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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Call for Proposals: Banff Symposium on SoTL

Call for proposals: Banff Symposium on SoTL
Proposals due: May 8 2016
The Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada invites you to submit proposals to our 7th annual Symposium on SoTL, Nov 10-12, 2016.  The Symposium is a practitioners’ conference dedicated to developing teaching and learning research, sharing initial findings, going public with results of completed projects, and building an extended scholarly community.  Proposals are encouraged from students, faculty, administrators, or community members committed to the systematic scholarly inquiry into aspects of teaching and learning in a higher education setting.
Conference theme: Learning in and Across Disciplines
Participants at previous Symposia have told us how much they value the connections they make across roles, disciplines, and institutions. We encourage presentations that demonstrate collaborations with students, with other instructors, and among multiple disciplines and contexts.
Conference tracks:
  • Research on teaching and learning – presentations on active or completed SoTL projects
  • Involving undergraduate students in SoTL – presentations on best practices or example projects where undergraduate students are acting as co-researchers
  • Teaching and learning with technology – presentations on the utility and impact of technology for teaching and learning
  • Collaborating beyond the single classroom – presentations on multi-class, interdisciplinary, or cross-institutional projects
  • Methodologies and innovative approaches to data gathering and analysis – presentations providing a ‘how to’ introduction to specific research methods and theoretical frameworks
  • Calls for collaboration, triangulation, and development (poster session only) – poster presentations that share early-stage research questions with the objective of establishing connections with like-minded researchers
Full conference details here:
twitter: #ssotl16

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SoTL Funding Opportunities @ ISU

The Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL at ISU is offering opportunities to secure funding via two different grant programs over the next weeks and months. Each of the funding mechanisms is described below:

SoTL Small Grants: This program provides scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) small grants to study the developmental and learning outcomes of ISU students. Research proposed may be quantitative or qualitative in nature and focus on class, course, program, department, cross-department, and co-curricular levels. All SoTL work must be made public and peer reviewed in some way via presentation, performance, juried show, web site, video, and/or publication. For 2016-2017, projects must focus on a teaching-learning issue(s) explicitly related to out-of-class learning opportunities experienced by ISU students. This would include, but is not limited to study abroad, civic engagement experiences, service learning, involvement in co- or extra-curricular activities, and so on. Grants of up to $5,000 are available. Funds may be used for any appropriate budget category (e.g., printing, commodities, contractual, travel, student help, and salary in FY17). We expect to award 4-5 grants. All awards, however, are subject to the availability of funds and to the actual offering of any course, study abroad program or other event needed to conduct the SoTL research. Additional information related to this opportunity can be found here.

SoTL Research Mini-AwardsThe Office of the Cross Endowed Chair is calling for applications for SoTL Research Mini-Awards for June of 2016. The purpose of these awards is to provide a small amount of funding to support work on SoTL projects (fitting the definition above) that are currently in progress (e.g., design stage, IRB stage, gathering or analyzing SoTL data, working on a creative or scholarly representation of the SoTL study/results, travel to present SoTL). Funding is limited but we expect to fund about 4-5 awards in the amount of $700 per project. Applicants must make a convincing case that a SoTL project about ISU students is on-going and that the award will be used for work/activities (at least some of which will take place in June, 2016) to further the project’s progress, completion, application, or visibility. Funding is in the form of an additional pay (salary) in June which recipients can then use for work on the project and as described in the application. More information on these awards can be found here.

As always, check the Cross Chair’s website for upcoming SoTL opportunities.

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TLI Update and Resources for Successful Publication of SoTL Work

The following is from the co-editors of Teaching & Learning Inquiry, Nancy Chick and Gary Poole:

Teaching & Learning Inquiry (TLI)—the journal of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL)—is now available online and open access at

On January 1, all issues of TLI went online under a CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction of its materials as long as the original work is properly attributed. From now on, TLI will provide free, instant, and permanent access to all materials it publishes and has published to date.

