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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Walking Interviews in My Undergraduate Research

Written by Megan Herdt,recent Elon University graduate and current graduate student in the counseling psychology doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

As an undergraduate psychology student at Elon University, I performed a qualitative study with ten low-income students using sedentary and walking semi-structured interviews. My study was a strengths-based exploration of the ways in which my participants navigated through their mostly white, mostly affluent institution. My participants were first-generation and continuing generation students that identified as black, biracial, Latinx, Hispanic, and white. They also varied by affiliation with scholarship cohorts, gender, religiosity, sexuality, and year in school. I conducted one round of sedentary semi-structured interviews that focused on participants’ applications and acceptances to college, transitions to college, experiences while at college, and the influences of their identity dimensions on their experiences. In the next academic semester, I performed walking interviews with participants. Each participant brought me to between three and five places that played significant roles in their college experiences. The walking interviews focused on sense of belonging, development, and the salience and influence of participants’ identity dimensions.

My findings included various strategies that participants developed to help them navigate through their institution. These strategies and approaches include striving for authenticity, expanding one’s analysis of social categories, and becoming a social justice advocate. I also developed a list of suggestions that the university can implement to bridge the sociocultural incongruities between itself and its low-income and other minoritized students (Devlin, 2013).

As both a researcher and as a fellow student who shared the campus and many student experiences with my participants, I became a participant-observer during the walking interviews. My experiences as a student influenced my perceptions of and way of being in the places that participants brought me to, as well as the ways in which I asked interview questions and the ways in which I moved through participants’ interview guides. The flexibility of semi-structured interviewing gave me freedom to adapt my interviews, so I was able to respond to spontaneous conversations that naturally emerged as I strolled through my campus with my peers. Throughout the research process, I critically reflected on my positionality as both a researcher and a student and the influences of my positionality on my data collection and analysis — I took detailed field notes containing summary, analysis, and reflection within twenty-four hours of each interview.

Many strategic uses of place emerged through the walking interviews as participants brought me to the following types of places:

  • academic buildings that housed participants’ majors
  • racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identity organizations
  • scholarship offices
  • outdoor on-campus locations such as lakes, fountains, benches, and even specific trees
  • on-campus residence halls.

These strategic uses of place often revolved around the mentoring relationships that participants had developed from people in specific locations. Academic buildings and support from the professors within enhanced participants’ academic, scholarly, and student identities. For example, one participant called her academic major building “a fortress that has no little gate, nothing out there that can change who I am as a person…while I’m here I make it so I don’t think about any of that stuff and I only focus on what I need to be focusing on and going to professors.” The racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious organizations that participants belong to, along with the friends, peers, and staff affiliated with those organizations, fostered participants’ development related to that specific dimension of identity. From the time another participant spent in a campus-designated space for Hispanic students with his friend group, he learned to integrate his “real self with being Hispanic and being a [university] student…We aren’t just [university] students and we aren’t just Hispanic. We’re Hispanic, [university] students.” Scholarship offices, cohorts, and affiliated staff were tremendous forms of support for participants receiving those scholarships. Many participants who were affiliated with scholarship programs described those program spaces, along with their staff and peers, as places and people that provided complete acceptance and freedom for self-expression.

Outdoor locations on campus functioned as neutral spaces that participants were able to adapt and appropriate for their own personal needs. These places were often locations that were free from the marginalization and isolation that participants encountered in campus-sanctioned spaces. One participant regularly visited an on-campus water fountain because of her personal connection to water, and she related the essentiality of water to the essentiality of herself: “Just the meaning of water and how it’s essential to life and how humans are essential to life and people are essential to life and then I am essential to my life. And I have a place on this campus and I’m going to make a big impact one day…”.  Lastly, on-campus residence halls functioned as cues for participants’ reflections on past experiences, inspired participants to share meaningful stories, aided participants in constructing narratives, and stored both memories and past selves.

Blog Reference

Devlin, M. (2013). Bridging socio-cultural incongruity: Conceptualising the success of students from low socio-economic status backgrounds in Australian higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38(6), 939–949. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2011.613991


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Introduction to Walking Interviews: A Potential SoTL methodology?

