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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A Sampling of What Psychologists (and Some of You in Other Disciplines!) Engaged In SoTL Might Learn From Sociology

Written by Kathleen McKinney, Professor of Sociology & Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, Emeritus, Illinois State University; Maxine Atkinson, Professor of Sociology, and Tyler Flockhart, Graduate Student, North Carolina State University

We were honored to be invited to write, and submit for review, a paper for the journal, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, for their special section of ‘Cross Fertilization’ papers. In these papers, SoTL researchers from a discipline other than psychology offer ideas that might be of interest and use to psychologists doing or considering doing SoTL. Though our focus was on this sociology to psychology idea transfer, we believe some of what we discuss and illustrate in the paper might be of use to those in other disciplines as well. Thus, in this blog post, we briefly outline the content of our paper and provide a reference to the full paper.[1]

Recognizing the overlap between the disciplines of sociology and psychology as well as the significant contributions of psychologists to the research on learning and SoTL, we focus in the full paper on three areas in sociological scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and sociology that offer potential contributions to psychologists (and others) engaged in SoTL research. Though our suggestions come directly from the heart of theory and method in our discipline in general, we began by offering some grounding of our ideas in the history and literature on teaching and SoTL, specifically, in sociology as well as in the field of SoTL more generally. To do this, we offer example citations of early (1980’s) writing in the sociology teaching-learning movement and more recent writing in the field of SoTL that support the importance of both context and qualitative methods in SoTL research.

Drawing from analyses of content in the journal Teaching Sociology, we then offer a brief overview of the ‘face of SoTL in sociology’ that might be of interest to others by reviewing some of the recent trends in SoTL in sociology including what research methods are used, the topics covered, and a few common findings. This overview of SoTL in sociology shows, empirically, that sociologists value critical thinking and deep learning as important learning objectives, that active learning and strong relevance of content to students are both useful pedagogies, and that student attitudes as well as student demographics or group membership can be related to student learning. SoTL research in sociology is also evidence-based, is very often at the classroom level, and uses multiple methods or measures to gather data, though often including student self-perceptions of learning.

Next, we address the utility of the ‘sociological imagination’—as well as two related, example theories that involve social structure, stratification, and social interaction—as a perspective for further understanding of teaching, learning, and SoTL. The sociological imagination is the key threshold concept (Meyer and Land, 2006) of our discipline and this paradigm tells us that human behavior exists in social context. C. Wright Mills (1959) defined the sociological imagination as the intersection of individual biography and historical context and emphasized the importance of distinguishing between personal troubles and public issues. Thus, sociologists argue that viewing learning as something that happens within individuals without consideration of the historical and social context within which these individuals learn is a limited and problematic view. Based on the sociological imagination and sociological level theories, we then urge psychologists and others doing SoTL to include three sets of variables and measures in their SoTL research: demographic or sub-cultural, interpersonal, and contextual. Including such variables and measures, we argue, will improve SoTL research and our ability to understand findings, as well as increase teacher effectiveness and student learning. We briefly summarize several SoTL in sociology studies that include one or more of these types of variables. We also apply the sociological imagination to a concrete example of a psychological construct and a teaching-learning issue– that of studying self-efficacy for learning statistics– to illustrate the types of research questions and variables to measure that would stem from such an analysis.

We then discuss the value, and sociological examples, of qualitative methods for SoTL research. As many of you know, qualitative methods– such as ‘think-alouds’, interviews and focus groups, observation, open-ended survey questions, and qualitative analysis of student writing and other products –have a variety of characteristics that fit well with many SoTL research questions. “Qualitative data are data in verbal or textual or visual form. Such data are more detailed and more directly reflect the voice of the participant. Qualitative work generally uses a naturalistic and interpretive strategy. The participants’ understanding of the meaning of the phenomenon is critical. You can obtain rich and elaborate data, look for emergent themes, draw some ideas about process, and quote the actual words of your respondents.” (McKinney, 2007, p. 68). Qualitative methods and data may also be especially useful for including ‘student voices’ in our SoTL research and providing data to help us understand process and intervening variables– the how, when, why– in our studies. We end this section of our paper with a brief summary of several SoTL in sociology studies that use qualitative methods.

Finally, we conclude the article by offering numerous additional sociologically-based research ideas that stem from the sociological imagination and the use of qualitative methods. Though the paper focuses on what psychologists might learn from our ideas, we hope that some of you in other disciplines will enjoy the full paper and find some uses for our suggestions.

