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Navigating SoTL Challenges: Educational Developers as Catalysts Nicola Simmons, Ph.D. Research and Evaluation Consultant Centre for Teaching Excellence.

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Presentation on theme: "Navigating SoTL Challenges: Educational Developers as Catalysts Nicola Simmons, Ph.D. Research and Evaluation Consultant Centre for Teaching Excellence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Navigating SoTL Challenges: Educational Developers as Catalysts Nicola Simmons, Ph.D. Research and Evaluation Consultant Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) University of Waterloo K. Lynn Taylor, Ph.D. Director, Centre for Learning and Teaching Dalhousie University

2 Navigating SoTL Challenges z“In a world of competing demands, we are more likely to engage and persist in work that is intrinsically motivated and extrinsically rewarded (Ryan &Deci, 2000; Roen, 2004)” (Taylor, 2005, p. 6).  What are some of the ways that SoTL is motivated and rewarded in your institutions?  What are some of the challenges that remain? 2

3 The Plan zTo share successful strategies for SoTL engagement, collaboration, advocacy, and connection building zTo explore a framework for making the educational development role in SoTL more explicit zTo integrate this framework and our own experiences to develop strategies for enhancing our roles as SoTL catalysts

4 EDs as Catalysts Educational developers “recognize that there will be gaps between administrative and faculty goals and priorities. Consequently, one of their critical roles is to enter into reciprocal learning processes with both administrators and faculty to bridge gaps that emerge” (Taylor, 2009)

5 Facilitating SoTL Adoption z Relative advantage : How is the SoTL going to help me? z Compatibility : How does SoTL connect with my values, past experiences, and needs? z Complexity: How difficult will it be to understand and conduct the SoTL? z Trialability: How will uncertainty/risk of investing in SoTL be reduced? z Observability: How readily will the results of SoTL be seen? z Reinvention: To what degree can SoTL be modified or adapted to meet my needs? (cf. Rogers, 2003)

6 Self-authoring our Roles (Baxter-Magolda, 1999; Kegan, 1994) Intrapersonal Interpersonal Epistemological Foundations 6

7 Reflections on Self-authorship zIntrapersonal – Who are we as scholars? Are we SoTL scholars, or facilitators of SoTL work? Or both? zInterpersonal – What connections and collaborations do we seek? zEpistemological – What is the nature of our SoTL work?  Fill in your responses in the circles.  Are there areas not currently receiving equal attention? What impact will this have on our authorship of our SoTL roles? 7

8 Building SoTL Capacity zPersonal SoTL is not only about student learning, but also about something we rarely study in depth: how college and university faculty learn about teaching and learning (Menges & Austin, 2001) zPublic: “Commitment in academic life…we also commit ourselves to sharing what we learn with larger academic communities – institutional or disciplinary – who share our values and principles.” (Taylor, 2005, p. 4) 8

9 Creating “Trading Zones” A “trading zone” (Galison, 1997) is a space between disciplines where we can trade, with colleagues from other disciplines, what we know about our shared interests in teaching and learning, even if we use different languages and different methods (Huber, 1999).

10 Finding Common Ground “Reaching in” through metaphor: zChemistry - class discussion groups as chemical bonding zEngineering - understanding the 1st year experience as systems design “Reaching across”: zStarting with the issue or challenge z? 10

11 Building SoTL Capacity in Multiple Trading Zones zMicro: individual capacity zMeso: department and faculty zMacro: institution zMega: discipline and interdisciplinary, national and international impact 11

12 Navigating SoTL Challenges Small group discussion (4 groups): zWhat strategies could EDs utilize to optimize goals of SoTL engagement, collaboration, advocacy, and connection building at each of these 4 levels? 12

13 Palmer’s Model of Change zStage 1: “Isolated individuals make an inward decision.” zStage 2: “Individuals begin to discover one another and form communities of congruence.” zStage 3: “Communities start going public.” zStage 4: “System of alternative rewards emerges to sustain the movement’s vision and to put pressure…on the standard institutional reward system.” (Palmer, 1998, p. 166) 13

14 References zBaxter-Magolda, M. (1999). Creating contexts for learning and self-authorship. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press. zKegan, R. (1994). In over our heads: The mental demands of a modern life. Sterling, VA: Stylus. zPalmer, P. (1998). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. z Poole, G., Taylor, L., & Thompson, J. (2007). Using the scholarship of teaching and learning at disciplinary, national and institutional levels to strategically improve the quality of post-secondary education. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 1 (2). 14

15 References zSimmons, N. (2008). Navigating Institutional SoTL Cultures: Faculty Developers as Conversation Catalysts. Presentation at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) annual conference, Edmonton, October. zTaylor, K. L. (2009). Diffusion de l’innovation: Partager l’innovation au sein et entre les communautés de practique (Diffusion of innovation: Sharing innovation within and across practice communities). In D. Bédard & J. –P. Béchard (Eds.) Innover dans l’enseignement supérieur) (pp ). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. zTaylor, K. L. (2005). Commitment, community, and collaboration in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Invited keynote presentation at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) Annual Conference, Vancouver, October

16 Recommended Reading zArreloa, R. A., Aleamoni, L. A., & Theall, M. (2001). College teaching as meta-profession: Reconceptualizing the scholarship of teaching and learning. Paper presented at the annual AAHE conference, Tampa, FL, February 1-4. zChristensen Hughes, J. (2005). Improving the quality of teaching and learning in higher education through the development of a framework for supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning in Canada. Working document. Ottawa: Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. zMeyer, J. H. F., & Land, R. (Eds.)(2006). Overcoming barriers to student understanding. Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge. London: Routledge. 16

17 Recommended Reading zMiddendorf, J., & Pace, D. (2008). Easing entry into the scholarship of teaching and learning through focused assessments: The ‘decoding the disciplines’ approach. In D. R. Robertson & L. B. Nilson (Eds.), To Improve the Academy, 26, zO’Brien, M. (2008a). Navigating the SoTL landscape: A compass, map and some tools for getting started. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(2). zO’Brien, M. (2008b). Threshold concepts for university teaching and learning: A study of troublesome knowledge. In R. Land, J. H. F. Meyer, and J. Smith (Eds.). Threshold concepts in the disciplines. The Netherlands: Sense Publishing. 17

18 Recommended Reading zShulman, L. S. (2002). Foreword. In M. T. Huber & S. P. Morreale (Eds.), Disciplinary styles in the scholarship of teaching and learning: Exploring common ground (pp. v-ix). Sterling, VA: Stylus. zShulman, L. S. (2005). Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 134(3), zWeimer, M. (2008). Positioning scholarly work on teaching and learning. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(1). 18

19 Tensions? zP&T SoTL passion zResearch Teaching zSilos Collaboration zDiscipline $$ SoTL $$ zDisciplines Academy zTalking crossTalking across purposesdisciplines (Simmons, 2008) 19

20 Other Tricky Questions zWhat are the bottlenecks/threshold concepts in SoTL? zHow do we make the tacit explicit? zWhat research can be done on SoTL itself? zHow do we, as educational developers, support disciplinary scholars in stepping outside their disciplines? (not all teaching and learning questions are compatible with disciplinary research methodologies) 20

21 Institutional Success zCreate infrastructure (Poole, Taylor, & Thompson, 2007) zTie to institutional goals (Poole, Taylor, & Thompson, 2007) zEducation and promotion (Ehrmann, 2008) zTeaching chairs linked to SoTL research zProvide grants for SoTL research zProvide opportunities for meeting, dissemination 21


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