Written by Megan Herdt, recent Elon University graduate and current graduate student in the counseling psychology doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Walking interviews, also referred to as place-based or walk-along interviews, are becoming an increasingly popular methodology across the social sciences (Evans & Jones, 2011; Kinney, 2017). This methodology originated in the fields of ethnography, geography, anthropology, and mobility studies, but today it is being used in fields as diverse as environmental studies and the health sciences (King & Woodrooffe, 2017). Walking interviews are a semi-structured interviewing technique in which a researcher and participant walk together while the researcher interviews the participant (Kinney, 2017). This methodology can be used in several ways, such as to elucidate participants’ relationships to specific places, to spatially locate research encounters, and to explore the geographies of specific populations (Holton, 2015; Holton & Riley, 2014). In a recent issue of the Social Research Update, Kinney (2017) briefly reviews four types of walking interviews: the docent walking interview, the go-along interview, the participatory walking interview, and the bimbling interview.

Walking interviews offer several unique advantages to researchers. Walking interviews equalize the relationship between the participant and researcher, giving the participant power to lead the interview both physically along the chosen route and verbally through the occurrence of natural, spontaneous interactions (Holton & Riley, 2014). Flipping the power dynamic of a typical research encounter makes walking interviews more accessible, more inclusive, and less intimidating than traditional semi-structured interviews (King & Woodrooffe, 2017; Kinney, 2017). Through a shared mobility between the researcher and participant, walking interviews open up previously inaccessible channels into the participant’s perspective (Holton & Riley, 2014). Walking interviews are more flexible and adaptable than sedentary interviews, and they allow for a more collaborative meaning-making process between the researcher and participant (King & Woodrooffee, 2017). Each place within a walking interview functions as a cue to the participant, acts as a physical representation of experiences, and affects the salience of the participant’s identity dimensions (Holton & Riley, 2014).

Because of their mobile nature, walking interviews offer windows into a participant’s sense of belonging and sense of self in addition to concepts such as place attachment, environmental pasts, and place-identities (Prince, 2014). Place attachment can be defined as “a phenomenon that incorporates several aspects of people–place bonding, including behaviour, affect and cognition” (Chow & Healey, 2008, p. 363). A person’s environmental past is composed of the memories and attitudes related to personally significant places (Proshansky, Fabian, & Kaminoff, 1983). Environmental pasts are the foundations for place-identities, defined as subsets of one’s identity which hold attitudes, feelings, beliefs, and other cognitions about the physical world in which they are located (Proshansky, Fabian, & Kaminoff, 1983). Places can also represent past selves, which allows a person to make self-comparisons at various points in time and maintain a consistent sense of self (Twigger-Ross & Uzzell, 1996). Characteristics of places, even their physical appearances, also communicate messages about belonging or not belonging (Bufton, 2003).

Of course, walking interviews also come with several important considerations. Situation-specific considerations include issues regarding weather, the walkability of possible routes, and the extent of participants’ mobility (Kinney, 2017). Confidentiality and privacy are also more limited in walking interviews, as the majority of a research encounter usually takes place in public or semi-public areas (Kinney, 2017). In spite of the more collaborative and social nature of walking interviews, the researcher still has power over the participant, and it is important that the researcher still reflexively engage with issues of positionality and power in the research encounter (King & Woodrooffe, 2017).

Blog References

Bufton, S. (2003). The lifeworld of the university student: Habitus and social class. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 34(2), 207–234. https://doi.org/10.1163/156916203322847146

Chow, K., & Healey, M. (2008). Place attachment and place identity: First-year undergraduates making the transition from home to university. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28(4), 362–372. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2008.02.011

Evans, J., & Jones, P. (2011). The walking interview: Methodology, mobility, and place. Applied Geography, 31(2), 849-858. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2010.09.005

Holton, M. (2015). Adapting relationships with place: Investigating the evolving place attachment and ‘sense of place’ of UK higher education students during a period of intense transition. Geoforum, 59, 21-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.11.017

Holton, M., & Riley, M. (2014). Talking on the move: Place-based interviewing with undergraduate students. Area, 46(1), 59–65. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12070

King A.C., Woodroffe J. (2017) Walking Interviews. In: Liamputtong P. (eds) Handbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences. Springer, Singapore.

Kinney, P. (2017). Walking interviews. Social Research Update, (67), 1-4. Retrieved July 1, 2019, from http://sru.soc.surrey.ac.uk/SRU67.pdf  

Prince, D. (2014). What about place? Considering the role of physical environment on youth imagining of future possible selves. Journal of Youth Studies, 17(6), 697–716. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2013.836591

Proshansky, H. M., Fabian, A. K., & Kaminoff, R. (1983). Place-identity: Physical world socialization of the self. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 3, 57–83.