This move makes the research and ideas published in the journal more readily available to an ever-expanding SoTL community, facilitating increased sharing, readership, and citation of TLI‘s authors. At the same time, TLI will continue to provide thorough and rigorous reviews, as well as careful editorial attention to submissions.

Visit to read all articles, submit manuscripts, and sign up for alerts of new content. Questions may be sent to

Looking back, we have published several resources to support the dissemination of SoTL work, in TLI or any other SoTL publication outlet. We hope you’ll find a review of these helpful:


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Supporting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Written by Kathleen McKinney, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, Illinois State University

Are you a faculty developer or faculty member charged with encouraging and supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning on your campus? Are you a staff member or faculty member of a disciplinary association trying to encourage and support quality SoTL work in your field? Are you an officer or committee member of a SoTL professional organization?

If any of these apply, the list below, of ways to encourage and support SoTL will be of interest to you. The list offers 23 initiatives or activities that can be used to support SoTL as well as a brief description or elaboration of the idea. Neither the list nor the elaborations are exhaustive! The list is organized into some general but probably overlapping categories: grants, honors, educational opportunities, outlets for sharing and communication, events for special groups, and organizational level structures and collaborations.

Concrete examples or actual implementations of many of these initiatives can be found on the webpages of SoTL offices or teaching centers at many colleges/universities and on the webpages of disciplinary and SoTL societies. We hope blog readers will comment with additional ideas of SoTL support programs they know about or offer.


  • Research grants to conduct SoTL research projects as an individual or in teams, on set SoTL topics or using an open topic call, involving students as co-researchers.
  • Travel grants to conferences or workshops to learn about SoTL, work on SoTL projects, or share SoTL research.
  • Application/use grants to encourage the innovative use of the results from a SoTL study or the SoTL literature to make changes/improvements in teaching/learning at various levels.
  • Making SoTL Public grants to help support efforts to present or publish SoTL projects and the results.

Recognitions/honors possibly with funding

  • SoTL scholars funded to work on SoTL research, mentor others with SoTL projects, assist with other SoTL faculty development work, share and apply SoTL results on campus or in the discipline.
  • SoTL contests to encourage and reward some aspect of SoTL such as application, innovation, and/or connection to an organizational priority, etc.
  • SoTL awards to honor a SoTL project, SoTL publication, SoTL career, etc.

Educational opportunities/events

  • Workshops, institutes, or online tutorials on designing SoTL studies, SoTL and IRB/ethics, conducting SoTL, applying SoTL results, making SoTL public, etc.
  • SoTL Learning Communities, Reading Circles, Research Groups, or Writing Groups: small groups of faculty, staff, graduate students working as peers to educate self and each other on SoTL and to make progress on various aspects of SoTL projects.

Outlets to make SoTL public and to find SoTL literature

  • SoTL publication/journal on campus, regionally, for a discipline; online or hardcopy; open access or not, discipline-based or multi-discipline.
  • SoTL conference for the sharing of SoTL projects/research at the local, regional, national or international levels; discipline or topic specific, or SoTL more generally.
  • SoTL sessions at disciplinary conferences or disciplinary SoTL conferences.

Outlets for sharing information, resources, examples, achievements

  • SoTL weblog to provide posts with tips, resources, examples, applications, connections to other support, and to encourage comments and conversations about SoTL. Also an outlet for SoTL researchers to share their projects/results in posts.
  • Web page with short and long term resources and assistance of all types related to helping people do SoTL, sharing SoTL results, posting opportunities, highlighting local initiatives, offering examples, linking to other useful pages, etc.
  • SoTL newsletter online and/or hard copy serving a variety of functions overlapping somewhat with a web page or blog.
  • Using social media for SoTL (FB and twitter to share ideas, achievements, or links to resources).

Special events for special audiences

  • SoTL sessions for graduate students including workshops, reading circles, ‘brownbag’ overviews, team meeting with faculty collaborators, etc. to help them learn about SoTL for the future or serve as a collaborator on a SoTL project.
  • SoTL sessions for Chairs, Directors, Deans, and other central administrators to help educate them about SoTL: purposes/functions, support for their faculty, fit in the institution reward system and strategic plan, and so on.
  • SoTL sessions for undergraduate and graduate students focusing on the results of SoTL in their discipline and the implications for their studying and learning.

