Skip to content Skip to navigation

Future Visions for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

Message Number: 
528

I believe that every instructor (broadly defined) who signs a contract to teach is ethically obligated to become at least a scholarly teacher and some will also choose to engage in SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). This is the case whether one teaches ten or 1,000 students, one or eight classes. Just as we do all we can to be scholarly in traditional areas of our disciplines, we must be scholarly about and (for some) practice scholarship in teaching and learning. This is part of what if means to be a professional, and the practice of SoTL is critical to the improvement of teaching and learning. For those involved in doing SoTL, in this vision of the future, reward structures throughout the institution will truly recognize the value of this work.

Folks:

The posting below looks at some of the things we must do to support, understand, and evaluate the Scholarship of Teaching and learning. It is from Chapter 1: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Past Lessons, Current Challenges, and Future Visions, by Kathleen McKinney in To Improve the Academy, Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development, Catherine M. Wehlburg, Editor, Texas Christian University, Sandra Chadwick-Blossey, Associate Editor, Rollins College, and Kathleen McKinney Illinois State University. POD Network: Professional and Organizational Development Network in High Education, ANKER PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC. Bolton, Massachusetts. Volume 22. Copyright ? 2003 by Anker Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved. ISBN 1-882982-65-7 Anker Publishing Company, Inc., 176 Ballville Road, P.O. Box 249, Bolton, MA 01740-0249 USA [www.ankerpub.com]. Reprinted with permission.

Regards,

Rick Reis

reis@stanford.edu

UP NEXT: Getting Out of Your Box

Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

 

-------------------------------------- 1,003 words ---------------------------------------

Future Visions for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

 

What might a future version of SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) look like? A strong history of SoTL exists on many campuses and in other higher education organizations. Yet, to make significant progress that will impact student learning and development, and faculty lives, we must change the culture. Though this is becoming a worn out phrase, the idea remains true. This change must come on campus from both the grassroots and the upper administrative levels, as well as from various higher education organizations. We must consider factors that will increase the legitimacy of SoTL as work and as a social movement. For example, we can work, in different ways, with innovators and early and middle adopters of this work; be inclusive by recruiting new faculty, senior faculty, staff, and students; utilize highly respected, key faculty leaders; make use of existing governance structures and strategic plans to effect changes in value and reward; and provide adequate and useful faculty development, information, and resources for doing and using SoTL.

This cultural shift must include a change in our views of our roles as faculty and staff who work to enhance student learning. I believe that every instructor (broadly defined) who signs a contract to teach is ethically obligated to become at least a scholarly teacher and some will also choose to engage in SoTL. This is the case whether one teaches ten or 1,000 students, one or eight classes. Just as we do all we can to be scholarly in traditional areas of our disciplines, we must be scholarly about and (for some) practice scholarship in teaching and learning. This is part of what if means to be a professional, and the practice of SoTL is critical to the improvement of teaching and learning. For those involved in doing SoTL, in this vision of the future, reward structures throughout the institution will truly recognize the value of this work.

In this future vision, we need to consider various models of doing, supporting, understanding, and evaluating SoTL work. The models will vary by institutional, disciplinary, or departmental culture and structure. We will need models at multiple levels: individual career, department, discipline, institutional, and national. On the one hand, we could continue to work toward common definitions, standards, supports, career models, etc. for SoTL in higher education that cut across contexts and fit more traditional disciplinary scholarship. That is, we could work toward a SoTL that is simply "S." Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff (1997), for example, offer general standards for scholarly work, including clear goals, adequate preparation, appropriate methods, significant results, effective presentation, and reflective critique.

In the 100-page Scholarship in the Postmodern Era: New venues, New Values, New Visions (Zahorski, 2002), the scholarship of teaching and learning is discussed explicitly only once in a brief section and alluded to in only two or three other places. None of the chapters address SoTL as the primary topic. How do we interpret this? Is SoTL still thought of as different or less legitimate and, thus, not worthy of space in this volume? Or, have we made such great progress in the transition from SoTL to "S" that SoTL holds an equal place with other scholarship and is presumed to be a part, implicitly, of the entire discussion in this volume?