Twigger-Ross, C. L., & Uzzell, D. L. (1996). Place and identity processes. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 16(3), 205–220. https://doi.org/10.1006/jevp.1996.0017 


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An Idea for the First Days of the Fall Term – Share SoTL with Your Students!

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

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.01.02 PMBack in April, I wrote a blog regarding the impact of SoTL that was inspired by my reading of this article by Nancy Chick. I’ve thought a lot about the notion of impact since that time, considering how we encourage changes in teaching and learning as a result of our SoTL efforts. I’ve engaged in conversations with numerous colleagues (on my campus and at others) about how they adapt their teaching praxis in the presence of good evidence to do so. As a result of these exchanges, I feel at least somewhat confident that our SoTL work IS making change; however, these conversations have left me wondering if we aren’t missing a huge opportunity to truly increase the impact of our SoTL efforts and outcomes. In no conversation about how SoTL has changed our teaching and learning did anyone I spoke with discuss sharing SoTL with their students. There was discussion about changing course content, assessment, or management, but each of these things was described as occurring in relative solitude as part of next generation course design.

I find it curious that we study our students to understand the components of meaningful learning and teaching experiences, but in doing so, (at least some of us) miss out on purposeful sharing of SoTL outcomes with our students so they can make changes to THEIR praxis as learners. We have generated so much evidence that shows us how students learn (and learn well!). They should have access to this information and it’s my strong opinion that we should help facilitate that access.

Here are a few thoughts as to how we might be more purposeful in bringing students into the SoTL loop — feel free to share other thoughts and ideas in the comments below:

  • Share information about relevant, evidence-based learning strategies as part of your class. Many course instructors have “syllabus review day” during the first course meeting of a new term. While there are great suggestions about alternative ideas for that first course meeting circulating social media this time of year, perhaps a focus on successful learning strategies might be a worthy way to spend that first class together. Share what you know about evidence-based learning strategies that might be useful for your students in your context. Let them know that you’re a resource and would be interested in answering questions about evidence-based strategies for learning. Provide resources for students to access this information themselves.
  • Mediate! Tell your students WHY you’ve designed your course or assignment or assessment in the manner that you have – share your evidence! I do this frequently with my students and have found that if I can provide the rationale for what they are doing, and that research has shown a pedagogical approach to be impactful, I have more buy-in and (anecdotally) more active engagement in the task(s) at hand.
  • Share what others in your discipline have identified as evidence-based learning strategies for emerging professionals. How do sociologists develop a sociological imagination? How do mathematicians generalize concepts to varied contexts? How do historians read a text and assess primary sources? How do speech-language pathologists, nurses, or dieticians transfer theory to clinical practice? SoTL has helped us understand these discipline-specific phenomena. Unlock these connections for students to visualize a path toward professional practice that is grounded in evidence.
  • Use your social media smartly. Does your university have a Twitter or Instagram account where you could populate content about evidence-based ways to learn or study? Can you feature links to and/or summaries of the work of SoTL scholars on your campus to highlight what you know about learning in your own institutional context? Can you manage (or co-manage) an account yourself that does this?
  • Offer to guest “lecture” about evidence-based learning at a meeting of a student organization tied to your discipline or some other movement. Talk to students about research on teaching and learning and how outcomes of such research can support their work as students. There is evidence that out-of-class learning through student organizations, service learning, and civic engagement have efficacy. Let students know the benefits of these efforts!
  • Take care in making assumptions about what students know. Based on the fact that our students are enrolled at our colleges/universities, it would be easy to think that they have unlocked the mysteries of learning deeply and well. They wouldn’t be college students if they hadn’t accomplished that, right? I’m not convinced this is actually the case. I have spoken to numerous students who engage in low utility learning strategies to master material who are frustrated with their lack of ability to make connections and applications across topics and classes. My bias? Assume that your students would be interested to know more about teaching and learning until you know differently.

