On behalf of the SoTL Canada Special Interest Group, I am pleased to share with you our 2015 Activity Report. We increased our SIG membership to over 300 STLHE members this year, elected a new Vice-Chair and Secretary for two-year terms, and through a number of online and face-to-face initiatives, are working to achieve the goals of the SIG:
- To engage in a community of practice of SoTL scholars for the purpose of shared resources, research, and problem-solving regarding SoTL issues and questions.
- To create and contribute to multiple approaches to the dissemination of scholarship about teaching and learning in higher education.
- To collaborate on effective approaches to building a SoTL culture at institutional, regional, national, and international levels.
- To serve as a resource and mentoring body for those seeking SoTL information and support.
- To advocate at all levels, based on the above, for the importance and value of SoTL in enhancing post-secondary student learning. Please find attached, a description of our major initiatives in 2015 as well as a timeline of the SIG history and its executive members.
The SoTL Canada website and blog
We use this wordpress site to manage our regularly-updated website which includes lists of SoTL conferences and useful resources, plus our active SoTL blog. Kudos to Erin Aspenlieder (Guelph), Karen Manarin (Mount Royal), Victoria Chen (Queen’s), Nicola Simmons (Brock), Natasha Kenny (UCalgary), Robert Lapp (Mount Allison), and Genevieve Newton (Guelph) who wrote provocative posts in 2015 advocating for supporting graduate students to become quality teachers through SoTL, suggesting ways to further advocate for SoTL nationally, exploring ‘research’ as a noun or a verb, and informing us of institution-level initiatives and ISSOTL conference highlights.
What’s happening at your institution? How do you advocate for SoTL? Members who wish to contribute to the blog may contact our Secretary, Genevieve Newton to co-ordinate.
SoTL Canada Special Issue of NDTL
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Canada: Institutional Impact
Editor: Nicola Simmons
The purpose of this special issue is to provide examples and evidence of the ways in which post-secondary institutions in Canada have developed and sustained programs around the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning that impact the institutional pedagogical climate. Under the skilled editorial leadership of Nicola Simmons, 8 institutions across Canada wrote chapters for a special issue of New Directions for Teaching and Learning: Simon Fraser, Renaissance College (UNB), McMaster, Mount Royal, University of Saskatchewan, Waterloo, University of British Columbia and Guelph. The issue also features national-level chapters which summarize the history of SoTL in Canada, map where we are now, and suggest where we might go next.
Proofs have just been approved! Look for it in summer 2016!
Membership Survey Results
We conducted our first membership survey in fall 2014 and presented the results at our AGM in June 2016 (see this blog post). Some of the initiatives which members suggested we might work on include national advocacy, collaborative writing groups, peer mentoring, representation at other events/disciplinary societies, and online workshops. The SoTL Canada executive is pursuing a number of these initiatives (besides the ones reported here, we are currently in the early stages of developing a peer mentoring program).
We are always looking for more help!
For those interested in contributing, a list of our working groups and contact information can be found here.
Collaborative Writing Groups
In October 2015, we issued an invitation for SoTL Canada members to apply to participate in “SoTL Canada Collaborative Writing Groups”. The process builds on one developed by the International Network for Learning and Teaching Geography in Higher Education (INLT) and used by the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (see the special issue of Teaching and Learning Inquiry 3(2)). Our initiative is targeted for a special issue of CJSoTL in June 2017 and will focus on important themes such as students, leadership, and educational development as they relate to SOTL, as well as SoTL in the College Sector, “SoTL” en milieu francophone au Canada, and more.
SoTL Canada executive member Beth Marquis and founding chair Nicola Simmons are spearheading this initiative. We received a total of 88 applications and could accommodate 54 participants (plus 7 facilitators and 2 editors). This includes 12 students, and a range of faculty, educational developers, and administrators from colleges and universities across the country. The groups have already begun their preliminary work and will meet at a STLHE post-conference event for some face-to-face writing time. The event is self-funded through participant registration fees.
We look forward to seeing what our 54 authors will contribute to the national SoTL conversation! Special thanks to the CJSoTL Editorial Board for being so supportive of this initiative.