and the need for information literacy skills makes me eager, and impatient, for the time after dissertation writing when I can spend even more time with my work as a librarian, a SoTL researcher, and maybe someday an administrator with responsibilities bringing together SoTL and librarianship.

Specifically, I dream of future projects that center around:

  • Information literacy
  • Librarian-faculty teaching partnerships
  • Student-librarian partnerships
  • Teaching and learning in the Library and Information Science classroom
  • SoTL in faculty development
  • Signature pedagogies for information literacy
  • Co-curricular teaching and learning
  • Educational technology
  • And hopefully other projects that will benefit students

It is also a goal to connect the academic library community with the SoTL community.  I have colleagues who have done tremendous work in this area, and I hope to work alongside them.  Declaring a career trajectory is a little scary, but good too.  SoTL is a wide and varied field.  There is much I can imagine doing.  So, to all who paved the way and made SoTL what it is, thank you.  To all of you doing the good work of teaching and learning today, thank you.  And to all who will come after, I hope I can help create a path that will make librarianship, teaching, learning, and SoTL even better.

*For more information on librarians and SoTL, and to view the call for proposals for the forthcoming book The Grounded Instruction Librarian: Participating in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (working title) published by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2018, please visit http://bit.ly/librarianSoTL.

*Special thanks to Cara Bradley, Jackie Belanger, Rhonda Huisman, Margy MacMillan, and Melissa Mallon for being such great colleagues.

Blog References:

Austin, T., & Bhandol, J. (2013). The academic librarian: Buying into, playing out, and resisting the teacher role in higher education. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 19(1), 15–35. http://doi.org/10.1080/13614533.2012.740438

Houtman, E. (2010). “Trying to figure it out”: Academic librarians talk about learning to teach. Library and Information Research, 34(107), 18–40. Retrieved from http://www.lirgjournal.org.uk/lir/ojs/index.php/lir/article/view/246

Walter, S. (2005). Improving instruction: What librarians can learn from the study of college teaching. In P. Genoni & G. Walton (Eds.), Currents and Convergence: Navigating the Rivers of Change: Proceedings of the Twelfth National Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries, April 7-10, 2005, Minneapolis, Minnesota  (pp. 363-379). Chicago, IL: Association of College & Research Libraries.

Westbrock, T., & Fabian, S. (2010). Proficiencies for instruction librarians: Is there still a disconnect between professional education and professional responsibilities ? College & Research Libraries, 71(6), 569–590.

Wheeler, E., & Mckinney, P. (2015). Are librarians teachers? Investigating academic librarians’ perceptions of their own teaching roles. Journal of Information Literacy, 9(2), 111–128. http://doi.org/10.11645/9.2.1985

 


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University-School Partnerships and Pre-Service Teacher Preparation: A Travel Grant Report

Written by Sherry Sanden, Assistant Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.18.48 PMWith support from a SoTL Travel Grant awarded by the Office of the Cross Chair in SoTL at ISU, I attended the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida in February, 2017 to present a paper titled Examining the Impact of Multi-Year School-University Partnerships on Pre-service Teacher Learning. In this presentation, my research colleagues and I explained our planning, implementation, and outcomes of the exploration of a university-school partnership that enabled us to prioritize and study three significant components of ISU pre-service teachers’ learning: their classroom field experiences, the in-service teachers with whom they worked, and the university structures that supported them in the field.

In our presentation, we explained how we supported the preparation of ISU pre-service teachers through a collaborative partnership between our early childhood teacher preparation program and a local public elementary school. Important components of the partnership included 1) two-day per week pre-student teaching clinical experiences in the kindergarten through Grade 3 classrooms of the partner school for a full year; 2) weekly collaborative sessions between the pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and clinical supervisors; 3) a content course for the pre- service teachers, co-taught in the school setting by an early childhood faculty member and in-service teachers from the partner school; and 4) professional learning opportunities in the form of book studies conducted by early childhood faculty members and attended by pre-service and in-service teachers.

Relying on focus groups and interviews with pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, school administration, and university faculty; as well as on observations of pre-service teacher instruction, interactions, and reflections occurring across the school year, we evaluated the ability of the partnership to support the growth of pre-service teachers while maintaining the mission of the school in educating its student population. Utilizing the perceptions of all stakeholders and participants, we determined some aspects of the partnership that appeared to be most beneficial in supporting growth in the pre-service teacher participants, including strong and frequent faculty presence in the school setting, a university course embedded on site, support and mentoring for the pre-service and in-service teachers, and a consistent year-long location for teacher candidates. Demonstrated gains included a) increased pre-service teacher confidence in their practice, (b) improved teaching skills and abilities among pre-service teachers, and (c) stronger relationships and greater collaboration among pre-service and in-service teachers, school administrators, and university faculty.

Implications from this study include more clarity regarding the critical aspects involved with university-school partnerships, a better understanding of how pre- and in-service teachers can be mutually supported, and ultimately, identification of ways that clinical experiences can be maximized through a partnership model. Our interactive presentation provided an opportunity to discuss structures of university/school partnerships in the varied contexts of our presentation attendees. As we explained the results and implications of our ISU partnership practices, we provided opportunities for our audience to share questions or suggestions that further expanded our ideas. I believe this collaborative sharing inspired all of us to delve more deeply into the possibilities for partnerships that move beyond the traditional methods of placing pre-service teachers in schools and toward mutually beneficial collaborative relationships.

Our research work and subsequent presentation at ATE were consistent with the conference theme of Teacher Educators: Inspiring the Future, Honoring the Past in its goal of exploring innovative ways to improve on established methods of teacher education. Having the opportunity to share with teacher educators outside ISU the ways we have studied the learning of our ISU teacher candidates allowed all of us to grow in our understanding of options for building even stronger supports for university/school relationships in support of pre-service teacher growth as well as of methods of studying that important work.