Writing on a similar topic, McKinney (2012, p. 3) suggested the following strategies for bringing students to SoTL, specifically by discussing the “how” and the “why” of SoTL research and findings emerging from such inquiry:

  • Make SoTL public at conferences students attend and in publications students read.
    Create a local SoTL journal or newsletter aimed specifically at college students at
    your institution or a national/international one for students in a specific major or
    discipline.
  • Use SoTL publications as required readings in courses where they are appropriate
    such as a disciplinary/department new majors‟ orientation class, a research methods course, a capstone course, or a professional socialization course.
    Facilitate and invite students to sessions on learning on campus that share, and
    discuss implications of, local SoTL results.
  • Volunteer to create a session at your disciplinary meetings focusing on key SoTL
    results and explicitly involve and invite students.
  • Add a section of relevant SoTL study results and any implications for students to
    your department website within the web pages for students.
  • Help organize a panel where SoTL researchers present and lead a discussion with
    students at a meeting of your student disciplinary/department club.
  • Include in your courses, when appropriate, reflective and meta-cognitive
    assignments that help students relate SoTL literature and findings to their own
    learning opportunities and behaviors.

 

Blog References:

McKinney, K. (2012). Increasing the impact of SoTL: Two sometimes neglected opportunities. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 6(1).


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A Preliminary Look at Year 2 of the CSI-SoTL Program at ISU

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

STATE_YourLearningWe are nearing the end of the second year of the Certificate of Specialized Instruction in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CSI-SoTL) program at Illinois State University. This program was co-developed by the Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL and the Graduate School at ISU to provide an opportunity for graduate students to learn about SoTL, specifically how it can be applied to solve teaching and learning problems as well as how SoTL projects are planned and executed. Graduate students with a strong interest in teaching at the college level following graduation were invited to participate. Nine students are currently enrolled in the CSI-SoTL program. They represent a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds:

  • Six females, three males
  • Five doctoral students representing the disciplines of English, Educational Administration and Foundations, Kinesiology and Recreation, and Special Education
  • Four master’s students representing the disciplines of Business/Accounting, English, Sociology, and Psychology
  • Six of the nine participants were involved in teaching within their discipline

The CSI-SoTL program features three distinct phases:

  1. Seminars: Participants in the CSI-SoTL program attend three workshops across the fall semester on the topics of SoTL & My Teaching and Learning, Asking SoTL Questions, and Executing a SoTL project.
  2. Mentored SoTL project planning: CSI-SoTL participants are paired with faculty from their own discipline (or one closely related) to plan a SoTL project. All students complete a “Project Planning Worksheet” to explore options for research questions, methodologies, dissemination outlets, etc. Students are encouraged to ask their mentors about their experiences with SoTL to learn more SoTL in their own discipline.
  3. Reflection: CSI-SoTL participants reflect on the processes in Phase 1 and Phase 2 by thoughtfully answering 10 reflection questions

Following the completion of Phase One, students were asked to evaluate their experiences across all three workshops they attended. Students indicated the following with quantitative data based on a Likert-type scale where 1=strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree:

Mean SD
I was well informed about the objectives of each workshop in the series. 4.42 .30
I understand the difference between scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning. 4.75 .16
Workshop content was relevant to my role as a student. 4.13 .30
Workshop content was relevant to my role as a teacher. 4.6 .24
The content of these workshops stimulated my interest in teaching and learning. 4.63 .18
I am more likely to engage in scholarly teaching/learning as a result of my attendance at these workshops. 4.88 .13
I am more likely to engage in SoTL as a result of my attendance at these workshops. 4.75 .16

When asked to describe the most valuable aspects of the Phase One workshops, students provided the following feedback:

  • Discussions with researchers outside the field of my discipline helped to spur new considerations and facilitated the design of my project.
  • Being able to develop my research question and bounce methodology ideas off other workshop participants was very valuable.
  • The planning worksheet helped put things into perspective about what I could do and how I could do it.
  • Opening up my understanding of what SoTL is was so appreciated. I knew nothing coming in and now I am equipped to learn more in this area.
  • The introduction to SoTL as a discipline and the literature available within our disciplines was wonderful.

One suggestion was provided to improve Phase One, which dealt directly with the fact that students only plan a project as part of this program (the project is not executed). This participant suggested that some form of data collection or extensive literature review be integrated into the CSI-SoTL program as part of Phase One to engage students more completely in the research process.

At this point, CSI-SoTL participants are completing Phase Two of their program and are engaged with their mentors to flesh out a high-quality SoTL project. The entire program is expected to conclude by mid-April. At that point, data from both CSI-SoTL cohorts will be analyzed in-depth to help inform next steps for the CSI-SoTL program, though preliminary plans are in the works to offer the program a third time during the next academic year. One positive outcome from the current cohort of participants is that several students have indicated that they will integrate their SoTL projects (planned in this program) into their dissertation research. WaHoo!