Organizational level collaborations and structures

  • Collaborations between SoTL and other institutional units and/or institutional initiatives (e.g., teaching center, research office, assessment office, student affairs, strategic plan, accreditation, program reviews…).
  • Special offices or positions for SoTL in the institution or organization such as faculty positions, a SoTL support unit, taskforce, endowed chair, etc.
  • Value and reward for SoTL is explicit and fair in all organizational and institutional documents.
  • SoTL section or interest group in a disciplinary society.
  • Formal statements on SoTL in the mission, strategic plan, by-laws or similar documents of an organization or institution.

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Winter Break News & Opportunities for Feedback

The SoTL Advocate is officially on winter break! We will return with weekly posts, beginning January 11, 2016. The editors of this blog would like to wish you all a wonderful, restful winter break and a happy and very productive 2016.

Perhaps as you have some reflective moments during winter break, you might:

  1. Suggest an idea or two for future blogs/blog topics in the comments below. Let us know what content you’d like to see here on The SoTL Advocate in the new year!
  2. Author a 500-800 word blog post, describing:
    • a SoTL project you’re considering or implementing
    • a reflection on SoTL and it’s role at your university, in your discipline, or as a global effort
    • resources to support the application of SoTL for scholarly teaching

Please feel free to email Kathleen McKinney ( or Jen Friberg ( with any questions about blog content or contributions.

Thank you for your readership this year! See you in 2016!

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Position Description: Cross Endowed Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at ISU


Title:                Cross Endowed Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Illinois State University invites applications for the position of Cross Endowed Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). The endowed chair is named for K. Patricia “Pat” Cross who is the David Gardner Professor of Higher Education, Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. She has also served as Dean of Students at Cornell University; Distinguished Research Scientist at Educational Testing Service; and Professor and Chair of the Department of Administration, Planning and Social Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education..

Integral to the mission of Illinois State University, the Cross Endowed Chair enhances innovation and research in teaching and learning, supports SoTL work on campus and beyond, increases Illinois State’s ability to attract outstanding teacher-scholars to campus, and helps to establish a balance of recognition in scholarly work in teaching across disciplines. The Cross Endowed Chair also fosters opportunities for interaction and relationships with prestigious national forums related to SoTL. This is a university-level position reporting to the Office of the Provost. The Chair holds faculty rank in one of the University’s academic colleges in order to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning across all disciplines and colleges. The University is organized into six academic colleges: Applied Science and Technology, Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Fine Arts, and Nursing.

The Cross Endowed Chair for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning shall be evaluated annually by the Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. The purpose of the annual review is formative; it also provides a comparative basis for the award of merit-based salary increases, if available.


The Cross Endowed Chair provides the opportunity for scholarship on teaching and learning in the discipline of the Chair, and also serves as a resource, related to SoTL, to colleagues on and off the campus of Illinois State University. The Cross Chair receives resources to support their own SoTL work and to assist in the development of faculty SoTL research, including items such as research time, clerical and research assistance, and travel sufficient to support a national research agenda and reputation. The Cross Endowed Chair works collaboratively with the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology; University Assessment Services; national and international SoTL organizations; and faculty colleagues on teaching.

The position also carries teaching responsibilities. The teaching requirements may vary at times as negotiated by the Associate Vice President for Research & Graduate Studies, the appropriate Dean, and the Cross Chair, but will typically not be more than 25 percent of the Cross Chair’s responsibilities. The specific unit goals of the Cross Chair in SoTL are to accomplish high quality work and achieve recognition in the following roles:

  1. Supporting the SoTL work of others (faculty, staff, and students) at Illinois State University and locally, and enhancing the value/reward for SoTL work on campus.
  2. Conducting SoTL research, teaching, and service.
  3. Working at the national and international levels on SoTL connections and on the reputation of SoTL at Illinois State University.

The preferred start date for the position is July 1, 2016.