On the other hand, it is more likely that SoTL will remain somewhat distinct from traditional disciplinary scholarship. Individuals, departments, and institutions will view this work and organize this work in various ways. For some, SoTL will be their primary line of research; for others it may be a secondary area. SoTL work may be done at only some stages in a faculty member's career cycle. Some might work on SoTL only during a sabbatical; others may integrate it into their ongoing professional life. Some department may reward SoTL within their existing, traditional reward structures; other may need to create new, special roles or assignments. Huber (2001) illustrates some of these models and paths for doing SoTL work with specific individual case examples. Brief discussions and examples of institutional models and national collaborations have also been offered (Cambridge, 2002). As I finish this chapter, a discussion about the possibility of forming a national organization for SoTL is just beginning. Additional systematic research is needed to assess the nature and outcomes of the models currently used to structure this work at all levels.

A small number of individuals or small teams of faculty members in relative isolation accomplish must of the current SoTL support and work on many campuses. In a vision of the future, we will increase the breadth of involvement in SoTL as well as collaboration on SoTL, both within disciplines and in what Huber and Morreale (2002) call the interdisciplinary trading zones. We will work to broaden the base and increase the diversity of people working together to do and use SoTL work through both research support and development activities. Live and electronic SoTL communities can be created on campuses via brown bags, symposia, lunches, small grants that require teams of investigators, workshops, elections discussion lists, web pages, etc. We can begin to connect these communities across campuses and disciplines with the help of disciplinary societies, CASTL, and AAHE, for example.

Clearly a future vision of SoTL includes improvements in development and support for such work. There are many possible strategies (many already in use at a variety of institutions and organizations) for new services and structures to help faculty, staff, and students do this work and do it well (see, also, Kreber, 2001b; Lacey, 1983; Shulman, 1999). Those involved in faculty development should consider managing SoTL small grant programs, designing an institute or course on doing and publishing SoTL work, helping to form and facilitate SoTL writing circles, providing resources (books, journals, web sites) to assist those doing SoTL work, editing draft SoTL grants or articles, finding SoTL mentors, assisting in the identification of SoTL funding sources, and serving as a resources for college and department personnel committees on evaluating and rewarding SoTL work.

References

Cambridge, B. (2002). Linking change initiatives: The Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the company of other national projects. In D. Lieberman & C. Wehlburg (Eds.), To improve the academy: Vol. 20. Resources for faculty, instructional, and organizational development (pp. 38-48). Bolton, MA: Anker.

Glassick, C.E., Huber, M.T., & Maeroff, G.I. (1997). Scholarship assessed: Evaluation of the professoriate. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Huber, M.T. (2001). Balancing acts: Designing careers around the scholarship of teaching and learning. Change, 33(4), 21-29.

Huber, M.T., & Morreale, S.P. (Eds.). (2002). Disciplinary styles in the scholarship of teaching and learning: Exploring common ground. Washington DC: American Association for Higher Education. Kreber, C. (Ed.). (2001a). Scholarship revisited: Perspectives on the scholarship of teaching and learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 86. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lacey, P.A. (1983). Revitalizing teaching through faculty development. San Francisco, CA: Joseey-Bass.

Shulman, L.S. (1999). Visions of the possible: Models for campus support of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Retrieved April 28, 2003, from http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/elibrary/docs/Visions.htm

Zahorski, K.J. (Ed.). (2002). Scholarship in the postmodern era: New venues, new values, new visions. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 90. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.

---------------------------

Kathleen McKinney is Cross Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Professor of Sociology at Illinois State University. She served from 1996 to 2002 as the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching. She directs the CASTL program at Illinois State University and is a 2003-2004 Carnegie Scholar. She serves as a member of the American Sociological Association's Task Force on the Undergraduate Major and the ASA Department Resources Group. Currently, he teaches the Sociology Senior Experience course. She has numerous publications in the areas of sexual harassment in academia, personal relationships, and teaching and learning in sociology.