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International Students as Partners Institute (ISaPI) 2018

Posting on behalf of Mick Healey and Beth Marquis:

The 3rd International Students as Partners Institute (ISaPI) will be held at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada (approx. 45 min south of Toronto Airport) from 11-14 June 2018. If you are interested, please put these dates in your diary. This is the week after the International Consortium of Educational Developers (ICED) conference in Atlanta. Why not come for both? Please pass this message on to any colleagues you think may be interested in ISaPI.

The overall aim of ISaPI is to build the capacity and understanding of faculty, staff, and students to develop, design, implement, and disseminate initiatives that promote the practice of students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. Close to 200 staff/faculty and students have participated in the last two years in roughly equal numbers. Here are some comments:

“Thanks for this most challenging and rewarding experience, a very inspiring three days! We very much appreciated both the balance between systematic impetus, drawing on the community present and focusing on our own issues.”

“By far the most beneficial and enjoyable aspects … were the networking opportunities which led to collaboration and collective knowledge building. The international nature of these discussions really helped me to reconsider my assumptions about partnership.”

In 2018, staff and faculty are encouraged, where possible, to bring a student with them, or students to bring a member of staff/faculty with them to participate in one or two consecutive two-day interactive workshops:

  • Doing students as partners well: Exploring powerful in-class and extra-curricular practices
  • Being a good partner: Understanding the dynamics of power-sharing partnership practices

These are new topics, run by a new team, so previous participants are encouraged to join us again.

Teams of 4-6 faculty/staff and students (at least two of each) from an institution can apply to join a 3.5 day ‘Change Institute’ at which they’ll develop a ‘students as partners’ initiative they hope to implement in the coming year. All activities will be facilitated by a highly experienced international team of staff/faculty and students from Australia, Canada, US and UK.

One of the outcomes of the first ISaPI was the establishment of the International Journal for Students as Partners, which publishes research articles, case studies, reflective essays and opinion pieces.  It is run, like ISaPI, by an international team of faculty/staff and students. The second issue should be out next week.

For further details about this institute and for booking please go to: http://tinyurl.com/ISAPI2018

Here are some further comments from previous years’ participants:

“The inclusion of student partners was terrific and essential.  I wish we could have brought a student or two.  The time to simply plan in a context with stimulation, structure, and feedback was so valuable.”

“The best thing about the Institute was having a chance to work with students and teachers from around the world and seeing the way they do things at their universities was really enlightening.”

“Overall, I found the institute to be an eye-opening experience. As a student, it allowed me to learn from perspectives of those that I don’t often hear from (professors, educational developers, curriculum developers), and provided me with a growing sense of agency over my own education.”

 Key Dates & Deadlines

  • 1 November 2017: Registration for workshops open on a first come, first served basis.
  • 16 February 2018: Change Institute applications due (Apply Here!)
  • 2 March 2018: Change Institute teams notified of acceptance
  • 30 March 2018: Early Bird Registration deadline
  • 1 June 2018: Regular Registration deadline
  • 11-14 June 2018: Institute

 


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The Students-As-Partners in SoTL Movement: Wonderments from ISSoTL

Written by Jennifer Friberg, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL at Illinois State University

notes-for-blogDespite being a devotee of technology, I am a pen and paper note taker (and probably always will be). At conferences, in particular, I take copious notes in a my “SoTL journal” of the moment, capturing whatever is of interest to me at a particular time. ISSoTL this year was no different, my handy SoTL journal was filled with pages of scrawled notes, doodles, arrows, and connections as I processed all I heard.

My notes from the session presented by Angela Kehler, Roselynn Verwoord, and Heather Smith titled Power and Voice: A Critical Analysis of the Students-As-Partners Literature were particularly interesting. Looking them over, I noticed that I only recorded questions, evidently channeling my dissertation advisor who regularly challenged his students to view curiosities as “wonderments” for future reflection and study.

Kehler, Verwoord, and Smith posed the following questions as part of their presentation:

  • How can we infuse more systematic critique into the students-as-partners literature to avoid being overly laudatory/celebratory in our reporting of outcomes?
  • How do we underestimate power in the students-as-partners movement?
  • Who is the safe space for in the students-as-partners movement? What hierarchies are being supported and/or perpetuated in the work we engage in?
  • What is the aftermath of students-as-partners work? Can students who have experienced increased autonomy/responsibility due to changing power structures be happy when they return to the “norm” after their experience is over?