Selection of the chair will be based on a commitment to demonstrate and promote the scholarship of teaching and learning. Qualifications include the following.

  1. Terminal degree in any discipline.
  2. Eligible for, or currently maintains the position of a tenured senior Associate Professor or full Professor in a discipline at Illinois State University.
  3. Has a significant track record of multi-faceted experience in the SoTL in all or most of the following areas.
    An active research agenda in SoTL
    b. Professional presentations and publications in SoTL in one’s discipline
    c. Editor or associate editor/reviewer of pedagogical journals
    d. Roles in SoTL professional organizations
    e. Relevant service activities
    f. Recipient of teaching and/or SoTL honors/awards
    g. Experience and commitment to mentoring other faculty members and with faculty development
    h. Invitations as a master teacher (in service to others)
    i. Involvement in assessment activities
    j. Relevant grant writing
  4. Experience with administrative responsibilities including: developing and managing budgets, planning and writing progress reports, supervising staff and faculty scholars, administering internal grant programs, supervising selection of SoTL university award winner, organizing events, and coordinating SoTL website, social media, and internal SoTL publications.
  5. This position is security sensitive and subject to a criminal background investigation based on University policy. Employment is contingent upon passing a satisfactory criminal background investigation. Work may not begin until the criminal background investigation results have been received and cleared by Human resources.

Illinois State University

Institution Profile: The first public university in Illinois, Illinois State University dates from 1857. Illinois State is a comprehensive Carnegie Doctoral/Research Institution and residential university offering more than 189 undergraduate fields of study in 6 colleges and 34 academic departments. The Graduate School coordinates 42 master’s, 1 specialist, and 10 doctoral programs. The University has an enrollment of approximately 21,000 students and over 1,225 faculty. Illinois State is distinguished by its strategic plan, Educating Illinois (, which focuses on the values of individualized attention, pursuit of learning and scholarship, public opportunity, diversity, and civic engagement in order to create an optimal learning and working environment for all Illinois State students and faculty/staff members.

Student profile:

  • 88 percent of the University’s students are undergraduates.
  • 20.6 percent of all students are from traditionally underrepresented groups, including African-Americans, Asians or Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Native Americans or Alaskans, and international students from 65 countries.
  • About 25 percent of our freshman class comes from underrepresented groups.
  • Our students complete their degrees on time. Our high graduation rate (73.4 percent) ranks us among the Top 10 percent of all U.S. universities.
  • Illinois State alumni go on to successful careers, shown in the very low student loan default rate of our graduates (2.8 percent) compared with the national average (11.7 percent).


  • Most of Illinois State’s 1,155 faculty members hold a terminal degree in their field.
  • Ninety percent of undergraduate credit hours are taught by faculty members; the remaining 10 percent are taught by graduate assistants.
  • The student-faculty ratio is 18.6 to 1.


  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation135 discipline-based accredited sequences

Illinois State University’s campus is in the twin-city community of Bloomington-Normal near the geographic center of the state, 137 miles southwest of Chicago and 164 miles northeast of St. Louis. Interstates 74, 55, and 39; U.S. Route 150; and Illinois Route 9 intersect in Bloomington-Normal, creating a transportation hub. An Amtrak passenger station is just two blocks from the University and daily flights are available through the Central Illinois Regional Airport.

We are proud to be the home of Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University who offer the finest in higher education; the corporate headquarters of State Farm Insurance; COUNTRY Financial; Beer Nuts; and world-class healthcare institutions including Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and OSF St. Joseph.


The Search Committee will accept applications and nominations until the position is filled. Candidate screening will begin immediately.  All application materials must be submitted online at no later than January 15, 2016. Application materials submitted via fax, email, or mail will not be accepted. Please prepare in advance separate documents representing a cover letter describing relevant experiences and interest in the position, five references with titles, addresses, business telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, and resume/C.V. to attach to this application.

