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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Seeking Applications for ISU’s 2018-19 Chizmar-Ostrosky University-Wide SoTL Award

STATE_YourLearningThe call for applications for the 2018-19 Chizmar-Ostrosky University-Wide SoTL Award is now open! Have you contributed to ISU and/or your discipline through research on teaching and learning? Has your SoTL work changed your practice as an educator —  or the practices of others? Consider applying for recognition of your work! Join past recipients who contributed to the discipline of SoTL in a number of innovative and impressive ways. Details for prospective applicants are outlined below. Contact Jen Friberg, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL with questions (jfribe@ilstu.edu).

Purpose of Award: To recognize and encourage high quality scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) work at Illinois State University and in the discipline beyond our institution that contributes to the SoTL field, the SoTL body of knowledge, improved teaching, and enhanced student learning. This award contributes to the external, positive reputation for SoTL work at ISU and supports

Educate-Connect-Elevate’s efforts toward “generating high-quality scholarship,” “supporting student learning,” and “developing serving the region, state, nation, and world through commitments to meaningful…development of global citizens.”

Eligibility: SoTL at ISU is defined as evidence-informed and systematic reflection or research on the teaching and learning of our students that is made public. This award focuses on SoTL efforts and will not be awarded for traditional, disciplinary scholarship that is not SoTL-oriented. All faculty members and academic staff at ISU are eligible for this award.

Selection Criteria: Recognizing that a cluster of SoTL contributions may be equal to that of one outstanding project, this award allows a broad application of the following criteria:

  • Evidence of high quality SoTL work, which can include (but is not limited to) presentations, publications, creative representations, mentoring peers/students in SoTL, and/or service to SoTL at or beyond ISU.
  • Evidence that applicant’s own SoTL work has influenced the teaching work of the applicant or of others at or beyond ISU.

Selection Process & Time Frame: The Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL chairs the award selection committee. The committee reviews the application materials (see below) using the selection criteria above, and selects up to one recipient each year. The award is administered through the Cross Chair in SoTL and the Office of the Provost. The award recipient will be announced in time for the 2019 University-Wide Teaching & Learning Symposium and Founders Day.

Required Elements of Application:

  1. A narrative summary of SoTL projects (3-5 double-spaced pages, maximum), internal or external funding, presentations, publications, videos, web representations, and related professional service that contextualizes the SoTL work of the applicant.
  2. A reflective statement about the nature and field of SoTL, the place of the applicant’s SoTL work in his/her discipline and/or within the cross-disciplinary SoTL movement, and the impact of his/her work on own/others teaching and learning at ISU and beyond (including any evidence for impact). This document should not exceed 5 double-spaced pages.
  3. Copies of selected SoTL products (publications, presentations, etc.).
  4. Current curriculum vita, highlighting contributions to SoTL at and beyond ISU.
  5. Internal letters of support from at least two colleagues or administrators at ISU.

Recognitions and Obligations for Award Recipient

  • Monetary award ($3,000) and plaque.
  • Recognition at Founders’ Day, ISU’s University-Wide Teaching & Learning Symposium, and on the ISU web site.
  • The award recipient will give an address about their SoTL work, open to all faculty, staff, and students following receipt of the award.

Submission of Applications

All award applications should be prepared and submitted to Jennifer Friberg, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, in one of two formats no later than 4pm on Monday, October 26, 2018:

  1. In hard copy format, with all required/optional elements of the application printed and organized in a three-ring binder (or similar). Hard copy applications should be delivered to the ITDC building, Room 120 for submission.
  2. In electronic format, with all required/optional elements of the application saved as individual PDF documents with clear labels for each document (e.g., APPLICANT LAST NAME – Vita). Electronic applications should attached within one email message to jfribe@ilstu.edu for submission.

 

 

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Seeking Input About SoTL Across the Teaching Stream

The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning’s (ISSoTL) Advocacy and Outreach Committee (A&O) is interested in gathering stories about full-time teaching-stream faculty’s experiences engaging in SoTL. Various names for these teaching-stream positions include, but are not limited to, instructional limited term faculty, permanent but not eligible for tenure, equivalent to tenure-track (eligible for tenure), etcetera (we will be collecting part-time instructors’ stories in a later phase of our project – watch for that call).

Building on our SoTL A&O Committee session at ISSoTL in Calgary in 2017, we wish to collect these stories to compile them (with no names or other identifiers unless you expressly ask us to include your name) into a web-based resource for members on the ISSoTL website. We also intend to offer a session at ISSoTL 2018 to examine the narratives and their compelling themes and hope to write a paper for the ISSoTL journal, Teaching and Learning Inquiry. We are inviting you to participate in this research study by submitting your narrative as outlined below.