Blog References

McKinney, K. (2007). Enhancing learning through the scholarship of teaching and learning: The challenges and joys of juggling. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Meyer, J. H. F., & Land, R. (Eds.). (2006). Overcoming barriers to student understanding: Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge. London: Routledge.

Mills, C.W. (1959). The sociological imagination. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

 

[1] This post includes original text as well as edited excerpts from the full article: McKinney, K., Atkinson, M., & Flockhart, T. (2017). A Sampling of What Psychologists Engaged in SoTL Might Learn from Sociology: Cross-fertilization article. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. (in press, June). http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2017-19187-001/

 

 


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Student Teaching in Eastbourne, England: A SoTL Small Grant Project Grant One Year Later

Written by: Erin Mikulec and Jill Donnel, School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University

globalThe College of Education and the University of Brighton have worked in partnership for over 25 years to provide ISU students with the opportunity to complete half of their 16-week student teaching experience in schools in Eastbourne, England. However, to date, there has been no longitudinal research using multiple measures of data to investigate the impact(s) of the program. To that end, we proposed a study to examine the personal and professional learning outcomes of students who complete half of their student teaching in Eastbourne, England.

We began with a pilot study in October 2015 with five students participating in the program and collected the first iteration of data with a group of 18 students in February 2016. The students represented three different majors in the School of Teaching and Learning: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Middle Level Education. Prior to leaving for England, the students had completed eight weeks of student teaching in schools in Illinois.

The study included multiple measures of data over the course of the students’ 8-week experience in England:

  • Students completed pre-departure modules to help prepare them for living in England and to familiarize them with the English school system, the National Curriculum, and classroom management practices.
  • We then traveled with the students for the first week of their experience, where we participated in their induction and orientation activities, and accompanied them to their schools to meet their cooperating teachers. We held a focus group discussion after the school visit in which the students discussed their first day at school, their decision to participate in the program, and their expectations for their student teaching experiences.
  • Over the course of the semester, students completed weekly reflections. This allowed us as the researchers to observe growth and development over the course of the experience, rather than at a fixed point in time. Each reflection provided guided questions focusing on different aspects of teaching and also allowed for making comparisons between student teaching experiences in Illinois and England. Site supervisors from the University of Brighton visited and evaluated the students twice during the program. These reports were also collected as data and provided an external perspective on the students’ teaching practices.
  • At the end of the 8-week student teaching program, students completed a final reflection in which they discussed how they believed the experience had changed them personally and professionally, their challenges and successes, what they will take with them from the experience into their future classrooms, and their preparation to return home to the United States.

Although we are now in the final stage of collecting our third iteration of data, we have identified several emerging themes from looking at our first two cohorts of data. Our initial findings indicate that there were personal and professional learning outcomes across all three majors, within each major, and even several shared between two majors.  For instance, the data revealed that the experience led to increased self-confidence both personally and professionally, as well as an increase in cultural awareness, in and out of the classroom for all three majors. In terms of themes shared between two majors, Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education students reported that the experience helped them to practice differentiation in instruction, and to see the value of student choice in the classroom. Data from Elementary and Middle Level Education students indicated that their experience helped them to work with diverse student populations and to negotiate classroom management strategies that are different from what they had experienced during their student teaching placement in Illinois.

Across all program areas, the participants identified ways in which they believed that the English school system exemplified certain aspects of teaching that they had not seen in a similar manner in their Illinois placements. Overall, the initial findings indicate that the student teaching experience in Eastbourne provided participants with a hands-on opportunity to compare and contrast the U.S. and the U.K. educational systems. By finishing the remainder of their student teaching in England, the students were able to recognize differences in practices and how they could use this practical experience improve upon their own in their future classrooms.

With the third and final iteration of data concluding, we look forward to analyzing the remaining data and completing the project. We presented our initial findings at the ISSoTL conference in October, 2016 in Los Angeles, as well as at ISU’s University-Wide Teaching and Learning Symposium in January, 2017. Both presentations yielded constructive and positive feedback. In addition to submitting a manuscript for publication, the results from this study will also be used to inform practice in the School of Teaching and Learning’s student teaching program, both in Illinois and England.


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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.


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Assessing the Reach of the SoTL Advocate Blog

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

The SoTL Advocate blog started as an advocacy and outreach effort to provide news, ideas, and resources for those interested in SoTL at and beyond Illinois State University in November of 2014. Our intention at that time was to post one blog per week and see what happened, assessing the process periodically. Here we are, 30 months later, so it seemed like a good idea to see where things stood in terms of the status of this blog.