(Inquiries may be directed to Chair of the search committee: Dr. Amy Hurd, at 309-438-2583 or

For more information, please visit our website at and

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Illinois State University that has a strong institutional commitment to diversity and providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, order of protection, gender identity and expression, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, unfavorable military discharge, or veteran status.

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Going Global with SoTL: Mini-grants for SoTL on Learning Outcomes from Global/International Curriculum/Experiences

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

This blog post discusses a recent SoTL support program on the ISU campus that is providing mini-grants to study the developmental and learning outcomes of ISU students as a result of global/international/cross-cultural curricular or co-curricular experiences. This blog post has two purposes: 1. it outlines the features of this SoTL faculty development/support activity for those who run such programs and 2. it summarizes the selected SoTL projects as examples of SoTL on this topic for other SoTL researchers.

Applicants were required to submit a proposal narrative of up to 3 pages, a reference page/bibliography, and an itemized budget with justifications. Two faculty members with expertise in SoTL reviewed the proposals using the following criteria.

  • Proposal focused on studying learning and/or developmental outcomes of ISU students’ experiences with global/international/cross-cultural assignments or opportunities.
  • Proposal included a brief, relevant literature review and how the proposed project ‘fits’ in this literature.
  • Project uses appropriate methodology for gathering evidence to reflect on/study the teaching-learning issue or question, and this method is briefly but clearly described.
  • Project is ethically appropriate in terms of human subjects and this is made explicit.
  • Budget justifications and items/amounts are appropriate for the SoTL study proposed.

We received twelve proposals. The mini-grants are for $1,000 per proposal. We were able to fund the following six projects. (Note, these summaries are edited excerpts from the grant proposals.)

“Study Abroad Experience in Peru and Students’ Development” (Aysen Bakir, Marketing)

I worked on creating a short-term study abroad program to Peru for our students in the College of Business. I would like to understand the nature of the experiences our students gain by participating in this program and understand the outcomes based on their exposure to this program. The program includes company visits and cultural excursions. These activities aim to provide exposure to how businesses operate in different cultures, the type of challenges they have, and the strategies companies implement in Peru. Additionally, Peru has a very rich history providing a great exposure to a culture that is significantly different than U.S. I am planning to use qualitative techniques. Students’ work will be analyzed. Prior to the program, the students will read materials about Peru and doing business in Peru. After reading the materials, students will write a report. This report will have specific questions tapping into students’ knowledge, expectations, and experiences with Peru and international aspects. During the program, the students will keep a daily journal. The journals will address questions regarding the professional and personal experiences in Peru. Students will also create a presentation after coming back from the trip. The presentation assignment will include structured questions and will require the students to focus on their development and implications of what they have gone through with the Program.

“Interpreting the Frames: A Study of Six Art Education Students’ Integration of Their Study Abroad in Australia Experience Into Their Classroom Teaching Practices” (Judith Briggs, Art)

In Summer 2013 and Summer 2015, I led two study abroad trips to visit the visual arts departments of New South Wales (NSW) Australia schools to examine how NSW visual arts educators integrated the constructs of their state Visual Arts Syllabi into their teaching and enabled their students to talk about, to write about, and to make contemporary artwork. It is the focus of this qualitative study to discern if and how the students who visited NSW and used the NSW model to create and to teach curriculum within their ISU methods courses used the NSW constructs within their own student teaching practices. The study also includes a graduate teacher from the 2015 cohort. Did the study abroad experience influence their subsequent teaching practices within the public school atmosphere? The study will consist of analysis of recorded interviews with five student teacher candidates and one graduate teacher.

“History Teacher Candidates and Discipline-Specific Pedagogy: Theory, Policy, and Practice in England and the United States” (Richard L. Hughes and Sarah Drake Brown, History)

This study will address the following questions: 1. How do varied clinical experiences shape the evolving professional goals and performances of developing teacher candidates in history? 2. How do emerging history teachers navigate the tensions between theory and practice in two differing clinical settings? 3. How do experiences working with professional teachers, secondary students, and the general public in two different countries shape the discipline-specific pedagogy of history teacher candidates in terms of ongoing debates over history as content or skills? During the Spring 2016 semester, three ISU history/social science education majors will participate in a unique experience, student teaching in secondary schools in both Illinois and in England. The research uses case studies to better understand the experiences and perspectives of teacher candidates. Data from oral interviews, frequent written reflections, formal observations, and the analysis of students’ teaching artifacts from both continents provide insight to the participants’ perceptions, skills, and behavior as emerging professionals. Researchers will assess the artifacts associated with students’ teaching according to the professional teaching standards created by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE) for the edTPA exam.