We are particularly interested in collecting a wide range of teaching-stream perspectives on the following issues (feel free to add your own to this list):

  1. Are you able to engage in SoTL?
  2. When you engage in SoTL, what barriers or supports do you encounter that are related to your position?
  3. Are SoTL grants or other forms of monetary research support available to you?
  4. Are there other exclusions or incentives for engaging in SoTL relating to your position?
  5. What supports or institutional factors (including culture) would assist you in engaging in SoTL within your institution?

Please view the types of resources given on ISSoTL Advocacy and Outreach webpage at http://www.issotl.com/issotl15/node/114. Please comment on those and tell us what additional tools could the A&O Committee provide to support your SoTL work.

Along with your responses to the above questions, when submitting please include your name and email (for contact purposes only; these will not be shared with others), and the nature of your appointment: its title/type and any other defining characteristics of your appointment. We recommend up to 500 words and hope that you would not spend more than 30 minutes (likely less) writing it. Your notes do not have to be in full narrative format – you are welcome to write a narrative or to send bullet points or other notes.

Please also indicate whether you wish a) to have your name (and any other identifiers included), or b) to have the narrative treated as confidential, or c) to have the narrative re-written, by combining with other narratives, into a synthesized new narrative. These options are offered as we wish to respect your right to give voice to your experience and be identified for that, but we also respect your wish to not be identified. We do not anticipate any negative risks to you in participating in the study of these narratives. We do, however, encourage you to carefully consider whether you want your name associated with your narrative, as you may wish to submit your narrative in confidence.

If you choose option a) or b), submissions may be edited or shortened, with your permission, for use on the ISSoTL webpage.

By submitting your narrative, you indicate that you 1. have read and understood the relevant information 2. may ask questions in the future 3. are giving your free consent to research participation. Your submitted narratives will be stored on my password-protected computer and destroyed after 3 years. Your identity will be known only to me unless you ask to have your name included with your narrative when it is uploaded to the website.

As noted above, the narratives will be included on the ISSoTL website, included in conference presentation, and a paper submitted to the ISSoTL journal. We will notify you via the ISSoTL listserv to let you know when each of these is occurring.

The study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance though the Brock University Research Ethics Board (file #17-348).If you have any questions pertaining to your participation, please contact Dr. Nicola Simmons, Principal Investigator at nsimmons@brocku.ca or by telephone at 905-688-5550, extension 3137. You may also contact Brock University’s Research Ethics Office (reb@brocku.ca (905)688-5550, ext. 3035) who can provide answers to pertinent questions about the research participants’ rights.

If you have any questions about your participation, or if you wish for any reason to withdraw at any time, please contact Dr. Nicola Simmons at nsimmons@brocku.ca or by telephone at 905-688-5550, extension 3137. Your participation is of course voluntary. You may withdraw at any time, including after your narrative has been posted to the website. If you do withdraw, your data will be deleted as immediately as possible. There will be no penalties to you of any kind for withdrawing or refusing to participate.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Nicola Simmons (nsimmons@brocku.ca). If you agree to participate, please forward your narrative notes to Nicola Simmons at nsimmons@brocku.ca.

We warmly encourage you to share this call with colleagues.

With many thanks in advance,
A&O Teaching Stream Sub-Committee
Nicola Simmons, Lauren Scharff, and Diana Gregory

Please note, this call for input was cross-posted on the ISSoTL listserv.

 


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Giving the Reading of SoTL Impact

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

On my flight home from a conference in sunny Austin, Texas last week (as I type this it’s snowing in Illinois, so the “sunny” descriptor is a happy recollection!), I had the opportunity to catch up on some journal reading that had accumulated. One piece I was interested in reading was an editorial from the most recent issue of InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching. Written by Nancy Chick, this work (titled Does Reading SoTL Matter? Difficult Questions of Impact) discussed the issue of impact in SoTL and questioned the influence of reading SoTL on a practitioner’s teaching and on student learning. In doing so, Chick raised a troubling question in the minds of her readers: what if reading SoTL doesn’t lead to any change in teaching or learning practice? I’m fairly certain that SoTL researchers don’t produce their work to have it NOT inform future teaching and learning practices. So, are we missing the “application” boat where we take what we read and use it to solve teaching and learning problems?

readI hate to think that SoTL reflects the trend identified in medical fields (“journals are not good at getting doctors to change and improve their practice”). However, I do feel as though the impact of reading SoTL research could easily be diminished without some sort of purposeful process of reflection, discussion, and/or integration – in the same manner that research says our students learn new skills. What might that look like, though? Chick suggests several wonderful options (a SoTL Journal Club, the use of small networks to discuss SoTL, and greater access to SoTL research via open access mechanisms to make discussions about our SoTL readings possible).