The SoTL Advocate uses wordpress.com for publication of the blog. Statistics are available for all blog managers to use that yield interesting data related to readership and reach of the blog as a whole and of individual blog posts. I accessed the stats for the SoTL Advocate last week and am pleased to report the following:

  • Since November of 2014, we have posted 133 individual blogs and have counted 7197 visitors to our blog. These visitors have combined for 12,119 views of various blog posts.
  • The SoTL Advocate is accessed, on average, 5 times/day by unique readers.
  • Blog posts have most typically been categorized as SoTL resources (65 tags), ideas for SoTL research (47 tags), SoTL news (43 tags), publishing (43 tags), or SoTL report/opinion (18 tags).
  • While posts have been written primarily by Kathleen McKinney and I, there have been over 20 guest bloggers who have had their work posted on the SoTL Advocate.
  • In any given week, the most popular time for this blog to be read is Monday evening at 7pm (CST).
  • Since November of 2014, the SoTL Advocate has been viewed over 10,000 times by individuals in 56 countries. Countries most frequently accessing the blog in that timeframe are as follows: the USA (8208 views), Canada (1074 views), Australia (692 views), the UK (349 views), Malaysia (192 views), the Philippines (186 views), Brazil (136 views), South Africa (81 views), India (77 views), Ireland (77 views), and the Singapore (62 views).

blog reach

  • The most popular blogs (measured by views from unique readers) posted to this site have been:
  1. Developing SoTL Research Ideas and Questions
  2. SoTL Applied: Evidence-based Strategies for Better Classroom Discussions
  3. SoTL Methodology Series #1: Case Study Research
  4. Application of SoTL: Strategies to Encourage Metacognition in the Classroom
  5. Might the 4M Framework Support SoTL Advocacy?
  6. Do We Need to Be Meta-theoretical in our SoTL Work?
  7. SoTL and Institutional Review Boards
  8. Reflections on the SoTL Scholar-Mentor Program
  9. Ideas for Engaging Students in SoTL: Notes from a Panel at the Annual Teaching-Learning Symposium at ISU
  10. Tips for Publishing SoTL Work

I have to admit that the readership of the SoTL Advocate was much larger than I had anticipated, and that we truly have a global readership. It would seem that the blog that Kathleen McKinney and I started has realized its mission (at least in part!) of being a useful resource for individuals interested in SoTL at and beyond Illinois State University. For that, I am thrilled. Thanks to the readers who have read and shared blogs from this site. Your readership and support is very much appreciated!

This recent assessment of the SoTL Advocate has led to clear areas of emphasis for this blog in the future:

  • Our global readership needs to be represented with global authorship! While we have posted blogs written by individuals from Canada and England, it would be wonderful if we could feature SoTL opinions, reports, and ideas from outside the United States with greater frequency.
  • The SoTL methods series (started in 2015 then shelved to cover other topics) will be resurrected in 2017. The three methods blogs that were posted were among the most read in the blog’s history.
  • Applied SoTL blogs are also quite popular, with posts featuring information about how to apply extant SoTL research being frequently accessed by readers. As such, resources will be devoted to increasing the number of applied SoTL blogs, moving forward.

More ideas are percolating, so stay tuned. Feel free to comment with suggestions below, as inspiration is always welcome.

Again, thanks for your support of the SoTL Advocate!


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Spring Break & Call for Contributors

There will be no SoTL Advocate post this week, as it’s time to enjoy a mid-term break!

While away, we would invite you to consider submitting a post for this blog. Ideas might include — but certainly aren’t limited to:

  • a report of a SoTL project that discusses preliminary/pilot/final data
  • ideas for a new SoTL project
  • reflection on involvement in SoTL as a researcher, mentor, or student
  • literature review that leads to application of extant SoTL research
  • directions for SoTL in the future
  • examples of cross-disciplinary or cross-institutional SoTL advocacy, research, or activity
  • visual representation of SoTL (e.g., documentary)
  • resources for others to use in terms of SoTL advocacy and/or outreach
  • tips for fellow SoTL researchers
  • information re: SoTL in individual disciplines