“Preparing Future Early Childhood Teachers: Furthering Intercultural Dialogues among Early Childhood Pre-service Teachers across the Globe” (Miranda Lin, Teaching and Learning)

Students enrolled in TCH 111: Teaching a Diverse Student Population will be asked to complete a pen pal project in which they will engage in intercultural dialogue with their counterparts in Taiwan and Turkey. Prior to starting the project, TCH 111 students will take Berarto and Deardorff’s (2012)’s Intercultural Competence Self-Reflection survey. Students will communicate with their pen pals through Facebook (via a private group) throughout the spring semester. After the pen pal project is completed, our pre-service teachers will complete a guided reflection paper and complete the Intercultural Competence Self-Reflection survey the second time. Specifically, this project will look into how 1) pre-service teachers’ perceptions of diverse populations altered, 2) the experience helped them better understand the impact of global issues on their daily lives, and 3) pre-service teachers come to understand that teaching and learning is greatly affected by the interplay of politics, societal norms, and cultural values in the specific historical time. Pre-service teachers will also take part in focus groups after completing the pen pal project to gain more insight into their experience.

“FCS 399 Fashion Industry Tour to Asia: May 2016” (Yoon Jin Ma and Elisabeth Reed, Family and Consumer Sciences)

The Fashion Industry Study Tour of Asia (FCS 399) that will be offered during Summer 2016 is designed to provide students the opportunity to expand their understanding of the global fashion industry through site visits in South Korea, China, and Hong Kong at apparel and textile production facilities, retail companies, as well as with top-ranked universities where students will interact with international fashion students. To assess student learning outcomes from the program, the Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning (CIEL) Global Environmental Literacy Rubric (The University of New South Wales Australia, 2015) will be employed both pre and post the experience. CIEL Global Environmental Literacy Rubric is designed to evaluate student learning outcomes of a global environmental perspective in diverse dimensions, including 1) knowledge of environmental impact, 2) knowledge of life systems, 3) application of knowledge to environmental issues, 4) experience working with physical environments, 5) attitudes concerning integrity of global environments, and 6) personal agency for environmental action.

“Exploring and Understanding Global Diets from a Sociocultural Perspective: A Case of Pre-service Teachers in Thailand, Taiwan, and the U.S.” (Do-Yong Park, Teaching and Learning)

This project will be implemented in spring 2016 through science methods courses in three cooperating universities around the world. Each participant of Thailand and Taiwan will be pared up with each of the ISU students in TCH 257. Each individual participant uses a digital journal on facebook created for the purpose of this project and writes a description of and posts a picture of everything that they eat for 7 days. At the end of the week, the students in TCH 257 compare their journal with other students and how the food that each ate compare and contrast with others. For assessment of learning outcomes, each participant submits two products including (a) reflection paper and (b) two kinds of report named ‘nutrients and me.’ At the end of the project, (c) there will be a focus group interview on how this project helped them understand science in terms of contextual environment, cultural milieu, and sociological perspectives. These three sources of data will be analyzed using a constant comparative method by using open coding to find common experience, patterns, or themes checked by two student members.

Finally, as part of this SoTL support, all award recipients/teams must meet the following requirements.

  1. If human subjects are involved, receipt of IRB approval before starting the SoTL project.
  2. Attend two meetings of all grant recipients for ‘trouble-shooting’ and ideas/advice on applying and sharing results.
  3. Presentation of the funded SoTL research project at the ISU Teaching-Learning Symposium in January 2017.
  4. Submission of a brief report on the project by December of 2016 to the Cross Chair.