Thinking about these questions led me to scrawl a variety of additional wonderments in my notes that I find myself still pondering, three weeks after the end of the conference:

  • Can value-shifts in the students-as-partners movement be likened to code-shifts used by successful communicators? Might code-shifting represent the first behavioral change in successful student/faculty partnerships?
  • When and how do important transitions in faculty/student partnerships happen?
  • Is flexibility in interpretations of traditional role structures important? How are these behaviors modeled in successful student/faculty partnerships?
  • What makes partnership “real” in terms of buy-in and experience for all stakeholders?
  • What is the intersection of collegiality and friendship in faculty/student partnerships? Is there a need for such a divide?
  • My best collaborations have emerged from long-term relationships with trusted and well-known colleagues. Is it possible to develop similar, deep collaborations in shorter-term relationships lasting one term/year?

Kehler, Verwoord, and Smith offered that the students-as-partners movement is multi-faceted and complex with many moving parts and warned of the dangers of being “uncurious” about the things happening around us. It would seem that based on the discussion at this and other sessions at ISSoTL, we are far from uncurious about student/faculty partnerships, which, I think is a very good thing.


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CSI-SoTL: Helping Graduate Students Learn about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

 

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

Last week, I identified several opportunities for ISU faculty, staff, and students in my blog post. This week, in an effort to define and explain a new program at ISU this fall, I will focus on one specific initiative: the Certificate of Specialized Instruction in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CSI-SoTL). The CSI-SoTL program was developed following two successful SoTL Reading Circles in the summers of 2015 and 2016. Students indicated a need for expanded programming, which I have endeavored to provide.

This program was co-developed by the Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL and the Graduate School at ISU to provide expanded opportunities for graduate students to engage in study and reflection of research on teaching and learning to facilitate successful work as students and as future faculty.

The following provides a bit more information about why the CSI-SoTL program was developed, who might benefit from participating, and what the program will look like as it unfolds this academic year:

Program Benefits

Through a focus on understanding SoTL, learning about how to apply SoTL and thinking about conducting SoTL research, the CSI-SoTL program is aimed at helping participants succeed as students, teachers, and researchers. As many future college/university teachers lack opportunities for purposeful study and reflection on teaching and learning as part of their graduate school experience, this program provides a unique opportunity for participants to gain knowledge and skills in these areas.

All students who complete the certificate program will be provided a certificate and letter of completion for the program that can be appended to professional vitas/resumes in the future to indicate their focused study and reflection in the area of SoTL.

Aims

Participants the CSI-SoTL program will develop a thorough understanding of the purpose, definition and applications of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) to support current and future teaching, learning, and research efforts. Specifically, through in-depth discussions and reflection on SoTL, participants in this program will:

  • Conceptualize SoTL as a form of action, practitioner, classroom-based research
  • Understand the impact of SoTL upon their own teaching and learning
  • Apply SoTL to improve their own teaching and learning
  • Become familiar with resources that facilitate scholarly teaching and SoTL
  • Develop/plan a SoTL research project to conduct in the future

Process

Throughout the year, participants in the CSI-SoTL program are expected to:

  1. Attend a series of three fall seminars*, including:
    • SoTL and My Teaching and Learning 
    • Planning a SoTL Project A (Methods)
    • Sharing a SoTL Project B (Dissemination) 
  2. Develop a SoTL research project in consultation with a faculty SoTL research mentor. Research plans will include research questions, methods, and a plan for dissemination (please note that participants do NOT have to complete their research project, they simply need to outline a plan for a potential SoTL project). Participants will be matched with a faculty member as close to their disciplinary field as possible. Times will be arranged individually for each participant for this part of the CSI-SoTL program in January and February of 2017.
  3. Systematically reflect on their experiences in learning about SoTL while completing the CSI-SoTL program, focusing on the impact of the program on future teaching, learning, and research endeavors. A specific format will be provided as a starting place for all reflections. Reflections will be submitted in April/May 2017.

*Please note that participants will be asked to prepare for each session with a brief reading assignment and a brief written reflection.

Current Program Status

Happily, I can report that over a dozen graduate students are enrolled and are set to begin the CSI-SoTL program in early October. Careful study of this program is planned with outcomes shared here on this blog in the summer of 2017.