Blogs (or questions about authoring a blog) should be submitted to Jen Friberg (jfribe@ilstu.edu) and should adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Blogs should be 750-100 words in length.
  2. Blogs are subject to editor review prior to acceptance for publication.
  3. The voice of the blog is up to its author. Feel free to write formally or conversationally, whatever best matches the blog topic.
  4. Blogs can include visuals. Provide a reference if image is not open-sourced or author-owned.
  5. If appropriate, please include a reference list for any citations in your blog. A suggested reading list is appropriate, as well.
  6. All blogs should include author affiliation and contact info (e.g., email address)


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Sometimes, there is more than the road…

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

Last fall, my son was struggling to complete a two-mile run in the required time frame to qualify for his high school’s varsity soccer team. Despite having met all other requirements, a nagging injury was making this last sksponge bobill particularly difficult.  On his third try, he was able to cross the finish line under the required time period…thankfully! Evidently, as he ran, my son channeled Sponge Bob*, chanting “focus on the road…there is nothing but the road” to concentrate on each step he took until his task was accomplished. In this case, a singular focus was appropriate and successful.

Why do I share this story about my son? Last week, I had a long conversation with a former colleague about SoTL advocacy. This colleague suggested that the only necessary advocacy for SoTL on a college campus involved provision of financial support for faculty SoTL research and associated travel. She went on to say that it was the role of individual faculty members to advocate for their SoTL research and to choose to involve (or not involve) students in these endeavors. Her assertion was that my role as a campus advocate for SoTL was so one-dimensional immediately reminded me of my son’s Sponge Bob quote. My colleague clearly believed that for SoTL advocacy, the focus should be only on the road (research support). I would argue there is much more to attend to!

In my view, SoTL advocacy is complex and is necessarily deep and broad, involving a variety of stakeholders across a host of contexts. In July, I questioned whether the 4M framework could support SoTL advocacy. As I prepared my internal FY17 report for my institution’s administration, I’ve listed the accomplishments of my office as aligned with the major objectives that were set a year ago. Additionally, I’ve assessed successes in advocating for SoTL in at the micro, meso, macro, and mega levels. Though this was not a requirement of my institutional review, I felt there might be benefit in understanding which levels might need more support, moving forward. A few strategies that I’ve employed this year in each area of the 4M framework are described below:

       
Micro

(individual level)

Meso

(departmental level)

Macro

(institutional level)

Mega

(beyond institution)

·   Designed leveled SoTL workshops for faculty (Intro series and “master” classes for those with SoTL experience.

·   Co-created a certificate program for graduate students to learn about SoTL and plan a SoTL project with a disciplinary mentor.

·   Developed a mechanism to provide annual reports to college Deans and department/school directors to outline SoTL involvement and productivity for faculty and students. ·   Provided travel funds for 14 faculty to attend twelve different national/international research conferences to present their SoTL research.

·   Provided support for two new disciplinary SoTL journals.

·   Provided consultations to two departments, detailing efforts to increase visibility of SoTL on campus and acceptance of SoTL for promotion and tenure. ·   Utilized ISU’s SoTL Resource group to aid in strategic planning, workshop topic identification, and advocacy priorities.

Looking at my activities since July, I can now fully appreciate the perspective slotting each into micro, meso, macro, or mega categories allows. I feel as though I have been most effective at providing support for SoTL on the micro, macro, and mega levels; however, I noted that there is likely more for my office to do at the meso level. This information is important and has aided in setting goals for my office for FY18 — and would have been missed in the planning process without this extra analysis. Overall, this process helped me answer my question from July – yes, the 4M framework can be helpful in considering many aspects of SoTL advocacy. I would now argue that it can help plan AND assess advocacy efforts with an eye towards identification of opportunities for improvement.

Reflecting on needs and accomplishments has helped me draft major FY18 objectives for my office. While I may tinker a bit before these are finalized, I envision the following as the focus of the coming fiscal year:

  1. Harness social media and other web-based platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, SoTL Advocate blog, Cross Chair website) to promote SoTL and provide resources for ISU faculty, staff, students, and administration.
  2. Support the design, completion, and dissemination of SoTL work by ISU faculty, staff, and students.
  3. Engage in internal and external collaborations to increase the visibility of and acceptance for SoTL at ISU and beyond.
  4. Increase involvement in SoTL nationally and internationally by members of the ISU community.

This process had led me to wonder how others how others engage in assessment of their SoTL advocacy efforts. Are there other models or frameworks being used? What are the metrics you use to determine successful advocacy or to anticipate needs for the future?

*Screen shot taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0fORGwg45M. While I am not a fan of Sponge Bob, I was happy to see that my son’s television viewing when he was younger was actually useful to him at a later age!