The overarching suggestion in this article was that those of us who read SoTL should “talk with others about what these readings make [us] think about.” I agree, for in that practice, there IS impact. Honestly, think about it. If you read SoTL research and then engage in discussions about what you’ve learned with others, you (very likely) consider your readings more deeply and puzzle over application of the study’s outcomes more thoroughly. Sharing leads to a deeper understanding — and perhaps use — of what we’ve read.

After reading Chick’s article, I spent the remainder of my plane ride thinking about other ways in which conversations about our own SoTL readings might be encouraged –beyond those suggested in the article. I have a few suggestions, across a variety of stakeholder groups/levels. These look a lot like general advocacy suggestions for SoTL, though each is tied to the specific practice of reading SoTL, with subsequent advocacy (aka: sharing) building impact over time:

  • Help peers develop an awareness of SoTL. If they don’t know a body of research about teaching and learning exists, they will never attempt to read it! Share resources where evidence on teaching and learning can routinely be accessed. Explain – explicitly — how you’ve used SoTL readings to alter your teaching practice(s). Take it one step further and detail how reading SoTL led you to conduct your own SoTL study.
  • Seek out formal and informal ways to share new knowledge derived from reading SoTL with colleagues or other stakeholders such as students, department or campus administrators, disciplinary leaders, and/or community members. Summarize what you’ve learned in newsletters, staff meetings, emails…any communication mechanism that allows for an exchange of this information. Approach your institution’s teaching and learning center to suggest programming based around reading SoTL to inform a scholarly approach to teaching.
  • Mentor students in reading and applying SoTL research. Share insights about learning with students to help them develop scholarly approaches to learning as well as scholarly approaches to teaching.
  • Add value to what you share with campus administrators about the SoTL you read by tying new knowledge from your SoTL readings to updates to the mission/vision of the institution or to its strategic plan. Advocate for evidence-informed thinking about next steps for your campus.
  • Use social media to share summaries of SoTL research with relevant stakeholders. Give an overview of what you read, then provide a link to the primary source for further exploration. Ask questions to encourage discussion among your “followers” to further develop ideas related to your SoTL readings.
  • Network at conferences to share case studies of how reading SoTL research has led to pedagogical change. This is particularly important at disciplinary conferences as widespread understanding of SoTL research is less obvious in those contexts than is typically evident at a teaching/learning conference.

These ideas in no way constitute an exhaustive list! Please feel free to add suggestions from your own context/practice below in the comments section! Happy SoTL reading – and sharing!

Blog References

Chick, N. L. (2017). Does reading SoTL matter? Difficult questions of impact. InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 12, 9-13.

 

 

 


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Decoding was a Success!

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

Late last week, a total of 41 faculty from ISU participated in one of two Decoding the Disciplines events on campus. Sponsored by the Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, these events featured Dr. David Pace, Emeritus Professor of History at Indiana University and co-creator of an approach to spanning the novice-to-expert gap called “Decoding the Disciplines.”

First, an event for faculty in ISU’s Department of History was held at Milner Library. Nineteen faculty joined in a discussion about SoTL and Decoding the Disciplines. They worked to identify bottlenecks in their curriculum where a Decoding approach might be beneficial to supporting student learning and curriculum planning. Attendees were privy to the first-ever whole group Decoding interview, where Dr. Pace simultaneously interviewed the entire faculty to identify whole program bottlenecks for future attention and focus.

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History faculty engrossed in small group discussions about disciplinary bottlenecks

The following day, 22 faculty from across campus experienced a full-day Decoding workshop, learning about each of the seven steps of the process. Participants identified student learning bottlenecks one or more of their classes, then brainstormed together on approaches for Decoding interviews and possibilities for collecting and sharing data to reflect pre- versus post-Decoding student learning.

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ISU faculty learning about the steps of the Decoding the Disciplines process

The establishment of a Teaching/Learning Community to continue these Decoding conversations is underway. Specifically, faculty have expressed an interest in looking more deeply into:

  • The impact of bias in the identification of bottlenecks
  • The relationship between knowing and doing in courses where the essence of the experience is understanding process
  • Differences between faculty and student visions of a goal for a class, project, or assignment
  • Understanding ways to approach emotional bottlenecks

These Decoding experiences would not have been possible without the assistance and support received from the Office of the Provost, Ross Kennedy (Chair, Department of History at ISU), Richard Hughes (Associate Professor, History at ISU and co-planner of the History Department event), and Beth Welch.

A list of Decoding the Disciplines resources can be found in this recent blog post.